Dozens of nominations from across the golf industry have been trimmed to three nominees in each category in the 24th Annual ING Industry Honors awards program. The ING Industry Honors program is conducted by the non-profit International Network Of Golf to recognize outstanding achievement in the golf business.
Winners in the 12 categories are decided by a vote of the ING membership and announced at the Industry Honors Presentation Press Conference January 25, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. at the PGA Merchandise Show in ClubING, Room 309-A/B. Holly Geoghegan of Golf Marketing Services is the Committee Chair for the ING Industry Honors.
The International Network Of Golf is a non-profit, media-based networking organization whose mission is to enhance and promote communication and education in golf. Membership is open to anyone in the golf industry, related industries and media. ING is where media and the golf industry connect.
Sub-committees in each category reviewed nominations, and by private vote trimmed the entries to the top three in each category. All nominees will be recognized at the presentation.
ING exists to bring golf media together with representatives from all walks of the golf industry to discuss issues, exchange information and improve communication. The group conducts the 28TH Annual ING Spring Conference May 20-23 at the IP Casino Resort & Spa in Biloxi, MS. Educational seminars, product testing, the One-On-One Appointment Show, golf tournaments and networking opportunities highlight schedule.
The next gathering for ING is at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando Jan. 24-26. ClubING (Room 309-A/B) will be open all day for members and their guests, with morning coffee, cocktail parties with celebrity guests, presentations and prizes.
Chip Brewer, CEO, Callaway Golf
While many equipment companies are struggling or even leaving the business, Callaway Golf continues to record strong growth numbers for its clubs and balls, and is now world’s largest golf club maker. Since Brewer took over as CEO in 2012, Callaway’s profit/loss line has gone from the negative to the positive. And in 2016 alone the company recorded a net income profit of $189.9M compared to $14.6M the year before. In the past year, along with the ultra successful launch of the Epic driver, Callaway made two strategic purchases of successful companies – Ogio International golf bags and Travis Matthew apparel company.
Michael Keiser, Developer
Bandon Dunes founder Michael Keiser continues to show a magical touch in golf course development. His Sand Valley Golf Resort in Wisconsin has opened to rave reviews and was named the best new course of 2017. Keiser chose David McLay Kidd to design the second course at Sand Valley, Mammoth Dunes, opening in the spring along with the Sandbox, a par-3 course designed by Coore-Crenshaw. Keiser’s newest project is a seaside course in northern Scotland called Coul Links. It is coming to fruition after two years of work between Keiser and the Scottish National Heritage to ensure the project meets environmental requirements.
Justin Tupper, CEO and Founder Revolution Golf
Justin Topper started producing instructional videos in 2009 out of his house. Over the next eight years, Revolution Golf invested more than $25 million in advertising to build one of the largest, most-engaged audiences in golf. Video-based instruction forms the core, featuring elite instructors Martin Chuck, Sean Foley, Martin Hall, Jim McLean, Cameron McCormick, and Andrew Rice. Five years ago, Revolution Golf launched a premium subscription offering (RG+) for which members pay up to $124 annually for access to exclusive video content, special offers and events. Revolution Golf was recently acquired by The Golf Channel.
Cystic Fibrosis Benefit/INet Golf
The Salt Air Jam Charity Concert and Golf Tournament to benefit Cystic Fibrosis consisted of five bands with Edwin McCain headlining followed by a scramble golf tournament. We utilized online marketing
(Press Releases, Social Media Campaigns, Video Marketing & Blogging) to promote the event & give sponsors bang for their bucks. Event sponsorship is best justified through associated marketing rather than attendance alone. Generated over 1 million headline impressions for our title sponsor East Coast golf Management and presenting sponsors Bojangles and Jinja Jewelry. Videos viewed over 125,000 times in the three months prior to the May event.
USA Today Sports teamed with Honda to create the Honda Trick Shots Video Series, filmed at the site of the Honda Classic. The content was published on For The Win and Golfweek, and promoted across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The videos utilized many trick shot stars, and each included a Honda vehicle either in the video or as part of the trick shot. There were 2.4 MM total video views across social, published and syndicated media. The series was promoted on the media partners’ social media channels with 1.2MM followers. Three Social Media influencers posted videos to their 195K followers, and paid Social Media promotion resulted in 6.7K social engagements.
The MISIG, the Most Important Stretch in Golf, is a simple yet effective training aid designed for stretching, swing training, exercising and fitness that increases your degrees of back swing, range of motion and distance. The MISIG was featured on Revolution Golf for the first time in August 2017 and the sale had to be shut down after selling out of nearly 1600 units in 14 days. In addition to sales at RG, the awareness the campaign created increased sales at the MISIG website by 200%. With 1.5 million members, Revolution Golf is the most engaging golf video and digital platform on the Internet connecting golfers with world-class instruction.
Girls Independent Golf League (GIGL)
Inspired by their love for golf and their interest in the 2013 Solheim Cup, Jillian and Sadie Barend, ages 10 and 6, convinced a few neighborhood friends to form a golf team. Their parents Dave and Sara then convinced MGA Links to start an all girls team league. GIGL has since grown into 4 separate leagues with almost 300 girls. Nobody associated with GIGL makes a dime, and there is no membership fee. The only cost to the girls is the course’s $10 greens fee. GIGL provides free clubs, balls, and tees to all in need. Free shirts and hats are also given to every GIGL member.
AWGA’s Golf 101
The Arizona Women’s Golf Association’s Golf 101 program is designed to introduce women golfers to the game or to reintroduce those who have a desire to return to golf. Using LPGA and PGA Professionals to
deliver six sessions of instruction, golfers learn from Professionals and mentors who help them feel comfortable navigating the golf course and playing. The mentors create an environment where women establish relationships that help them play on a regular basis and adopt golf as a lifetime activity. Since the program’s inception in 2006, the AWGA Golf 101 has welcomed and graduated more than 1,600 students.
Nextgengolf is the leading entity for young adult golfers (15-39). Nextgengolf originated as a Boston-based affordable golf membership program for college students, but has emerged as a national organization catering to the avid millennial aged golfer. In 2017, Nextgengolf ran over 180 team-based golf tournaments between NCCGA (college) and City Tour (young adult) tournaments. Most recently Nextgengolf launched highschoolgolf.org to provide an identity for high school golf teams through the first National rankings for high school golf. Nextgengolf’s mission is to provide opportunities and make the game more relevant for the average high school golfer, college student and young adult.
Print Advertising – Products & Services
Aldila – “A New Twist On Torque”
Pukka – “Tee Off With The Perfect Pairing”
Ricoh – “Play A Smarter Game”
Print Advertising – Travel & Real Estate
Boyne Golf – “Three Resorts, Ten Courses, One Destination”
Robert Trent Jones Trail – “Renowned And Renewed: RTJ Turns 25”
We Ko Pa – “Smart & Beautiful”
Product Ingenuity – Emerging Companies-Golf Equipment
Knuth Golf High Heat Hybrids
Like the driver and fairways woods that preceded them, the High Heat hybrids were named to numerous “top product” lists following the 2017 PGA Show. The High Heat hybrids feature a Beta titanium cup face, providing a significantly increased trampoline effect across the entire face for extra distance and increased forgiveness compared to traditional steel faces, which are in all major brands and over 99 percent of all fairway woods and hybrids. A lower and deeper center of gravity makes it much easier to get the ball airborne and on target. Fire Zone Face Technology provides a larger sweet spot zone. www.knuthgolf.com.
The PXG 0311 Irons feature what PXG claims is the thinnest face in golf, formed from HT1770 high–strength steel producing seriously high ball speeds. The hollow head is injected with Thermo plastic elastomer, or TPE, into the center of the iron’s hollow body. TPE is a low–density material with vibration–dampening qualities that enhance the sound and feel of the iron. The body is forged of 1025 carbon steel that also helps improve sound and feel. The clubs come in a satin chrome or extreme Black DLC finish. www.pxg.com
Vertical Groove Driver
Vertical Groove Golf, manufacturer of the world’s only Vertical Groove Driver, is the only golf club innovation with vertical grooves on the clubface. Voted 2017 Best Golf Product by Golf Aficionado, the Vertical Groove Driver capped a successful first season in the market by finishing #1 in Driving Distance and #2 in Driving Accuracy (missing 1st by 0.27%) on the PGA TOUR Champions, while earning two professional victories, including a Major Championship. Vertical Groove Technology is proven to reduce spin at impact, forcing tighter dispersion and leading to straighter ball flight and greater distance. www.vertgolf.com.
Product Ingenuity – Emerging Companies-Misc. Products
Glowgear began pioneering intelligent field targets in 2013 by creating the first rechargeable night golf lights and tour quality night golf balls that allowed venues to access the majority of consumers who worked during the day. From this they set forth to help facilities move into the new ‘TopGolf’ golf entertainment market by designing the first interactive, topographical field targets that allow facilities to “turn off their lights and turn on the course” with light, sound and interactive entertainment. Much in the tradition of Cosmic Bowling they are licensing the Cosmic Driving Range designed as an affordable ‘pop up’ retrofit for existing golf facilities. www.glowgear.net.
Oska Pulse is a new pain relief health-tech wearable device (it can fit in pockets, purse or backpack) great for men and women of all ages who have minor aches and pains (back, knee) to chronic pain (fibro) and are looking to find relief. No drugs or side effects. Great for after workouts, yoga, running, tennis, golf, travel, working all day on your feet. It utilizes patented eTec Pulse Technology that specifically optimizes Pulsed Electromagnetic Field (PEMF) therapeutic technology, similar to the PEMF therapies used in many clinical applications for accelerating the body’s ability to heal itself. www.oskawellness.com.
Popticals developed a patented technology that’s created a new category for sports sunglasses. The high-performance sunglasses provide stunningly clear optics for golf that can easily be stored inside a small case. The award-winning design features the patented FL2 Micro-Rail System’s® that allows the lenses to slide in parallel to each other for compact storage. Popticals feature NYDEF™ GOLF nylon lenses manufactured by Carl Zeiss Vision, offering clarity rivaling glass with 18% lighter weight than polycarbonate. Optimized coloration and sharper contrast helps golfers see the typography of the course clearly while also enabling better tracking and visibility of the ball. www.popticals.com.
Product Ingenuity – Emerging Companies-Technology
18Birdies is reimagining the world of golf through technology, transforming the way golf is played, experienced and perceived, and building a more diverse, positive and relevant golf community. The mobile app has many features for all golfers including one of the most accurate and responsive GPS rangefinders available, shot and distance tracking, club recommendations, stat and side-game tracking, the ability to connect and share golf experiences with friends and DreamGames, a unique loyalty program that rewards golfers for simply playing the game. 18Birdies makes golf more fun, engaging, and inclusive for golfers; more efficient and productive for courses; and provides access to a large engaged community for partners. www.18birdies.com.
Geni1 Smart Ball
The patent pending GEN i1 golf ball, manufactured by Coach Labs, Inc, has a core that contains a nine-axis embedded sensor and on-board MCU that acts like a miniature launch monitor inside. The “smart” ball is calibrated specifically for putting measuring initial direction, speed, impact force, and ball rotation. The data is then transmitted through an app to your mobile device via Bluetooth. In addition, the GEN i1 comes with a sensor for the handle of your putter that shows the “cause and effect” of your stroke and ball line. Coach Labs is the first company to develop and launch a smart ball into the consumer market. https://geni1.com/
Golf Genius’ proprietary cloud-based software gives golfers the ability to see how they stand in a competition on a real-time basis on their smartphone. Moreover, charities can offer sponsors the ability to have their messages played throughout the event on golfers’ smartphones with revenues generated to the charity and to the host club. Golf Genius also has a unique software package created exclusively for golf buddy trips enabling a trip leader to instantly structure teams in any number of scoring formats. It even totals up wagers won and lost and trip expenses per person. Organizations like the USGA, The First Tee, NGCOA and AJGA are utilizing its tournament management systems. www.golfgenius.com.
Product Ingenuity – Emerging Companies-Training Products
ChipTrainer is a portable short-game training device intended for use at home or office. The system has three components: A Stance Mat, a Target Mat, and a Stand. The Stance Mat features keys for stance, ball position, posture and weight distribution. Using a real ball with multiple clubs, the Target Mat receives the ball and returns it without having to move. The result is a home-based short game simulation system to refine a vital shot in scoring. ChipTrainer is simple to use, provides instant feedback on shot quality, and is the fastest way to lowering scores. http://www.chiptrainer.com/
Lengthen, strengthen, and train your swing with the “Most Important Stretch in Golf,” a device called the MISIG. Dramatically increase degrees of back swing and range of motion. Simply strap the Velcro cuff with one end of the tension band to the left elbow (right for lefties), grip the bottom of the bar with the left hand, and use the right hand to push a sliding handle with the other end of the tension band. The back swing-like movement stretches the shoulders, back, and hips, while keeping the left arm straight and encouraging a proper wrist hinge. https://feelthestretch.com/
STEADIHEAD Laser Putting Trainer
STEADIHEAD addresses three common denominators associated with poor putting: Aligns the eyes over the ball; Trains the eye to see the true line of the putt; Teaches golfers to keep still throughout the stroke. The frame is lightweight and fits comfortably like a pair of glasses. Putt while holding the laser red spot directly over the ball through ball contact. The beam will provide a correct sighting of your target line. Designed by PGA Class A and LPGA Professional Bobbi Salmon. www.steadiheadputting.com.
Product Ingenuity – Market Leaders
Callaway Epic Driver
Adding structural stability allows the Epic face to be thinner and concentrates flexing across a wider area. So inside the head, two bars stretch from the crown to the sole. The extra stability makes for a face that’s 20-percent thinner and more flexible than before. The two models use a titanium frame with carbon-composite panels above and below. The standard version offers a sliding rear weight to address slices and hooks, and the Sub Zero’s two weights optimize ball spin. It’s Callaway’s most intriguing driver in two decades. http://www.callawaygolf.com
Cobra One Length Irons
The single length iron concept has been around for years, but Cobra is going to be the brand that puts it on the map. The KING Forged ONE LENGTH irons were inspired by rising PGA star Bryson DeChambeau. Proper setup includes variables that change as you switch between longer and shorter length clubs, causing more room for error. With one setup and one swing you can simplify the entire process. Every player has their favorite club and for many, it’s a 7-iron. With COBRA’s One Length irons, you can play any iron in the bag as if it were your trusty 7-iron. https://www.cobragolf.com
TaylorMade TP5 Golf Ball
TP5 and TP5x feature a Tri-Fast Core and Dual-Spin Cover that combine for a 5-layer golf ball construction that is specifically engineered to perform with every club in your bag. The unique 3-layer core system in TP5 and TP5x features progressive compression, enabling maximum energy transfer and generating massive speed on full shots. The contrast of an ultra-soft cast urethane cover and a semi-rigid inner-cover creates maximum interaction between the cover and club grooves, resulting in exceptional spin performance with full wedge shots and pinpoint control from around the green. www.taylormadegolf.com
BMW – “Mood Swings”
Bridgestone – “Dare To Be Better”
MasterCard – “Arnie Would”
Antigua – “Antigua LPGA Players Feature”
Bridgestone Golf – “Behind The Scenes With The B-Fit App”
French Lick Resort – “The Donald Ross Course Anniversary”