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 a 11 categories are decided by a vote of the ING membership and announced at the Industry Honors Presentation Press Conference January 26, 2017 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.
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 27th Anniversary ING Spring Conference May 21-25 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, FL. 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. 25-27. ClubING (Room 309-A/B) will be open all day for members and their guests, with morning coffee, Happy Hour cocktail parties with celebrity guests, presentations and prizes.
THE 2016 FINAL BALLOT
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. Under the leadership of Brewer, Callaway reported close to $900 million in sales in 2015. Since Brewer took over as CEO in 2012, Callaway has consistently increased its market share in all hard good categories, and now is in the leadership position at No. 1 or No. 2 in all hard goods categories. www.callawaygolf.com.
PGA of America – On Jan. 17, 1916, Rodman Wanamaker, heir to Wanamaker’s, a well-known Philadelphia department store, invited a group of New York-area golf professionals to a luncheon. The purpose: to form a national organization of golf professionals who could help promote interest in the game and grow the sport. There were 35 charter members including Walter Hagen. Wanamaker donated $2500 and a trophy toward the first PGA Championship held in the fall of 1916 at Siwanoy Country Club. A century later, The PGA of America is the largest working sports organization in the world, comprised of more than 28,000 dedicated men and women promoting the game of golf. www.pga.com.
Dean Snell, Founder and CEO of Snell Golf, Inc. – Few individuals have had the impact on golf equipment technology that Dean Snell has over the past two decades. He is the co-creator or creator of many of the leading golf balls of the past 25 years, including the Titleist ProV1and TaylorMade Tour Preferred and others. In 2014, Snell decided to inject innovation into golf balls in another way – by reducing costs and going to a direct-to-consumer sales model that allows him to provide Tour-level performance at a fraction of the price. 2016 has seen Snell Golf explode with record sales growth and amazing brand recognition among golfers. Www.snellgolf.com.
Frogger/Revolution Golf – Revolution Golf created a campaign to increase sales of two Frogger products – the Brush Pros and the Amphibian golf towels. The email and videos campaign were launched in May and combined had a 37 percent open rate from over 2 million emails sent. As for the videos, there were 45,000 views for a total of 57,000 minutes. End result? 1,398 brushes and 1,406 towels were sold – a total of $34,000 in sales.
Power Package/Golf Pulp Media – Golf Pulp utilized a mixed media digital marketing strategy to saturate the market with information about this new training aid, pushing interested buyers through online sales channels. The strategy included website development, social media marketing, email marketing and targeted digital ad campaigns highlighting PGA Tour Champion Tom Pernice Jr. and using real testing results to show proof of concept. The campaign generated 20,960 unique visitors and nearly 800 unit sales.
Tathata Golf – With an aggressive video and email marketing campaign supported with TV advertising, Tathata Golf successfully launched its transformational 60-day digital golf instruction program. With free online videos, previews and routines, Tathata Golf created an advanced and innovative online golf academy with immediate and lifetime digital streaming access through its advanced website design. Created by PGA Professional Brian Hepler, more than 117,886 hours of digital learning and training have benefited golfers since September 1, 2015.
International Women’s Golf Day is a global golf initiative designed to introduce women to the game in a fun and inclusive way while including those that already play. The one-day event gives women the option of a two-hour golf lesson or a 9-hole round of golf followed by a two-hour networking experience where attendees socialize and learn more about next steps. In 2016 485 locations in 28 countries held a WGD event on the same day. Because of the initiative’s global success in its initial year, thousands of women and girls have picked up a golf club and are now participating in the sport. www.womensgolfday.com.
Topgolf is a global sports entertainment community. With 30 venues serving 12.2 million guests annually, Topgolf has become a go-to destination for fun both in-venue and online. Topgolf games can be enjoyed by all ages and skill levels. The micro-chipped golf balls score themselves, providing players with instant feedback on each shot’s accuracy and distance. Each venue features climate-controlled hitting bays for year-round play, a chef-driven food and beverage menu, music and hundreds of HDTVs. Topgolf offers interactive experiences through its Topgolf U lessons, leagues, The Topgolf Tour, KidZone parties, social and corporate events and the World Golf Tour (WGT) Golf app. www.topgolf.com.
Youth On Course is a non-profit organization serving as the charitable arm of the Northern California Golf Association. The core purpose of Youth on Course is to provide youth with access to life-changing opportunities through golf. This is achieved primarily through the subsidized round program in which members can play golf at hundreds of participating courses for $5 or less, and Youth on Course subsidizes the difference to golf course. Now with nearly 20,000 members in 12 states, Youth on Course plans to expand nationwide and get more kids playing affordable golf. www.youthoncourse.org.
Print Advertising – Products & Services
Callaway – “A Champion Is Born.”
Project X – “HZRDUS – Uncontained Tour Domination.”
TaylorMade – “Man On Fire.”
Print Advertising – Travel & Real Estate
Bandon Dunes – “Golf As It Was Meant To Be.”
Golf Cape Breton – “Golf Was Invented For Places Like This.”
Turning Stone Resort – “Mark Twain Once Said…”
Product Ingenuity – Emerging Companies-Golf Equipment
Golphin Clubs, designed to benefit children ages three through 12, were developed in partnership with PGA Professionals and the biomechanical department at Strathclyde University, in Glasgow, using technology transfer from the aerospace industry. The clubs are 22% lighter and 35% larger than most junior golf clubs, making it easier for players to swing, control and hit. A radial profile was added to the sole of the clubs to provide greater forgiveness for differing lie angles and to accommodate children’s various address positions and heights. The company has received several global innovation awards and Golf Digest Editors Pick for 2016. www.golphinforkids.com.
Knuth Golf High Heat 3-Wood. The High Heat 3-Wood, with its low and deep CG for amateur golfers, significantly increases their success in getting the ball up in the air and achieving more distance and accuracy. Its face is beta titanium and 8mm wider than major brands. Together, this significantly increases its trampoline effect and amateurs’ distance on off-center hits compared to all 3 woods with narrower and traditional steel faces. Named to numerous media “best” and “top product” lists because it is “so easy to get up in the air” and is the “longest” and “hottest” 3 wood they ever hit. www.knuthgolf.com.
Snell Golf Balls – With more than 25 years in golf ball research and development, 40 U.S. granted patents and a successful background in plastics engineering, Dean Snell is considered to be one of the foremost golf ball authorities. In March 2015, he founded Snell Golf, a golf ball company committed to developing premium golf balls at affordable, direct pricing. After a successful first year marked by positive media reviews, Snell boosted its’ direct to consumer sales efforts teaming up with Revolution Golf in May 2016. Snell sold out of its entire allotment of 4,000 dozen generating $120,000 in sales in seven days. www.snellgolf.com.
Product Ingenuity – Emerging Companies-Misc. Products
Biion Golf Shoes are made entirely of Ethyl Vinyl Acetate (EVA) resulting in a lightweight shoe that slips on, molds to the foot and is meant to be worn without socks. Biion’s flexible, form-fitting EVA moves with your body with every step, giving you a connection to the ground like no other shoe. It’s the closest you’ll ever feel to walking in bare feet! The spikeless hexagon-patterned cleat with Hextra-grip Technology provides maximum strength and stability, giving you the best possible traction. The shoes come in a myriad of styles and colors and patterns ranging from traditional to wild side. www.biionfootwear.com.
GolfBuddy LD2 GPS Watch – GolfBuddy is a leading innovator in the golf rangefinder industry. The company has over 38,000 preloaded physically verified courses worldwide, providing the most accurate and innovative golf rangefinders in the market. In 2016, GolfBuddy introduced the first-ever ladies golf GPS watch. Ladies now have an elegant, lightweight and chic golf GPS option in the LD2 watch from GolfBuddy. The gorgeous light sapphire crystals from Swarovski combined with the rich alligator grain leather bring fashion and function to one device. www.golfbuddyglobal.com.
Zero Friction DistancePro GPS Glove combines two necessities – the golf glove and GPS – into one groundbreaking product. Powered by Bluetooth, the device sits conveniently on the glove flap and weighs less than half an ounce. The readout gives distances to the front, center and back of the green on over 35,000 golf courses. The DistancePro GPS glove is available in three packages starting at $129, all of which include one GPS device and two universal-fit, one-size gloves that mold to your hand. The battery provides over 400 hours of golf, and the GPS device is transferrable to replacement Zero Friction gloves. www.zerofriction.com.
Product Ingenuity – Emerging Companies-Technology
Arccos 360 Shot Tracker – Combining Advanced GPS distances, fully automatic shot tracking and an analytics platform better than anything on tour, Arccos uncovers your strengths and weaknesses to help you connect to your game. The system records every shot a golfer makes, analyzes the data in real time and reveals strengths and weaknesses to enhance on-course decision-making. Hands-free shot mapping combined with rangefinder distances in yards or meters to any point on more than 40,000 courses. Tour Analytics breaks down a players’ handicap into five key components – driving, approach, chipping, sand game and putting. www.arccosgolf.com.
18Birdies mobile app is gamifying the golf experience by making golf more competitive, fun and exciting with a live betting engine that tracks side-games in real-time and also provides a tool for creating and managing socially interactive tournaments. 18Birdies allows users to connect with friends, use a sophisticated GPS rangefinder for 20,000+ courses worldwide, quickly set up and run various individual and team-based side games and tournaments, track round histories, player statistics and more. www.18birdies.com.
Golf GameBook has been making golf more fun and social since its inception in 2010. It is the digital scorecard that gives you a gallery of fans every time you’re on the golf course and a diary to store your golf memories – like a clubhouse in your pocket. Supporting 25 different game formats, Golf GameBook allows golfers to connect and share live results, comments, photos and videos – no matter where they are, on and off the golf course. The Golf GameBook app is available on the App Store for free. www.golfgamebook.com.
Product Ingenuity – Emerging Companies-Training Products
Laser Putt – Two independent adjustable lasers allow you to track the alignment and path of your putter perfectly, and to calibrate your distance. You get Kinesthetic Feedback with a Green Laser “Chalk Line” and a Red Laser “Target Tool”. Over 100 PGA Tour Pros use Laser Putt and Golf Digest magazine named it the BEST Putting Aid of 2016. www.laserputt.com.
Swingclick PLUS Golf Training Aid improves rhythm, tempo, transition and consistency. The device straps to a golfer’s forearm and clicks at the top of the backswing at impact and finish. Like a metronome it gives the golfer the audio feedback when he has completed his backswing, which results in great rhythm. This Amazon Best Seller retails for $35 and can be used with all clubs on the driving range, golf course or indoors. It works for everyone from professionals to beginners. www.swingclickgolf.com.
Swing Wizzard’s patented dual head club design provides a mirror image of your golf swing, which allows you to see AND “feel” the key positions of your swing while instantly providing feedback. Along with revealing “Your” optimum swing plane and path, the product teaches how the body and club must work together to achieve the proper tempo and sequencing needed for consistent swings. Swing Wizzard was selected by Golf Digest as one of the “Top Cool Products” at the 2016 PGA Show. www.wizardgolf.net.
Product Ingenuity – Market Leaders
Cleveland Golf Smart Sole 2.0 Wedges – These are simple, effectively designed scoring clubs that will help recreational players save strokes around the green. The Smart Sole 2.0 C eliminates the chunked pitch shot with a forgiving sole that promotes more consistent contact. For players who just want to get out of the sand, the Smart Sole 2.0 S features Cleveland’s widest sole with optimal bounce to help you escape the trap on your first swing. Available in steel and graphite options. www.clevelandgolf.com.
PING Crossover – PING created a new category – the Crossover – to combine the precision, workability and control of an iron with the speed and forgiveness of a hybrid. It’s not a driving iron; the Crossover is far more forgiving, higher launching and more versatile. An innovative cascading internal sole engages the entire face, sole and top rail in flexing to maximize distance. www.ping.com/clubs.
TaylorMade M2 Driver – Featured is a multi-material construction – featuring an ultra-thin, ultra-light and high-strength carbon composite crown – that unlocks breakthroughs in distance, playability, and feel for all golfers. The construction is highlighted by the proprietary 7-layer Carbon Composite Crown that is precision-formed and built ultra-thin, ultra-lite and high strength to maximize weight savings. This leads to a weight-loaded sole and move overall clubhead weight (and, thus, the center-of-gravity) lower for a more efficient power transfer; giving golfers more ball speed. www.taylormadegolf.com.
AT&T – “It Can Wait” – with Jordan Spieth
PGA Tour Superstores – “Just Another Sunday” – with Jason Day
Puma – “Done Yet?” – with Rickie Fowler