EDITORIAL – GOLF ETIQUETTE AND HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS ON THE GOLF COURSE

What types of players are there that others don’t like playing golf with? First and foremost, anyone who behaves poorly is not likely to be the top choice of playing partners for other golfers. This doesn’t just extend to cursing, throwing clubs, etc., but also a golfer mainly talking about himself or herself throughout the round. Showing little interest in other people or subjects is a recipe for boorish behavior, too.

There’s a saying good company is more important than good golf, and that is certainly an accurate statement. It’s also relevant when conducting business on the golf course, because another saying is that you can tell more about a person in 18 holes of golf than you can in days or weeks of being in other settings. Our experience holds this to be true. Rare is the person who acts one way on the course and then another off the course. Does the person play with honor and respect of the rules and etiquette, or do they cheat and ignore basic courtesies? Even honest ignorance of the rules and etiquette is a problem because that person did not take the time to do due diligence in what is required in a golf course setting. And if they’re not prepared there, it’s likely they would not be prepared in a business setting, too.

Some of the strongest friendships and fruitful business partnerships have been forged on the golf course. And how we conduct ourselves and honor the game and our playing companions goes a long way in success or failure in these areas.

EDITORIAL – WHERE DO LIV GOLF AND PGA TOUR STAND NOW?

In June of 2023, the PGA Tour announced it had agreed to negotiations with Saudia Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) to collaborate with each other. For those of you who are unaware, the PIF is the funding arm of the LIV Golf Tour.

The news shocked many in the golf world, with Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee claiming it was one of the darkest days in golf history. For context, Chamblee is an ardent detractor of the LIV Tour due to its association with Saudi Arabia.

However, this past January, the PGA Tour and the Strategic Sports Group (SSG) announced a partnership in which the SSG would provide a private equity investment. According to Golfweek, “The program, which is a joint venture between the PGA Tour and Strategic Sports Group, will reward 200 PGA Tour players with $1.5 billion in equity. The program rewards players based on career achievements, future participation and services and more. The grants are only available to qualified players.” In other words, PGA Tour players will be awarded cash and other types of financial benefits for staying loyal to the PGA Tour and not joining LIV Golf.

Where the situation stands with the PGA Tour and the PIF (and by extension, LIV Golf) remains to be seen. Sources close to the situation say an agreement of some sorts is still planned, but now it’s simply a waiting game. One thing is certain, though: Every PGA Tour player should be grateful that LIV Golf emerged, because had it not, there is no doubt that the money now currently flooding PGA Tour players’ bank accounts would not have occurred.

EDITORIAL – THE USGTF MISSION IS CONTINUING: “LEADER IN THE FIELD OF GOLF INSTRUCTION”

When the USGTF and WGTF adopted the slogan “Leader in the field of golf instruction,” at the time it seemed a brash statement. After all, the PGA had been around much longer, and instruction was long associated with that organization.  

But a funny thing happened along the way. The USGTF continued to improve and update its certification program and more people interested solely in teaching – without the other attendant duties required of a club professional – sought out the USGTF to become educated in the art and science of teaching.  

Today, the USGTF has a more rigorous standard of earning certification than ever before. Due to the work of USGTF president Brandon Lee and National Office examiner Jerry Ellstrom, candidates receive the most up-to-date information and methodology in teaching.  

As the old saying goes, if you aren’t moving ahead you are falling behind, and the USGTF is certainly taking this to heart and enhancing its presence in the golf world. In addition to upgrading the certification process, the USGTF has committed to reaching out to younger candidates to further the long-term health of the organization. It is also committing to a marketing plan to continue and improve the USGTF’s visibility among the golfing public, all the better to serve its members.  

Thirty-five years after the founding of the USGTF, the organization, along with the WGTF, has become an incredible standard of excellence for the golfing public to rely on in terms of top-notch instruction from its members. This will only continue to increase, as the “leader in the field of golf instruction” maintains the highest standards and ethics possible continuing into the 21st century.

LOCATION, DATES ANNOUNCED FOR U.S. CUP



Painted Desert Golf Club in Las Vegas, Nevada, will host the 2024 United States Golf Teachers Cup on Monday and Tuesday, October 7-8. It marks the second consecutive year that the U.S. Cup returns to America’s capital city of fun and excitement. Registration is now open for the U.S. Cup and can be accessed at https://www.usgtf.com/uscup. 

The Luxor will once again serve as the recommended host hotel, and those interested in making early reservations can book at https://book.passkey.com/event/50719407/owner/4939/home. For more information on Painted Desert Golf Club, please visit https://painteddesertgc.com.

EDITORIAL – USGTF 35th ANNIVERSARY – MEMORIES, HISTORY AND FUTURE VISION

When the USGTF was founded in 1989, it was much-needed in filling a void in the golf instruction realm. Thirty-five years later, much of the promise of the USGTF has been fulfilled with bigger and better things in store in the future.

In the beginning, all USGTF classes and instruction were held in-person at a few locations nationwide. These gatherings routinely drew 40-50 candidates to each certification course, proving the USGTF was vital to the golf industry. As the computer age became an everyday reality, online learning supplemented in-person sessions in the form of earning Associate Member status.

CEO and president Brandon Lee’s vision for the future includes a more rigorous and involved certification program to keep up with the ever-growing body of knowledge needed to teach the game effectively, while at the same time making the program accessible to more people. A vital goal of the USGTF is to involve younger candidates to assure long-term growth and health of the organization. Since virtually everyone under the age of 30 has grown up knowing computers and artificial intelligence technology their wholes lives, programs tailored to their expectations are being developed to further the goal of federation health and growth. The 21st century certainly belongs to the USGTF and WGTF.

EDITORIAL – INTRODUCTION AND IMPLICATIONS OF THE NEW VIRTUAL GOLF LEAGUE BY TIGER WOODS & RORY MCLLROY


In August 2022, the formation of the TGL was announced in partnership with the PGA Tour. Tiger Woods’ and Rory McIlroy’s joint company would run the new virtual, indoor golf league, using a giant simulator and a real-grass putting green and chipping area. Six teams of PGA Tour players would compete in prime time at a specially built facility in South Florida with a capacity to seat 2,000 fans.

All that came crashing down – literally – this past fall when a power failure caused the inflatable roof and ceiling to collapse. As a result, the start of the new golf league has been pushed back to 2025.

TGL (what the initials stand for is unknown, but a good guess is Tiger Golf League) is attempting to take advantage of the ever-present technology encroaching on every aspect of modern life. It is also an attempt to appeal to the Topgolf crowd that may never set foot on an actual golf course but enjoys hitting balls with their friends in an exciting atmosphere. TGL certainly promises that.

The end result is anything new and exciting concerning golf is a good thing. And anything in golf with Woods’ involvement draws eyeballs. Whether the new league will survive long-term remains to be seen, but at present it seems like a refreshing new take on the old game.

EDITORIAL – RYDER CUP & PRESIDENTS CUP – THEIR DIFFERENCES AND THEIR STORY


The Presidents Cup competition between Team USA and the International squad (excluding Europe) started in 1994 as a way to get the game’s biggest international stars – most notably Greg Norman and Nick Price – into a team competition. Also, the Ryder Cup had, by this time, morphed from a ho-hum event that had little buzz to a must-see all-out war.

While the Ryder Cup is somewhat fairly evenly matched, Team USA has completely dominated Team International in the Presidents Cup. Various theories have been put forward as to why this is, but the most compelling is that Team International simply lacks the firepower that Team Europe has. Another important aspect is belief, and pro golfers are not immune from this. Simply put, Team Europe expects to win the Ryder Cup in Europe, and Team USA expects to win every time the Presidents Cup is contested.

Thirty years after the first playing of the Presidents Cup, it has nowhere the passion or interest that the Ryder Cup does. Will this ever change? Probably not soon. Team Europe in the Ryder Cup has a camaraderie and connection being from a common continent, while the International squad in the Presidents Cup hails from all over the globe with little in common. However, should Team International win a Presidents Cup or two, interest is sure to rise dramatically.

EDITORIAL – HOW CAN WE UNDERSTAND “GOLF GAME” FROM THE SCORE OF BRYSON DECHAMBEAU SHOOTS 58 ON 10TH LIV GOLF TOURNAMENT?

   
If you’re only a PGA Tour fan, you may have missed that Bryson DeChambeau shot a 58 at the Greenbrier in West Virginia to win his first title on the LIV Tour. In reviewing his round, it’s evident the skills he’s worked hard to develop paid off.  He famously turned himself into a legitimate long-drive competitor, last year finishing second in the world championship.  Two things stood out when looking at DeChambeau’s 58:  his balance when hitting the driver and how well he putted.
 
His superior balance allowed him to hit long, accurate drives, giving him a lot of short irons and wedges into the greens on the par-70 course. It also helped that the course was softened by rain, as he was able to fire his wedges into the greens like hitting a dartboard. He rolled the putter as well as it could be. DeChambeau remarked how hard he’s been working on his game, and it paid off in perhaps the greatest round of golf that he’ll ever shoot.
EDITORIAL – WHAT IS THE ANTICIPATED IMPACT ON FUTURE GOLF TOURNAMENT SINCE PGA TOUR AND LIV GOLF MERGER

EDITORIAL – WHAT IS THE ANTICIPATED IMPACT ON FUTURE GOLF TOURNAMENT SINCE PGA TOUR AND LIV GOLF MERGER

On June 6, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan and Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the governor of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), announced to the world that the PGA Tour, the DP World Tour and the PIF agreed to drop lawsuits against each other and work collaboratively for the good of the game.  What does this mean for the future of professional golf?
 
According to Sports Illustrated, “The PGA Tour would control the structure of golf moving forward – including whether PIF’s LIV Tour continues operations, and if so, in what form. The Tour has promised a ‘good-faith’ evaluation of LIV’s viability, though potential penalties for LIV players who apply for PGA Tour reinstatement have already been discussed. The parties have set a deadline of the end of 2023 to reach a deal, and that condensed timeline means that 2024 could be a transition year for the sport. The PGA Tour, DP World Tour and LIV Tour’s assets would all go into a separate company, of which the Tour would have controlling interest. PIF would then be an investor in that company with the right of first refusal for future investments.”
 
Reading into this, it sounds like LIV may or may not exist going forward, and if it does still exist, it’s not likely to be in its present form.  LIV’s current business model includes selling its teams as franchises, and at this point in time there doesn’t seem to be much interest.  It’s no secret the Saudis want to get into professional golf as a major player, and at the moment, LIV just isn’t resonating enough.
 
Going forward and based on what Sports Illustrated reported, since the PGA Tour has assets in professional golf far and above what the Saudis have, it looks like the PIF will provide funding in return for a chance at greater returns in professional golf in the future.  This may include having PGA Tour events in Saudi Arabia, for example.  But the Saudis have made it clear this is a business venture, not a charity, and they expect a good return on their investment.  Time will tell how exactly this will happen.  And part of that certainly will include welcoming back LIV players to the PGA and DP Tours.  
EDITORIAL – THE MEANING OF MICHAEL BLOCK’S PGA PERFORMANCE

EDITORIAL – THE MEANING OF MICHAEL BLOCK’S PGA PERFORMANCE

Prior to the PGA Championship, the only people in golf who knew the name Michael Block were the members and clientele of the course where he works, Arroyo Trabuco in Mission Viejo, California, his fellow PGA section members, and golf geeks. After his performance in the PGA Championship, every golf fan knows his name.

For three days, Block mesmerized the golfing world as he shot even-par each day to land a spot in the top 10 entering the final round, where he would be paired with Rory McIlroy. Block’s dream week continued when he aced the par-3 15th hole, sending everyone into a frenzy, and even received a hug from McIlroy. He finished in a tie for 15th place and secured a place in next year’s PGA Championship.

Block’s epic performance has several meanings, one of which is the seemingly impossible (or at least improbable) may not be so impossible, after all. Although Block somewhat downplayed his accomplishment by saying this is how he normally plays when his mind is free (calling it “Blocky golf”), what he did is remarkable. It also means that those of us who teach golf for a living can really play the game at a level that commands respect from our students – although perhaps not to Block’s ability, but the point stands. It also means that someone with a dream can really accomplish that dream if he or she puts in the blood, sweat and tears necessary. Finally, and perhaps most important, Block conducted himself in such a classy manner that showed you can still have success and be respectful and gracious. It’s a lesson that some athletes and other successful people should take to heart.