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Parlaying Passion Into a Golf Career | GOLFTEC

GOLFTEC CEO Joe Assell on Perseverance, Mentors and Building a Successful Golf Business

GOLFTEC was founded in 1995, but my first foray into the industry stretches back to childhood.

When I was 12 years old, a wonderful man named Leon McNair gave me a job helping in the pro shop at Fox Bend Golf Course in Oswego, Illinois. McNair was the club’s PGA Professional and beyond being my boss, he was my coach and mentor. Even though I was captivated by golf from an early age, I could never have guessed how profoundly the game would shape my life and career.

This business is filled with some of the smartest, kindest, most hard-working people I’ve ever met. It’s no surprise that most of us found our way into the industry because of our love for the game. However, simply loving golf isn’t enough to be successful here. My advice to any entrepreneur looking to parlay their passion into a career is they need a high level of grit and perseverance, along with good mentors to help guide and make introductions. Along my journey I’ve been helped by countless others, like McNair, who saw potential in what I was trying to accomplish and gave me a chance to prove how impactful GOLFTEC could be.

The origins of our company are humble. As with most things, GOLFTEC began as a simple concept. I was interning at Cherry Hills Country Club as part of the Mississippi State PGM Program and began hearing about early experiments using computers (a relatively new luxury) to help analyze a golfer’s swing. The technology was extremely rudimentary by today’s standards, but cutting-edge for the pre-internet 90s.

Myself and soon-to-be co-founders, Clayton Cole and Mike Clinton, recognized there was an opportunity to do something unique with this burgeoning approach and took a leap by opening the first GOLFTEC, originally known as Driving Obsession, in Denver. Another followed shortly after in Chicago and I allowed myself to daydream about someday opening as many as 10 GOLFTEC locations across the Midwest. Today, we operate more than 200 centers worldwide, teach more than one million lessons annually, are the largest employer of PGA Professionals and recently became the leader in premium club-fitting.

For the 57th time since 1929, historic Riviera Country Club hosts the biggest stars on the PGA TOUR for the 2019 Genesis Open.


The Story Behind Wayne Gretzky’s Red Scotty Cameron 'Gordie Howe' Putter

Even idols have idols. Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky, the leading scorer in NHL history, has a custom Gordie Howe-themed Scotty Cameron putter in his bag at the 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am; he calls the putter “one of the greatest things I’ve ever had in my life.” The late Gordie “Mr. Hockey” Howe -- who wore No. 9 -- is a hall-of-fame hockey player who played for the Detroit Red Wings for 25 years. Although Gretzky went onto break many of Howe’s records, Gretzky says, “I idolized and loved Gordie so much ... we were good friends.”

Gretzky says he received a Gordie Howe jersey for Christmas when he was 6-years old, and he “was a huge Red Wings fan growing up.” Now, Gretzky is playing with one of Howe’s putters.

As he tells the story, Gretzky was playing Sherwood Country Club in a fivesome two years ago when his group called a twosome playing behind his group to play-through. One of the “gentlemen” in the group was using a red putter. “I didn’t know it was Gordie’s putter, and I said ‘Gosh I love your putter,’” said Gretzky. The gentleman said, “Oh, it’s a Gordie Howe putter.” The next day, Gretzky says the gentleman sent him the putter.

After receiving the putter, however, Dustin Johnson -- his daughter Paulina’s fiancée, current Pebble Beach Pro-Am partner, and 19-time PGA TOUR winner -- said the putter was “a little bit light.” Johnson took the putter and said, “I’m going to make it a little bit heavier for you, that’d be better for you.”

Gretzky has been using the weight-adjusted putter for two years now, and by the way he speaks of the putter, it doesn’t sound like it’s coming out of the bag anytime soon.


Bridgestone Golf Encourages Consumers to “Try It Before They Buy It”

(COVINGTON, GA) – Bridgestone Golf – the #1 ball-fitter in golf, recently relaunched its popular Test Drive golf club demo program. Test Drive, originally introduced full-scale in 2015, provides a low cost, no-hassle way for consumers to experience Bridgestone Golf hard goods prior to purchasing them. Test Drive features brand new kits of demo equipment from Bridgestone’s popular TOUR B JGR line of clubs shipped directly to a golfer’s home, office or club for in-person, on-course, real world testing.

Through Test Drive, consumers choose a “kit” of demo equipment based on their shaft flex and loft preferences on the Test Drive website to ship to their desired location. Upon placement of the Test Drive order, Bridgestone Golf charges the debit or credit card provided immediately for $20.00 to cover the cost of shipping the demo clubs to the tester, as well as the cost of return shipping when the evaluation period has ended. In addition, Bridgestone Golf will place a pre-authorized hold on the card on file in the amount of the retail value of the demo clubs. This hold is not a current charge to a tester’s debit or credit card account, but serves as a precaution to guard against theft and damage. Testers have 21 days from receipt of equipment to return the demo clubs to Bridgestone before the hold amounts plus applicable sales tax are charged to their cards.

“Bridgestone’s clubs have garnered a cult-like following among serious golfers,” said Zack Kupperbusch, Golf Club Marketing Manager – Bridgestone Golf. “Our reputation for quality forgings and high-quality construction has made us a popular choice of better players, especially. That said, we have limited retail distribution where a niche audience of golfers have access to our clubs. Test Drive allows us broaden our reach and provide golfers throughout the lower 48 with the opportunity to demo our award-winning offerings at their convenience, anytime, anywhere.”

In the opening round of the 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Scott Langley and Brain Gay both carded 7-under 64’s at the Monterey Peninsula, tying them atop the leaderboard and one stroke clear of the field heading into Friday.


Who Won the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open? | People’s Champion

The 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open is in the books, and perennial contender and two-time runner up Rickie Fowler finally found his way to the winner’s circle at TPC Scottsdale. And with his gutsy performance today, Rickie Fowler becomes The People’s Champion. This is Fowler’s fifth win on the PGA TOUR and his first since the 2017 Honda Classic.

Fowler took a four-shot lead into Sunday’s final round but faced early adversity with a double bogey on the par-4 fifth followed by a triple bogey on the par-4 11th as a result of a rare and bizarre ruling. After chipping into the water on his third short, Fowler placed his ball on a severe slope, and due to the damp conditions from persistent rain showers, the ball once again rolled into the water. Once Fowler placed the ball, it was considered in play, and he was assessed a penalty stroke. He carded a seven on the 11th hole then bogeyed the 12th before finding two birdies on 15 and 17 to take a two-shot lead into the 18th. Fowler made par on the finishing hole to win by two strokes, shooting 17-under 267 for the tournament.

Be sure to stop by Waste Management in the Expo Tent at the Phoenix Open to enter the sweepstakes for Suite Tickets to the 16th Hole on Sunday!

Don’t forget to wear GREEN for Saturday’s #GREENOUT. For every fan, volunteer, service animal and – yes even players and caddies – who wear green, the tournament hosts Thunderbirds and title sponsor Waste Management will donate money to three deserving non-profit organizations with a sustainability focus.

Why the green? The Waste Management Phoenix Open is the largest zero-waste event in the world. The 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open recently received the highest international award for sustainability in golf for its efforts to balance environmental impacts, conserve natural resources and benefit the local community as Scotland-based GEO Foundation (GEO) again named the event as a “GEO Certified® Tournament.”

To become “GEO Certified®” the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the largest attended tournament on the PGA TOUR, completed a custom-built program for golf tournaments, that was both streamlined and robust, including: document and evidence submission, a third-party verification carried out by the Council for Responsible Sport (the official verification body for GEO Certified Tournaments in North America), a thorough review by GEO, and agreement to a range of Continual Improvement Points. In conjunction with the GEO announcement, Waste Management published the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open Sustainability Report with detailed metrics and program explanations.

Sustainability highlights from the 2018 tournament include: