Dozens of nominations from across the golf industry have been trimmed to three nominees in each category in the 26th 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 11 categories are decided by a vote of the ING membership and announced at the Industry Honors Presentation Press Conference January 23, 2020 at 12:30 p.m. at the PGA Merchandise Show in ClubING, Room 312. 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 30th Anniversary ING Spring Conference May 31-June 3, 2020 at the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, PA. 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. 22-24. ClubING (Room 312-A/B) will be open all day for members and their guests, with morning coffee, cocktail parties with celebrity guests, presentations and prizes.
For more information regarding ING, call 407-404-474-0531 or visit www.inggof.com.
ING INDUSTRY HONORS FINAL BALLOT 2019
Eric Andersen, Executive Chairman, Topgolf Entertainment Group — Anderson is Founder and CEO of WestRiver Group, a collaboration of leading investment firms providing capital solutions to the global innovation economy, and the primary investor in Topgolf Entertainment Group. Topgolf has connected nearly 100 million fans around the globe through the experiences it creates and the innovation it champions. Topgolf has opened nearly 60 venues, revolutionized the way people view golf on TV with Toptracer technology, introduced Toptracer Range in 25 countries, and expanded the digital Topgolf experience through Swing Suites, an e-sports gaming collection and Topgolf Studios original content. Anderson is a recipient of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
Nick Sherburne, Founder and Joe Lee, CEO , Club Champion — In just three years, Club Champion has grown from a regional seven-studio fitting business to a trusted clubfitting expert with over 70 locations nationwide. The partnership of Sherburne and Lee helped take the premium clubfitter from a Chicagoland staple to a flourishing brand, using Nick’s golf passion and knowledge, and Joe’s business acumen and belief in Nick’s process. They have created a proven fitting model that works for every golfer, no matter their skill level. They’ve helped make the best brands and latest technology accessible to anyone with a desire to improve their game.
John K. Solheim, President, Karsten Manufacturing/PING Golf — John K. Solheim is the oldest son of PING chairman and CEO John A. Solheim, and grandson of company founder Karsten Solheim. Since the company’s inception in 1959, PING has been a family-run business. John K, as he is known in the company, served as executive vice president for two years after a four-year stint as president of PING Golf Japan. Prior to that, he oversaw the company’s new product development as VP of engineering. Solheim oversees the day-to-day activities of the company, including all functions related to product development, supply chain management, production and sales/marketing. The Solheims are strong leaders promoting U.S. manufacturing.
Latina Golfers Association
What started as a love for golf in 2008 by then novice golfer, Azucena Maldonado, turned into a movement in Southern California to empower girls and women through golf by teaching them how to leverage golf as a business tool and a fairway to a higher education. More than 2,000 women have gone through the Latina Golfers Association’s programs that teach women the fundamentals of golf, scoring, golf etiquette, pace of play and how to participate in business golf outings and charity tournaments. The LGA conducts Mother/Daughter golf clinics and provides free summer golf lessons and a high school golf team mentorship program that exposes girls from Los Angeles’ inner city schools to positive Latina golfer role models.
Mistwood Golf Club, Chicago, IL
Mistwood has one of the largest junior golf programs in the Chicago area, and one that focuses on competitive player development with their Competitive Golf Program and Committed Athlete Program. Over the past three years, Mistwood has had over 500 kids go through PGA Junior League, Competitive Golf Program (ages 7-15), as well as Committed Athlete Program (elite high school players). The club normally sees anywhere from 50-75% of graduating players from CAP playing in college. Over 125 juniors from CAP are playing or have played college golf. Notably, Mistwood has had at least 15 players excel at major NCAA Division 1 schools amongst those 125 players.
U.S. Adaptive Golf Alliance
The USAGA, under the direction of Founder/Chairman Edmund “EQ” Sylvester, is the only organization that provides competitive pathways for the disabled in golf. USAGA provides adaptive instruction (methods and practices), “on the course” experience and activities, and national and international championship competitions. In 2019, its 37-member adaptive golf organizations provided adaptive golf to 40,000+ individuals across the country, of which 24% are wounded veterans. Many of these players say golf saved his/her life. USAGA is the only organization to hold 3 world disabled golf events in our country (2016, 2018 and 2019). Future USAGA events include the International Paragolf Exhibition in Japan, the USAGA INTERNAIONAL in Dallas and adaptive golf clinics at various PGA Tour events.
Print Advertising – Products & Services
Odyssey – “Odyssey is 14/14 at majors”
Ogio – “47 Recycled Plastic Bottles”
Tour Edge – “Warning”
Print Advertising – Travel & Real Estate
Big Cedar Golf – “Ozarks National #8”
Casa Del Campo – “Once Is Not Enough”
TPC Vacations – “Not Your Ordinary Golf Getaways
Bridgestone Golf – “Tour B Split Screen” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmFNNYU1pO0
Farmers Insurance – “Sand Trap Scavengers” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDEZ0yygbk0
Supreme Golf – “Bad Move” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ar8nkoNocbg
Product Ingenuity Equipment – Emerging Companies
Envroll Putter – Founded by Guerin Rife, Envroll putters are designed with two small, unpainted dots on the top line of the putter 1/8″ to either side of the center cavity sightline. This gives the golfer a subtle alignment reference for consistent lie angle positioning. The dots also assist the golfer on aligning breaking putts. Align the ball in front of the toe-side dot for right-to-left putts and the heel-side dot for left-to-right putts. Envroll putters are milled to two different head weights and different weight grips to dial-in a consistent swing weight for each length.
New Ground Golf Long Irons – NGG designs and manufactures long irons for those players who prefer an iron to a wood, regardless of handicap. These are arguably the most beautiful long irons ever made as well as the easiest to use. The irons have thin faces that produce high ball speed and a soft satisfying feel at impact. The extremely low and deep center of gravity creates a high launch, and the innovative sole design combined with a long hozel produce a stabile platform to shape shots from any turf conditions. Enjoy the feel and control you get from New Ground Golf.
Snell Golf MTB-X Golf Ball – The NEW MTB-X features an updated 3-piece construction to further improve performance and feedback on all shots. Composed of a thicker mantle layer and smaller core the MTB-X will offer you a firmer feel and more spin control on mid-irons and approach shots. All while decreasing spin and increasing distance off the driver. The soft cast urethane cover technology provides soft feel on short irons and around the green. MTB-X received numerous accolades in 2019 including being names #1 ball in distance and #1 in value from MyGolfSpy.com golf ball test.
Product Ingenuity Equipment – Market Leaders
Callaway Epic Flash Driver – This driver employs Flash Face Technology, created by Artificial Intelligence, to help golfers get more ball speed for more distance. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning were used to create a radically different face design. Internal Jailbreak bars stiffen and stabilize the crown and sole, placing more impact load on the face. A lighter triaxial carbon fabric called T2C has a tighter weave; the weight it saves is redistributed within the head to raise MOI for exceptional forgiveness on off-center hits.
Cleveland RTX 4 Wedge – Played as a prototype for a year by its tour staff, this is Cleveland’s most complete “players” wedge ever. First, the three-tiered milling process for the grooves and surface roughness has resulted in sharper edges. There’s also a new fourth sole grind (XLOW) designed for shallow attack angles, extreme tight lies and flop shots. The tour input also led to a more compact shape, and the shape of the lower lofts blends perfectly into your shorter irons.
PING Sigma 2 Putter – Ping believes most golfers use a putter that’s ill-suited for their stroke—a 35-inch model isn’t always the appropriate length. That’s why a hidden mechanism inside the grip on these putters allows you to adjust the length from 32 to 36 inches. No need to get the shaft cut down and the putter re-gripped. The 11-model Sigma 2 family is designed for the golfer who prefers a putter on the softer side of the spectrum with the lively response of a firm face.
Product Ingenuity – Misc. Products
Finn Cycle – The Finn Cycle by Sun Mountain is an electric, bag-toting scooter with a motorcycle look that’s fun to ride and allows you to get in 18 before breakfast. It tops out at about 15 MPH with a lithium battery that lasts for more than two rounds. The single-rider design Finn Cycle can help players get around swiftly by encouraging ready golf. When you are able to go directly to your own ball instead of detouring to your cart mate’s, your round will naturally be faster. The Finn Cycle has both front and rear suspension to ensure a comfortable ride. A hydraulic disc brake brings you to an easy stop.
Golf Skate Caddy – Golf Skate Caddy, the leading manufacturer in single rider golf carts, launched its newest model, GSC V3, at the 2019 PGA Merchandise Show. The V3 has a number of features and improvements, including variable speed and braking system, a wide high-traction platform, stability pole and adaptive suspension for balance and control. For personal use, the V3 collapses easily and fits in most large vehicles, SUVs and trucks. The GSC is gentler on the course, quieter than a traditional golf cart, more decadently decked out than most cars, and easy to drive. It promotes faster rounds and adds a fun element to the round.
KT Tape – This is an elastic sports tape designed to relieve pain while supporting muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When an area of the body is injured, the lymphatic fluid builds up causing inflammation and increased pressure on muscles and tissues. KT Tape lifts the skin, decompressing the layers of fascia, allowing for greater movement of lymphatic fluid that transports white blood cells throughout the body promoting healing while supporting the muscles. The cotton and synthetic materials create unidirectional elasticity, which allows the athletic tape to stretch in length but not in width. As a result, the elastic fibers provide stable support without restricting range of motion.
Product Ingenuity – Soft Goods/Accessories
Athalonz Golf Shoes – The patented Optimum Athletic Position technology aligns your body from the ground up so that your kinetic chain functions efficiently, enabling you to maximize your athletic performance. OAP leverages the laws of physics to shift the way the feet engage the ground. The medial side of the forefoot “sinks” into the ground shifting knees inward. This creates a power triangle and eliminates potential sway. Thus golfers have increased stability generating 9% or more power. Bernhard Langer has made the switch to Athalonz.
Daphne’s Headcovers – Daphne, the company’s namesake, founded the animal headcover business 40 years ago in Phoenix, AZ with her daughter and current CEO, Jane Spicer. Daphne’s Headcovers are sold in more than 75 countries with over 175 designs to choose from. More than 200 tour pros carry Daphne’s headcovers – admired for their sense of fun, quality and personality. Daphne continues to innovate and introduced a talking David Feherty likeness at a recent 2017 PGA Show in Orlando and the infamous Frank that has been on Tiger Woods bag for his entire career.
Dunning Golf – Company founder Ralph Dunning is a performance sportswear pioneer and has been engineering fabric with a distinctly modern aesthetic for over 30 years. In 2001, while he was building a premier cycling apparel brand, he became curious as to why such a versatile performance fabric was missing from the golf industry. The result? A brand-new category of world-class golf apparel inspired by fit, playability, and the goal to become the most technical player specific apparel company in golf. Current French Open champion Nicolas Colsaerts is among pro tour players wearing the Dunning brand.
Product Ingenuity – Technology
Game Golf Digital Shot Tracking System – This system tracks your round of golf from tee to green. It gives you real stats on everything from fairway accuracy, GIR, putts per hole and much more. The system consists of two parts – the Game Golf GPS tracking device you wear on your belt, and tags you attach at the end of the clubs. Before every swing, you touch the belt gadget with the club and you are good to go. After the round you sync the data to a computer to see the detailed statistics.
LiveView Golf – LiveView’s Digital Swing Mirror (DSM) technology provides instant visual feedback just like a real mirror to match your body movements. This feedback links the visual and physical movements to create accurate kinesthetic feedback for dramatically accelerated learning. LiveView’s DSM™ can automatically record every swing during your practice session. Better than a mirror, Live View Golf can be placed anywhere to monitor your swing from any angle. Live View has been selected three years in a row for best video camera by Golf Digest.
Rapsodo Mobile Launch Monitor – Rapsodo, the creator and manufacturer of the SkyTrak launch monitor, has created the world’s first device that turns your iOS mobile phone or tablet into a swing analyzer. The Mobile Launch Monitor acts as a personal coach to enhance performance, while also providing a fun, interactive way to enjoy your day at the course or driving range. Dial up the competition with interactive games like Long Drive and Closest to the Pin. Professional-level launch data is all-inclusive. The Mobile Launch Monitor includes video swing playback with shot tracer technology and instant social sharing.
Product Ingenuity – Training Products
B1 Blue Strike – This training aid, endorsed by Hank Haney, corrects flipping at point of contact, making sure the hands are positioned ahead of the clubhead at impact. The B1 Blue Strike also teaches you to “lag” the club for maximum distance while honing your timing. The Impact Bow is a thin, flexible cable looping from the top of the shaft to the top of the grip. Just keep it touching your left wrist through the hitting area until you reach waist-high in the follow-through, and you’ll know you’ve released the club properly. The Anti-Flip Compression Sole reinforces the hands-ahead position by making you pay for flipping.
PuttOUT – With a scientifically shaped parabolic ramp, each made putt is returned to the player the same distance it would have gone past the hole had it missed, anything else is a miss. With the white disc at the base of the ramp replicating the size of a regulation golf hole, anything that rolls over the disc and up the ramp, returning back to the player is a made putt. Only putts of absolute perfection will hold in the micro-target, so let the practice begin. Using a folding design, PuttOUT can be used virtually anywhere.
Total Golf Trainer – This line of products are designed to provide instant feedback for golfers of all skill levels to help lower scores and improve the overall golf swing. The Total Golf Trainer 3.0 Kit is an all in one training kit that addresses: Incorrect Wrist Set; Extreme open or closed club face; Sucking the club inside on the takeaway; Too laid off or across the line at top of the backswing; Loss of width, tendency to over swing; Over the top downswing move; Casting or early release of the club on the downswing; Loss of posture, early extension at impact; Flipping or Scooping. TGT is all you need to Learn Your Process & Own Your Swing.
My full-time job has always been in the IT world, but I’ve also spent the better part of a decade writing product reviews and helping cover large industry-only trade shows. It was only in the latter part of 2019 that I put two and two together and realized I should be doing the same thing for something I’ve loved my whole life — golf. This is the culmination of a hobby that started as a child, a hobby that turned into a passion as an adult, and finally a passion that turned into The Golden Ferret.