The First Tee Comes Home to TPC Sawgrass!

TPC Sawgrass, everyone knows, is the ‘Home of THE PLAYERS Championship.’

TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse

Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass is all decked out for Military Tribute and Web.com Championship!

The crown jewel of the TPC network is also home to the PGA TOUR. Within a quarter mile of the Clubhouse, in the opposite direction, of the famed island 17th green, is the east and west corporate headquarters buildings of the world’s premium golf tour. On the corner of Championship Way and PGA TOUR Boulevard, is the portrait of three-time PLAYERS champion Jack Nicklaus. A chip shot away is the office of Tim Finchem, the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR.

For the first time, the eighth annual ‘Taste of Golf,’ benefiting The First Tee of North Florida, was held at the Clubhouse during the Web.com Tour Championship. The event marked a symbolic homecoming, in the sense that The First Tee has now matured to the age of ‘Sweet 16.’ Commissioner Tim Finchem and President George H. W. Bush, No. 41, kicked off The First Tee in New York City’s Central Park in November 1997. President George W. Bush, No. 43, took over for his father as Honorary Chairman in 2011. The First Tee was established through the World Golf Foundation and its founding members—the USGA, LPGA, Masters Tournament, PGA of America and the PGA TOUR.

As a sign of the times for the expanding organization, Joe Louis Barrow, Jr., Chief Executive Officer of The First Tee, was not present at the major fundraising event for the flagship North Florida chapter. Instead, he was at the Nature Valley First Tee Open at Pebble Beach, a Champions Tour event that pairs a junior with a professional and they compete together as a team.

Kirk Triplett and Michelle Xie win the 2013 Nature Valley First Tee Open.

Kirk Triplett and Michelle Xie win the 2013 Nature Valley First Tee Open.

This year was another ‘Cinderella Story’ at Pebble Beach with Michelle Xie, from the First Tee of Silicon Valley, playing Cinderella instead of Bill Murray. Kirk Triplett, who won the individual pro tournament, also won the Pro-Junior with Michelle, a 15-year old junior at Palo Alto High School. Two years ago, D.A. Points teamed up with the lovable Carl Spackler, to capture the same double win in the AT&T National Pro-Am.

Over 700 juniors from across the United States have had the incredible experience of playing Pebble Beach with a professional golfer in a golfing competition. The real impact of the First Tee program, is the program—the Code of Conduct, the Nine Core Values and the Nine Healthy Habits. By 2011, the dynamic and proven youth development program had reached over 7 million kids. At that time, the primary goal of the supporting organization was supercharged to reach another 10 million kids by 2017. The First Tee has fully come of age.

To the credit of the coaches and program leaders, the First tee of North Florida quietly communicates a 100% success rate. All of the Jacksonville area kids who have come through the First Tee graduate from high school and go on to college, with an academic or golf scholarship. The program is making a meaningful impact on young people and our communities. The First Tee is the best investment for your charitable dollars.

Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass was transformed into an art gallery for the 'Taste of Golf.'

Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass was transformed into an art gallery for the ‘Taste of Golf.’

The Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass was transformed into an art gallery with many nationally recognized artists participating, with a portion of their sales going directly to The First Tee. ‘Taste of Golf’ Chairwoman Milan Moore and Jen Jones, Executive Director of Jacksonville’s Unity Plaza, recruited Keith Doles, Ted Johnson, Robert Leedy, Peter Blunt, Randy Pitts, Gordon Meggison, Marilyn Antram, Paul Ladiner, Barbara Quigley, Heather Blanton, Will Dickey and Suzanne McCourt, the Lady Artist from Pebble Beach. Suzanne, the neo-realism painter of golf’s historic moments, became the first woman to create the artwork for the Pebble Beach Pro-Am program in 2010.

Remember the night was entitled “A Taste of Golf.” The food delicacies, presented for consumption by the guests, included Shrimp Scampi Dijonnaise (Executive Chef Gary McKinsey, Deerwood CC); Nabchego-Stuffed Duck Meatball (Executive Chef Kira Lewis, Hidden Hills CC); Salmon in Two Preparations (Executive Chef Jason Hall, Certified Master Chef, Hammock Dunes); Beer Braised Pork Cheeks (Executive Chef Michael Ramsay, Jacksonville Golf & CC); Jumbo Lump Crab Tamales (Executive Chef Jerry Snider, San Jose CC); Duroc Pork Belly & Sweet Pea Sea Scallop (Executive Chefs Dan Webber and Marvin McClelland, Sawgrass CC); Grilled Wagyu Beef (Executive Chef LJ Coussin, TPC Sawgrass) and Sweet Potato Gnocchi (Executive Chef Brent Lynch, World Golf Village).

Amazing signs by Tory Eulenfeld of the National Golf Course Restaurant Association (NGCRA)

Amazing signs by Tory Eulenfeld of the National Golf Course Restaurant Association (NGCRA)

For dessert there were a Trilogy of Truffles, Mint Meringue, Chocolate Crunch Macaron and a Chocolate Blood Orange Hazelnut Shooter (Executive Pastry Chef Caitlin Schneider-Frantz, Jacksonville Golf & CC and Chef Nils Rowland, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club).

The festival night at the Clubhouse was memorable, with a lot of dignities including Mr. & Mrs. ‘59’ Jim and Tabitha Furyk, Amanda Balionis and Cole Pepper. There were several auctions and a significant portion of the chapter’s annual budget was raised.

Even more enduring is a trip to the Brentwood Course at the First Tee of North Florida facility. This is the same ground upon which Sam Snead won two of his record 82 PGA TOUR victories in the first two Jacksonville Opens. Brentwood is open to the public. With grass practice tees, inexpensive green fees, along with encouragement to walk, it is an ideal golfing facility.

As good as the golfing opportunity is, the chance to meet and play with the kids is even better. While the First Tee is all about the future, playing Brentwood gives older golfers the ability to reminisce and play like a kid again. One can’t help but notice, and reflect upon, the bridge over the railroad tracks heading to the second tee. Sports and education integrate and lift communities and the same is true at the First Tee of North Florida. These kids are going to go in any direction they so choose. The First Tee gives them that choice.

To donate to The First Tee, CLICK this link, and select ‘Journey to Olympic Golf’ from the drop-down menu for the question, ‘What inspired you to make a gift today.’ The goal of Golf Writer Andy Reistetter’s ‘Journey to Olympic Golf’ is to raise $100,000 for The First Tee.

Kids teeing off No. 6 at Brentwood.

Kids teeing off No. 6 at Brentwood. You could be golfing with them!

Please Make a Gift to The First Tee Today!

Please Make a Gift to The First Tee Today!

Our fun fivesome at Brentwood!

Our fun fivesome at Brentwood!

While there are a few personal reasons to explain why I am embarking on this “Journey to Olympic Golf,” there are many reasons I want to raise $100,000 for The First Tee.

It’s cliché to say I want to give back some of which has been given to me but the reality is that golf continues to give me something each day. It has been six years now that I have started over pursuing a second career in golf and it has been a marvelous journey. The people I have met along the way and the experiences I have shared with them have been great. I see the same good things happening to me during this upcoming road trip to Rio de Janeiro.

In a way golf has always been my life even before I made my life golf. My earliest childhood memory when I was around three years old was hitting golf balls out of snow bunkers with my dad. It was in early spring near where I grew up in Binghamton, New York. I remember my older brother Larry giving me Ben Hogan’s Five Lessons book. More importantly he inscribed it with the following words—“golf is a lot like life, the more you learn and understand about the game, the easier it is to meet its challenge.” I guess I have taken these words to heart.

Ely Park Municipal Golf Course overlooking Binghamton, New York

Ely Park Municipal Golf Course overlooking Binghamton, New York

To me golf is exactly like life. You have good days and bad days. Some good days you know why they are a good day. Some bad days you don’t have a clue as to why it is a bad day. But you learn to deal with it and try to make every day a good day no matter what. Something makes you want to go on and eventually you enjoy the challenge. You get the fact that it is truly a privilege and an honor to be alive and that nothing is ever to be taken for granted.

I was fortunate that my father brought me into the game of golf at an early age. He came to the game out of necessity, being the son of a dirt poor coal miner. As a caddie at Scranton CC he learned some things that made him successful in life as a husband, a father, a city fireman and a competitive amateur golfer. He was someone who truly loved life. Most importantly he passed along his love of life and the game of golf to me. Times when we walked the fairways and played Ely Park Municipal Course were some of our best times together and some of the best times of my life.

I was lucky in life and that is where the First Tee comes into play. Everyone deserves to be as lucky as I was. Everyone deserves to be introduced to this great game of golf. I recently visited the First Tee of North Florida at their Brentwood facility. While there I had the chance to see firsthand how much more there is to the First Tee than golf. These kids are learning some great life skills, some of which have taken me a lifetime to learn.

Andy Reistetter with Matt Moscinski, Director of Programming at the First Tee of North Florida. Matching shirts a coincidence!

Andy Reistetter with Matt Moscinski, Director of Programming at the First Tee of North Florida. Matching shirts a coincidence!

To the credit of the coaches and program leaders, 100% of the Jacksonville area kids who have come through the First Tee graduate high school and not only have gone on to college but have done so with an academic or golf scholarship. The program is making a meaningful impact on young people and our communities. That is why I am asking you to make a gift to the First Tee. Please give what you can. Whether a few dollars or many dollars it will make a difference.

Attending the recent First Tee of North Florida “Taste of Golf” fundraiser at the Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass impacted me greatly. Along with the HEAL Foundation event and last week’s Web.com Tour Championship I am completely convinced that golf is the greatest game ever and more so because of what happens outside the ropes. Let me share a few thoughts with you and then let you go to click away at your computer to make that First Tee donation.

Please Make a Gift to The First Tee Today!

Hosting the First Tee event during the Web.com tournament at the Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass which is the home headquarters of the PGA TOUR had a special significance. Commissioner Finchem and President Bush No. 41 had kicked off the First Tee in New York City’s Central Park in November 1997. The First Tee was established through the World Golf Foundation and its founding members—the USGA, LPGA, Masters Tournament, PGA of America and the PGA TOUR.

Suzanne McCourt, the Lady Artist from Pebble Beach with Tabitha & Jim Furyk. Note the 'Little Girl in the Red Dress' painting.

Suzanne McCourt, the Lady Artist from Pebble Beach with Tabitha & Jim Furyk. Note the ‘Little Girl in the Red Dress’ painting.

While the First Tee Open was being played at Pebble Beach, the event at TPC Sawgrass was sort of a combined Sweet 16 birthday and coming out party. Like the young adult who comes home to thank the parents and grab the car keys, the First Tee is on its way to make an impact in the world. They have reached 7.6 million young people since 1976 and want to touch the lives of an addition 10 million kids by 2017. The First Tee has fully come of age.

Another realization that night was how much people in golf want to reach out to other people and do something good together. Sort of like that playing partner you met on the first tee that helps you find your ball in the woods. Then gives you just the right golf tip at the right time. Along the lines of “you might want to try doing this.” People in golf wan to meet you, network with you and rally around good charitable causes.

While at Pebble Beach for the 2012 Pro-Am I saw two women carrying a rather large painting of Tiger Woods into the Golf Links to the Past shop. I immediately became curious since that year marked Tiger’s first appearance there in 10 years. Well, one woman was, who I now refer to as “The Lady Artist from Pebble Beach,” Suzanne McCourt and the other women her manager Rohana Loschivo. They extended an invitation to lunch in the Stillwater Grill in the Lodge and the rest is history.

Pebble Beach Pro-Am Cover by Suzanne McCourt depicting champion golfer Tiger Woods and celebrating the 25th anniversary AT&T's sponsorship.

Pebble Beach Pro-Am Cover by Suzanne McCourt depicting champion golfer Tiger Woods and celebrating the 25th anniversary AT&T’s sponsorship.

Suzanne, the first woman artist to paint the cover of the program for the Pro-Am in 2010, has travelled eastward to Ponte Vedra Beach twice this year. In May, at the World Golf Hall of Fame Induction, she presented the Venturi family a painting of their at-the-time recently deceased father Ken. Her neo-realism-golf-artwork captured Venturi’s iconic U.S. Open win at Congressional and tells the story of his golfing career. Suzanne’s father, who died when she was 16 years old, was a contemporary of Venturi’s but stayed an amateur playing in Crosby Pro-Ams and The Masters. Golf, like life, is a vehicle for making connections where they mean the most.

The Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass was transformed into an art gallery on the second floor and many local artists joined Suzanne in toasting the First Tee of North Florida fundraiser. Jen Jones, the force behind Jacksonville’s Unity Plaza, which will open in 2014, along with ‘Taste of Golf’ Chairwoman Milan Moore recruited Keith Doles, Ted Johnson, Robert Leedy, Peter Blunt, Randy Pitts, Gordon Meggison, Marilyn Antram, Paul Ladiner, Barbara Quigley, Heather Blanton, and Will Dickey, who painted the night away with ‘the little girl in the red dress’ just outside the VIP room.

Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass was transformed into an art gallery for the 'Taste of Golf.'

Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass was transformed into an art gallery for the ‘Taste of Golf.’

But remember the night was entitled “A Taste of Golf” and let me tell you that, this being the 8th annual, they have it dialed in, the food was awesome. The delicacies included Shrimp Scampi Dijonnaise (Executive Chef Gary McKinsey, Deerwood CC), Nabchego-Stuffed Duck Meatball (Executive Chef Kira Lewis, Hidden Hills CC), Salmon in Two Preparations (Executive Chef Jason Hall, Certified Master Chef, Hammock Dunes), Beer Braised Pork Cheeks (Executive Chef Michael Ramsay, Jacksonville Golf & CC), Jumbo Lump Crab Tamales (Executive Chef Jerry Snider, San Jose CC), Duroc Pork Belly & Sweet Pea Sea Scallop (Executive Chefs Dan Webber and Marvin McClelland, Sawgrass CC), Grilled Wagyu Beef (Executive Chef LJ Coussin, TPC Sawgrass), Sweet Potato Gnocchi (Executive Chef Brent Lynch, World Golf Village). For dessert there were a Trilogy of Truffles, Mint Meringue, Chocolate Crunch Macaron and a Chocolate Blood Orange Hazelnut Shooter (Executive Pastry Chef Caitlin Schneider-Frantz, Jacksonville Golf & CC and Chef Nils Rowland, Ponte Vedra Inn & Club).

While the festival night at the Clubhouse was memorable with a lot of dignities including Mr. & Mrs. ‘59’ Jim and Tabitha Furyk, Amanda Balionis and Cole Pepper what I remember is going out to Brentwood meeting some coaches and kids and playing nice holes on a good golf course. Sam Snead won the first two Jacksonville Opens, a PGA TOUR stop starting in 1945, on the same ground as the kids walk today though only the sixth hole remains from the original Donald Ross masterpiece. As good as the course is the kids are better.

Perhaps there are a couple misconceptions that I would like to clear up about the First Tee. First of all it is not only for the underprivileged or minorities. I think I passed most of the cars I saw in the packed full parking lot on the way to the course from the beach. I mean that passed me. In reality the First Tee goes on the road to suburban locations all the time. It is as diverse as our population.

Bridge over RR tracks at Brentwood golf course.

Bridge over RR tracks at Brentwood golf course.

The second thing you should know particularly about the Brentwood golf course is that it is open to the public. With grass practice tees, inexpensive green fees ($11 on holiday & weekends) and encouragement to walk it is an ideal golfing facility. I put it right up there with that little hidden gem at the UNF campus—the John Hyat Golfplex. Go see Brentwood’s PGA of America Golf Professional John Grzybek and go play!

I knew I was home the minute I pulled into the parking lot. There was lots of activity— parents dropping kids off, small groups of kids around the putting green and practice tee and golfers teeing off No. 1. I knew why it felt like home after teeing off with Coach Tony, Blair, Charles and Chase walking and playing the first hole.

To get to the second hole you walk up a bit of a rise past the 6th tee and cross over a set of RR tracks on a bridge. I took me home to Florence Street in Binghamton where it wasn’t so easy to cross the tracks separating the First Ward and the Westside. Sports and education integrated and lifted the community I grew up in. Same thing for the First Tee of North Florida. I paused on the bridge to consider which way the trains are going for these kids and quickly realized that they are going in any direction they so choose!

Please Make a Gift to The First Tee Today!

Thank You!!!

 

Note my baby M30 now has a First Tee license plate for our 'Journey to Olympic Golf.'

Note my baby M30 now has a First Tee license plate for our ‘Journey to Olympic Golf.’

Donate to First Tee, Win a Set of Hickories!

These beauties can be yours! Donate and enter raffle by Thursday, October 10th.

These beauties can be yours! Donate and enter raffle by Thursday, October 10th.

This beautiful set of hickory-shafted clubs can be yours! One week left to enter the raffle. Make a gift to The First Tee and you are IN! Winner randomly picked and clubs shipped next Friday, Oct 11th morning before I leave for Atlanta & St, Louis to begin JTOG! C’mon now is the time! Plus I want 100 people with me when I tee-off at Glen Echo CC on the 15th! Is that asking too much? So far the First Tee has gifts from $20 to $1,000, any amount is awesome. Please make yours today! Good luck & good golfing with these beauties! (They are authentic, professionally restored and playable!

Select Journey to Olympic Golf from the drop-down menu to the question “What inspired you to make a gift today?”
Send me the ‘Thank You’ email and you will be entered into the raffle.

All the money, 100% goes to The First Tee!

img28369img28370img28371set-of-hickories-for-raffle

TPC Sawgrass HEALS Autism

All eyes are on the golfers as they walk from the 16th green to the 17th tee at the Stadium in Golf at TPC Sawgrass

All eyes are on the golfers as they walk from the 16th green to the 17th tee at the Stadium in Golf at TPC Sawgrass

You are a professional golfer, one of the greatest golfers in the world, competing on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass for the right to be called THE PLAYERS Champion.

It is Sunday afternoon late in the final round. You have just survived the first of the last three holes which are named The Gauntlet. Water-infested and daunting you know they will determine your fate. You are prepared and ready for the biggest challenge of your life.

While laboring to take that long walk along the water from the 16th green to the 17th tee success is the only thing on your mind. Arriving at the tee the biggest moment of your golfing career is now here. There is only 137 yards separating your teed golf ball and the hole which is located down a slope on the back right portion of the island green.

What will you deliver?

The flag of the victor flies above Champions Circle.

The flag of the victor flies above Champions Circle.

This is golfing drama. No doubt the television folks are flashing back to the fate of Len Mattiace in 1998, Sean O’Hair in 2007 and Paul Goydos in 2008. All three came to the same place in golfing time confident in their ability and the outcome they so desperately desired. Committed to their process each hit their tee shot in the water. That day they failed to become a PLAYERS Champion. How will that experience impact them longer term?

Some say golf is a lot like life or that even life is a lot like golf.

Parents of autistic children know what it is like to have their hearts set on having the perfect child. Like everyone when they become parents their expectations are high. At the moment of birth like everyone they pray mostly for a healthy child and the ability to be a good parent to that child. When they realize something is different with their child as a baby, toddler or adolescent how do they react, what do they do?

TPC Sawgrass hosted the HEAL fundraiser at the Clubhouse.

TPC Sawgrass hosted the HEAL fundraiser at the Clubhouse.

Mattiace went on to win twice on the PGA TOUR and nearly won the Masters catching a bad break tree stymie in the playoff with Mike Weir near the 10th green at Augusta National Golf Club. Most people remember the two balls in the water that PLAYERS Sunday, some remember that he was playing in front of his mother in a wheelchair who died of cancer two months later and few remember the details of his play that day. That Sunday round in 1998 was not to be characterized by the Snowman 8 at the 17th but by the nine birdies including one on the final hole and a more than respectable Sunday score of 70. Mattiace was not only heroic in his golf that day but also as a son and no doubt is the Mother’s Champion at TPC Sawgrass.

O’Hair won once before that day in 2007 and three times afterwards on the PGA TOUR, most recently the 2011 Canadian Open. With Top-10s in the Masters and Open Championship, at age 31 the productive years of his golfing career are ahead of him. The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass did not define him. It was a stepping stone to personal and professional growth.

Leslie & Bobby Weed welcoming HEAL supporters.

Leslie & Bobby Weed welcoming HEAL supporters.

While Mattiace was 31 years old at the time, O’Hair was 24, Paul Goydos was nearly 44 when destiny came his way in 2009 at TPC Sawgrass. He thought of himself as a ‘lovable loser,’ well before Rocco Mediate lost to Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open. The adult Teddy Bear was trying to be like Fred Funk, the oldest to win THE PLAYERS at age 48.

Goydos had won twice already on the PGA TOUR the day he bogeyed the 18th hole and had the opportunity to play the 17th again in a playoff with Sergio Garcia. Though he did not win that day he did became the fourth, and oldest player in PGA Tour history to shoot 59 at the 2010 John Deere Classic. Off the golf course he is known to be an endearing father to his two daughters after the loss of their mother in 2009. It’s important to win and win at the meaningful challenges in life.

When Leslie and Bobby Weed gave birth to their autistic daughter Lanier they dealt with the unexpected. Along with two other daughters they made a family complete with three special daughters and then looked outside their selves to help others with autistic children.

H.E.A.L.—Healing Every Autistic Life!

H.E.A.L.—Healing Every Autistic Life!

In 2004 they co-founded the non-profit organization, Healing Every Autistic Life (HEAL. They issue grants to support autistic camps and educational programs. Beginning in 2007, TPC Sawgrass “adopted” their local charity and together they have raised over two million dollars with “Valley of Dreams” events like the one held on September 12th in the Clubhouse at TPC Sawgrass.

This year was extra special with the goal of purchasing iPads for Special Needs Classrooms across Northeast Florida. One in 140 Autistic children, like Lanier, are deemed nonverbal, they cannot speak. iPads helps autistic students communicate, finally giving them a “voice.”

General Manager Bill Hughes and News Anchor Patty Crosby led the auction and extra special fundraising for iPADS.

General Manager Bill Hughes and News Anchor Patty Crosby led the auction and extra special fundraising for iPADS.

General Manager Bill Hughes with the help of the lovely news anchor Patty Crosby conducted an auction and raised funds for additional iPads during the evening. The list of roles performed by a great golf professional was just expanded to include No. 32—auctioneer.

For the fans of Country music star Jack Ingram the price of the charity ticket was worth it to hear the good looking Texan sing his No. 1 hit song “Wherever You Are” in an intimate setting. The lyrics of going through rivers of rain and mountains of pain, doing whatever one needs to do and following your heart and dream seemed to fit the occasion perfectly.

Our basic human instinct is to fight the isolation of ourselves, especially in difficult times. Nobody is perfect but what is perfect is the spirit within each of us. Yes the 17th at TPC Sawgrass can be the “Hole of Horrors” but it doesn’t necessarily define a career, a tournament or even a round.

Country Star Jack Ingram performed with the talented Eleanor & Chris Masterson.

Country Star Jack Ingram performed with the talented Eleanor & Chris Masterson.

No person in this world is an island or needs to be imprisoned within their self. When we go into the water we can always swim towards each other. Somehow we meet in the middle and learn to float our way to a new understanding, a new way of living.

HEAL, TPC Sawgrass, Leslie and Bobby Weed and many, many supporters are doing just that for nonverbal Autistic children.

HEAL—an organization’s goal is to Heal Every Autistic Life. Maybe we have it backwards and it is the autistic child that is healing us?

Maybe knowing that is better than acing the 17th to win THE PLAYERS Championship?

Visit www.HealAutismNow.org or call 904.716.4905 for more information.

Andy Reistetter with Leslie & Bobby Weed

Andy Reistetter with Leslie & Bobby Weed

Somewhere in my HEAL experience there is an element of the “Olympic Spirit for Golfers” that I hope to discover on the “Journey to Olympic Golf.” Maybe it has something to do with Bobby being a great golf course architect. Or maybe it is the use of technology where nonverbal autistic children like Lanier are able to communicate with iPADS? Somehow golfers in the 2016 Summer Olympics will reach out with their golfing abilities and touch the world just like Leslie and Bobby have reached out and touched so many through HEAL. Another dimension to ponder as I drive 13,400 miles to Rio de Janeiro…

 

JTOG Tees Off October 15th

The ‘Journey to Olympic Golf (JTOG)’ trip is a GO. Our goal is to raise $100,000 for the First Tee. I am hoping I have 1,000 friends out there that will donate $100. Our immediate goal is 100 donations before I tee off on October 15th at Glen Echo CC in St. Louis, host of Olympic Golf in 1904. If you donate now before October 11th you will be entered in a drawing for a set of authentic professionally restored hickory-shafted golf clubs from the 1920s and receive my personal trip journals. I hope you will join me on this journey as it is part golf promotion and part a personal journey to define the Olympic and Golfing Spirit within us all. I was the first to donate today. Here is the First Tee Website    Don’t forget your company may match your donation. Please write in the Comments Section ‘Journey to Olympic Golf (JTOG).’ Forward to me your ‘Thank You for Your Gift’ email and I will put you in the drawing and add you to my personal trip journal mailing lists. Thank you for doing this, you are making a difference by helping a young person succeed at home, at school and on the golf course and investing in our nation’s future!

The original Mr. Hickory Golf team... with harry Horton and Joe DeWulf.

The original Mr. Hickory Golf team… with harry Horton and Joe DeWulf.

 

 

 

JTOG Announced at ING

What better place to announce a “Journey to Olympic Golf” than at the International Network of Golf (ING) 23rd Annual Spring Conference at Reunion Resort in Orlando, Florida?

Golf’s “Granddaddy” of networking organizations, ING is “where media and the golf industry connect.” Literally a “Who’s Who” of exhibiting companies, including TaylorMade-Adidas Golf, NIKE Golf and Callaway and media attendees, including Stanton Abrams (Senior Tour Players), Ron Garl (Golf Course Architect) and Nancy Fox (The Business Fox, Networking Expert & Author) embraced the opportunity to develop and nurture relationships over the four-day conference.

Three educational seminars addressed key areas in the game and business of golf- Wellness, Social Media Marketing and Golf Club Technology.

_ING Seminar 1 Wellness & Golf Charlotta Sorenstam A.J. Ali Dr. Kevin Roby 5-20-13

Andy with (L to R) Charlotta Soremstam, A.J. Ali, and Dr. Kevin Roby.

Reunion’s own Charlotta Sorenstam, Director of Golf Operations at the onsite ANNIKA Academy was joined by A.J. Ali, Founder of Golf to End Cancer and Dr. Kevin Roby, Founder of Golf Psychology Consultants for the Wellness and Golf Seminar. The panel touched on tips on physical fitness and the golf swing, nutrition for the body and soul as well as addressing mental fitness for golfers.

 

 

_ING Seminar 2  Lena Wasserman Nancy Fox Todd Lewis 5-20-13

Andy with (L to R) Lena Wasserman, Nancy Fox and Todd Lewis.

The Social Media Marketing panel not only talked about how to use social media to market your product or service but demonstrated how to do it with all the participants engaging through interactive campaigns on their cell phones. Lena Wasserman, Owner of LWG Social Media and Nancy Fox, Founder of the Business Fox teamed up with Golf Channel’s Todd Lewis acting as facilitator for a lively discussion that addressed not only technology but the people side of using technology.

 

_ING Seminar 3 Golf Club Technology Sean Toulon Steve Pike Frank Thomas 5-20-13

Andy with (L to R) Sean Toulon, Moderator Steve Pike, and Frank Thomaas.

During the Golf Club Technology seminar one not only learned the history of golf club technology but the current debate was professionally and civilly reenacted by Sean Toulon, Vice-President of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf and Frank Thomas, Co-Founder of Frankly Golf and past Technical Director of the U.S.G.A. for 26 years. TaylorMade introduced the metal-wood to golf back in the 80s while Frank and the U.S.G.A. along with the R&A set the limits of technology. One thing they did agree on was that bifurcation, separate rules for professional and amateur golfers is not in the best interest of the game or business of golf.

For more information on ING go to their website:

http://inggolf.com/

Andy Reistetter is a freelance golf writer and a broadcast assistant for the various golf networks. He spends time on all four major American golf tours- the PGA TOUR, Champions, Web.com and LPGA.

Reistetter resides within two miles of the PGA TOUR headquarters and the home of The PLAYERS Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach.

A lifetime golfer, Andy enjoys volunteering at the World Golf Hall of Fame and THE PLAYERS while pursuing his passion for the game of golf and everything associated with it.

Embark on a “Journey to Olympic Golf” with Reistetter in the Fall of 2013 as he travels from St. Louis, Missouri where golf was played in the 1904 Olympics to Rio de Janiero where it will be played again in the 2016 Olympics.

http://www.journeytoolympicgolf.com/

Friend Andy Reistetter on Facebook or touch base with him by e-mail at AndyReistetter@gmail.com