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GolfTEC to add 100 PGA pros, CEO responds to industry declines



As we reported on June 23, Dick’s Sporting Goods let go of its entire staff of PGA professionals, leaving an estimated 500 pros out of a job.

The decision came amidst regular news of the decline in golf participation, flat equipment sales, and pervasive doom-and-gloom scenarios such as “3 reasons golf is in the rough” on and “How the business of golf got stuck in the rough” on the Financial Post.

It’s in this environment that golf instruction company, GolfTEC plans to add more than 100 PGA professionals to its existing roster of 600 pros. As the company’s CEO and co-founder, Joe Assell, recently wrote in an editorial, “Some would blame [Dick’s] decision on a declining interest in golf, but I don’t see it that way.”

Further, Assell wrote:

“PGA Pros have propelled a 100 percent increase in our company’s revenues over the last five years. During that time, we gave millions of lessons to hundreds of thousands of golfers who visited a GolfTEC Coach at one of our 190 locations. In fact, outstanding work by PGA Professionals at our improvement centers has GolfTEC poised for an exceptional 2014. This will include record highs in our revenues, number of lessons given and the number of GolfTEC locations.”

The CEO doesn’t feel that he is alone in his optimism. As he wrote:

“There are a number of people who appear to share my view that it is a good time to invest in golf. Donald Trump’s entry into golf course and resort ownership, Newcastle Investments’ recapitalization of American Golf, and the investments of Kohlberg & Co. and Great White Shark Enterprises in Troon Golf all point to an upside for our industry.”

Reached by phone last week, Assell said that declines in the golf industry have much to do with golfers’ limited time, lack of skill, and reduced discretionary income. He said that major innovations in golf technology have plateaued and that golf equipment can only ever do so much to improve a golfer.


Legitimate and lasting improvements can only come from taking lessons, Assell said. Thus, he feels GolfTEC is uniquely positioned to meet industry challenges head on, thanks to its convenient locations, online scheduling and lesson portal, roster of PGA pros, defined methods and costs commensurate with the market rate of lessons in each center’s area.

Assell pointed to data from the National Golf Foundation, which correlates spending, participation, and enjoyment to handicap. The lower a golfer’s handicap, the more he/she spends, plays, and enjoys the game. Thus, one way to counter a decline in participation is to help those who do play to get better, as well as helping new golfers to understand the golf swing and consistently improve.

Such is the work of GolfTEC. And in the face of industry contraction and frequent bad news, the company seems unfazed.


+For more about GolfTEC,  check out the company website

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  1. Chuck

    Aug 15, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I am very happy with the lessons I have received from Ian in the Chicago area. Proven Path – Proven Results!!

    • n79pp

      Sep 14, 2014 at 12:16 am

      I am a 4 and have been at student at golftec for around 18 months. I have given it enough time and now I’m officially done. The biggest issue is that the instructor doesn’t seem to remember what we worked on last lesson and has me take 4 or 5 swings, then seemingly randomly picks something to work each lesson. Sometimes 3 to 4 concurrent changes (even I know you never should do that). I also don’t think he gets to the root cause of swing flaws resulting in a fix of the wrong things. I have never ever swung on top of the plane – ever! I do now. I have never fanned a driver off to the right with a weak fade until now. The actual cause of this is a slight lateral move on the downswing (result is fade) that has gotten worse with the new over the top move (compounded problem) – not “hanging on” to the club like he is suggesting. I suppose if you are a 25 handicap golftec can help you. But if you are a fairly decent player trying to get better it is imperative that you find a good pro. BTW, they teach stack and tilt.

  2. Sid

    Aug 15, 2014 at 2:56 am

    Goltec is a joke. Their pricing structure is outrageous. Any teacher or program requiring upfront payment is ridiculous. They won’t refund your money for UNUSED lessons if you are unsatisfied. I love how they claim to have a 95% success and customer satisfaction rate. I would love to see this independently verified. Most people are so embarrassed that they were duped into spending $1000-2000 that they feel like that can’t say their true feelings or it will expose what an idiot they were for falling for it. System golf teaching is inefficient- different people have different needs. And they never teach anyone how to actually play. I’ve known many people who have gone there and most of them ended up quitting golf altogether because of chronic shanking. Golftec is not the answer to resurrecting golf. Time to look elsewhere.

    • bud

      Aug 15, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      went to golftec as a mediocre highschool player averaging around 80 i would guess. worked the winter of junior year thru summer with occasional lessons during senior year. average went down to 76. went to state finished ~20th

      now playing division 1 golf at miami university.

      every golftec instructor teaches what they believe to be right. find someone you believe in and work well with. if you work hard and actually do the drills on your own time (!!!!!) you will improve

      • Bill

        Aug 21, 2014 at 7:18 pm

        last time i check miami does not have a mens golf team

  3. Dave

    Aug 14, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Golftec is too expensive to be taught by people who are lost without their camera, sensors, and other tech.

  4. Tommy

    Aug 14, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    All of the centers in Chicagoland teach stack and tilt FYI

  5. bradford

    Aug 14, 2014 at 11:19 am

    “Dicks Buys Golftec–Re-Fires 100 PGA Pros”

  6. nikkyd

    Aug 13, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    Gotta be better than the “barely passed my P.A.T. ” pros at dicks. That place is a joke.

  7. Regis

    Aug 13, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    Wow An article on the golf industry that is not bashing Taylor Made. Kudos to Golf Tec. I’ve played a lot of golf in a lot of different environments . Few if any golfers take lessons at all let alone on a regular basis. I may not like Golf Tec and I may not agree with their teaching/marketing philosophies but Good Job.

  8. Pingback: GolfTEC to add 100 PGA pros, CEO responds to industry declines |

  9. Charlie

    Aug 13, 2014 at 2:07 am

    All of the GolfTec people I know teach some pseudo stack and tilt hybrid. Be wary my friends!

    • cc-rider

      Aug 13, 2014 at 10:07 am

      Be wary of gibberish comments like this one….

      • Evan

        Aug 13, 2014 at 3:54 pm

        You’re way-off Charlie…

        I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the past year I’ve spent with GolfTEC. The two pro’s that I’ve worked with – worked with MY game, not some stack and tilt nonsense. I’ve recommended them to many including some playing partners that are quickly closing the gap on me…

    • Marty

      Aug 13, 2014 at 10:53 am

      I took lessons at GolfTec and I can say it was the best thing to happen to my game, one season of lessons took me from a 30 handicap to a 15 and I have gone lower since then. My pro was very against stack and tilt.

    • Henry

      Aug 13, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Dude, your an idiot !!

    • Honest Abe

      Aug 14, 2014 at 1:18 am

      That is not true at all. I’m out of Palm Springs and have taken lessons from golf tec for a year. I had to actually call headquarters to find a someone they would recommend for stack and tilt. My local golftec guy is a jim hardy disciple which is close enough. I travel a lot for work and practice all over SoCal only one teacher I have talked theory or teaching style with teaches or is even very knowledgable about stack and tilt. If you watched any of the videos you would know more about stack then most golf tec guys. Golf tec is great just really expensive.

    • cally golfer

      Aug 14, 2014 at 10:54 am

      Shame your swing can just not be saved….piff

    • Tom

      Aug 14, 2014 at 11:41 pm

      Golftec by me in IL definitely teaches S&T. Maybe the 3 teachers I have been to are just the ones. I love the idea of Golftec, but as a 1 handicap, it has not improved my game at all after 50 lessons (at least they were free!) I would highly recommend it to anyone who has no knowledge of the golf swing, but anyone who has big goals like me should be very wary of the Golftec teachers who just teach their system rather than individualized instruction that I have received from top ranked teachers in this area like Jim Suttie and John Elliot. There is only so much you can do in a half hour with these Golftec sessions. Feedback is very limited. I wish they would bring this technology outdoors.

    • Gonzo

      Aug 15, 2014 at 8:55 am

      Charlie you are an idiot. What do you know about S&T? After teaching 10000 lessons with GolfTEC the last 1800 were the best lessons I ever gave after learning from Mike and Andy. Quit reading golf digest for your monthly tips.

      • Tom

        Aug 15, 2014 at 2:19 pm

        At least Gonzo can confirm the S&T nonsense taught by at least one scrub at GolfTec. So much for individualized instruction!

  10. Humanlabrat

    Aug 13, 2014 at 1:17 am

    I think if you are not a low handicap golfer that has good knowledge about the technicalities of the golf swing, lessons are very beneficial and would help anybody enjoy the game more.

  11. MHendon

    Aug 13, 2014 at 12:18 am

    There is no question the better I became at golf the more I wanted to play. So GolfTec’s belief the best way to grow the game is through lessons may very well be right. However the growth created by this strategy will undoubtedly be much slower then many on wall street can stomach. But those that are brought to the game through this method are much more likely to make it a lifetime instead of a season.

  12. Billy Joe

    Aug 12, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    I had a great experience with Golftec. I really liked my teacher Mark. He always made sure to explain the reasoning behind everything. I think that the only thing holding many golfers back is that they think they know everything so they can figure it out by themselves. I have a few friends who take a lesson and then won’t do anything the pro asks because they don’t agree. Then they don’t get any better.

  13. Taylor

    Aug 12, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    I’ve had 6 lessons at my local golftec. Went from a 18 handicap to a 7.3 in under a year. Stuff works.

    • Carl truitt

      Aug 13, 2014 at 6:37 am

      I was a 20 HC last year, and this year I qualified for the FedEx playoffs….give me a break… are obviously a GolfTec instructor or joe assell’s brother in law!

  14. Scooter McGavin

    Aug 12, 2014 at 9:41 pm

    Until they run out of money a year from now and do the same thing as Dick’s.

  15. Hellstorm

    Aug 12, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    This guy Joe knows what he is talking about. Of course people will do something more if they are better at it and get more enjoyment from it. The problem is that most people starting out look at what lessons cost and they can’t justify the cost. I would say the average lesson in my area is probably around $65/hr…which is equal to about two and a half rounds of golf or six large buckets at the range. It really is a lot of money for somebody knew who is not sure of where they are going with golf.

    I have often wondered why there is not a tier system for lessons. Why not have shorter lessons….15 minutes to teach somebody how to grip the club and get aligned….a few group lessons here and there for supervised hitting. I read that a guy in Florida is charging a flat rate for a season and giving 15 or 20 minute lessons whenever you feel like you need something looked at or adjusted and he seems to be doing very well and his golfers are actually improving more than under the old model. I wish more PGA guys and girls would offer this type of set-up. I think that would go a long way, especially for new golfers who might be overwhelmed with an hour of instruction.

    • Evan

      Aug 13, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      A typical lesson is only 30min and usually another 30min to yourself – to groove whatever you were working on.

      • n79pp

        Sep 14, 2014 at 12:37 am

        30 minutes to grove the stuff you just learned. Sounds good to me.

  16. Tom Stickney

    Aug 12, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    I know joe personally and he’s a stand up guy…I support him 100%!

  17. M-smizzle

    Aug 12, 2014 at 7:15 pm

    So it says here your last job was at dicks sporting goods

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The DailyWRX (9/24/2020)



My kid trying to convince me Pokemon is a kid in his school…

…best words start with F and end with K…if you wanna get creative add you or me to the end. Helps me daily.

Is it me or did Rory barely swing at that…

I’m bummed I have to leave a course I won and play at a course I dominate on. Classic TDub!

Who cares…ESPN isn’t ESPN anymore…hasn’t been in YEARS.

DM @johnny_wunder if you know what happened to ESPN

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Morning 9: The return of pro-ams | Akshay Bhatia | Has the game changed…or just for the pros? | Wunder’s love/hate



1. Pro-ams and (some) fans returneth 
Golfweek’s JuliaKate E. Culpepper…“Spectators haven’t been allowed on site during PGA Tour events since the first round of the Players Championship over six months ago. After a 13-week break due to the coronavirus pandemic, there have been 16 tournaments without cheers, jeers or patron antics.”
  • “That’ll change slightly this week in the Dominican Republic.”
  • “The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, previously scheduled for March but rescheduled due to the pandemic, will allow a select number of patrons back on tournament grounds – socially distanced, of course – when the event tees off Thursday.”
  • “The final few holes at Corales Golf Club will have corporate VIP areas set up, allowing sponsors and a handful of other visitors to watch the live sporting event in person following necessary COVID screening precautions.”
2. First made cut earns Bhatia Puntacana berth
Adam Stanley for…“Bhatia turned professional in 2019 after becoming the youngest player to ever represent the United States in the Walker Cup. He made his pro debut on TOUR at the Sanderson Farms Championship last season. The debut came after he had reached No. 5 in the World Amateur Golf Rankings.”
  • “But despite his success on the junior and amateur circuit, it hadn’t quite translated to the pro game until the Safeway Open. Bhatia finished T9 there and earned a spot in the field at this week’s Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship. He was the youngest player to finish in the top 10 of a stroke-play event on the PGA TOUR since Justin Rose finished fourth at the 1998 Open Championship.”
  • “It’s always nice anytime you get a chance to play the PGA TOUR,” Bhatia said. “It’s a great way to enjoy things because this is the life I want to have and I have to get a taste of it. Earning my spot here was a different feeling for me and I’m just excited to get it going.”
  • “After putting a bow on an impressive junior golf career – he was on the winning Junior Presidents Cup team in 2017, the winning Junior Ryder Cup team in 2018 and the winning Walker Cup team last year – he hadn’t made a cut on the PGA TOUR until the Safeway Open.”

Full piece.

3. Bhatia’s WITB

DRIVER: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS “Hulk” Smoke Green 75 6.5 TX
3-WOOD: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Hulk Smoke Green 85 6.5 TX
IRONS: Callaway Epic Forged (3), Callaway Apex MB 18 Raw (4-PW)
Shafts: KBS TG Hybrid Proto 95 X (3), KBS $-Taper Black 125 S+ (4-PW)
WEDGES: Callaway MD5 Jaws Raw (50S, 54S, 60C)
Shafts: KBS $-Taper 125S+
PUTTER: Odyssey SL Black Armlock 7
GRIPS: Iomic Sticky 2.3 Black
4. Scottish Open: Plan for spectators shelved in line with pause on pilot events
BBC report…“The decision to have spectators at the Scottish Open at Renaissance Club next month has been reversed.”
  • “The tournament in East Lothian had been chosen as a pilot for the return of fans, with 650 permitted on both Saturday and Sunday.”
  • “However, a rise in coronavirus cases has resulted in a pause on all sporting test events.”
5. Has the game changed…or just for the pros? 
GolfWRX’s resident “Wedge Guy,” Terry Koehler wonders post-Winged Foot what conclusions we can draw…
“I believe the first takeaway is that we play a totally different game than they do. Very few of us recreational golfers have the strength to continually muscle the ball out of even “normal” rough to put it in a position to successfully finish out the hole with a par or better. For most of us, I have no doubt that our best scores come when we hit the fewest shots from the rough. I challenge all of you to keep track of your “strokes lost” when your tee shot does not leave you in the fairway with a clean lie and open shot to the green.”
“Secondly, we do not have anything close to their skills around the greens. If you miss greens, you are more likely to make bogey or worse than to save par. Leaving the distance thing out of the equation, this is the largest chasm between the skills of tour player and regular amateurs. Day in and day out, these elite players get up and down more than 50% of the time, and very few amateurs approach 30% from my research. What’s the moral of that story? Spend more time practicing your creativity and execution on the shortest of shots…that is, IF you really want to lower your scores.”
“Finally, these guys are so darn good with the putter in their hands…It certainly doesn’t hurt that they putt on pool-table-perfect greens most of the time. Or that they have a great caddy to help them get an accurate read on most every putt. Or that they focus on positioning their approach shots and recoveries to give themselves the best look at the hole. But also realize that they practice incessantly on this part of the game.”
6. Johnny Wunder’s love/hate
I LOVE watching players mic’d up and having fun together. The conversations and smack talk is a blast to listen to. We also get an inside peek into a portion of what these players are really like. In a normal event? No. Maybe a caddie or two but not the players-I wouldn’t want to be mic’d up at work-not that anyone cares what I say anyway. Just facts. To be honest, Tiger without a JT or Phil to prod him along isn’t exactly gonna peel your hair back in good times. The guy is a born assassin, they don’t talk all that much besides the impromptu “thanks” or  “F$$K!”
I HATE that we have “the one best this and best that” culture in golf equipment. It’s such a big game with so many variables. Can’t we just accept the fact that it’s all REALLY good and have fun exploring what’s best for us individually? I mean, we even do it with tour players-there is no singular “best.” We have had like four of them over the last 100 years. Undisputed 5-plus year stallions that nobody disputed. “Best” defined as it relates to the PGA Tour is Tiger Woods 1999-2009…that’s the best. Anything short of that is a disservice to the players and a mind circus for us.
7. The new queen of LPGA driving distance
Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols…“A rookie currently leads the LPGA in driving distance with a 287.462 yard average. Unlike Bryson DeChambeau, Bianca Pagdanganan didn’t seek out extra yardage. In fact, she can’t really even explain where her power comes from.”
“Her mantra, repeated throughout a recent phone conversation, is “I try not to force anything.”
“Pagdanganan’s coach at Arizona, Laura Ianello, points to “insanely” fast hips and use of the ground as key to her power. She’s 4 yards longer than Maria Fassi on the LPGA stats list and 5 yards ahead of Anne van Dam.”
8. Tiger officially in for Zozo
ESPN’s Bob Harig…“Tiger Woods announced his commitment to next month’s Zozo Championship at Sherwood Country Club, where he will be the defending champion of an event that has moved from Japan to Thousand Oaks, California, this year amid to the coronavirus pandemic.”
  • “Woods, 44, won the event over Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama last year at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club outside of Tokyo. The victory was the 82nd of his career and tied him with Sam Snead for the top spot on the PGA Tour’s victory list.”


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M9: Shane Ryan on Bryson: Nobody else is trying hard enough | Mike Davis moving on | Rory loves Domino’s



1. Mike Davis leaving USGA in 2021
Scapegoat? Villian? Whatever your impression of the man, Mike Davis is moving on… Golf Digest’s Dave Shedloski…”The USGA on Tuesday announced that Davis is stepping down as its chief executive officer, effective at the end of 2021, to embark on a career in golf course design and construction. Davis plans to team up with Tom Fazio II to create a new golf course architecture company, Fazio & Davis Golf Design.”
  • “I’ve absolutely loved the USGA, and I hate the idea of leaving,” said Davis, 55, who became the USGA’s seventh executive director in 2011, succeeding David Fay, a role that segued into that of CEO in 2016. “I’ve grown up around here. I mean, it will have been 32 years by the time I leave, and my work in championships and governance and so on is just … in some ways, I never thought I’d leave.
  • “But at the heart of this, I have always loved golf course design. I loved learning, seeing, playing, studying golf courses. I’m closer to 60 than I am 50, and there was almost a sense that if I don’t do this, I’m going to regret it.”
2. Replacement search underway 
Shedloski again…”The process of finding a successor to USGA CEO Mike Davis, who announced Tuesday he will leave the association at the end of 2021, commenced about a year ago with the help of a search firm. So it is, according to USGA president Stu Francis, that the association already has taken meaningful steps toward an eventual leadership transition.”
  • “Francis would not divulge how many candidates might have been identified, be they inside the halls of Golf House in Liberty Corner, N.J., or outside them.”
3. More meditations on the Bryson Effect
Shane Ryan, as can be gleaned from his headline, thinks the Bryson DeChambeau Effect is going the change the game of golf…and I for one think his points are superb…
“For a moment, let’s forget the specifics. Let’s forget the weight and distance gain, the muscle activation fitness regimen, the protein shakes, the single iron length, the putting lasers, and a thousand other things that fall under the umbrella of “science.” Forget it all and think broadly. We need some distance to understand Bryson DeChambeau’s win at the U.S. Open-the most consequential result for golf since Tiger Woods won the Masters in 1997-and to internalize the only conclusion that really matters: On an intellectual level, nobody else is trying hard enough.”
“If that sounds like an insult to a group of professionals who have dedicated their lives to becoming elite practitioners of the sport, so be it. DeChambeau is putting them to shame simply because he has the courage not just to seek out innovative ideas, but to pursue them with monomaniacal energy. His commitment is so rigorous, so fanatical, that everyone else comes off looking like a dilettante.”
“This makes people uncomfortable, fans and players alike, but the ultimate legacy of his astonishing win at Winged Foot-a course that was supposed to be the antithesis to and kryptonite for the DeChambeau Style-is that we can no longer dismiss him as a pretentious pseudoscientist. That comfort is gone, and now we reckon with a reality that forces from the mouths of the doubters the three most painful words imaginable.
“He was right.”
4. …and even more…this on Bryson’s putting
Mike Purkey for the Morning Read…“DeChambeau also uses a device that measures putts in miles per hour. Yes, you read that correctly. So, he knows how far to swing his arm-lock putter to produce a particular speed, therefore a precise distance. Then, he takes slope and break into account, using the same device.”
  • “It’s not pretty like Ben Crenshaw putted, but DeChambeau thinks that’s the best way for him to putt. And you can’t argue results. He tied for 11th at Winged Foot in putts per round, at 28.75.”
  • “You see me out there on the greens with the device trying to control my speed,” he said. “It’s just something that allows me and gives me comfort to know that on this green, or these speeds of greens, it’s going to be repeatable. It’s going to be comfort in knowing how far I can take it back and go through.”
5. Danny Lee offers an apology after six-putt horrorshow 
Golfweek’s Julie Williams…“Danny Lee made an early exit from the U.S. Open at Winged Foot Golf Club on Saturday evening – one culminating with a six-putt from 4 feet on the 18th green for a quadruple-bogey 8. After that, Lee withdrew from the championship, citing a wrist injury, and left the property.”
  • …”In the Tweet, Lee pledged to think about his actions and use it to get better.”
  • “I apologize for my poor actions at (the) U.S. Open at week. It was very unprofessional and foolish. Obviously hurts lots of my fans and followers and my sponsors out there,” Lee wrote in part. “My frustration took over me and combined with injury I had to fight with it all week. … I shouldn’t have left it like that.”
6. Watch out for Will Zalatoris 
Adam Stanley for…“Zalatoris’ play on the Korn Ferry Tour has been, in a word, impressive. He has finished in the top 20 in his last 11 starts, the longest streak in that circuit’s history. He’s hitting 81% of greens this season, which is on pace to be the most in KFT history, as well.”
  • “He’s also first in Scoring Average and Ball Striking.”
  • “He might be the best ball striker out there,” said Josh Gregory, a performance golf coach based out of Maridoe. Zalatoris credits a lot of his recent success to his work with Gregory along with Troy Denton, who is the head golf professional at the club.
  • “Denton calls Zalatoris a “freak ball-striker.”
  • “Gregory works with 11 golfers across the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA TOUR, and has been with Zalatoris for the last 18 months. He said Zalatoris was the “perfect candidate” for his way of teaching – mostly wrapped in games and drills and repetition.”
7. JT, TW win Payne’s Valley Cup…
Golf Channel’s Will Gray…“Tiger Woods and Justin Thomas edged Rory McIlroy and Justin Rose in the first-ever Payne’s Valley Cup, played at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri to mark the opening of Woods’ first-ever public course design.”
  • “Woods and Thomas teamed in a Ryder Cup-style match against a pair of former world No. 1s from Europe, with the match divided into three sections. The first six-hole segment, won by McIlroy and Rose, was played using best-ball format. Nos. 7-12 featured alternate shot and saw the Americans strike back to tie the match at one point apiece, setting up a singles’ showdown across the home stretch.”
  • “Woods faced off against Rose in a singles match, while Thomas went against McIlroy. Those two points were also halved, with Rose beating Woods, 1 up, and Thomas beating McIlroy, 2 up. Both matches ended on the picturesque 123-yard, par-3 19th hole at Payne’s Valley, and with the match tied 2-2 Woods and Thomas got the win by virtue of a closest-to-the-pin tiebreaker after Thomas hit his final shot inside 9 feet.”
8. Tiger on Payne’s Valley…
Derek Duncan for Golf Digest…“My goal when starting TGR Design was to create courses that are fun and playable for golfers of all abilities,” Woods told Golf Digest. “This was particularly important at Payne’s Valley, my first public golf course.”
“Woods has always been at his best on the biggest stages, and Payne’s Valley, named for the late Payne Stewart, who grew up in nearby Springfield, is unquestionably big. The course plays atop a broad, starburst arrangement of low bluffs in the southwest Missouri Ozarks, where ancient peaks and ridgetops have been scrubbed and worn by time. (Parts of the property were formerly nine holes of the defunct Murder Rock golf course; the other nine became parts of Ozarks National, Golf Digest’s Best New Public Course in 2019.) Yet Payne’s Valley manages to effect an impression of height by pushing the holes, particularly on the first nine, out to the edges of the extended fingers of land that tumble down into wooded ravines, giving rise to cross-valley vistas. “While shaping the golf course, we spent a lot of time thinking about the views that we wanted to capture from various greens, fairways and tee boxes,” Woods says.”
“To this point, he and Johnny Morris, founder of Big Cedar Lodge and Bass Pro Shops retailers, made several in-the-field adjustments to maximize the down-valley sightlines, including reconceptualizing two of the closing holes into the downhill par-3 16th and the par-4 17th, a classic Bottle hole with a strand of bunkers breaking high and low sections of fairway. (Fitting a drive into the upper fairway is more risky, but it provides a straight look into the angled green.) Woods and Beau Welling, senior design consultant for TGR Design, filled the bare, blufftop panoramas with vast wall-to-wall fairways (the course has a considerable 116 acres of maintained turf), sprawling bunkers and expansive greens with false edges that slip off into smooth, low-cut chipping zones. Zeon zoysia green collars and approaches, which can be cut lower than other zoysia grasses, encourage shots along the ground.”
9. Rory loves…Domino’s pizza…?
Our Gianni Magliocco…“The Payne’s Valley Cup on Tuesday provided plenty of entertaining moments, but one thing golf fans perhaps weren’t bargaining on hearing was a Rory McIlroy deep dive into his current favorite pizza joint.”
“While his partner Rose was preparing to putt, McIlroy revealed that he was on a ‘big Domino’s kick’ at the moment, and it elicited a pretty hilarious reaction from Justin Thomas.”
“The Ulsterman justified his choice by claiming that when you don’t know the good local spots, then Domino’s Pizza is ‘solid’. When asked by JT what toppings he goes for, McIlroy responded that his go-to order is the ‘Deluxe’, which according to google consists of ‘green peppers, black olives, and meats like pepperoni, ham, and Italian sausage.”


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