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January 16, 2003 • Volume 4, No. 2
a publication of the Golf Press Association

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  Today's News

Events
The 2003 PGA Merchandise Show is setting the stage for another spectacular event Jan. 22-26 in Orlando, Fla. Approximately 50,000 industry professionals will discover the game's hottest products while walking some 10 miles of exhibit aisles; test the latest equipment and accessories at the inaugural Golf Demo Day; and participate in an expanded education conference of more than 60 seminars.
For more...

Equipment
The GolfWorks is now teaming with PGA Tour legend Bob Toski to create a complete line of top-quality golf equipment for assembly by custom clubmakers. The new line is currently being designed by Ralph Maltby, Founder of The GolfWorks, and will make its debut in March at the Professional Clubmakers
Society Expo in Louisville, Ky.
For more...

STX Golf, golf's pioneer of putter Face Insert Technology, introduces its ProF.I.T.* putter series. The ProF.I.T.* - Professionally fit putter with Face Insert Technology - putters offer ongoing 'fine-tuning' with multiple face insert options. Visit booth #1228 at the PGA Merchandise Show for a demo.
For more...

Cobra debuts the King Cobra SS-i iron line, featuring an even larger 'Sweet Spot' than the original King Cobra irons as well as softer feel and custom fitting options. The company is also launching a new driver: the King Cobra SS 380 model, which joins the popular 427 and 350 head sizes.
For more on the King Cobra SS-i irons ...

For more on the King Cobra SS 380 driver...!

Courses
The National Golf Course Owners Association selects The Straits Course at Whistling Straits to receive the 2003 Jemsek Award. The Award honors the world's top golf courses, known for quality, hosting major amateur and professional tournaments, and for being popular golf destinations for travelers.
For more...

Royal St. George's, where this year's British Open Championship will be played in July, has been named by the R&A in a list of host clubs for 2006 championships as the venue for the Amateur Championship.
For more...

Players
Tiger Woods and Ernie Els are among the favorites for nomination in this year's Laureus World Sports Awards - and Laureus World Sports Academy member Gary Player says Els can seriously challenge Woods this season. Laureus, which is sponsored by Mercedes-Benz and Cartier, also contributes to social change through the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation.
For more...

Business
Pellucid, an emerging golf industry information and insight provider, will bring an array of new products to the PGA Merchandise Show including a case study of its Customer Franchise Analysis (CFA) and a working demo of their Web-based Golf Local Market Analyzer. Stop by booth #4138.
For more...

Accessories
The Bag Boy Company introduces the T-10 Combination Hard Top / Soft Sided Travel Cover, designed to withstand the rigors of airline travel. The T-10 Travel Cover includes a unique hard top design for maximum club protection, combined with a premium all-weather 1680-D Polyester soft-sided cover for ease of transport and storage.
For more...

Health
GMP Fitness, LLC, a company offering a variety of fitness programs and products for golfers, will introduce 9 Hole Golf Fitness at the PGA Merchandise Show, booth #6541, next week. Included in the program are the On Course Conditioning video and the Deluxe Golfer's Wallet.
For more...

Technology
Hunters Pointe Golf Club in Welland, Ontario, Canada, chooses the Cybergolf Broadcast System, which includes email marketing, email data collection and a online survey creator, to use at its facility.
For more...

Pause Golf Solutions announces another new client for its Web site renovation service. Keeton Park in Dallas, whose website is www.keetonpark.com, will receive a face lift and add many new levels of functionality to its Web site in February.
For more...

Focaltron Corporation plans to unveil its GolfAchiever Video Analysis System in booth #2815 at the upcoming 2003 PGA Merchandise Show. The GA V.A.S. combines GolfAchiever's patented laser ball flight and golf swing analysis technology with industry standard Video Analysis capability.
For more...

People
Plastic golf cleat maker Softspikes names Alex Glaza to oversee the company's green-grass and off-course sales sectors in Western New York and Upstate New York.
For more...

PGA Show Guide
Don't miss this year's PGA Show Guide, to be sent to The WIre subscribers the week of the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. The Wire's Show Guide features the hottest new products and services. Questions? Email info@gpagolf.com.
Briefly
Louisville Golf's SMART F2 Fairway Finder is a driver manufactured of Persimmon that incorporates several design features that make it especially accurate. The SMART F2 will be released at the PGA Merchandise Show next week and will be ready for distribution Feb. 1 at a suggested retail price of $269 steel, $299 graphite. ...

TaylorMade introduces several new clubs, including the new rac FE2O3 wedge, the rac LT (lower trajectory) and rac MB (muscleback) irons and new V Steel fairway woods, which incorporate a distinctive V-shaped sole design engineered to deliver power, playability and accuracy. ...

Long Drivers of America releases the first-ever player performance rankings for professional long drive competitors. Brian Pavlet of Litchfield Park, Ariz., heads the open division, while LDA Hall of Fame member Bobby Wilson of Waco, Texas leads the senior (45 and up) division, and Sharon Sullivan of Shreveport, La., tops the women's division. ...

World Business Golf Challenge introduces E - BONUS BU$CKS that can be earned by sending email to golf buddies about apparel or memorabilia in the 2003 WBGC Collection. Select an E-postcard from the "E-BONUS BU$CKS" site at www.worldbusinessgolfchallenge.com. ...

Ahead(R), a designer and marketer of branded golf headwear and apparel, unveils four new ornamentation processes for hats and garments, which include Iron Applique, Ahead Varsity, Ahead Retro and Ahead Ivy. ...

Hornung's Golf Products plans to market and distribute the Kangaroo Kage, a one-ball driving range that returns the ball to you. It will be exhibited at the New Products display at the PGA Merchandise Show and booths 8922 and 9022. ...

The Outer Banks Golf Association introduces their golf package rates for 2003, beginning at $157 per person for two nights, three rounds of golf and breakfast. For more information on Golf Packages or the Outer Banks Golf Association, call 800-916-6244. ...

Tommy Armour Golf Company announces a new sponsorship agreement with The Golf Channel, designating the company as a marketing partner for several shows broadcast on the network. ...

USA Network's feature contributor Dara Torres makes her PGA TOUR Sunday debut on Jan. 19 (11 AM Live ET/PT) with a feature about 13-year-old Michelle Wie who attempted to qualify for this week's SONY Open in Hawaii. ...

The Ladies' Golf Union is delighted to announce that Peugeot has become their first 'Official Partner' and will be involved in several elements of the LGU's tournaments and administration.

Correction
The PRICE OIL CELEBRITY will take place at the Regatta Bay Golf and Country Club in Destin, Fla., March 30-April 1.

 IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Ron Garland

Golf is occasionally viewed as a serious, sometimes stuff sport. Ron Garland, 55, of Salt Lake City, Utah, will tell you that is far from the truth. That is because Garland is the founder and head nut of the Golf Nuts Society, a 3,100-strong irreverent international organization that recognizes the obsessive lengths people go to when it comes to the game of golf. Garland founded the Society in 1986 and recently teamed with Brian Hewitt to write "Golf Nuts: You've Got To Be Committed" (Clock Tower Press), which chronicles outrageous story after story of the Society's members. Garland recently spoke with The Wire editor Stuart Hall about the Society and its membership. Also, for more information on the Golf Nuts Society, go to www.golfnuts.com.

Q.: As unique of an organization as the Golf Nuts Society is, there has to be a good story behind its origin. What is the story?

RON GARLAND: When I was a junior in college, my college roommates asked me if I wanted to go out and play golf. I said sure and I was hooked that day. I started playing as much as I could and it got to be pretty insane. Over the years, my friends kept shaking their heads every time they heard yet another story, saying 'Garland, you're nuts.' One day in 1978, I was reading Golf World magazine and there was a little article in there about Sean Connery playing golf in a tournament and they referred to him as the "golf nut Sean Connery." I liked the term and I started keeping copies of any article that used that term, an! d I started noticing how often that term was used. That's when I decided to trademark the term in 1985. That's how it started.

And then I needed to figure out how nuts people are, because some are more so than others. So I came up with an entrance exam and then I threw in a bag tag and a little paper membership card -- now we have a nice plastic membership card with their number on it and their name.

Long story short, I felt like I wasn't the only one who was nuts. And so I started the Golf Nuts Society based on seeing those words used a lot.

Q.: How many members and what is the attraction of such a Society?

RON GARLAND: About 3,100 members and it's all been through word of mouth. The amazing thing about this phenomenon is that we've grown to ! the point where we have gathered enough stories to have written a book and to send out an e-mail every single day about their fellow nuts. So you could imagine if we had 30,000 members. I wouldn't be able to keep up with the stories. And I haven't tapped into a huge list of stories.

Q.: All organizations are based on a core of principles, what is at the core of the Golf Nuts Society?

RON GARLAND: There are three principles that are kind of the foundation of the Society, not to sound serious about it, because we're not.

1) Humor. I believe I have captured the essence of the humor associated with this insane search for "the secret." There is tremendous humor associated with the obsession for golf.

2) Recognition. I give recognition to golfer! s who will never play against Tiger Woods, much less beat him, much less win their club championship. Many of them essentially will labor in anonymity for much of their golfing lives, but who dearly love the game.

So I give them their 15 minutes of fame. They may be the nutcase of the week, the golf nut record holder for that week who is featured in the nut gallery that week -- the nut gallery being a photo essay.

3) Competition. They get points for that, for doing things they would naturally do. I don't want them to do things just for the points, but I want them to report what they did. Then I give them points. The member who earns the most points at the end of the year is named Golf Nut Of The Year. I gave Michael Jordan [the 1989 Golf Nut Of The Year] got 2,000 points for being a no-show the first time he won the NBA MVP award. He was in North Carolina, playing golf with his bu! ddies at Pinehurst. All of the NBA brass and all of the media came into Chicago and Michael wasn't there. So he got 2,000 points for that.

Q.: The points you award have to be arbitrary and subjective, correct?

RON GARLAND: I'm an arbitrary ruler. As one of my friends asked "Ron how do you come up with the points?" And another friend, who is quite a character, said "He has a scoring system that is known only unto himself."

It's true, but it all started by spinning off Joe Malay, the first-ever Golf Nut Of The Year, number 0020, and what he did. He got 5,000 points for retiring out of high school so he could support his golf habit. He has never had a job. OK, so I gave Joe 5,000. How many should I give Michael for being a no-show. So it's completely arbitrary.

I have a couple of members who try to manufacture points. And it's so transparent that it's not funny.

Q.: How have you marketed the Golf Nuts Society? Plus, how much money have you invested into the Golf Nut Society and why do you invest so much of yourself into it?

RON GARLAND: It's been word of mouth because I haven't had the money to promote it.

I have spent well into six figures on this passion. If you think about it, I started in 1986 … that's 15 years, about $10,000 year, that's $150,000.

The reason I have persisted with it from the beginning is that I just love to get these letters and I just love to give recognition to people who may never, ever win the fourth flight of their club championship. They are just peop! le who love golf.

And I also get pleasure from seeing the whole concept grow. I have over 150 articles in my files that have been written about us over the years. And I'm not aware of all of them that are written, because I send out a release every year announcing our Golf Nut of the Year and I have no idea how many people write about it. It's good copy. It's fun, it's light, it's humor. And it's unique to report on the zany antics of people pursuing their passion. It is not like reporting on this week's PGA Tour event. We're talking about a different kind of scoring and there humor in that.

Q.: Is this your full-time job?

RON GARLAND: Three-quarter full-time. I'm still in the high-tech business, but phasing out of that.

I'm now at a point whe! re I'm spending a majority of time at it, this book is out. We have revenue from memberships, revenue from the book, revenue from merchandise and most important, as a result of the book, speaking engagements. Most people when they write a book go out on a book signing tour. Unless you're a celebrity, you just don't get that many people to line up who want your autograph, so it's basically a waste of time. So I do speaking engagements. It's called the Golf Nut Tour.

Q.: There has to be some tie, some bond that these people share. What is it?

RON GARLAND: There is a common thread and it's obsession. We capture the humor associated with the obsession. It comes with many forms. I have one member, Jane Minesinger, she has over 900 divot repair tools. I have another member who has 11,000 bag tags, another member with 24,000 ball markers. I have other members who have playe! d in horrible weather, other members who have bought every gadget that comes along, other members who have changed their swing every other round, other members whose marriages have been threatened or destroyed because of golf. The obsessions manifest themselves in many different ways.

Reader's Forum
Ernie Els set a new PGA Tour record for strokes under par when he won the Mercedes Championship Sunday, finishing 31-under. Are scores getting too low in professional golf, or are birdies and eagles more exciting to watch? What would you do to keep scores closer to par - or do you like seeing scores get lower and lower?

Let us know your opinions by sending your responses by Thursday at 5 p.m. ET to with the subject line RE: Low scores. Also include your first initial and last name, along with your city and state or country.

Send your comments to info@gpagolf.com