by Len Ziehm

You’ve got to give LPGA commissioner Mike Whan credit for at least one thing: He’s not afraid to take chances. And, he has been quick to concede, “When you’re innovative, you’ve got to be willing to strike out some times.’’

The LPGA begins its 70th season this week with a new, innovative event: Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando’s Tranquilo course. Play starts on Thursday (tee times).



Retail prices of gear need not dissuade parents
Reader Ray Wood’s comments about the high price of clubs acting as a barrier to growing golf ignores the fact that parents wanting to get their kids into golf can buy second-hand clubs fairly cheaply on eBay (“From the Morning Read inbox,” Jan. 14).

There’s no need to part with loads of money to get into golf. Those clubs are perfectly good for establishing whether the kid has interest and aptitude. If it looks like there’s talent and a willingness to practice, then parents can take the plunge and buy properly fitted clubs. Buying fitted clubs for anyone younger than 15 is a complete waste of money anyway. Growth in height and strength will render them obsolete in a very short time.


Accepted: By South Korea’s Hosung Choi, a sponsor exemption to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Feb. 7-10 at Pebble Beach (Calif.) Golf Links. It will be the first PGA Tour appearance for Choi, whose unconventional, animated swing has led to the nickname “The Fisherman.” Choi, 45, plays primarily on the Japan Golf Tour, where he won the Casio World Open in November. He has risen to No. 200 in the Official World Golf Ranking.



Number of times, in as many rounds, that James Mason shot lower than his age in winning the 60-and-older division of the PGA Senior Stroke Play Championship on Tuesday at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Mason, 68, a former Champions Tour winner from Dillard, Ga., shot 64-64-67 for a 21-under 195 total and seven-stroke victory. Omar Uresti, 50, of Austin, Texas, sank an 8-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to edge Frank Bensel of Jupiter, Fla., and win the 50-59 age division. Play in the two tournaments, part of the annual PGA Winter Championships series, was held concurrently on the Wanamaker and Ryder courses.



Casa de Campo Resort and Villas in La Romana, Dominican Republic, will play host to the Latin America Amateur Championship this week. The 72-hole, stroke-play event, which begins Thursday, will be held on the Pete Dye-designed Teeth of the Dog course for the second time in the past four years. The winner will receive an invitation to the Masters Tournament.


Brian Jorgenson, the director of golf at Nashville Golf and Athletic Club in Brentwood, Tenn., has acquired the Wilson World Pro-Am and changed the tournament’s name to In His Grip World Pro-Am. In His Grip Ministries is a Nashville-based men’s ministry. The tournament will be played in December in Pebble Beach, Calif.


Golf Life Real Estate announced the creation of the Golf Life Investment Trust, which focuses on the investment of golf-related assets. GLIT will allow high net-worth investors to generate income primarily from courses, clubs and properties in golf communities.


Club Champion has opened a club-fitting studio in Fort Worth, Texas, the company announced. The 3,000-square-foot store is located at 4601 West Freeway, Suite 200. Club Champion fits golfers for custom clubs built by the game’s major equipment manufacturers.


Color Path Golf will debut its coaching concept to a U.S. audience at the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla., the U.K.-based company announced. Color Path Golf will be located in booth No. 985 at the Orange County Convention Center.


6Joe’s, a fantasy draft of amateur golfers, will launch at the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla., the company announced. 6Joe’s seeks to add interest in the game by expanding the fantasy concept to amateur golfers, with a draft value based on skill level or handicap.


Ping Apparel introduced its SS19 collection of men’s golf clothing, the company announced. The SS19 features a cotton/poly fabric and is available in select golf shops.


Desert Highlands of Scottsdale, Ariz., introduced a new management team for 2019, the golf club community announced. Monty Becton has been named general manager and chief operating officer, and Lisa Hutcherson is the chief financial officer.


Tour Edge introduced the Exotics CBX 119 fairway woods and hybrids. The clubs have been updated after feedback from Tour Edge staff players on the Champions Tour and elsewhere in professional golf.


Power Tee will exhibit for a ninth consecutive year at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Fla., the company announced. Power Tee, which manufactures automated practice equipment, will hold a news conference at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 23 in Room W312C in the media center at the Orange County Convention Center.


Australia’s Karrie Webb, a World Golf Hall of Fame member and seven-time women’s major champion, will appear on behalf of Nippon Shaft at the PGA Merchandise Show next week in Orlando, Fla. Webb will discuss how her choice of shafts has evolved during her career.


PGA National Resort and Spa has introduced a package for visitors to the PGA Tour’s annual Honda Classic at the resort’s Champion Course in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The Honda Classic VIP Experience Room Package offers VIP access to the 18th Hole Chalet and Bear Trap Party at No. 17, daily rounds at PGA National’s three other courses and accommodations. Prices begin at $814 per night for Honda week, which is Feb. 25-March 3.


Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, W.Va., will exhibit its golf and travel packages at three Ohio golf shows in the coming weeks. Oglebay representatives will appear at the Cincinnati Golf Show on Jan. 18-20, the Columbus Golf and Travel Show on Jan. 25-27 and the Cleveland Golf and Travel Show on Feb. 15-17.


Peakvision Sunglasses relaunched its LX2 model to highlight its variety of styles and colors for golfers. The LX2, a full-framed sports-wrap style, is available in gloss black and crystal white colors. The GX5 is Peakvision’s top seller, the company said.


Robert Nielsen, the superintendent at Bedford (N.Y.) Golf and Tennis Club, has won the Excellence in Government Affairs Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. The annual award recognizes advocacy or compliance efforts in government affairs.


PGA Value Guide has introduced the Leaderboard Trade-In Program for PGA professionals that is designed to provide additional incentives for trading in used and un-hit clubs. The program will be exhibited during the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 at booth No. 1385 at the Orange County Convention Center.


NBC Sports Group will combine its business services under the umbrella brand Golf Business Solutions. The initiative will combine the offerings of GolfNow, Golf Advisor, Revolution Golf, Golf Academy and Golf Am Tour. It will be introduced at the PGA Merchandise Show on Jan. 23-25 in Orlando, Fla., in booth No. 2173 at the Orange County Convention Center.


January 13-16 Bahamas Great Exuma Classic

Sandals Emerald Bay GC, Great Exuma, Bahamas

January 16-19
Women’s amateur: Women’s South Atlantic Amateur

Oceanside CC, Ormond Beach, Fla.

European: Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) GC

January 17-19
Champions: Mitsubishi Electric Championship

Hualalai GC, Kaupulehu, Hawaii

January 17-20
PGA Tour: Desert Classic

Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif.

LPGA: Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions

Four Seasons Golf & Sports Club Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Men’s amateur: Latin America Amateur

Casa de Campo (Teeth of the Dog), La Romana, Dominican Republic

12700 Sunrise Valley Dr, Suite 300, Reston, Virginia 20191
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