Monthly Archives: June 2020

Golf Industry Debuts PSAs Featuring Steph Curry, Matt Kuchar and Nelly Korda


ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. As America gets “Back2Golf,” a new 30-second PSA, “Golf and Social Distancing” starring NBA superstar Steph Curry, nine-time PGA Tour winner Matt Kuchar and three-time LPGA Tour winner Nelly Korda, will guide golfers on responsible

HRGG File Photo

ways to play the game. Back2Golf is an industry-wide collaboration to provide operational guidelines, designed in three phases and aligned with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), for the responsible playing of golf through the COVID-19 pandemic. The

video PSAs complement a suite of golfer-focused posters and social- media friendly assets that have been distributed across the game by WE ARE GOLF, a coalition of allied golf organizations that are leading the responsible return to golf — including the PGA of America, PGA TOUR, National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA), Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA), Club Management Association of America (CMAA), LPGA and USGA. The spot began appearing over the weekend on digital and broadcast outlets, including CBS, Golf Channel and CBS Sports Network, and will continue to circulate across the golf industry’s media platforms. Led by the PGA of America and created by Ideas UnitedofAtlanta,theinformative public service announcements stress the importance of social distancing practices that should be kept top of mind while playing golf. Among the important messages delivered are the health and recreational benefits of golf that can be enjoyed while now applying social distancing. Golfers are instructed to always stay six feet apart, stay home if they’re sick, and avoid large gatherings anywhere on the course. They are encouraged to “try thumbs ups and fist pumps, not handshakes and fist bumps” and “when in doubt, just don’t touch, and wash your hands!” Golfers are also instructed to mark their balls clearly and to wear a cloth facial covering when taking a lesson. Curry closes by asking everyone to “respect your fellow

golfers, and let’s be grateful for every swing.” “We play the game for different reasons but one of the things that is best about golf is the recreational health and wellness benefits that can be enjoyed in a socially distanced environment,” said PGA President Suzy Whaley. “As we adapt social distancing to the golf course, golfers will learn from these PSAs how to smartly apply it throughout the game. We’re proud to debut these important and informative spots. Play responsibly, so we can all enjoy golf together.” The campaign, which will also include a longer-form, 60-second spot that debuts later this spring, will turn to LPGA and PGA TOUR players, as well as notable celebrities who are passionate about golf, to provide some social distancing tips. “The industry is coming together during this time in many ways, including the development and airing of these PSAs, as a way to promote a responsible return to golf,” said Greg McLaughlin, CEO, World Golf Foundation, who oversees WE ARE GOLF. “We appreciate the PGA of America’s leadership and for the celebrities who leaned in to help us present this important message to the golf community.” The Back2Golf plan is a specific, three-phased approach to golf that aligns with the federal government’s broader plan to re- open the economy. Each phase includes operational protocols when it comes to social distancing, the sanitation of physical facilities and the health of staff members.

Nassau Exuma: This Is Not Your Mama’s Bahamas

By A.J. Jones

Photo by A. Willis, Baha Mar Royal Blue Golf Course in Nassau, Bahamas

If you are ever looking for a great place to vacation during the Christmas holidays, I cannot think of a better place to go than the Bahamas. As a matter of fact, I spent this Christmas holiday in Nassau and Exuma, Bahamas. The water was turquoise, the weather was warm and the people were even warmer.

I must admit that when my daughter said that she wanted to go to the Bahamas and see the swimming pigs, I told her, ‘as much as I love pigs, I have already been to the Bahamas and there are too many other exciting new places where I have not visited yet.’ Since she had her heart set on going to the Bahamas and seeing the swimming pigs, and she worked hard to graduate

from Stanford, recently, with a master’s degree in Computer Science focused on Artificial Intelligence, I promised her earlier in 2019 that I would take her. Of course I had to wait until the weather was just right. I thought it would be too hot in the summer and too stormy in the fall, during hurricane season. I believed the Christmas holidays would be the perfect opportunity to enjoy the Caribbean weather and it was. When my mother and I visited the Bahamas previously, after my graduation from college, we stayed in Freeport. This time we chose the Nassau airport to fly into because it is closer to the swimming pigs and I am glad we did.

If you have not been to the Bahamas ever or lately, you need to go

and you need to stay at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar. I almost do not want to recommend it because it is so beautiful, so relaxing and so accommodating that it is difficult to leave and explore all of the wonderful people and places we discovered while in the Bahamas. The Grand Hyatt has 10 swimming pools/water features, 10 restaurants and a 100,000 square foot casino in the lobby. It is located on Cable Beach and it offers numerous shows and other entertainment options. The hotel was decorated exquisitely for the holiday season. There is a night club off the lobby and live music in the bar area. An ice skating rink with live shows is located near the convention center area outside of the hotel. Another good reason to travel to the Bahamas during the Christmas season, is because of the Junkanoo Parade. The parade is an African celebration in honor of a man named John Canoe (Junkanoo), who upon hearing that the Germans were going to sell Fort Fredericksburg to the Dutch in the early 18th Century, mounted a resistance that lasted almost 20 years. Fort Fredericksburg was in present day Ghana.

I do not know what it is like in other parts of the Caribbean but in Nassau, Junkanoo is celebrated on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and lasts for about 12 hours each day. Can you imagine a 12 hour parade? I went to the portion that occurred from 9 a.m. until noon. It was amazing. The dancing, the music and the costumes were all creative and breathtaking. The locals told me that I “missed the whole thing.” I replied, ‘I was there for three hours, how could I have missed the whole thing?’ They said that the best costumes are at night and they have lights. If it is so much better than what I saw, I’m glad I missed it. I do not think I could have handled that much more greatness. After celebrating Junkanoo, it was time to see the swimming pigs although the tour organizers tried to cancel at the last minute. They said there was a tropical storm brewing and the water would be too rough for the boat. Knowing how disappointed my daughter would be if she did not get to see the swimming pigs, I scoured the internet until I found a tour that was still planning to proceed. This tour, led by 3N, involved taking a flight from Nassau to Exuma. After they assured us they would not cancel for any reason, we booked that tour and left early the next morning. We set our alarms on our phones and counted pigs until we fell asleep. The next morning I was surprised to see the smallest plane I had ever had the pleasure or disdain to book. While sitting in the last row of seats, I could almost touch the pilot on the shoulder. A whole lot of prayers later, we landed in Staniel Cay, Exuma, one of the most beautiful places on earth. The tour guides led us to the boat from the airport, it could not have been much more than 200 yards. The boat was adequate, if one does not mind not having cover from the rain. It was

definitely fast and there were times that I was not sure if I might be thrown from it. I kept a smile on my face the whole time. Who does not love being on a boat, in the middle of beautiful island scenery, no matter how likely it may be that you may get thrown into the shark infested water?

I did not really think about the danger of sharks the whole time I was swimming on the tour. When we were actually swimming with the kind of sharks that are not dangerous, nurse sharks, I did for a moment think, ‘how would I know if the dangerous kind slipped in here with these tame ones?’

When we arrived at the island with the swimming pigs I have never seen so many grown folks lose their minds over some animals. Okay, I did it too. The pigs were so cute when they swam out to meet our boat. They knew we were going to have something to feed them. The boat captain, yes, the same one who I was sure was trying to dump me out of the boat during most of the tour, gave us bread to feed the swimming pigs. There were huge pigs, baby pigs and every size in between, on this island. They are feral pigs who somehow learned to swim and people will pay crazy money and risk life and limb to see these floating balls of fat.

After swimming with the pigs we went to lunch and some of those same people who were going gaga over the pigs ordered BLT sandwiches for lunch. I just gasped as I heard them belt out their orders, shamelessly. Three of the four people at my table were vegan

and the other person ordered fish (I do not believe it was shark meat). There were approximately 15 people on our boat including the captain and another person who worked for the tour company. After lunch, we went to a cool sand bar in the middle of the water. It looks like you are walking on water from a distance. We also went to a grotto that was featured in the James Bond film Thunderball. We donned snorkeling equipment to see the fish in the cave but with the current and all of the swimming I had done earlier, my arms and legs were too tired to go inside. I did see some beautiful fish just outside the cave. The tour guides also took us to the wreckage of a plane that crashed in the ‘70s, which is not something I wanted to see knowing I had to ride that Barbie plane back to Nassau soon. I would definitely go on that tour again if someone else was paying. I did not even mention that our first stop was Iguana Island. I was not that excited about seeing iguanas because I saw so many in Puerto Rico, earlier in the year; however, everyone else seemed to enjoy watching them.

Tired, cold, wet and just plain scared, I headed back to the airport and thought, this is one of the best days of my life. We made it back to Nassau in the Barbie plane and tried to get the city bus back to our hotel. Since it was a Saturday evening, I do not believe the buses run that late on the weekend.

We did discover, however, that instead of a $25 taxi, we could catch a bus for about $1.50, to downtown from our hotel. And earlier on Saturday, we rode the bus to the airport for approximately $2.00 each. On our last day in the Bahamas, we planned to visit the golf course that is part of Baha Mar. We did not have enough time to actually play. The Royal Blue Golf Club just happened to be hosting a professional golf tournament, as we arrived. We were given a tour of the course by the two very knowledgeable and delightful assistant golf pros, Georgette and JR. The course was immaculate, without a blade of grass out of place. I cannot wait to return to Baha Mar to actually play a round of golf at the Royal Blue Golf Club.

I met so many kind and thoughtful people while I was in the Bahamas. Even downtown, where we visited the Pompey and Pirate Museums. The history lessons were nice but the lessons in humility that the Bahamian people teach while going about their daily lives are priceless. I met a kind gentleman who owned a Jamaican Restaurant a couple of blocks from the Pompey Museum that put his heart and soul in the food he serves and his customer service. The staff at the Grand Hyatt always greeted us with smiles. I would challenge anyone to find someone there who is having a bad day.

Although we intended to go, we never made it to Atlantis or Paradise Island. I felt like I was already in paradise at the Grand Hyatt. Actually, the entire country feels like paradise. I will be back in the Bahamas soon.

Golf Industry Joining Forces in Race Fore Unity



Athletes, celebrities, influencers and golf executives are coming together for a pair of great causes this Saturday, June 20, to ride live with Alex Toussaint in the Race Fore Unity.
One team will represent PGA WORKS and its Fellowship program, which aims to embrace acceptance and inclusion in the golf industry. The PGA WORKS team features PGA of America President Suzy Whaley and 2013 PGA WORKS Collegiate Champion Alexis Belton.
  • Henni Zuel, Lead Tour Correspondent, GolfTV
  • Marina Alex, LPGA Tour Player
  • Jeehae Lee, Head of Growth Initiatives, Toptracer at TopGolf
  • Shane Bacon, Fox Sports TV Announcer
  • Molly Solomon, Executive Producer, GOLF
  • Lydia Ko, LPGA Tour Player
  • Tisha Abrea, Golf Personality
  • Catrionia Matthew, LPGA Tour Player
  • Kira K. Dixon, 2015 Miss America
  • Ashley Mayo, Editorial Director,
  • Alexis Belton, Professional Golfer / 2013 PGA WORKS Collegiate Champion
  • Stephanie Meadow, LPGA Tour Player
  • Madison Pressel, Professional Golfer
  • Ani Gulugian, Professional Golfer
The top two fundraisers for Team PGA WORKS will win a set of two grounds passes to either the 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, or the 2021 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club!

USGA Launches U.S. Open Victory Club



LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (June 15, 2020) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced the launch of the Victory Club, the first-ever dedicated U.S. Open fan club, where fans can celebrate the U.S. Open Championship and experience a greater connection to the championship year-round.

The launch of the Victory Club follows the recent introduction of the “From Many, One” U.S. Open brand platform as part of the USGA’s ongoing commitment to elevate the U.S. Open experience for players and fans. While serving as a community of fans for the U.S. Open, the Victory Club offers more direct content, updates and access to the championship than ever before.

“We are excited to provide fans an opportunity to share their passion for the U.S. Open while celebrating the glory, determination and triumph of the championship,” said Craig Annis, chief brand officer of the USGA. “The Victory Club is designed to give fans a direct connection to the U.S. Open. Through engaging content, outreach and exclusive offers, we want to bring the championship to them in ways that we never have been able to before.”

The 120th U.S. Open will be played Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y., after it was postponed from its original June dates in April due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. Open Victory Club members can expect to receive the latest news and updates leading up to the championship in September, as well as other exciting ways to help them get closer to the action during U.S. Open week.

Benefits of membership in the Victory Club include exclusive ticket offers, limited-edition merchandise and virtual fan experiences. Club members will have access to special offers and personalized championship content 365 days a year, including digital wallpapers, previews of future U.S. Open venues and unique championship stories.

The Victory Club name originates from the U.S. Open Trophy, paying homage to Victoria, the goddess of victory figure that stands atop the 18-inch-tall, sterling silver trophy. In addition to celebrating the championship, the Victory Club will introduce fans to USGA initiatives and the impact that the U.S. Open has on the work of the USGA on behalf of the game.

There is no cost to join the Victory Club. For a limited time, new club members will receive a discount of 25 percent at the official USGA shop. Fans can sign up now at

Playing Others Sports Can Help Your Golf Game

Sometimes we need to simplify things to improve our golf game.
Andre Pillow, a Player Development Professional at Blythefield Country Club, breaks down how playing other sports can help us make better contact on the golf course.
From throwing a baseball to playing basketball, Pillow demonstrates how the actions & motions of other sports relate to your golf swing and demonstrates how to translate them to the course in the video below.
So check out the video & be sure to give Andre a LIKE on Facebook for more great golf tips.

Celebrate Responsibly on the Golf Course with Tips from Steph Curry and PGA Jr. League Players



The return ‘Back2Golf’ has golfers wondering how to celebrate responsibly while still practicing social distancing with their playing partners.
Thankfully, PGA Jr. League ambassador Steph Curry and players from the PGA Jr. League have a few tips.
Curry suggested thumbs up & fist pumps in a PSA released earlier this spring and the players took it a step further by sending in video submissions to keep up the celebrations on the course.

‘Rise to the Challenge’ Charity Raffle Gives Fans Chance to Win While Supporting Great Cause

The PGA Tour will return to action this weekend with the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge and fans have a chance to win prizes while supporting COVID-19 relief.
The PGA of America donated a pair of autographed pin flags to the ‘Rise to the Challenge’ Charity Raffle. A monetary donation to will enter fans into a raffle to win a 2018 PGA Championship pin flag signed by Brooks Koepka and a 2020 Ryder Cup pin flag signed by U.S. captain Steve Stricker.
Other prizes include a chance to win more golf memorabilia donated by every player at the 2020 Charles Schwab Challenge, a walk inside the ropes with PGA of America President Suzy Whaley during the 2021 PGA Championship and more.
All donations from the program aid the TOUR’s COVID-19 relief efforts, the Golf Emergency Relief Fund and the 33 local charities the tournament traditionally helps benefit through Birdies for Charity.

More than 500 College Students Participate in Inaugural PGA WORKS Virtual Workshop



  • Rachel Melendez Mabee – PGA WORKS Program Specialist, PGA of America
  • Lamell McMorris – PGA REACH Trustee, CEO Perennial Strategy Group, Founding Principle of Greenlining Realty USA
  • Dee Robinson – PGA REACH Trustee, CEO of Robinson Hill
  • Nerissa Robinson – Diversity and Talent Manager, PGA TOUR
  • DeAngelo Simmons – CEO and NBA Certified Agent, BDS Sports
  • Bill Whaley – National Director of Operations, PGA TOUR
  • Suzy Whaley – President, PGA of America
“The essence of this workshop was to engage students in career development programming and consultation with expert insight and mentoring from leading business, golf and sports leaders,” said Scooter Clark, PGA, Manager of the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship. “Given the unique circumstance of having to hold this workshop via live stream on YouTube, we were thrilled to engage over 500 students throughout the day who not only listened to the panelists intently, but interacted by asking questions and exchanging information about their career goals and expectations.”
“During these unsettling times, college students are very concerned about their future career options. It was important for us to help alleviate their stress while reinforcing the breadth of opportunities in all sectors of the golf industry,” said Sandy Cross, Chief People Officer, PGA of America. “This approach enabled us to reach beyond the 190 student-athletes we annually host on-site at the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship. The new-look career workshop presented an opportunity for students to engage with fellow future business leaders while connecting with executives to share their expertise and experiences in both the business and golf world.”
Cross added, “For this inaugural event, we could not have been happier with the number of participants. The interactive nature of the workshop helped inspire these students and provide great perspectives on career readiness, networking and opportunities.”

U.S. Women’s Open to Celebrate 75th Anniversary with Months-Long Celebration Ahead of Rescheduled Championship

Three-time champion Annika Sorenstam named ambassador of milestone celebration

LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (June 3, 2020) – The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced a number of exciting initiatives connected to the milestone 75th anniversary U.S. Women’s Open Championship, which was originally slated for this week but will now be contested Dec. 10-13, 2020 at Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas.

“The U.S. Women’s Open has played a significant role in the advancement of the women’s game for the last 75 years,” said Mike Davis, USGA CEO. “As we reach this monumental occasion, we want to thank and honor everyone who has been involved in the championship from the start – from the fans, volunteers and staff to the champions and players themselves, by reliving memorable moments and celebrating in Houston this December.”

In support of the historic milestone, the USGA has named three-time U.S. Women’s Open champion Annika Sorenstam ambassador of the championship. Her wins in 1995 and 1996 made her the first international player to win back-to-back titles, and she added a third victory with her playoff win in 2006. Sorenstam is one of six players to have won three or more Women’s Open titles, and the only one to achieve the feat in the last 35 years. In 2012, she received the USGA’s Bob Jones Award, the Association’s highest honor. Prior to the U.S. Women’s Open in December, Sorenstam will be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

“I am proud to represent the U.S. Women’s Open as their ambassador during this historic year,” said Sorenstam, a native of Sweden. “The championship means a lot to me and my career, and I look forward to celebrating and reliving moments that have meant so much not only to me, but the sport of golf as a whole. It’s truly a special occasion for so many of us.”

To further commemorate this landmark, the USGA, in association with Rolex, has launched the U.S. Women’s Open History Experience, a fully immersive timeline that brings the first 74 years of U.S. Women’s Open Championships to life on Through original broadcast footage, archival photos and interviews with champions, fans will have the opportunity to relive moments that are not only significant to the game, but also hold personal and sentimental meaning. From Babe Didrikson Zaharias’ emotional comeback from cancer in 1954 to Se Ri Pak’s victory in 1998 that inspired a new generation of champions, the Women’s Open Timeline chronicles the championship’s history and impact since its founding in 1946.


On what would have been championship Sunday (June 7), Fox Sports will replay on FS1 at 6 p.m. EDT In Gee Chun’s 2015 U.S. Women’s Open victory, which took place in front of a record-setting crowd at Lancaster (Pa.) Country Club.

  • Sunday, June 7: 2015 U.S. Women’s Open at Lancaster Country Club, In Gee Chun (champion)

Golf Channel will also air several classic championship final rounds from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. EDT during the originally scheduled championship week, including:

  • Thursday, June 4: 2007 U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club, Cristie Kerr (champion)
  • Friday, June 5: 2010 U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont Country Club, Paula Creamer (champion)
  • Saturday, June 6: 2011 U.S. Women’s Open at The Broadmoor, So Yeon Ryu (champion)
  • Sunday, June 7: 2014 U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst Resort & Country Club, Michelle Wie (champion)

A Reunion of Champions that was scheduled for June at Champions Golf Club has been postponed and will now take place during the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco due to travel and safety uncertainties surrounding COVID-19. The event will bring together many of the 43 living champions for the first time since 2014. In addition to private reunion events, champions will engage with fans, media and viewers throughout the week of the championship (June 1-6), including serving as honorary starters, appearing in Fox broadcasts and on USGA channels, as well as participating in special fan events, including autograph signings.

One notable former champion who will be missing from the event is Mickey Wright, who passed away in February at age 85. The four-time U.S. Women’s Open champion was the first player to win consecutive titles and was a staunch supporter of the USGA and a tireless advocate for women’s golf. The 2020 U.S. Women’s Open will mark the first year that the champion’s medal is named in Wright’s honor, as announced by the USGA in February.

The association’s celebration of the 75th U.S. Women’s Open will ramp up beginning Saturday, Sept. 26 with a 75-Day Countdown to the championship. Throughout the countdown, unique and never-before-seen content from all 74 previous U.S. Women’s Opens will be available to fans at and on @USWomensOpen social media channels.

The U.S. Women’s Open has been at the forefront of women’s golf since its inception in 1946. In the inaugural championship, Patty Berg defeated Betty Jameson to capture the title at Spokane (Wash.) Country Club. That thrilling outcome set the stage for a championship that continues to advance women’s golf while impacting the game around the world.

Conducted by the USGA beginning in 1953, the championship is the oldest event open to women professional and amateur golfers. Amateurs as young as 11 years old have competed in the storied event, but the lone amateur win came in 1967 from Catherine Lacoste of France.

Prior to 1987, three international players earned U.S. Women’s Open victories, but the playoff win by England’s Laura Davies that year marked the true beginning of the championship as a global affair. Since then, there have been 18 championships won by international players, including Se Ri Pak’s 1998 victory that truly changed the face of the game and brought unprecedented attention to the sport in countries throughout Asia.

For more information, visit

Justin Riegel, PGA Director of Golf at Philmont C.C., Passes Away in Tragic Accident



Everyone at the PGA of America was incredibly saddened to learn of the tragic passing of PGA Professional Justin Riegel.
Riegel passed away Wednesday afternoon in a tragic accident at Philmont Country Club in Huntington Valley, Pennsylvania.

We ask that you consider donating to assist his family during this difficult time. Learn more here.