Cape Gazette
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Golf

More Cape connections at the PGA Merchandise Show

By Fritz Schranck | Feb 14, 2014

This year's Senior British Open will be held in late July at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club in Wales. The Welsh tourism folks naturally had a dedicated stall at the PGA Merchandise Show in late January, highlighting the upcoming championship and other golf tourism opportunities.

This year is also the 10th anniversary of Rookery Golf pro Pete Oakley's triumph in the Senior British Open. I mentioned that fact to one of the Welshmen staffing the booth, while noting Oakley’s local connection with the Cape Region. He said, “Wait here.”

Shortly thereafter I had a very pleasant conversation with John Wolstenholme. He was at the same stall, promoting the Royal St. David's Golf Club in Harlech, North Wales. This course hosted several professional tournaments, and Wolstenhome fondly recalled the play of not only Pete, but also his late brother David.

Pete Oakley confirmed Wolstenholme’s account when I caught up to him later, including the fact that Wolstenholme’s friend Terry Adamson caddied for David during the 2004 Wales Senior Open at Royal St. David’s.

“My brother Dave played great in that tournament. He lost on the last hole when Ray Carassco made a 60-foot putt, and came in second,” Oakley said.

Pete also played well that week, finishing in a tie for eighth place, and earning almost 20,000 Euros. “That was a very good week for the Oakleys,” he said. Six weeks later, Pete had his own triumph at the Senior Open.

Royal St. David's is now seeking international members, which includes reciprocal privileges at other Royal courses all over the world for $480. For more information, go to www.royalstdavids.co.uk. For information about other Wales golf options, go to walesgolfvacations.com.

Josh Trexler is from Maryland, but now makes his home in Missoula, Mont., as marketing and sales assistant for golf cart maker Sun Mountain Golf. Missoula has some parallels with the Cape Region in that it has a strong tourism base, but difficulty expanding job opportunities in other areas. Sun Mountain's golf cart business, focused on its familiar three-wheeled options, is a real boost to the western Montana economy - and the carts are also very popular in the Cape Region.

Philadelphians Stephen Heck and Jason Rocker handled the crowd at a booth for the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Group. The two men work for Braithwaite Communications, the PR firm representing five top golf companies (Acushnet, Callaway, Odyssey, PING and TaylorMade-Adidas Golf) that make up the group.

Fakes present a long-standing challenge in the golf industry, not only with clubs, but also apparel and even golf balls. The group's booth featured some remarkable examples of each, as part of an awareness and education effort. The group has also succeeded in shutting down several counterfeit operations in China, where most equipment fakes originate, but this is a never-ending task.

Heck repeated the group's mantra, "If the price looks too good to be true, it most likely is," and referred those interested to the website, www.keepgolfreal.com.

If you've ever played a charity golf tournament that offered a new car as a hole-in-one prize, a specialized insurance company was most likely involved in the background. Terry Ulleseit is the vice president of Hole-In-One U.S.A. of Reno, Nev. His company markets hole-in-one insurance to both golf clubs and the companies putting up the prizes, be it a new car or some other high-priced item.

To price out their premium for an event, the company takes into account the par-3 yardage to be used, the number of likely players and the prize value. The minimum yardage is 135 yards, for which the odds of a hole-in-one are 1 in 10,000. Those odds increase to 1 in 15,000 for par-3s longer than 165 yards, and so do the premiums, which can run about $500 per event.

Ulleseit said his next stop after the PGA Show was the National Automobile Dealers convention. Those folks make up a large part of his customer base. And with thousands of golf tournaments held each year, those $250 and $500 premiums add up nicely.

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