Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wie versus Sorenstam: which brand would you buy? Extreme golf experiences, Rich Beem's sand-trap easy out and old vs new golf balls

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Branding a product is supposed to personify the qualities inherent in the celebrity whose name is on the package. Tiger Woods' name, for example, has been chosen not only because he is a champion but because he is credible, likeable and probably the most visible person on the planet. Woods basically embodies all of the most sincere qualities of golf while, at the same time, adding a youthful "hip-ness" to any product he endorses.

Annika Sorenstam, although presently retired from golf and expecting a child, has decided to remain in the public eye by 'capturing her essence' in products from wine to perfume, all prominently displaying the moniker "Annika". "The scent will particularly appeal to golf enthusiasts, career-minded professionals and active, fashion-forward women," mentioned a press release. "Like Annika, the fragrance will be casually elegant and unpretentious."

Sorenstam will be celebrated this week by the Golf Channel, which will include highlights of her illustrious career.

Michelle Wie is now interested in branding herself as opposed to her early career in which Sony, Nike and Omega took advantage of her celebrity in order to advertise their products. These contracts are ending soon and the way Wie's LPGA career has been wavering, those winnings may not be enough to sustain her!

If Michelle becomes her own brand, would you be comfortable buying a product endorsed by her even if she's never been a champion within her own sport?

Popularity seems to be winning out over achievement. Name and face recognition may be all that Michelle Wie needs to succeed. As long as magazines like "Time" consider her to be a person who "shapes the world" her "brand" will be triumphant.




Golf for Beginners also discusses extreme golf travel experiences throughout the world, ranging from a $1 million dollar golf hole off of a mountaintop in South Africa where the only way to get to the teebox is by helicopter to a crocodile-guarded water-hazard in which you can play it safe or take your chances. Which would you do?

We also include a sand trap visualization tip from Callaway Golf staff professional Rich Beem and a few thoughts on why picking up that golf ball you find in the woods may not be such a great idea!

Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

Subscribe to our weekly podcast through this RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/golfforbeginners or through iTunes. Click Here to receive our archived podcasts and 100's of easy golf tips free!


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"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by MyrtleBeachGolf.com, 866-409-2177.

Photo Credit: The Scented Salamander, Theworsthorse.com


Credit: YourGolfTravel.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tiger Woods taking a lesson from Michelle Wie, Sorenstam delivers, golf tips from Leadbetter and Rick Smith

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Michelle Wie reportedly received $700,000 in appearance fees to attend the Asian Tour's 2006 SK Telecom Open. Tiger Woods' bonus for showing up at the Australian Masters will top the $3 million mark with the state government footing half of the bill! Are appearance fees a good idea and can they help fuel a weakened economy?

Crowds no doubt swarm to an event where Tiger Woods is in the mix. A report from Ernst and Young stated that an estimated "10-20,000 overseas and interstate visitors would travel to the southern city to see Woods." That translates into over $19 million dollars in income for Australia! This is a win-win situation for the Masters but the Open, which plays only two weeks later, will probably suffer with a lax in funding and attendance.

Endorsement deals are lining pockets but, in the future, will larger-than-life players require appearance fees before even deciding to play? Phil Mickelson's presence at the Barclays in Singapore grossed him seven figures, Michelle Wie is said to have received over $20 million in just one season and, although fees for LPGA golfers are far less than their male counterparts, Annika Sorenstam earned over $12 million off-course and champions like Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis are known to travel to events on private jets.

In this new media age, you can even "rent" your very own sports personality right off of the internet! Procurement agencies such as Mastergolf.com claim to be able to "turn events into sold-out standing room only spectacles". Gulbis is said to command a mere $18-38,000, Nancy Lopez' fee is over $35k and Crenshaw and Couples top out at over $65,000 each.

Although no blame is to be exacted in this column, one of the earliest golfers paving the road with appearance fees could be tracked down to Greg Norman who, as far back as the mid-nineties, is said to have commanded honorarium upwards of $200,000 and fuel for his private jet.

Top golfers are now considered celebrities and are basically being paid to perform. Whether they win or lose, they are still the draw that bring fans, and their dollars, out to the courses. So I ask, is it better to be Tiger Woods who happily accepts, and seeks out, appearance fees or Lorena Ochoa who, according to her brother and manager, is "not the kind of girl who's looking for options to be on TV or in magazine articles,” but "just wants to be the number one player in the world."




Also, on this week's Golf for Beginners show, Barry and I offer several swing drills. One assist comes from the David Leadbetter Academy which can help set your hand position in your backswing and the other drill comes from Rick Smith whose drill will help increase your accuracy!

We also talk about Annika Sorenstam's two big announcements and their effect upon the LPGA Tour!


Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

Subscribe to our weekly podcast through this RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/golfforbeginners or through iTunes. Click Here to receive our archived podcasts and 100's of easy golf tips free!


Get to know us on You Tube and MySpace and TWEET US on Twitter!

"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by ResortsGolfandSpa.com, 866-643-6078.


Photo Credit: © GameLife

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wie joins Woods in media circus, Tiger hated by Esquire writer, golf ball trivia, Taylor Made Adidas golf shoes

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Step right up! The circus is in town and is performing at a golf course near you! Watch as Henrik Stenson performs his schluoss to the delight of sighing maidens. Be mystified as IMG jumps through hoops to insure maximum visibility for Michelle Wie! Delight as unimaginable trick shots made by Phil Mickelson inspire awe!

For the piece de resistance, you might even catch Tiger Woods juggling golf balls just before the Masters Tournament!

Ringling Brothers Circus claims to be "The Greatest Show on Earth" but both the PGA and LPGA Tour players are stepping up efforts to entertain in addition to playing golf just for the "sport" of it.

"Golfers" are now being renamed "stars", NBC News sent a reporter to cover Woods' return and, according to Bob Verdi, "the gathering of writers, broadcasters, and photographers around Tiger was substantial." Even sponsors such as Northern Trust are jumping on the bandwagon, creating a more carnival gala within their sponsorships by integrating the world of entertainment with golf.

Certain LPGA golfers have struck out on their own, searching for popularity through alternative means. Natalie Gulbis is a headliner on Celebrity Apprentice, Michelle Wie is now the new media darling of IMG, whose clients include Woods, Sorenstam, Creamer and Pressel and let's not forget the introduction of the Wilhelmina 7!

The Golf Channel and J Golf (Korea) have also joined forces with the LPGA, envisioning a merge of talent and sport. Carolyn Bivens mentioned, "JBC provides the LPGA with a progressive, creative partner prepared to showcase our golfers and tournaments across an array of platforms."

But are the Tours drawing the attention or are professional golfers yearning to step out of anonymity to become more relevant?





Golf for Beginners offers up some golf ball trivia this week with the help of David Feherty and talks about new golf shoes available from Taylor-Made Adidas which can actually help improve the distance of your shots!

We also wonder if Chris Jones from Esquire magazine has any validity in his hatred toward Tiger Woods.


Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

Subscribe to our weekly podcast through this RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/golfforbeginners or through iTunes. Click Here to receive our archived podcasts and 100's of easy golf tips free!


Get to know us on You Tube and MySpace and TWEET US on Twitter!

"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by Arizona Golf Packages, 1-866-444-0992.


Photo Credit: © Inside the Mind of a GeeC

Friday, March 13, 2009

Henrik Stenson strips at Doral. Was the bogey really worth it?

Swedish statesman and UN official Dag Hammarskjold once said, "There is a point at which everything becomes simple and there is no longer any question of choice, because all you have staked will be lost if you look back."

One could maintain that the choice to strip to his "Bjorn Borg's" was a no-brainer for Henrik Stenson after his golf ball got stuck in the mud at Doral during the WGC-CA Championship. Earlier in the season, at the Dubai Desert Classic, Stenson was in a similar predicament but remained clothed and wound up covered in mud for the rest of the round.

Aside from his "jocks", the only other bit of "clothing" Stenson kept on was his golf glove. "Shirt, trousers, socks, shoes, hat, the lot was off." After making his shot, Henrik cleaned up with the help of his caddie, grabbed his gear and hastily redressed.

"If you are saving a shot, that has to be worth taking your shirt and trousers," the Swede mentioned after his very entertaining bogey was salvaged. With Tiger Woods in the field this week, each stroke on the card could mean the difference between second place and a win.

Come to think of it, do you think we would ever see Woods stripping for the sake of a mud ball or does Tiger's bag come equipped with an extra shirt and pants for such an emergency?

I don't think the girls minded much either except for the fact that Stenson could use a little more time in the sun!

Anything in the Book of Rules about this wardrobe breakdown?




Photo Credit: Kyle Auclair/Getty Images



Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@worldgolf.com.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Can Superhero Natalie Gulbis come to the rescue of her LPGA career?

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Natalie Gulbis seeks stardom but when in the spotlight rarely puts on more than a mediocre performance. Between her lackluster appearance on Celebrity Apprentice and her recent slip in Rolex Rankings, it doesn't look like Gulbis is more than a passing fancy in the eyes of the camera. In other words, just because you don a superhero costume doesn't necessarily mean you are imbued with extraordinary abilities!

Although Gulbis initially accepted Donald Trump's challenge, she has stayed incognito, waiting for Joan Rivers to thrust her into the spotlight and urge her to wear a superhero costume which Natalie mentioned looked like a cross between "Halloween and a stripper" (Rivers must have seen the Calendar). Perhaps it's better for Natalie to lurk because when she spoke to both Trump and the CEO of Zappos.com, she nearly blew the win for her team!

As far as her appearances on the LPGA Tour, Gulbis makes for a pretty picture but, to date, has not become much of a standout performer. She has only one LPGA win to her credit (2007 Evian Masters) and, in her first three events this year, Natalie has dropped to 37th place in the Rolex Rankings. Her coach, Butch Harmon, has been quoted as saying that Gulbis is longer and stronger than ever but, coming off of a back injury, only time will tell if this will be her breakout year.

Does the LPGA need another above-average golfer or should they promote the package "Gulbis", who can deliver the sex appeal needed to take the LPGA to the next level? Ty Votaw once used Gulbis' appeal for his "Five Points of Celebrity" campaign but that idea was scrapped as soon as Bivens took the helm. Michelle Wie is now the hope of the LPGA Tour and has been dangled like a carrot on the end of a stick to attract partners like the Golf Channel who will be using Wie's picture to highlight the Tour.

Perhaps Natalie will show this year, both on the Apprentice and on the golf course, that there is more than meets the eye and claim her rightful place in the spotlight.



In this week's Golf for Beginners show, it's all about the women! We wonder if fat-bottoms are solely for the ladies, consider why more women don't play the game, have a heated man/woman debate about Golf Datatech's women's market survey and offer a golf tip from Butch Harmon on how to balance when hitting a chip shot.

Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

Subscribe to our weekly podcast through this RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/golfforbeginners or through iTunes. Click Here to receive our archived podcasts and 100's of easy golf tips free!


Get to know us on You Tube and MySpace and TWEET US on Twitter!

"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by ResortsGolfandSpa.com, 866-643-6078.

Photo Credit: © Twitpic.com

Monday, March 02, 2009

Phil Mickelson wins bailout money, Ogilvy swaps golf ball mid-hole and match play philosophy

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Until the recent flood of bank bailouts occurred, I'm not sure that the masses knew, or really cared, what financial institutions did with customer funds, so long as the economy was secure. So, in a sense, good came from this massive overhaul as disclosure helped open the eyes of the world to the vast waste and appetence that banks have kept hidden under their veils of secrecy.

TMZ recently educated viewers on one such bank, Northern Trust, which spent millions of dollars on the sponsorship and advertising related to it's same-named tournament. Extravagant parties were thrown for hundreds of clients and employees of the company and although local hotels, businesses, entertainers and even tournament winner Phil Mickelson received benefit from the outpouring of capital, it hardly helped put the economy back on track.

According to TMZ, a Northern Trust representative stated that operating funds were utilized, not bailout dollars. Of course, that logic seems skewed because once bailout was accepted by the bank, it became a part of their total assets. Today it was reported that Northern Trust will repay the $1.6 billion loan but wouldn't it have been more forthright had they done that without being pressured by lawmakers?

Rich Gotham, president of the Boston Celtics, believes that the visibility of funds became heightened with the New York Mets naming rights deal that surrounded Citi Field. "While Citi is crashing and the government is bailing them out [with $45 billion in TARP funding] this all wouldn’t be so topical. The reality is that banks still want to do sports marketing, but right now there’s a stigma associated with it and there may be for some time."

The exposure of both CitiBank and Northern Trust is now forcibly paving the way for other financial institutions to reassess the way bailout funds are spent.

Morgan Stanley, who received $10 billion in rescue funds, has stated that they are canceling client entertainment venues at the Memorial Tournament. The Wachovia Championship is also tightening its belt, so claims parent company Wells Fargo but no rumblings have been heard from Merrill Lynch whose "Shootout" is still on schedule at Tiburon Golf Club in Naples, Florida.

Mark Ingall, Director of global marketing for Citibank believes that the average citizen may be too simple-minded to understand that marketing takes many forms, "from telemarketing to hospitality at a major sporting event" and that banks such as Citi, "Don’t look at [naming rights] as just slapping our name on something. We look at sports as a powerful and tangible way to connect with [business-to-business] and consumer customers, current and prospective.”

Representative Barney Frank (one of the perpetrators of the mortgage market collapse) has an opposing view, and one with which I agree which questions whether, " … anybody has ever opened a bank account or decided to buy a CD because a bank’s name is on the stadium."

Financial institutions should be using funds for the growth of small business and the resurgence of our nation's economy. Where it is still a good idea to market to sports enthusiasts, the gluttinous attitude adopted by the powers-that-be who live in their ivory towers should realize that incoming funds should be rerouted to jumpstart the economy, not to fund thrill-seeking jaunts and lavish parties.

Golf for Beginners also discusses Geoff Ogilvy's use of the Rules of Golf to his advantage when faced with a thorny cactus bush and we offer our listeners a few tips on how to play match-play to their advantage.







Send your golf questions and comments to golfforbeginners@aol.com.

Subscribe to our weekly podcast through this RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/golfforbeginners or through iTunes. Click Here to receive our archived podcasts and 100's of easy golf tips free!

Get to know us on You Tube and MySpace and TWEET US on Twitter!

"Shiny Tech" courtesy of Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)"

This podcast is supported by Arizona Golf Packages, 1-866-444-0992.

Photo Credit: © Bartblog.com/Cartoon: Stuart Carlson

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