I wasn't 100% sure what the proper forum topic discussion this should have ended up in, but this "Tour Talk and Debate" section seemed like a pretty good landing spot. And I figure you forum moderators would move it somewhere else or link it somewhere else if it is in the wrong place.
Anyway, I watched the bonus episode of NoPuttsGiven where the guys and Anya discussed Hank Haney, the LPGA, and the game of golf as it relates to women, and I thought it was pretty interesting. Obviously not all arguments, points etc. could be covered in a single episode without the risk of it lasting for about 300 hours and eclipsing the 1 hour max attention span people have these days, but a couple of interesting points were made during the episode that got me thinking about some various things.
1. I think in general, all professional women's sports in the US all suffer from the same issues that women's golf suffers from, which is a lack of exposure, with the exception of maybe tennis. One thing that I find interesting is that women's basketball may be the most well known, but in my opinion the "Rickie Fowler" -type athletes (marketable, relatable, etc.) are actually more well known and have more exposure during their time in college than when they hit the professional ranks. For example, Candace Parker was all over Sportscenter, news articles, etc. when she was dominating at Tennessee, but once she made it to the WNBA, she pretty much became a ghost, even though she was still dominating that league (Rookie of the Year, 2X MVP, Finals MVP, WNBA Champion). I don't think there are any other instances where an athlete moves on to the next level, continues to dominate, but effectively becomes more unknown. Also, this is an another example of how the NCAA takes advantage of college athletes stardom (even more so than for males) but that is another argument for another forum.
2. I think the PGA and LPGA need to do something similar to what the NHL did this past year during All-Star Weekend. I am not a fan of the all-star games, but I did like that four women got the chance to do the demonstration of the competition (at least some exposure), and one actually got to compete in the event as an injury replacement. The one athlete actually had the best time or was just off the best time for the passing skill competition, so she would have finished right at the top of that competition, which is crazy. Was that enough, probably not, but at least it was a way that the women got good exposure. So for the LPGA and PGA, maybe it is a team tournament, like the Zurich Classic, but instead of two PGA members, the teams have to be made of one PGA member and one LPGA member. Or maybe it is something a little more gimmicky, like an all-star game where there are different skill competitions that both tours compete in, similar to that"Big Break" show that used to be on the golf channel, where it can be PGA vs LPGA or something like that. Although the long ball is sexy, I think seeing pros compete on things like bunker shots, bending shots around obstacles, team speed golf, etc. where length doesn't come into play would be interesting and fun to watch and be an easy way for the women to get a little more exposure. Or maybe it is a PGA/LPGA rider cup type thing at the end of each season, who knows. But I do think the Zurich Classic is a prime for a quick place to make an easy and quick adjustment to make something happen.
3. Even though you guys don't take ad dollars from anyone since you are believe in letting the data speak for itself, MyGolfSpy does have a huge level of pull in the golf marketing industry. How do I know that - companies go around throwing the "My Golf Spy Most Wanted Winner" spot in their advertisements now, whether in print or on TV. So even though you guys had the discussion on the episode, and even with Anya in the fold on the team, I think there may be some more that you guys could do to help grow the LPGA game using some of that clout you have gained. For example, there is the Wilson Slam contest that you guys have run for the majors. But what if the contest was done for the LPGA majors instead of the PGA majors? I don't care if it is men's golf or women's golf, if free golf swag is available, I am entering the contest and doing a little research on the various women to try and win (and no, I wouldn't take the Hank Haney approach and pick anyone with the last name "Lee" and then boast and say that was based on facts and research...) Or maybe it is starting a LPGA fantasy golf league. I think Fantasy sports drives a lot of interest in the men's professional sports, and even though golf doesn't have the same following as football or baseball, people do play it. And since you guys are data-nerds (I mean that in a good way), I am sure you could find some more interesting ways to calculate scoring than just lowest score. And maybe that would solve the data number issue mentioned in the podcast - MyGolfSpy could become the new keeper of advanced analytics for women's golf, since it apparently isn't readily available. And last note, maybe you guys should think about changing the forum grouping as well, where you have the PGA tour separated one option and then "all other tours" as the other. Maybe the LPGA should have its own forum instead of getting lost in the catch all, or maybe it just gets thrown in the PGA forum, and the names of the forums are changed to "Professional Tours" and "Minor Tours" or something like that. Either way, grouping the LPGA into catch all purgatory isn't a good look if you want to try and do what you guys can to expand interest into the women's tour.
4. Has MGS ever thought about sponsoring an LPGA pro? Maybe it isn't the same type of endorsement deal as a standard (and I know, the episode talked about women getting screwed on the endorsement side of things because a lot of businesses find them to be a sunk cost dollar burner, so this wouldn't fix that problem), but maybe someone starts to follow said LPGA tour pro because she is wearing a MGS hat or has MGS headcovers on her bag, etc. So maybe it isn't the dollars or something like that you provide, but she gets some free MGS gear, and she gets to come and use your guys data laboratory for training/data analysis, where you guys can run some more advanced analytics for her. So she doesn't necessarily get paid, but she can get some free sway and access to high class tools, which saves her some money on some other things she spends on for her career. Saving money and cutting costs in one area is a lot like making money, that's all I am saying.
4. Building off of #3 and covering the free marketing of tour professionals, maybe all of us in the forums can provide that free marketing that LPGA stars don't have. My social media game is pretty lame, but I am pretty sure there are forum members that have some social media sway powers that could drop a few # or @ on twitter to tag some LPGA players, articles, etc. Or maybe it is the forum that creates some type of LPGA fantasy league that catches on and becomes big, helping promote LPGA golfers. Maybe the MGS forum is the tipping point that the LPGA needs to get to the next level!
I could keep going, but I think I have past the point where people are still reading this post and actually engaged, but I would be interested to see what other ideas or thoughts you other forum participants have. And if you haven't watched the bonus episode of No Putts given covering this topic, that would probably be a good place to start.
LAMKIN GRIPS ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP WITH WOMEN'S PGA CHAMPION DANIELLE KANG
SAN DIEGO, 01 August 2018â€“ Lamkin Corporation â€“ the original manufacturer of premium golf grips - is very proud to announce Danielle Kang, the winner of the 2017 Women's PGA Championship, as their new LPGA brand ambassador and the company's first female spokesperson.
Upon signing the new multi-year agreement, Kang commented on working with the Lamkin team to create her own customized grips, â€œI've really enjoyed the process of testing and refining my grip selection with Lamkin. It's a privilege to work with a company that is so committed to developing new grip innovations and groundbreaking technologies. With such a wide assortment of grip materials, surface patterns and sizes, even the most discriminating golfers can find a Lamkin grip that's perfectly suited to their game.â€
In addition to playing with Lamkin grips, Kang will provide valuable player testing, product development feedback and appear in upcoming Lamkin Grips' advertising and promotional campaigns in the United States and in key international markets. Lamkin is also working closely with Kang on a signature line of golf grips incorporating the company's patent-pending GENESIS material and new FINGERPRINT TECHNOLOGY.
Bob Lamkin, CEO and President of Lamkin Grips, shares Kang's enthusiasm for the new partnership and the company's growing presence on the LPGA Tour, â€œDanielle is an exceptional athlete who is at the forefront of a new generation of players making the LPGA Tour one of the most entertaining places to watch golf. Since Danielle moved into the spotlight after her Major win, she has handled herself with tremendous confidence and poise. I am extremely proud of this new partnership and look forward to Danielle representing the Lamkin brand to golf enthusiasts around the world.â€
Throughout the upcoming season and in 2019, Kang will be highlighted in various Lamkin marketing and social media campaigns as well as swinging the company's grips in the world's biggest Women's golf events.
More information: www.Lamkingrips.com Get social: @LamkinGrips.
ABOUT LAMKIN GRIPS
Lamkin Grips' golf heritage dates back to 1925 when founder Elver B. Lamkin began manufacturing golf's first leather grips. Today, the family-owned business delivers the industry's widest assortment of performance-enhancing golf grips that continue to earn loyal customers worldwide. Through their ongoing dedication to unequaled product quality and service support, Lamkin Grips is passionately committed to connecting golfers to a more confident, consistent and enjoyable game.
For how long has "demand" been a rating category in Golf Digest's Hot List? The 2016 list is absurd. All the "demand" stars go to the largest brands, which make the difference between gold and silver in aggregate.
I'm sorry if I am repeating what everyone already complains about here but this is my first hot list as a MGS member and am curious what the community thinks about this.
Also, I'm pretty sure I'veread every single comment about every single club this year, and NONE of them were negative, none. Some were more positive than others, but every tester liked every club? Come on....
Okay, so that headline is a little sensationalized ... but it is pretty crazy (and at the same time very sane) for a 17-year old at the top of her professional sport, which she gets paid very handsomely to compete in, to be planning for her exit from the sport.
[Emily Kay, SB Nation]
Lydia Ko may be just 17 and on top of the golf world as the youngest player of either gender to reach the No. 1 ranking, but the teenager is already making plans to become a psychologist when she retires at 30.
Preparing for Thursday's first round of the Women's Australian Open, Ko talked with reporters about working toward an online psychology degree while competing for major titles. For sure, the 2014 LPGA Rookie of the Year won't just kick back and watch her investments grow when she hangs up her spikes some 13 years from now.
"I always say my plan is to retire when I'm 30 so I'm not just going to go to the beach and hang out for the rest of my life," Ko said at Royal Melbourne, where she'll face defending champ Karrie Webb and 18-year-old reigning Australian Ladies Masters winner Su Oh in the first two rounds. "There's always a second career that comes along with it and I'm trying to build up towards it and, because I'm playing a sport, psychology links well with it."
Webb, a five-time Aussie Open winner, hit the gym during the offseason, which is something she did not have to do so much when she was younger.
"It definitely makes you feel old when your rookie year was before they were born," the 40-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer said of her two opening-round playing partners. "When we're competing against one another I don't really see age as a problem or a difference. We all have the same goal, which is to get the white ball in the hole."
With plans to begin studies at Korea University next month, Ko conceded that balancing work and school would be a challenge. Michelle Wie, a teen phenom years before Ko exploded on the scene, certainly found it so and took heat for letting college interfere with her game.
"I have some big textbooks that I need to read," said the fan of psychological thrillers on TV. "It's going to be tough to juggle both things at the same time."
While she expects that some of what she will study to be of little immediate use to her game, other aspects could help her become an even better golfer, which has to be somewhat frightening for her opponents. Ko has won eight professional tournaments worldwide and never missed a cut on the LPGA Tour.
"I'm sure when I go to sports psychology or treatment, that's the part that will help me, but testing rats or whatever I'm sure that's not going to help me," said Ko. "But I think it's going to be fun. I like to watch like Criminal Minds and stuff like that so maybe it'll help me figure out what they're thinking."
Okay, so she has 13 years to really make sure that retirement is the right decision. If it were me I would be simply enjoying professional golf while I could. There are no guarantees, and while that is exactly the reason you might want to have a back-up plan, she's in a position that if things went horribly wrong on tour for some reason, she has enough in the bank already to ensure that she could take the time required to carve out an alternate career... I just think this will be an unnecessary distraction at this point - but it's her life, and have to give her kudos for being so level-headed.
BTW - she won the ISPS Womens Australian Open on Sunday.