Golf News Roundup For November 3, 2020
Among the golf news stories that have come in through my email: Callway and Topgolf merge; Honma TR20V is recognized; Diamond Resorts Extends LPGA Agreement; Renovations At Sea Pines; Deals at Pinehurst
Callaway and Topgolf to Combine
On October 27, Callaway (NYSE: ELY) and Topgolf Entertainment Group (“Topgolf”) announced that the companies have agreed to merge. Under the terms of the agreement, Callaway and Topgolf will combine in an all-stock transaction. The number of shares to be issued is based upon an implied equity value of Topgolf of approximately $2 billion, including the 14% already owned by Callaway.
Callaway first invested in Topgolf in 2006, and the companies have maintained a strong partnership since, including an exclusive golf partnership agreement at all Topgolf venues. Topgolf has achieved rapid growth and strong customer engagement since its founding in 2000, driven by several platforms, including:
- Venues – The company’s signature platform defined by its immersive gameplay, proprietary technology and local, high-quality food and beverage offers a unique social destination for all. With its open-air, climate-controlled bays, Topgolf venues are structurally advantaged to benefit from consumer preferences for outdoor activities. Topgolf has 63 locations around the globe – including a robust pipeline of new openings – serving more than 23 million guests in 2019 with more than 50% of consumers identifying as non-golfers.
- Toptracer – A leading ball-tracing technology best known for transforming televised golf is now being brought directly to everyday golf. By bringing professional tracing technology to mobile devices and driving ranges, Topgolf is enhancing the golf experience. The technology has been deployed to more than 7,500 range bays in three years (representing approximately one percent penetration of the total addressable market). This business unit has achieved revenue growth of 233% in the past three years.
- Media – With World Golf Tour, a leading mobile golf game with 28 million members as of 2019, Topgolf has built a strong digital presence in the game of golf. The company’s proprietary, in-house gaming capabilities also create innovative sponsorship and consumer engagement opportunities throughout Topgolf’s community of players competing across the company’s interconnected digital and in-person platforms.
Honma’s TR20V Iron Named “Most Wanted Player’s Iron” in MyGolfSpy Testing
CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA – In its well-read “2020 Most Wanted” testing, popular golf website MyGolfSpy.com has named Honma’s TR20V irons its Most Wanted Player’s Irons – singling out the irons as the test’s leader in Strokes Gained for mid and long irons and among the leaders in Total Distance. MyGolfSpy’s report is a completely unbiased and independent compilation encompassing 17 player’s iron models from all of the major manufacturers, 240 hours of research and 16,320 shots struck. For more, visit https://us.honmagolf.com .
Diamond Resorts Announces 3-Year Extension with the LPGA and the 2021 Tournament of Champions
The LPGA’s Champions-Only Tournament Will Open the 2021 Season, January 21-24 in Orlando
ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 29, 2020 – Diamond Resorts®, a global leader in the hospitality, vacation ownership and entertainment industries, announces a 3-year contract extension with the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) to host the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions through 2024.
The Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions will return to Tranquilo Golf Course at Four Seasons Golf and Sports Club Orlando from January 21-24, 2021.
“What started as a wild idea has now become a truly special tournament that players and fans look forward to year in and year out, and we are honored to continue partnering with the LPGA to host this unforgettable event,” said Mike Flaskey, Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Resorts. “Spectators are a vital part of our electric tournament atmosphere, and we’re thrilled to safely welcome fans to Orlando this January to cheer on the world’s best LPGA and celebrity golfers.”
The Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions captured the golf world’s imagination when it began in January 2019 with a unique format combining LPGA Tour winners alongside notable celebrities. Gaby Lopez of Mexico claimed the 2020 Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions professional title, while Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz claimed his second consecutive win in the celebrity division. Smoltz will return for a shot at his third championship title at the 2021 event this January.
This year will once again play host to nearly 50 celebrity golfers, including country music artist and songwriter Lee Brice, “Narcos: Mexico” actor Michael Peña, former star of ABC’s “The Bachelor,” Ben Higgins, former MLB pitcher Roger Clemens and comedian and actor Larry the Cable Guy. Past celebrity participants have included superstars from entertainment and all major sports, including Jerry Rice, Brian Urlacher, Marcus Allen, Justin Verlander, Ray Allen, Grant Hill, Toby Keith, Alfonso Ribeiro and more.
Phil Smith to Renovate Sea Pines Country Club Golf Course
Sea Pines Country Club approved a two-phase enhancement plan for its “Club Course,” including an expanded practice facility, new short-game area and complete re-grassing of all tees, greens and fairways.
Golf course architect Phil Smith is leading the project alongside General Manager/Chief Operating Officer Robbie Ames and Golf Course Superintendent Tom Metzger. Jacksonville, Florida-based MacCurrach Golf will oversee shaping and construction.
Fairways and tees will be re-sprigged with Celebration Bermuda grass, the Tour-caliber turf used at neighboring Sea Pines Resort on RBC Heritage host course Harbour Town Golf Links. Greens will be sprigged with TifEagle Bermuda grass and putting surfaces restored to their original size, allowing for additional pin placements and improved approach shot receptivity.
The full news release is available at Morning Read.
“Evergreen” Rates at Pinehurst Resort
The November shoulder season, and December through February “off-season” at Pinehurst is an extended, value-laden period (potential frost delays notwithstanding). Rates on golf packages like the ever-popular Donald Ross drop about 40% in November and more than 50% through the winter.
Golfers can book a two-night stay in the recently renovated Manor Inn, three rounds of golf on any of the resort’s nine golf courses and enjoy Pinehurst’s famous Southern breakfast and a three-course dinner each night starting at $924 as of Oct. 29, and $673 as of Nov. 29. There’s a surcharge for playing No. 2, but if you’re on a budget and want to stick to the package as is, you can still enjoy premium tracks like No. 4, No. 8 and No. 9.