Let us explain the 15″ cup

I’d like to take this opportunity to address some questions and what we believe some possible confusion surrounding the 15″ Cup initiative.

First let me address some history and how we (Par Aide) are involved. The 15″ Cup was the brainchild of Taylor Made and came to life via a project they are calling “Hack Golf”. This is a project designed around growing the game of golf. Hack Golf is an open forum for people to comment and give thoughts/ideas on ways to grow the game…that has been steadily declining. Golf is losing golfers, rounds are down, revenue is down to facilities and courses are closing and are projected to continue to close in the US at a staggering rate over the next 10 years. We need to look outside the box and think of different ways to grow the game and this idea is just one of them. Taylor Made announced their investment in this project at the 2014 PGA Show and approached Par Aide to partner with them in production of the cup, hole cutter, flag sticks, flags and tee markers. A kick off event was held at Reynolds Plantation on the Monday after The Masters where sports writers from across the country were introduced to the 15″ Cup idea. Since then, many articles have been written about that event and the 15″ Cup.
This is where we see some of the confusion happening as many of these commentaries have missed the mark. The 15″ Cup is NOT designed to replace a regulation cup. It is not meant to be used in normal everyday play for an avid golfer. It is not something anyone is trying to promote to change the integrity of the game. It is meant to be just one more idea to attract beginners, kids, etc to the game. Its hard to argue that the game of golf, that we are all deeply invested in, needs to find ways to grow. Attract new golfers. Increase rounds. Increase revenue. Again, In no way, shape or form is the 15″ cup meant to replace a regulation cup, rather, the thought is that it could be used in conjunction with a regulation cup to offer beginners a different target to putt to. Think of it like tee ball for baseball. Lowering the rim and using a smaller ball for basketball. Bumpers for bowling. Or any other sport that makes modifications to attract beginners and make the game easier and less intimidating for them. Other than shorter clubs and Jr. Tees, golf is not doing much to make an extremely difficult game easier, less intimidating and more inviting for say a 6 year old.

Will the 15″ Cup be for every club? Of course not. And Mark King, CEO of Taylor Made, who has committed $5 million to growing the game of golf readily admits this. But to his credit, he is doing something about it whether it works or not.

Does the 15″ Cup come without a number of maintenance issues for Golf Course Superintendents? No, obviously. That is where we come in and why Taylor Made chose to partner with us. We are doing everything we can to make the process as easy as possible for our customers. We are looking at different ways to cut the cup, mowing practice when the cup is in play, designs in the actual playability of the cup, etc.

While this idea doesn’t come without its fair share of “issues” we hope our customers as well as the golfing community can understand what the true goal of this project is. To grow the game of golf and preserve its future.

Dan Brown

Sales & Marketing Manager

GIS 2014

Another “show” come and gone, number 41 for me (first one in 1971, missed two since). Nothing much changes; set up, long hours on one’s feet, tear down. And, contrary to what my friends think, it is not all fun and games. In fact, might be the hardest work of the year between stress in what might come up or be seen and being “on” for two days and three nights.

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My purpose here is to try to stimulate some thought based on some things I heard and some thoughts I have had for some time.

The times are certainly a changing or maybe just continuing on a course that is found in almost all industries; less and less interest in trade shows. While attendance was supposedly up, it sure seemed down to us though not by a lot. And clearly, while the GCSAA claims to have sold more square feet than last year, it is not hard to see that the scope of the show is considerably less than in days gone by. More than one person remarked how they could easily see from one end of the hall to the other.

So what is the cause?

  1. Surely the golf economy has affected budgets.
  2. Superintendents are more reluctant to leave their courses.
  3. He/she has the ability to get answers to turf questions and/or the latest information and/or reviews of various products are readily available over the internet.
  4. Many manufacturers do not save their new product introductions for the show as in past years. Now, new products are introduced as soon as ready.
  5. And, maybe most alarmingly, the CGCS designation is seemingly losing a little bit of its importance as the general hiring doesn’t put the value in it. This is a shame and if true, minimizes the value of the education which has always been such a big draw.

Obviously, from a manufacturer’s viewpoint, fewer customers affect its willingness to spend more and more money on the show. I believe that Par Aide’s booth space (just the concrete we rent for our booth) was around $36,000. Add to that the cost of carpet, shipping, time lost in production and sales, hotel rooms, airfares, entertainment, and etc, and one cannot help but question the costs vs value. However, for Par Aide, the GIS is truly an international sales meeting and that combined with seeing the customers/friends and supporting the industry makes it hard for us to not participate as we do.

However, here is a suggestion that is not new and maybe worth reconsidering. Should the GIS be held every 18 months?

My thinking is that this might make attendance more palatable to owners and greens committees. It might become a more special event to not be missed. Manufacturers would probably be willing to pay more (we have talked even double for booth space) as ½ of all the other above mentioned expenses would be halved over two years. I have to think that distributors would see the same savings.

Perhaps more importantly, the show could then move around the Country to northern cities when the dates fell in the Spring thru Fall months. The required show square footage has now dropped to a level where smaller show halls around the Country could easily accommodate us, which was not the case a number of years ago. I have to believe that the same three locations alternating does reduce some participation. And, the golf tournament might have far more flexibility in nearby locales.

Many years ago, there was a publication that was feared would try to develop a show on the off years when the GCSAA was being urged to consider an every other year event. Obviously, that was not going to be accommodated. That risk doesn’t really exist now and 18 months would not allow for it anyway.

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So anyway, is it time to reconsider? Obviously, I am not privy to discussions within the GCSSA on this subject and there could be numerous reasons it doesn’t work. Additionally, the decision must be influenced by the big companies which carry the show on its back.

Any thoughts out there? Especially from Superintendents. After all, you are why we exist.

I’m Back!

It’s not that I went away, it’s just that I got lazy. So here is a way delayed blog that is important reading for you, if over 50 years old, or for any golfers you know who are over 50! These new rules are long overdue!

New PGA Rule Changes for Seniors

Rule 1.a.5
A ball sliced or hooked into the rough shall be lifted and placed on the fairway at a point equal to the distance it carried or rolled into the rough with no penalty.  The senior should not be penalized for tall grass which ground keepers failed to mow.

Rule 2.d.6 (B)
A ball hitting a tree shall be deemed not to have hit the tree.  This is simply bad luck and luck has no place in a scientific game.  The senior player must estimate the distance the ball would have travelled if it had not hit the tree and play the ball from there.

Rule 3.B.3(G)
There shall be no such thing as a lost ball.  The missing ball is on or near the course and will eventually be found and pocketed by someone else, making it a stolen ball.  The player is not to compound the felony by charging himself or herself with a penalty.

Rule 4. c .7( h )
If a putt passes over a hole without dropping, it is deemed to have dropped.  The law of gravity supersedes the Rules of Golf.

Rule 5.
Putts that stop close enough to the cup that they could be blown in, may be blown in.  This does not apply to balls more than three inches from the hole.  No one wants to make a travesty of the game.

Rule 6.a.9( k )
There is no penalty for so-called “out of bounds.”  If penny-pinching golf course owners bought sufficient land, this would not occur.  The senior golfer deserves an apology, not a penalty.

Rule 7..G.15( z )
There is no penalty for a ball in a water hazard, golf balls should float.  Senior golfers should not be penalized for manufacturers’ shortcomings.

Rule 8.k.9( S)
Advertisements claim that golf scores can be improved by purchasing new golf equipment.  Since this is financially impractical for many senior golfers, one-half stroke per hole may be subtracted for using old equipment.

Please advise all your senior friends of these important rule changes.

NOTE: these rules only apply for the over 50’s.

Recurring Dreams

Do you have them? I call them dreams but nightmares might be a better descriptive. I have two and both have to do with a school situation, which is over 40 years in the past. High school was all boys and we wore uniforms. No girl or dress competition. And, I was an art major in college. Usually not a path to success but then again this was the Vietnam era and the “soft” majors were quite popular. An art degree was not generally known to create much stress. 

My dreams are 1) in a high school situation where I cannot either find my locker and if found cannot remember my lock combination. 2) I have a college exam in one of the few classes that required one and I haven’t read the textbook or even gone to class all semester. In both, panic is the operative word! 

So why am I blogging about this? Not sure, but I had the second one just the other night. Maybe my stress these days, though suppressed, is making up for the college days! Also, I have had others tell me they have one or the other of these nightmares as well. 

Sleep well tonight.

Does Anyone Care?

Is it just me, or are fewer people interested in doing a good job in whatever they do? At a time when high unemployment is all the talk on the news, why is it that those with jobs care so little?

This summer was a time of a number of projects and my wife and I were amazed at how many issues we had with workers who seemed not to care about their work. Things were done wrong, others not done or forgotten, and in all cases, got around to it when it happened to work for them. Other examples include short cuts taken, cover ups, haphazard efforts, wrong parts received and including even food orders. On and on. You see it too, both in your personal and professional life. Every day.

Maybe this is a continuation of the deterioration of pride in one’s work that I have watched over the years. Still amazes me. I was raised by a perfectionist, my dad, and while he was a bit over the top, by golly, what he did was right, period. And he demanded it of me and those who worked for him. Quite frankly, perhaps that is why Par Aide saw success all through the years in spite of being, for the most part, on automatic pilot. Had the ball washer not been built so well, with little to no problems, who knows where we would be today – probably not a leader in the industry! I truly attribute the success of Par Aide to him and he is owed our continuation of same.

To this day, our employees take pride in what they do, and no one ever leaves us. Yes it is part of our management style but perhaps more importantly, they like being a part of an organization that values quality and their work to provide it. It is certainly easier to work a job where your work is valued and you can take pride in the results of that labor. I have occasionally stopped at a work station and inspected a product set aside as defective and I was unable to see the flaw until pointed out.

This attitude is treasured in all aspects of our business. Our people want to be known as the best regardless of their function in the Company and we are quick to pass on compliments received. When a mistake is made, there is not a fear of losing one’s job, rather a sincere regret for the error and a renewed dedication to learn from it.

In conclusion, while most of our customers give little thought to the ball washers and other Par Aide items, perhaps that is because they have learned they don’t need to. That’s a good thing. We care.

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