Prostate Cancer UK is calling on golfers across the UK to grab their clubs, round up playing partners and take on The Big Golf Race, the UK’s biggest golf fundraising challenge, to help save men’s lives.

Since The Big Golf Race was launched in 2020, more than 11,500 golfers have raised over £3.4m to help fund life-saving research to radically improve the way prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated.

This year, the leading men’s health charity is urging more golfers to take part in The Big Golf Race to help save dads, grandads, brothers, uncles and friends from a disease that affects 1 in 8 men in the UK.

Golfers willing to take on The Big Golf Race have three fundraising options: the Marathon (consisting of playing 72-holes in a day and walking an average of 26 miles); the Half Marathon (36-holes over 13.1 miles) or the formidable Ultra Marathon (100-holes over 35 miles).

Take on The Big Golf Race. Sign up now.

Those who register will receive a fundraising pack, including golf balls, tees, pencils and a fundraising guide, plus there are opportunities to earn incentive gifts along the way. Golfers taking part will have a chance to win some fantastic golf prizes, with the top fundraisers winning a three-night B&B trip for four to the renowned Monte Rei Golf & Country Club in Portugal, including two rounds of golf, courtesy of Golfbreaks.

Golfers who raise over £250 are also in with a chance of winning a full bag of Titleist golf clubs worth £3,000 and fitting, and other prizes, like a Motocaddy electric trolley and bag, are also up for grabs.

To help golfers up and down the country, Prostate Cancer UK has partnered with two key organisations for 2024; the UK Golf Federation, which represents the owners of 1,200 courses in the UK, to support sponsored players in booking multiple rounds across the country, and the British Golf Industry Association (BGIA), which represents UK golf brands and has also pledged to promote The Big Golf Race to its members this year.

Prostate Cancer UK partners The PGA are encouraging their members to pledge tee times for golfers taking on the challenge and HowDidiDo, which holds the handicaps, results and scores of more than 1.2 million UK golf club members, is also supporting The Big Golf Race in 2024.

“We’ve seen in previous years just how many golfers get behind The Big Golf Race and they’ve helped to build it into a fun yet challenging way of helping to save men’s lives. Every golfer who completes one of the three challenges this summer is making a huge difference for men and their families,” said Chris Jarrett, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK.

“The Big Golf Race has become an integral part of the fundraising calendar, and we’re delighted to be able to help more golfers take on the challenge this year, meaning more money will be raised to fund life-saving research into better tests and treatments to keep men in the game for longer.

“We’re hugely grateful to everyone in the golf community who has committed to supporting The Big Golf Race this year and wish everyone taking part the best of luck.”

To launch the 2024 Big Golf Race, golfing media, social media content creators, partners and stakeholders were joined at an event this week by Prostate Cancer UK ambassadors and supporters, including former footballers Mark Bright and Jay Bothroyd, and Harry Potter actors James and Oliver Phelps, at four-time Ryder Cup venue, The Belfry Hotel & Resort.

Hosted by BBC Sport golf correspondent Iain Carter, they enjoyed a round on the prestigious Brabazon course after learning about the impact The Big Golf Race has had and how their support this will help save men’s lives.

Among those backing The Big Golf Race for 2024 is former Masters champion and Prostate Cancer UK golf ambassador, Danny Willett. He said: “The golf community’s response to The Big Golf Race has been incredible, so it’s no surprise that it’s now the biggest golf fundraising challenge in the UK. It just goes to show just how far golfers will go to raise money for an incredible cause and I’ll be doing all I can to help them this year.

And for the first time this year, a host of famous faces from the world of golf and entertainment are lending their support by becoming Big Golf Race ‘Head Professionals’, with the likes of Willett, YouTube’s top golf content creator Rick Shiels, social media nutrition expert Graeme Tomlinson aka The Fitness Chef, and DJ and golf fan DJ Spoony sharing their tips on how to conquer The Big Golf Race.

To sign up to The Big Golf Race, visit prostatecanceruk.org/TheBigGolfRace

Wet weather suspended play on the final day of the Cognizant Classic with 26 players to return on Monday, including Ireland’s Shane Lowry who sits three strokes off the pace.

After sharing the lead on the third day with American Austin Eckroat and England’s David Skinns, Lowry played five holes on Sunday at Palm Beach Gardens in Florida before play was suspended, hitting one bogey and dropping to equal fourth place.

Eckroat picked up two birdies in his first seven holes to take the outright lead, while Skinns  dropped two shots in his five holes to sit tied for eighth.

South African Erik van Rooyen finished one shot behind Eckroat after he shot nine birdies through 18 holes, while American Jake Knapp sits in third place and two shots off the lead after 15 holes.

The severe weather in Florida caused a three hour delay to play with officials having to suspend play because of dangerous conditions for players and spectators, after lightning struck near the course.

Jordan Gumberg wins maiden title in South Africa

Jordan Gumberg started the day three shots off the lead at the SDC Championship but carded a bogey-free 68 to reach 12-under and enter a playoff against South African Robin Williams.

Williams had held the lead for most of the day but a double bogey at the par-3 17th denied him the victory.

Both players parred the first extra hole but Gumberg birdied the second to win his first DP World Tour title while Williams parred.

"It means everything. I never really got this far in my dreams. So I'm kind of at a loss for words but it means everything," said the American.

"It's what we fight for every day, it's what we practise for, it's the early hours, the late hours, everything. This is incredible.

"I want to thank my fiancée, first and foremost, she's amazing. I wouldn't be here without her. And my family back home. My dad has put so much into my golf game and just to be standing here for him and my mum and everybody just means the world."

France's David Ravetto closed with a 70 to take solo third place at 10-under.

Overnight co-leader Daniel Brown fired just one birdie and suffered four bogeys to close with a 75 and finished in a tie for fourth place at 8-under alongside fellow Englishman Andy Sullivan whose 73 featured five birdies, two bogeys and two double bogeys at the par-3 4th and the par-4 10th.

Also tied in fourth place are Scotland's Connor Syme who started the day with a share of the lead but made two birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey at the par-3 14th for a 75, as well as Germany's Nick Bachem who shot four birdies and three bogeys for a 71.

England's Marcus Armitage signed for a 70 and Wales' Jamie Donaldson for a 68 to join them in fourth place.

Jordan Gumberg has won the SDC Championship in a playoff after a final round 68 for a 12-under, 276 total.
Robin Williams came second and David Ravetto third at 10-under. Andy Sullivan, Daniel Brown, Connor Syme, Marcus Armitage and Jamie Donaldson tied for fourth at 8-under.

Gumberg moves up to 15 from 197 this week, Ravetto to 43 from 132, Sullivan to 32 from 53, Brown to 29 from 43, Syme to 26 from 35, Armitage to 67 from 127 and Donaldson to 82 from 144.

This week's Cognizant event at PGA National Resort is the opening act for the Florida swing of the PGA TOUR. The Palm Beaches are ground zero for a plethora of golf options with a wide array of engaging dimensions.

To better understand the scope and dimension of such involvements an interview was conducted with Milton Segarra.

Who is Milton Segarra?

A distinguished Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) who currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Discover The Palm Beaches - Palm Beach County’s official tourism marketing agency. Year-round the organization works to increase visitation to Palm Beach County, also referred to as The Palm Beaches, and stimulate the local economy.

Since joining the team in 2022, the destination marketing organization has achieved record-breaking visitation and tourism’s economic impact on the community surpassed $10 billion. Prior to this role, he led the Coastal Mississippi Tourism Board as CEO, and Meet Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Convention Bureau) as President & CEO.

His career journey has seen him in the hotel industry with prestigious brands such as Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts, and Sands Hotels and Casinos Beach Resort and serve on distinguished boards including Destinations International and the Gulf Coast Business Council. Segarra earned his Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a focus on Business Management, Finance, and Marketing from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez.

Milton Segarra interview

The Segarra Story

The reputation of The Palm Beaches’ brand always spoke to me. The perception as an affluent region was certainly part of the initial draw. Now, having worked for the destination for two years, I realize it has so much more to offer beyond the luxury we pride ourselves in offering.

I first came to the organization as the Chief Marketing Officer and worked my way to Chief Executive Officer. My new position as CEO allows me to tap into my past CMO experience, my leadership abilities and my fresh perspective as both a recent visitor and resident.

As a new resident of Jupiter, FL (one of the cities and towns we represent in The Palm Beaches’ collection), I am quickly learning about the natural wonders, the superb dining options, and of course the golf mecca we are so blessed to have here.

Because this destination is Florida’s Golf Capital, I consider myself lucky to live where many choose to vacation and I clearly see the potential to attract so many more visitors who have yet to discover its charm. As CEO, I get to encourage my team to truly tap into the authenticity and wide-ranging appeal of the destination.

Par 3 Golf Course

My perspective as a new resident who is still discovering the area, as a husband, father and grandfather have been part of my own journey here and I get to build upon the strong and reputable destination marketing foundation that the leadership before me established and grow the bigger picture.

My role is a fulfilling one. I get to inspire individuals to realize their travel dreams, reach new levels of emotional wellbeing and a more relaxed state of mind, while making lifelong memories that they will treasure. I also get to work alongside a dynamic, diverse and inspiring team of colleagues and a community of passionate hoteliers, restauranters and attraction associates which truly make this an outstanding destination. Doing our jobs right and well means visitors will continue to come back for more, year after year, with new generations who help us build upon our destination legacy.

We are living in an era of transformational travel, and my goal is to make visitors aware that their aspirational travel dreams can become a reality here. Since we have 39 cities and towns to explore and something new and unexpected to discover during a first or next visit, a trip to The Palm Beaches is very much attainable and can be transformative no matter what interests you want to explore – be it golf, shopping, family adventures or culture.

The Park

***

What makes The Palm Beaches area uniquely special when compared to other coastal Florida locations?

Our history as America’s First Resort Destination certainly sets us apart. Few places have such deep-rooted connections to the railroad legacy, Native American history and legendary historic properties that carefully balance modernity with preservation – all can be found here.

The Palm Beaches’ diversity of experience has captivated me as has the genuine hospitality of its diverse communities and people. As cliché as it sounds, there is something for everyone here.

If you want family-friendly, you can find it in our museums, waterparks, parks, beaches and even a drive-through animal safari! If you want culture, we have more than 200 cultural institutions teeming with art, theatre and music.

Best-in-class shopping, sports, outdoor experiences and dining – all offering an unmatched, elevated experience no matter the price-point, age or interest.

 

How important a role does golf play in the visibility and economics of The Palm Beaches?

As Florida’s Golf Capital, the role golf plays in the visibility and economics of The Palm Beaches cannot be understated. Annually, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission – our sister agency - hosts a PGA Tour event, PGA Tour Champions event, NCAA golf regional and conference championships, and a vast collection of premier amateur and youth tournaments.

Professional golf generated over 13,000 room nights in Palm Beach County hotels while creating an influx of direct visitor spending of $9.1 million for our local business and hospitality community.

PGA National Resort - Champion Course (Credit PGA National Resort)

How significant does the annual PGA TOUR event at PGA National play economically and in visitor attendees?

The PGA TOUR event plays a significant role economically with the over 200,000 attendees it attracts annually. The event has consistently been a financial benefit with 11,104 hotel room nights in 2023 that contributed to an overall $40 million in total economic impact.

 

Was there concern when long-time sponsor Honda opted not to renew?

The landscape of professional golf is always evolving, and it is true that American Honda's title sponsorship of the PGA Tour in Palm Beach County helped elevate the event to its status as one of the most popular and fan-friendly events on the Tour’s schedule.

The exciting action between the ropes combined with the tremendous economic impact off the course, led the event to become a cornerstone of our community. The destination moniker “Florida’s Golf Capital” and the fact that The Palm Beaches are such a well-known golf destination coupled with the well-established event’s history in our area helped generate interest from other companies to take over this well-known golf tournament.

The Palm Beaches and the PGA Tour used this opportunity to find a new partner in Cognizant, and we’re appreciative of the brand’s commitment to help grow this tournament in The Palm Beaches for many years to come.

Lake Worth Beach Golf Course (Credit Lake Worth Beach Golf Course)

How much coordination takes place between your organization and the tournament?

Our communication and coordination with the PGA Tour extend well beyond the tournament dates. The partnership is active throughout the year with The Palm Beaches and the PGA Tour working hand-in-hand to bolster brand awareness, host community events, and create economic impact for Palm Beach County.

As a presenting sponsor, Discover The Palm Beaches, the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and the PGA Tour will continue to work together to align our brands and create a product that builds on the already rich tradition of golf in Palm Beach County.

 

In approximate percentages, where are most of your visitors coming from – USA and internationally?

During 2023, The Palm Beaches welcomed 9.48 million travelers. 5.4 million came from out of state (57%), 3.2 million came from in-state (34%) and 837,500 came from international markets (8%).

Par 3 Golf Course

How do you encourage visitor feedback and what role does such information play in future decisions made by those your organization serves?

Visitor feedback and sentiment are critical in our research process, our brand’s continuous evolution and ongoing efforts. We have processes in place to get feedback from visitors and potential visitors at various touch points such as via the website, brand perception and key market studies.

Visitor and resident feedback are paramount to the organization’s continued success. This information provides further direction for our initiatives and a better understanding of the needs and expectations of our visitors, so that we can better position ourselves, craft the right messaging and reach diverse audiences and ultimately achieve greater destination growth in a responsible and authentic manner.

If someone were coming to The Palm Beaches for the first time, what do they absolutely have to do before departing?

This depends on their interest, but I would recommend some of our staple and one-of-a-kind destination experiences, starting with a round of golf at any of Jupiter’s public courses, followed by a visit to Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum where visitors can learn about the original inhabitants of the area.

While in Jupiter they can also take in the turquoise waters from one of the many waterside restaurants and discover the conservation efforts at Busch Wildlife Sanctuary and nearby Juno Beach’s Loggerhead Marinelife Center.

Then, venture to the Flagler Museum, which is located on pristine and posh Palm Beach, followed by one of the area’s many free gardens and a stop for dining or shopping on historic Worth Avenue. Depending on the time they have remaining, the Norton Museum of Art, Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens and Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach are all inspiring venues.

Afterward, Delray Beach and Boca Raton are bustling with activity day and night and the perfect combination of sophistication and style converging with laidback beach retreats.

PGA National Resort - The Bear Trap at The Champions Course (Credit PGA National Resort)

The most underrated aspect of The Palm Beaches area is what?

We are comprised of a collection of 39 cities and towns. Many know our key cities of Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Wellington, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, but we have 32 other areas to see and explore.

Each city is distinctly unique and has its own character and tourism appeal. Some additional underrated yet deserving locations include Tequesta, Juno Beach, Lake Park, Singer Island/Riveira Beach, Lake Worth Beach, Loxahatchee, Royal Palm Beach, Boynton Beach and Highland Beach.

 

The biggest challenges facing The Palm Beaches - short and long term are what and what specific strategic responses are you implementing to deal with both.

Our greatest challenges are staying top of mind with consumers and ahead of the competition, given unpredictable economic fluctuations and varying market conditions. Our strategy is to continue to invest in tried-and-true markets based on our data and research, with a combined mix of targeted sales, marketing, advocacy and communication efforts.

Enhancing the visitor experience, exploring unique brand partnerships and new marketing technologies and authentic story telling will be big for us. Ensuring the residents and visitors are happy is a delicate balance.

We are increasing efforts to remind residents of the power of tourism on the local economy and the opportunities that come to residents as a result, such as increased employment opportunities.

***

For more info go to:

www.ThePalmBeaches.com

 

Outgoing DP World Tour chief executive Keith Pelley says unification between between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf is “inevitable”, even if it takes 10 years.

Golf’s civil war has rumbled on for two years since LIV, the big-money Saudi breakaway venture, began tempting a host of top names with lavish paydays.

“Whether it be in six months, a year, two years or 10 years, I think people are coming to the realisation that a collective product is in the best interest of global golf,” Pelley told the Sunday Times.

“It is the only way growth and prize funds continue at this level. It is inevitable.”

Rory McIlroy file photo
Rory McIlroy wants golf to go global (Richard Sellers/PA)

Rory McIlroy said recently he fears golf will remain “fractured forever” unless the opportunity to create a more global game is embraced.

The four-time major winner, initially an outspoken critic of LIV, has suggested a world tour incorporating “corporate America” and Saudi Arabian investment, but one which also elevates historic national Opens in the likes of Australia and South Africa.

“I’m very much aligned with Rory,” added Pelley.

“Rory is the player I have leant on the most, going back to the beginning. You need people who aren’t afraid to say what they really think.”

Ireland’s Shane Lowry and England’s David Skinns both shot a five-under-par 66 to share the lead heading into the final round of the Cognizant Classic.

American Austin Eckroat is alongside them on 13-under-par at the PGA National in Florida – three clear of the chasing pack.

Former Open champion Lowry is looking for his third PGA Tour victory, while Skinns is yet to finish in the top 10 on the PGA Tour.

Lowry said he enjoys the “tough golf” after rain and wind made conditions difficult.

“I like when everything is on the line a lot out there,” Lowry said.

“I feel like I just know how to play the golf course. I feel like I’ve figured it out.

Skinns hit five birdies without a blemish while Lowry mixed six birdies with a bogey.

Among five players three shots off the pace are Scotland’s Martin Laird – who hit seven birdies in a third-round 66 – and Australian Min Woo Lee.

Rory McIlroy, who started the day tied with Lowry and Skinns, dropped six shots off the pace with a 72.

The winner of the Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches will earn a spot in all five remaining Signature Events (if a nonmember, they must accept membership after the win), while other Tour members are fighting for spots in the Aon Next 10 and the Aon Swing 5 to earn a place in the field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard.

Architects: Jack Nicklaus & Justin Thomas
Official opening: November 17, 2023
Palm Beach Gardens, FL, USA

 

The two most striking dimensions at the newly opened Panther National are the overall scale of the property – 400 acres -- and the bold ownership move for no interior housing intruding upon the golf experience.

The tried-and-true formula for much of Florida golf development stretching back over 50 years has been maximizing frontage of housing in abutting the golf course – sometimes on both sides of the fairway. The primacy of real estate was dominant - the golf subordinate.

Grade "A" Architecture - Panther National
Credit: Evan Schiller

Dominik Senn, Founder and President, was keenly aware of the typical Florida golf experience and was determined to give the property a more meaningful and impactful connection. One where the totality of the golf experience never takes a backseat.

In short - no clutter.

Golf is the headliner – always.

The 18-hole layout is situated on 190 acres with ground breaking occurring in the spring of 2022. Over three million cubic yards were moved creating a finished product that provides a rolling landscape with a routing that engages various wind directions throughout the round.

Interestingly, the routing allows golfers to return near the clubhouse after each three-hole sequence on the outward side.

Panther National does have holes where the avoidance of penalty areas is a central element. However, the intersection with water is not a perpetual "swim or sink" situation with forced carries carried out to the point of mindless overkill.

Nicklaus and Thomas smartly added sufficient width on nearly all the holes at Panther National and this element was a wise choice given the varying wind velocities that emerge daily.

Sandy areas of varying shapes and sizes dot the landscape. Nicklaus and Thomas also smartly sculpted into the terrain a number of waste areas providing the property an enhanced natural character and hole separation.

In keeping with a "links style" design, Nicklaus and Thomas sculpted numerous sandy areas into the terrain providing the property an enhanced natural character. The sand, in concert with Bahia-grass areas, which dot the landscape and separate each hole, presenting great challenges while still offering golfers a level of recovery options.

There are a number of holes worthy of Grade "A" Architecture mention but one epitomizes the total awareness of Panther National -- the par-5 11th.

The hole begins from a slightly elevated tee. Then moves downhill to a sloping fairway protected on the left by a large diagonally-angled sandy waste area on the left and a twosome of sandy areas on the right side.

The first key decision is how aggressive to be on the tee shot. Golfers able to work-the-ball on a right-to-left ball flight can create a curvature that escapes the clutches of the left waste area and secures a "speed slot" propelling their ball countless more yards.

Credit: Evan Schiller

Complicating matters is a penalty area that runs perpendicular and is roughly 400 yards from the back teeing area. The longest of golfers have to be mindful of its location.

Those finding the fairway must then confront two large sandy waste areas on the left and right sides. The best play is to advance one's ball towards the right side of the hole in order to secure the best approach angle into the green.

The putting surface is diagonally positioned from upper left to lower right and 42 yards long. Matters are additionally complicated with the green elevated above the approach area. Those missing left with their second shot face a more daunting angle to overcome.

When the pin is placed in the most forward of areas it's especially important for golfers to avoid having their shot come up just a bit short and then be pulled backwards off the green by false front section.

When putting players face an array of vexing internal movements.

Grade "A" Architecture - Panther National
Credit: Evan Schiller

Par-5 holes are often characterized as easy fodder with players erroneously concluding birdies are an ordained outcome. These same players believe there's little fear from the consequences of inadequate execution.

The 11th at Panther National encourages the bold play but never permits anything other than superior execution. Yes, birdies can be had but the shotmaking is central for that to happen.

Like an honest judge - no bribes are accepted at the 11th. Present your evidence or be forewarned the justice applied will be swift and ever certain.

***

For more info go to:

PANTHER NATIONAL - A lifestyle few experience

Connor Syme fired seven birdies and two bogeys on Saturday to close with a 67 and take a share of the lead at 11-under at the SDC Championship.

"I'm really pleased," said the Scot. "I putted really nicely today. It's always tricky in that breeze to do that, judging your pace from distance and stuff like that.

"I was here last year as well so it was definitely one I'd earmarked to come back down to, to have another go at it this year.

"It's a really cool part of the world and I'm happy to be back."

England's Daniel Brown started the day with a three-shot lead but closed with an even par 72 after firing five birdies and five bogeys.

"It was a little bit stressful at times but I didn't play too dissimilar to the last couple of days, to be honest," said Brown.

"There's an element of luck out there. Because it's so windy, you've got to pick the right moments to hit your shot.

"I still feel good and hopefully I'll have a good day tomorrow."

Englishman Andy Sullivan carded a bogey-free 66 featuring two eagles at the par-5s 6th and 16th to reach 9-under and is tied in third place alongside South African Robin Williams (71) and American James Nicholas (70).

Rory McIlroy carded a four-under-par 67 for the second successive day to finish three strokes off the pace following round two of the Cognizant Classic in Florida.

Northern Irishman McIlroy is among eight players tied for sixth place, alongside Ireland’s Shane Lowry and England’s David Skinns, after hitting six birdies and two bogeys on Friday.

McIlroy said that while he “didn’t get off to the greatest of starts”, he bounced back to finish strongly.

“I think it is just one of those courses where you have just got to stay super patient, knowing that the scoring is good, but people aren’t going to get away from you here,” he said.

“I think I did a good job of staying patient until the end and that patience was rewarded.”

Lowry has also posted consecutive scores of 67, while world number 278 Skinns, who is without a top-10 finish on the PGA Tour, posted a two-under-par 69 following his opening-day 65.

Bud Cauley leads the way on 11 under par, with fellow American Austin Eckroat and South Africa’s Garrick Higgo each one shot behind.

The last time Cauley was in the top five after any round was at the 2020 PGA Championship.

Belgium’s Thomas Detry is in last position – 11 over par – after he six-putted the 461-yard par-four sixth hole from 57 feet, despite knocking his first effort to eight feet.

The 31-year-old finished with a quadruple bogey and the most putts on one hole on the PGA Tour in four years.

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Week 12 - 03/03/2024
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