Royal & Awesome appoints Howard Richards, CUTTING EDGE starts 'people news' section
Ryan Ruffels joins the Nike Golf family
Nike Golf has announced the addition of Australian athlete Ryan Ruffels to its talented roster.
Ruffels, who is representing the brand head to toe, recorded his first PGA Tour start at the Farmers Insurance Open last week, securing a top 50 finish after making the cut impressively.
Just 17 years old, Ruffels became the youngest Australian to ever play professionally on the PGA Tour.
The son of two professional tennis players, Ruffels was born in the United States and moved to Australia at a young age. In 2014, at the age of 15, he won the Australian Boys’ Amateur and became the youngest player to win the Riversdale Cup.
Additionally, he earned top-25 finishes at the Australian Open in both 2013 and 2014.
Awesome new recruit to drive Awesome digital growth
Royal & Awesome are delighted to announce that Howard Richards will be joining their team in the role of digital growth manager, to help accelerate their already impressive performance in this area.
Sales in 2015 were up 50% vs 2014, meaning Royal & Awesome have delivered compound growth of over 60% since they launched four years ago. A big factor in this growth has been the brand’s use of social media and digital marketing to help promote their fun, flamboyant and social credentials. The Royal & Awesome Facebook page features pictures and content created by customers and has more than 185,000 followers.
Richards joins from American Golf, where he was a member of their Online team. He also owns his own successful e-commerce business, which sells smart phone accessories.
Royal & Awesome director Graeme Smeaton said: “We’re hugely excited about Howard joining our team. He is a great fit with our business, as he is a digital marketing native, an entrepreneur and he scores his golf to ‘fives’ rather than par. The timing of the move also couldn’t be better; the brand is flying at the moment, we’ve got some great designs launching in March and with Howard’s help we’ll be able to spread our Awesome message to even more golfers.”
Royal & Awesome offer a variety of designs, which range from the entry-level-awesome designs, like bright tartans, all the way up to adventurously-awesome designs featuring lazers, fireworks and dazzling diamonds. These patterns are available in trousers, shorts, plus 2s, skorts and hats. They also have a range of block colour polos, socks and belts to complete the Awesome outfits. And they all come at a price that doesn’t take the fun out of wearing them!
* See Royal & Awesome’s range of golf clothing at www.royalandawesome.com or www.facebook.com/royalandawesome
ECCO Golf signs Peter Hanson
Leading golf footwear innovator ECCO Golf has announced the addition of Swedish European Tour player Peter Hanson to its already impressive list of ambassadors.
Hanson has amassed 13 wins worldwide since turning pro in 1998 and has been a part of two winning European Ryder Cup sides.
He recorded five top-20 finishes on the European Tour in 2015, including a tie for seventh at the BMW International Open and a tie for 13th at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
“ECCO has an outstanding reputation within the game and their combination of style and performance is exactly what I look for in a golf shoe,” says Hanson. “The new ECCO CAGE design feels fantastically stable and delivers comfort from the first tee to the 18th green and beyond.”
“Having played at the highest level in some of the biggest tournaments around the world, Peter is the perfect fit for the ECCO brand,” added Jesper Thuen, responsible for global sponsorship at ECCO Golf.
“After a strong start to 2016, we’re confident that he’ll join the winner’s circle on the European Tour again very soon.”
In addition to Hanson, the ECCO Golf collection is worn in competition by Fred Couples, Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Thomas Bjørn, Thongchai Jaidee, Will Wilcox, Ben Evans, Jim Renner, Minjee Lee, Caroline Masson, Gerina Piller, Jennifer Johnson, Kendall Dye, Pernilla Lindberg, Therese Koelbaek and Liz Young, among others.
Craig Watson appointed GB&I Walker Cup and St Andrews Trophy Captain
Craig Watson has been appointed as Captain of the Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team that will face the USA at Los Angeles Country Club in 2017.
One of Scotland’s most successful amateur golfers, Watson succeeds Welshman Nigel Edwards, who led the GB&I team to a record 16½ - 9½ win in the 2015 match at Royal Lytham & St Annes.
Watson will also captain the GB&I St Andrews Trophy team as they take on the Continent of Europe in the 2016 match at Prince’s Golf Club in Kent on 20 and 21 July.
GB&I will be looking to defend the trophy at the 46th Walker Cup match in California in 2017 and achieve their first victory on American soil since 2001, when they secured a 15-9 win at Ocean Forest in Georgia.
The 49-year-old Watson won The Amateur Championship at Royal St George’s in 1997 with a 3&2 victory in the final over future Masters champion Trevor Immelman, from South Africa. He played in The Open that year at Royal Troon and the Masters Tournament in 1998.
The East Renfrewshire member represented GB&I in the 1997 Walker Cup match at Quaker Ridge in New York where he secured 1½ points from the three matches he played.
“Playing in the Walker Cup team is one of my proudest moments in golf,” said Watson. “I still remember the nerve-wracking moment when I teed it up on the first tee in the afternoon singles on the first day but I settled down and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It is a privilege for me to take over the captaincy of the team and I have a hard act to follow as Nigel did a fantastic job.”
Gary Player named host of Nedbank Golf Challenge
More than 35 years after he designed the course on which it is played, Gary Player will be the official host of the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
Dubbed Africa’s Major and hosted by golfing legend Gary Player, the Nedbank Golf Challenge will be played from November 10-13 at the Gary Player Country Club at Sun City in South Africa’s North West Province, and will form the second leg of the lucrative three-part Final Series of The European Tour.
Player was only the third golfer after Ben Hogan and Gene Sarazen to win all four modern Major Championships, the career Grand Slam of golf. Only Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods have since matched the feat.
“I’m honoured to be so closely associated with such an important tournament in my homeland,” said Player. “I’m proud that the Gary Player Country Club continues to provide the challenge for some of the world’s best players to show off their talents, and I’m especially pleased that this will happen in South Africa.”
Since its inception in 1981, the tournament has attracted some of the greatest modern golfers, and its roster of champions includes golf’s best such as Severiano Ballesteros, Nick Price, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, Ernie Els and many others.
Nike Golf selects Nicolas Kettelhake as new Western Europe brand director
Nike Golf has announced the appointment of Nicolas Kettelhake to the position of Western Europe brand director, effective March 7.
Kettelhake replaces Daniel Schenk who has returned to Nike WHQ to lead the Nike Member Services function after two highly successful years in Hilversum.
Bringing with him 10 years’ marketing experience, three-and-a-half with Nike, multilingual Kettelhake has a significant track record of delivering iconic brand communication campaigns in both the Nike Football and Basketball categories across the WE geography, notably the “My Time is Now” European Championships 2012 campaign and the Mercurial Vapor CR7 boot initiative “Out of this World”. He is currently the Nike Western Europe brand communications director, a position he has held since February 2014.
“I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity at this stage of my career to lead the brand team for Nike Golf in our region, and I am excited to learn more about the industry and take on the challenges ahead,” said Kettelhake, who hails from Germany but now lives in Amsterdam with his wife and two young boys.
He graduated from Bournemouth University in 2004, and has since worked in the Netherlands, UK and Australia. Kettelhake will continue to be based in Hilversum at Nike’s European Headquarters.
Pictured from left: Brendon Pyle (Golf Foundation chief executive), Nicky Lumb (PGA captain), Paul Lawrie and Charles Harrison (Golf Foundation chairman)
PGA makes £50K donation to the Golf Foundation
The PGA recently delivered a big boost to the Golf Foundation with a £50,000 donation to help the leading British golf charity continue to grow the game at grass roots level.
Among the projects run by the Foundation as part of its HSBC Golf Roots programme are StreetGolf, Golf Xtreme and Tri-Golf sessions in the community and local schools.
And many PGA professionals work closely with the Foundation helping to deliver a wide range of initiatives in the community.
The Foundation has been instrumental in breaking down barriers in golf and making the sport more accessible for juniors to help boost participation rates.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones said: “The Golf Foundation and PGA professionals play a vital part in encouraging the next generation of golfers into the sport and every day, their energy and enthusiasm makes a real difference and we are delighted to support their fantastic work.”
Burhill Golf Club welcomes new head professional Ben Rosser
Burhill Golf Club, the flagship venue for Burhill Golf and Leisure Ltd (BGL), is pleased to welcome their new head professional, Ben Rosser, who will join the club on 1st March, 2016.
Ben has been working within the golf industry since 2003, and has spent 11 years with BGL at the neighbouring Hoebridge Golf Centre; one of the most extensive golf facilities in the South of England.
“I have always wanted to make a career in golf, and I feel I’ve taken every opportunity to improve my skills and knowledge of coaching,” commented Ben.
“The fact that BGL has handed me the opportunity to use my knowledge and experience to help maximise the facilities and develop the thriving junior, men’s, and ladies’ contingent at such a prestigious club as Burhill is incredibly rewarding.”
In 1999, Ben’s career in the golf industry began when he undertook a National Diploma in Golf Studies. Since then, he has achieved a Higher National Diploma in Golf Management and gained his PGA status with the completion of a Foundation Degree in Professional Golf.
It was during his degree that he joined the BGL group at Hoebridge Golf Centre, and worked his way through the business until he was named head professional of the centre in 2014.
Career achievements for Ben during his time with BGL have included helping to redesign the on-site driving range at Hoebridge, implementing lesson initiatives that have introduced over 1500 new players to the game, successfully running one of the largest golf shops in the Woking area, and being appointed Surrey County Partnership’s Under 16 Boys’ Elite Squad lead coach.
Alongside managing a successful team of professionals at Hoebridge and coaching his clients – amongst which are a number of club and county champions from the area – Ben also finds time to compete professionally, and has enjoyed several top 10 finishes on the Jamega Pro Golf Tour and TP Tour.
Jesper Thuen appointed as head of ECCO® Golf, Asia
Golf footwear innovator ECCO Golf has announced that global marketing manager Jesper Thuen has been promoted to the position of head of ECCO Golf, Asia.
Thuen, a former touring professional, has worked for ECCO Golf as a marketer for over a decade, having started his relationship with the brand as a sales representative in 2002.
As head of ECCO Golf, Asia, Jesper will be responsible for stimulating the growth of the brand in some of the world’s up-and-coming golf markets including Japan, South Korea and China.
“Jesper has been a hugely important factor in the success of ECCO Golf globally in the past 10 years. ECCO Golf, Asia, is in great hands and I’m confident the region will benefit hugely from his leadership,” said Michael Waack, head of global golf at ECCO. See more on this story in our News Section.