February 4, 2005
2004 Senior British Open champion Pete Oakley is certainly enjoying his new life on the PGA Champions Tour right now.
The co-owner and director of Golf at The Rookery Golf Course called me several days ago from Turtle Bay, Hawaii, just as he was about to play in his second Champions Tour event of the season.
“I’m just having a great time here,” Oakley said. “These boys are good, just like they say in that commercial. I played well last week, and got to play the last two rounds with Gary Player. I managed to come in 35th in a field of 37, but they’re all champions in that event, so there’s nothing to be ashamed of.”
In the Turtle Bay Championship held last weekend, Oakley started out well on the windy, difficult golf course, shooting even par for the first two rounds. He struggled a bit on the front nine in the last round, however, and his 78 put him in 48th place in the 78-player full field event.
We talked again last Monday, and if it’s possible to hear a man grinning while he’s on the phone, I heard him.
“I gave away the round in the first few holes, and the ball went into the water a couple times. Then I went back to some of my old cure-alls, and after I made those adjustments I started getting more and more solid hits. I really picked it up on the last 8 holes,” Oakley explained.
“I’m just really loving it out here. I’m getting some great information from some of the real greats of the game,” Oakley said.
His Senior British Open win qualifies him for several specific tournaments over the next several years, but his continued presence on the Champions Tour depends on making enough money playing in the next 15 events or so to qualify for the rest of this season and the next. “I figure I need to make about $400,000 by the end of July, and so far I have about $385,000 to go,” he laughed.
Cape Region pros and golf retailers attend PGA Merchandise Show
Several Cape Region golf pros and retailers made their way to Orlando, Florida for the annual PGA Merchandise Show, held January 27-30.
Rookery Head golf pro Butch Holtzclaw said the show was “pretty decent. The apparel vendors were there in force, much more so than the equipment guys. Cleveland had a nice display of all the trophies won by their players, such as Vijay Singh, and they were pushing their new composite drivers.”
Ty Mayers, head professional at Kings Creek Country Club, agreed with Holtzclaw. “The really big vendors weren’t there, like Ping, Titleist, and TaylorMade. The rumor is that they’re coming back to the show next year, though.”
Mayers was impressed by what he saw, however. “Izod had some really nice stuff at a great price point, and it’s completely different from what they offer at the outlets. We’ll be selling stuff from Ashworth, Peter Millar, Nick Price, and Greg Norman, and for the women’s clothes, we’ll be offering some from EP Pro and Sport Haley.”
Boyd Russell’s take on the PGA Show was a bit different, which as he said makes sense considering he was there for Clubhouse Golf. “I spent a lot more time in the accessories area than Butch or the other pros. That’s because we sell head covers, practice clubs, golf gadgets, and they don’t. The overall impression I had was that the show wasn’t remarkably different this time, except there was a much larger apparel presence than in the past.”
All three men said that all the clubmakers this year are making a big push to sell their hybrid clubs. Holtzclaw said he already replaced his 2-iron with a hybrid, and he’s really happy with the switch.
Take a close look in your buddy’s golf bag this spring, and you might see more of the same.