TROON INTRODUCES NEW TROON CARD SUMMER TEST DRIVE IN ARIZONA AND CALIFORNIA
Scottsdale, Ariz. (April 22, 2019) – Troon®, the leader in club management, development and marketing, has introduced a new Troon Card Summer Test Drive promotion for Arizona and California. The Troon Card Summer Test Drive is an opportunity for golfers to experience all the benefits of being a Troon Cardholder, while playing many of the top golf courses in their respective state.
Arizona Summer Troon Cards can be purchased for $99 for a 2019 Arizona Summer TwoSome Card or $139 for a 2019 Arizona Summer FourSome card at www.troon.com/Troon-Card-Summer-Test-Drive.dept. Arizona Summer Troon Cardholders will enjoy rates of up to 50 percent off, “2 for 1” golf offers, Troon’s “Best Rate Guarantee” and more at Troon-affiliated facilities across the state, including:
- Ak-Chin Southern Dunes Golf Club in Maricopa
- Boulders Resort & Spa in Scottsdale
- Copper Canyon Golf Club in Buckeye
- El Conquistador Golf & Tennis in Tucson
- Golf Club of Estrella in Goodyear
- Laughlin Ranch Golf Club in Bullhead City
- Lookout Mountain Golf Club in Phoenix
- Longbow Golf Club in Mesa
- Poston Butte Golf Club in Florence
- Quintero Golf Club in Peoria
- Sewailo Golf Club in Tucson
- The Phoenician Golf Club in Scottsdale
- The Westin Kierland Golf Club in Scottsdale
- Troon North Golf Club in Scottsdale
- Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler
- Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club in Wickenburg
California Summer Troon Cards can be purchased for $69 for a 2019 California Summer TwoSome Card or $99 for a 2019 California Summer FourSome card at www.troon.com/Troon-Card-Summer-Test-Drive.dept. California Summer Troon Cardholders will enjoy rates of up to 50 percent off, “2 for 1” golf offers, Troon’s “Best Rate Guarantee” and more at Troon-affiliated facilities across the state, including:
- Ashwood Golf Course in Apple Valley
- Indian Wells Golf Resort in Indian Wells
- La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta
- PGA WEST in La Quinta
- Maderas Golf Club in Poway
- Shadow Hills Golf Club in Indio
- The Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa in Rancho Mirage
- Diablo Grande Golf & Country Club in Patterson
- Hiddenbrooke Golf Club in Vallejo
- Saddle Creek Golf Resort in Copperopolis
- Yocha Dehe Golf Club in Brooks
Arizona Summer Troon Cards are valid for five months, from May 1 through September 30, 2019, while California Summer Troon Cards are valid for four months, from May 1 through August 31, 2019. In addition, to savings on golf throughout the summer, Summer Troon Cardholders will also receive a $50 credit towards the purchase of any 2020 Arizona or National Troon Card. 2020 Troon Cards go on sale October 1, 2019 and will be valid for use November 1, 2019 through December 31, 2020.
Both Arizona and California Summer Troon Cardholders may reserve tee times within three-days of their desired date of play and enjoy up to 50 percent off golf fees. For those who can’t wait until three days out to book their tee time, with Troon Card’s Best Rate Guarantee, Troon Cardholders can book any online rate and still receive 15 percent off their golf fees at check in. The benefits of being a Troon Cardholder go beyond savings on golf. Troon Cardholders can improve their golf games by participating in complimentary clinics, play more golf with exclusive replay rates and explore the world of Troon with customized experience packages. Plus, Troon Cardholders can treat their friends, and themselves, to “2 for 1” golf offers.
Additional Troon Card benefits include the Troon Card Facebook Group and Text Club, which provides instant news and special offers exclusively to Cardholders, 10 percent off merchandise at participating golf shops and golf course restaurants, Troon Card E-News with monthly special offers, appreciation events, and the ability to book tee times online at www.TroonCardTeeTimes.com.
To view a list of participating courses, see Troon Card rates or to purchase an Arizona or California Summer Troon Card online, go to www.troon.com/Troon-Card-Summer-Test-Drive.dept or visit any participating facility.
Headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Troon is the world’s largest golf management company providing services at more than 430 locations around the globe, including managing 470 18-hole equivalent golf courses. In addition to golf, Troon specializes in homeowner association management, private residence clubs, estate management and associated hospitality venues. Troon’s award-winning food and beverage division operates and manages more than 150 restaurants located at golf resorts, private clubs, daily fee golf courses and recreational facilities. With properties located in 45 states and 33 countries, divisions of Troon include Troon Golf, Honours Golf, Troon Privé (the private club operating division of Troon), Troon International, OB Sports, Cliff Drysdale Management and RealFood Consulting. There are currently 67 Troon-affiliated properties featuring 87 golf courses on national and international “Top 100” rankings. Troon-affiliated properties include Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina; Wickenburg Ranch Golf & Social Club in Wickenburg, Ariz.; Yocha Dehe Golf Club in Brooks, Calif.; Saadiyat Beach Golf Club in Abu Dhabi, UAE; and Buenaventura Golf Club in Panama. For additional news and information, visit www.Troon.com, or connect with Troon on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Blog, Press Room, or subscribe to Troon Magazine.
LPGA Founder and World Golf Hall of Fame Member Marilynn Smith Dies at 89
By Ron Sirak (a recipient of the PGA of America Lifetime Achievement in Journalism Award and the LPGA Media Excellence Award)
Marilynn Smith, whose role as one of the 13 founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) and pioneering work as a television broadcaster landed her in the World Golf Hall of Fame, died early Tuesday morning at the age of 89 surrounded by her family and friends. She would have turned 90 on April 13 and was last seen in public greeting finishers behind the 18th green at the LPGA Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix on March 24.
In 1950, Smith along with Alice Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Helen Dettweiler, Marlene Bauer Hagge, Helen Hicks, Opal Hill, Betty Jameson, Sally Sessions, Shirley Spork, Louise Suggs and Babe Zaharias founded the LPGA, the oldest women’s professional sports organization in the world. Hagge and Spork are the surviving Founders.
“Marilynn was my Founder, my North Star and most importantly my friend,” said LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan. “In her life, she broke barriers, shattered stereotypes and made others ‘believe.’ I’ll miss her weekly handwritten cards, her daily calls to my office and her love for every LPGA teacher, tour player, and staff member. Quite simply, Marilynn left this world better than she found it — and set a standard that will guide us forever.”
Smith turned pro in 1949 at a time when the major golf equipment companies – Wilson, MacGregor and Spalding chief among them – realized the growth potential for the game among women in post-World War II America and hired prominent female players to promote their products. Smith signed a $5,000 contract with Spalding for 50 to 100 clinics annually and eventually had a signature line of clubs.
Marilynn got the first of her 21 LPGA victories at the 1954 Fort Wayne Open and the last at the 1972 Pabst Ladies Classic. She also took two major championships, the 1963 Titleholders, when she beat the great Mickey Wright by one stroke in an 18-hole playoff, and then successfully defended that title in 1964.
One of the tour’s most effective spokeswomen, Smith was president of the LPGA from 1958 to 1960 and in 1973 became the first woman to work a men’s event as a television broadcaster. She was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.
Marilynn attended the University of Kansas, where she won the 1949 national individual intercollegiate championship after capturing the Kansas State Amateur title from 1946-48. It was while at Kansas that she encountered the gender discrimination that shaped her life.
At the time, Kansas did not have a women’s golf team, but Smith wanted to play in the 1949 national intercollegiate tournament and needed help with travel expenses. When her father asked Phog Allen, the legendary athletic director, for financial assistance, Allen said: “Mr. Smith, it’s too bad your daughter is not a boy.”
Somehow, the Smith’s managed to scrape together the money to get Marilynn to the tournament, which she won. When Smith would tell the Phog Allen story to today’s players it was not with a sense of anger but rather with the intent of educating young people of how it once was.
That incident also led her to create the Marilynn Smith LPGA Charity Pro-Am which, for the last 10 years, has raised scholarship money to help female golfers with college expenses. “That’s what inspired me to start this event,” Smith said about the Allen incident last year when her tournament provided $5,000 grants to 30 young women.
‘A SISSY SPORT’
Marilynn, who was born in Topeka, Kan., grew up in Wichita, where her father worked in life insurance and both of her parents played golf. But golf was not a game that grabbed the interest of the extremely athletic child.
“I thought golf was a sissy sport,” she said. “I ran a boys baseball team and was the pitcher and manager. One day I came home and my mother asked how I’d done. I used a four-letter word and she washed out my mouth with Lifebuoy soap. Mom told my dad, who suggested taking me to Wichita Country Club for the more ladylike sport of golf.”
Smith began playing at 11 and her father said he’d buy her a bicycle when she broke 40 for nine holes, which she managed to do at 14. When Marilynn won the Kansas State Amateur three consecutive times she was called “The Blonde Bomber” because she blasted the ball 25 yards past everyone else in the field.
As feisty as Marilynn was as a competitor and as fiercely as she advocated for equal treatment for women, it was the size of her heart and the generosity of her spirit that those who knew her best remember most.
“Marilynn has always been a giver,” said Spork, who met Smith at a college tournament in 1947. “She worked so diligently as president of the LPGA, out selling the tour to sponsors. When we traveled, we drove and we’d pull into a gas station and Marilynn would start chatting up a young person there and she’d say, ‘You need new shoes,’ and she’d end up giving away more money than we paid for the gas.”
The affection and high regard current players had for Smith – many of whom got to know her after the Founders Cup was created in 2011 – was evident at that tournament and in their support for her charity event. This year, more than three dozen LPGA professionals, mostly from the Teaching & Club Professional membership, played the fundraiser.
And LPGA players Lydia Ko, So Yeon Ryu, Ariya Jutanugarn, Angela Stanford, Karrie Webb, Pat Bradley, Sandra Gal, Dottie Pepper, Amy Alcott, Brittany Lincicome, Anna Nordqvist, Nancy Lopez and Jan Stephenson made financial contributions to the Marilynn Smith Charity Pro-Am.
Caroline Inglis, now an LPGA member, has first-hand experience with Smith’s hard work for equality. Inglis received a Marilynn Smith grant several years ago while a freshman at the University of Oregon.
“It could not have come at a better time in my life, as my Dad had just been diagnosed with Leukemia,” she said. “The financial support helped my family during a difficult time and allowed me to attend a great university and pursue my dream of becoming a professional golfer.”
Truly, Marilynn Smith never stopped buying shoes for little girls in gas stations. The woman who poured her heart and soul into building the LPGA never stopped giving. Long after her playing days were over, Marilynn continued to open doors for young women with big dreams. Truly, she never stopped acting like a Founder.
Mary Byrd Nominated For Bank of Hope Founders Cup AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award
written by: LPGA
Mary Byrd has witnessed plenty of champions and worked alongside countless fellow volunteers during her 22 years at the LPGA’s Phoenix-area tournament.
So it should come as no surprise that Byrd has been nominated as the top volunteer from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup for the 2019 AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award, which recognizes exemplary volunteers at each LPGA tournament.
“The role of tournament volunteer is vital to the success of every tournament and we have been fortunate to have Mary’s leadership and positive attitude continually influence our success throughout the years,” said Scott Wood, tournament director at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“She greets everyone with a smile, makes them feel welcome and is willing to go above and beyond what is needed at a moment’s notice,” added Wood. “We are excited to recognize her as this year’s AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award nominee for her contributions.”
And while Byrd admits she is “honored” to be nominated for the LPGA’s top volunteer award, she adds that the reason she returns each year is to work alongside others who also want to contribute their time, skills and to be a part of a high-visibility event in their community.
“Getting back together with the volunteers on our committee is so much fun,” said Byrd, a native of Baltimore who now lives in Peoria, Arizona. “It’s a fantastic team and they come back year after year. It’s really about the people.”
For 18 of her 22 years volunteering at the Phoenix-based LPGA tournament, Byrd has served as transportation committee chair. Her team of 20 or more volunteers typically helps transport players during tournament week and distributes courtesy cars to top-ranked players and tournament staff.
Byrd worked as a certified public accountant for an accounting firm in Baltimore for 18 years and then moved to Arizona in 1997 to work as a corporate controller. She was new to golf, but active in Baltimore’s former Executive Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) – now called the LPGA Women’s Amateur Association.
After she moved west, Byrd attended an EWGA event in Phoenix to meet other amateur women golfers. That evening, she won tickets in a drawing to the LPGA’s Phoenix tournament.
The local LPGA tournament was called the Standard Register Ping at the time and it was held at Moon Valley Country Club. It was Byrd’s first LPGA tournament exposure and attending the event would ultimately lead to her current role.
“While I was there, somebody said something about being a tournament volunteer, so I signed up and began my volunteer duties at Moon Valley,” she said.
Moon Valley played host to the LPGA for many years before the event moved to nearby Superstition Mountain across town and became the Safeway International.
The tournament rotated to other courses before becoming the RR Donnelly Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Desert Ridge. It will return this season for the ninth year at Wildfire Golf Club and will be played as the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“This tournament has moved around and has been known as different things, but I have wonderful memories as a volunteer wherever we went,” Byrd said.
There also have been plenty of highlights, she added.
“I was there at Moon Valley [in 2001] when Annika Sorenstam shot a [record-score of] 59, which was certainly something to see,” she said. “And a few years ago at Desert Ridge, I attended a dinner where they were honoring some of the LPGA’s pioneers and I got to sit at the table with [LPGA Hall of Fame member] Nancy Lopez, which was another highlight for me.”
One memorable week for Byrd came during the 2006 Safeway International when a snow delay at Superstition Mountain kept volunteers scrambling all day and working deep into the evening.
“Juli Inkster was the winner that year and one of my volunteers had to wait for her to finish after the snow delay,” said Byrd. “She came running in after the award ceremony and he rushed her to the airport at 8 p.m. So now, whenever I see Juli at our event, I say, ‘Maybe it will snow this year.’”
But while Byrd has always volunteered in transportation, her area of responsibility has also undergone changes during the LPGA’s years of playing in Phoenix.
“When I started, we had Dodge as the car sponsor, then we had Toyota, Mercedes-Benz and it’s been Kia for the last 10 or more years,” she noted. “And when I first started volunteering, our committee got 85 cars, so we would go get the cars from the different dealerships and bring them out to the course and I would assign them to the players as they checked in.”
In recent years, fewer players are assigned courtesy cars for the week, but Byrd and her transportation staff still make sure players have a way to make their tee times. Volunteers pick up the players from the airport when they arrive and if they are staying off site, the volunteers will pick them up at their hotels or at their housing and transport them back and forth to the golf course each day.
“We have great volunteers on our committee who enjoy getting the players where they need to be in a timely fashion,” said Byrd. “If players have a 7 a.m. tee time, they usually want to be at the course by 5:30 a.m., and if they have afternoon tee times, we’re not leaving the course until 6, 7 or 8 p.m. It’s a long week and there are some long days during the tournament, but it’s only one week each year and I really enjoy it.”
Byrd has assembled a quality transportation team over the years with many of her long-term volunteers having served since the days when the event was staged at Moon Valley. Of course, there are also many new faces.
“We have some police officers, firefighters and retired military helping as volunteers and they are all very organized,” Byrd added. “Some of them don’t mind getting up at 3 a.m. to go pick people up and some will stay until midnight to make sure players catch their flights.”
Byrd’s own organizational skills have also led her to serve as president and section director for the former EWGA Phoenix chapter. In addition, she served on the board of directors for eight years and was treasurer for six of those years with the Arizona Women’s Golf Association, which has around 25,000 members.
“Most CPAs are very organized, so maybe those skills help when I volunteer for this tournament,” she said. “But again, if it weren’t for our volunteers, I’d be lost. I can’t say enough about them.”
Byrd has played golf for 10 years in a league called the Arizona Lawmen, which has between 72-86 players who show up to play at different courses in the Phoenix area each week. Her late husband was a Baltimore firefighter.
She also regularly plays in a women’s league called the Ladies Executive Golf Society (LEGS) and they compete on an executive course.
Golf has become a central part of Byrd’s social life, dating back to the 1990s when about 30 women in her Baltimore EWGA regularly got together to play. Now, Byrd and 20 of those longtime pals make an annual trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., to play golf during early May. They will make their 23rd annual trip this year.
“You meet so many nice people in golf,” she said. “We’re all fast friends because of this game.”
Golf also prompted Byrd to set an ambitious bucket-list goal after she retired. She wanted to play golf in all 50 states – a goal she completed in 2014 in Oregon, the final state on her list.
“There are many beautiful golf courses, but my favorite place that I played in all of the United States was in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho,” she said. “It’s so beautiful there.”
Now an avid LPGA fan, Byrd also attended the 2015 Solheim Cup in Germany to cheer for the U.S. Solheim Cup Team and spent 19 days there, touring the German town where her grandparents were born.
Looking ahead to this year’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup, Byrd is eager to reconnect with her many returning volunteers and to greet the new ones.
And if her name is selected in the random drawing among all nominated volunteers at the end of the 2019 season, she is excited that the $10,000 prize could be used to benefit the tournament’s local charity, the Phoenix chapter of the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program.
“I think that would be fantastic,” she said. “It’s great to see little girls out playing golf.”
“And it’s also great honor to be picked for this award from all the people who work at our tournament,” she added. “We all work hard.”
The AXA LPGA Volunteer Award program will designate a top volunteer nominee at each of the LPGA’s tournaments. At the conclusion of the 2019 season, the name of one volunteer will be drawn in a random selection. That winning volunteer’s tournament charity will be awarded $10,000 on behalf of AXA.
AXA XL, the property & casualty and specialty risk division of AXA, provides insurance and risk management products and services for mid-sized companies through to large multinationals, and reinsurance solutions to insurance companies globally. AXA XL proudly serves as the Official Property/Casualty, Reinsurance, Auto and Professional Liability Insurance Sponsor of the LPGA. Additionally AXA XL has partnered with the LPGA on a season-long AXA LPGA Volunteer Service Award which recognizes tournament volunteers who have exemplified the spirit of volunteerism and gone above and beyond expectations. For more information, please visit www.axaxl.com