Cheers – Loch Lomond Whiskies becomes PGA Partner
Loch Lomond Whiskies, the Official Spirit of The Open, has concluded a new agreement with The PGA to become a PGA Partner and the title sponsor of the Scottish PGA Championship.
The three-year deal will ensure PGA Members and amateur golfers alike will have the opportunity to explore the full range of award-winning single malts created at the Loch Lomond Whiskies distillery in Alexandria, Scotland, which can trace its roots back to the early 1800’s.
The PGA represents the grass roots of golf through the teaching and club golf professionals both across the UK and Ireland and further afield. It has a membership of more than 8,000 with around 1,600 working overseas in more than 80 countries worldwide.
One of the initiatives of the new partnership will see Loch Lomond Whiskies work with the PGA to sponsor monthly medals at many golf clubs across the UK and Ireland giving members the chance to win many fantastic prizes, including tickets to the 150th Open Championship at St Andrews in 2021.
Participating clubs will receive a Loch Lomond Whiskies starter pack, including a selection of Loch Lomond Whiskies’ award-winning Single Malt Whiskies for members to win and to try in their club bar.
This new agreement further builds on Loch Lomond Whiskies’ existing sponsorships of The Open and Women’s British Open, and ambassador relationships with golf icons Colin Montgomerie, Darren Clarke and Cristie Kerr.
Commenting on the announcement, Loch Lomond Whiskies CEO, Colin Matthews, said: “Agreeing this new partnership with The PGA gives us great satisfaction and highlights the continued development of our brand within golf and amongst golfers across the world over the past two years.
“The PGA is a well-respected body amongst all golfers, and we are excited about the prospect of working with them to further develop our award-winning brands over the next few years.”
Liam Greasley, PGA executive director – commercial, added: “We are very excited to be working with Loch Lomond Whiskies, a brand that has shown a new and innovative way of approaching golf sponsorship in recent years.
“This partnership will introduce our network to the range of Loch Lomond Whiskies and will find new and exciting ways to reward golfers in the UK and Ireland.”
A full programme of promotions will be announced throughout 2020.
Carden Park joins PGA family
Carden Park has strengthened its reputation as one of the country’s finest golf hotels after becoming a PGA accredited golf academy.
Nestled in the Cheshire countryside, the award-winning venue boasts two championship golf courses, as well as a 198-bedroom hotel, conference rooms, a brand new £10million spa, multiple restaurants and bars.
In 2018, Carden Park was named ‘England’s Best Golf Hotel’ at the prestigious World Golf Awards, while last year the venue’s Cheshire course was nominated for ‘England’s Best Golf Course’ accolade.
Both the Cheshire and Nicklaus course, the latter designed by the great Jack Nicklaus and his son Steve, offer beautiful views of the Welsh hills and are a must for all golfing enthusiasts.
Carden Park’s golf academy uses the world’s best ball tracking technology, Trackman, which is used by four PGA professionals for analysing trajectory, the launch angle, speed and direction.
In addition, the estate recently remodelled its driving range bays, which now has 12 teaching bays, including a private studio for custom fitting and coaching. In recent months, Carden Park has also completely refurbished the clubhouse including golf shop and changing rooms.
Carden Park lines up alongside an illustrious group of leading properties around the world who have also been granted PGA Golf Academy status, including Bowood in Wiltshire, Laguna Golf in Phuket, Thailand, and Close House.
Hamish Ferguson, director and general manager at Carden Park, commented: “We are proud to receive PGA accreditation and to join the elite family of PGA branded golf properties around the world.
“We have exceptional facilities across all areas at Carden Park, from our newly opened world-class spa to the newly accredited golfing centre, which is open to seasoned professionals as well as enthusiastic beginners, here for leisure or for business.”
Guy Moran, head of property and development at The PGA, added: “We are delighted to welcome Carden Park to our growing list of PGA Golf Academies.
“Through the expert tuition, excellent facilities and using the latest equipment and technology, Carden Park has firmly cemented itself as one of the ‘go to’ golf destinations in the UK.
“We look forward to working with Hamish Ferguson and his team and look forward to a successful and long-lasting relationship together.”
Superstar Robbie Williams swings both ways thanks to PGA pro’s coaching
“I thought it was a wind-up, especially as he was late,” says Ben Emerson, recalling the time he was told Robbie Williams had booked a lesson with him.
“The lesson was due to start at four and he still hadn’t turned up by quarter-past. He lives locally and had played here the day before, so I thought Gregg (Hood) one of the PGA pros here was having a laugh at my expense.
“I was thinking what menial task I could get Gregg to do as penance when Rob finally arrived. He was 20 minutes late but very apologetic and we took it from there.”
Taking it from there has led to the global superstar from Stoke on Trent becoming firm friends with Emerson, the head PGA professional and director of golf at Bowood Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort in Wiltshire.
That first meeting last summer and the golf lessons that have followed have led to Emerson and his wife regularly socialising with the singer and his wife, Ayda.
And when it comes to golf, the association has resulted in the former member of onetime boy band Take That being on course to play off single figures.
“Rob didn’t have a handicap when he first came here and his aim was to break a hundred,” Emerson adds. “Now he plays off 12 and he could be better.
“He could easily have a single-figure handicap but the trouble is he would rather be out on the course playing than on the range practising what he’s learned.
“He loves being out on the course – it’s a great escape from the attention he receives because of his fame. Apart from having a security man with him and his golf partner, it gives him the chance to be alone.
“And he just loves playing. So much so that he’s become a member here and plays two or three times a week when he’s at home and not touring.”
Emerson describes his pupil as a ‘golf addict’ which explains why there is no respite for him when Williams is on the road.
“If he’s got a problem with his game or wants some advice he sends me a video,” says Emerson, one of Today’s Golfer magazine’s ‘UK Top 50 Elite Teaching Professionals’.
“I’ll try and establish what’s going wrong or what the issue is and advise accordingly.”
Recently, however, no exchange of videos was required when Williams performed in Dubai.
“Rob had a gig there and invited me to go with him,” Emerson says. “I couldn’t turn that down! We were there for a week, played some golf and watched the Omega Dubai Desert Classic. We were guests of Lee Westwood, who is a friend of Rob’s.”
In addition to enjoying the break, Emerson discovered in seeing Williams at work and play that his golf buddy has two persona.
“He told me he didn’t get nervous before appearing in front of thousands of people. ‘That’s when Robbie Williams turns up,’ he said.
“But he admitted standing on the first tee is a totally different matter. He said that’s when Rob turns up and, just like the rest of us, he can find it a nerve-wracking experience.”