Annika one-liners, NGF enthusiasm, Lewis on ’15 US Open: Golfdom Summit highlights

By |  December 8, 2015 0 Comments

I’m back in Kansas now, fully recovered from the Golfdom Summit (it only took three days.) It seems that both the attendees and the sponsors agreed: the 2015 Summit was the best one ever.

In the Orlando airport I went through security and hopped on the same tram car as Kevin Robinson (Pinehurst Resort) and Josh Lewis (Almaden G&CC, San Jose, Calif.) Both attended the 2014 Summit, Robinson when he was over Course 2 (he’s since been promoted to managing all 9 Pinehurst courses) and Lewis when he was preparing to host the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay.

Both guys shook my hand and thanked me for bringing them to the event. It was then that it occurred to me the coincidence that both were there last year (the event is dominated by first-time attendees each year.)

“Was this year better than last year?” I asked. “Definitely,” they both said.

I have to agree. Take, for example, these three highlights:

Josh Lewis on U.S. Open — My favorite moment might have been when Lewis took the microphone in the upstairs, open-air restaurant “11” and talked about the 2015 U.S. Open. Interesting, timely topic, in a very cool setting. I mean, where else but at the Summit can you hear a frank discussion about the conditions of the 2015 U.S. Open with a great view of the morning fog burning off and one of those walk-in pools in the background?

Call me weird... I thought this was a cool place to have our first speaker of the week talk... and what an interesting talk it was!

Call me weird… I thought this was a cool place to have our first speaker of the week talk… and what an interesting talk it was!

Lewis raved about working with USGA Executive Director Mike Davis. “Mike is committed to providing the fairest, toughest test of golf all year. And he does that with great success,” Lewis said. “He gets in (the players’) heads. These guys can hit every shot in the bag. He gets in their mind with an angle, or an elevation change… it’s things that even they can’t figure out.”

Someone in the crowd asked, “Would you do it all again?”

Lewis said he’d do it again in a heartbeat. “The experiences… I’d pinch myself sometimes. I’ll never be in that situation again, walking down a fairway with Robert Trent Jones Jr. A lot of special moments and experiences, that far outweigh the bad.”

Anyway, there was more, as you can imagine… but I want to save something for our  recap of the event, which will appear in the magazine soon.

Annika on point — We again had Annika Sorenstam as our keynote speaker. She is a person who you just want to be around… a wonderful personality, funny, humble, and has some great stories.

Her best one-liner came early, when she congratulated the winners of our 4-man scramble golf tournament:

'Oh, a team shot a 58? You must be so proud...'

‘Oh, a team shot a 58? You must be so proud…

“I heard there was some good scores out there,” she said. “Someone told me they beat my 59… of course, it took four of them…

She also told a funny story about her days working maintenance as a junior golfer… again, you’ll have to wait for the full recap in the magazine, sorry!

State of the game from NGF’s Greg Nathan — Greg Nathan, senior vice president of the National Golf Foundation, gave an encouraging talk to our group.

"Golf is incredibly competitive, there's no question about it," Nathan told the group.

“Golf is incredibly competitive, there’s no question about it,” Nathan told the group.

Nathan crunched some numbers and gave the attendees some positive takeaways… consider, for example, that from the standpoint of a pay-for-play form of recreation in the U.S. there’s nothing really bigger than golf, he said.

“One thing that you will not see in the media is every year between 3 and 4 million new players come into the game,” he said. “That number is split between new golfers and returning golfers. …Today golf is stable and competitive and I don’t think it is so different than any other business.”

Same song here — we’ll have more, but we’re saving the really good comments for our feature on the Summit, out later this year. That story will also include some other highlights… like a talk from Clark Throssell, Ph.D., some insights from attendees on the most interesting equipment at the Summit, and a recap of what all was on display at the 2015 Summit.

In the meantime, if this event at all sounds cool to you… you can apply for the 2016 edition of the Summit here.

Photos: Golfdom



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About the Author: Seth Jones

Seth Jones, a 25-year veteran of the golf industry media, is Editor-in-Chief of Golfdom magazine and Athletic Turf. A graduate of the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Mass Communications, Jones began working for Golf Course Management in 1999 as an intern. In his professional career he has won numerous awards, including a Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA) first place general feature writing award for his profile of World Golf Hall of Famer Greg Norman and a TOCA first place photography award for his work covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In his career, Jones has accumulated an impressive list of interviews, including such names as George H.W. Bush, Samuel L. Jackson, Lance Armstrong and Charles Barkley. Jones has also done in-depth interviews with such golfing luminaries as Norman, Gary Player, Nick Price and Lorena Ochoa, to name only a few. Jones is a member of both the Golf Writers Association of America and the Turf and Ornamental Communicators Association. Jones can be reached at

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