PGA professionals and club captains teamed up on the south coast this week at Hayling Golf Club, in the first regional qualifier of this year’s SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge in association with Golfplan.
The ten-round Pro-Captain Challenge is one of the PGA’s best-supported and most keenly-contested events each year, with over 400 club captains expected to take part in 2017, each playing alongside a PGA professional from his or her golf club.
SkyCaddie’s James Holmes said: “The Pro-Captain format fits perfectly for SkyCaddie, as we work daily with PGA professionals to get our messages through to club golfers. We don’t map for anyone else, and you can trust our yardages because we update them continuously on foot. The PGA Pro-Captain Challenge enables us to spread those messages throughout the UK.”
Kevin Saunders (PGA Professional) and Richard Walker (Captain) from Brokenhurst Manor Golf Club took the honours in Round One with 46 points, picking up not only a win but also a trip to the 2017 PGA Pro-Captain Challenge Final to be held in Morocco in November, on the Gary Player-designed golf course at the luxurious Mazagan Beach and Golf Resort near Casablanca.
Saunders was one of many competitors who took advantage of SkyCaddie’s Pin Position feature by using a SkyCaddie Touch during the event, pre-loaded with the day’s pin positions as well as distances to dozens of target points on each hole.
Pin Position adds further accuracy by giving golfers exact yardages to the flag. It also speeds up play by making the club selection process faster.
A SkyTrak Demo in a marquee by the Hayling GC clubhouse was well-attended by competitors, attracted by the fact that the first person to score a SkyTrak hole-in-one during this year’s tournament will win a SkyTrak golf launch monitor / simulator worth £1,895. As no ace was scored at Hayling GC the prize is still up for grabs with nine more regional qualifiers yet to come.
Mark Howell, a PGA Professional from Henley GC, came closest to winning the SkyTrak hole-in-one prize with a shot to just 32 inches on the 17th hole at Bay Hill GC, powered by a SkyTrak running TruGolf E6 golf simulator software.
Ironically there was a hole-in-one in the tournament proper – an ace on the 157 yard 11th hole at Hayling GC by Charles Giddins, the PGA Professional at Beauport Park Golf Club, who used a SkyCaddie Touch with Pin Position accuracy.
Club Captains who visited the SkyTrak Demo marquee could also enter a simulated Nearest The Pin contest. Geoff Dyckes from Ifield GC won a SkyCaddie SW2 Watch for his shot to 7ft, again on the 17th at Bay Hill.
“The SkyTrak Demo proved very popular – who wouldn’t want to win a SkyTrak or a SkyCaddie, after all?” said James Holmes. “I feel sure that somebody will get a SkyTrak ace at some point this summer, as we tour the country with this event.”
PGA Tournament Controller Josh Budz said: “The SkyTrak Demo was a new addition to the Pro-Captain challenge and was a great success. I am really looking forward to the rest of the season working alongside SkyCaddie to produce this fantastic tournament.”
The 2017 event represents the first time in the PGA Pro-Captain Challenge’s 24-year history that the Final will be held in Africa, with competitors battling for a considerable prize fund put up by tournament title sponsors SkyCaddie and associate sponsors Golfplan. Both are long-standing PGA Partners, with SkyCaddie celebrating a ten-year association with the PGA in 2017.
On the day, competitors who used a SkyCaddie GPS for their distance measurement had the advantage of knowing that their yardages were as accurate as possible: just a few days beforehand, SkyCaddie mappers had visited the club to update dozens of critical target points on each hole, including distances to key green contours accessible by SkyCaddie’s IntelliGreen Pro feature.
You can follow progress in the 2017 SkyCaddie PGA Pro-Captain Challenge in association with Golfplan on the PGA’s website at www.pga.info. See www.skycaddie.co.uk for the 2017 range of SkyCaddie Distance Measuring Devices, and www.skytrakgolf.com for all SkyTrak information.