Yes! Golf UK has signed a sponsorship deal with the Ivobank PGA Europro Tour
by Dominic O’Byrne
The agreement is part of an ongoing commitment from Yes! Golf to enhance standards of putting and promote better understanding of the science and mechanics of the game within the game of golf.
It’s widely known on the professional circuit that, unlike the Wall Street brands like Titleist, TaylorMade, Nike etc. with whom Yes! Golf shares putting greens and Pro player bag space on the Tours, the putter manufacturer does not keep a stable of Tour pros on the payroll.
“It’s partly practical and partly principle,” says Yes! MD in the UK Peter Allison. “Practically speaking, we’re a comparatively small company and we just don’t have the deep pockets that the bigger club manufacturers have, and we’re happy to admit that.
“On principle though, it’s an undoubted part of our appeal factor that we’re perceived as a cheeky upstart brand, and that a large number of Tour players rely on our putters for their livelihood purely because there is nothing that rolls a golf ball like a C-Groove putter, and not because of a large cheque.”
There is a small number of staff players such as Laura Davies, Edoardo Molinari and most recently Joost Luiten, but it’s kept to a really ‘small family’. Instead of buying big names, Yes! Golf has a global strategy of re-investing a great percentage of profits into R&D, as well as initiatives like this – knowing full well that they may be short on publicity but long on benefits to the game.
There was a meeting of minds between Yes! Golf and the EuroPro Tour, because both share a passion for bringing the game along for younger players and new talent. Since its inception in 2002, the Ivobank PGA Europro Tour now has 500 members and over £1 million in prize money and has a rich pedigree of former stars.
Since playing on this Tour, Marc Warren has won on the European Tour and won the World Cup of Golf with Colin Montgomerie, while Richard Finch has also triumphed on the European Tour. John E Morgan gained both his US PGA Tour Card and European Tour Card in his rookie year in 2000. And Matthew Richardson won his European Tour Card in November 2006 after a sensational Rookie Year on the Ivobank PGA Europro Tour.
The starting field for the Tour Championship at the end of the season will be the top 50 players from the 2008 PGA EuroPro Tour Order of Merit. During this event, there will not be a cut and so all of the players will receive a share of the £75,000 prize fund, with £20,000 going to the winner.
In addition, at the end of the season, the top five players on the Order of Merit will gain their tour cards for the 2009 Challenge Tour. The top five players in the Order of Merit will gain automatic entry to Stage Two Qualifying School for the European Tour.
Leading players have also, through their status in the Order of Merit, earned exemptions into Challenge Tour events during the year.
Commercially, Yes! Golf globally is looking to form strategic partnerships with better training aid manufacturers, to move these products via their own websites www.yesgolf.com and www.yesgolf.co.uk and at retail. Combined with their growing number of Yes! Custom-fit Putter Centres the idea is to take the hardware and coaching principles from the golf Tours and place them directly into the hands of club golfers the world over.
PGA EuroPro Tour www.europrotour.com