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FootJoy Ambassador Invitational *UPDATED*

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The date was set back in March for the first ever FootJoy Ambassador Invitational: a time for 20 of our most loyal and passionate community members to meet their fellow FJ Ambassadors and to play golf at the storied Medinah Country Club. 

The 20 lucky Ambassadors came from all walks of life.  Some were executives, some were students, and some were retired golf enthusiasts.  Likewise, their ages crossed a wide spectrum, with 50 years separating the youngest from the "most experienced."  They were from 14 different states across the country with several traveling over 1000 miles to attend.  Ability levels ranged from having experience in professional events to missing the cut at a local club championship and weekend warriors. Despite all the differences, the common bond was forged through golf and a passion for FootJoy.

While all the participants were familiar with each other's personalities and nuances from their countless discussion on the Community, the Ambassadors and FJ Staffers had never actually met in person. What would ensue, however, looked like long lost friends catching up after years apart.  The camaraderie and admiration they shared for one another gave way to playful ribbing about the round at Medinah the next day.  As FJ Ambassador, Mike Mondalek perfectly stated, "a group of 20 who never met before got together and, with barely an introduction to each other, acted as if we had been friends for many years. Golf was just a side note."  This was the attitude of many of the Ambassadors - an opportunity to kick back and enjoy a good time amongst friends who just happen to be playing at Medinah CC the next day. 

As the night quickly vanished and turned to blue skies, it became time for the Ambassadors to lace up their FJ's and head to the course.  As the host of the 2012 Ryder Cup matches, Medinah Country Club was the ideal destination to stage a similar match amongst the Ambassadors. Team ICON, clad in blue ProDry Pique shirts and captained by Chris Garrett teed off against Team DryJoys, wearing red shirts and led by Devin Gmitter. The front nine consisted of fourball matches and the back of individual match play with pairings announced on the bus to the course. Pleasantries aside, you could feel the competitive spirit of the participants start to take over.

Arriving at the course, every Ambassador was a member for the day, walking the hallowed grounds of one of the finest courses this country has to offer.  Some chose to warm up on the famous putting green in front of the majestic clubhouse; others headed to the range to shake off those first tee jitters; some chose to relax in the clubhouse, catch up on the Texas/Oklahoma score and soak in the ambiance.  

Leading off the event, from Team ICON, was 73-year-old "Dogloski" (Doug Skinner) who calmly placed his tee in the ground and striped one right up the middle like he has done many times before.  Fades, draws, slices, and hooks were all present on the first tee but there were no egos here just a group of golfers ready to enjoy their round...and a lot of great looking golf shoes! 

As the rounds progressed, margins widened, others tightened but no one lost sight of the fact that this was more about meeting fellow ambassadors and being in the moment then playing their absolute best golf.  The golf course was in immaculate condition allowing each player to feel like they were in the Ryder Cup themselves, albeit playing the course several hundred yards shorter then the professionals.  It's rolling fairways, strategically place bunkers and slick greens made the course a joy for everyone to play and a place that no ambassador will ever forget.  The par-3's provided some of the finest views on the course with three of the four playing over water from Lake Kadijah. Crossing the four bridges at holes 2, 13, 14 and 17 you realize most of the world's greatest players have walked the same path.

It was one of these breathtaking par three's that delivered the shot of the weekend from the final group of the afternoon. Ironically, however, it was the only par three on the course that did not feature a carry over water - the 165 yard 8th hole.

Following consultation with their caddy, Chris, who estimated the hole playing at 195 yards, "OUTIGER" (Tim Tiger) and Chris Garrett both hit laser like iron shots directly at the tucked pin, hidden by the late afternoon shadows; each thinking it could have been the absolute perfect shot that only happens to the most skilled, or luckiest, golfers. Chris felt his shot was maybe a bit long while "OUTIGER" thought his was just short. As the group approached the green, they could see only one ball near the pin, about 10 feet beyond. The excitement escalated as they all realized one must have gone in. It was the caddy who reached the hole first, having jumped from the cart and sprinted to the hole, and alerted the group, and several groups within ear shot, that someone had just recorded an ace. Chris approached next, admittedly shaking with the potential of what may have just happened. Before he could confirm which ball was in the hole, "OUTIGER" was already cheering, realizing his shot rolled out and found a home in the bottom of the cup. Sure enough, Tim's Titleist Pro V1x #1 sat nestled in the hole for his first career hole in one! A perfect shot on a perfect day at one of the most famous golf courses in the world. News quickly spread ahead to the other groups who celebrated Tim's accomplishment all afternoon and in to the evening. Tim's euphoria was only escalated as he found out his Oklahoma Sooners had throttled the Texas Longhorns, 55-17, in the Red River Rivalry.

 After the final group putted out in darkness on #18, it was time to leave Medinah and head to a banquet dinner where we would tally scores and toast the contributions everyone has made to the weekend and the FJ Community. "OUTIGER" made voting for the shot of the day obsolete with his ace while "GoHokies" (Bobby Swain) shot the round of the day with a 76. "19hole" (Rick Ericson) hit the most interesting shot with a back hand wedge off the wall in front of the 17th green. Users like "TarHeel" (Randy Voss) were recognized for their expedited response to questions on the community while "Dogloski" was awarded for traveling the furthest distance to attend. "EMKelly0106" (Eric Kelly) was toasted as the community member with the most points and for participating in the event as official photographer since he could not compete due to a recent surgery.

Fittingly, the matches ended in a tie. After mulling it over for a few moments, even the most competitive Ambassadors found this a fitting way for the day to conclude, every ambassador with an equal footing on a level playing field.

Finally, on Sunday morning, the group of Ambassadors was given a sneak peek at some of the latest innovations from FootJoy, including products that will be launched in 2012 and beyond.

The FJ Ambassadors are a special group. They are passionate, knowledgeable, insightful, caring and friendly. They take pride in the Community and in the contributions they've made in elevating this site within the industry. Join the conversation. Meet the FJ Ambassadors. They will welcome you with open arms.


  • Love the video.  Really explains both why we participate in the Community and the terrific job FJ does of supporting not just the Community, but all Fj purchasers.

  • What a great event,kudos to Footjoy for showing their Ambassadors a very nice perk.

  • Sorry I missed it, Medinah is on my bucket list.

    It reads like you guys had a great time.

  • Would love to take part in this. Looks like a lot of fun!

  • excellent article and i liked the video as well. It is cool to see some faces with the names. It surely looks and sounds like a great weekend. Congratulations to all those that got to participate and thank you for sharing your knowledge and info on the sneak peaks coming our way this spring.

  • This is amazing! Looks like I need to catch up to get to Ambassador level!

  • WOW!  What a treat for all of the lucky members that attended this event. I am saddened that I was not in attendance. Über jealous of everyone.

    Despite my absence, I must thank FJ for putting this together. I loved the write up and the pictures that accompanied it. I am glad to hear the event went well and all enjoyed themselves.

    See you there next year,

    Tim

  • Great story!!  Looks like everyone had a BLAST!!  What an opportunity to play Medinah!!  Great looking swings by the FJAs!  Also, thanks to FJ for sending the wrist bracelet & ball markers!

    Thanks for sharing the trip!!

    Lefty

  • Uhh... Dibs?

  • What a great time.  Hopefully I can make to an ambassador soon.

  • Great idea to get this kind of event started

  • Nice job Devin,

    Looks like it was a great week-end for all of the Ambassadors. It would be great to be involved in this type of outing.

  • Outstanding course!  Looks like you guys had a great time.

  • That's a great way to reward your customers! It looks like a lot of fun!

  • What a wonderful event Chris, Devin & everyone @ FJ put on for the Ambassadors. Hopefully next years event will be a lot further South so I can attend the event  The 20Ambassadores who were able to attend this year are very fortunate. I'm so glad the event was a huge success. & everyone had a great time.