Team GOLFTEC Athletes Take Center Stage in Tahoe at The Barracuda Championship
By Ryan Gager
Team GOLFTEC will have three athletes – Mark Baldwin, Jim Knous and Scott Gutschewski – competing at this week’s Barracuda Championship! Follow all the action through our Twitter page: twitter.com/GOLFTEC.
At GOLFTEC, our entry into player sponsorships has been a carefully crafted strategy that’s taken shape over several years. For most brands, it’s about global exposure with Tour players who have reached the height of the professional golf ranks. Instead, we’re drawn to the stories and the people. We’re committed to working with players who resonate with GOLFTEC’s mission and understand the dedication and sacrifice it takes to play better golf.
That’s why we’ve chosen to sponsor a team of underdogs and dreamers—players who have gone to the school of hard knocks and have developed an unstoppable desire to make it to the next level.
We’ve been lucky enough in the past couple years to build relationships with players who share that vision and who have allowed us to be a partner along their journey to better golf. These are their stories. This is Team GOLFTEC.
In 2021, we were introduced to Mike Visacki, who reached a lifelong goal of competing on the PGA Tour by Monday Qualifying into the Valspar Championship. Many people know his story and the heartfelt phone call he made to his dad that day. What people might not know is that Visacki has been a longtime Student at GOLFTEC Sarasota, constantly working with Coach Tyler Beasley on his game to be able to get to this moment. See Visacki’s full story here.
Once we got to know Big Mike’s story we knew we wanted to be on his TEAM and help support his dream in a bigger way. Through Visacki, GOLFTEC started to experience a true passion for the game at the mini tour level and Monday Qualifiers. This led to conversations with THE Monday Q Info, Ryan French. Through Ryan we got to know Mark Baldwin, who Ryan caddies for in many events throughout the year.
Mark is somewhat of a mini tour legend. He has a widespread Twitter following, and has an equally impressive golf game to back it up.
He has played 60 events on the Korn Ferry Tour over the last three years, but with no status this year, he has been relegated to trying to Monday Qualify into events. His first big moment came last year at the Barracuda Championship.
The video shows Baldwin making a call to his wife after Monday Qualifying into the 2021 Barracuda Championship. A tournament he would go on to make the cut and finish T34.
Earlier this year, Mark got another big break when he received a sponsor exemption into the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Playing in just his fourth ever PGA Tour event, Mark again made the cut and finished T49.
Mark is back at the Barracuda Championship this year, hoping to improve on his good play from last year.
Not only will good friend Ryan French be caddying for Mark this week, but he also will be providing extensive coverage of Mark’s play at the Barracuda via Twitter, and we will be sharing and joining in on the fun! You can follow along here.
Also, be on the look out for lots of new content next week following the Barracuda, as GOLFTEC has awarded Mark our sponsor exemption into the Inspirato Colorado Open!
In addition to mini tour players who were interested in and using GOLFTEC, we were proud and excited to hear that a couple of PGA Tour Pros also were working on their games through our Coaches and Training Centers.
Jim Knous, a Colorado native, played golf collegiately at Colorado School of Mines, just up the road from GOLFTEC Headquarters. GOLFTEC has a Training Bay inside at the School of Mines facility, and it was there that Knous first experienced GOLFTEC and how all of the data and motion measurement could help his game.
A winner of multiple events in college, Knous decided to try his hand at playing professionally. It looked like he was on track until a wrist injury a couple years ago had him out of the game.
Through his medical exemptions, Knous was able play a few PGA Tour events, make some cuts and collect just enough points to earn a Tour Card for the 2021-2022 Season. We are proud to be a “Hard K” supporter! See Knous’ full story here.
Talk about patiently waiting for another chance. It had been 10 years between PGA Tour Cards for Scott Gutschewski. All the hard work and sticking to it on the Korn Ferry Tour paid off last season as Scott earned back his PGA Tour Card for the first time since 2011. Gutschewski secured his spot on the PGA Tour by way of a top-50 finish on the Korn Ferry Tour last season, and was understandably emotional as he tried to put it into words.
Gutschewski is a Nebraska native, played golf at both Creighton University in Omaha and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and still lives in Omaha. So it’s only natural that he regularly works on his short game with the best Coach in Nebraska, James Kinney of GOLFTEC Omaha. See Gutschewski’s full story here.
Because of our interest in following and supporting these professional golf dream chasers, we were introduced to Fire Pit Collective, a new media company, focused on telling the stories of golf’s grinders as they try to work their way up through mini tours, and just how hard it is to make it in professional golf.
Fire Pit Collective – The Grind
The Grind, is a series of stories that will bring to life the struggle, the stress and the occasional triumphs of a diverse group of pros and elite amateurs who are chasing the professional golf dream.
GOLFTEC was excited to jump on board with this project, and we quickly became a Presenting Sponsor of this season, which is scheduled for release in 2022. Watch the video for a preview.
Through our newly formed partnership with Fire Pit Collective, we offered GOLFTEC to every member of The Grind. Many have utilized it, coming in and improving their games, and we anticipate many more will! See the full Fire Pit Collective story here.
Several golfers have become GOLFTEC Ambassadors through “The Grind” including Joe Hooks.
Joe is a 29-year-old mini tour player from Detroit, currently playing on the APGA Tour. The APGA (Advocates Pro Golf Association) Tour is an organization whose mission is to bring greater diversity to the game of golf.
Hooks also is driven to support causes that grow the game, like Youth on Course, an organization that makes golf affordable for the next generation. Their big event every year is a 100 Hole Hike, where players form teams to raise money through the playing of 100 continuous holes.
When it was all said and done, Hooks played the 100 holes at an incredible 44 under par that included an albatross and a hole-in-one! The even better story was that Hooks’ team raised over $50,000 in the event. See the full story here.
GOLFTEC is extremely proud of all of our Team GOLFTEC athletes, especially how they conduct themselves on and off the course. Their drive to play golf at the highest level and their charitable contributions to grow the game are unmatched. It’s always a pleasure to see them come into a GOLFTEC Training Center to continue to work on their games and get better. We will be rooting them on at every event they play in as they fight to make starts, retain status and earn Tour cards.