The name of their group says it all: The Hackers Paradise. Golf hackers, by definition, are those of us who love golf and everything about it, yet don’t have the greatest of games. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to improve by buying better equipment or gadgets in an effort to lower our scores. And it certainly doesn’t stop us from having a lot of fun.
The Hackers Paradise (THP) and Callaway teamed together to hold an event called “The Grandaddy,” pitting a group of THP members against a team of people from the Marketing Department at Callaway Golf known as “The Zoo Crew.” The Grandaddy was held in the desert, where the 12-member Zoo Crew faced 12 contest winners who formed the THP team, known as “Team Redemption."
The Grandaddy qualifying contests go on throughout the year, building up to the big event that was held at The Hideaway Golf Club in La Quinta.
But The Grandaddy isn't The Walker Cup, so not all of the competitions involved golf skills. Sure, there are some THP golf outings, but points can also be earned by participating in the buildup to the big event. For example, the person who picked Team Redemption as the 2015 THP moniker earned some big points, and wound up on the team.
As you might expect, there’s quite a bit of pre-event trash-talking between the teams. Harry Arnett, VP of Marketing for Callaway, announced THP’s team lineup via video, pointing out that Callaway has won the first two events. When announcing the lineup for Team Redemption, Arnett jokingly called them “Team Remedial.”
A THP team member DDEC posted, “Oh Harry, #TeamRemedial or #TeamRedemption, whatever you want us to be known as, just know we are coming after you, the #ZooCrew, and that championship belt.”
Team member PhillyV posted: ”I love it dude. The makeup of our team is awesome. We cover most of the country, come from all sorts of different backgrounds, and all have different paths to THP. It's really awesome how unique each Grandaddy team has been. But it's even more awesome to see how it's all going to come together. One common goal will bring the 12 Team Redemption members together for four life changing days and I really can't wait for it!”
For most “hackers,” the golf competition is just one of the cool things about the The Grandaddy, because they received so much more. To begin with, it’s an all-expenses paid trip to sunny Southern California, which is great when most of the country at this time of year is ensconced in winter.
One of the THP members spends his days bending steel (no word on how far he drives the ball) and had never been to California, let alone to a wine-and-dine event like this one. The host club, La Quinta's The Hideaway, is an exclusive country club that has a who's-who of California elites among its membership.
“We think The Grandaddy is one of the coolest events in all of amateur golf. 12 regular golfers are treated like Tour pros, maybe even better than Tour pros, for three days. It’s about equipment, it’s about competition, but most of all about camaraderie. This is an experience that these golfers will never forget,” said Dave Neville, senior director of marketing for Callaway Golf.
Most pros have to carry their own sticks to their tournaments. But at this event, on top of enjoying an all-expense paid golf vacation, THP Team Redemption players were told not to bring their clubs. Instead, they were fitted for new clubs at the same place all of the Callaway PGA Tour pros get their fittings, plus received plenty of other new Callaway gear. It’s just what every hacker wants – the chance for a few days of fun on the course and new equipment that will improve their game.
"The Grandaddy is aptly named because it is literally golf nirvana," said THP marketing director Josh Babbitt. "Callaway opens up the doors, unrolls the red carpet and helps create the perfect event for golfers and because of that, THPers are paying attention all year long to the build up."
There were two days of match play golf in the desert – Day One was a 27-hole day, while 18 holes were played on Day Two. Match #1 was a “Shamble” (aka, Scramble) while Match #2 was a Fourball and Match #3 was Alternate Shot. By the end of those three matches, Callaway’s Zoo Crew had a commanding lead over Team Redemption, 13.5 points to 4.5.
Match #4 consisted of Singles, with Team Redemption managing to pick up four wins. But that wasn’t nearly enough as the Zoo Crew dominated the day and the tournament, winning 21.5 to 8.5 and giving the Zoo Crew another year of pride.
That makes Callaway's Zoo Crew 3 - 0. So what will next year's crew be called? Come up with your own name, and submit it to THP. Maybe you'll be part of the team in 2016.