Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Golf, football mix in Colts’ visit to Legends

When you look at a football field, it’s hard to believe that it takes only a short wedge to cover the distance, goal line to goal line.
That’s a pretty manageable shot in golf. But put an NFL quarterback on the goal line, and that distance seems like forever.
From 1 to 6 p.m. Friday at The Legends of Indiana Golf Course in Franklin, the Indianapolis Colts will reunite with the Indiana PGA for their annual promotion of golf in central Indiana on Play Golf America Day.
This will be the fourth straight year the Colts will join Indiana PGA pros in free 10-minute lessons, club fitting and an autograph session for kids in a unique and intimate day of golf and football.
Created to showcase the game of golf in a fun and relaxed atmosphere, Play Golf America days are presented by the PGA of America with presenting sponsor American Express. These events are conducted at the local level; there will be 55 such events across the United States this year.
“Obviously, we are thrilled at the promotion of golf, integrated with people outside of the industry, as is the case with the Indiana
PGA event,” said Ron Stepanek, director of player development for the PGA of America. “The fact that the Indiana event actually has an NFL presence is unique. There are six other PGA sections that involve NFL teams in the Play Golf America promotion, but Indiana is the only section in the country that actually gives participants the opportunity to interface with the players and coaches.
“We, at the national level, appreciate the support of the Indianapolis Colts in making this one of the PGA’s most successful and popular events.”
The Colts’ involvement has been orchestrated by Craig Kelley, who is the team’s vice president of public relations and is an avid golfer and member at The Legends.
“The Colts are happy to be involved in the Play Golf America program for the past four years,” Kelley said. “I think we gain a deeper appreciation each year to the benefits of our participation. Our players and coaches always enjoy the opportunity.
“I tip my cap to the Indiana PGA for involving the Colts and giving us the chance to be with kids and help them become exposed to a sport they can enjoy for a lifetime.”
This year’s Colts’ lineup will include the following players:
Anthony Gonzalez, wide receiver: Now in his third year with the Colts, “Gonzo” has become an integral part of one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses.
In 2008, he appeared in 16 games and caught 57 passes for 664 yards and four TDs. He was a Rhodes scholar candidate while at Ohio State.
Jim Sorgi, quaterback: In his sixth year as the Colts’ backup quarterback, Sorgi has posted impressive numbers when given the opportunity to play.
Sorgi played college football at Wisconsin and finished his career as the school’s leader in passing efficiency.
Melvin Bullitt, defensive back: Also in his third year with the Colts, Bullitt led the team with four interceptions in 2008. He was an outstanding performer on the Colts’ special teams.
Bullitt graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in leadership and education.
Jamie Silva, defensive back: The Boston College grad majored in communications and was a contributing member to the Colts’ special teams in his rookie season last year.
He had 18 tackles in a college game against Florida State and was named the MVP of the Champs Sports Bowl with 10 tackles and two interceptions against Michigan State.
Tim Jennings, defensive back: He appeared in 16 games last season with the Colts. Jennings recorded 74 tackles (56 solo), two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
He was a three-year starter at Georgia and was an all-SEC first-team selection.
These players will sign autographs for fans 18 and younger from 4 to 4:30 p.m. at The Legends swimming pool. There is a limit of one item to be autographed per fan.
Sorgi, a returning participant of Play Golf America Day, will address young fans on the value of preparation — something he knows well as Peyton Manning’s backup.
Friday’s activities also will include a Demo Day beginning at 1 p.m. This will feature Titleist, Cobra, Callaway, TaylorMade, Nike and Mizuno. Golfers will be able to test the latest and greatest from golf’s industry leaders.
Indiana PGA pros will be offering free 10-minute lessons all afternoon. Don’t be fooled. You can receive a life-changing tip during those 10 minutes.
As a teacher, I can attest that many problems can be identified in the first 10 minutes of any golf lesson.
The lineup of Indiana PGA golf professionals is star-studded. Don Essig III, recently inducted into the PGA of America Hall of Fame, will join his son, Chip Essig, as well as Ryan Ford, Scott Downing, Roger Lundy, Tony Clecak, Keith Clark, Chad Cockerham, Jeff Smith, Steve Cohen, Jon Chapple and me in providing free 10-minute lessons from 1 to 6 p.m.
And from an entertainment standpoint, WFNI-1070 AM will be doing a live radio remote broadcast from 3 to 6 p.m.
Golfers also will be able to enjoy a special $25 green fee Friday at The Legends. It’s an additional $14 per player to ride. Call 736-8186 for tee times.
Play golf, get a free lesson, hit some new clubs and see some Colts. Now it just doesn’t get much better than this.
Ted Bishop is director of golf for The Legends of Indiana Golf Course in Franklin and secretary for PGA of America.

Photo Caption: When you look at a football field, it’s hard to believe that it takes only a short wedge to cover the distance, goal line to goal line.
That’s a pretty manageable shot in golf. But put an NFL quarterback on the goal line, and that distance seems like forever.

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