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By: Ryan Hartwig (@RyanHartwig)
GreenBayPhoenix.com

GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - TaylorMade CEO and President Mark King - a UW-Green Bay alumnus - will once again return to his hometown for the annual TaylorMade-adidas Green Bay Pro-Am, set for Monday, Aug. 27 at Green Bay Country Club. In addition to bringing a top-notch golf event to the area, King's creativity and generosity also provide the opportunity to bid on unique golf experiences in the live auction.

Last year's auction featured a Premier Golf Trip for four people to the award-winning, six-course Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Ga. The package included brand new sets of clubs and bags following a professional fitting at the TaylorMade Kingdom, as well as a round of golf with six-time major champion Sir Nick Faldo just days after he finished commentating The Masters on television.

The top bidders for the auction package were Ken Metzler and Brian Mannering of LaForce, Inc., who invited clients Mike Johnson (IEI General Contractors, Inc.) and Pete Smits (Howard Immel, Inc.) along for the trip.

"It just sounded like a great experience," Mannering said. "I had never been down to Reynolds Plantation. They have unbelievable accommodations and courses, and to be able to take some great clients of ours, it just seemed like something they would never forget."

To watch a video about the group's experience, click here.

Prior to their round with Faldo, the foursome went through an extensive, three and a half hour club fitting with the professional fitters at the TaylorMade Kingdom to find the clubs that were right for each golfer.

"You felt like a king out there, you truly did," Mannering said. "It was kind of surreal. It was a fantastic facility. You didn't get tired because you were just amped up from everything that was going on and the excitement of knowing that you were choosing not just the clubs you wanted but the clubs you hit best."

As exciting as it was to receive the new sets of TaylorMade clubs and bags, the group agreed that playing with Faldo was the highlight of the trip.

"He told jokes, told funny stories and answered any question we would ask him," Johnson said. "I don't know how to describe it. It's better than anything I've done before."

This year's live auction will include a similar golf trip with details to be announced at the event. All money raised at the TaylorMade-adidas Green Bay Pro-Am goes to the Phoenix Fund for Green Bay student-athlete scholarships - something the group says adds incentive to bid.

"That's really what it's all about - supporting Green Bay and their athletic department," Smits said. "It's a win-win, it really is. People can get a great trip and a great experience and help the programs."

Mannering agreed.

"You should bid on it," Mannering said. "It's a great organization to support, and certainly that's the big win, but you won't be disappointed. You just will not be disappointed with your experience. We could have spent a lot more money and we'd have the exact same feeling that we have today."

King, a 1981 graduate of UW-Green Bay and former Phoenix golfer, has helped transform TaylorMade-adidas into one of the largest golf manufacturers in the world. Under King's leadership, the company's sales have risen from $300 million in 1999 to over $1.2 billion in 2011.

Pro-Am Format: Teams of three will be paired with one of top Midwest PGA golf professionals for a true pro-am experience. The threesomes will compete for the event championship and prizes, including TaylorMade drivers, adidas footwear and TaylorMade golf bags. The pros will compete for a $5,000 cash purse.

The event costs $400 per person or $1,200 per threesome, which includes golf and cart fees, lunch, hors d'oeuvres reception, a program and a live auction. Every golfer will receive a tee package including an Ashworth shirt, a TaylorMade-adidas golf hat and a dozen Penta T-P tour golf balls.

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