Private jet companies and golf go together like hot dogs on July 4th. NetJets boasts over 35 professional golfers on its roster of players it sponsors. There is even an unofficial Twitter account @NetJetsGolfTeam.
On NetJets’ website, it proudly notes, “Of the last four U.S. Opens, three of the winners have been NetJets-sponsored golfers. This includes the defending champion and World Number 1 player, Dustin Johnson. This week, we’re sending luck and best wishes to all of our favorite golfers competing in golf’s second major of 2017.”
Why do sellers of fractional ownership and jet card memberships like NetJets like to talk golf?
Sponsoring professional golfers is a natural for private jet fractional and jet card sellers. After all, getting between tournaments with their bulky baggage via commercial airlines is not particularly easy. That’s even before the recent spate of brawls and conflicts between airline employees and customers over seats, strollers and tennis rackets. Earlier this month Chinese pro tennis player Zhang Shuai claimed a United Airlines gate agent forcibly took away her tennis racket claiming it was too large to take onboard as a carry-on.
For pro golfers, many tournaments are in secondary cities, such as The Masters played in Augusta Georgia. Even this week at the U.S. Open being played at Erin Hills, in Erin, Wisconsin, while the nearest commercial airport in Milwaukee is about an hour by car, there are several airports catering to private jets that are closer. And from last week’s stop for the St. Jude’s Classic in Memphis to Milwaukee there are no nonstop flights. What would be a flight of just over an hour to Erin Hills on a private jet would take about seven or eight hours when factoring in checked baggage and the long drive from General Mitchell Airport in Milwaukee to Erin Hills.
To get to the Travelers Championship next week in Cromwell, Connecticut is under two hours if you fly nonstop but flying commercially requires a connection, and with airport time, could end up taking as much as eight to 10 hours!
One argument for spending the money to fly privately is that it buys you the only thing you can’t make more of, and that’s time.
Pat Gallagher, NetJets EVP says, “Every time a Member boards one of our jets, we strive to offer the most efficient and relaxing way to travel—to the course and home again.”
Private jet companies might have the opportunity to sign on some up and coming talent if the leaderboard through three rounds at the 2017 U.S. Open holds ups. While Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed of NetJets, Ricky Fowler and Louis Oosthuizen representing Wheels Up and Brad Snedeker who plays for Flight Options are all near the top, a number of other golfers don’t appear to have private aviation affiliations. They include leaders Tommy Fleetwood, Brian Harmon, Brooks Koepka, Russell Henley, Charlie Hoffman and 23-year-old Xander Schauffele.
Some of NetJets other notable golfers include Henrik Stenson, Justin Rose, Ian Poulter, Lee Westwood, Darren Clarke. Danny Willett, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth.
Other jet companies also have aligned themselves with pro golfers. Jet Linx Aviation’s team includes Kevin Chappell, Kevin Streelman, and Jimmy Walker.