Power Events: Building a Legacy
We sat down with Steve Sobel to find out a little more about Power Events

"I was, and still am, just a casual player with Golden Tee. I had a side job working at a bar and we played it after work." - Steve Sobel

For those of us with deep ties to the GT community, this statement presents an interesting thought. How did a self-proclaimed “casual player” be a part of the team that helped shape the very foundation of the Golden Tee competitive arena?

Steve, and the Power Events crew, have set the bar with their tour of events, drawing an ever-growing field of high-level competitors from across the country…for a shot at earning one of their coveted championship titles.

With a background in billiards, Steve was giving some consideration to organizing a series of pool tournaments when Russ Layton proposed they partner in an effort to pivot this idea to everybody’s favorite arcade golf game, Golden Tee. He’d recently attended an event with former GT World Champion, Jeff Harlow, and saw opportunity in the execution…or lack thereof.

"He saw how the local vendor struggled to facilitate the event, and came to me with the idea of buying ten machines and a trailer. We brought Paige in as a third partner, and the rest is history." -Steve Sobel

After two years of five annual events, the Power Events team realized their annual costs were going to require some creative thinking to overcome, and an idea for the now ubiquitous and prestigious Player of the Year tournament found its way to the table. Steve reached out to then VP of Incredible Technologies, Gary Colabuono, in an attempt to garner financial support for the effort and “after a short meeting, the deal was done.”

With backing in place, the GT community did its thing, stepping in to carry Power Events’ vision across the finish line. Jimmy Parker built the original PEGT website, which became home to the very first Golden Tee live stream. Matt Vanhoosier, who was always ready to lend a helping hand, built out the tour’s spreadsheet, introducing a new found level of organization and ease in execution. Dan Weis traveled to every event, helping to set up and tear down cabinets and gear which, let us tell you from experience dear friends, is no small task. If you have any doubt about the extent of this undertaking, ask Kelly Ambrose the next time you see him.

“So many others have and continue to help. I wish I could list and thank them all. We wouldn’t be anywhere without the players. The upper echelon campaigned to get people to their first tournament in the beginning, but now players from all skill levels are getting the word out and talking up the events.” -Steve Sobel

Power Events’ have continued to partner with Incredible Technologies and the Golden Tee team, building on the strength of their National Golden Tee Tour and the evolution of the game.

“I don’t think we’ve had a better relationship with IT, and with our key points of contact Adam Kramer and Kevin Lindsay, than we do right now. They’ve become more supportive of the tour, with bonuses for players at our tourneys among other things.”

2023 will mark the very first Player of the Year tournament played on Golden Tee PGA TOUR cabinets, with PEGT making the move to upgrade their arsenal of 23 games just ahead of this year’s Carolina Clash, the first PEGT event featuring the latest iteration of the game.

“Thankfully Adam and the team at IT are giving us tremendous support in this. It’s a huge investment by the PEGT, and one we made thinking about what the future holds for us.”

The upcoming Dallas Holiday Classic is the only stop on the tour that plays host to two major tourneys in one weekend. Players accumulate points at every National Golden Tee Tour event, based on their performance in the Main Event. After the competition has settled in Orlando, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Nashville, Columbia, and Dallas, point totals pit the year’s top 64 players in one of two heavy-hitting brackets, "Top Gun" and "Lil Gun.”

"Nothing will ever be bigger than a world title, but our Player of the Year tourney is a marquee event every year, and a title that means a lot to the person who takes it home." -Steve Sobel

"When Mark Stenmark won his first Player of the Year title, which eluded him probably longer than he thought it should, he gave his "cream rises to the top” speech.” For those who don’t know, hit the link and treat yourself to this Randy Savage classic. 

“You really had to know Mark to love this speech. Most of the time he let his skill do the talking, but this one time he told players what they already knew, that he was the best.”

Steve’s fond (and hilarious) recollection does one hell of a job illustrating what this title can mean to even the fiercest of competitors, including multi-time Golden Tee World Champions like Mark Stenmark.

The event has hosted camera crews and production teams from documentary projects and heavy hitters like The Golf Channel, showcasing the titans of trackball at the “end of the road” (IYKYK), battling their way through the brackets…ONE MORE TIME.

This year’s Player of the Year tournament is just one week away. The elites of Golden Tee will meet once again in the heart of Texas, November 30th through December 3rd, to prove their claim to the POTY title. The stage is set, and the stakes have never been higher.

We asked Steve about his 2023’s Player of the Year “picks”, and Steve Sobel, the man with the mic, delivered these thoughts on the topic. NOTE: These are the stated opinions of Steve Sobel, and do not reflect the position of Incredible Technologies or the Golden Tee team. PLEASE DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER.”

“Paul Luna has never won the event, so it would be great to see him win. He’s been playing well, always has a tremendous attitude, and the ability to stay consistent at a high level match after match.”

“Eddie Godfrey, whose only title is ‘the best player to never win a PEGT event ’has been on a tear ever since Worlds. I don’t think anyone wants to face him right now.” Eddie G. placed second at the 2023 World Championships with multiple podium finishes on the tour this year.

“Obviously, there’s the current World Champ, Paul Tayloe, who always seems to come in the top four at any event.”

“And Andy Haas, the quote-unquote "best player in the game”, coming in as the defending 2022 Player of the Year Champion.”

"Thats a pretty good group of four players that the rest of the field will need to focus on beating for the title." -Steve Sobel

The National Golden Tee Tour would not exist in its current form without the hard work and dedication of Steve Sobel, Russ Layton, Paige Gossett, and all those who have helped the team along the way.

The players have served as the best marketing tool for sustained growth through organic word-of-mouth community development. New players arrive at PEGT events without knowing what to expect, and are met with an absolutely amazing group of welcoming, thoughtful, and passionate players, ready and willing to bring them into the warm embrace of the scene.

And Power Events have made all of this possible. Tell em “thank you” the next time you have a chance.

"Golden Tee is a great community of players and people should feel honored to be a part of it, because we certainly do. We will continue to work hard making the events the best we can and most importantly, have something for everyone." Steve Sobel

Check out our Player of the Year Preview below, and we hope to see you all in Dallas, friends. Cheers.

Golden Tee PGA TOUR 2023
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