It's time for another Team Titleist member spotlight, and in our latest installment we're shining the light on Chris Bidwell (Chris92009 on the boards), a gifted golfer who brings an infectious enthusiasm to every round he plays, every get-together he organizes and every conversation he strikes up.
Chris played collegiately at Arizona State and judging by his swing, he could probably still crack the starting line-up.
(Check out Chris's form in the video clip below, from last year's Team Titleist Invitational in Chicago).
An avid collector, traveler and student of the game, Chris has a wealth of knowledge that he is quick to share. When you hear a story from Chris, you get an unmistakable sense of being welcomed, that you're riding along in the shotgun seat to join in his thrilling experiences.
So pull up a seat and get to know Chris a little better as he shares a bit of his golf life with all of Team Titleist.
How often are you thinking about your golf game and what are you currently working on?
I think about my golf game almost daily, considering ways to constantly improve and enjoy the game more. Having formerly played competitive golf during my junior years through college I am unable to shake the enthusiasm to be the best player I can be constantly!
I am currently working on my wedge game and I am so focused on this that I recently spent part of day with Bob Vokey in my quest for the perfect wedge set up. He was so kind he even gave me the hat off his head!!
What's the most special moment you've ever had on the golf course?
Growing up, no one in my family really played golf, so it was just me on the course most of the time. I think one of the most special moments I ever had on a golf course happened recently when I had not only my wife but also two of my children (Andrew, 15 and Nicole,17) playing golf and enjoying the day together! Having my family being able to enjoy the game together, laughing and sharing golf stories, is about as special as it may ever be for me.
What's the best piece of golf advice you have ever received?
I was fortunate as a younger player to have some special people give me their golf perspectives. One day when I was about 16 years of age, I had Paul Runyan, often called Little Poison and the winner of two PGA Championships, play a short nine holes of golf with me. Not as the result of a request, but rather after listening to my young perspective about hitting the ball great lengths was so paramount to my focus on the game.
He wanted to teach me a lesson as well as convince me that strong short game (specifically putting and chipping) is a golfers most valuable skill versus how far one can hit a driver. So Mr. Runyan, a young 74 took me out on the course barely able to hit the ball 200 yards on a drive but played even par for the nine holes chipping in on a couple holes and making lots of one putts. Clearly, this playing lesson was one of the most influential pieces of advice I ever received in my life. I share this story with my kids, whenever they will listen!
What Titleist golf ball model do play and why?
I was told at one of my recent fittings at the Titleist Performance Institute that I could fit into either the Pro V1 or Pro V1x, which I was lucky since I very much enjoy the feel and playability of the Pro V1 on the course. It reminds me of the old Titleist balata golf balls I used to play that felt so soft when I was younger. Of course, without the smiley’s from mis-hits! (If you've ever played a balata golf ball you know what I mean!!)
What's your favorite Titleist club in the bag? Why?
This is a very tough question since all 14 clubs in my bag are Titleist and I enjoy many of them equally well. However, if I had to pick one it would one of my Titleist Scotty Cameron Putters, my current gamer is a Futura X, however I always have a hard time choosing one! I have even gone to the extreme of building a putting green in my house that has many of my Cameron putters so I can frequently work on my putting game and test out new putters.
If you had to play one golf course every day for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
One of my favorite golf courses, which was recently updated, is the TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course where the Phoenix Open is played. I really enjoy desert golf and the views and topography of the holes. It is a very fair but challenging design, both the original and redesign. I have been playing it now for almost 30 years.
How long have you been a member of Team Titleist? What are some of your favorite features of the community and what kind of things would you like to see in the future?
I joined Team Titleist 4 or 5 years ago. The community has so much to offer and differs from other internet sites, since the individuals whom make up the membership really care about their game and their clubs, with a passion to not take short cuts in finding the best equipment for their games.
I very much enjoy the “Clubhouse” section since it has a variety of posts and perspectives, yet due to my love for Scotty Cameron putters, I tend to contribute most to the Cameron Putter section.
I really have enjoyed playing the Team Titleist Ohio Outing every year, so I would really like to see the number of Team Titleist state outings to increase. It is one thing to contribute to a website community such as ours, however when you start matching up the people behind all the posts in person the site really comes alive!
Have any on-course superstitions, rituals?
While I do not have any superstitions, I do have one ritual. It is important for me to arrive one hour early before every round to stretch, warm up and get my mind ready for the round so I can play the best that day. This may sound cliché since most golfers like to warm up however, I treat this with a high level of importance: Putting for 10 minutes when I first arrive then moving to the long game for 40 minutes only to come back to the short game again putting and chipping for the last 10 minutes.
I especially focus on my pre-shot routine and centering my thoughts on one or two swing thoughts revolving around “process” vs. “results” for the day. Sounds simple but it always seems to put me in the best frame of mind ready to enjoy and compete in my golf round.
Favorite 19th hole meal?
Now this is an interesting question! My favorite 19th hole meal is one that my local course serves called “Coca Cola Marinated Steak Tips and Onion Rings”. Wow! Flavor that never stops but unfortunately is not great for my diet! Oh well, we only live once!
WHAT’S IN CHRIS BIDWELL’S BAG
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1 golf ball, high numbers .
Driver: Titleist 915D2 9.5° driver w/ Aldila Tour Green 75X shaft, A•1 SureFit hosel setting, Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip +1/16 inch over.
Fairway: Titleist 915F 15° fairway metal w/ w/ Aldila Tour Green 75X shaft, A•1 SureFit hosel setting, Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip +1/16 inch over.
Hybrid: Titleist 816H2 19° hybrid w/ Phenom tx100 shaft, A•2 SureFit hosel setting, Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip +1/16 inch over.
Irons: Titleist 716 AP2 irons (4-PW) w/ Project X 6.0 shafts, +.5 inch long, +1° upright lies w/ Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip +1/16 inch over.
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM5 52.12 wedge,(12° bounce, F grind), tour chrome finish w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shaft, +2° upright lie w/ Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip +1/16 inch over.
Titleist Vokey Design SM5 56.14 wedge, (12° bounce, F grind), tour chrome finish w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shaft, +2° upright lie w/ Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip +1/16 inch over.
Titleist Vokey Design custom hand ground raw finish 60° V-grind wedge, (8 bounce), raw finish w/ Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400 shaft, +2° upright lie w/ Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip +1/16 inch over
Putter: Scotty Cameron Futura X - Straight Shaft putter, 36.25 inches long, 70° lie angle, 3° loft. (TCC special release in Japan).
Thank you, Chris!