Titleist Performance Institute
1. TPI was FANTASTIC. The attention to detail and treatment by the staff was incredible. Made you feel like you were Tour level player. From check in at the gate to my fitter, Lucas Bro, meeting me at the car and showing me to a locker with my name on it everything was above my expectations. The personalized TPI bag tag was surprising bonus.
2. Lucas took the time to get to know me, my game and my expectations for the fitting session. Watched me loosen up and hit some shots and then put me on the Trackman to get a baseline of what my current set of clubs were doing for me. Had me approach it like a typical warm up at home as I worked through my bag from wedge to driver.
3. Started off working on driver. Moved through the TSR1 through TSR3. Hit some shots then had me give him feedback on what I liked/didn’t like/how did it feel. Showed me the results on the Trackman and then switched out some things. Kept working that cycle. 5-6 shots, debrief, review results and then tweak. Wound up with a TSR1 10 ° with a HZRDUS Black 4G 60 TSR. Most surprising thing was he recommended a Stiff shaft. Should help with dispersion and tighten up my landing zone. Key is to find a head/shaft combo that I can get in the fairway even on the miss hits.
4. Moved to hitting 7i in both T200 and T300. Cycled through the irons with various shafts on the same process as the driver until I landed on the T300 with Tensei AV Blue Am 2 degree weak, 2 degree upright (5-PW). Really appreciated that Lucas was taking an iron head and bending the loft/lie to get me dialed in. AMAZING attention to detail. Angle of descent was much better with the T300 for me than the T200.
5. Once we had the irons dialed in we moved to hybrids/fairway woods in order to get the gaping right between the driver and the 5i. Needed to figure out what the split would be between the hybrids and fairway woods in my bag. Same process as the driver and irons. Hit some shots, debrief, review data, switch out some components and then repeat the process again. Wound up with 15° and 20° fairway woods in Tensei AV Xlink Blue 65 TSR shafts and 24° hybrid with Tensei AV Xlink Blue 75 Hybrid shaft.
6. After the Driver, fairway, hybrids, irons were set went inside to grab some water and a snack before we moved to the wedge fitting area. Headed back out to the range with a Staff sized bag FULL of Vokey wedges in every degree of loft, sole grind and bounce that Vokey makes. Lucas took me green side dropped some balls looked me right in the eye and said “I’m going to hand you a wedge, do NOT look at the bottom of the club just address the ball & take a shot at the white flag” (15 yards away). After a shot or two, Lucas worked with me on my setup and swing. Since I am coachable the effects of a good fundamental swing and the Vokey wedge is IMPRESSIVE. The ball flys off the club face, hits the green bounces and then STOPS. The key is to opening the club face and letting the sole of the club work for you. Fast soft hands help too. Same process as on the big range, hit some shots, ask for feedback, switch out a wedge, hit some shots, debrief and hit shots. Vokey has a wedge combination for players of all abilities. Moved to an upper tier hitting area with a green 60-85 yards away and three flags on it. Lucas handed me a wedge and said hit it at the white flag. Hit a couple of shots switched wedges hit a couple of shots switched out a wedge and then hit a few more. Was having trouble committing to the shot at that distance based on the weight of the club and the head shape. Lucas decided I may be better served on shots of that distance to use a PW in T300 series so he grabbed one with my specs and had me hit a handful of shots. Much improved results with the T300 at that distance. Dialed me in with SM9 50.12F 2° upright, 54.14F 1° upright and 58.12D standard, all three with the True Temper Vokey Wedge flex shafts. GET FITTED FOR WEDGES AND SWITCHING THEM OUT EVERY 100 ROUNDS is critical to scoring.
7. Moved inside to recap. Lucas went over the results and his recommendations. Wound up ordering 13 clubs. AMAZING EXPERIENCE that I will definitely do again.
Titleist Assembly Facility
Dale Vinson (Team Titleist event host) arranged for 15 of us to tour the Titleist Assembly Facility in Carlsbad on Friday morning before the TT event that afternoon. Met at 8:15 at the Facility and were welcomed in by Allan Blocker. After signing in he turned us over to four gentleman that would lead us on the tour. Started out with an overview from Brian Lamb on how Titleist sources its components from manufacturers and gets them to their various assembly facilities in California, Japan, Korea and the UK. The facility was a cool 51° and the air is recycled 10 times an hour. All woods, hybrids, irons, Vokey wedges and Scotty Cameron putters for the Americas are built in this facility.
After the overview we moved to the receiving QC section. Every piece from the heads to shafts to grips that comes into the facility is examined before it is passed through to production. Also shown the QC testing area where components are subjected to the effects of UV and corrosion testing.
From QC we moved to the actual production area. Production is currently done in a U-shaped process. Everyone that works in the U knows how to do every function in process and they rotate every two hours. Every build whether it is a custom order (like mine) or a stock build (sold at a retailer or pro shop) is given the same attention to detail and built to the same expectation. Any club not to requirements is replaced before it is shipped. The plan for the production area is to replace the U-Shape with a traditional line over the next few months.
I’m totally willing to admit that I am now a full fledged Titleist junkie. Touring that plant and seeing the attention to detail they put into every club they build whether it’s a custom order or stock order (Golf Galaxy/Edwin Watts) build was impressive. Their tolerances for everything are super tight. cally png TM consider a club to be “within spec” if it is within 1° of the loft/lie and the weight is within two grams. Titleist machines won’t pass a club to the next step unless it is with 0.25° of loft/lie and the weight is within ½ gram (a dollar bills weighs one gram).
After production we moved to R&D. They asked that no photos or videos be taken during this portion of the tour. Chuck Golden (VP of R&D) gave this portion of the tour. Saw the robot hitting machine that tested the aerodynamics of club heads and a custom built laser scanner that maps the entire surface of the heads for analysis. Moved to the impact area where they shoot golf balls at the face of clubs at speeds from 175-200 mph. After every 100 “shots” they remove the club and inspect the head visually and with a laser/X-ray machine to check for any cracking or deformities. Said that it is multiple 1000s of impacts before they typically see any abnormalities….the competitors can’t say the same thing (as their examples showed). After the impact area we moved to the “Tour build” area. They have a CNC machining tool that they use to build custom club heads for Tour players. They were currently building a new set of irons for Webb Simpson based on his testing at TPI. Each iron was being made from a block of steel. Impressive piece of machinery.
Tour was fascinating and the commitment to build quality was what jumped out to me. I couldn’t believe how tight their tolerances were for every club that goes out the door. Nothing is just “good enough” it has to be RIGHT.
Team Titleist Event at Arrowood Golf Course
First tee time was at Noon. I was in the 4th group off so I had time to hit some balls to loosen up and grab a bite for lunch. Range was really cool. Every station had a Trackman so you could see some feedback on your shots right away. One section of the range was setup like a TopGolf facility and families were enjoying themselves.
Paired with the Michael Riviera, Don O’Brien and Brice Waddell (Titleist employee). Format was team best ball. Started off strong with a par on #1 and a birdie on #2. Highlight of the round was hitting it closest to the pin on #8 (inside 6’). That won me a custom Vokey Wedge. I think I may pay the up charge and have it customized with some stamping and colors and keep it as a memento from the tournament!!!
The final four holes at Arrowood are called “The Quandary”. Every shot makes you think and anytime you make par it’s going to be a good score. #15 is a tiered green par 3. Large mounds protect the green so club selection and being able to work the ball toward the flag is a must. My tee shot was just off the back of the green but I was able to get up and down for a par. #16 is a long downhill par 4 played into a prevailing wind out of the west. I hit my tee shot right into a penalty area but was able to find it and get a club on it. Punched out back to the fairway. A large pond fronts the green so anything on the green is a great shot. I missed just right and made a bogey. #17 is a long dogleg left par 4. Tee shot has to carry over a hazard off the tee that runs the entire length of the left side of the hole. I was just off the fairway on the right side and almost 180 yards out. Green is elevated with 3 tiers. 3W second shot came up just short and my chip didn’t climb the hill to the middle tier but I was able to two putt for another bogey. #18 is a classic risk reward finishing hole. A large pond fronts the green and the farther down the left side you play your tee shot the less water you have to carry. I was able to find the fairway (dead down the middle) leaving me with 146 to the flag. Able to get my 6i to just past pin high right of the flag and two putt for par. Playing The Quandary at +2 felt really good.
Team Titleist camaraderie after the round was the best part. Visiting with Jared Landrum, Michael Riviera, Don O’Brien, Brice Waddell and Allen Blocker made the entire trip worth it. Seeing Dale Vinson and Chris Bidwell is always a treat.
Excellent trip that I am so glad I took. Can’t imagine being fitted for clubs any other way anymore….maybe the next trip I need to schedule a fitting at the Scotty Cameron Gallery???
Scotty Cameron Gallery
Visited the Scotty Gallery twice during my trip. First visit was on Wednesday after I landed in San Diego on my way up to Oceanside. Got there about 45 minutes before closing time. Window shopping only but still a cool experience. Bought a Peter Miller ¼ zip, a short sleeve golf shirt, Johnny Racer mid round cover, a Stars & Stripes blade cover, a Tiffany blue Scotty dog key chain and a purple/gray towel.
Visited with the staff for a bit after my purchases. Easy to talk with and so friendly.
Went back Thursday afternoon after my fitting at TPI. Once I arrived at my hotel Wednesday night I realized I had gotten the Tiffany key chain instead of the red Tour Rat keychain I thought I was buying. Since I was back there I bought another short sleeve golf shirt & a blue wind shirt. Again the staff was easy to talk to and extremely welcoming.