As we continue our Team Titleist Member Spotlight series, we catch up with Chris Hatem. Chris is a collegiate golfer who learned the game from his dad, appreciates the versatility of his 52 degree Vokey and takes pride in playing his best golf when the pressure is on. 

Check out the entire interview below to learn more about Chris Hatem.

Team Titleist (TT): How did you get started in golf? Who introduced you to the game?

Chris Hatem. (CH): I was introduced to golf at the age of 6 by my father who told me that it is a sport that we can play together forever. The first thing that my father taught me was golf etiquette as he took it very seriously (as most do). Then we discovered that I was left-handed and he was right-handed so we could face each other and I could mirror his swings; this helped me with the basic fundamentals. I grew up working as a cart boy at a local course then moved on to instructing junior clinics and also working on the maintenance team at Portsmouth CC in Greenland NH.  I got a great education of golf course etiquette and turf management while working during the summers between semesters. In addition, I played for my high school and college teams where I had a great support structure of team members, coaches, family, and friends. 

 TT: How do you mark your Titleist?

CH: I mark my Titleist Pro V1X by “dotting the i’s to make it see.”  I use a red sharpie which is one of my college’s (Boston University, go Terriers!) team colors. The dotting of the i’s goes back to my high school days where we got rid of i’s because there is no “I” in “team.”  I usually use 1’s, 2’s , 3’s, and 7’s; absolutely no 4’s, as those are for a freshman.


TT: What's your favorite Titleist club in the bag?

CH: My favorite club in the bag definitely goes to my SM5 52° 08 F-Grind. It seems to be able to read my mind and perform accordingly. It’s my go-to for an array of different shots as it has versatility.   

TT: How often are you thinking about your golf game and getting better? What are you currently working on? 

CH: I think about getting to the course and practicing/playing whenever I can. I don’t usually have a plan until I get to the course. Then, based on where I can go and drop 50 balls, I figure out what the plan of the day is. Lately, I have been working on trajectory with my wedges, if the pin is back, no need to hit a flyer/spinner to the back edge, bounce it back there and stop it then let it release a little. Basically, I have been working on getting my hands in front of the ball without stopping my turn and hips from firing through the ball even on a wedge shot. I have also been working on increasing my angle of attack for the driver so that I am hitting up on the ball producing more of what my buddy and I call the “Low-Spin Monster.”

TT: Can you recall the best golf shot you ever hit?

CH: The best shot I have ever hit was one in which I proved to myself that I can withstand the first tee pressure. It was the New England D1 College Golf Championships and it was being played at Newport National in Rhode Island. The first hole is a dogleg left par 5 with a hazard between the tee and the fairway and also one left. I was pretty nervous as golfers are on the first tee, not to mention I was playing with a couple golfers that had attracted a decent size (5-10 people and my family, for college that is exceptional) gallery. My coach patted me on the back and I hit one down the middle. I looked back and I was more happy about the whole situation being over rather than where my ball ended up.

TT: What's the best piece of golf advice you ever received?

CH: The most important piece of golf advice ever given to me was from my coach, Bruce Chalas. We took a spring break trip to Pinehurst, to have some fun and work on our games. I was struggling with my driver on the range, and was about to tee off to go play number 2, so he wrote “TEMPO” on a small piece of paper and told me to just put it in my pocket and forget about it. I had known that he has done this with some of my teammates but never to me.  Having that single swing thought made me focus and made me into a better golfer.   

   

Some of the best players in the world are looking to claim victory at the first official event of the New Year, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. The winners only, limited field event will be contested on the beautiful Plantation course at Kapalua Resort, a place known for it's scenic views and low scores.

The 34 players in the field will be looking to get off to a fast start in 2015, setting them up for a successful season much like defending champion and Titleist Brand Ambassador Zach Johnson did last year. Zach used his victory to kick start a 2014 campaign that included 11 Top-25 finishes in 26 starts earning him a trip to Atlanta for the Tour Championship. The win was certainly a highlight of Zach's impressive season.

“My best moment of the year was the Hyundai Tournament of Champions...it was special, especially with my family there," said Johnson.

2014 FedExCup Champion and Titleist Pro V1x Loyalist Billy Horschel also appreciates the chance to play in this prestigious event.

"Every tour player wants to win so they have the chance to come here. There's no place more beautiful than Maui to start the year," said Horschel.

With beautiful views and low scores abound, 2015 is sure to get of to an exciting start.

#TeamTitleist

BY THE NUMBERS: 2015 HYUNDAI TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

 This week at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Titleist is the top golf ball choice with 21 players in the limited field of 34 trusting a Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf ball for their success. 

Titleist was also the top choice in the driver (11), hybrid (7), iron (11) and approach, sand and lob wedge (28) categories.




Nobody in this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions field knows more about winning on Kapalua's Plantation Course than Titleist Brand Ambassador Geoff Ogilvy. The 37-year old Australian won this event in 2009 and 2010, never shooting above 69 in eight rounds on the 7,452 yard track, the Tour's only par 73. .

"The first time I saw it, I said 'why are we playing at a place like this?," said Ogilvy. "It takes a bit of getting used to, especially trying to figure what to hit when the winds are blowing. I could be hitting a 5-iron from 140 yards or a wedge from 200 depending on the hole and the direction of the wind. So, yes, it took some getting used to."

The learning curve was quick for Ogilvy as he went on to win the event in his third trip back to Kapalua in 2009 and successfully defended his title in 2010. As a result, it’s always an event Ogilvy is eager to play.

 "As soon as I tapped in that last putt at Reno, I was excited about returning to Kapalua," said Ogilvy referring to his victory at Barracuda Championship in August which earned him a return trip to this winners-only event. "I feel so comfortable and have obviously had success here, so it is always special to be able to come back."

So what are the keys to winning?

"Because of the length on the scorecard, many people think it is a bomber's paradise and only the longest hitters have the advantage, but that is not necessarily true," said Ogilvy, who pointed to the winning success of fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Zach Johnson a year ago. "You are going to hit a lot of fairways because they are among the widest on Tour. However, executing with your wedges on the short par 4's and into the par 5's is essential. A lot of these greens are big and undulating and three putts are a possibility even if you get on in regulation. The key is to hit your short irons close to the pin and make your putts.  The players that do that best this week are the one's that are going to be in contention."

Good luck to Geoff and all of #TeamTitleist this week!

We have reached the end of our countdown, and coming in at #1 on our list of the top posts of 2014 is a behind-the-scenes look at the Titleist Player Research Team.

We catch up with Product Testing Manager Rich Daprato, Player Research Supervisor Karen Gray and other members of the Player Testing Team to get a better sense of the important role that live player testing plays in the development of Titleist golf balls. 

Check out the original post below from October, 7 2014.


How Do You Test a Golf Ball? Meet the Titleist Player Research Team.

“How do you test a golf ball?”

It’s a fairly straightforward question but as you can imagine, when your focus is designing and developing the #1 ball in golf there are countless paths and roads that the journey to finding the answer will take. However, the one constant is that this journey always starts with the golfer.

And our player research team is on the front lines of this mission each and every day. From traveling around the globe to test prototypes with golfers of every skill level to hitting thousands of golf balls to record launch conditions, this team plays a critical role in the golf ball R&D process.

Collecting the launch condition data and working with golfers to understand how they are approaching impact is essential to developing the tests that will help guide product development.

“Whatever launch condition we achieved with the players we want to try and replicate that with a robot,” said Product Testing Manager Rich Daprato.

“Because of the repeatability of the robot we can test large amounts of samples and get real tight data groups.”

Armed with the data, the robots get to work on specific tests but then the journey comes back full circle as product validation is only achieved after extensive player testing.

“We want to know who you are and why you love the game and how we can make products that perform best for you,” said Player Research Supervisor Karen Gray.

So how do you a test a golf ball?

It’s a long process that involves a lot of people and best-in-class technology but most importantly, it begins and ends with the golfer.

#TeamTitleist

Coming in at #2 on our countdown is a look back at the launch of the new Titleist 915 family of metals. Featuring the new Active Recoil Channel, Radial Speed Face and enhanced MOI, the 915 line of metals offer all golfers distance without compromise.

Be sure to check out the original post from November, 14 2014. 


Launch Time: New Titleist 915 Family of Metals Hit Golf Shops Today

Launch day is here and we’re excited to see the Titleist 915 family of metals land in golf shops today. So visit your local golf shop or fitter to experience distance without compromise first-hand.

And check out the posts below for more exclusive content on the 915 family and get an inside look at the new features and benefits.

 

#TeamTitleist

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