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Posted: November 9, 2007
The Titleist Tour Trailer travels over 40,000 miles per year to provide the highest caliber of equipment and onsite customer service for Titleist Staff players at every PGA Tour event. Players visit the trailer Monday morning through Wednesday afternoon for a variety of reasons - from building a driver or new set of irons to tweaking loft and lie to regripping clubs or just stopping by to enjoy a cold drink and relax with friends - the door's always open. In addition to the trailer designated for PGA Tour events, there are seven other Titleist trailers and vans of varying sizes supporting the professional tour's around the world, and helping serious players everywhere compete at the highest level of the game. We collected many of your questions about these mobile workshops and posed them to Dave Southworth, who gave us the inside scoop on the Titleist Tour Trailer.
Dave is the Senior Tour Technician, working 42 of the 46 PGA Tour events in 2007. Before he was involved in the golf business, Dave was driving trucks and operating heavy machinery for a construction company and also serving as a volunteer firefighter. Both jobs required him to have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) which he also needs to drive the Tour Van. While working construction, Dave also opened a part-time golf club repair business in northern New Hampshire and eventually took his skill on the road as an independent equipment repair shop on the PGA Tour. It wasn't long before Dave joined Titleist Tour Staff and became one of the original drivers of the Tour Trailer.
Dave has relinquished the bulk of his driving duties in recent years to fellow Technician Brett Fleming, but still gets behind the wheel about once a month to give Brett a break or to keep him company on long trips. This year, the duo traveled from the U.S. Open at Oakmont, PA to the PGA Professional National Championship in Sunriver, OR. Dave also handles most of the maintenance on the truck. Based out of Carlsbad, CA, Dave will fly to most events on Sunday, work on players' equipment in the truck from Monday through Wednesday and then return to the office on Thursday to oversee the log books for all the Titleist Tour Trailer drivers. He is also responsible for ensuring that the trailer is properly equipped with the necessary equipment and components for the next stop.
There are a lot of rules and regulations necessary to keep the truck and the drivers safe and to ensure they arrive and depart each tournament without incident. With 10-13 trailers from various equipment manufacturers at each event, there are always limitations where and how they park due to size, weight and terrain. Very few tournament sites have a large enough area for all of them so it's always an adventure to squeeze everyone together. However, most of the staff working on the trucks have been doing so for years and know each other, and the process, quite well. Some sites are easier than others, like Phoenix (FBR Open), which closes off a street and provides plenty of space for the trucks to park. There are also regulations on the amount of driving one person can do in a period of time. For example, Dave and Brett can drive 11 hours within a 14 hour time frame and must have a minimum of 10 hours off before they can drive again. As a truck driver you also have to know what roads, bridges and underpasses you can and cannot access. Fortunately a trucker's road atlas provides that information.
We posed several questions to Dave that came directly from Titleist Tour Blog inquiries ...
What are some of the best Tour stops?
"It's difficult to find any bad events since we're always following the good weather, but a lot of our favorite stops revolve around where we have made the best friends during our travels. It's always exciting to attend the majors and some of my other personal favorites are Scottsdale (FBR Open), Cancun (Mayakoba Golf Classic), New Orleans (Zurich Classic of New Orleans) and Boston (Deutsche Bank Championship)."
What Tour stops are historically the busiest and least busiest for you in the trailer?
"The West Coast Swing is usually always busy as it is the beginning of the season. Also any time we introduce new products it's busy for at least the first 4 or 5 months as the players work into it.
The least busiest are usually the majors since most players don't want to be making changes that week. They've already made adjustments over the previous few weeks and months and are now dialed in ready to go."
What are some of the unexpected challenges the guys on the Tour Trailer face?
"The most recent challenge we faced happened in New Orleans this year to Brett. We were done on Wednesday and the trailer was closed up ready to be hooked to the cab. The cab was parked a couple of miles away so we lowered the trailer off its leveling jacks onto its two landing gear legs that support it while the truck backs under it. I left for the airport while Brett went for the truck. Brett called me a short time later to tell me the two landing gear legs had sunk into the ground and the trailer nose was touching the ground! It took many hours and two huge fork lifts to get the trailer nose off the ground high enough for the truck to back under it. Situations like this remind us that there are no 'typical' days for a tour van driver. You just have to have a little 'MacGyver' in you."
In addition to Dave and Brett, you've no doubt seen some of the other permanent or part-time residents of the Tour Trailer and contributors to the Titleist Tour Blog, including Steve Mata, Rick Nelson, Bob Vokey, Aaron Dill, Mike Rutledge, Scotty Cameron, Jim Curran and Larry Watson among others. Keep the questions coming and we will try our best to follow up with periodic features going forward.
Thanks for your interest in Titleist!
Much like a major championship, Q-school isn't a week where the guys are looking to make changes. They come in with their games and equipment dialed in, and look to grind it out for the six days.
wrote on December 4, 2007
I have seen pictures of your custom bending jigs. Can you tell me why you can't just use a lie/loft machine that can bend woods? Also what is involved in bending the woods open or closed?
wrote on December 26, 2007
Is there any difference between Tour-issued Titleist products and the equipment that we can buy in golf shops? I've been hearing that Tour-issued equipment is hand picked from the factory because they have better weighting. Is there any truth to this?
wrote on December 28, 2007
I currently play all Titleist clubs (735.CM irons, 907D2 driver, 906F2 3-wood, 585.H hybrid, Vokey Design wedges, Scotty Cameron putter). My question is about the Vokey wedges. I recently upgraded my sand wedge from an older model to a Spin Milled 56° - I love it! I have an older Vokey 60° wedge with 6° bounce. I noticed the new Spin Milled 60s are offered with 4° or 8° bounce. I am not sure which way to go. Any advice? I am a 6 handicap, and play the majority of my golf in FL, but play in New England a couple months out of the year. Any advice would be appreciated.
wrote on December 28, 2007
When will Titleist release new drivers and wedges? Also what will they be called?
wrote on December 30, 2007
The Titleist equipment used by Tour professionals is the same as that being sold in golf shops. Pros do have access, though, to prototype equipment that isn't always released to shops.
wrote on January 2, 2008
Our policy is to refrain from commenting on future product releases on the Titleist Tour Blog.
wrote on January 2, 2008
Check out our wedge fitting methodology as outlined on the <a href="http://www.fittingworks.com" rel="nofollow">Titleist FittingWorks website</a> to help with your wedge fitting question. If you still have questions, we recommend visiting an <a href="www.fittingworks.com/FindaFitter.aspx" rel="nofollow">Authorized Titleist FittingWorks Partner</a> for a complete wedge fitting.
Does Titleist offer Vokey Design wedges with non-stock grinds in golf shops or can they be ordered through my local Titleist golf shop? If they are available, is there any way to see all of the different options?
wrote on January 6, 2008
Vokey Design wedges are not currently offered in golf shops with non-stock grinds.
wrote on January 7, 2008
I have just bought the 775 irons with regular flex shafts, 3-PW. I am looking for another wedge that will give me greater loft and can be used from bunkers. What loft would you recommend? Also, I have no idea what 'grind' or 'bounce' is? Can you help or point me in the right direction for an explanation?
wrote on January 11, 2008
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Vokey at Turning Stone Resort a few years back at the national club pro tournament. The pro I was caddying for felt something was off with his sand wedge, so Mr. Vokey had him hit a few shots. He then took it to the trailer, did some grinding, put some lead tape on it, and presto...my pro loved it! That just amazed me. Can he do that for all irons or just wedges?
wrote on January 13, 2008
Please see <a href="#comment-24052" rel="nofollow">our comment above regarding wedge fitting</a>. Our <a href="http://www.fittingworks.com" rel="nofollow">Titleist FittingWorks website</a> is a good resource for your equipment questions.
wrote on January 14, 2008
Voke spends pretty much all of his time working with wedges.
I heard about these new grinds but I can't find them anywhere on the internet. Any advice on where I can find them?
wrote on January 21, 2008
Well, now you have done it to me...I was thinking of the 695s because they are so beautiful but then I got a glimpse of the new stuff! I will have to go back to the Fitting Centre to try them out...just when I thought I had it down...
Can you tell me the available lie angles for the new AP2 irons as well as the Z•M Forged and Z•B Forged, please? I was fit for 4° upright.
wrote on January 30, 2008
Lie angle customization will be ±2° on all models with the exception of right-handed AP2 irons, which will be customizable from 4° upright to 2° flat.
wrote on March 11, 2008
Is it possible to bend the new Titleist fairway woods?
wrote on March 4, 2009
would love to drive the tour truck would anybody know how to go about applying for jobs like this?????????????????
wrote on August 6, 2010
do you know of any body that builds the repair shops on wheels. please e-mail me with info
wrote on August 31, 2010