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Posted: August 13, 2010
Standing on the edge of the Whistling Straits practice green Tuesday morning, Titleist Brand Ambassador Bill Haas
watched as his caddie Michael Maness furiously scrubbed away specks of
red paint and green scuff marks from the bottom of one of Haas' Vokey
Spin Milled wedges."How the heck did that happen?" one passerby
remarked. Haas smiled. As he started to tell the story, a few others
moved in closer to listen, including Titleist's Bob Vokey, who had
stopped by to talk wedges.
For the record, there are no artificial golf mats or red-ringed range balls here at the PGA Championship, only bent grass and dune grass and a lot of grass in general, not to mention piles and piles of brand new golf balls.
But Haas took his first swings of the week in a different location,
right off Interstate 94 at the Raymond Heights Golf Center, a 9-hole
par-3 course and driving range just south of Milwaukee's General
Mitchell International Airport, from where Haas had to pick up his
girlfriend around 8 o'clock Monday night.
Leaving from downtown Chicago, Haas hit the road a bit early to avoid Monday's rush-hour traffic. A bit too early, perhaps.
"Well, I have three hours to kill," Haas thought as he crossed Milwaukee city lines. "What do I do?"
a bit stiff after a workout that morning, Haas typed "driving range"
into the Google AroundMe app on his mobile phone. "Raymond Heights Golf
Center" popped up. Minutes later, Raymond Heights' large billboard
appeared on the side of I-94, and Haas put his blinker on.
"Might as well hit some balls," Haas thought.
He pulled his clubs out of the rental car, then walked into the pro
shop. He asked for a large bucket. The man behind the counter,
52-year-old owner Tim Stare, told him it was $6.50. Haas handed over the
Stare gave Haas his change and a punch card for a free bucket of balls with the purchase of 10 buckets."Oh, I'm not from here," Haas told him. "Don't use it on me."
Stare paused for a second, staring at his customer. "Are you from South Carolina?" he asked Haas.Yeah."Your dad is Jay, right?"Yeah.
"You're Bill Haas!"
A bit awestruck, Haas, wearing just shorts and a brown T-shirt, said "Yeah, I am."
Stare shook his head. "I caddied for your dad in the 1975 U.S. Open at Medinah," he said. "Did he send you here?"
Haas said a lot of people tell him that they know his father, nine-time PGA Tour winner and fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Jay Haas, "but they've usually just met him once or whatever."
Stare first met Jay at the 1975 U.S. Open, when players were still
using local caddies. Stare was working then at Oak Park Golf Club, and
received his assignment for Medinah in a random drawing. Playing as an
amateur, Jay finished tied for 18th that week (74-69-72-78) with Stare
on the bag, and the pair made a point to keep in touch.Every
year, Stare received the Haas family Christmas card and put it on his
refrigerator. Many years later, Jay did a clinic at Raymond Heights
during the week of the Greater Milwaukee Open.
Stare said it clicked it for him the second he heard Bill Haas'
Southern drawl. "I've seen you grow up on my fridge," Stare told him.
the talk, Bill headed out to hit balls. Stare eventually walked out
with another bucket of balls, having hand-picked the best of the bunch.
Bill called his father soon after, leaving the following message on
his voicemail: "Raymond Heights driving range. Where is it, and have you
When Jay called back later, these were the first words out of his
mouth: "Is it about five miles south of the Milwaukee airport?"
"He knew exactly what I was talking about," Bill said.
said "the most random part about it" is that he rarely stops anywhere
on the way to tournaments, preferring to just get there as soon as
possible. Dad knows that, too.
"What are the odds that you would stop at that driving range on the way up there?" Jay said. "That's cool."Like in a Haas family Christmas card hanging on Stare's fridge, both father and son were smiling.
Posted: August 12, 2010
Titleist Brand Ambassador Marc Leishman, the PGA Tour's 2009 Rookie of the Year, is playing this week in his first PGA Championship.The 26-year-old Australian took some time out Tuesday morning on the Whistling Straits putting green to give Team Titleist a guided tour of his equipment setup for the week. Check out the video below:
2010 pga leishman.flv
the eve of the PGA Championship, Titleist Brand Ambassador Geoff Ogilvy
checked in with Team Titleist to chat about the Titleist 910 prototype driver and his equipment
setup for the week, as well as the challenges and quirks of Whistling
Straits. How many bunkers are there again?
2010 pga ogilvy preview2.flv
Posted: August 11, 2010
It was a busy Tuesday for Team Titleist at the PGA Championship, as the fans, buzz and heat hit Whistling Straits in full force. Master Craftsman Bob Vokey cooled off by working on some wedges (seen below), while others hit the popular Ice Cream and Frozen Lemonade stands.
Click on the picture below to check out more images from a bustling Tuesday at the PGA:
Posted: August 10, 2010
2010 910 fitting pga.flv
The Monday morning after last month's British Open, Titleist Staff Professional David Hutsell stood on the driving range at Titleist's Manchester Lane Test Facility with a new Titleist 910 prototype driver in his hand and a grin on his face.Hutsell, PGA Director of Instruction at The Elkridge Club in Baltimore, Md., had joined fellow Titleist Staff Professionals Rich Steinmetz, Mark Sheftic and Rob Labritz for a Titleist 910 prototype driver fitting (check out the video above for a closer look), all four players having already earned spots in this week's PGA Championship at Whistling Straits.
In total, 12 Titleist Staff Professionals qualified for the final major championship of the year after finishing in the top 20 last June at the PGA Professional National Championship (PNC) at French Lick Resort in Indiana.For Hutsell, 39, a former college baseball player who turned to golf following career-ending elbow surgery, it was especially significant.His journey to the PGA Championship had taken almost decade."I've been looking forward to this for a very a long time," said Hutsell.It was in 2001 at the PNC at the Crosswater Club in Sunriver, Ore., that Hutsell (pictured, left. with Titleist Tour Technician Jim Curran) found himself in a 2-for-1 sudden-death playoff for the final qualifying spot into that year's PGA Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club, a tournament won by Pro V1 loyalist David Toms.On the second playoff hole, Hutsell lipped out a birdie putt that would have earned him a trip to his first major championship; on the next hole, Hutsell's opponent booked that ticket instead.Nine years later, that memory is finally starting to fade. At this summer's PNC, Hutsell finished his final round with two consecutive birdies to close in 2-under 70 and finish in a tie for sixth, three shots clear of the 20th and final qualifying spot.
"There's a lot of pressure, of course, and the more experience you have the easier it is," said Hutsell. "To get into PGA is quite an honor. The opportunity to represent Titleist, our club and our section, it's going to be fun."
Steinmetz (pictured, right), Sheftic and Labritz have all made at least one prior appearance in the PGA Championship."I'm not going to be so star struck again," said Labritz, Head PGA Professional at GlenArbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, N.Y., who played in the 2002 and 2003 PGAs."It's hard to put into words, the feelings (of playing in a PGA)," said Sheftic, a PGA Teaching Professional at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., who made his PGA debut last year. "I think the hardest thing last year was just getting over the nerves.""I didn't expect to be signing autographs, so that was kind of mind-blowing," said Steinmetz, the Head PGA Professional at Spring Ford Country Club in Royersford, Pa., who played in the 2005 PGA. "You're going through the ropes to the range with all the fans, and by the time you get to the golf course you're a little frazzled."Going into this one I know what to expect."
• • •
PGA Staff Professionals at the PGA Championship:• Danny Balin, Burning Tree Country Club, Greenwich, Conn.• Scott Hebert, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, Acme, Mich.• David Hutsell, The Elkridge Club in Baltimore, Md.• Rob Labritz, GlenArbor Golf Club, Bedford Hills, N.Y.• Mitch Lowe, Del Rio Country Club, Modesto, Calif.• Robb Moss, Pepper Pike Club, Pepper Pike, Ohio.• Keith Ohr, Wildwood Country Club, Louisville, Ky.• Troy Pare, Wannamoisett Country Club, Rumford, R.I.• Mark Sheftic, Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Pa• Bruce Smith, Brookhaven Country Club, Dallas.• Rich Steinmetz, Spring Ford Country Club, Royersford, Pa.• Tim Thelen, The Falls Golf and Country Club, New Ulm, Texas.