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Posted: May 23, 2011
Tommy Byrd doesn't mark his Titleist the same way every time. Sometimes with one dot, sometimes two. Sometimes with his initials "TB." Sometimes with one line, sometimes two."It just depends on the day," says Tommy, 60, a Class A PGA Professional since 1977 who currently works as a club fitter at Golf Galaxy on Providence Road in Charlotte, N.C."I grab my Sharpie – and who knows?"Hey, the guy likes variety.Need more proof?Since 1970, Tommy has made 11 holes-in-one using eight different Titleist golf ball models, a timeline that begins with a Titleist K2 and (currently) ends with a Titleist Pro V1x."And I remember every one of them," Tommy says.He just didn't see all of them.Tommy made his first ace May 7, 1970, on the uphill par-3 6th hole at Foxfire Golf & Country Club (Pinehurst, N.C.) during a practice round for the ACC Championship. Byrd, then a freshman on the University of North Carolina golf team, said the hole was playing about 215-220 yards into the wind that day. He hit 3-wood and "it looked good all the way" until it disappeared over the hill.
He didn't realize it had also disappeared into the hole until he saw his Titleist K2 #1 resting comfortably in the bottom of the cup."Of all the ones I made that was the only one I didn't see," Tommy says.He's seen 10 of his Titleist golf balls drop into the hole for "1" since, the last one coming during a pro-am Aug. 11, 2003 on the 178-yard par-3 12th hole at The Highlands at Prestonwood Country Club (Cary, N.C.) with a Titleist Pro V1x #1.The entire collection spans four decades and currently sits in a wooden display case in his Charlotte, N.C., home, a scrapbook and history lesson all rolled into one. Let us count the Titleists: Titleist K2 (2); Titleist K; Titleist Pro Trajectory 100 (2); Titleist 384 DT 100; Titleist 384 DT Tour 100; Titleist Tour 100 (3); and Titleist Pro V1x. "I never played anything but Titleist golf balls in competition," says Tommy, who after college played the Florida mini-tours and competed in a couple PGA Tour Q-Schools. He's also played in the PGA National Club Professional Championship three times and more recently has two wins on the Sunbelt Senior Tour."Eleven is a pretty high number for most people," says Tommy, who figures he averaged over 100 rounds per year during the streak. "It's just one of those freaky things I think."His favorite? Too difficult a question.The most exciting? Probably the Titleist 384 Tour 100 #1 that hit the green at the 167-yard par-3 4th at The Pearl's West Course (Calabash, N.C.) and rolled into the hole during the final round of the 1989 North Carolina Open, helping him to a third-place finish."All of the ones I made in competition were exciting," he says.
Also notable are aces No. 9 and No. 10, which came on consecutive holes – the 317-yard dogleg left par-4 2nd and 144-yard par-3 3rd at Lexington (N.C.) Golf Club – over a span of eight months using Titleist Tour 100 golf balls.
Nowadays, when he isn't busy fitting golfers or spending time with his family, Tommy plays a Titleist Pro V1x golf ball. He says he's "always been straight" and likes the added distance and increased trajectory of the Pro V1x."I can hit my irons a little higher but still get a little more distance with that ball, and I can spin my wedges great with it," he says.So don't be surprised when he spins ace No. 12 right back into the hole.