In this edition of the Team Titleist Member Spotlight, we're checking in with Justin U. – or Justinu3, as you might recognize him from the Team Titleist Discussion section.

Gaming a Pro V1x and a bag full of custom-fit Titleist equipment, Justin is ready to shoot lower scores in 2012. He's surfing Team Titleist for tips and drills and tracking his scores and key stats (i.e. Greens in Regulation) in the My Game section.

The goal? "Continue to chip away (at my handicap) every season."

Check out the Q&A below to find out more..

TEAM TITLEIST:
How did you get started in golf? Who introduced you to the game?


JUSTIN UMPHRESS: My dad decided it would be fun to start golfing together and decided to get us lessons.  I was 12 or 13, I think.  I used a starter set the first year and then got a set of used Titleist DCI irons my first - Titleist purchase.



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

I’m constantly reading up on drills to drive consistently. I’m trying to hone my short game but my wedge play and putting is pretty decent. Ball striking on full shots is my weakness so I’m always looking for ways to improve that part of my game. If I can improve my GIR it will go a long way to score improvement.

I think sometimes I get in my own head especially if I don’t hit a clean shot. I’m getting better at managing the mental aspect. Hopefully more drills and practice will get me into a groove this year. At the end of the day, I just love to be out on the course!



 What's your best score and where did you shoot it?

Great question! Since I just started tracking my scores in the My Game section recently, I’m reaching back in to my memory. The best I’ve shot is bogey golf (9 over on 9 holes) and I’ve done it a few times just on Par 3/Executive 9-hole courses.  I’ve gotten more serious about my score the past few years and trying to improve on a full round. My goal is to average 18-21 over this year and continue to chip away every season.

I need to cut out the snowman (an 8) or two that usually show up on the card. My Game is allowing me to identify where I’m falling short and what I need to focus on to eliminate strokes so it is just the tool I’ve needed.



Can you recall the best golf shot you've ever hit?

One of the best was two years ago. I golf a lot with my college buddy from Iowa State, Craig. We get pretty competitive but it’s all in fun. I had hit my shot to the right in the rough about 40 yards out and he was on the green. Pulled my 56º Vokey and holed out. It was such an awesome feeling.



What's the most special moment you've ever had on the golf course?

It was watching my father-in-law get his first hole-in-one. I have never witnessed one until then and it was one of the coolest moments on the course. 


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

It’s not necessarily advice but my father-in-law told me a quote from Lou Holtz on his golf game:

"Used to get real angry over golf," Holtz said. "But I learned my lesson in 1974. Playing with a friend, I threw clubs. He told me I wasn't good enough a player to get mad. And he was right. So when I hit a bad shot now, I just think to myself, 'Well, I just proved again that I`m not good enough to get mad.' Works every time."

I try to think of that to relax and not try too hard to hit the perfect shot.



What's your favorite Titleist club in the bag?

Probably a toss up between my 56º and my 60º Vokey wedges. My short game has saved me on plenty of occasions.

If you had to play one golf course every day for the rest of your life, which one would it be?

Pebble Beach. I’ve never played there but it’s just beautiful being right on the ocean like that and only a short drive up to San Francisco.



 How do you mark your Titleist?

I mark my ProV1x with my initials, JRU. There’s no confusion on whose ball it is then, right? 

Do you consider yourself a tinkerer? How often do you change equipment?

Not really, I try to keep things consistent. Now that I was fitted at a Titleist Fitting Day I feel like I’ve got the right setup for my game. The key is getting fit and I wish I would’ve done that sooner.

How did you hear about Team Titleist?

I was just on Titleist.com checking out what’s new for equipment and saw “Team Titleist” on the right side of the navigation. I thought it was pretty cool to discuss with other Titleist brand lovers like myself. Which led me to also become involved with the FootJoy Community, too (shameless plug for another great group). The My Game feature is just awesome. I love following the Titleist Tour news in the blog and talking to others in the forums.

Favorite golf movie?

"Caddyshack" is No. 1 for me since it was the first golf movie I saw and I’m a huge Bill Murray and Chevy Chase fan. I also love "Tin Cup" and "Happy Gilmore," too.



Favorite golf book?

The Greatest Game Ever Played by Mark Frost.


What is your favorite 19th hole meal?

A brat and an ice cold beer.  C’mon, I’m from the Midwest – did you expect anything else!



Favorite golf destination?

I haven’t been to any big-time courses but plan to get to TPC Deere Run this year and Pete Dye’s Big Fish Golf Club up in Wisconsin.



Do you have any on-course superstitions?

I have a few markers. My company, FootJoy and some Vokey markers. I’ll use the same one until I have some bad putts and then I’ll switch to try to shake off the bad mojo.