Member Spotlight: Lou G. (LouG2)

As the sun starts to set on the 2012 golf season, we spotlight a Team Titleist member whose passion for golf is always blazing bright, Lou G.

Lou has a great deal of experience playing golf, "My longest ever drive was 325 yards with a persimmon 3 wood in high school." And Lou can recount many of his favorite rounds and low scores, but still adds, "I expect to beat these scores soon."

This positive attitude is matched with Lou's passion to learn and improve his game. Regardless of the topic, Lou's enthusiasm is frequently on display in a variety of Team Titleist discussions.

Check out the Q&A below as we shine the spotlight on our friend, Lou.

How did you get started in golf? Who introduced you to the game? My dad used to take me to the driving range at age 10.  I didn't get a chance to play golf until age 14 (when I started caddying at the St. Charles Country Club in 1972; incidentally, it is about an hour's drive from Indian Hill, the place where the author of Caddyshack looped at the same time).

How often are you thinking about your golf game and getting better? What are you currently working on? I think about it frequently.  I'm mainly working on extracting all the capabilities out of my current golf set (adding more shots to the arsenal and doing shot shaping) and putting (needs a lot of work).

What's your best score and where did you shoot it? 2 over par at National City Golf Course (par 34) with 3 birdie putts missed by an inch.  Miramar MCAS front 9 (par 37) was 42.  I also shot 42 at Riverwalk Mission 9 using persimmon 5 wood and 10 wood along with 980F 3 wood (been on a plateau score-wise for awhile - generally between 85-88 on a par 72 and +3 for 9 on most short courses).  Expect to beat these scores soon.

Can you recall the best golf shot you've ever hit? So many. Score-wise would be the 25 yard over the bunker shot on Riverwalk Friars #8 (403 yard par 4) that I holed out for birdie with my SM2 60.07. 2nd place is driving the green on Oaks North North # 2 and getting my first eagle putt last year (didn't capitalize - 3 putted for par). 3rd is missing a hole in one by a foot with my X31 6 iron at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii.

What's the most special moment you've ever had on the golf course? My longest ever drive was 325 yards with a persimmon 3 wood in high school.

What's the best piece of golf advice you have ever received? Putting a dollar bill under the ball in the practice bunker at Admiral Baker immensely improved my bunker play (friends call me "Sandman" because I make bunker play look easy).

What's your favorite Titleist club in the bag? Toss-up between my 910H 27*, AP1 PW and SM4 60.10 since these have been my stroke savers.

If you had to play one golf course every day for the rest of your life, which one would it be? Torrey Pines or Medinah.  I've lived near both.

How do you mark your Titleist? Using a sharpie and putting  a couple dots on it.

Do you consider yourself a tinkerer? How often do you change equipment? Yes, I've built my own set of irons, a couple of fairway woods and hybrids. I also like to dial in my own clubs. But, I don't change often (I used a set of irons for 27 years and had the same dual wedge between 1972-2006) but have been gradually upgrading since 2006 (when I took up golf again) to my current bag (which will probably stay for a long time).

How did you hear about Team Titleist? Was perusing the Titleist website.

Favorite golf movie? Caddyshack, no doubt.

Favorite golf book? Jim McLean's "The Three Scoring Clubs"

What is your favorite 19th hole meal? Lobster at Great Lakes back in 1976 (I was there for Navy schools).  2nd would be a Chicago Hot Dog.

Favorite golf destination? Hawaii - especially considering I was stationed there for 13 years.

Do you have any on-course superstitions? Don't go to the driving range and hit a bucket of balls before a round (generally take a few swings with my lob wedge and do some pitching and putting).

It was another action-packed weekend across the worldwide professional tours with many of the world's best players determined to end their 2012 campaigns on a high note. It was also another noteworthy weekend for Titleist's seeding and tour validation process for the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x prototype golf balls.

Titleist Brand Ambassador Adam Scott’s final-round charge Sunday at the Australian Masters not only took home top honors, it also marked the first win for the new Pro V1 prototype golf ball across the worldwide professional tours. On the same day in Japan, Pro V1x loyalist Luke Donald put on a solid display of golf en route to victory at the Dunlop Phoenix – marking the first win for the new Pro V1x prototype golf ball.

Joining Scott and Donald in the winner’s circle were Pro V1x loyalists Henrik Stenson (SA Open Championship), Na Yeon Choi (CME Group Titleholders), Jeung Hun Wang (China PGA Champions Tour Chongqing) and Sebastian Vasquez (Puerto Rico Classic), resulting in a six-win week for Titleist golf ball players around the globe.

Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x players have now won 180 times across the worldwide professional tours in 2012, more than seven times the nearest competitor with 24 and more than all competitors combined.

• • •

AUSTRALASIAN: Adam Scott trusted his new Titleist Pro V1 prototype golf ball in firing a final round 5-under 67 to secure his first Australian Masters title.

“I’ve grown up watching the (Australian) Masters since I was a kid, so this has been somewhat a long time coming,” Scott said during the trophy ceremony.

“This is a pretty sweet today to be in the gold jacket and to hold this trophy which I’ve been admiring since I was just a kid.”

Scott’s final-round rally capped off a 17-under par 271 total that was good enough to top Pro V1x loyalist and Australian Masters defending champion Ian Poulter, who finished in second place.

This was the third tournament that Scott played the new Pro V1 prototype and he shared some of his feedback with the team earlier in the week.

"I put the new Pro V1 in play starting at HSBC and the Singapore Open. I've found it a very easy fit into my game and I've been very happy with the results," Scott said. “I've played well."

What’s in Adam Scott’s Titleist Bag?:
Ball: New Titleist Pro V1 prototype golf ball
Driver:  Titleist 910D3 9.5º (Graphite Design Tour AD DI8 X with SureFit Tour setting A•1)
Fairway Metal: Titleist 910F 15º (SureFit Tour setting D•3)
Hybrids: Prototype 712U utility iron 19º
Irons: Titleist MB (4-9) and Titleist MB (8-PW)
Wedge: Vokey Design SM4 48º, 54º, 60º
Putter: Scotty Cameron Kombi Long 

Titleist Brand Ambassador Gareth Paddison tied for third, another four shots back, and Pro V1x loyalist Adam Crawford closed with the best round of the day (7-under 65) to finish solo fifth, as Titleist golf ball loyalists occupied four of the top five positions on the leader board. Nine of the 12 player who finished among the top 10 and ties at Kingston Heath were Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x players.

Titleist was the most played golf ball with 87 players in the field of 120, nearly four times the nearest competitor with 22 and more than all other golf balls combined.

• • • 

JAPAN GOLF TOUR: Brimming with confidence heading into the final round with a four-shot lead, Pro V1x loyalist Luke Donald relied on more steady golf to extend his lead on the final day and secure victory at the Dunlop Phoenix.

This was Donald’s first event playing the new Pro V1x prototype golf ball, and he found instant success with opening rounds of 64-65. He finished at 16-under 268, closing in 3-under 68 to win by five shots.

The win was the third of the season for Donald, who also captured the Transitions Championship on the PGA Tour in March and the BMW PGA Championship on the European Tour in May. The victory, the 12th of his career, also vaulted him to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Titleist was the most played golf ball at the event with 34 players trusting Pro V1 or Pro V1x golf balls for their success. Titleist was also the top choice in sand, lob and approach wedges with 62.

• • • 

EUROPEAN TOUR: It was a 1-2 finish for Pro V1x loyalists at the SA Open Championship, where Henrik Stenson secured a three-shot victory over George Coetzee.

Titleist was the most played golf ball at the event with 110 players, more than four times the nearest competitor with 23. Titleist was also the top choice in irons with 42, and sand, lob and approach wedges with 125, more than twice the nearest competitor with 51.

• • • 

LPGA: Pro V1x loyalist Na Yeon Choi captured the season-ending CME Group Titleholders, edging Pro V1 loyalist So Yeon Ryu by two shots. Paired with her 2012 U.S. Women’s Open victory, this is Choi’s second of the season and seventh of her LPGA career.

Three consecutive rounds in the 60s preceded her final-round 2-under 70, giving her a championship total 14-under 274.

Titleist was the most played golf ball at the event with 49 players in the field of 73, more than eight times the nearest competitor with 6.

• • • 

CHINA: Seventeen-year-old Jeung Hun Wang (Pro V1x) of Korea captured the China PGA Champions Tour Chongqing event for his first-career win on the China Tour. Wang closed with two consecutive rounds of 5-under 67 to finish at 14-under and a four-shot margin of victory. Ha Yuan (Pro V1x) fired a final-round five under 67 to finish a tie for third, six shots back.

Titleist was the most played golf ball at the event with 90 players in the field of 124, six times the nearest competitor with 15. Eight of the 12 players who finished among the top 10 and ties relied upon Titleist golf balls for their success.

• • • 

PGA TOUR LATINOAMERICA: Sebastian Vazquez carded a final-round 71 to capture the inaugural Puerto Rico Classic in just his second professional start. Vazquez finished at 14-under 274, two strokes clear of Jorge Fernandez-Valdes, who also closed with a 71. Julio Zapata recorded a 71 as well to take third place at 11 under. All three players relied on the Titleist Pro V1x golf ball for their success.

Vazquez, a 22-year-old from Mexico City, was in the field just six weeks after finishing atop the World Amateur in Turkey.

Titleist was the most played golf ball at the event with 107 players in the field of 128, nearly nine times the nearest competitor with 12.

The second you book a Titleist club fitting at Miles of Golf in Ypsilanti, Mich., you've proven you'll go the extra mile for your game.

That's all Brent Norton, a Titleist authorized fitter and Director of Custom Fitting at Miles of Golf, needs to know.

Step one: Commitment. Step two: Confidence. 

"My job as a fitter," Norton says, "is to make sure first and foremost that a player has the best 14 clubs for his or her game."

In order to play your best and shoot lower scores, you need to be able to trust your equipment on each and every shot. Miles of Golf, one of five Titleist Regional Fitting Centers within the Titleist Fitting Network, specializes in building that trust, working with you to build a set composition that precisely fits your game.

"It's a well-oiled machine. We do fittings like teaching academies do lessons," says Norton, adding that Miles of Golf fits over 1,500 players a year, from higher handicap players to some of the best players in the Midwest. Norton says golfers have come from as far as Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Minneapolis, for fittings.

"We don't have a big advertising budget, but our business keeps growing because of word of mouth," he say. "Playing with properly fit equipment is a huge performance advantage. That's not a secret."

Upon arrival at Miles of Golf for your Titleist fitting, it's off to the range to get in some warm-up swings with a bucket of Pro V1's.

Your next stop is The Cluboratory, which is exactly what it sounds like. A laboratory for your game.

Open year-round, The Cluboratory features four weather-protected fitting bays that allow players to hit out onto the range so ball flight can be observed and analyzed. The facility is stocked with Titleist's fitting tools and an extensive shaft matrix to provide a comprehensive, tour-level fitting. The Cluboratory also features top-notch fitting technology, including TrackMan launch monitors, that enables the fitters to confirm players are dialed-in to the right specs.

 "We'll use numbers but it's definitely not the Holy Grail," Norton says. "It's more about taking the player's feedback and then backing it up with the science."

A session in The Cluboratory begins by recording the baseline numbers with your current equipment. From there, you'll work with the fitter to determine which club and shaft combinations feel and perform best, paying particular attention to distance, trajectory and yardage gaps. As part of its 27-acre practice facility, Miles of Golf also has a short-game facility with three greens and four bunkers where you can fine-tune your wedge setup.

Norton is one of nine fitters on the Miles of Golf staff that works in The Cluboratory, a place where fitting and learning goes hand-in-hand.

In the following Q&A, Brent Norton talks more about the club fitting experience at Miles of Golf and his path to becoming a club fitter:

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

BRENT NORTON: Growing up in a golfing household, my father got me started in the game.



TT: What was it that first interested you in teaching and fitting? Did you have a mentor?

BN: Since my days as a former club professional, I have always loved tinkering with equipment and trying different combinations to get different results.  Through this trial and error more and more questions came up and that’s how my passion continued to grow.



TT: You help make golfers better every day. What do you work on to become a better teacher and/or fitter?

BN: One of the things that makes us successful is to know what combinations work well (head/shaft) and what type of swing type works well with that combination.  When we get new products in, all of the fitters will go out and spend a day gathering launch conditions data.  We all know what our individual launch conditions are and we can use this info to help the fitting process.

TT: What's a typical work day like for you? What's happening behind the scenes that we might not realize?

BN: A typical day for me is no different from any other full time fitter. I arrive at work in the morning and try and get some e-mails answered. Our fitting schedule starts at 9 a.m. and ends at 7 p.m. We have three full-time bays dedicated to TrackMan fittings and another separate facility utilizing Foresight GC2’s. The hardest part of the job is managing an inventory level for two separate facilities on property with two distinctly different needs.



TT: How do you stay on top of your game?

BN: Having girls ages 8 and 10, my golf game has slowed down. In the summer I try to hit balls every day but that can’t make up for playing golf. 



TT: Have you made any changes to your equipment setup lately? Are you a tinkerer?

BN: My weakness for tinkering is drivers! I am always looking to try different combinations to see how they perform.



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

BN: My Vokey wedges! All my wedges have my girls' names on them. Hitting a bad shot isn’t a big deal with that reminder on your clubs.



TT: How do you mark your Titleist golf ball?

BN: With a red line.

TT: Who fits you for your equipment?

BN: Anybody that works at Miles of Golf.  We all have such a passion for helping people with equipment that we help each other out with our personal clubs.

• • •

A closer look at Miles of Golf (and The Cluboratory):

• 27-acre practice facility has over 100 tees (grass and synthetic mats) with 42 covered and heated bays for year-round use, a short-game area and two practice greens.

• The Cluboratory fitting center is open year-round and features four weather-protected fitting bays that allow players to hit out onto the range so ball flight can be observed and analyzed. Staff includes nine expert fitters.

• Technology available: TrackMan, Foresight GC2, SAM PuttLab and Quintic Ball Roll.

• 10,000 square-foot golf shop ranked in top 100 best golf shops in the country, according to Golf World magazine.

• The Kendall Academy, the largest golf academy in Michigan, has eight experienced PGA and LPGA professional instructors giving lessons year-round.

• Phone: (734) 973-9004

• Website: www.milesofgolf.com/

• • •

Titleist Regional Fitting Centers are located at Jim McLean Golf Center (Fort Worth, Texas); The Glen Club (Glenview, Ill.); Miles of Golf (Ypsilanti, Mich.); Sea Island Learning Center (St. Simons Island, Ga.) and Sleepy Hollow Country Club (Scarborough, N.Y.).

To learn more about the Titleist Fitting Network and to find an authorized Titleist fitter in your area, please click here.


Click image above to launch slideshow.

This week at the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, players will take aim in hopes for a win at the final event of the PGA Tour's Fall Series. Titleist golf ball loyalists are also using the week in Orlando, Fla., to work with the Titleist Tour staff to gain even more trust in the new Pro V1 Pro V1x prototype golf balls.

In total, 89 players in the 128-player field are relying on Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls for their success, more than six times the nearest competitor with 13 and more than all other golf balls combined. This includes 35 players who will be teeing up the new Pro V1 and Pro V1x prototype golf balls at Disney's Magnolia and Palm Courses.

Titleist is also first in the sand, lob and approach wedges (99) and putter (53) categories.

The Fall Series finale is sure to feature dramatic play as this is last chance for players to make a move inside the top 125 and secure their spot for the 2013 PGA Tour season. Last year, fans were treated to an action-packed final round at the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic where Pro V1x loyalist Luke Donald ran off six straight birdies on Sunday on his way to a final round 8-under-par 64 that helped him edge Titleist Brand Ambassador Webb Simpson on the leader board and the money list.

Here's to another exciting season finale.

Check out the slideshow above for a closer look at some action from around the course and on the range.

Titleist Brand Ambassador and two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton was awarded the 2012 Mildred “Babe” Didrikson Zaharias Courage Award by the United States Sports Academy on Wednesday. Compton is playing in the PGA TOUR's season-ending Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic in Orlando this week.

The Courage Award is presented annually "to an individual who demonstrates courageous action in overcoming adversity to excel in sport. This individual should exhibit the qualities of courage, perseverance, grace, and strength in sport achievement."

Compton is the only professional golfer in the world to compete with a transplanted heart. The 33-year-old has had three different hearts in his life but that hasn’t stopped him from achieving his dream of earning his TOUR card and playing on the PGA Tour.  Zaharias, too, was a golfer, who was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1953, and one month after undergoing surgery, she won her 10th and final major with a U.S. Women’s Open Championship.

“I hope that by sharing my experience others can see the importance of finding out more about organ donation,” Compton said. “After my second transplant, I knew I wasn’t done with golf and consider when I made the cut in the 2008 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic less than six months later to start my comeback. That makes receiving this award at this tournament all that much more meaningful to me.”

The PGA Tour honored Compton for coming back from heart surgery during The Masters in April 2009, awarding him the Ben Hogan Award.

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