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The Titleist Tour Leadership Team on the PGA Tour has a new home away from home as the new Titleist Tour Van is making its debut this week at the BMW Championship.
Now, to call it a "van" would be a little bit of an understatement, as the new 18-wheeler is 42 feet long, 8 feet 6 inches wide, and weighs 36 tons when fully loaded. It features four "pop-outs" that extend the width to 15 feet 6 inches for a total of 650 square feet of working space, nearly 30 percent more than the previous trailer.
Dave Southworth, Titleist's Senior Technical Representative for PGA Tour, was responsible for designing the new trailer and accommodating the needs of the 10-person Tour Leadership Team that services up to 40 full product line players a week, in addition to others who rely upon Titleist 913 metals, MB, CB and AP irons, Vokey Design wedges and Scotty Cameron putters. And during an average week on tour, there are more than 100 Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf ball players to service, which keeps the Titleist Tour Van buzzing with activity from arrival time on Sunday through its Wednesday afternoon departure.
"It is not very often you get to design a Tour Van from scratch, so you want to make sure you get it right," said Southworth. Based upon the response of the Titleist Tour Leadership Team, as well as players, caddies and other tour support teams who have paid a visit so far, he seems to have accomplished his goal.
"This 'van' is basically our workplace and home for half the week for the next six or so years," said Southworth. "With that in mind, I took everybody's requests and suggestions into serious consideration and implemented them as best I could. I wanted it to be as efficient and comfortable as possible, primarily for our own tech reps that are building clubs everyday, but also for the players, caddies, managers, network associates and tournament officials that use it as a meeting place or to just hang out at some point during the week."
The word Southworth heard most often for the workplace area from his fellow tech reps was "maneuverability," that is, more space to hone their craft, which includes but is not limited to: replacing shafts, grinding and stamping clubs, changing grips, measuring lofts and lies, and just building clubs from scratch. There is also a separate workspace for the Vokey Design wedge team within the trailer.
The challenge was to accommodate those needs while still securing enough room to stock an inventory of shafts, clubheads, grips, tools, headwear, headcovers and umbrellas. There is also a separate computer station and wi-fi, a satellite dish, three television monitors, a couch, stools and table for meetings, and an ice chest and cabinetry for cold drinks and healthy snacks.
This marks the third and most technologically advanced Titleist Tour Van since the original debuted in 2002. That 32-foot van was replaced late in 2006 by a 34-foot version which appeared at virtually every PGA Tour event (with the exception of Hawaii) over the past seven years, totaling nearly 130,000 miles crisscrossing the country. It will continue to be used to service the equipment needs of players on the Web.com Tour, making its first appearance at last week's Chiquita Classic.
"This is really a win-win for our Tour Leadership team," said Southworth. "We have a state-of-the-art trailer that will help our team service our growing list of full product line players more efficiently, and the Web.com Team will be able to do the same now that they have a full service van."