Master Craftsman Bob Vokey is on the ground (and on the grinders) at Congressional Country Club this week for the U.S. Open, making sure our Titleist Brand Ambassadors are dialed in with their Vokey Design Spin Milled Wedges to take on one of the season's most demanding layouts.

Last week, Bob was here on Titleist.com sharing the same tips and tricks with members of Team Titleist via live webcast.

Steve Pelisek, Titleist General Manager of Golf Clubs, joined "The Voke" for the 30-minute broadcast, which covered a range of topics about Vokey Design Spin Milled wedges, from knowing your distance gaps to bounce for different conditions.

Bob and Steve also answered many questions submitted from Team Titleist members on the Titleist Blog.

You can watch a replay of the webcast now in the videos below.

PART 1 (Groove configuration; spin milling; building a career as a clubmaker; development of current Vokey Wedges line; bounce for different conditions)

 


PART 2
(Affects of bending wedges; knowing your distance gaps; wedge fitting; diggers vs. sliders)

 


PART 3
(Life cycle of Vokey wedges; Re-sharpening grooves; working with PGA Tour pros; wedge casting process; Affects of opening club face on bounce; British Open at Royal St. George's)



A dream week for Titleist Brand Ambassador Harrison Frazar set the tone Sunday for Titleist players competing around the globe.

Frazar's breakthrough victory at the PGA Tour's FedEx St. Jude Classic made it a perfect 7-for-7 sweep for Titleist golf ball loyalists in the week's biggest events, including Pro V1x loyalist Robert Rock's first European Tour title and Pro V1x loyalist Yani Tseng's second LPGA victory of the season.

 Seventy-three players have trusted Titleist golf balls to victory across the worldwide professional tours so far in 2011, more than six times the nearest competitor with 11 and more than all competitors combined.

In total, 8,959 players have played Titleist golf balls in competition this season, more than six times the nearest competitor with 1,395 and more than all other golf balls combined.

And at this week's U.S. Open at Congressional, Titleist is the #1 ball for the 63rd-consecutive year.

Frazar started off the week by teeing up his Titleist Pro V1x golf ball at a 36-hole U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying at Dallas Athletic Club, where he shot 72-64 in 100-plus degree heat and eventually won a playoff to earn a spot at the season's second major championship.

Six days later, Frazar found himself in another playoff at TPC Southwind with fellow Titleist Brand Ambassador Robert Karlsson at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

And again, Frazar was the last man standing. He tapped his Pro V1x in for par on the third playoff hole, officially earning the opportunity to wrap his arms around his first PGA Tour trophy.

Wrapping his mind around the week's successes was another story.

"I accomplished three goals today that I've had for 15 years, you know, which is to win a tournament, play in Maui (Hyundai Tournament of Champions), play in Augusta (The Masters)," said Frazar, 39, who was playing this season on a major medical exemption after having hip and shoulder surgeries year.

"That's pretty cool…" he said. "I never thought that all three would come at once. But they have to. So this is pretty neat."

 Frazar (71-65-64-67) tied Karlsson (66-65-68-68) in regulation at 13-under 267, five shots clear of five players including Titleist Brand Ambassador Ryuji Imada, Pro V1x loyalist Tim Herron and Pro V1 loyalist Charles Howell III.

For the week, Frazar and Karlsson tied for first in birdies with 19. Frazar also ranked first in driving distance (316.9 yards) and putts per green in regulation (1.64).

And to think: Frazar began the week by playing his first four holes in 3 over par.

"On this golf course that can happen, but it could not have happened if I was trying to win a golf tournament," Frazar said. "It happened because I relaxed and I started playing golf and seeing the shots and just hitting it and just playing the game."

Frazar and Karlsson were two of 103 players at TPC Southwind that played Titleist golf balls, more than six times the nearest competitor with 17 and more than all competitors combined. Titleist also was first in iron sets (42);  sand, lob and approach wedges (135); and putters (60).

Frazar tees off at 7 a.m. Thursday in the first round of the U.S. Open; Karlsson gets going at 8:28.

Here's a closer look at Harrison Frazar's Titleist equipment:

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D2 8.5º, C•1 SureFit Tour hosel setting (Mitsubishi Blueboard 83)
Irons (4-5): Titleist CB (True Temper Dynamic Gold SL)
Irons (6-P): Titleist MB (True Temper Dynamic Gold SL)
Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled 52º, TVD56º, 60º (True Temper Dynamic Gold)

Here's a closer look at Robert Karlsson's Titleist equipment:

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D3 8.5º, D•2 SureFit Tour hosel setting (Graphite Design Tour AD DI 6)
3-wood: Titleist 910Fd 15º, D•1 SureFit Tour hosel setting (Grafalloy Prolaunch Red)
5-wood: Titleist 910F 17º, D•1 SureFit Tour hosel setting (Grafalloy Prolaunch Red)
Irons (4-P): Titleist MB (True Temper Dynamic Gold SL)
Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled 50º, TVD56º, 60º (True Temper Dynamic Gold SL)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport GSS

•  EUROPEAN TOUR: It was a similar story at the BMW Italian Open, where Pro V1x loyalist Robert Rock closed with a 5-under 67 at the Royal Park I Roveri course to complete a wire-to-wire victory to earn his first European Tour win.

“Once I got started today I felt quite comfortable," said Rock, who finished at 21-under 267 (64-68-68-67) for a one-shot victory. "I figured that this was as good a chance (to win) as I was ever going to have."

Rock got it done on the greens, rolling his Pro V1x golf ball in for six birdies Sunday in a seven-hole stretch from Nos. 5-11. (He totaled 16 birdies and no bogeys over those same holes for the four rounds.)

 On 17, Rock made a 12-footer for par to hold on tot he one-shot cushion that would eventually bring him to the winner's circle.

"It feels great," said Rock, 34. “I thought I would eventually do it. It’s taken longer than planned but it’s incredibly hard to win on this tour."

Rock finished first for the week in putts per green in regulation (1.555)

He was one 108 players in the field that played a Titleist golf ball, more than six times the nearest competitor with 16 and more than all competitors combined.

LPGA: Pro V1x loyalist Yani Tseng earned her second victory of the LPGA season, winning the LPGA State Farm Classic with a near-flawless performance.

Tseng, also a winner at the LPGA's season-opening Honda LPGA Thailand, made 12 birdies and no bogeys over her final 39 holes, closing with weekend rounds of 66-68 for a three-shot victory at Panther Creek Country Club in Springfield, Ill.

 Tseng made just three bogeys for the entire week, including one on her first hole of Round 1.

"I feel very excited. I had lots of energy to going on this morning, and I know I can do it," said Tseng, the No. 1 player in the Rolex World Rankings. "I just kept telling myself, 'focus, focus.' So all my energy, all my patience, focus on every hole."

Tseng finished at 21-under 267 (67-66-66-68), three ahead of Pro V1 loyalist Cristie Kerr (70-67-66-67).

It was Tseng's seventh LPGA title in the last four years, including three major championships.


Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 115 players, more than nine times the nearest competitor with 12 and more than all competitors combined.

NATIONWIDE TOURTitleist Brand Ambassador Kyle Thompson won the The Rex Hospital Open for the second time, rolling his Pro V1x golf ball in from 7 feet for birdie on the 72nd hole Sunday to win by one shot.

"I knew it was going to come down to the wire," Thompson, who closed with a 3-under 68 for a 14-under 270 total, told PGATour.com.

That final putt broke up a six-way tie heading into the final hole, earning Thompson a dramatic one-shot victory.

 "It was every golfer's dream putt – seven feet with a little right-to-left break," he said.

The win marked the third career Nationwide Tour title for Thompson, including his win at the 2007 Rex Hospital Open.

Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 113 players, more than seven times the nearest competitor with 15.  Titleist also was first in iron sets (43);  sand, lob and approach wedges (145); and putters (66). 

Here's a closer look at Kyle Thompson's Titleist equipment:

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist 910D3 9.5º (Grafalloy Prolaunch Red)
3-wood: Titleist 910Fd 15º (Aldila NVS 85)
5-wood: Titleist 910F 17º (Aldila NVS 85)
Irons (4-P): Titleist AP2 (Project X Rifle Steel)
Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled 52º, 58º (True Temper Dynamic Gold)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Pro V1 loyalist Mark Wiebe won the Greater Hickory Classic with a par on the third-hole of a sudden death playoff to capture his third Champions Tour title.

Wiebe, a two-time PGA Tour winner, closed with a bogey-free 7-under 65 at Rock Barn Golf & Spa in Conover, N.C, to post a tournament-record 19-under 197 total.

He ended regulation tied with Pro V1x loyalist James Mason, who was playing in his first event of the season.

Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 53 players, more than four times the nearest competitor with 12. Titleist also was first in iron sets (19).

CANADIAN TOUR: With his father on the bag and a large group of family and friends in the gallery, Pro V1x loyalist Roger Sloan carded a final-round 6-under 66 to win the inaugural Western Championship by three strokes.



Sloan finished with a total of 23-under-par 265 (64-70-65-66) at Rivershore Golf Links for his first Canadian Tour victory, making just one bogey over the four rounds.

"I was extremely proud of myself for being able to win this tournament," Sloan said. "Having my Dad (Curtis) on the bag and my friends and family watching was a big bonus for me and I can say it helped me win."

With the win, Sloan moved to No. 2 on the Canadian Tour's Order of Merit.

SUNSHINE TOURPro V1x loyalist Chris Swanepoel earned his second-career victory on the South African Sunshine Tour, leading a 1-2-3 finish for Titleist golf ball players at the Vodacom Origins of Golf event at Arabella Golf Club.

Swanepoel closed with a 4-under par 68 for a 11-under 205 victory total, three shots ahead of Titleist Brand Ambassador Christiaan Basson. Pro V1x loyalist Andrew Curlewis finished alone in third, another shot back. 

Titleist was the overwhelming golf ball of choice at the event with 50 players, more than twice the nearest competitor with 18.

 

In winning The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass recently, K.J. Choi used a Titleist golf ball designed for players of all swing speeds.

Same for Steve Stricker in his victory last week at The Memorial.

The list goes on and on.

For the record, Choi won playing a Titleist Pro V1 golf ball, Stricker a Titleist Pro V1x, the same models available at your local golf shop.

It's a common misconception among golfers that Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls are effective only for tour players and tour-level swing speeds.

"My swing speed isn't high enough to play a golf ball that tour players use," is a refrain heard repeatedly by our Titleist Performance Golf Ball Fitting teams.

 Truth is, in order for a golf ball to work for any golfer it has to work for all swing speeds, as every golfer uses a variety of swing speeds during the course of a round.

"The notion that a player has a single swing speed probably creates the confusion, because in reality every player has a wide range of swing speeds," says Bill Morgan, Senior Vice President of Titleist Golf Ball R&D. "We don't have a single swing speed that we use for every shot during the course of the round, that's just not the nature of the game."

Take, for example, three-time PGA Tour winner Bubba Watson, one of the game's longest-hitting players.

Bubba's driver swing speed is in excess of 120 mph, which results in a ball speed over 180 mph. As Bubba gets closer to the green, his swing speed decreases because the clubs get shorter. The shorter the club, the less force Bubba imparts to the golf ball. His swing speed is 100 mph with his 7-iron (136 mph ball speed) and 92 mph (113 ball speed) with his pitching wedge.

"That’s a wide range of ball speed," says Matt Hogge, Director of Product Implementation in Titleist Golf Ball R&D. "Rule 5-1 of the USGA rulebook says that one golf ball model must be played for the entire round. If that one ball that Bubba puts into play works only for his tee shots, then why play it? He plays a Titleist Pro V1x because the ball works at all the forces he puts upon it."

Over the years, the Titleist R&D team has measured the range of swing speeds of countless golfers, from tour pros to high-handicap players.

"We've seen that while a tour player has a very wide range of swing speeds – and certainly the highest ones are very high – the range of swing speeds through the set that all golfers use fits within the range that the tour players has," added Morgan.

Translation: The slower swing speeds you use while hitting your shots are also used by tour players for different types of shots.

 "If Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls didn't work for lower swing speeds, there would be some shots a tour player has to execute that simply wouldn't work," Morgan says. "And that's simply not true."

When it comes to any golfer choosing the best Titleist golf ball for your game, it's not just about swing speed or ball speed, it's about all-around performance.

An important fact to keep in mind is that all Titleist golf balls are long.

Differences in distance between models off the driver for swing speeds ranging from tour players (near 110 mph) down to lower speed players (in the 80s mph) are less than four yards, a factor that is neither game-changing nor score-changing.

On the other hand, hitting a green in regulation can save you almost two strokes.  Selecting a golf ball that helps you hit more greens more often and more consistently provides the best opportunity to lower you score.

The key to lowering your scores is improving your scoring shots into and the around the green, the shots that will allow you to make more putts, and Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls offer all players the most performance control on these types of shots.

"The golf ball doesn’t know who hit it," Morgan says. "I can’t make a golf ball that makes a low swing-speed player as long as a tour player. However, I can make a golf ball that will help a lower swing-speed player hit a shot into the green that will help them score better. Same as it does for a tour player. Because that’s the part of the game that matters the most and that’s where all the golfers are really the same.

"They have the same requirements in that part of the game. Hit it as close to the pin as possible."

• • •

To learn more about Titleist Performance Golf Ball Fitting and try the online Titleist Golf Ball Selection Tool, click here.

• At this week's FedEx St. Jude Classic, 103 players are using Titleist golf balls, more than six times the nearest competitor with 17 and more than all competitors combined.

Titleist is also first in Iron Sets (42); Sand, Lob and Approach Wedges (135); and Putters (60).

 Titleist Brand Ambassadors Graham DeLaet (pictured) and Matt Weibring were each fit this week into new Titleist 910F 13.5 fairway metals.

DeLaet, who made his return to the PGA Tour last week after having back surgery two months ago, tested a few different shafts and decided on the following setup: 910F 13.5º with Fujikura VC 80 shaft (tipped 2'') and the SureFit Tour hosel set at B•2 (standard loft, +.75º upright).

Weibring went with a 910F 13.5º with Graphite Design DJ-8 shaft (43'') and the SureFit Tour hosel set at A•1 (standard loft, standard lie).

As they did last week at The Memorial, Titleist's Tour Techs continued to make sure that Titleist Brand Ambassadors had back-up drivers that were up-to-date and ready for action.

(It's that time of year when players start to spread out at various events around the world, where access to Titleist's Tour Vans may be more limited.)

This week, back-ups were built for almost 20 more players, including Titleist Brand Ambassadors Geoff Ogilvy (910D3 8.5º, Aldila RIP 80) and Ben Crane (910D2 9.5º, Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Blue 73).

Players were also reminded not to carry back-up 910 heads in their bags during competition, per the USGA's 14-club rule.

• The team also re-gripped the full sets of about 10 Titleist Brand Ambassadors. The early-season heat was the major cause for this work.

Frank Thomas, author of the new book "From Sticks and Stones: The Evolution of Golf Equipment Rules," appeared earlier this week on "Fairways of Life" with host Matt Adams on the PGA Tour Network on Sirius-XM radio.

You can listen to an audio replay of the broadcast by clicking the play button in the player below.


Thomas, who served as Technical Director of the United States Golf Association for more than 25 years, was one of the men most involved in writing the rules that set the boundaries for today's golf equipment. In this 11-minute interview, Thomas talks in-depth about the new book, golf's current equipment rules and the future of the game.

"From Sticks and Stones" is available now and can be purchased for $24.95 USD directly through Thomas’ website at the following link: http://www.franklygolf.com/fromsticksandstones.aspx.

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