Last week I got a special last minute invite (literally the next day) to tour Ball Plant III to do something for them (not sure I’m allowed to say). I couldn’t say no and thankfully I have a kick a** boss and he had no problem with me taking the day to do this. Later in the day I found out 2 other guys from Team Titleist, Rich T. and Brian D. that I know pretty well were going as well. So I was pumped to see them and catch up.
Me and Rich T. ended up driving down together and got there a little early and there it was, Ball Plant III where the magic happens. We pulled in the lot there was Brian D. and Team Titleist staff guru Rick V. in the parking lot. And let me tell you it’s always good to see Rick V. For everyone going to the TT invitational, buy this man a beer and chat with him. He’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Actually buy the whole staff a brew or two, such an amazing group of people to chill with.
Rick V. took us inside and we checked it. The security there is pretty strict as you can imagine. Cameras were strictly prohibited until we got to one area (see pic below of the ProV walk of fame, only pic we were allowed to take). We met a few Titleist employees while we waited for our tour guide. I forgot the tour guides name (very bad with names) but he was awesome and a pleasure to follow around and listen to. He was VERY knowledgeable about what goes on in the plant. I’ll try to keep this as short as possible about this experience.
First place we went was up to the 2nd floor. There are actually 3 floors but the 3rd floor is restricted for obvious reasons. That’s where it everything begins. Once everything is developed, it’s pushed down to the 2nd floor (where we started) where the piece that makes the core gets evaluated and weighed before it goes to the next step. The first thing he mentioned to us was how many quality control checks each ProVs goes through. It is UNREAL. For a 1 it’s about 90 checks and for an X it’s about 120. That right there showed me WHY the Pro V1 and 1X is the #1 ball in golf. I was truly amazed when I heard that. The tour guide walked us through each steps on how the ProVs are made. Each step I was blown away by how much work AND dedication the employees take in making the perfect golf ball for all of us. They make over and I was SHOCKED when I heard this, they make over 150,000 ProV golf balls A.DAY. SAY WHAT?!?! And that’s with all the quality checks that needs to be done.. Here are few quick notes from what I learn;
- Each core has different coloring for obvious reason so it was pretty cool to see the piece and know what was being made.
- Ball Plant III does mostly ProVs. There are other ball plants that do other jobs.
- It was VERY cool to see where the ball starts; making the core, casing layer around the core, cover system where they put the Urethane around the core and then the paint and stamp. Each step was pretty cool to see and witness.
- We witness a few quality checks and let me tell you, these workers do NOT mess around. You can tell they take great pride in making sure the perfect ball is made.
- They recycle EVERYTHING in that plant.
- The Urethane part was pretty wild. They have this electricity that zaps the core before the Urethane is applied. To hear the story behind it (not sure I’m allowed to tell) was pretty cool. But it takes 45 minutes for it to dry and they test the Urethane EVERY 2 hours to make sure it’s meeting the specs. CRAZY. And again, 150,000 are made?!?!?! WOW
- Seeing the ball being painted (probably not the correct term) before being stamped was pretty awesome and yes we had to wear a special suit. Let me tell ya, I do not make a good lab technician…
- After the paint, they get stamped. We watch guy there checking them as they were coming out. Every now and then a ball would go to a “bad” pile. He would pick it up and BOOM found the issue, within 2 seconds. On the Titleist stamp, the “e” was missing some of the pant. I could BARELY see it and this guy picked it out in 2 seconds. Talk about dedication and experience.
- Once the ball is stamped and looks good it goes through a final process. EACH ball goes through an x-ray machine to make sure the core is centered. If it’s good, it then goes into this GLORIOUS BIG WHITE BASKET loaded with beautiful ProV golf balls. Yeah, I wanted to take that basket home…..
- For every 3k golf balls made, they take 126 out of the pile and do a MANUAL inspection. If they find ONE, and I mean ONE, they will pull those 3k OUT and check them over again. They will not release until it meets their expectations. They do NOT mess around man…
After experiencing this, it’s no wonder why they’re the #1 ball in golf.
Probably the biggest thing I took away from this is how much work actually goes into this. I’ll be honest I thought it would be a quick in and out tour but it lasted an hour and ½ and could’ve gone longer. Like I said, they are #1 for a VERY good reason. I tip my hat to all those people in Ball Plant III. You guys are the best.
I am VERY lucky to have witness this, bucket list checked. And HUGE thanks to the Team Titleist Staff for the special invite. This is definitely an experience I’ll never forget.
Here's the story behind the #1 ball if ya not sure or haven't checked it out;
OH yeah forgot to mention. While we were there, Morgan Hoffman was taking a tour (in town for the Dell Championship at TPC Boston) as well behind us. We had the chance to meet him and take some pics. What a great guy he was to meet.