The Titleist Tour truck has become an essential support mechanism for some of the best players in the world. Paul O’Hagan goes behind the scenes during a tournament at the London Club to look at one of the most interesting and private areas on the European Tour.
Titleist’s player promotion man, Guy Smith, opens the tour van that will welcome many of the world’s best players through its doors during the next three days. While spectators will see the likes of Ross Fisher and Robert Karlson visit the van, the juggernaut is one of the few areas at a tour event that amateurs never get to see.
With exclusive access Golf Monthly witnessed the hard work that the closely-knit Titleist tour team put into every tour event they attend and discovered the finer details of club fitting on tour.
Inside The Titleist Tour Truck
The tale of the tour van begins with Ian Martin. He is the man responsible for driving the truck to each event has to put in some serious mileage out on the road. For mainland Europe events Ian’s journey will begin more than a week before the actual tournament begins. He will load the 28 tonne truck with stock for the week from Titleist headquarters in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire. The truck holds 1000 litres of diesel, necessary when it does 8.7 miles to the gallon, and carries 100 gallons of water. Ian drives the 16 gear monster down to Portsmouth and travels on a boat to St Marlow. He then drives through France and onto his destination, usually arriving at the destination on Saturday where he will set the truck up for the week ahead. Once the truck has arrived he moves to the back of the truck to help with club repairs and changes.
Supply and demand
The rest of the team fly out to each tournament very early on Monday. On a standard week the team comprises of player promotion manager Johnathan Loosemore, player promotion Guy Smith, fitting technician Mattias Jelver and club technicians Phil Dimmock and Karl Arthur. The truck is split into two halves with the back half becoming the workshop where clubs are made and tweaked and the front where players and caddies collect all of their gear for the week.
The team will spend a couple of hours preparing on Monday but the busiest day is Tuesday, which includes an early start and late finish. Every player contracted to Titleist and FootJoy receives four gloves every week and 3 dozen balls. The player promotion team is responsible for liaising with players and caddies to supply them with everything they need. As well as gloves and balls this includes selecting shoes, waterproofs, bags and any other accessory players request. The front of the truck is a hub of activity and the Titleist team develop camaraderie with players and caddies they see frequently out on tour. They use a database of every player to check the ball and glove each professional uses.
“We see a lot more of the younger players than we do of the guys who have been out here for a long time,” says Guy Smith. “This is because the more experienced players are more set on their equipment and also the younger players also see the van as a place to relax a little and have a chat.”
Each player selects eight pairs of shoes at the start of the season and then specific orders can be made throughout the year. They then have a huge choice of hats and waterproofs to choose from.
Fitting technician Mattias Jelver is in serious demand early in the week with players wanting to tweak their clubs or try out something new.
“I will start the week by walking the range and congratulating any of out players who have performed well in previous weeks. I will chat to the guys informally about how their equipment is going and if anyone wants to change something in the bag I will make appointments for the Trackman system in the afternoon. If players want to experiment with driver set-ups I will walk the course with them. This really helps as I can stand where the ball lands and see how it reacts. I am usually a lot busier at smaller tournaments because at major events players like to be pretty set on the equipment they are using.”
The team working behind the window at the back of the tour truck have a constant stream of equipment requests to work on. These requests range from putting together a whole new driver to tweaking loft and lies and extending putters. All of this work is done early in the week and everything is packed up and ready to go by Wednesday afternoon. Once the tournament starts there is very little the team can do so they fly back to England and prepare for the next week by ordering in requests and replenishing stock. The truck visits many of the European events including those in the UK, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and Holland. When the Titleist Tour truck isn’t present at events the team will always be there to provide the players with the support they need.