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  • Writer's pictureLucian@going2paris.net

The (Partial) History Of Titleist


The Dairy Market

Charlottesville

April 20, 2022

THE INSPIRATION

The Titleist brand started with a vision - and an x-ray. The Titleist success story began one Sunday in 1932, when Phil Young, a dedicated amateur golfer and owner of a precision molded rubber company, missed a well-stroked putt in a match with his friend, who was head of the x-ray department at a local hospital.

Convinced that the ball itself was at fault, Young and his opponent went to the hospital, x-rayed the golf ball in question and found that its core was, in fact, off-center.




THE EARLY YEARS

With his discovery, Phil Young persuaded Fred Bommer, a fellow MIT graduate, rubber specialist and avid golfer, to head up the Acushnet Golf Division. They set out to develop the highest quality and best performing golf ball in the world; one that would be uniform and consistent in quality, ball after ball.

It took Young and Bommer three painstaking years to perfect the first Titleist golf ball, but when it was ready in 1935, it could truthfully be introduced to club professionals and golfers as the best ball ever made. Applying a lesson well learned, Young implemented a process check that is still in practice today: every Titleist golf ball is x-rayed.

THE STORY OF THE SCRIPT

The Titleist script originated when the first Titleist-branded golf balls were being produced in 1935. Executives were looking for a logo and an executive suggested the handwriting of office secretary Helen Robinson who was considered to have beautiful penmanship. Helen was given a sheet of paper and asked to write the word ‘Titleist.’ The way she wrote the word on the page that day was used for the original logo and the Titleist script, one of the world’s most recognized marks, is still based on this initial lettering today - gracing every piece of Titleist equipment throughout the world.

The way she wrote the word on the page that day was used for the original logo and the Titleist script, one of the world’s most recognized marks, is still based on this initial lettering today.

BUILDING TRUST IN A BRAND

In a game where consistency and preciseness of shot are rewarded, Young and Bommer focused their efforts on product quality starting with the "process". This was a game changer at the time. A second game changer was their distribution policy.


GOLF PROFESSIONALS ONLY

While most golf equipment was sold through department stores, Young and Bommer made the decision to distribute Titleist product through the individual most capable of discerning a performance and quality superior golf ball. They adopted a distribution policy of "sold through golf professionals only" and took the first step towards becoming the leading brand of the golf professional and the golf pro shop. GOING TO THE GOLFER

Needing a way to validate performance and quality excellence, Titleist debuted the Acushnet Golf Ball Demonstration Machine in 1936. The Demonstration Machine toured to the most prestigious golf courses of the day, validating Titleist golf ball superiority. These events were both incredible and indelible as golfers across the country were awed by Titleist golf ball performance.

MOST PLAYED

By 1945, the company turned its attention to the collection of professional golf tournaments, known today as the PGA TOUR. They focused on getting the Titleist golf ball into the hands of as many players as possible. This novel "most played" strategy was based on the premise that if most of the best players trust your golf ball for their livelihood, then it must be the best golf ball.

BREAKTHROUGH

Titleist continued to affirm its "most played" strategy with each new year, as sales grew and an increasing number of golfers from professionals to amateurs put their trust in the company's product. Titleist solidified its position as the #1 ball in golf by winning the ball count for the first time at the 1949 U.S. Open at Medinah CC. For over 70 years, Titleist has been the most played golf ball across the worldwide professional tours, with more players trusting Titleist than all other brands combined. The overwhelming preference for Titleist also extends to PGA Golf Professionals, through the ranks of competitive amateurs and college players, to junior golfers and recreational players alike.


R&D — INNOVATION

The Titleist Golf Ball R&D team, driven by a commitment to continuous improvement and innovation, is made up of over 75 chemists, physicists, mathematicians, computer scientists, engineers and technicians, as well as PGA Professionals and turf management specialists. Due to their work, Titleist owns the industry’s largest portfolio of golf ball intellectual property with more than 1,6000 patents. Since 2010, Titleist has been awarded 50 percent of all golf ball patents issued in the United States. This group of experts shares over 1,500 years of collective experience.

Titleist owns the industry’s largest portfolio of golf ball intellectual property with more than 1,600 patents.

PUSHING THE LIMITS

Talented golf ball and golf club product development teams continually challenge themselves and performance-enhancing limits by incorporating innovative technologies for use in new Titleist equipment. Within R&D, different teams work on a variety of concepts that are considered for each generation of product. Some of those concepts may work this year. Some may work in five years. Many will never work, but it is unknown until they’ve been thoroughly tested.

The R&D department is made up of many teams. An aerodynamics team works on dimple patterns as well as the tooling we use to mold our golf balls. A materials research group constantly searches for new core, layer and cover formulations. A team works on new paint and coating systems, and a construction team experiments with all the parts and pieces and assembling them in different ways. All of the teams that comprise the Titleist R&D staff are driven by their significant discoveries that enable the advancement of golf ball performance.


MANUFACTURING — A HISTORY OF EXCELLENCE

For over 85 years, Titleist golf balls have been manufactured in the greater New Bedford, Massachusetts area. Throughout these nine decades, Titleist has been the design and process technology leader manufacturing golf balls with a wide range of constructions to meet golfers' varying performance needs.

A belief that a better process will result in a better quality and performance product has been constant throughout Titleist's history. An unwavering commitment to continuous improvement and performance and quality excellence are core values of the Titleist tradition.


A reputation for quality does not just happen, it is achieved through years of demanding the highest standards and traditions of product and process quality.

In the 85+ years since the first Titleist golf ball was produced, the Titleist Operations team has grown to more than 1,100 associates with an average tenure of 20 years and over 20,000 years of collective experience.

These associates manufacture every Titleist golf ball to exacting standards in Titleist owned and operated facilities – there are about 90 process and product quality checks for Pro V1 and AVX; about 120 for the dual-core Pro V1x – assuring that every golf ball performs consistently for every golfer, every round and on every type of shot.


TECHNOLOGY

Through the years, advancements in process technologies have allowed us to develop stringent manufacturing tolerances in our three state-of-the-art ball plants. Computers and quality assurance teams monitor every stage of the development process, utilizing best-in-class equipment to achieve the most exacting standards in the industry.

MANUFACTURING PROCESS

  • Core mixing

  • Core molding

  • Grinding

  • Casing layer

  • Urethane cover

  • Removing the casts

  • X-Raying

  • Buffing

  • Painting

  • Hand checks

OUR PEOPLE

Our craftsmen are committed to keeping Titleist’s quality reputation untarnished to the next generation. While these individuals have a serious passion for the game and unparalleled expertise in their vocation, their satisfaction is derived from the affirmation of the game’s best players and the millions of golfers who place their trust in our products.


THE PRO V1


The start of the new millennium was a pivotal time in Titleist history. Throughout the 1990's Titleist scientists and engineers in Golf Ball R&D had been developing three ground-breaking innovations - large solid core design, multi-component construction and cast elastomer urethane cover technology.


In the year 2000, these breakthroughs would all contribute to the creation of a new product that would revolutionize the game and establish itself as the most played, best-selling and most successful piece of equipment in the history of golf - the Titleist Pro V1 golf ball.

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