Q & A WITH BILL FRYE, TITLEIST’S SE­NIOR VICE PRES­I­DENT OF GOLF BALL OP­ER­A­TIONS

Golf Asia (Malaysia) - - SCENE -

GA: When did Ball Plant 4 open in Thai­land and tell us how this fa­cil­ity mir­rors Ball Plant 3 in the US in terms of pro­cesses, man­power train­ing, man­age­ment, over­all qual­ity as­sur­ance, etc?

BF: We opened Titleist Ball Plant 4 in De­cem­ber 2010 to meet the grow­ing global de­mand for our Pro V1 and Pro

V1x models. The man­u­fac­tur­ing process at Ball Plant 4 is a replica of the one at

Ball Plant 3. Both plants use the same man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­ogy and are held to the same op­er­a­tional stan­dards. We also em­ploy so­phis­ti­cated in­stru­men­ta­tion and qual­ity in­for­ma­tion sys­tems that al­low our Cen­tral Qual­ity Depart­ment to mon­i­tor ev­ery phys­i­cal prop­erty of prod­uct pro­duced from both Plant 3 and Plant

4 on a shift by shift ba­sis. This helps to en­sure that the prod­ucts of both plants are ex­actly the same.

When the orig­i­nal Pro V1 launched in De­cem­ber 2000, we were run­ning shifts 24-7 here at Ball Plant 3 in Mas­sachusetts but still couldn’t keep up. Our ure­thane cast­ing process is a re­ally com­plex and pre­cise op­er­a­tion, and there were only so many lines avail­able. We had to keep adding ca­pac­ity for the next 2-3 years. What made Pro V1 so unique was that for the first time ever, the best per­form­ing golf ball for tour pros was also the best per­form­ing ball for ev­ery­one else. You no longer had to make any sac­ri­fices. It was ex­cep­tion­ally long off the tee but also pro­vided the best short game spin and con­trol. It gave you soft feel but also had a durable cover. And it was con­sis­tent from ball to ball and dozen to dozen. Pro V1 tech­nol­ogy was and still is about to­tal per­for­mance, on ev­ery shot, for ev­ery player. That’s why Pro V1 models are the most played and best-sell­ing golf balls around the world, and ul­ti­mately why seven years ago we needed another ball plant to sat­isfy the world­wide de­mand.

GA: How does Asia mea­sure up in terms of Titleist ball con­sump­tion/sales?

BF: When you look at Asia, we’re talk­ing about some of the big­gest golf mar­kets in the world. The pri­mary rea­son for build­ing Ball Plant 4 was to sat­isfy the de­mand for Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls in those coun­tries. We truly ap­pre­ci­ate how many golfers in Asia trust their game to our prod­ucts, and we’re laser-fo­cused on de­liv­er­ing the per­for­mance and qual­ity they ex­pect from us, day af­ter day.

GA: How many balls on av­er­age in to­tal get thrown out dur­ing process of man­u­fac­tur­ing to en­sure only the best and con­sis­tent balls get pack­aged? Tell us more about the ded­i­cated process of qual­ity checks, pro­duc­tion, and the steps of qual­ity as­sur­ance to en­sure the golf balls are made ac­cord­ing to the set stan­dards, es­pe­cially when in­tro­duc­ing a new golf ball in the pro­duc­tion line.

BF: Qual­ity con­trol and prod­uct con­sis­tency are among the found­ing prin­ci­ples of our com­pany. Ev­ery Pro V1 and Pro V1x is x-rayed be­fore it goes into the box. It’s the fi­nal step of a man­u­fac­tur­ing process that in­cludes 90+ pro­cesses and prod­uct qual­ity checks for Pro V1 and 120+ pro­cesses and prod­uct qual­ity checks for the dual-core Pro V1x. Ev­ery sin­gle Titleist golf ball is de­signed and man­u­fac­tured by our as­so­ci­ates in our own world-class man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties, to the high­est per­for­mance and qual­ity spec­i­fi­ca­tions in the game. We do not make golf balls for any­one else and we do not buy golf balls from any­one else.

Our as­so­ci­ates take enor­mous pride in the fact that they make the #1 ball in golf and en­sur­ing that ev­ery time you tee up a Titleist golf ball, you are get­ting the per­for­mance, qual­ity and con­sis­tency that you ex­pect. We know that golfers trust their games to us on ev­ery shot, and we don’t take that for granted.

GA: Is there an op­ti­mum tem­per­a­ture for the stor­age of ma­te­rial and fin­ished prod­ucts in the Ball Plants? How would con­sumers best store their Pro V ball stock?

BF: There are many points through­out the Pro V1 and Pro V1x man­u­fac­tur­ing process that re­quire pre­cise tem­per­a­tures. Once the golf balls are fin­ished, how­ever, they can be safely stored at nor­mal in­door con­di­tions. Be sure to avoid ex­tremely high tem­per­a­tures, like keep­ing them in your car or at­tic, which can get pretty hot dur­ing a sunny day.

GA: What's the big­gest chal­lenge for Titleist in their Pro V1 range go­ing for­ward?

BF: That chal­lenge is no dif­fer­ent than it has al­ways been. How do we make the best per­form­ing, most con­sis­tent golf balls in the game even bet­ter? We do so through a com­mit­ment and own­er­ship at ev­ery step of the process. We’re con­stantly in the field talk­ing with golfers of all skill lev­els, gather­ing feed­back on our prod­ucts and ask­ing them how we can help them shoot lower scores. At the same time, our R&D team is fo­cused on im­prov­ing our cur­rent golf ball tech­nolo­gies and de­vel­op­ing new in­no­va­tions that golfers might not even know they need. On the Op­er­a­tions side, we are driven ev­ery day by Phil Young’s be­lief that a bet­ter process will re­sult in a higher qual­ity, more con­sis­tent and bet­ter per­form­ing prod­uct. That be­lief man­i­fests it­self through qual­ity as­sur­ance teams that mon­i­tor ev­ery stage of the de­vel­op­ment process, through ad­vance­ments in tool­ing that al­low us to de­velop even more strin­gent man­u­fac­tur­ing tol­er­ances, through process tech­nolo­gies that con­tin­u­ally im­prove upon the most ex­act­ing stan­dards in the in­dus­try and through an ex­pec­ta­tion of con­tin­u­ous learn­ing that al­lows us to stay in­formed as to the lat­est in man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­nol­ogy and en­sures that key tech­nol­ogy is trans­ferred con­sis­tently to all of our man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions. Lit­er­ally ev­ery golf shot de­pends on that con­sis­tency. We never for­get that.

Bill Frye, Sr VP Titleist Golf Ball Op­er­a­tions

Pro V1 cores be­ing pre­pared for ap­ply­ing the Ionomer casing layer, one half of Ionomer casing layer

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