Golf manufacturers quietly meet pros' every need at PGA tournament sites.
Wade Liles can build a new driver almost as fast as you can say "TaylorMade R7 SuperQuad with Moveable Weight Technology."
Liles, one of two tour technicians for TaylorMade Golf, was buzzing around his company's tour-tech trailer Tuesday. He was busy filling orders for the dozens of TaylorMade staff players teeing it up in this week's PGA Tour event near the Quad Cities, the John Deere Classic.
"By far, we're the quickest trailer out here," Liles said of his rig based in Carlsbad, Calif.
No sooner were the words out of his mouth when he had a chance to prove it. Vance Veazey's caddie popped his head inside the trailer, said his player was teeing off in 15 minutes and wanted a new driver.
"For 'Double V?' " Liles said. "No problem. Come back in about five minutes."
Find head. Measure shaft. Cut shaft. Install shaft. Seal with epoxy. Wait 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Install grip.
Done, in 5 minutes, 12 seconds.
Ten minutes later, Veazey was on the tee with a driver that was in pieces moments earlier.
It is professional golf's version of pit row. Go to any PGA Tour event and one end of the practice range is stacked with trailers and vans of all different sizes and colors. There are at least 13 equipment companies - Tour Edge, Bridgestone, Aldila, TaylorMade, Ping, SST Pure, Cleveland, Titleist, Grafalloy, Srixon, Cobra, Adams and Callaway - on the TPC at Deere Run range this week.
Tuesday is their busiest day, as players arrive and prepare to play practice rounds, but TaylorMade's truck seemed busier than most. TaylorMade is the No. 1 driver on the PGA Tour. At the Deere, 57 of the 156 players in the field will use a TaylorMade.
Players, caddies, swing coaches, tournament staff and equipment representatives from other companies were in and out of the vehicle all morning Tuesday. The whirlwind of activity was serenaded with a soundtrack of grinding wheels and vice clamps, scents provided by epoxy and chemical solvents used to apply grips.
Much like short-order cooks, Liles and Henry Luna work quickly to fill orders. Liles spent part of his morning building four clubs for one of TaylorMade's most recognizable clients, John Daly, who wasn't scheduled to arrive at the tournament site until late Tuesday night. He wanted a driver with 10.5 degrees of loft, bent to 7.5 degrees and the face opened.
"He doesn't want to lose it left," Liles said of Daly's preferred ball flight of a fade. "By doing this, it makes it harder for him to turn the club over."
Daly uses an R7 Superquad with a 44 3/4-inch shaft, a D-8 swingweight, 7.5 degrees of loft and what Liles said is the largest grip on tour.
"Our main function out here is lie, loft and regrips," Luna said. "We don't mess with irons too much. I'll build maybe three or four sets a week."
The TaylorMade truck carries about $1 million in inventory to 37 of the 41 PGA Tour events in the United States. Luna and Liles also have Class A trucker's licenses, which they need to drive the rig from stop to stop.
PGA Tour rules require tech vans to leave the tournament site Wednesday, when they will head to the next event.
Luna, who does most of the driving, said he hasn't been home to San Diego since Feb. 15. He is kept company on the road by a 5-pound Chihuahua named, appropriately, Taylor.
"He grew up in this trailer," Luna said of his dog, who spent Tuesday at an area hotel.
Tuesday's most frequent customer was Gavin Coles, who came back twice to tweak the adjustable weighting on his driver.
"This is awesome," Coles said in his Australian accent. "You're always trying to find 5 more yards or a straighter ball flight or whatever. This is like being a kid in a candy store."