Life On The Pirate Ship

LinkedIn To Callaway Golf – The Man Who Builds Phil’s Clubs

headquarters-front-2013-004-5x7 (1)

By:
Jeff Newton

Welcome back to the second installment of our new LinkedIn To Callaway Series. To celebrate the major at Pinehurst, we talked to Gerritt Pon, an R&D Club Performance Analyst at the Ely Callaway Performance Center and THE MAN WHO BUILDS PHIL MICKELSON’s clubs. Let’s get right to it.

1. Gerritt, what makes your job such a cool job?

Gerritt Pon: As someone with a golf background, it feels like something that you would do as a hobby. It’s something you would want to do in your free time. So that’s one of the coolest parts about it.

There are a few key parts of the job. One of the most rewarding is that we work with Tour players to build out their clubs. And based on those interactions, we support the engineers in R&D to ensure the products perform correctly for how they’re designed. The feedback we give them could help make a change, so the engineers can lean on us for that.

Gerritt (pictured above) works on clubs for some of the best players in the world.

2. What do you get most excited about when you come into the office?

GP: Working with the pros. Phil (Mickelson), obviously because he’s our highest profile player and he’s the closest to (the Ely Callaway Performance Center). A lot of times, I’ll do all the club builds while they’re here.

So while they’re testing products we’ll maybe build drivers, and hybrids and fairway woods here – irons take longer to build. So we’ll iron out all the details on their clubs on the range and with putters in the Odyssey Fitting Studio.

3. Do you follow a general schedule when you work with these players?

GP: When players come in they have different needs. Sometimes it might be a player who wants to work on a driver or if it’s a new player we might do extensive testing to work on their entire bag – starting from driver all the way to the putter.

4. If I got to do your job for one day, what advice would you give me to do it well?

GP: Aside from loving all things golf, you have to know golf clubs, like different specs and technologies, and that’s something that’s teachable. It’s similar to a lot of other jobs in that you want to have attention to detail, be punctual, and we work with the public so you want to be a people person.

5. Is there anything that you can take from your job to help make you a better golfer?

GP: With our measurement systems like TrackMan and About Golf we have a lot of data, without knowing those it would take me a lot longer to figure out why I’m producing certain shots on the golf course. Now more than ever I know why the ball is doing what it’s doing.

6. What’s the perfect round of golf for you?

GP: Well I do it probably once a month, it’s hard to beat going to Torrey Pines South on a Saturday morning being the third or fourth group out. If you’re lucky enough to get the sun out, it doesn’t matter who you’re playing with. There’s something special about showing up there on a Saturday morning because everyone is a hardcore golfer. They’re all serious about trying to play golf that day.

For more of our LinkedIn To Callaway Golf Series, check out our interview with our College Tour Rep, @MattHanelineCG.