Titleist (pronounced // "title-ist") is an American brand name of golf equipment and apparel products produced by the Acushnet subsidiary, which is headquartered in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, United States. It was founded in 1932 by Philip E. Young, and is a subsidiary of the Acushnet Company.
|Subsidiary of Acushnet Company|
|Founder||Philip E. Young|
The name Titleist is derived from the word "titlist", which means "title holder". Several marketing mottos have been promoted for the Titleist brand, including "The #1 ball in golf", "Serious clubs for serious golfers", and "It's not how you mark your golf ball, it's how you mark your Titleist".
Acushnet is best known for its Titleist golf balls. It also produces clubs such as irons, drivers, putters (under the Scotty Cameron brand), other equipment, and apparel and accessories under the brands FootJoy and Pinnacle.
Phillip E. "Skipper" Young, a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, founded Titleist in 1932. When playing a round of golf with his dentist, Young missed a sure putt that seemed to be caused by the weight of the ball. He then asked his dentist friend to X-ray the ball and the film showed that the rubber core was off-center. After this initial discovery, Young took X-rays of more golf balls and found that most were poorly constructed with off-center cores and prone to erratic shots. This inspired Young to produce his own line of golf balls, which would become known as Titleist.
1930: Young developed a machine that could uniformly wind rubber string around a rubber core, making a "dead center" golf ball. He named the ball "Titleist," noting it was the "winner" of the quest to create the best for the game.
1935: The golf division of the Acushnet Process Company produced the Titleist golf ball, which had consistently been the company's most successful product.
1948: Introduced "Dynamite Thread" to increase the yardage of their balls.
1949: Titleist became the most used ball at the U.S. Open Tournament.
1976: Titleist was purchased by American Brands (now known as Fortune Brands).
1985: Fortune Brands sold off the Acushnet Company's Acushnet Rubber division, which was Acushnet's original business (circa early 1900s).
2002: Titleist reached the $1 billion mark in annual revenues.
On December 8, 2010, Fortune Brands announced that it would soon sell or spin off Titleist and some other brands. It was then announced on May 20, 2011 that a Korean group associated with Fila Korea, Ltd. and Mirae Asset Private Equity would purchase Acushnet for $1.23 billion in cash.
As of October 2017, Titleist produced the following golf balls:
- Titleist Pro V1
- Titleist Pro V1x
- Titleist NXT Tour
- Titleist NXT Tour S / Tour S Yellow
- Titleist DT TruSoft / DT TruSoft Yellow
- Titleist Velocity
- Titleist AVX
The Pro V1 made its debut on the PGA Tour at Las Vegas on October 11, 2000, the first week it was available to the pros. A longtime Titleist user, Billy Andrade, won that first tournament with the new ball. The Pro V1 was available to the public by December. The Pro V1 was a dramatic change in innovation for the golf ball market as a whole and for the brand, which had traditionally used a wound-ball construction (with a liquid-filled core center) for its top-of-the-line golf balls.
Shortly after its introduction the Titleist Pro V1 became the most played ball on the PGA Tour and has been for the past 20 odd years, picking up the most worldwide wins from both direct brand ambassadors (meaning they play Titleist equipment) and players who are not directly under contract and considered brand ambassadors from Titleist., and three years after Titleist's initial breakthrough with the Pro V1 came the Pro V1x, a ball with 60 fewer dimples. The combination of a larger firmer core, a thinner cover, and 60 fewer dimples resulted in a ball that retained the same soft feel of the Pro V1 while reducing spin and increasing distance.
In December 2007, Acushnet lost a patent infringement suit brought by Callaway. The following November, Callaway won an injunction in a Delaware court, ruling that sales of the Pro V1 golf balls must be stopped from January 1, 2009, with professionals being able to continue with their use until the end of the year. Acushnet immediately announced that they would be appealing the decision. Acushnet somewhat redesigned the Pro-V1 during the dispute. On August 14, 2009, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit vacated the judgment against Acushnet and ordered a new trial. On March 29, 2010, a federal jury ruled in favor of Acushnet (Titleist), and found that the Callaway patents were invalid. In July 2019, the company unveiled its new U-500 and U-510 utility irons.
Titleist is a respected and popular golf brand, with such players as Adam Scott, Steve Stricker, Bill Haas, Geoff Ogilvy, and Jordan Spieth under contract. Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Matteo Manassero and Nick Watney were also contracted to use Titleist before moving to Nike. It is not uncommon that even if players switch equipment brands, they insist on being able to play the Titleist PRO V1 ball. Some players like Tiger Woods also continue to use their Scotty Cameron putters; his has been in his bag for 14 of his 15 major championship wins. When the Nike contract began Woods refused to use the Nike drivers for a long time and continued to use his Titleist one. Up until the 2010 British Open, Woods carried a Titleist putter, but has since switched to a Nike Method putter, which was then replaced by a TaylorMade putter; he has since reverted to the Scotty Cameron. However, after the third round, Woods switched back to his Titleist putter (Scotty Cameron). Phil Mickelson was also a contracted Titleist player shortly after his 2004 Masters Tournament. Many players under contract with other brands use Titleist balls. In 2017 the professional players recorded 206 victories with the nearest competitor having 28. Out of the 206 wins, 22 came from the PGA Tour, 27 from the European Tour, 25 from the LPGA Tour, and the remaining from other notable professional golf tours around the world.
A number of tour professionals have endorsement deals for Titleist and are contracted to use their equipment, including the following:
Titleist also has a number of players who endorse their golf balls only, including the following:
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- Fortune Brands to Sell Titleist Golf Unit to Fila Korea for $1.23 Billion, Cotten Timberlake and Lauren Coleman-Lochner, Bloomberg, May 20, 2011.
- Acushnet to be sold to Korean group led by Fila, Gene Yasuda, Golf Week, May 20, 2011.
- Fila set to buy Fortune Brands' golf unit for $1.2B, Dow Jones Newswire, May 20, 2011.
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- Stachura, Mike. "Titleist U500, U510 utility irons make a case for the return of the long iron—including the 1-iron". Golf Digest. Retrieved 2019-07-25.
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