I had no idea when I woke up this morning I would find myself immersed in a conversation about balls. Yet, you know how sometimes one thing can lead to another? Well, that's exactly what happened this morning. The interview I had with Kevin Reardon, PGA was prompted by a high school student sharing a question about an assignment.
The assignment was to take a "little known fact" and write two pages about it. The student said, he found a fact: that before the year of 1850, golf balls were made with leather and stuffed with feathers. Although he thought this was of interest, he shared that he was not sure if he would be able to write two pages about this fact though, and asked me for me if I could come up with something better.
I was excited to be asked for my opinion. I love when students share their thoughts with me and value when they ask for my assistance. In my opinion, it shows that they are interested in the assignment, and concerned about meeting the criteria. Of course, I could have suggested the student use a different fact. Yet, I would never want to discourage him. I would much prefer to help him to further develop his own idea rather than plant an alternative seed. Doing that might risk having him think his initial idea was, for lack of a better word, "stupid." Also, I thought it was a really great topic, and truth be told, I don't recall ever knowing that about golf balls. So I was excited to learn more.
I took a moment to send a direct message via Twitter to someone who is a member of the Professional Golfer's Association. This message simply said, "I know you're busy but I've been asked to help guide a student on an assignment that happens to be about golf balls, and I thought I would reach out and ask your opinion." The response I got, within a few minutes, from @Kbreardonpga was quick, and he said, "Sure, how can I help?"
The man behind the Twitter address [ @Kbreardonpga ] is Kevin Reardon, PGA and he is pictured up above. He works at Quail Hollow Golf Club, in Charlotte, North Carolina and he is in charge of running the merchandise for the upcoming Wells Fargo Championship. Kevin and I know each other because of our mutual passion for sports. Besides golf, he has a passion for football and baseball, and we've talks lots about sports, but I've never actually talked to him about golf.
Truth is, I don't know much about golf. I've played the game before, even taken lessons but I'm not so sure I'm any good. I think I learned most of what I know about the game by playing video games. I'm being really honest here. I do love it though, especially when it comes down to the sudden death, if that's even what they call it, but you know what I mean, right? When it's one guy against the other and it's all down to the final finish. Golf is actually a very exciting game to watch. In fact, last year I was at The Tropicana in Las Vegas, during what I believe was that Master's and a group of us were all gathered in a cabana watching the Master's, and I am pretty sure I was tweeting after every shot. It was very exciting.
That's pretty much it though, as far as my knowledge about the game of golf. I used to think it was incredibly boring, and thought it was a bit snobby and just for those who think they are better than people. Yet, after getting to know Kevin, he put that myth to rest. Kevin happens to be a very nice guy.
So what did Kevin have to say about birds made of feather? Well what follows is transcript if you will, of what evolved into an actual interview. I hope you enjoy learning a little bit about what Kevin had to share about the evolution of golf balls:
SXM: Hey there I know you are busy, but I've been asked to help a student elaborate on an idea about a fun fact. The fact he chose is that golf balls used to be made of leather and stuffed with feathers. He needs to come up with two pages, and I thought I'd ask you for yout thoughts.
KR: Yeah, the feathery.
SXM: that's the topic he chose
KR: It's a different topic but it's an interesting one. Might want to discuss the evolution of golf balls.
SXM: Yes, that's what I was thinking.
KR: I know they had a to be filled with chicken or goose feathers and the measurements were done in hats.
SXM: I will do some more research.
KR: At that time balls had no dimples and ball flight was erratic. Allan Robertson was considered the best ball maker back then. You really could only make a few balls back in the day.
SXM: Thank you. Why did they come up with putting dimples on them? I feel like I'm doing an interview. Would you mind if I treat this as one?
KR: I'm fine with doing an interview. They added dimples for better flight [ aerodynamics ].
SXM: That's what I figured. So how much does the gall matter? Do you have a preferred ball you use? [ can you tell I'm a real novice here ]
KR: Oh gosh, the ball is paramount. Technology has improved consistency of the ball immensely. I'm a Titleist guy.
SXM: Why do you like Titleist?
KD: I'm loyal. Played them since high school. PGA Tour players use them more than any other balls.
SXM: Is their anything you'd like to share before we close out this interview [ at that time I was sort of just joking around, still not realizing I was actually going to write an article about the exchange ]
KD: Yes, there are many different ball types and not one ball is right for everyone.
SXM: Which would you recommend to someone who wanted to know which ball to use?
KD: I like Titleist Velocity or NXT but I would need to see a player's ability before I could recommend any particular ball.
SXM: Hey, thanks so much. I might actually write this up and consider it an actual interview. Would you mind if I did that?
KD: I don't mind at all.
SXM: Is there anything you want me to mention about the Wells Fargo Championship?
KD: It is the most anticipated PGA Tour event on the schedule. Our course
[ www.quailhollowclub.com ] was redone with Bermuda green this past year.
SXM: Oh wow, I might have to do another interview all about the green. In fact, I might even make it a series and have to learn all about this game. All this from a question by a high school kid, who wanted to know if he had a good idea, to learn more about golf balls, at one time being made of leather and stuffed with feathers.
KD: I will look forward to it. Happy to help.