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Opinion & Analysis

Living the Dream: Meet Scott E.G., owner of an independent Tour truck on the PGA Tour

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I often get asked, “who’s the coolest guy you’ve ever met during all your golf travels?” The answer is easy, especially for a complete equipment geek like me. Scott E. Garrison, the only owner-operator of a “Tour Van” on the PGA Tour. Here’s his story…

Scott E. Garrison (Scott E.G.) grew up in a military family, where his father was a Major and member of the military police. He became accustom to a nomadic lifestyle in his early years, which helped prepare him for PGA Tour life. At the age of 11, his mother bought him his first set of clubs. He would walk to “Las Vegas Muni” after school and practice. He spent so much time there that they gave him a job picking range balls. Fascinated by the complex nature of the game, Scott was sold; he quickly spent every second either trying to perfect his swing or begging his mother for the opportunity to play an upcoming tournament!

A friend suggested he get the clubs cut down and referred him to Bill Bayer. He watched his clubs get custom built and fell in love with the process.

“I was fascinated by the prospect of being able to re-grip my own clubs and I was mesmerized by how the sparks flew as he cut the shafts,” Scott said. “I began to tinker and learn from him. I still utilize the tips he gave me.”

After returning home from his time in the Army, Scott decided to follow his passion and bought a golf shop named Rocky’s in Las Vegas. He later changed the name of the shop to the Golf Doctor.

“It was the first shop in Vegas to have a state of the art swing analyzer and video,” Scott said.

Scott became known as “The Golf Doc” by local golf professionals, players, industry leaders and engineers. One significant relationship he began during this time was with Kim Braly, the shaft engineering genius behind what is now known as KBS shafts.

“I value my relationship with Kim both personally and professionally,” Scott said. “He was always on the cutting edge of technology and I learned a great deal from him.”

Eventually, Scott sold the shop and went on to do mobile golf repair. One of his trailers serviced 9 golf courses in Las Vegas, while the larger one was a permanent fixture at Angel Park Golf Club for over four years. He also did many Long Drive events for Harrison Sports.

By 2003, Scott, now a nationally recognized builder, was asked by Harrison Sports to go on the PGA Tour with his trailer. He secured a few more sponsors and the rest was history. He has been a staple on tour since, working with over 100 tour players and building relationships with companies such as KBS, Super Stroke Golf and SST Pure. Today, Scott is one of only two independent tour trucks and everyone now knows him as “Scott E.G.” His truck recently became one of the most technologically advanced ones out there with the addition of Cool Clubs equipment.

“Thanks to Kim Braly and Mark Timms (founder, owner of Cool Clubs), we now have the amazing technology that Cool Clubs has created right at our finger tips,” Scott said.

Last year, after spending time with Scott E.G., I highlighted the use of his SST Pure machine created to Pure shafts. This year, time with Scott E.G. did not disappoint either. He now has some amazing technology created by Cool Clubs that assists with EI Profiles.

What is an EI profile? The stiffness of a golf shaft varies along its length depending on a set of variables, which include materials, construction and quality. When speaking about EI, the goal is the test the shaft at different points (from butt to tip) to create an overall profile of the shaft. This is done by a simply process of applying force, measuring deflection and then using the variables to compute EI for the series of points.

According to Kim Braly, there are many EI machines on the market; however none of them are this thorough.

“This machine by Cool Clubs measures the entire shaft, torque, straightness, launch angle, spin and even frequency,” Braly says. “You can even measure frequency with the grip on or off.”

Scott says this process is invaluable because if a PGA Tour player wants to change shafts or try something a little different, the process allows Scott to compare shafts and fit the player properly.

By now, you’re probably pretty interested in what Scotty does as well! If you want to keep up with him and his travels, I would highly recommend following him on Instagram @scotteggolf. It’s one of my favorite follows and I am sure you will love it!

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Brendan is the owner of Golf Placement Services, a boutique business which aims to apply his background in golf and higher education to help educate players, their families and coaches about the process! Website - www.golfplacementservices.com Insta - golf.placement.sevices Twitter @BMRGolf

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Benjamin Gold

    Mar 31, 2018 at 8:41 am

    This is super cool to hear of an independent on tour! Love to meet this guy and talk shop. I used to work for a really good golf shop with a well knowledge builder and I learned so much from him and the game. My friend is now long gone from Indiana and we have no golf shops in Bloomington, IN that can do anything. It would so cool if a traveling van could/would roll through a town such as ours and help fellow golfers out.

  2. Robert Parsons

    Mar 30, 2018 at 12:58 pm

    Best golfwrx story to date!

    Don’t know the guy, never heard of him, but I’m a fan now!

  3. Zac

    Mar 29, 2018 at 9:34 pm

    This guy is too cool! I used to work at colonial and every year during the tournament he’s give use cases on rockstar energy drinks, showed us how to pure shafts, etc. just because he got bored.

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Opinion & Analysis

Getting to know Payne Stewart

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Ever since that final putt fell in Pinehurst in 1999, Payne Stewart’s memory has enjoyed mythical qualities. A man of complex charm, but many of us who grew up without him recognize only his Knickerbocker pants, his flat cap, and his W.W.J.D. covered wrist wrapped around that United States Open trophy.

I had a wonderful opportunity to play a round of golf with two men that know a lot about Payne. One through friendship and the other through journalistic research.

Lamar Haynes was Payne Stewart’s close friend and teammate on the SMU golf team. He’s full of stories about Payne from the good old days. Kevin Robbins is an author who just finished a new book on Stewart’s final year of life, set to release to the public for purchase this October. He works as a professor of journalism at the University of Texas but has also enjoyed an impressive career as a reporter and golf writer for over 20 years.

We met at Mira Vista Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas, to talk about Payne. Robbins is a solid golfer who spends time working on his game, which tells me a lot about his personality. He is one of us.  As for Haynes, the guy hasn’t lost much since those SMU golf team days. He can still swing it. Fantastic iron player. And both men are wonderful conversationalists. They offered a unique perspective on Stewart—the golfer I grew up idolizing but never really knew. There’s a good chance you don’t really know him, either. At least not the whole story.

“Most golf fans now know the story of his ’99 U.S. Open win,” Robbins said.  “What they don’t know is where he came from.”

Robbins’ book, The Last Stand of Payne Stewart: The Year Golf Changed Foreverchronicles Payne’s last year on earth with dramatic detail, covering his triumph at Pinehurst and the Ryder Cup at Brookline. And, of course, it tells the story of that tragic plane crash that took our champion from us. What the book doesn’t do is hide any of the blemishes about Payne’s life that have either been forgotten or pushed aside by brighter moments and memories.

“I thought that the other Payne Stewart books, while they have a place, they didn’t tell the whole story,” Robbins said.

The whole story, from what I read, was Payne being brash. A poor winner and sometimes a poor sport when he lost. He often said things he shouldn’t have said and then made those mistakes again and again.

“He had no filter,” remembered Haynes.  “Several close friends on tour had a hard time with him when he won his first Open. He didn’t take into account any of the consequences his words could create. He had a huge heart. Huge heart. But at times there was just no filter. But he grew a great deal over the last 2 or three years.”

It’s most certainly is a book about a change. A change in a man that was better late than never. But also a change in golf that began at the turn of the century and hasn’t really slowed down since.

“The 20 years since his death, to see the way golf has moved, what the tour looks like now,” Robins said.  “There was an evolution that was taking place in 1999 and we didn’t know how it would manifest itself. But now we do. So when you see Brooks Koepka hit a 3-wood in the US Open 370 yards, well that all really had its beginnings in 1998 and 1999. The Pro-V1 ball was being tested in 1999 and being rolled out in 2000. Fitness and equipment, sports psychology, nutrition. All of those things that a guy like Payne Stewart really didn’t have to pay attention to.”

But that change that occurred in Payne, culminating in his final year of life, is something worth learning. It’s a lesson for all of us. A guy on top of the world with still so much to fix. And he was fixing it, little by little.

“He was authentic,” Haynes said. “And he learned a lot later in life from his children. With their Bible studies. You saw a change in him. Very much. He had a peace with himself but he still would revert to his DNA. The fun-loving Payne. Raising children and being a father helped him tremendously.”

Payne was passionate about so many things in life but his children became a primary focus. According to Haynes, he would be so loud at his daughter’s volleyball games…yelling intensely at the referees…that they gave him an option: Either he wouldn’t be allowed to watch the games anymore or he needed to become a line judge and help out with the games. So, Payne Stewart became a volleyball line judge.

Lamar brought the head of an old Ram 7-iron along with him to show me. Damaged and bent from the crash, the club was with Payne on his final flight. He had it with him to show his guys at Mizuno as a model for a new set of irons. That Ram 7-iron belonged to Haynes and Payne had always adored the way it looked at address.

“Payne also used my old Mizunos the last year of his life,” Haynes said.  I had received the MS-4s 10 years earlier from Payne in 1989. They were like playing with a shaft on a knife. The sweet spot was so tiny on the MS-4. They made the MP29 and 14s look like game improvement irons. Payne used those. Then Harry Taylor at Mizuno designed him an iron, which later became the MP33. The 29 and 14s were very sharp and flat-soled. Well, Payne loved this old Ram iron set that I had.. He asked for my Ram 7-iron for Harry Taylor to model his new set. He liked the way it went through the turf. He had it with him on the plane. This is the club that started the MP33.”

It was Lamar Haynes, the man who seems to know just about everyone in the golf community, that set Robbins on this writing journey. Robbins had written one book previously: The story of the life of legendary golf coach Harvey Penick. But this book came a bit easier for Robbins, partly due to his experience, partly due to the subject matter, and partly because of Lamar.

“There’s a story here,” Robbins said. “With any book, you hope to encounter surprises along the way, big and little. And I did. I got great cooperation a long the way. Anybody I wanted to talk to, talked to me thanks to this guy Lamar Haynes.”

“Lamar said the first guy you need to talk to is Peter Jacobsen,” Robins said. “And I said ‘great can you put me in touch with him’ which became a common question to Lamar throughout the process.” Robbins chuckled.  “Literally 2 minutes later my phone rings. ‘Kevin, this is Peter Jacobsen here.'”

“Peter told me the story about the ’89 PGA championship in our first conversation. So literally in the first 10 minutes of my reporting effort, I had the first set piece of the book. I had something. Lamar made a lot happen.”

Lamar Haynes and Kevin Robbins

The book is not a biography, though it certainly has biographical elements to it. It is simply the story of Payne’s final year, with a look back at Payne’s not so simple career mixed in. The author’s real talent lives in the research and honesty. The story reads like you’re back in 1999 again, with quotes pulled from media articles or press conferences. Anecdotes are sprinkled here and there from all of Payne’s contemporaries. The storytelling is seamless and captivating.

“I was pleasantly surprised how much Colin Montgomerie remembered about the concession at the 1999 Ryder Cup,” Robbins said. “Colin can be a tough interview. He is generally mistrustful of the media. His agent gave me 15 minutes during the Pro-Am in Houston. This was in the spring of 2018. I met Colin on the 17th hole and he had started his round on 10. Just organically the conversation carried us to the fifth green. Just because he kept remembering things. He kept talking, you know. It was incredible. Tom Lehman was the same way. He said “I’ll give you 20 minutes” and it ended up being an hour and a half at Starbucks.”

The research took Robbins to Massachusetts, Florida, and Missouri—and of course, to Pinehurst. He met with Mike Hicks, Payne’s former caddie, there to discuss that final round. The two ended up out on Pinehurst No. 2, walking the last three holes and reliving the victory. It gives life to the story and fills it with detail.

“Part of what I hoped for this book is that it would be more than just a sports story,” Robbins said.  “More than just a golf story. The more I started thinking about where Payne began and where he ended, it seemed to me…and I’m not going to call it a redemption story although I bet some people do. People when they are younger, they have regrets and they make mistakes. They do things they wish they could take back but they can’t. So, what can they do? Well, they can improve. They can get better. That’s what Payne was doing with his life. He was improving himself. It was too late to change what he had done already. So what could he do with the future? He could be different.”

“It was accurate,” Haynes said.  “I had a tear when I finished it. I texted Kevin right afterward. I told him I couldn’t call him because I’m choked up so I texted him.”

So here’s two men who knew Payne Stewart, albeit in very different ways. They knew he was flawed in life but he got better. Was Payne Stewart that hero at Pinehurst, grabbing Phil Mickelson’s face and telling him the important thing is he’s going to be a father? Yes. But he was so much more than that. He was so much more than I knew before I read this book. Most importantly, Payne Stewart was always improving. A lesson for all of us, indeed.

If you want to hear more about my experience, tweet at me here @FWTXGolfer or message me on Instagram here! I look forward to hearing from you!

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Podcasts

The Gear Dive: Sam Bettinardi

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In this episode of The Gear Dive brought to you by Titleist, Johnny chats with EVP of Bettinardi Golf, Sam Bettinardi. They discuss coming up as Bob’s son, the growth of the company, and why Bettinardi continues to be at the top of the putter conversations.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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Mondays Off

Mondays Off: Sounding off on your favorite golf pet peeves!

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Steve and Knudson weigh in on your favorite golf pet peeves. From not fixing ball marks, to slow play, to guys telling you “good shot” when you make a quad! Knudson shot a 33 in his league and still thinks he isn’t a sandbagger.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

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