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Opinion & Analysis

Former MLB All-Star Russ Ortiz starts apparel company, 2nd Guy Golf



Russ Ortiz has always held a deeply personal and sincere passion for helping others.

When Ortiz retired from Major League Baseball back in 2010, the former All-Star had amassed 113 wins over 12 seasons including a 21-win season in 2003 with the Atlanta Braves.

With his baseball career over, Ortiz looked for ways to combine his passion for helping others with his lifelong love for golf. Over a round of golf with a buddy in 2009, the idea for 2nd Guy Golf was born.

[quote_box_center]“2nd Guy Golf is a term I believe a lot of golfers know,” Ortiz says. “When you hit a bad shot, and throw down another ball, that next swing is always better. The 2nd guy is always better.”[/quote_box_center]


2nd Guy’s “Old School” Polo: $48

While 2nd Guy Golf definitely has some very sharp shirts, hats and accessory offerings, this isn’t your average apparel company, as it donates 100 percent of its net profits to charity.

[quote_box_center]“I made enough playing baseball,” Ortiz told me. “I wanted to build this brand around the core of who we are – passionate about golf and helping others.”[/quote_box_center]

I had the chance to catch up with Ortiz recently to ask him about his company, his faith, charity, and the challenges of creating and promoting your own brand.

JL: Given your background in professional baseball, what experiences from your playing days have you used?

RO: One thing I had to develop was thick skin. In the professional world, I have been able to deal with failure, harsh comments, and adversity that I knew our team would experience. I have brought that to the table with 2nd Guy Golf. My ability to be a fair and honest leader comes from the field and I have made it known that I will always be fair and upfront with my employees. In baseball, being on a team, you develop a trust and care for your teammates. The same goes here at 2nd Guy Golf. I care about my employees and I trust them wholeheartedly. In the MLB, you have to put on your big boy pants. In the business world, you must come to work with your big boy pants and be responsible for your work.


2nd Guy’s ‘Bill” Hat: $25

JL: You’ve said that you have always felt a sense of “responsibility” to help and serve others. What influences from your life do you feel instilled this in you?

RO: As a professional baseball player, I was taught from day one how important it was to be a positive impact with the platform baseball provides. As a Christian man, I’ve been able to follow my Lord’s lead in helping those in need; to show love for fellow man. That is a big responsibility to take on. But it’s something that has come easy to me. I really feel like the desire to give and help others is a gift from the Lord.

JL: Talk some more about the importance faith plays in your life.

RO: My faith is the most important part of my life. Throughout my playing career, my faith helped me during the successes and the failures. Knowing that God has given me the ability to throw a baseball well, and that he has placed me in positions to help others, brings me a ton of confidence. 2nd Guy Golf was birthed because of that same confidence in my abilities and the opportunities I have. When it comes to how faith plays a role in business, integrity, honesty, and respect are of utmost importance. That’s how we do business. Our partners, vendors, and customers are so important to us. They are VIP’s to us. And we will treat them that way.

JL: How are you promoting the 2nd Guy Golf brand on the Tours, as well as to other athletes and celebrities?

RO: We’ve already reached out and have given our product to other athletes and celebrities and Tour pros. That was on my radar right away. I’m happy to say we have gotten very positive responses. We have already signed four professional golfers – Sophia Sheridan (now retired), Jessi White (Symetra Tour), Marissa Steen (LPGA rookie, 2014 Symetra Player of the Year and No. 1 on money list), and Brian Cooper (PGA Latin America, former Big Break contestant). All of these pros not only love our gear, but also what we do with our proceeds. They all have a heart for their communities and to help and give back to others.

JL: Discuss the importance of finding the right balance between creating unique and innovative designs versus comfort and durability.

RO: I believe the design of the polo is the easy part. Aaron (Aaron Thew, Director of Apparel Design) is passionate about design. His creativity flows out onto the templates he creates. He has so many new, fresh designs that we are excited to put out into the market. The hard part is figuring out which fabric combinations to go with or what texture of fabric to use. We just don’t want to make a basic golf polo; we want it to stand out in design, feel, comfort, and performance.

JL: When did your passion for golf begin?

RO: My brother and I grew up in our grandparent’s home. Our grandpa played golf regularly. He was our father figure, so we wanted to do the things he did. So we got into golf around 12 years old. From then on I was hooked. It is such a hard sport, that I liked the challenge. In college and in my pro ball career is when I was able to play most and work on my game. Now I get to play on average once every 10 days. I take golf seriously but have a great time as well. I am currently a scratch golfer.

JL: Talk about the charities 2nd Guy Golf supports.

RO: The first place we partnered with was the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. We provided meals to the cancer and blood disorder center for the first half of 2013 with our proceeds. The PCH center is where kids would go and get their treatments. Sometimes they were long and PCH would provide a meal for them.

Then we partnered with Feed My Starving Children. This is an organization that packages nutritious meals of protein, soy, vegetables and rice to help starving children, and sends them all over the world to feed hungry children. They have a packing facility here in Tempe, Ari., and soon to have one in Mesa. Our proceeds have been used to host two packing sessions which created roughly 35,000-to-40,000 meals. And also to help sponsor and participate in an event where 500,000 meals were packed in one day.

The new partnership we have is with Josie’s Angels. This is a rescue home for girls in the Philippines. They are safely removed from abusive situations in the squatter villages and given shelter, food, clothing and an education. Josie Long provides a safe place for them to have an opportunity to stop the cycle of abuse for these young girls. The cycle is to grow up in poverty, hardly any schooling if any, be abused, get pregnant at an early age and watch their children do the same.

2nd Guy's "Zebra" Women's Polo: $48

2nd Guy’s “Zebra” Women’s Polo: $48

JL: What do you think makes 2nd Guy Golf so unique?

RO: Our uniqueness is our mission with the 2nd Guy Golf brand. Giving all of our net proceeds to charity is a rarity in this business. Our new, fresh designs hopefully set us apart as well.

JL: What are the most difficult business challenges 2nd Guy Golf faces?

RO: Brand awareness is probably the most difficult hurdle to get over with any startup business. We are currently working with a team of people to do just that. So we are excited for what lies ahead. Another challenge is for people to trust that we in fact do give all our proceeds away because it is not the norm. People start businesses to make money. I started 2nd Guy Golf because of my passion for the game of golf and to impact people.

JL: Who is playing with you in your dream foursome and where are you teeing it up?

RO: Playing Augusta National with my brother, Will Clark (favorite MLB player) and John Elway (favorite NFL player).

JL: What’s your game like right now?

RO: I have worked my handicap to a zero. That has always been my goal. So I’m happy where my game is at right now. My strongest area is my wedge play. I have worked hard on that part. I have two golf holes with three tee boxes at my house from 85-to-105 yards so my wedges better be strong. I probably struggle with putting the most and having golf greens in back makes me look bad for not being a better putter.

JL: What’s in your bag?

RO: I play Ping. Love them. I have the G20 driver, G30 3-wood and rescues, S55 irons, TaylorMade 50 and 56 degree wedges and a 60 degree Ping wedge. Putter is a Ping Shea mallet. I only use Bridgestone B330 golf balls.

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John Lahtinen is a Connecticut-based writer with nearly 20 years of experience involving news, media, communications, higher education, PR and marketing. He has been playing golf forever and is still finding unique ways to ruin a good round. Adding to his confusion, he plays both right- and left-handed.



  1. Sean

    Mar 3, 2015 at 10:21 am

    “2nd Guy Golf is a term I believe a lot of golfers know,” I have been playing golf for 25 years and never heard this phrase and nor have any of my golfing buddies. Good luck.

  2. Matt

    Mar 2, 2015 at 6:13 am

    Nice tax break

  3. Honest Joe

    Mar 2, 2015 at 1:01 am

    Finally someone that isn’t consumed with what can I get and only care about myself. However, I wish more people would take care of Americans first. Lots of starving, homeless people here. But good for him either way. Good luck!

  4. James

    Mar 1, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Growing up a San Francisco Giants fan, this is great news to me. We loved Russ Ortiz, and will definitely be trying to support his cause as well!

  5. Tony Lynam

    Mar 1, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    Good on Russ bringing the Good News out through this clothing line! “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes unto the Father except through Me” John 14:6.

    • simon

      Mar 2, 2015 at 6:18 am

      I thought the Father was’ Me ‘ doesn t make sense… anyway the guys done good unlike the other oems chasing the buck even though they have millions and not doing more to help the needy.

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Opinion & Analysis

Keep your golf body moving at home



Over the past few months, I’m willing to bet that a lack of golf, limited access to gyms and spending more time at home in sitting positions will likely be having a negative effect on our posture.

This means certain muscles (pecs, abs, hip flexors) getting tight and short, thereby hunching us over, rounding our shoulders forward and tightening our hips. This combination can wreak havoc on our golf swings, particularly our ability to rotate efficiently.

This simple sequence of exercises, performed daily, will help maintain posture and mobility in the key areas that facilitate rotation in our golf swings. You can find these exercises and much more on the Golf Fit Pro app for iOS.


1 – Mid Back Massage – 1 x 90 seconds

Using a foam roller or tightly rolled up towel, aim to apply firm pressure through the mid and upper back whilst gently pushing out the rib cage and arching back. Move up and down the roller or towel to target different areas of your spine.


2 – Upper Back Extension – 1 x 30 seconds

Using a bench, box or chair, push the chest down toward the floor whilst keeping your abs / core engaged. You should feel this in your mid and upper back.


3 – Straight Arm Chest Stretch – 1 x 30 seconds each side


Find a wall, post or doorway, place your hand flat with elbow pointing to the floor and arm straight. Gently turn away from your hand until your feel a stretch in your chest and front of your shoulder.


4 – Step Up and Turn – 1 x 5 reps each side 


In a push up position, move your foot to the outside of your hand (or as close as possible) then rotate your upper torso with arm straight, aiming to point your hand straight up to the ceiling.


5 – Back Swing and Follow Through – 1 x 10 reps

Using a piece of rubber tubing or as pictured, the GravityFit TPro, get into your golf set up position pushing out against the tubing. From there turn into your backswing and then into your follow through. Aim to do the majority of the rotation with your torso, keeping your hands in front of your body.


You can check out more of Nick’s articles and services here:

Golf Fit Pro App
Online Training


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The Gear Dive: Talking new Callaway Gear with Dave Neville



On this episode of TGD, Johnny chats all things new Callaway gear with Sr. Director Brand and Product Management Dave Neville. They go deep into Epic Speed, the new Cally irons, and basically everything else.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: From “secret” to 5 basics for a better wedge game



First of all, thanks to all of you who read and gave last week’s post such high marks. And for all of you who have sent me an email asking for me to address so many topics. Keep those coming and I’ll never run out of things to write about.

In response to so many of those who asked for more on the basics, I want to start a series of articles this week to address some of what I consider the basics as you move your wedge game from greenside chipping, back to “full” wedge distances.

While I certainly do not want to try to replace the skills and contributions of a good instructor, what I hope to accomplish over the next few posts is to give you some of what I consider the most sound and basic of fundamentals as you approach shots from the green back to 100-130 yards, or what you consider “full” swing pitching wedge distance.

So, to get this series kicked off, let’s take the most basic of greenside chips, where the ball lies in a reasonably decent lie 3-10 feet from the edge of the green. I know there are many theories and approaches to chipping the ball, from a “putt-stroke” to hitting them all with a lob wedge, but I’m going to focus on what I consider the most simple and basic of approaches to chipping, so here we go:

Club selection. For golfers who are not highly skilled in this shot and who do not yet want to try to exhibit tons of creativity, my theory is that it is much easier to master one basic technique, then choose the right club to deliver the appropriate carry/roll combination. Once you have done a little practice and experimenting, you should really understand that relationship for two to four different clubs, say your sand wedge, gap wedge and pitching wedge.

Geometry. By that I mean to “build” the shot technique around the club and ball relationship to your body, as those are static. Start with your club soled properly, so that it is not standing up on the toe or rocked back on the heel. With the ball centered in the face, the shaft should be leaning very slightly forward toward the hole. Then move into your stance position, so that your lead arm is hanging straight down from your shoulders and your upper hand can grasp the grip with about 1-2” of “grip down” (I hate the term “choke up”). I’m a firm believer that the lead arm should not angle back toward the body, or out toward the ball, as either compromises the geometry of the club. The stance should be rather narrow and a bit open, weight 70% on your lead foot, and the ball positioned just forward of your trailing foot.

Relax. This is a touch shot, so it needs a very light grip on the club. Tension in the hands and forearms is a killer on these. I like to do a “pressure check” just before taking the club back, just to make sure I have not let the shot tighten me up.

The body core is key. This is not a “handsy” shot, but much more like a putt in that the shoulders turn away from the shot and back through, with the arms and hands pretty quiet. Because of the light grip, there will, by necessity, be some “loading” as you make the transition at the end of the backswing, but you want to “hold” that making sure your lead shoulder/forearm stay ahead of the clubhead through the entire through-stroke. This insures – like I pointed out last week – that the club stays in front of your body through the entire mini-swing.

Control speed with core speed. I think a longer stroke/swing makes for a smoother tempo on these shots. Don’t be afraid to take the club back a bit further than you might otherwise think, and just make the through-stroke as s-m-o-0-t-h as possible. Avoid any quickness or “jab-iness” in the stroke at all. Once you experiment a bit, you can learn how to control your body core rotation speed much easier than you can control hand speed. And it is nearly impossible to get too quick if you do that.

Again, I am certainly not here to replace or substitute for good instruction, and I know there are a number of approaches to chipping. This is just the one that I have found easier to learn and master in relation to the time you have to spend on your short game practice.

Next week, we’ll move back to those shorter pitches up to about 30 yards.

And keep those emails coming, OK? [email protected].






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