How does traveling the world to famous golf courses such as Augusta National and St. Andrews on an annual basis sound?
While most people save up thousands of dollars just to be able to travel to these locations once, Jax Beach local, Chris Tuten, of the multi-billion dollar company Titleist, travels nearly every week to breathtaking golf courses all around the world – and gets paid to do so.
As Titleist’s director of player promotions, Tuten’s job is make sure some of the best players in the world have the best equipment to be able to fine tune their craft – playing professional golf.
Guys like Jason Dufner, Adam Scott, Steve Stricker and Zach Johnson are all PGA TOUR pros who Tuten works with on a variety of levels from clothing to clubs. Tuten even helps manage media interview requests during the weekly tournaments.
With a standard travel schedule of Sunday-Wednesday, 38-40 weeks out of the year, Tuten is on the road a lot. While that much traveling is mentally draining, Tuten has it down to a science. He effectively manages his career while also spending quality time with his wife and 6-year-old daughter.
“Every Sunday morning, I like to wake up early and head down to the beach for a walk with my family. At about 11 a.m., I come back to the house, pack, hop on a plane to the next destination, have dinner with some of the guys, head to my hotel room, iron my clothes and get prepared for the 5:30 a.m. wake-up call with lots of Starbucks ready.”
Tuten didn’t always have a standard schedule. The former pharmaceutical sales rep, who was born and raised in Jacksonville Beach, has had golf on the mind since he was young. A former assistant coach of the University of Florida men’s golf team, Tuten also played for the Gators and made a few appearances on the Web.com Tour. Tuten also made it through the PGA TOUR’s Q-School – twice – and was a rep for Callaway in college before deciding to switch careers to medical sales. Shortly thereafter, Tuten realized how badly he missed golf.
“Here I was, after three months on the job, trying to tell a doctor who’s practiced medicine for 15 years why he should use my product,” explained Tuten. “I didn’t feel comfortable selling it, so I figured I better sell what I know, and made the choice to go back to golf.”
While his TOUR travel schedule remains predictable, once Tuten is on the job site, it’s anything but the same ol’, same-ol’.
Tuten and his team of three- to four-man team sets up shop in what’s known as the Titleist Tour Van. Using the term “van” loosely, the 42-foot 18-wheeler is essentially a pro shop on wheels, built to accommodate anything a pro golfer would need such as new grips, retaped clubs or an “equipment problems,” which Tuten says “usually is more mental rather than the equipment itself.”
Because fittings have been made a bit simpler, Tuten has been able to focus on the managerial side of things, cutting down on travel and spending more time with his family. These improvements have also allowed him the time to fulfill another passion: helping out with the younger, lesser-known guys.
“I want the new guys on TOUR to feel comfortable coming out,” he said. “I enjoy watching them and helping them with advice whenever they ask. I want them to know I treat a Chesson Hadley the same way I do Adam Scott.”
“What makes Titleist and my job different is that we genuinely want our players to perform well. We want them winning tournaments rather than just getting us club play.”
It’s this player-first focus curated by Tuten that ensures Titleist has numerous players at the top of the leaderboard, week in and week out.