Tampa Bay’s Bob VanSweden Named TaylorMade Golf “Club Fitter of the Year” for Second Time in Three Years
Former Bodyguard from St. Petersburg, FL Recognized for Superior Club Fitting and Unparalleled Passion to Promote TaylorMade Products
CARLSBAD, Calif. (April 13, 2011) – For the second time in three years, TaylorMade Golf Company has named Bob VanSweden from Golf Repair Center in St. Petersburg, Fla. the "Club Fitter of the Year," an honor that recognizes individual retailers who share TaylorMade's values and are relentlessly committed to fitting their customers into the best performing golf products for their game. VanSweden is the only two-time winner in the award's history.
"We don't have a better ambassador of the TaylorMade brand than Bob VanSweden," said David Abeles, TaylorMade's executive vice president. "This award is way beyond what Bob does as a fitter – it's what he does to support us as a group that puts him head and shoulders above the rest. We're thrilled to honor him a second time."
VanSweden's path to the golf industry and master club fitter status is as unique as they come. He was a boxer for eight years before becoming a professional bodyguard in the late 1980s, and spent 10 years on the road traveling to protect groups like Sting, Megadeath, Extreme and Third Eye Blind. By the age of 30 had traveled the world. When he returned home to St. Petersburg a short time later, Van Sweden met his wife and gave up his bodyguard career for her. He began playing golf everyday with the money he had earned protecting those famous musical acts, and after befriending and spending a significant amount of time at a local golf shop, he accepted an unpaid position there and quickly mastered the art of club fitting.
Now 43, VanSweden, his wife and son still reside in St. Petersburg, where he currently runs his Golf Repair Center. VanSweden recently revamped his new shop into what can be described as a TaylorMade fitting studio, and offers both indoor and outdoor fitting (with outdoor conducted at St. Petersburg Country Club). VanSweden utilizes the TaylorMade MAT-T system for putting, as well as a new FlightScope fitting system he purchased after last winning Fitter of the Year. The FlightScope is the latest in technology allowing for full-flight, radar-based club fitting. In addition to club fitting, VanSweden also performs custom club repairs.
VanSweden's passion for the TaylorMade brand has made him an industry icon with Tour players and employees alike.
"To be able to say I'm a two-time national club fitter – it puts all the hard work I've done in my second career into perspective and I feel blessed," VanSweden said. "I just love this company so much for opening their arms to me, making me feel like a part of their team and giving me invaluable experiences. It makes me a better fitter, as well as a better seller."
VanSweden's award came by a unanimous consent from TaylorMade sales management and custom management teams throughout the country.
About Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc. dba TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company
TaylorMade Golf has led the golf industry's technological revolution since the company was founded in 1979. TaylorMade metalwoods, irons and putters have been used to win hundreds of professional golf tournaments around the world. In 1998, TaylorMade became a wholly owned subsidiary of the adidas Group. adidas Golf creates high-performance, technology-infused golf apparel and footwear worn by hundreds of professional golfers around the world. Ashworth, which became a brand of the TaylorMade-adidas Golf Company in 2008, creates relaxed, lifestyle-oriented golf apparel synonymous with authenticity and quality. Learn more about TaylorMade-adidas Golf and its brands at (866) 530-TMAG (8624) or www.taylormadegolf.com, www.adidasgolf.com, www.ashworthgolf.com, and www.tmag.com.
About the adidas Group
The adidas Group is one of the global leaders within the sporting goods industry, offering a broad range of products around the core brands adidas, Reebok, TaylorMade, Rockport and Reebok-CCM Hockey. Headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, the Group has more than 42,000 employees and generated sales of € 12 billion in 2010.