Darien Sports Shop hosting golf club designer
Golf enthusiasts should mark their calendars this weekend as a special guest will visit the Darien Sports Shop to discuss all things golf.
Jesse Ortiz is a celebrity of sorts within the golf community and is well known for his expertly and artfully crafted clubs.
"I've been in the business of designing equipment for 42 to 43 years and I started in my early teens working with my dad," Ortiz said. "We started out with a company that made clubs for tour members."
Designing golf clubs wasn't a career path Ortiz envisioned for himself as a young man, but after he was "drafted" by his father into the business, he realized he had a flair for designing exceptional equipment.
"My father was from Spain, and as a kid in an old-world European family, if you were able to work, then you worked," he said.
What appealed most to Ortiz was the idea the family business was everyone else's hobby.
"The industry has changed a lot since then and there is more competition," Ortiz said.
The family business grew exponentially over time to the point where Ortiz was longer able to identify it as something he and his father started. At that point, he left the company and heard about another company owned by the Jones family that was looking to expand its product line.
"I heard the family was looking for someone to take over the equipment department," Ortiz said. "I met the family in 2005 and it was a great fit because everyone had my clubs and was familiar with my work."
Ortiz is now the chief designer and creative director for Bobby Jones Golf Clubs. Although he has experience with all clubs, he says he is best known for his work on fairway woods and hybrid clubs.
When it comes to the design of the clubs, Ortiz adheres to a strict philosophy.
"I try to make clubs that are easier to hit with for an average golfer but the look appeals to good golfers," Ortiz said. "It's against my religion to make ugly clubs."
His work on the clubs hasn't gone unnoticed as Golf magazine recently ranked his workshop hybrid as one of the highest rated clubs in its category.
During his time in Darien, which is his first trip to Connecticut, Ortiz will discuss his workshop hybrids and a new line of wedges.
"When golfers come by they like to talk about all kinds of things," Ortiz said about the different meet-and-greets he has done. "People can pick my brain about the industry."
Ortiz said he loves to talk about equipment in an unbiased way as well as hear the different stories golfers tell.
"We all have this common denominator that golf is such a great game," he said.
When it comes to golf his only regret is the lack of time he has to actually play.
"I only get out to play maybe eight times a years," Ortiz said. "It takes a lot of time because it's a six- to seven-hour deal for a round."
Ortiz will be at the Darien Sport Shop on Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.