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Job with Callaway proves a perfect fit

Snowflakes and fingerprints have nothing on golf swings: You won't find two that are alike.

That's one thing Justin Wise has deduced in the month he's worked as a club-fitting specialist for Callaway Golf Co. at its headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.

You see it all, says Wise, from the high-handicapper to the mid-handicapper to the players. Five days a week, you name it, you see it. There's no set golf swing you're looking at every day.

Wise, 24, is a former North Medford High golfer who worked for 1&

189; years staging demonstration days for Callaway before going to work in the seaside city just north of San Diego.

He mans one of two bays, where 16 fittings are scheduled each day at &

36;50 a pop. Consumers spend about an hour hitting balls into a net in the giant room, using every club imaginable.

— Two high-speed cameras ' 10,000 frames per second ' capture the clubhead at impact, the ball leaving the face, its speed, dispersion created by sidespin and attack and path angles of the swing.

It varies with everybody, says Wise. A perfect example is how everybody does it differently on the PGA Tour. I just tell people to make good contact so they can see what it feels like to hit a well-struck shot.

The equipment he's using now is much more advanced than the vector launch monitor he used for demo days.

I mostly did drivers and a few irons, he says, but it wasn't nearly as in-depth as this. The driver fitting that I was doing, those were correct most of the time and real close the other times. But you'd get a few misreads because it is not as efficient of a machine.

Wise, the son of Rogue Valley Country Club head professional Jim Wise, credits being born and raised around the golf business as a strength when he earned the position.

The folks at Callaway also liked his work ethic, which was evident in the time he spent last winter as a commercial crab fisherman out of Crescent City, Calif. The boat belonged to the father of a former girlfriend.

50-hour shifts, no sleep, four months, he says. It was fun. You'd get a few days off for the holidays, but most of the time you were out there rockin' and rollin'.

His work these days is a little less strenuous.

Wise doesn't work in the same building frequented by pro stars like Phil Mickelson and Annika Sorenstam. They do product testing at the nearby technical center.

But there's still a chance for star gazing in the fitting bays.

Earlier this week, Wise had a session with Olympic swimmer Mark Spitz. Before that, one of the original Charlie's Angels, Kate Jackson, went through a fitting; the newcomer Wise didn't get that assignment.

When there's free time, Wise takes advantage of his surroundings and hits balls and works on his own swing.

The best way to learn about your swing and what the clubs do is to hit shots, then go through the numbers and see why they are what they are, he says. You might see you have too much backswing there or you came in too steep on that shot. It's really handy.

Wise will take what he's learned to the course soon enough. One of the area's top players when he left, he'll return for the Southern Oregon Golf Tournament at the end of the month.

COLE WEINHOLD explained the age difference between him and others in a golf tournament last weekend that raised funds for Southern Oregon University athletics.

I was the only person who couldn't drive there, he said.

Well, his team didn't need his drives so much as his approaches.

Weinhold, 13, and the son of former Medford High standout Paul, beat out the field of adults for a closest-to-the-pin award. At Stone Ridge Golf Course, on his second shot on the fourth hole ' the No. — handicap hole ' young Weinhold carved a shot into the green and watched it roll to within 1&

189; feet of the hole.

Yeah, said the Eugene middle-schooler, it was right on line. I didn't know if it was going to be the right distance, but it ended up being the right distance.

He hit a high draw with a 5-iron from 155 yards to a short, right pin placement in the five-person scramble format. His father hit the drive used by the group, which included his grandparents.

Cole didn't tap in for birdie. That was left to his grandmother, Lynda Weinhold, an SOU Foundation board member.

We had a rotation, he explained.

Cole, a late substitute to the team, has played for only a year and is in his first season of Oregon Golf Association junior play.

ALL THREE champions return to defend their titles in the Medford City Championships Aug. 27-28 at Cedar Links Golf Course.

Bret Breeze won the men's division, Terry Anderson the senior men's division and Carmen Akins the women's division.

The tournament, which first began as the Cedar Links Open in 1984, usually attracts about 150 players. Last year, the turnout was about 170.

The men's championship flight features many of Southern Oregon's best players, usually with handicaps of 6 or lower.

Joining Breeze in the men's division will be Glen Clark, who recently won the club championship.

Other top seniors in the field are Bob Harrell and Dan Dixon.

The tournament costs &

36;90 and includes a practice round the week before the two-day, 36-hole event.

For information or to sign up, stop by or call Cedar Links at 773-4373.

ALTHOUGH THERE'S not a good time for a golf course to lose greens, the timing was particularly unfortunate for Grants Pass Golf Club.

Four greens on the front nine became unplayable last week because of fungus, forcing cancellation of one of the course's most popular tournaments and necessitating a routing change for an Oregon Golf Association event Tuesday and Wednesday.

The fourth through seventh greens were infected by fairy rings. They appear in circular patterns, and infected areas are almost impervious to water.

It just came out of the blue, said Kent De Rocher, the head pro.

The course canceled last weekend's two-man, best-ball event, which attracts the better players in Southern Oregon. For the OGA Women's Stroke Play Championship at midweek, the back nine was played twice each day.

De Rocher, who showed a United States Golf Association representative the problem early in the week, said the mysterious fungus shows up unexpectedly and can be far more damaging than what Grants Pass experienced.

The infected greens were aerated and overseeded with rye grass and will be playable again in two weeks, he said.

The fact it was only four greens, we're very lucky, he said.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail Job with Callaway proves a perfect fit "ttrower@mailtribune.com.