The Challenges Of Running A Tour Truck During Covid-19

TaylorMade's Mark Thistleton talks life in the European Tour bubble

The Challenges Of Running A Tour Truck During Covid-19
(Image credit: TaylorMade)

TaylorMade's Mark Thistleton talks life in the European Tour bubble

The Challenges Of Running A Tour Truck During Covid-19

The UK Swing is up and running and it should be business as usual for the tour truck staff with players needing new clubs and their current ones serviced.

However, the European Tour is operating in a strict bubble to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and that has has made it slightly more challenging for the tour reps to best fit and service players' equipment.

Related: TaylorMade on Tour: Behind the scenes of the UK Swing

We caught up with TaylorMade's European Tour Rep Mark Thistleton who explains what life is like in the European Tour bubble...

"As it stands right now we can’t have anyone on the truck so nobody can come on and see it.

"As it stands we’re only allowed two tour reps per event and no one else other than TaylorMade employees are allowed on the truck so players and caddies are calling from the truck door if you like and we’re kind of going outside and having a discussion with them there, coming on and sorting out whatever they need.

"It’s definitely been difficult.

Related: TaylorMade On Tour: The Players

"A large part of our job is the relationship with players. Shaking hands and interacting, that’s a huge part of the job.

"So not being able to greet the guys, especially when we haven’t seen them for so long has been difficult.

"Quite often we’d have players sitting in the back office and we’d talk about statistics or football or something and it helps form the relationship with the player, getting to know them and their games better."

With TaylorMade's headquarters closed during the Covid-19 lockdown, the company's tour staff were unable to test new products and instead had plenty of time to practise with their current clubs.

Wedges were flying off the shelves once the offices re-opened after players spent a lot of time honing their short games.

Related: TaylorMade On Tour: The Gear

"Our offices here closed down so we couldn’t send out products. The players knew and understood that," Thistleton said.

"As soon as we gave them the message that we were back to work there was a flood of orders come back in, especially for wedges particularly because the guys had been doing a lot of pitching in their back garden or around a green or whatever so wedges were heavily worn down and they were being ordered by just about all of our players.

"As far as testing new products, not really not until we got back last week and there was a few guys looking to change and tweak things.

"It’s obviously a lot easier when we can be with them and watch the ball flight and talk through exactly what it is they need as oppose to over a phone call or a text message."

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Elliott Heath
Senior Staff Writer

Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news, features, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as four Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 2-6. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

Hybrid: TaylorMade SIM Max

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x