Wilson Golf Takes Unique Approach to Create Its Next World-Class Golf Driver Through Innovative Elimination-Style Reality Television Series
Finalists range from Inventors, Engineers and Product Designers to College Students, Professional Bowlers, and Poker Players. The winner will take home $250,000. Driver vs. Driver 2 Celebrity Judges are NHL Legend and Avid Golfer Jeremy Roenick; PGA Professional and Expert Golf Equipment Reviewer Rick Shiels and Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke
Golf Channel announced today the 14 finalists who will present their innovative driver concepts on Driver vs. Driver 2 presented by Wilson, with the hopes of ultimately becoming Wilson Golf’s next world-class driver. Driver vs. Driver 2 premieres Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET, with the seven-episode series airing weekly and concluding Tuesday, Nov. 13.
Driver vs. Driver 2 will follow the trials and tribulations of these aspiring golf equipment designers in an elimination-style television series where they will compete for the opportunity have their concepts transformed into prototypes, field tested, critiqued and refined. Ultimately, one driver concept will be left standing, with the designer winning $250,000 and the final driver hitting retail stores worldwide.
Out of the hundreds of concepts submitted through an open call application process, 14 finalists were selected. Each will present their concept to the panel of celebrity judges during the show’s premiere on Tuesday, Oct. 2:
- Jeremy Roenick – 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst. Also an avid golfer with a single-digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie.
- Rick Shiels – PGA Professional, expert golf equipment reviewer and online golf personality who has nearly 400,000 subscribers and more than 120 million views on his YouTube Channel.
- Tim Clarke -President of Wilson Golf.
Following the presentations, the judges will deliberate on which finalists’ concepts will advance in the competition. Throughout the seven-episode series, the finalists’ concepts will be field tested and critiqued by some of the game’s best players on the PGA TOUR, celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment, golf industry experts, members of the national golf and sports media, bloggers and social media influencers. Ultimately, one winner’s final design will go on sale at golf retailers worldwide following the season finale.
The finalists, ages 22-81, are a diverse group from throughout the United States that range from inventors, engineers and product designers to college students, professional bowlers and poker players.
Chris Adams (32, Denver, Colo.) – A consulting structural engineer from Denver, Colo., Adams works with architects, contractors, and developers in designing buildings. On the weekends, Adams can be found on the golf course, where he took up the game at a young age and played competitively in high school. Adams is combining his two passions – engineering and golf – in developing what he hopes to be the winning driver concept, called the Tracer, on Driver vs. Driver 2.
Juan Biancardi (41), Walter Lund (41, Miramar, Fla.) – Juan Biancardi is taking the motto, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” to Driver vs. Driver 2. Biancardi submitted an idea for the series’ inaugural season but didn’t receive an invitation to present to the judges. Enter Walter Lund, who is Biancardi’s swing coach. When shown the driver idea that was submitted for the first season, Lund immediately went to work with Biancardi to refine and improve the concept for season two. Their idea, Black Hornet, is based on creating the most aerodynamic and adjustable driver on the market.
Hank Boomershine (48), Victor Marion (34, Perry, Utah) – Victor Marion and Hank Boomershine are bringing their expertise from the world of bowling to golf. Marion is a designer of bowling balls, and Boomershine is a former competitive bowler who heads up sales and marketing for Storm Bowling Products. Their driver concept focuses on how to create more speed for the driver head through innovative technology.
Jeremy Chell (42, Madison, Wis.) – A mechanical engineer for an aerospace company, Jeremy Chell develops flight hardware for space vehicles traveling to the International Space Station. On the side, Chell is an avid golfer who is enthusiastic about enhancements in golf club technology. Growing up around the game, Chell put the golf clubs away in college and regained interest in the sport early in his professional career. It was during this time that he became fascinated with the technologies in golf equipment, amassing a large collection of golf clubs along the way. Chell’s driver concept, the Launchpad, is, according to him, “A logical progression of current state-of-the-art golf club designs, with technological advantages in creating clubface forgiveness.”
Peter Dreyfuss (48, Naples, Fla.) – A late bloomer to the game of golf, Peter Dreyfuss is an engineer who picked up the golf bug following great success as a competitive sailor with a national championship on his resume. At the end of his sailing career, he began working full time in the medical engineering field, where he guided the word that resulted in 42 patent for orthopedic surgeries. Golf is a hobby for Dreyfuss, and his design, the Yeti, combines his two passions together – golf and engineering – with the average weekend golfer in mind.
Scott Haack (48, Chardon, Ohio) – An inventor, entrepreneur, chiropractic physician and medical device and development professional who has more than 20 years in the medical professional field, Haack’s driver concept, Downforce, combines two design ideas that he developed into one unique concept. A golf tinkerer, Haack has developed two golf products that have advanced to the marketplace – a putter and a golf training aid. Haack’s driver concept is inspired by the benefits downforce has on a race car and its ability to provide speed when the car enters the corners of a racetrack. According to Haack, the same is true for the design of his driver and the speed it provides during the downswing and impact phase of the golf swing.
J.D. Hefferin (27, Orlando, Fla.) – J.D. Hefferin has been in love with the game of golf since a young age, having lived near a golf course his entire life. Fascinated with golf club design, Hefferin who by day is a real estate analyst, an Orlando Magic employee and a professional poker player, can be seen sketching ideas and tweaking golf club designs on the side. His driver idea hopes to revolutionize the square-shaped driver, bringing that concept back with a more aerodynamic look and feel.
Evan Hoffman (27, San Diego, Calif.) – An industrial designer who has a deep passion for the game, Evan Hoffman watched every episode of the inaugural season of Driver vs. Driver. When his brother texted him about season two, he immediately went to work. Beginning with sketches, he refined his concept while consulting with his brother, a golfer in his own right. His idea, the Cortex, utilizes a subframe structure, allowing the weight to be taken out of the center of the club and strategically placed into the skirt, maximizing clubhead speed and flight control for longer and straighter drives.
Jimmy Huynh (28, Long Beach, Calif). – A finalist from the inaugural season of Driver vs. Driver as part of “Team Long Beach,” Jimmy Huynh has returned with a refined concept. A recent graduate from California State University, Long Beach in the industrial design program, Huynh feels he has a leg up on the competition after going through the process during the first season. His concept, the Magnus 2.0, is based around speed and is customizable, which translates into longer distances off the tee for the average golfer.
Bob Lockhart (81, Big Spring, Texas) – The oldest designer presenting to the judges at 81 years of age, Bob Lockhart’s career has included work in industrial engineering, computer systems and for the past 25 years, product design. Lockhart’s concept, jokingly titled, “’The No Sex Driver,” is described as a simple design where everything that doesn’t help hit golf balls long and straight is left off of it.
Tim Slama (22, Salem, Ore.) – Tim Slama, a senior at Oregon State University studying mechanical engineering, feels that Driver vs. Driver 2 would be the perfect internship. Slama, who also has had multiple design engineering internships in college, aims to be a golf club engineer after he graduates. His driver concept, Roswell, “leverages three major technological innovations which together deliver the golfer unprecedented adjustability, distance and accuracy.” A golfer since he was young, Slama plans to continue to work in the golf industry following graduation.
Samantha Smith – (22, Las Vegas, Nev.) – A recent graduate from the University of Arizona who is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Public Health and pursuing her Ph.D., Samantha Smith has been involved in the game of golf since a young age, playing competitively through high school. After watching the inaugural season of Driver vs. Driver and “totally geeking out about the process,” as she puts it, Smith’s concept utilizes learnings she heard on the show from Wilson’s engineers during the first season. Her idea the Supernova is inspired by the astronomical term, defined as “a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion.”
Tim Swiss – (38, Carlsbad, Calif.) – An industrial designer who has a deep passion for the game, Tim Swiss’ driver concept name, the Widowmaker, is inspired from the look of the Black Widow spider. Swiss’ professional career – designing products in the automotive, media and consumer electronics industries, has allowed him to be around the game of golf, but only as a hobby. As a designer, he has wanted to work on golf club for years, incorporating his professional expertise with a personal passion. “I’ve always had an idea, and when I saw the email about season two, I thought, ‘This would be perfect.’”
Allen Zadeh (50, Brooklyn, N.Y.) – A product designer for over 20 years, Allen Zadeh’s work spans over a wide range of industries, from household products to physical and digital consumer electronic experiences. His career also has allowed him to develop innovations in the sporting goods and the transportation industries. A competitive tennis player growing up, Zadeh learned about Driver vs. Driver 2via a tennis racquet design blog and immediately went to work on his idea, as the deadline to submit was five days later. Drawing inspirations from his experience designing tennis racquets and watches, Zadeh’s idea focuses on craftsmanship and precision, with the hopes of delivering a ‘Wow Factor’ to the judges.
MELANIE COLLINS TO HOST: Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently, a sideline reporter for CBS’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season of Driver vs Driver in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.
GRAND PRIZE: The finalists are competing for $250,000 and the opportunity to have their driver design sold at retail under the Wilson Staff umbrella.
SERIES PRODUCTION: Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the Fall of 2017 and concluded in August 2018. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-quality instruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning documentaries and films.
ABOUT DRIVER vs. DRIVER PRESENTED BY WILSON
Driver vs. Driver presented by Wilson debuted in 2016. The show, from inception, was designed to utilize the power of crowd-sourcing combined with Wilson LABS’ (the innovation hub at Wilson) deep golf experience and expertise to create a world-class golf driver in a way that had never been done before. Driver vs. Driver also was created to infuse new energy and excitement into the golf equipment conversation, open the game of golf to a broader audience and bring highly innovative products to the marketplace, all while educating golfers on how drivers are designed, developed and manufactured. Eric Sillies, an industrial design graduate from the University of Cincinnati, was crowned the winner of Driver vs. Driver’s inaugural season.
ABOUT WILSON SPORTING GOODS:
Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Goods Co., a subsidiary of Amer Sports, is one of the world’s leading manufacturer of sports equipment, apparel and accessories. Wilson Golf is a global leader in high performance golf equipment and uses player insights to design products that push golf innovation into new territories. Through its dedication to creating products that enable athletes at every level to perform at their best, Wilson has earned its place as a leader in sporting goods for over a century.
ABOUT GOLF CHANNEL
Golf Channel is a multimedia, golf entertainment and services company based in Orlando, Fla. Serving the most-affluent audience in all of television, Golf Channel – co-founded by Arnold Palmer in 1995 and now part of NBC Sports Group – is available to nearly 500 million viewers in more than 80 countries and nine languages around the world. Golf Channel features more live golf coverage than all other networks combined, including tournament action from the PGA TOUR, LPGA Tour, The Open, Olympics, and Ryder Cup, as well as high-quality news, instruction and original programming. Delivering unmatched coverage of the world of golf, fans are able to enjoy 24/7 live streaming of Golf Channel content through Golf Channel Digital and the NBC Sports App, powered by Playmaker Media. In addition, Golf Channel connects the world to golf through a wide array of digital and lifestyle services including Golf Channel Mobile, a comprehensive app covering golf’s latest headlines, scores and analysis; GolfNow, the world’s largest online tee time booking platform and golf course technology partner, which includes the GolfNow Mobile App, featuring on-course GPS tracking, in-round scoring and game tracking; Revolution Golf, the largest direct-to-consumer digital platform in golf; GolfAdvisor.com, the world’s largest golf course ratings and review resource for golfers, by golfers; a North American network of Golf Channel Academy instructional facilities; and Golf Channel Am Tour, the world’s largest amateur golf tour; and as the Official Media Partner of St. Andrews Links, the Home of Golf.