This past Thursday, under bright blue high-desert skies of Reno, a 22-year-old named Taylor Morton graduated with his mechanical engineering degree from the University of Nevada Reno. There was a little time for celebrating, but only a little. Following graduation, it was back to his apartment to begin packing for a big move to Phoenix, Arizona, where he will start work for the famed PING Golf Company in their engineering department starting next week. What makes this story unique is that with this new hire, Taylor will mark a third generation to go into the golf business, following the footsteps of his grandfather and father.
Like Ping Golf, Taylor’s grandfather is a famed in golf in his own right. “Grandpa” is Ken Morton, Sr., CEO of Morton Golf and operator of the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento for the past six decades. Ken Sr. and the golf facilities his company manages have become business standards for the golf industry. He is a PGA Golf Professional Hall of Famer and is the most-awarded PGA Professional in the association’s existence. The retail golf shop at Haggin Oaks has been awarded One of America’s 100 Best Golf Shops for over 30 years in a row. He is also nationally recognized for Growing the Game of Golf through trend setting Junior, Women and Disabled golf instruction programs. A major highlight of Ken’s career was the formation of the Sacramento Area Youth Golf Association in 1983 which became The First Tee of Greater Sacramento in 2001 and is now serving over 12,000 kids annually in its programs. Although today, he is starting to take some time off to travel each year, he still gladly brings his extensive background and management skills when he is at home as the CEO of Morton Golf LLC and Morton Golf Management Companies.
Taylor’s father Ken Morton, Jr runs the retail and marketing operations for Morton Golf and is the Past-President for the Association of Golf Merchandisers and is the current Chairman of the Board for the National Golf Buyers Association.
Taylor worked part-time at Haggin Oaks while in high school and during summers while home from college in the summers. He helped run their eBay department, sold and fit golf equipment and helped contribute to the company’s social media and blogging efforts. A football player in high school, the 6’ 5” Taylor never played golf competitively, but was around the game nearly constantly. It wasn’t until he was working on his Capstone project in college, a collaboration with several other engineers creating an astroturf hitting mat that has lighting built into it that can be used for alignment and other uses, that he thought about using his education in the golf business.
Ken, Sr and his predecessor Tom LoPresti were one of the first six accounts Karsten Solheim, founder of PING Golf, ever had. Over the next 50+ years, the relationship between the two family businesses has been incredibly strong and the two elder Mortons couldn’t be more happy about Taylor’s landing place.
Morton, Jr. says, “I cannot possibly think of a better place for Taylor to start his career than within the PING engineering department. It’s going to be a truly unique experience eventually selling and promoting product that my son was involved in the development on. Our family knows that the company that he will be working for matches the philosophies and core values that our family has and that makes our heart swell.”
Taylor will be in the equipment development working towards building the next best product for PING Golf and is hoping his creativity and knowledge of 3D printing will assist them in them furthering some of the most forgiving and longest equipment in the industry today.