Beverly’s Athanas Stars as Titleist Pitch Man

His thunderous drives and embracing personality have been a part of the North Shore golf community for decades. So it probably should have come as no surprise to any who have met the man, or played golf with him, to learn that Beverly’s Arthur Athanas has emerged as a favorite in the Acushnet Company’s Titleist ball division.

Yep, that’s the Stonehan native who has been appearing in recent Titleist advertisements both in the national golf publications and The Golf Channel. That’s him, “Arthur A.,” wearing his white Titleist cap with the accompanying quote, “I’m not a Touyr player and I play Pro V1x.”

The Director of Marketing for the Beverly-based Bishop Company, Athanas, an eight handicap who can probably outdrive half the players on the PGA Tour (it’s the rest of the game, he admits, that makes him an eight handicap), Athanas appeared in recent issues of Golf Digest, Golf World, Golf, Sports Illustrated’s Golf Plus section and GolfWeek, as well as on the PGATour, GolfChannel, Golf, GolfWeek and GlobalGolfPost websites. The Golf Channel 60-second spots, featuring Arthur’s chiseled good looks and authoritative voice, will appear on The Golf Channel through November.

“It’s been fun and exciting, being a part of the Titleist campaign,” say Athanas. “My heart’s really in it because I’ve always played Titleists. They’re the gold standard in the industry. I’ll admit I’ve tried new balls when they’ve come out, like Bridgestone and Calloway, for example, but I always come back to Titleist. Their Pro V1s have taken the brand, I believe, to a new level that puts even greater space between them and the No. 2 ball — light years of space.”

Like any responsible marketing guru, Athanas is all over the internet every day for professional and other reasons. The Stoneham native has followed the Titleist website forever, he says, and he has responded to their visitor surveys regularly. But after filling out one particular survey series, he received an inquiry from Acushnet, the parent company of Titleist, inviting him to take part in a focus group.

“I responded,” Athanas, a member at Beverly Golf and Tennis Club (and formerly a Ferncroft member), explained,”and the next thing I knew I was asked to come in to Arnold Advertising in Boston. That became a three-hour series of back-and-forth discussions about everything Titleist golf ball. They were filming me through one-way mirrors. I gave them a lot of feed back. At the end of the session they gave me a dozen Titleists and a titleist hat and I went home.

” I filled out a few more internet surveys and then, right before Fourth of July, I got an e-mail for an open casting call. I figured, what the heck, so I sent the data they asked for back to Titleist. Soon thereafter I got the word I’d made the cut and was asked to come down to the comany’s home base in Acushnet and Fairhaven for an all-day shoot for print and electronic media purposes.”

Athanas left his house at 5 a.m. on the day of the shoot and got home at 8 a.m. that night, but the long day was an unforgettable 15-hour adventure, he said.

“We met at the Acushnet River golf course and got right to work,” he related. “They gave us Foot-Joy (Titleist sister company) shoes to wear and a Titleist hat to start. Then came wardrobe stuff and a makeup lady. They almost made you feel like a movie star.

“We went on the golf course — it was one hot day — and they started shooting video and stills, first using a Titleist driver. Then we went to fairway shots with 6 irons, chipping, wedge shots, and tnhey lastly shot us walking down a fairway carrying a Titleist bag and clubs. They had opened a gross of new Pro V1s to hit, and tbhey didn’t care where the shots went.”

The group broke for lunch, then moved to Titleist’s Manchester Lane testing facility. “This was srious stuff,” Athanas surmised rather quickly. “We drove through security to get to the buildings; beautiful set-ups for all kinds of testing, spin ratyes, flight patterns; tech stuff. Then we did some video interviews; took maybe 25 minutes. Lots of fun.”

Athanas made the cut for air time. “One spot shows me hitting a shot, looking over another player’s shoulders. I speak twice in one of them, saying how I on occasion try a new ball, but I always come back to Titleist.”

When his day at Titleist was complete, he left with his shoes, hat, Foot-Joy socks and a dozen Pro V1s.

Once the spots began appearing on the Golf Channel, Athanas’s devices went bonkers. “I must have heard from a hundred people over the first several days. I got it from all sides the next time I showed up at the club to play, too. Guess that’s the power of advertising,” said the 20-year Beverly member.

The 53-year-old joked that now he might be known for something other than as the father of two hot shot competitive swimmers. Son Aaron and daughter Vanessa both were all-state swimmers for their high schools, St. John’s Prep and Beverly High, respectively. Aaron now swims for Dartmouth, Vanessa for Union.

“They’re still the athletic stars of the family,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep my handicap in single digits.”




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