Janesville78.1°

Delavan company takes swing at USGA project

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Mike Heine
February 18, 2008
— Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh will be staring at the work of Tom Lee and Sally Adams starting in June.

The co-owners of Signs of the Times are making tee markers for the U.S. Open and 12 other United States Golf Association championships, including the U.S. Senior Open and the U.S. Women’s Open.


“I never imagined we’d have such a big job,” Adams said. “To have someone call us out of the blue from our Web site, it’s just neat.”


The USGA ordered 1,080 tee markers. It’s the largest order the small company has ever had.


“We’ll be like a factory for a few weeks,” Adams said.


Officials from the USGA did a Google search for sandblasted signs and found the Web site for Signs of the Times at the top of the list, Lee said.


Angelo Masino, USGA senior coordinator of championship administration, originally was looking for a limestone marker.


Lee told him about high-density urethane foam, which is light and weather resistant and does not swell, shrink, rot, soak up water or attract bugs.


“I did it in multiple sizes. Finally, I got to one and they said this is exactly what they wanted,” Lee said.


The first order was for 36 markers. Then it went to 120. Then up to 370. Then 540. Finally, enough for all 13 tournaments.


“I said, ‘We can do it. We have the time, space,’” Lee said. “We laid it all out, showed them we can do it. They were as thrilled as we are.”


Masino said he isn’t sure how much the markers will be shown on TV, but they will always be visible to the crowds and the players.


Lee, who will be watching more golf on TV this summer than ever, is hoping they’re not so obvious that players will take a swing at them after a bad tee shot.


“There may be an angry golfer or two who wants to take a whack at one,” he said.


And if they do, the company will be ready to replace them.


Lee hopes the tee markers will lead to other jobs.


“I’ve got my fingers crossed,” Lee said. “Each one of these markers will have our nameplate on them. Any golf manager that’s there can pick one up and discover our name and have an instant connection back to us.


“And that Web site will be on there, too.”


HOW THEY ARE MADE

Signs of the Times tee markers are high-density urethane foam.


The material is light enough to float, can be painted any color and can be formed any into shape.


Each weighs about a half-pound, compared to about 25 pounds if they were made of limestone.


Production cost is about $29 each. A limestone block would cost about $70, said Signs of the Times co-owner Tom Lee.


THE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Signs of the Times markers will be used at 13 USGA championships throughout the year. NBC will air the three biggest tournaments:


-- U.S. Open Championship, June 12-15


-- U.S. Women’s Open, June 26-29


-- U.S. Senior Open Championship, July 24-27


To learn more about Signs of the Times, visit www.signsofthetimeswi.com.



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