Image courtesy of Driver vs. Driver: front Row, left to right: Sheila Pancani (45), Patrick Soriano (25), Jimmy Huynh (26). Back Row, left to right: Matt Ulery (30), Brian Mar (21).
A team of Cal State Long Beach (CSULB) industrial design students were selected as finalists to compete on Driver vs. Driver presented by Wilson, a Golf Channel television series created to find Wilson Sporting Goods’ newest driver for the company’s 2017 golf season.
CSULB seniors Jimmy Huynh, 26, Brian Mar, 21, Patrick Soriano, 25, Sheila Pancani, 45 and Matt Ulery, 30 created a micro-honeycomb design modeled after Formula 1 cars and the grill from Ulery’s motorcycle, following a three-week crash course on driver design.
The group has little golf experience, but were able to submit a driver design potentially worth the $500,000 prize and a chance to have it sold under the Wilson Staff name. During the show, the team will go up against 10 other finalists, including teams from the Universities of Michigan and Tennessee, product designers, golf professionals, golf instructors, an industrial engineer and a retired art teacher.
Throughout the seven-episode series, the judges will determine which finalists’ concepts will advance, while taking viewers behind the scenes as advancing teams work with Wilson LABS to refine their original ideas. The CSULB team has worked hard to increase their chances of winning the grand prize.
“Our professors were very helpful and cheered us on, but they still expected their homework so we were working non-stop during the competition,” said the team. “We would be in our hotel room in Chicago working on golf as a team, and then going to our rooms and doing homework.”
During the show’s first two episodes, the team will present their hard work to a panel of celebrity judges composed of Chicago Bears linebacker and avid golfer Brian Urlacher, former USGA Technical Director Frank Thomas and President of Wilson Golf Tim Clarke, while set to join during the third episode as a judge is two-time PGA TOUR winner and Wilson Advisory Staff member Kevin Streelman, according to the announcement.
The CSULB team found out about the open call for submissions last year from an email originally sent to the engineering department that “trickled down to the design department,” the team told the Post in an email.
“We had never designed a golf driver, let alone have any experience in the sport, but we thought it would be a great experience to work alongside people who are experts in bringing a product to market, after all that is what Industrial designers do.”
The show premieres tonight on the Golf Channel at 7:00PM.
“The most inspiring thing about this competition has been working with five different individuals who can work together like a well oiled machine,” said the team. “It is inspiring to see that when people come together for one goal you can be successful.”
For more information about Driver vs. Driver, click here.