Beach and Balin Punch Tickets to Bethpage after 1-2 Finish at the PGA Professional Championship

Titleist staff members Alex BEach and Danny Balin on the grounds of Bethpage Black as they began preparations for the 2019 PGA ChampionshipEditor's Note: The following story comes to us courtesy of Joe Gomes, Titleist Director of Communications.


A match between good friends on a sunny day in South Carolina is what decided the final round of the 52nd PGA Professional Championship.

On the first tee May 1 at Belfair’s West Course in Bluffton, S.C., Titleist Brand Ambassadors Alex Beach and Danny Balin –longtime pals from the New Jersey-New York area and participants in this week’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black –found themselves in the final group, tied for the lead in their quest for the Walter Hagen Cup.

A few months earlier, the 29-year old Beach succeeded Balin as PGA Assistant Professional at Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y. –after Balin accepted the PGA Head Professional position at Fresh Meadow Country Club in Lake Success, N.Y.

While the victory was not secure until the final putt dropped, Beach looks back to the improbable birdie he made on No. 15, Belfair's most difficult hole, as the turning point in what felt like a match-play competition after both players started the day five shots ahead of the pack.

Leading Balin by one and having hit his drive into left rough on the 474-yard par 4, the left-handed Beach had a decision to make. From 171 yards, and with the advice of his caddie, he chose to hit a hard 8-iron, lofting his Pro V1 over the trees to four feet from a tucked pin. Beach converted the birdie putt to pull ahead by two, which turned out to be the final winning margin.



Alex Beach, Stillwater, Minnesota | PGA Assistant Professional – Westchester Country Club
Titleist Staff Member since 2014

Pro V1 golf ball, TS2 driver (9.5°), TS2 fairway metal (15°), 718 MB irons (4-PW), Vokey Design SM7 pitching (46.10 F Grind), gap (50.08 F Grind), sand (54.10 SGrind) and lob (60.04 L Grind) wedges.


"To turn a moment where the momentum was kind of up in the air –where it could have been anything –into a birdie, took a lot of pressure off going into the final three holes,”said Beach post-round. “This has been a lifelong goal ever since I became a PGA Professional, knowing this is the highest level that we can compete. Playing a guy like Danny Balin one-on-one is not easy. It was fun being out there with him. A guy like him makes me play better, makes me focus more. I never once thought about the top 20 (to qualify for the PGA Championship). The goal all week was to win. One week a tournament can change your life and your whole outlook on everything. The goal was always to do this.”

These days, Beach and Balin have grown accustomed to seeing and competing against each other at events around the New York area. That story will continue Thursday –amongst the greatest players in the world, mind you –when both tee off in Round 1 of the year’s second major championship. Beach is off at 1:16 with last week's AT&T Byron Nelson winner Sung Kang and 2003 PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel. Eight groups later, at 2:00 p.m., it’s Balin’s turn.


Danny Balin and Adam Beach are among nine Titleist PGA Staff Professionals who qualified for Bethpage this week. Read about them all here.


"Our relationship is really good," said Beach. "I knew the hardest thing in taking his position at Westchester when he left, was to prove that I could play at his level. So, to go against him at the national championship, I mean, the storybook kind of wrote itself, and I was just lucky to come out ahead this time. We're good friends, but we're also competitors."



Danny Balin, Rockville, Maryland | PGA Head Golf Professional – Fresh Meadow Country Club
Titleist Staff Member since 2005

Pro V1 golf ball, TS3 driver (9.5°), TS2 fairway metal (15°), 718 CB irons (4-PW), Vokey Design SM7 pitching (48.10 F Grind), sand (54.10 S 4Grind) and SM6 lob (60.10 S Grind) wedges, Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Tour putter.


Our interview took place on a cold, rainy Monday inside the warm Titleist Tour Van in the parking lot of Bethpage Black, the site of the 101st PGA Championship. Just as Beach finished his final answer, Balin just happened to walk in. "Speak of the devil, there he is right there," said Beach.

The highlights:

Balin, on their final-round duel at the PPC: "Alex was somebody I was comfortable playing with. The battle we were having, and the fact that we had gotten out in front of the next guys, was a lot of fun. At that point we didn't have to worry so much about qualifying for the PGA Championship, and were able to just focus on trying to win the tournament. I think we both played very well under the circumstances, with the cameras there, with the fans, and given the situation."

On their preparation for this week and taking on Bethpage Black…

Beach: “I'm lucky I spent five months down in Jupiter (FL), so I got to play a lot going in and felt fully prepared…I snuck out (to Bethpage) last Wednesday and played the whole course. Knowing the weather was going to be iffy yesterday and today, I'll get in what I can today –chip, putt, and maybe play a few holes. Same thing tomorrow, and just kind of see what the weather gives us. But I really want to be rested going into Thursday. I don't want to overdo it. I have been building to get to this point, and I'm feeling comfortable with the amount of preparation I have put in."

Balin: "With the (PPC) being moved to April and having a new baby, a new job, setting up a new business and staff, and not going to Florida this winter, made things a little extra stressful on top of not having a lot of time to prepare. So I don't think I had as high of expectations as what actually happened in getting the result. …Going into the PGA Championship, I’ve just been trying to play as much as I can, whether it's here at Bethpage or just wherever. I don't know if I need to prepare so much just for this golf course, because I've played here every year in the New York State Open. I've had success here. Now it's just kind of fine tuning my golf game, to know what my swing is doing this week, and being able to control the golf ball, hitting it into certain spots in the fairways, and kind of going from there."

On gaining access to the Titleist Tour Van…

Beach: "I've been playing all Titleist equipment since I became a professional in 2012 and I love it all. I just picked up my new wedges, and I think that's probably all I'll need this week. But if there is a gap, being that we're going to have such a long, wet course, I know where to go. I'm not a hybrid guy, but I might need something. So we'll see."

Balin: “I'm considering putting in a four utility iron that I'm able to hit about 210 or 220 in the air. The par fours are long, and some of the par threes, like 17, are very long, so it's something that I can fly just a little bit further from the fairway or from a tee box. That's about it. I really like my TS3 driver. It launches high and I can fly it about 270. I plan to just stick to my game, especially knowing that the golf course is long, and to know that I'm going to have a lot of long irons, and hybrids, and three-woods. I'm just trying to practice those shots a little bit more on the range…

Titleist staff members Danny Balin and Alex Beach meet on the Titleist Tour van at the 2019 PGA Championship at Bethpage Black

On having a “home game”this week…

Balin: “It's a lot more special, especially given the fact that I know Bethpage Black like the back of my hand (he won consecutive New York State Opens in 2012 and 2013). It's in our home state. A lot of the members of all the clubs that we've worked at hopefully will come out and cheer us on, so we'll have a big support group. It's about just being comfortable with the week, knowing how the week goes, knowing the facility. And then, knowing the golf course, knowing the holes to try to take advantage of, knowing when par is a really good score, and knowing when bogey is a really a good score on some of these holes. So being familiar with that, not having to do so much homework in the three practice rounds, being able to kind of just go out there and play is special."

Beach: "I've only been in the Met section about a month, but I spent five years in Jersey, so a lot of close friends and family and people I've worked with at Baltusrol and Ridgewood are going to be coming out I'm sure. It will be special. The Met section has always been renowned as the best playing section in the country. I think we've proven that pretty well last week by getting five guys here. And, playing against these guys week in and week out makes any tournament feel a little bit more comfortable. I'm going to take what I learned from PGA Professional Championship week into this week, I think will be a lot of help as I look ahead to dealing with this golf course."

"From Quail Hollow, I was able to better learn how to manage my time, deal with the fans, and the media, and all those kind of extra things that come with a tournament like this. It paid off tenfold at Belfair two weeks ago. I wasn't nervous to be on television, I wasn't nervous to have more people around. I've just learned to kind of get in my own little world out there, and that, I think, is what the best guys on tour do. You just eliminate all that stuff you can't control. We had a good game plan, and I played well at Belfair. So, if I can do the same thing this week, then maybe we have a chance at some level."

On their relationship with Titleist ...

Beach: I've played all Titleist since I turned professional in 2012. I trust the guys I work with throughout the year and I really appreciate all that the brand does for me and for golf. I can always count on getting everything I need to help me play my best and represent the brand. It's been an awesome relationship.

Balin: “The support from Titleist, it means a lot. We get one week a year to do this, during the PGA, and I love to spend time with Bob Vokey and Aaron Dill. Aaron Dill is very gracious to make me new wedges. He and Voke are the best in the business. And to be able to work with Paul Vizanko and the Scotty Cameron guys, trying to get the putter tuned in has been great. It's all very special to us. Like I said, these Tour players get this treatment every week, we get it once a year, so I try and take as much advantage of it as possible…

"I've been a Titleist guy since I got into the business. When I was going up I didn't play much golf, and when I did pick it up, all the best players in the world were playing Titleist. To me, it showed that they were the number one company in the industry, and it was a goal of mine to want to be on Titleist staff. They produce the best golf ball, the best wedges, the best irons, the best everything. And you know, I've had opportunities to switch and I never have."