Passion for golf gets Ark City native on TV

Club in hand, Brook Shurtz takes a walk on a golf course. He recently appeared on national TV as part of Titleist’s 2020 worldwide advertising campaign.

Brook Shurtz tried a lot of different sports during his school years in Arkansas City. Soccer, basketball, baseball, tennis. But none appealed to him more than golf.

“I just decided to play golf when I was 12 years old,” Shurtz said Thursday in a phone interview. “Neither of my parents played golf.”

Within a few years after he took up the game — practicing on his own at first without a coach — Shurtz developed a passion for golf. He spent many hours on weekends and in the summer working on his craft.

Now, 21 years after his graduation from Ark City High School, Shurtz’s golf passion is being displayed on national TV as part of Titleist’s 2020 worldwide advertising campaign.

The Titleist ad appeared last weekend on CBS’ coverage of the 2020 Waste Management Phoenix Open. On Sunday, it aired just before the Super Bowl.

“That’s when they launched it, and it will appear all through the year 2020,” said Shurtz, who lives in Los Angeles.

“The ad is a little different, it’s very cinematic and it tells a story,” he said. “It’s product driven, focused on their golf ball.”

Entitled “Prove It to Yourself,” the 60-second ad will continue to air during golf events throughout the year, on the Golf Channel, CBS, NBC and possibly ESPN, Shurtz said.

A second ad 30 seconds long featuring him also will air soon, Shurtz said.


Auditioned for the part

To gain the part, he sent audition tapes to Titleist advertisers of him being interviewed on-camera and showing his golf swing.

The recently released Titleist ad features several golfers practicing at a driving range and carrying their clubs to play a round of golf. Shurtz appears checking a pocket-sized course map and hitting an iron shot toward the hole.

He has three lines: “178 to the hole;” “A little crosswind;” and “Let’s make a birdie here.”

The ad was shot in San Francisco at TPC Harding Park, he said. The shoot included both video and still photos for magazine ads.

“The footage they didn’t use — they will drip it out on social media,” Shurtz said.

He admitted being a little nervous during the photo shoot.

“I was in my element, but the only nervous part of it was I was up first, at 7 in the morning,” he said. “They filmed me 200 yard out to the green. Big cameras were on me and I wasn’t warmed up and didn’t have my own clubs.”

But the adrenaline kicked in, he said, and the excitement of the event took over.

“It was a great experience to be there. I was very focused,” he said. “You’re not acting, you make sure you’re as natural as possible.”


Early influences

Shurtz credited his high school teammates, coaches and older Ark City golfers with helping him to become a good golfer. He noted that his parents, Dennis and Ruthie Shurtz, of Ark City, especially have been supportive of him over the years.

“Mom and Dad neither one played golf,” he said. “I was an only child, a farm kid. Nothing in that equation would say I would be a part of this golf world.”

But on weekends and in the summer his parents took him to the local country club at 8 in the morning so he could practice golf and they picked him ip at 8 at night, Shurtz said. They also took him to play in junior golf tournaments and to meet with golf pros who helped him with the game.

As a young teen, Brook signed up for a golf camp at the Spring Hill course in Ark City. He missed the first week of the camp, but when he came to the second week of the camp and played nine holes of golf with others who had more training, he discovered he had a knack for the game.

He joined the ACHS golf team as a freshman and lettered in the sport all four years of high school.

“We had a really good team my freshmen year,” Shurtz said.

One of his ACHS teammates freshman year was Landon Christie, who now is a PGA member of the Southwest Section of the PGA of America. Christie Landon teaches out of Tegavah Golf Club in Rio Verde, Ariz.

“We chat through Instagram,” Shurtz said. “It’s a small world.”

During his school years, Shurtz was tutored by Grier Jones, a professional golfer based in Wichita who last year retired as the most successful golf coach in Wichita State University’s history.

He noted that several other Ark City golfers, ACHS graduates, also mentored him in his early years playing the game: Otis Morrow, David Ross, and Roger Brown.

“Golf has opened up a lot of new friends for me during my 16 years in LA,” Shurtz said. “One I’ve played with is one of the best all-time NFL players and the number-one running back of all time — Jim Brown.”

Shurtz met retired football star Jim Brown at a driving range in Hollywood, he said. They have since played several rounds of golf together.

“Golf is not something I had to do but I did it because I loved it,” he said. “Like Kobe Bryant said, if you guard your passions no one can steal your dreams.”

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