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3M is really putting the 3M in the 3M Open

Walking along the fairways and among the the large corporate tents at the 3M Open, the company’s footprint seems to be all over the place. And almost every golfer in the field carries some 3M product in his bag — most likely an adhesive keeping their clubs in one piece.

Scott E. Garrison
Club maker Scott E. Garrison assembles a Callaway driver in his trailer workshop at the 3M Open.
MinnPost photo by Pat Borzi

More than a dozen enormous golf equipment trucks lined the narrow path to the left of the driving range Tuesday at TPC Twin Cities, site of this week’s 3M Open, barely leaving room for a golf cart to squeeze past. Most of the trucks belonged to major manufacturers like TaylorMade, Callaway and Titleist.

Two are independent, and Scott E. Garrison of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, the namesake of Scott EG Golf, owns one. When players need a club fashioned or fixed on the spot, Garrison is often the guy they see. Years ago, at a tournament in Atlanta, the Australian great Greg Norman needed custom grips on several clubs ASAP. Garrison said he turned them around in 10 minutes.

Building a club from scratch, Garrison said, takes 20 minutes or less. Tuesday, he finished one off with several visitors looking on. “It’s 4:32,” he said after affixing the head of Titleist 6-iron to the shaft with DP810 epoxy, a 3M product. “At 4:39, this thing will be dry.” 

The walls of his trailer mix popular culture with golf history. A poster of oddly drawn characters from “Caddyshack” shares space with a famous black-and-white photo of the late golf champion Tony Lema, aka Champagne Tony, raising the Claret Jug and a glass of bubbly to celebrate his 1964 British Open victory. The popular Lema, a Garrison favorite for his style and panache, died in a plane crash in 1966. 

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Underneath the photo is a metal industrial storage cabinet with 15 marked drawers. Near the bottom on the far right, one drawer reads “3M.” That’s where Garrison keeps rolls of 3M-manufactured tape and related products he uses in his work. Garrison also used the fast-drying epoxy to assemble a Callaway Epic Flash driver for Brian Dwyer of Apple Valley, who qualified Monday for the tournament. The tape keeps grips in place.

“I’m a fan of 3M,” he said. “The adhesives, for sure. A player can have a finished product within 15 minutes, and they’re using it on the range.”

The PGA Tour returned to the Twin Cities this week for the first time since 1969, with 3M signing on as title sponsor, as it did the Senior/Champions Tour event at TPC from 2001 through last year. The Maplewood-based manufacturing giant uses the tournament to showcase its products and raise money for its charity arm, the 3M Open Fund. Tuesday, Garrison’s trailer was the last stop in a Science Tour led by company officials to show off some of the hundreds of 3M products in play this week.

Walking along the fairways and among the the large corporate tents, 3M’s footprint seems to be all over the place. In some subtle way almost every golfer in the field carries a 3M product in his bag — most likely an adhesive keeping their clubs in one piece.

3M hoped to show off a piece of artwork at the tournament entrance, made with 3M products and inspired by the Northern Lights. That changed when it was damaged last weekend by heavy rain and high winds.

The flip-disc interactive display at the 3M Social Hub on the grounds of the 3M Open.
The flip-disc interactive display at the 3M Social Hub on the grounds of the 3M Open.
But the 3M Social Hub, in a large air-conditioned white tent within the Fan Village near the 18th green, is up and running. (It’s free.) By temperature, it may be the coolest place on the grounds. A clear film — 3M Radiative Cooling Film, to be precise — covers aluminum panels on the roof, reflecting heat back into the sky and allowing the AC to work more efficiently. See for yourself. A display next to the tent allows visitors to put their hands under panels with and without the film to judge the difference.

Inside, a multilayer film on the windows allows most natural light in while deflecting up to 60 percent of the heat. Those who chill easily may need a light sweater in here. 

Down the middle of the tent, two items on opposite sides of a wall bear mention. Facing the entrance, a mosaic wall serves as a fundraiser for the 3M Open Fund, benefiting the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, the Science Museum of Minnesota and the National Park Foundation. Visitors may print out 3M-related Instagram and Twitter posts and add them to the wall. For each photo tagged with #GolfThatMatters, 3M’s theme for the tournament, the company will donate $3 toward a $10,000 maximum.

The other side of the wall features an unusual interactive display, with technology similar to those clacking departure boards at East Coast Amtrak stations. Thousands of individual black and white discs flip to show images when people walk or run past the display. Powered by Luster, a Brooklyn, New York, based tech company, the display uses a 3M processor and 3M cables.

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The Social Hub will be open all week. But by the time the first players tee off Thursday morning, the big equipment trucks will be on their way to the next PGA Tour stop, the John Deere Classic in Silvis, Illinois — the Quad Cities. But if Dwyer happens to make the cut with that big green Calloway driver, he can thank Garrison’s skilled hands and fast work.

“We’re like the NASCAR pit crew of the PGA Tour,” Garrison said.