After a brief experimental period using them on the putting and chipping greens, the 15-inch cups went live on the east course at Oaks North last week and have been well received, says Lloyd Porter, Head Professional at Oaks North.
“The feedback has been good, and actually really good,” he says.
The cups are part of an initiative sponsored by TaylorMade Golf to make the game more accessible for who amateurs who don’t play often or non-golfers who might be discouraged by the difficulty of scoring.
JC Golf has offered Oaks North and Encinitas Ranch to be among the 100 test courses TaylorMade sought to recruit for the concept, termed “Hack Golf” by TaylorMade CEO Mark King when it was announced at the January PGA Show.
At the launch event at Pauma Valley last spring, King explained he got the concept from a novelty hole he played in a charity tournament once.
Besides increased scoring, the holes are also meant to improve pace of play by drastically reducing the time spent on greens reading putts, etc. Porter says that goal has already been realized.
“It’s unbelievably faster,” he says. “It would be fantastic (for pace) if it would catch on.”
JC is making the experience affordable and memorable by offering nine holes on the 15-inch cups for $15 (cart not included). For reference, by the way, 15 inches is larger than a paint can, but smaller than a basketball hoop.
Porter says younger players have been especially receptive to the concept.
“One of our junior camps went out and a kid chipped in for a birdie and sank a long putt. He was so excited,” Porter says. “Those are probably the first two birdies in his life. So the kids can really relate to the scoring part of it.”
The east course features two holes – one regulation and one enlarged – on each green. The location of the larger hole is noted by a flag with a “15” on it.
Having both holes is providing exposure to the game to players who book 18-hole rounds, Porter says, whether they chose to play the larger holes or not. (Rules note: If a ball goes in the larger hole during a regulation round, simply take relief and consider it a hole made by a greens keeper. And vice versa.)
Porter says it’s too early to draw any conclusions about the impact of the holes on new players, but reports that so far the launch has been successful.
“It’s going to take time to catch on,” he says, “but so far the feedback has been very positive.”
To book your nine-hole round for $15 at Oaks North, go to www.jcgolf.com or call 858.487.3021.
July was a big month for the blog.
Among other things, it saw: a post about the fifth hole at Journey at Pechanga become the single most viewed post in the history of the blog; the blog break its single-day traffic record during a day of the British Open; and the blog smash its monthly traffic record.
In the blogosphere, that’s big stuff. First off, I just want to say a big thanks to all the blog’s readers and followers for making all of the above happen. We at least humbly hope at the home office that this means we’re providing you content you are finding worthwhile.
While all this was going on in July, even bigger things were brewing behind the scenes. A long-overdue redesign was in the works as was an agreement to have ads by TaylorMade Golf hosted on the blog.
After jumping through many technological hoops, including switching blog hosts and enduring lengthy calls to customer support, the redesign is complete and the TaylorMade ads are live. Welcome to the new Southern California Golf and Travel Blog – and, oh yes, we slightly tweaked the name of the site, but not the domain.
First, about the redesign. The biggest objective was to get what we call in the biz a higher “item count” up high. The old format really only showed you the top post and you to scroll quite a bit to get to other recent posts, much lesser older ones.
The big thing you’ll notice now is that if you want to read multiple recent posts on, say, JC Golf or travel or equipment, those topics are providing for you in convenient tabs just above the main art on the blog. These topics may change from time to time, but they largely represent the dominant posts categories on the blog.
Anyway, beyond that, the blog has a cleaner looker now that seems to be, among other things, much friendlier on mobile. I, for one, thought the Portland post looked better on my phone than on my computer. This matters because we’re an increasingly mobile world these days, and mobile is what Facebook, Twitter, etc., and like companies are absolutely plowing resources into these days.
The redesign gained its finishing touch on Thursday when the ads for TaylorMade Golf went live. You will notice them as banner ads promoting an array of TaylorMade gear – equipment, shoes, apparel – representing its individual entities – TaylorMade Golf, Adidas and Ashworth.
What this means for me is that blog is no longer just my digital portfolio; it’s a business. Let me telling you that’s a fairly exciting sentence to type, and it has huge implications and potential going forward.
What it means immediately for you, is that you can shop the blog while you read. So if, for instance, you like the review of the SLDR Mini Drive I did a few months back, you can now buy one directly through my site. In that regard, it means the blog experience full circle.
The big thing in the immediate last week was to get the ads live and functional. You’ll notice an increased ad presence going forward, but the big thing down the road is that this sets the blog up to coordinately closely with the world’s leading golf brand on future product launches, thus keeping our readership on the cusp of golf innovation.
I can tell you that the blog staff is hugely excited about the possibilities for this going forward, and we hope this level of exclusivity will help draw more eyeballs to the site and give you reason to keep coming back beyond just the current level of content.
And whereas the blog currently posts two or three days a week, I can see things ramping up to nearly daily a month or so out from now.
I mostly say a month out because the blog is traveling a lot in August, fortunately mostly for work. The “travel” part of Southern California Golf and Travel Blog is going to get a big content boost in August.
Anyway, part of that travel is to the West Coast PGA Show in Las Vegas in a few weeks, so make sure to tune into the blog then for an eyeful of product innovations and insights into the latest in golf technology on many fronts.
Also, I’ll be living tweeting the PGA Championship at least one day this week, so please follow the blog on Twitter if you’re game for being part of that conversation. The majors seem to be peak traffic times for the blog and we’re learning to plan content accordingly.
That’s all for now, but I just want to share all the happy blog news and update on the changes that have been passing in front of your computer screen. For as big as July as, August is going to be even bigger. Heady stuff for a blog that isn’t even a year old yet.
Thanks again to everyone who has supported the blog along the way. It’s been a fun ride … and it’s really only beginning.