Tag Archives: Tom Watson

Southland: Callaway’s Truvis Triumph – A Q & A

Callaway Truvis

When Callaway Golf launched the Chrome Soft golf ball a year ago, it dubbed it as “the ball that changed the ball.” Callaway doubled down on that sentiment when it added Truvis technology, a soccer ball-style patterning that helps increase the ball’s visibility.

Truvis is a patented technology Callaway purchased and has the exclusive rights to in North America. Since launching last summer, the ball has developed a sizeable following that has surprised even Callaway officials, according to Jason Finley, Callaway’s Director of Brand Management for Golf Balls and Packaged Sets.
Callaway recently launched the second generation of Truvis, a black and yellow ball to complement the original red and white design. To keep up with demand and production, Finley said Callaway just installed a third Truvis machine in its golf ball plant.

Golfers are getting a kick out of the golf ball that looks like a soccer ball, and Finley said Callaway is kicking around a bunch more ideas for Truvis use. In its brief history, the ball has turn into quite a tale of innovation success and even won more such traditionalists as Tom Watson, who literally walked into the opportunity to be the de facto Tour spokesman for the ball (more on that in a minute). Finley shares that story and the evolution of the ball’s technology and popularity in this Q & A.

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Jan. Southland

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Highlight Hole: No. 17 at the Grand Del Mar

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The blog is about to go on a mini-vacation, but wanted to post this from my round this week at the Grand Del Mar before signing off. I’ll be writing more about the Grand after the break so you can look forward to that. It was one of the biggies I hadn’t played in San Diego, so it was nice to finally have the experience.

I’d heard about golf at the Grand in general over the years, but not in specifics. Well, here’s one of the secrets its keeps from golfers who don’t play their rounds at that price point: They might have the toughest par 3 in San Diego.

I haven’t spent much time pondering that list – No. 11 at Torrey (South) comes to mind along with No. 17 at Encinitas Ranch and, if we step a couple paces past the county line, No. 17 at Journey at Pechanga is worthy – but let’s make 17 at the Grand the tentative No. 1 seed.

Difficulty isn’t your first thought when you come to the hole; it’s beauty. I mean, look at it.

Tom Fazio built a masterpiece here with a half-island green guarded by water on the left and a postage stamp of a bunker on the right (“That’s a busy little bunker,” our caddie assured us) and surrounded by a setting that evokes Aviara comparisons.

You admire the scene for a bit, then realize you have to play it … and then the caddie gives you the yardage.

“It’s 242 yard from the pro tees,” he says, “but it plays 256-260 because it’s always into the wind.”

Gulp. We opted not to even play that one for fun. Phil just practiced here. 3-iron? Hybrid? I’d love to watch that.

It’s 216 from the blacks, and 178 from the blues – our tees. I played it like 200 and pulled hybrid. I hit it great, but then the familiar shot shape showed up – starting right, hooking left … uh oh.

My ball bounded off the left bank – but, hey, pin-high – and joined the half dozen other Titleists in the lake. My playing partner fared no better.

I simply took a drop, finished out and doffed my cap to a hole that makes you feel like just got a taste of the PGA Tour. And, appropriately, I was going home within the hour as would be the case at (insert your Tour event of choice here).

While driving to 18, I started to talk strategy for 17 with the caddie and recalled a Tom Watson lament from earlier this year. He wondered my players never check their ego and lay up on a difficult par 3.

It doesn’t take Dr. Phil – or Dr. Bob Rotella, for that matter – to answer that one, but you could certainly make a case for Watson’s strategy here. There is ample room short to place a 7 iron and then wedge it in and hope for a one-putt.

But the fun in that would be … ?

I hope I get another crack at 17 sometime because it just made my list of San Diego holes where I’d like to make par or better. But there’s only one way I’m going to do that …

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JC Golf Spotlight Hole: No. 17 at Encinitas Ranch

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Photo courtesy of JC Golf

There are ocean views from 11 holes at Encinitas Ranch, but water – not the ocean – only actually comes into play on three.

The one hole where you get the most of both is No. 17.

Played against an expansive backdrop of the Pacific Ocean, and often into an ocean breeze, the par-3 17th lurks as potential stumbling blocking toward the end of your round.

Playing to 185 yards from the blues and 160 from the white, the large pond to the right has attracted its share of tee shots over the years. But with the large green to hit and the bailout area to the left, that doesn’t have to be you.

Encinitas Ranch General Manager Erik Johnson says people playing the hole for the first time make a common mistake that leads to bad outcomes.

“You don’t want to go at the right side of that green, even when the pin is over there,” he says. “That doesn’t allow enough room for your miss, and the next thing you know your shot is high, right and caught in the wind and you’re wet.”

(FYI: If your ball finds the lake, the drop zone is about 50 yards from the left front of the green.)

When I played the hole recently, I felt my felt my threesome had a fairly representative experience. My first playing partner’s tee shot met the fate described above. My other partner missed the green short and left.

Having my own history with this hole, I chose to club up and ignore the front pin and try to hit the middle of the green. My hybrid carried beyond the back of the green and right, where I discovered a collection area I didn’t know existed.

The two of us who stayed dry off the tee both got up and down for par. Our third impressively scrambled to save bogey.

We played the hole around 4 p.m., the time when Johnson says the hole is usually play its toughest.

“About 10 or 11 in the morning that prevailing wind kicks up,” he says. “It starts out as about one club and then can become two, especially when the pin is in the back. And people don’t factor in that as the day gets cooler, the fall doesn’t fly as far, so you might lose 10 yards off your 5-iron.”

And from the back tees, largely because of the wind, this hole is a long iron for most players, including Johnson.

“The best strategy I’ve come up with is to take a little bit more club, choke down and always play to the left-hand side of the green,” he says. “I’m going to resign myself to a two-putt or getting up and down if I miss the green.

“But that chip isn’t a gimme. It challenges people.”

No. 17 follows a short par-4 and leads into the par-5 18th. Johnson says there’s a chance for a strong close to your round -as long you don’t let it get away at 17.

“What you really don’t want is double bogey or worse,” he says. “Four is a pretty OK score on 17 and three can feel like a birdie.”

Tom Watson lamented on Twitter recently – yes, Tom Watson is on Twitter – that players who are smartly willing to lay up on tough par-4s and -5s, stubbornly won’t use the same approach on a par-3.

If you really struggle with this hole, that might be something to consider here.

Feel free to share your successes, struggles and strategies for No. 17, especially if you’ve ever made an ace here. JC Golf would love to hear about your experiences with this challenging par-3.

You can also find this post at jcgolf.com, where you can also book a lesson or a tee time at one of their six North County courses.