Tag Archives: Zach Johnson

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19th Hole Media: Q & A With iliac golf founder Bert LaMar

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Editor’s Note: This post was written for Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club’s blog to introduce iliac golf to their golf shop. Photos are courtesy of iliac golf.

Arroyo Trabuco is excited to announce the addition of iliac Golf to its pro shop line up! Iliac is a luxury lifestyle brand that has existed only online and the exclusive clubs (Pine Valley, Royal Portrush, etc.) since its founding in 2005 but has established a loyal and sizeable following.

Founder Bart LaMar says he is now bringing the brand public at a select number of Southern California courses, including Arroyo Trabuco, to better serve his existing customers and grow the exposure to the product.

“I feel like I owe it to my customers,” said LaMar, who’s based in Carlsbad. “We have a big customer base on the web site (www.iliacgolf.com), but they don’t have a place to go and try it on, unless you can get into a Pine Valley.

“So I think it’s really important to put it in a few places, but I’m putting it in places where I can still be really hands-on. I want people to discover the quality and the brand.”

The Iliac line started with a specialty in premium leather head covers and uniquely styled shirts – you’ve likely seen one on the back of PGA Tour pro Jimmy Walker – and is now a full-scale lifestyle brand (shoes, pants, belts, etc.).

Arroyo Trabuco Head Golf Professional Michael Block said the brand is a natural fit for Arroyo.

“It was a no-brainer for us to work with Bert and iliac because their style fits so well with our culture at the club,” Block said. “To be able to offer the iliac brand in our golf shop is just one more way that we can set ourselves apart, not only from other golf clubs, but even local clothing stores.

“It’s a unique and exciting opportunity to offer that label at Arroyo Trabuco.”

In this Q & A, LaMar shares the story of the founding and growth of the iliac brand, educates you about its merchandise and apparel and discusses the launch at Arroyo.

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Q. You had previous successful ventures in skateboarding and snowboarding. Why the move to golf?

A. I’m a golfer and tried to turn pro for a few years, but didn’t make much money at it. I fell in love with the vintage classic style of the sport and wanted to do something that honored golf’s rich tradition. Everything iliac is rich in tradition.

I started by making luxury leather head covers and shirts and basically pioneered the head cover category.

Q. Zach Johnson and others have donned the brand on the PGA Tour. What do you think the appeal is to Tour pros?

A. I think us being fashion-forward inspires a lot of these guys and the flavor of it. It’s different. I don’t make khaki pants and striped shirts.

There’s also a higher level of support, design and service that you don’t get from the biggest companies.

Q. Jimmy Walker is one of the current Tour pros to have worn your apparel. How did that relationship come about?

A. He was ranked around No. 100 in the world at the time and nobody really knew him about and he dressed like everyone else. Our clothing was a big step for him. He started with blacks and solids and was getting a lot of compliments.

His game started to ascend at the same time, and I really think there’s a connection between looking good and playing well.

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Q. What’s the best benefit you and the brand get from your clothing and apparel being on Tour?

A. From shirts to pants to belts to shoes, I’m always kind of inventing things out of Tour necessity. I’ve sometimes solved a problem they didn’t even know they had. That’s designing from the highest level. The Tour is where a lot of my ideas come from.

Q. How does that process and the appeal of wear Tour-quality apparel trickle down to the amateur player?

A. This is Tour-level high fashion but also the technical performance of the product carries over to the amateur. We’re for people who are serious about their game and serious about their apparel. There’s also a learning curve with the product because it’s different than anything else out there.

But once people become an iliacker, they’re usually and iliacker for life.

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Q. You didn’t make the brand public until just the year. What do you hope the biggest benefit will be?

A. Our brand was under the radar for a long time. We didn’t even have the name iliac on our gear until two years ago. We just had a red crest.

We were promoted mostly by word of mouth. But to me, it’s like a good restaurant. If it’s good, people will tell people.

We’re vintage, but we’re also very fashion-forward.

But we want to bring golf’s classic style to today’s golfer.

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2017 Masters Preview

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Photo: www.techagesite.com

The golf world entered last year’s Masters buzzing about the looming rise of a youthful Big Four. A year later, there’s mostly only talk of an emerging Big One – and it isn’t that guy.

DJ, not TW, is turning into the Tour Goliath that his tremendous talent suggested possible but hadn’t been realized. His breakthrough win at the 2016 U.S. Open appears to have changed all that.

After being named Player of the Year in 2016, DJ has only built on that momentum by rising to world No. 1 and flattening the field on the way to three straight victories coming into Augusta.

Will DJ continue his Tour dominance with a win at Augusta National, a place where he doesn’t have a great track record? Or will players with a better history and feel for the place (Spieth, Mickelson, etc.) stem the tide and deny him the green jacket?

The question: Can DJ’s greatly improved short game and putting stand up to the staunch test at Augusta?

We ponder that and four other storylines coming into what many regard as the best week in golf. Here’s a look at our top five.

Will DJ continue to dominate? – His nearly unrivaled length has always made him a fearsome force on the Tour, but it’s his newfound touch on and around the greens that has changed his game and has him lifting more trophies.

DJ finished a very quiet T-4 last year, which is best finish at Augusta and followed a T-6 in 2016. If he’s stealthily been stalking the jacket, then the new DJ might be ready.

The Golf Channel shared a story about all the work Johnson has put in honing his game inside the scoring zone (125 yards and in) in the past year, and his second major and a fourth straight victory will likely be riding on it. But most critical, will his recently steady putting touch stand up to the test of the slick Augusta greens?

Will Jordan rebound? – We would likely be talking about a two-time defending champion going for a third straight green jacket had Jordan Spieth not gotten two consecutive tee shots wet on the par-3 12th a year ago. That turned what looked to be a runaway into an open door for underdog Danny Willett to sneak in and claim the championship.

Spieth claims not to be haunted by No. 12, having returned to Augusta last Dec. and played the hole without issue. Still, you can be sure the replays of his meltdown will roll when Jordan steps to the 12 tee on Thursday.

Spieth seemed to burn out a bit a year ago after playing a hectic schedule. He’s dialed that back this year and seems to have rediscovered much of the form that had him chasing the Grand Slam two years ago.

We know Spieth can putt the notorious greens of Augusta, but will his ball striking hold up under what are expected to be challenging conditions on Thurs. and Fri.? But if Spieth gets into the weekend around the lead, it’ll be hard not like his chances. With a T2, 1, T2 history at Augusta, would you bet against him?

He’ll certainly be seeking redemption on No. 12 and savoring another chance to win back the green jacket.

Is Rory ready to go Grand? – The Masters is the only gap in Rory’s major resume. Is this the year he completes the career Grand Slam? He seems to have found his form again after being briefly sidelined with a rib injury.

As one of the few on Tour who can challenge DJ off the tee, that’d be a power pairing if it happened on the weekend. Is Rory ready to end his major drought? It’d certainly put some juice into the Augusta gallery if he’s contending going into Sunday.

Can Lefty be right one more time? – Though he’s played some of the most consistent golf of his career and been around the lead often (see the British last year), Phil hasn’t won since he won the British in 2013. Can he pull out one more major surprise with that famous Augusta-friendly short game?

If he’s steady off the tee, the decider for Phil will likely be that claw putting grip he remains committed to. Can he roll it for four rounds again like he did at the British last year? If so, look out for Lefty.

Will it be a favorite or will it be someone like Willett? – More than the course, the weather may be the wildcard to answering this question.

With windy and possible wet weather on tap for the first two days, it could open the door for some underdogs to secure some previous landscape near the top of the weekend leaderboard.

The forecasted cool conditions are being likened to 2007, when Zach Johnson used some clutch and calculated wedge play to surgically conquer Augusta National and the field. Will a similar approach prevail this year?

The Tour saw four first-timers last year claim all the majors a year ago. Will that trend continue or will a favorite emerge victorious? We’ll soon find out during one of the best weeks in golf.

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