It’s safe to say at this point that 2022 has already been a crazy year, and we are only 28 days into this thing. January is always a fast-moving month with PGA Tour events every week, Launch season, and prepping for what’s to come over the summer. Let’s say the Golf industry as a whole and Callaway Golf especially are in a solid place.
Honestly I’m already gassed LOL.
This gig requires not only a ton of travel (which is fun), but it’s also a competition. I mean that we (Callaway) have been sitting on products to introduce to the world for roughly six months. Now that the governor (embargos) are off, it’s a mad dash to spread the information and show all golfers just what our products can do. It’s quite the exercise in patience when you know you have gear that will make Golfers better, and you have to sit on talking about it.
Our products are one component, but that’s only part of it; golfers need to understand the “Why,” the “nuance,” and the “how” more than ever. It is a very competitive market, and initial first impressions carry a bit of weight, but what excites me most is that Callaway has the arsenal (Top to bottom) to help golfers play the best golf of their lives.
I’ve never had so much confidence going into a campaign as I do sitting here, right now.
ROGUE ST DRIVERS
The Rogue ST Max line-up is the companies strongest to date, without question. I was there at RSM when our Tour Team began testing with staff, and I saw that “look.” It’s the look when a player realizes something new, something better. I recall a moment with Talor Gooch (who went on to win that week) when after about five shots, he turned to Tour fitter Dean Teykl and asked, “how is this possible?”
The question was an honest reaction from a player that saw something different. Our drivers are ALWAYS fast. It’s what we do. What he was seeing was something that could help him WIN: stability, proper start lines, and spin robustness out of the heel and toe.
That reaction has not changed at all. Our staff has been swapping this driver in at a frantic pace. Even Sam Burns, who made his Epic Speed gamer look like the greatest driver of all time, switched into Rogue ST quickly based on what he was experiencing downrange. This driver has given our players the ability to miss it and maintain the ball speed and dispersion they want. At the TOUR level, anytime you allow players to save a 1/2 shot per round, one more fairway, one less foul ball, or one new opportunity to score, it could mean a ton of cash.
Needless to say, the first month on the Rogue train has been a good one, and I don’t think it will stop. Our competition has a cool story (no doubt), but wins and performance rule over time.
We are still learning a ton about these drivers on TOUR from a fitting perspective, as is the case with any new part, but as we sit today, the only discoveries are positive. The conversion rate is NUTS.
Without a doubt, my favorite thing to discuss is Golf Balls. We DID NOT have the ball a few years back. Sure, it was good, but it wasn’t what we have now. The Chrome Soft golf balls have put Callaway Golf on a different trajectory. Like the 1992 “Dream Team,” we have ZERO holes in our line-up. I’m not sure what we are better at these days, clubs or balls…Chrome Soft is that good.
Look at what happened in 2021 with Rahm and Phil winning majors, Xander a gold, and multiple other victories. That’s not luck. We put 50+M into our ball program, and the investment resulted in a simply remarkable product.
Like the Rogue ST, the aspect of the ball that is getting noticed is stability in combination with speed. The introduction of the new CSX LS (with its softer cover) gave our Tour team a place to go when CSX wasn’t quite the fit. Now both balls are more or less twins, with one saving the player 300-400RPMs of spin. Do you know how difficult it is to make a ball that is fast, stable in the wind, AND spins around the greens? It may sound like nothing, but it isn’t.
I mean, Kevin Na switched. That speaks volumes to me. It’s not just the Rahm’s and Phils that validate a golf ball; when you see a player like Kevin who was in a committed relationship with his old ball for 15-20 years decide to switch (he didn’t have to, FYI), shows me that our product is special. Even during my days at WRX, if I were to see a switch like that, my ears would perk up…quickly. It’s one of those gear head markers that you look out for.
Last week, it was a home game for me at the American Express Championship. It was a week I was looking forward to as it falls on my Dad’s birthday, and it’s an opportunity for my family/friends to see what I do all day.
Callaway Media Productions was also on hand to shoot a ton of new content with our staff. These content shoots are a military-style operation over two days that had me doing multiple WITB vids and other fun stuff you will see in the coming months. My boss Jeff Neubarth is a beast in these shoots. It’s a game of herding cats, and he excels at that. I don’t know how he does it.
On Tuesday night, I had Jacob Davidson, Kellen Watson, and Joe Toulon over to my folks for dinner, and it was fun watching my old man drop anchor on them with his old navy stories and some red wine. Jimmy Walker, a close buddy of mine (non-staff, I know), did the grilling. I had a few moments that evening where I thought to myself, “How the hell did all this happen?” That’s my speak for being very grateful.
Wednesday, I was tasked with chasing Rahm, Phil, and The Farms (Phil and Chips home track) Director of Instruction Kyle Mendoza around. Kyle qualified by winning the SCPGA Sectional Championship. Watching a PGA staff pro play with the big dogs is always a blast, and I must say Kyle handled it like a champ. Phil and Rahm are GOLD in situations like this; without missing a step, they made Kyle feel comfortable, offered advice, and talked shop up and down the fairways.
Check Out my TOUR Report for all the gear news at the Amex
Now, this was a Callaway “Home Game.” Torrey Pines looked slightly different from last summer, but the vibe is still the same. The players know that the season ultimately starts NOW. It’s that time of the year that the golf courses get elite, the new product is more or less dialed in, and it’s time to make your mark.
As per our routine, I walked with Sam Burns and his childhood friend Ryan Alford (sponsors exemption) on Monday afternoon, and holy 💩 did Sam put on a show. I can’t see a scenario where he isn’t in the Top 5 in the world come Tour Championship time. It’s not just me who sees it; the players know it as well. He’s just special, and the maturity at his age is different. The way he and caddy Travis Perkins prep for a tournament is not only impressive, but it might be the most efficient system I have seen. At no point in his prep is there a wasted moment or action. It’s specific and catered to making sure that Sam understands exactly what he needs. From a ball-striking perspective, Sam HAS to be one of the Top 5 on Tour. In my opinion, Callaway has 3 of the Top 5, Sam, JR, and Xander.
In other news, I walked with #rahmbo on Tuesday, and once again, he walked, talked, and played like everyone else was playing for runner-up. I really don’t have any more superlatives to express on Jon Rahm. He is BY FAR the best player globally, and his opening round 66 (on the south, no less) was another example of how elite JR is. He’s the king right now. It’s indisputable. The wins will come, and it’ll be in bunches when they do. The last time we walked Torrey together on a Tuesday, he won The US Open, just saying. 🤷🏻♂️
Check Out my TOUR Report for all the gear news at Torrey
It’s only January, and my head is already spinning. So much has happened since last March, and it’ll take me years to cycle through the memories, but I need to say something that I’m actually quite grateful and proud of.
My relationships with my Tour Truck team.
Jacob, Kellen, Simon, Dean, Greg, and Joe have embraced me and this new endeavor in ways I couldn’t imagine. I’m part of their wheel when I’m out here, and I take that very seriously. That’s been my favorite part of this whole thing, being part of THIS team, at THIS moment, with THIS Tour Staff and with THIS company.
2022 is going to be a HUGE year. Callaway Golf is the king of the jungle right now, make no mistake, and we are just getting started.