Fit to Be Tried: Inside the state-of-the-art putting green on Callaway’s Tour truck

PGA Tour pro Adam Hadwin rolls putts on Odyssey's Tour truck.

Courtesy of Callaway Golf

A putting green be an eye-catching addition to any Tour truck, but many have wondered if it would see enough use or turn into a novelty over time. Even on the Tour’s biggest truck — Callaway’s — space is at a premium.

“We thought it had the potential to be a really cool showpiece as you walk into the truck,” says Joe Toulon, Odyssey Tour rep and son of master putter craftsman Sean Toulon. (Odyssey is part of the Callaway umbrella.) “It’s the first thing you see once the door opens. The only thing that gave a few of us pause was the logistics of whether we could squeeze a green on the first level. And you certainly don’t want it sitting there unused, collecting dust.”

While some questioned the green’s inclusion, Jacob Davidson, Callaway’s PGA Tour manager, saw the potential to gain an edge on the competition by adding something no other equipment truck currently boasts.

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“We wanted something that encompassed where we wanted to take our Tour team, which is more of a performance-based team,” said Davidson.

“We want to be the performance partner for our players and for them to come to us, whether they want to look at stats and see where they want to improve, for meetings regarding analytics, course strategy. It’s important that our guys know we can do it all.”

The green is impossible to miss on Callaway’s gleaming truck. Slide open the mirrored door and you’re greeted by a massive red wall, bearing the Odyssey logo, inviting you to try out a myriad of putters situated on the 12-foot-long Astroturf surface. As this scribe found out during a recent visit to the truck, it’s impossible not to roll a few putts when you pop by.

The siren call of the putting green is by design — it gives Odyssey a chance to showcase their latest putters whenever players stop by to chat or get a club regripped. It also acts as the initial jumping-off point for future putter testing and prototype feedback.

“I look at the green sort of like a putter corral in a golf shop,” says Toulon. “Anyone who’s a golfer — once they see putters on a putting green, they’re gonna hit some putts. We’ve seen everyone from players to caddies come on the truck, who might not even be there for something putter specific, and they start picking something up. Even a brief interaction helps get more putters in play.”

A look inside the Callaway Tour truck and its high-tech Quintic camera system. Left: Courtesy Callaway; Right: Tiffani Lynch (2)

The green has also sparked some competition among the players. During the Masters, the first week the new truck was on Tour, a competition broke out to see who could make the most consecutive number of putts on the green.

According to Toulon, Emiliano Grillo established the record that week with “55 or 60” consecutive makes.

Of course, the green is more than just a social spot. Toulon and the rest of Callaway’s Tour team spent countless hours refining the overall look and feel of the green to ensure it was suitable for fittings and head-to-head testing. Several different Astroturf surfaces were tested out before the final version was selected, one that allows the ball to produce a consistent launch and roll. The green currently runs between 9 and 10 on the Stimpmeter most days.

It’s an ideal speed that allows pros to produce a slightly longer stroke that can be easily captured by Quintic’s highspeed camera system. Tracking the putter and ball throughout the impact zone, at 360 to 1080 frames per second, Toulon can determine if a pro’s putter is producing the ideal launch and roll.

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The combination of the indoor green and high-speed camera system has made it possible for Toulon to conduct in-depth fittings and head-to-head putter battles with meaningful data in real time. The end result is a leg up on the competition.

“Having the ability to see what’s going on in real time is huge,” Toulon says. “A pro can see the face angle at impact on the screen and know if it’s a more consistent putter. It’s a big advantage for us and why we’ve seen pros not under contract with us switch after working on the green. It’s one part of the process during testing, but if you get good numbers there, it helps you feel like you’re on the right track when you head outdoors for more testing.”

Tour winner Marc Leishman can attest to the edge. Struggling to consistently square up the face at impact, Leishman worked with Toulon inside the truck on Quintic to find a better option. After testing several different putters, the data determined Odyssey’s TriHot 5K 3 was a better overall option.

“I’ve been putting noticeably better since then,” Leishman said. “What I liked was how I could see what was going on. We’re used to testing a putter and sometimes not knowing if it’s truly better on the practice green. Having the data to back up what I was seeing gave me confidence to switch putters.”

Initially considered a tour truck novelty, Odyssey’s putting green is proving to be a game changer on Tour with real-time data and analysis leading the way.

JWall

Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.