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.
Some product launches are riskier, or more uncertain, than others. How confident was the Callaway staff about how Truvis would be received?
We thought it would do well, but we’ve been surprised by the success. We’ve backordered on the product ever since it launched. It takes a special machine to produce the ball. We had to make room it in our ball production facility – and now we’ve added a third one.
The original idea was to get people to be more open about trying something different in a golf ball. We wanted to engage the people who had tried a colored ball in the past, but this turned out to have a much broader reach. We’ve had everyone from beginners to really good players love it and start playing it.
The definition of Truvis is, “giving true vision of movement and depth perception of the movement of a golf ball by application of symmetrical patterns.” How does that translate to performance?
It’s easier to see and follow in the air and find, and it’s easier to differentiate in your group. It also helps with alignment. We tested and evaluated a ton of different colors. (I’ve got a barrel of balls in my office of every color you can imagine.) We found the brighter, bolder colors stood out a lot more, and the original red and white paired with the packaging of the Chrome Soft.
How has the new black and yellow ball been received?
It’s done very well and is outpacing the sales of our traditional yellow balls. Truvis in total is pushing into a 50-50 split versus traditional balls with some of our accounts.
And the new ball design got a boost from use in the par-3 contest at the Masters, correct?
Yes, a bunch of players used the yellow and black and Tom Watson played the red and white in the par-3 and the tournament.
How did Tom Watson come to play the Truvis ball?
It’s funny. He wasn’t one of the players we were going to approach, but he was touring our office one day and there was a Truvis ball on the floor. We have golf balls around our office. People chip and putt.
He looked down, saw one on the ground and asked, “What’s that?” Our CEO Chip Brewer explained it to him and he said he wanted to try it.
So he’s about as traditional as they come and he’s using it. It lends some credibility that way, and it shows he doesn’t think it’s a fad.
Pat Perez also used it on (the stadium par 3) No. 16 at the Waste Management.
What’s the future for the ball? More colors?
We partnered with Troon Golf last year to exclusively produce a pink and white version for October. I could see more custom opportunities like that where we utilize other colors for a special edition offering. There’s a ton of opportunity there, for sure.
Both models of the Truvis ball are available in our golf shop. You can drop by to buy or call our award-winning golf shop at 858.451.8100 to order.