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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone Interested in the Business of Golf

NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF

TaylorMade

Category

Corporate Headquarters

Carlsbad, California

Website

Key Employees

David Abeles President and CEO
Bill Reimus SVP / General Counsel
Bob Maggiore Chief Marketing Officer
Rick Paschal Chief Financial Officer
David Brownie – SVP, Global Operations & Service
Todd Beach – SVP, Research, Design & Engineering
Brian Bazzel – VP TaylorMade Product Creation

Profile

TaylorMade Golf has been one of golf’s leading manufacturers of high performance equipment for just over four decades. The Carlsbad, California-based company was instrumental in ushering in metalwoods and, in turn, the modern era of clubs.

Today, TaylorMade continues to incorporate industry-moving innovations in its latest lines of metalwoods, irons and golf balls. TaylorMade is also a major force on the PGA TOUR with one of the strongest athlete portfolios in golf, a roster that includes Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa and Matthew Wolff. 

“We continue to see advanced technology help golfers improve their performance, which is priority No. 1 for a business like ours,” said TaylorMade CEO David Abeles.

Several members of TaylorMade’s tour staff, including Tiger Woods (right), Rory McIlroy (center) and Dustin Johnson (left) test equipment with senior director of product creation Tomo Bystedt (holding tablet). (Photo courtesy: TaylorMade)

 

In the spring of 1979, a golf equipment salesman named Gary Adams took out a $24,000 loan on his home and founded the TaylorMade Golf Company. The son of a golf professional, Adams rented a 6,000 square-foot building that at one time housed a television assembly plant. There were three employees and a single, innovative product: a 12-degree driver cast of stainless steel that transformed the game, replacing persimmon as the primary composition material for drivers.

The metalwood not only looked and sounded different, it performed differently. The clubhead’s perimeter weighting offered more forgiveness on miss-hits while a lower center of gravity made it easier for golfers to get the ball in the air.

TaylorMade also gained notoriety with its Burner line, including the popular Burner Bubble that helped the company grow into the second-largest U.S. golf manufacturer in the 1990’s. In 1994, a Burner Bubble prototype used by Jose Maria Olazabal became the first metalwood to win at the Masters Tournament.

TaylorMade was purchased by Adidas-Salomon in 1997 and in 2006 became the second brand in industry history to reach $1 billion in revenues.

New York-based equity firm KPS Capital Partners purchased TaylorMade in 2017 when adidas sold its golf brands that also included Adams Golf and Ashworth. Later that year, TaylorMade signed both Woods and McIlroy.

Since its founding, TaylorMade has maintained a relentless focus on innovation and that continues today.

It’s iron technologies through the years include Speed Pocket, Face Slots, RIBCOR, and SpeedFoam. On the driver side, recent product lineups have featured Twist Face and speed-injected technology, engineering innovations designed to improve the performance of all golfers, from the seasoned Tour veteran to the weekend amateur golfer.

“Golf clubs are always an art and science, but it’s becoming more science,” said Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade’s senior director of product creation. “The art part is still there in terms of it has to look great and feel great for the consumers coming in the store. It has to look like something they want to hit, but the science and technology is so next-level nowadays.”

The interior of the lower level of TaylorMade’s tour truck. (Photo courtesy: TaylorMade)

 

“Everybody else has smart people, they’re doing good stuff, so we try to stay ahead of them and keep pushing the envelope,” Bystedt adds. “A lot of people ask why do you have to make a new driver when you made a new one last year? If I know how to make a better club, there’s always someone looking to buy a better club, so why would I hold it back?”

As part of its mission to make golfers of all skill levels and swing types better, TaylorMade in late 2019 introduced its new Kalea line specifically tailored to women. The complete set of eleven clubs is engineered with optimal lengths, lofts and proper gapping to deliver easy-to-launch performance through maximum clubhead speed.

NGF Takeaways

TaylorMade has firmly established itself as one of the most well-known and popular golf businesses in the world.

Driven by a focus on research and development as well as an aggressive marketing approach, TaylorMade over the years has been an influential innovator in the equipment space. In addition to the metalwood created by Adams a modernization that became an industry standard drivers like the Burner Bubble and R7, with its adjustable weights, continued to change the landscape of the club manufacturing market.

Adjustability, from weighting to loft to face angle, has become an industry norm and TaylorMade remains at the forefront of not only the equipment market, but has established itself as one of the most influential and innovative companies in the sport today.

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