Taylormade golf made its name when they introduced the metalwood. While most people saw it as nothing more than a novelty, Gary Adams, along with a host of other professional golfers, saw it in an entirely different way: his invention would revolutionize how golf clubs were made. Drivers, in particular, would see the most improvement in the next few years.
True to form, Taylormade is now the biggest name in the world of golf as far as drivers are concerned. This article talks about the innovations they’ve made in driver design.
Innovation means TaylorMade
1979 marked the year when golf would experience one of the biggest changes it has seen since the dimpled ball. Gary Adams, a golf equipment salesman, has just thought of a way to improve player scores by having golf balls fly farther from the tee. Taking a $24,000 loan on his home to start Taylormade golf in a 6,000-square-foot television assembly plant, he starts working on his idea: a 12° driver cast of stainless steel. People saw it as a novelty, but soon it catches on.
1983 sees TaylorMade introducing the Burner, a 7° driver which has dynamic dimples on the skirt, which enhances the head’s aerodynamics. By this time, Taylormade golf also offered a large selection of drivers, including the Burner. Metalwood popularity is on the rise, with 80% of metalwoods used on tour being made by TaylorMade. This was in the face of TaylorMade drivers not winning a major.
While Burners continue to make their mark as the preferred driver for tour players, it wasn’t until 1988 that a Taylormade golf driver would be used in a win. Curtis Strange won the 1988 U.S. Open with a Burner driver, marking the first in TaylorMade’s many wins in the PGA Tour.
The Burner Bubble, a successor to the Burner, becomes one of the most successful clubs made by TaylorMade. Released in 1995, its copper-coloured head makes it easy to identify, but its true innovation lies in its bubble shaft. This innovation promotes faster club head speed which results in increased distance, making Taylormade golf drivers the preferred driver for golfers in the 90s, with more top 10 finishes than any other brand. Titanium would also come into play during this decade, with the release of the T1 Bubble. It would also make its mark in the tour when Tom Lehman would use it to catapult himself to being the number one player on the PGA Tour money list in 1996.
2003 would solidify TaylorMade’s position as the best manufacturer for all kinds of golf clubs, as it was ranked number 1 in drivers, fairway woods, and irons – the first and only time a single manufacturer has achieved such a milestone. TaylorMade’s R500 series, which introduced the inverted cone technology, would help Tour Staff Professional Mike Weir win the Masters using an R580. The inverted cone technology (ICT) expands the size of the COR zone, giving consistently longer tee shots.
TaylorMade would soon introduce even more advancements, like the movable weight technology of the r7 Quad in 2004, allowing the golfer to adjust the club’s center of gravity to affect changes in flight; the dual crown technology (DCT) of the Tour Burner driver in 2008, which encourages a higher launch angle while also having a lower spin rate for more distance; r9’s flight control technology (FCT) in 2009, giving players the ability to adjust both the face angle and loft for straighter and longer tee shots. Its latest innovation would come in 2011, with the Burner Super-fast being marketed as the lightest driver ever and the white-headed r11, which incorporates the new Adjustable Sole Plate (ASP) technology. This, in combination with FCT and MWT, allows golfers even more customization in their driver, as well as making the r11 the most technologically-advanced driver ever created. The white head makes it easier to aim, along with giving it a very unique look.