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TaylorMade’s Tom Olsavsky to join Cobra-Puma Golf

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Tom Olsavsky, senior director of product creation at TaylorMade, will replace Tom Preece as the vice president of research and development for Cobra-Puma Golf.

Olsavsky, 49, spent 17 years at TaylorMade, the last seven in his current role. Many in the industry consider Olsavsky to be a big part of TaylorMade’s recent success, which includes record sales of $1.7 billion and a 47 percent market share in the metalwood category in 2012.

According to sources close to the matter, Olsavsky’s signing is considered a “big win” by top Cobra-Puma officials, who have struggled to establish Cobra as a true rival to larger golf equipment companies such as TaylorMade, Callaway, Nike, Ping and Titleist, whose parent company Acushnet sold Cobra to Puma SE in March 2010.

“Tom is a great industry talent and we look forward to him continuing Cobra Golf’s innovation of the game,” said Bob Philion, president of Cobra-Puma Golf in a statement. “His wealth of experience, industry knowledge and exceptional success will help us to continue our development of industry leading technologies. I’m confident that Tom will play a key role in our business growth and provide a great future for Cobra Golf.”

Preece decided to leave Cobra-Puma in September after spending almost 10 years with the company. He is currently listed as the Senior Vice President of R&D at BST Nano Carbon, a company based in Rancho Bernardo, Calif. that specializes in designing and manufacturing products from carbon nano tube materials. According to sources, Preece will stay on with Cobra-Puma as a consultant through the end of the year. Olsavsky is scheduled to begin his duties with Cobra-Puma on Oct. 31.

TaylorMade has chosen Brian Bazzel, who has 14 years of experience with the company, to fill Olsavsky’s post as senior director of product creation for metal woods. Bazzel previously worked as the director of product creation for irons, wedges and putters, a role that will be filled by Tomo Bystedt, who most recently oversaw TaylorMade’s Asian product and marketing operation.

“Tom Olsavsky was part of the TaylorMade family for the better part of 15 years,” said Sean Toulon, TaylorMade’s executive vice president, in a statement. “As individuals, and as an organization, we wish Tom the best of luck in his new endeavor. He will be missed. With that said, TaylorMade’s R&D will continue to operate under the expert leadership of Benoit Vincent, who has overseen every meaningful innovation TaylorMade has produced in the past decade. Our product creation team also consists of a very deep bench.”

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. YtownFHS

    Nov 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    TO will be an awesome addition to Cobra. His engineering/ golf knowledge will be the lift Cobra needs

  2. Dolph Lundgrenade

    Nov 4, 2013 at 4:39 pm

    King Cobra III irons to be released in the Spring!

    Seriously though, what will they do next to metalwoods? Put aerodynamic holes (cylinder tubes)that run through the face to the back? Something like a good hazing paddle!

    Nah, I expect the next Cobra line to have more graphics on the top. Because… that will help.

  3. Jack

    Nov 4, 2013 at 4:21 am

    Maybe Cobra products will start to look better too. Bit too curvy right now (from the logo to driver sole plate) for my liking.

  4. Matt

    Oct 31, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    Great, so can we expect to see amp cell phase 3 with a velocity hole in it???? Or a patented AMP grass trap??

  5. Andrew

    Oct 30, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Why is GolfWRX writing this piece? Is it precedent for every exec that switches horses? IMHO, you would do well to stay out of manufacturer politics…

    • Charlie

      Oct 31, 2013 at 9:03 am

      Why not write about this? A friend of mine is always telling me stuff like this and he calls it ” a little human interest story” . It is relevant and informative yet not earthshaking.

    • Slim

      Oct 31, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      I liked this article – interesting info.

    • Jack

      Nov 4, 2013 at 4:18 am

      It’s industry insider information. Fun stuff! Next logical step to all the golf equipment being made is to pay attention to the people responsible in making it.

  6. totebagger

    Oct 30, 2013 at 10:11 am

    he’s totebaggin around. what a goon

    • R

      Oct 30, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      So you are still in your original job and have never taken a promotion or moved within your chosen occupation (or career path) for something better (financially or otherwise)???

      Hmmm – Senior Director vs. VP role.
      I wonder what I would do?
      It sounds like you wouldn’t even consider it.

      So, NO – I do not want fries with that.

      What a doofus…dumbest comment I’ve seen in a VERY long time.

      • It's Called a PROMOTION

        Oct 31, 2013 at 1:29 pm

        grocery totebagger obviously isn’t smart enough to have a real job, much less a “career”. He has no clue what you’re talking about. Career advancement? What is that??

      • Jack

        Nov 4, 2013 at 4:20 am

        I thought director was higher than VP? Or I’m thinking managing director. it’s also different for different companies/industries.

  7. M

    Oct 30, 2013 at 6:44 am

    So i guess know they are going to have something out every 6 months

  8. Charles Damascus

    Oct 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Judas!!!!

  9. FredWomble

    Oct 29, 2013 at 11:27 am

    I hope he’s left the gimmicks behind. Not that CPG can’t stand improvement — significant imo — but their players’ irons, S3 Pro and APC of late, are fine sticks. Had the S3 Pro, now game APC and they are great clubs.

  10. Fan of T.O.

    Oct 29, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Great move by T.O.

    TaylorMade, from a company culture, is a very cut-throat organization. Huge egos, huge pressure and huge demand every single day.

    T.O. probably got courted heavily by Cobra/Puma. And rightly so. He definitely knows what he is doing but there was always a glass ceiling for him at TaylorMade.

    Now with Cobra, he will have more money, more decision making power and a higher level of influence and respect. And probably a better work environment.

    I am excited to see his influence on Cobra equipment. Because, let’s be honest, the stuff may work fine, but they’re not the most appealing clubs out there, nor are they at the forefront of club innovation.

  11. froneputt

    Oct 29, 2013 at 5:54 am

    TM probably has 5 years of R&D in the pipeline. Of course, Olsavsky knows what it is, so TM may have to speed up the more advanced product to introduction.

  12. Lloyd

    Oct 29, 2013 at 1:33 am

    LEAVING TAYLORMADE FOR COBRA REALY ? HE MUST OF DONE A RORY $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  13. J

    Oct 28, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Cobra-ier? Puma-ier?

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Whats in the Bag

Austin Cook’s Winning WITB: The 2017 RSM Classic

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Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution TX-Flex

3 Wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujifuke Motore Speeder VC 7.2 TX-Flex

Hybrid: Ping G400 3 Hybrid (19 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91X

Hybrid: Ping G400 4 Hybrid (22 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91 X

Irons: Ping S55 Orange Dot (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour S-Flex

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 SS (50-12, 56-12), Ping Glide 2.0 WS (60)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne 
Grip: SuperStroke Mid-Slim 2.0

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

5095fce33e880406a172796becbc64f8 6900daf1b0d2a2751ffa5557ac3865f7 2340677acd0b3c6d0f53ae8fa46c2024 80f602716821fd9518f148951913c9c0 4df372aac347ad61f031f519a1fd1edb 48039d9dfced6272ba047b51e6265d03 6fecf1d551cb1559587f1f17392ba7c8 0519679f5fdaaae2ffbaf2d97c0def72 5445ea5d9987cddfda04efba5d2f1efd

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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm’s Winning WITB: 2017 DP World Tour Championship

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Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75X

3 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75TX

5 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X

Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52 and 56 degrees), TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Equipment

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver

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Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.

The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.

There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.

Below is a collection of early feedback from GolfWRX members, and make sure to join the full discussion. See more photos of the ST-180 driver here.

Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.

GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver

TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all. 

trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either. 

akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.

odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.

nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well. 

evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal. 

regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course! 

Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero. 

Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down.  ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).

Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here

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