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 of GolfWRX.com.

He's been a part of the company since 2012, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Since that time, GolfWRX has become the go-to destination on the web for golf equipment news, tour news, instruction and opinion.

Zak also developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers who want to improve their skills and allows established golf professionals to communicate directly with readers.

He played college golf at the University of Richmond, and competes in tournaments as a professional.

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.

19 COMMENTS

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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…

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

      • 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??

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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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