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TaylorMade’s Tom Olsavsky to join Cobra-Puma Golf



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 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.



  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


  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


  13. J

    Oct 28, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    Cobra-ier? Puma-ier?

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Wilson’s new FG Tour V6 RAW irons (yes, they will rust)



Wilson came out with its FG Tour V6 irons in 2016, but these new Raw versions have a different look… and with time, they’ll have a VERY different look.

The new FG Tour V6 Raw irons have an unplated finish, and they’re designed to “develop a unique patina based on age, exposure and use over time,” according to Wilson. This gives each iron a unique look, and one that’s far from the clean cut original FG Tour release that had a chrome finish (which won’t rust).

In addition to the rusting effect, the irons are different because they have a copper badge in the cavity that will eventually match the color of the golf club over time. Here’s a graphic mock-up of how the Raw irons may look overtime.

Like the original releases, the irons have tungsten weights and mass behind the impact area for a “forged feel” and “improved feedback,” according to the company.

The FG Tour V6 Raw irons are a custom option on, and are available through Wilson’s premium partner accounts as of today, Tuesday, June 19. According to Wilson, the Raw irons “are a very limited production run,” so only a certain amount of sets will even be built.


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Chief Engineer Chris Voshall on Mizuno’s approach to the Tour and some of the most insightful pros



Mizuno’s Chief Engineer Chris Voshall chatted with Johnny Wunder on the latest episode of the Gear Dive.

Voshall offers innumerable interesting anecdotes–particularly interesting is the development of the JPX 900 iron for Brooks Koepka and Voshall’s discussion of his work with other Tour talents.

In the excerpt below, however, Voshall discusses Mizuno’s approach to Tour players and further, whose feedback has proven particularly valuable.

“We’re not making them something special. If they’re coming to us, it’s because the product is that good…They come to us instead of us having to go to them…that’s one of the really exciting things.”

Voshall indicated that players on Tour play essentially the same Mizuno products that are available at retail.

“If the Tour van is out of inventory, they can reach out to us…and we’ll get them more heads. There’s nothing unique about what they’re playing, which I think speaks to the customer…you can almost not trust marketing around the whole world these days, but for us to say ‘there’s nothing different’…that’s something we really hang our hat on.”

With respect to excellent testers on Tour, Voshall sang Luke Donald’s praises, as well as Jhonny Vegas and Brian Gay.

“I love working with Luke. Luke, especially when you’re talking irons…turf interaction, that’s the thing he’s looking for. So with Luke, you’ve really got to speak to him about how it feels, how it enter, how it exits [the turf] and how that’s causing the ball to launch. You could give him the exact same head with a slightly different sole grind, and he will love or hate one versus the other. He’s really cool to work with on that front.”

“Jhonny Vegas…he’s raw power. He goes at it. He wants to slam the club into the ground as hard as he can and see where it goes. He very much on the opposite end of the spectrum as Luke, who’s very much an artist out there, trying to work it, trying to do different things.”

“One of my favorite guys to work with, even though he’s not on staff anymore, is Brian Gay. He knows his game. He knows equipment. Speaking to the fact that he’s been out on Tour as long as he has and has the wins he has with the length he hits the ball, it shows that he does not miss a shot. And he knows everything…when he makes a comment on a club, that’s the one that I take most serious.”

For the rest of Voshall’s insights and perspective, give the full podcast a listen below.

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SPOTTED: Srixon Z-785 driver, Z-U85 utility irons



We recently spotted new Srixon Z-785 drivers and Z-U85 utility irons, which are likely future replacements for Srixon’s Z-765 driver and Z-U65 utility irons. Srixon is staying hush on the tech details at the moment but did allow us to take photos of the new equipment.

Released in 2016, the Z-765 driver was a smaller-profile, lower-launching counterpart offering to the Z-565 driver, so it could be possible that there is also a Z-585 driver, counter to the Z-785 driver that we spotted. Also, it appears the Z-U85 utility irons come in at least 5 different lofts: 2-6 irons.

See more photos below, and check out discussion on the Z-785 drivers and Z-U85 utility irons.

Srixon Z-785

See more photos and discussion about the driver

Srixon Z-U85


See more photos and discussion about the irons

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19th Hole