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The inside story of the surprise popularity of the TaylorMade SIM Max Rescue on tour

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“Let’s build ’em hybrids. What the hell.”

The TaylorMade tour staff photoshoot has become an early November tradition that is well known to the golf junkies of the world. For civilians, it’s when Tiger, Rory, DJ, Rahmbo, and the rest of the staff will get their first look at the new TM equipment.

Fun for us onlookers, but extremely stressful for TM marketing, R&D, and tour departments.

“First impressions are everything. If we don’t get ’em excited right away, it could go the other way fast.” – Chandler Carr, TaylorMade Product Creation

The task of prepping the new clubs falls on the shoulders of TaylorMade’s Product Creation Team—Chandler Carr and Patrick Baxter. Every year, they get staff specs, pillage the stock for the right components, and assemble the full gamut of what each player typically games. One thing that is never in the conversation is hybrids, however—nobody on staff hits ’em so why build ’em?

This is where this story gets fun.

Either as a joke or out of general curiosity, Chandler had the thought to build up hybrids for the entire staff. Obviously, team TaylorMade has all players specs dialed in but hybrids? Without knowing the exact hybrid specs there was a good amount of guesswork involved as well as some healthy debate between those in the room (including Baxter) on the practicality of building a hybrid for Tiger Woods, Rory, or any of the staff that has never even sniffed a hybrid.

I know Chandler well, and he is a gearhead of the highest caliber as well as a person who will take a risk just to see the outcome. What’s the worst that could happen? Nobody hits ’em and they end up back at HQ in a pile of “I told you so?”

So, after finally convincing Patrick Baxter to go along, the Rescues were built to spec and shipped off to sit in the bags of the highest-ranked tour staff in the world.

Now, there are hybrids on tour—lots of them. But they are not the most desired choice for multiple reasons the main one being a left-miss tendency. And frankly, most players would rather look at a 5-wood or 2-iron. In relation to TaylorMade, they don’t really make hybrids for the tour: they are for the higher handicap player.

Rory McIlroy was testing a SIM Rescue ahead of the Farmers Insurance Open.

The story continues…

The TaylorMade staff shows up at the Floridian in West Palm Beach, Florida, for a day of content with people like Me and My Golf, for testing with Tomo Bystedt, Bazz, and Keith, interviews with selected press, and the fun of all being in one place at one time on a day off.

When each player approached the new bags of goodies, Rory was the first to comment

“There is a hybrid in my bag, is someone trying to tell me I need help with my long irons?” 

He was kidding, obviously, but it was a weird thing for a player like that to see in his bag. However, during a break, Rory decides to kill some time and starts hitting the 19-degree Sim Max Rescue. He put on a ballstriking clinic that had the whole place in awe.

“The flag was 260 out and he was peppering this thing with draws, fades, stingers on command.” – Chris Trott, TaylorMade Sports Marketing

Low and behold DJ gets wind of the action, hits a few, loves it and puts it in the bag.

This is a unicorn situation for TaylorMade…sort of. A few weeks later, the buzz around Rory and DJ putting Sim Max Rescues in the bag hit Instagram during the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, and it was a big deal. That buzz created curiosity that trickled down the world rankings, and within days the TaylorMade tour crew had orders coming from some of the best players on the planet, staff and non-staff.

Looks good for marketing, but for Wade and the boys in the truck, it’s been a club building calculus problem.

Heres the thing, Sim Max Rescues are production-only heads…not tour spec heads. They’re built for big box retail and online buyers. When a product goes to Tour, it’s built for the tour, which in this case means it would have a longer hosel for manipulation, center of gravity would be different, and there would be a hot melt port for sound and swing weight, etc.

The issue is the heads that went out to the truck for the first event stateside were retail production heads. So, if a guy wants to try one and give it a fair shot, the TM tour trailer has a component that is damn near impossible to bend (due to the short hosel), tricky to weight with no hot melt alleyway, and also it’s a head built specifically for a 65-gram 40-plus inch regular flex graphite shaft. For the club builders out there, you can see the dilemma.

In a one-off situation, it’s not a huge issue, but due to the volume of players wanting to test, TaylorMade literally ran out of Rescue heads this week in Phoenix. Wade and crew are in full grind mode on the truck. This is the “influencer” thing working. Situations like this where the world No. 2 gets excited, puts it in play and boom, instant curiosity from his peers.

I’m assuming the plan is to create a tour head to allow for an easier build, but that could take weeks. (I’ll keep you posted on that)

So it goes like this: TaylorMade owes Chandler and Patrick a thank-you for the bold idea, and Chandler and Patrick owe the boys on the truck a case of apology beer for the chaos created. And if sometime in April Rory flings his Sim Max Rescue into the eighth green at Augusta and has a four-footer for eagle to take the lead, Chandler and Patrick can say “I told you so.”

Not all heroes wear capes.

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Ben

    Mar 11, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    I hit the 4h 22* looking to replace my 4 iron using the stock shaft. Stupid long, launches high and is as long as my R15 3h. Now looking for a 5h in xstiff. Will need to custom order. Sound was fantastic too. I might look for a low lofted one to replace my 3w

  2. Martin

    Feb 20, 2020 at 6:07 pm

    This just shows us how reluctant the guys on tour really are to try new stuff. Unless another player use it, they wont use it. They just follow the pack. So there is nothing special with this hybrid, its just another hybrid on the market.

  3. derek gzaskow

    Feb 15, 2020 at 2:49 pm

    anyone seen it in their bags at Riviera?

    • Juanny

      Feb 17, 2020 at 9:57 am

      Nope. All out of the TM guys bags now. Every hybrid they’ve come up with since the Aeroburners in 2014 have the same identical shape.

  4. Jim

    Feb 5, 2020 at 11:41 pm

    Great article Johnny. It was hilarious hearing Chandler and Tomo tell the story. I liked the feel of the SIM Max Rescue. The trajectory was great. I just need a flatter lie to work for me.

    • Mamba

      Feb 17, 2020 at 4:53 am

      No doubt. I bet all the hybrids, woods and drivers on tour have a flatter lie than what the manufacturers make for us. They always seem too upright.

  5. Alex

    Feb 5, 2020 at 10:44 am

    I completely get it. The way these guys hammer driver their 3 wood is too long for approach into a par 5. So you either bag a one trick pony 5 wood for 2 shots a round or…bag this hybrid for the 250/260 shot and it also serves the purpose of a long iron to hit off the tee on a short par 4. These guys are long enough with 4 iron for all par 3s they’ll see so it’s actually the perfect fit. Also let’s you carry 4 wedges and have the gaps all covered. I bet we’ll see more of this come back into the tour bags unless you are Cam Champ long or Jim Furyk short. I can’t figure out guys that carry nothing between 3 wood and 3 iron, seems like a gigantic gap in a range that these guys have to be good from to make birdies on par 5s.

  6. MadMex

    Feb 2, 2020 at 4:35 am

    Looks like a V-Steel remake,,,, old is new?

    • geohogan

      Feb 5, 2020 at 11:06 pm

      My TM 5 W has always been easiest to hit.

      if the SIM Max rescue hybrid improved upon the V steel, they may a winner.

      • geohogan

        Feb 5, 2020 at 11:10 pm

        The perfect shaft for the Sim Max Rescue is the Nunchuk Hybrid shaft.

        No stiffer without being boardy, and no straighter shaft on tour.

        • derek gzaskow

          Feb 15, 2020 at 2:18 pm

          I’ve never seen the Nunchuk compared to any other shaft on trackman tests on you tube. its about time someone does it.

  7. Ben Hogan

    Feb 1, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Rory and DJ aren’t putting these in their bags as part of a marketing ploy. The best players in the world are trying to win. TM isn’t going to force them to do this at the price or their careers. They may have 14 club deals but not deals that say you must play our newest equipment. That’s just silly.

    • Joe

      Feb 1, 2020 at 10:54 am

      YET THE HYBRID NEVER MADE IT IN THE BAG. All marketing. Neither player has a hybrid in the bag for actual play.

  8. MCoz

    Feb 1, 2020 at 4:36 am

    Sometimes I wonder why I read comments from golf sites. There is a lot of stupid people here who have no clue. I am sorry but the “haters” have no idea what they are talking about. I have commented here on GolfWRX in the Forum discussion on this new SIM Max Rescue. I was asked to try this club out the first week in January, as I received the other SIM clubs. I really wasn’t interested in a new Rescue. The oldest clubs in my bag are such. One from 2005 (Cleveland Hi Bore 16* #1 that really plays like a 2i and a 2013 RBZ Stage 3 that plays like a 3.5i. I have had great success with these two and wasn’t looking for anything else. But I said I would look at it. Fujikura sent me a couple of shaft options to put in it. (Thanks Chad) I received two Atmos HY shafts. The first one I tried was a Blue 8S Tour Spec. Magic!! This is a real revelation. While in Orlando at the PGA Show I got 4 rounds of golf in with real players and this was the club that just shocked everyone I played with during the week. I can say it was the best club in the bag the whole week. My friends have already ordered the club for themselves, some even ordered two lofts. So while “haters” want to hate, I hope you don’t mind losing to those who want to win. This is a remarkable club and while it may not look a lot different that the previous models (M6 and earlier), it definitely plays different. This is a players utility. Don’t let the “boneheads” expound on things for which they have no clue!

  9. Guanto

    Jan 31, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    Still have a couple aeroburner tp hybrids which are the best hybrids to date.

    • TomStanford

      Feb 25, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Nope — RBZ Stage 2 Tour Hybrids are some of the best ever made by anyone. Most perfect look at address of any hybrid (slight toe open — unique to the Tour as I recall).

      The Aeroburners were good but had to much of a draw bias built in (the TP version less so).

      Just my .02.

  10. Larry Y

    Jan 31, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Does anybody else think the SIM hybrid looks a lot like the Adams Super LS?

    • dave hollander

      Feb 5, 2020 at 2:43 am

      ding

    • MBU

      Feb 19, 2020 at 5:23 am

      Exactly! I just bought a new 17 degree Adams LS 17 hybrid last week and you can easily see where the similarities are. And of course they bought up Adams..

  11. Travis Boerner

    Jan 31, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Chandler and the product creation team are genius for this. Pin seekers from 260, are you kidding me!? Did you see Rory’s bunker shot at Torrey with that hybrid? A classic case of not judging a book by its cover. Get the product in their hands and let it speak for itself. Well done.

  12. Steve Wilkins

    Jan 31, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Great read! So cool that we can dig a little deeper and hear from the people who make all these things happen.

  13. JohnK

    Jan 31, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    I’m just glad to finally have a left handed 5 hybrid option. I can finally retire my TM burner 5 hybrid from the mid to late 2000’s.

  14. Charles

    Jan 31, 2020 at 8:17 pm

    I love all the hate towards Taylormade, this is a story more about a few guys changing the game more then most people will ever take the initiative to do so. Hybrids have become a staple in recreational golfers bags for a quite a few years and good by them to go out and take a risk and bridge the gap between common folk and the greatest players on the planet.All the industry animosity is quite redundant if you have no allegiance play the clubs that fit your game! Props to the team guys like Patrick and Chandler are the reason you have the ability to play the latest and greatest Taylormade product. And I am sure that if it were another companies tales you haters would be all about it….. GROW THE GAME!

  15. Sevestyle

    Jan 31, 2020 at 7:27 pm

    Finally… a fresh 585 . H

  16. Max

    Jan 31, 2020 at 7:21 pm

    Cool story, but I agree with the skeptics that this is totally just a clever marketing story from Taylormade. The SIM hybrid is literally just a re-skinned M6 hybrid, which was literally just a re-skinned M4 hybrid, which was literally just a re-skinned M2 hybrid. There is literally nothing new with the SIM hybrid over the pat 4-5 iterations of the same club to warrant a sudden interest by the pros. Literally.

    • M Coz

      Feb 4, 2020 at 1:48 am

      Before you make wild comments, maybe you should try things out before you spew knowledge-less hate. Read my comments from Feb 1. Also While I have tested the previous hybrids you mention none of them even had a chance to get into my club mix. This club may not look that much different on the outside but it is clearly superior to the M6 which tended to be a “hook” club.
      TM didn’t expect this club to be this well received by the Tour Staff, that’s why they only had one club at the photo and filming at the Floridian. It is also why they only made one design for all players.

      • Max

        Feb 5, 2020 at 5:37 pm

        Lol, how do you know I haven’t tried it? In fact, I have tried it. The clubs have been available to try for some time now, you’re not special in getting it early and your free shafts and name dropping the guy from Fuji doesn’t make your opinion or experience any more or less more authoritative than mine. It was fine, just like every other iteration of Taylormade hybrid before it. Great clubs all. Still just a cool marketing story. Just my non-hateful BUT knowledgable opinion.

        • Shawn

          Feb 17, 2020 at 10:21 am

          Dead on Max. It’s just marketing fluff. They both did not play it this week and it’s over. Buddy above thinks he’s on tour but, likely just another name dropping know it all.

  17. roho99

    Jan 31, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    hard to believe tm designed a head for a regular flex shaft only.

  18. Rusty Cockering

    Jan 31, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    I’ve been playing Taylor Made hybrids for years. Its just a smaller-headed, shorter fairway wood, really.

  19. Mehas Tinecock

    Jan 31, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    I use hybrids after my 7 wood. A lot of hybrids. I’m so cool.

  20. Joey5Picks

    Jan 31, 2020 at 3:59 pm

    Taylormade hate is strong with this crowd.

  21. Cody Reeder

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:55 pm

    Nice article. Thanks.

  22. Benny

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:53 pm

    Love it JW & Golfwrx. I know its not easy to find great stories in the golf world. But appreciate you always trying to entertain. Awesome!

  23. Ty Webb

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:52 pm

    I got one of these with some points I had. 19 with a project x hzrdus smoke 90 hybrid in 6.5. I must say this thing is pretty solid. High tight draws.

  24. NoHolesParred

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    This is the kind of content we need. Like the other guy said, most of these articles are reworked PR fluff with no actual insight. Hopefully you guys do the work to make this a trend going forward.

  25. Blubber Watson

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Cool story bro!

  26. Fj27

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    This is a marketing move, plain and simple. What’s the easiest way to sell hybrids? Have Rory put one in the bag and, oh, also let’s grant some interviews to golf media so they can write fluff pieces about how impressed our staffers were.

    Call me a cynic, but I’d be shocked if Rory has a hybrid in his bag come The Players.

    • ht

      Jan 31, 2020 at 2:51 pm

      Exactly my thoughts. And better yet, claim there was a mixup and the pros were putting THE SAME CLUB YOU CAN PURCHASE AT A RETAIL STORE in play! How convenient

    • dat

      Jan 31, 2020 at 3:58 pm

      Where’s Tiger’s hybrid? Oh, right… Nowhere.

    • BigFoot

      Jan 31, 2020 at 7:00 pm

      The nail on the head, you have hit!! The whole situation was awful convenient for TM wasnt it?

  27. I know donkeys

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:31 pm

    What about Matt Kouchar? Kduoooooooooooooooche, Kduooooooooooooooooche, Kduoooooooooooooche, Kduooooooooooooche….

  28. Barney Adams

    Jan 31, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Sell that snake oil taylormade, sell it!!!

  29. Rich Douglas

    Jan 31, 2020 at 12:42 pm

    A lot of the time, these articles are just re-warmed press releases. But not this one. I really appreciated the candid admission that what you can buy is not what these pros get to work with. Most of us know that, which is why some of us buy from club-fitters instead of off-the-rack.

    Just like the ball. Bridgestone made golf balls for Nike in general, but one specifically geared for Tiger alone. You couldn’t buy it. (Nor should you, necessarily.) But the golf equipment industry has held tightly to the illusion that you’re buying the same gear and, thus, the same results. (You would NOT get the same results with their gear.) But this article tells the real truth, and it’s a good one.

  30. JP

    Jan 31, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Reading ability is not a gift everyone was born with.

    • Funkaholic

      Jan 31, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      It is literally something nobody is “born with”. Reading is a learned skill ,common sense on the other hand……….

  31. 19_Majors

    Jan 31, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    First impressions are everything? If we don’t get them excited? What are they going to do, leave their contracts?! Taylormade pays these guys huge amounts of money to play their gear. They are going to play the new stuff regardless of if they are completely thrilled about it or not. The people who work at Taylormade sound incredibly insecure and really put these Tour guys on a god-like pedestal…

    • Prime21

      Jan 31, 2020 at 12:16 pm

      That’s what you got from that article? Tough crowd.

    • Funkaholic

      Jan 31, 2020 at 4:35 pm

      They only have the best staff players on tour. Do you think these players beg to be with Taylormade? Just because they are aggressive in the marketing department doesn’t mean they make bad gear. They have a lot of equipment being bagged by non-staffers on tour.

      • Hype

        Jan 31, 2020 at 7:07 pm

        Dont they get paid to have one or two clubs from a different manufacturer in their bags so a manufacturer can say they are first in hybrids or fairway woods.

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Puma unveil new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

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Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

Puma Golf has launched its new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear – a new version of the NXT with premium leather accents.

The upper of the shoe features a premium leather saddle wrapped around Pwrframe reinforcement. The Pwrframe TPU is an ultra-thin frame that is placed in high-stress areas of the upper for lightweight in a bid to offer added support and increased stability.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The new additions feature Puma’s Pro-Form TPU outsole with an organically-altered traction pattern, containing over 100 strategically placed directional hexagon lugs in proper zones, designed to provide maximum stability and traction.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The Ignite NXT Crafted footwear contain a full-length IGNITE Foam midsole, wrapped in Soleshield in design to offer maximum durability, comfort and energy return. Soleshield is a micro-thin TPU film that is vacuum-formed around the midsole designed to make cleaning off dirt and debris effortless.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

Speaking on the new Ignite NXT Crafted footwear, Andrew Lawson, PLM Footwear, Puma Golf said

“The Ignite NXT Crafted perfectly fuse the beauty of handcrafted shoemaking with modern development techniques to deliver optimum elegance and peak performance. With the combination of style and performance these shoes will appeal to a wide variety of golfers – those who appreciate the classic look of a leather saddle shoe and those who value modern comfort and stability technologies being a part of their game.”

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The Ignite NXT Crafted shoes are available in 4 colorways: White-Leather Brown-Team Gold, Black-Leather Brown-Team Gold, Peacoat-Leather Brown-Team Gold and White-Hi-Rise-Team Gold) and come in sizes 7-15.

Puma Ignite NXT Crafted footwear

The shoes cost $140 per pair and are available online and at retail beginning today, June 5, 2020.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best Nike driver ever

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@ukgolfclubsales

In our forums, our members have been discussing Nike drivers. WRXer ‘DixieD’ is currently building up a Nike bag and has reached out to fellow members for driver advice, and WRXers have been sharing what they feel is the best Nike driver ever made.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Ger21: “VR Pro LE? I have two I was still playing last year.”
  • mahonie: “The STR8-Fit Tour was one of the best drivers I’ve played. Still have it the garage and take it to the range occasionally…it would possibly still be in the bag if it hadn’t developed a ‘click’ in the head which I cannot fix. Long, straight(ish) and nice sound.”
  • jackr189: “The VR_S is one of the best.”
  • Finaus_Umbrella: “I played the Vapor Fly Pro, and still do on occasion for nostalgia sake. Sound and feel are great, but it demands a good strike.”
  • PowderedToastMan: “I enjoyed the SQ Tour back in the day, the one Tiger used forever. Do I miss it? Not at all, but it was a pretty good club for its time.”

Entire Thread: “Best Nike driver?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about driving irons for mid-handicappers

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In our forums, our members have been discussing whether mid-handicappers can benefit from a driving iron. WRXer ‘jomatty’ says:

“I average about 230 off the tee on good drives. I can get a little more sometimes, but 230 is probably the average. I’m 42 years old and shoot in the mid to low 80’s. I do not get along with fairway woods very well, especially off the tee, and really don’t get enough extra length over my hybrid to consider using it aside from very rare situations on par 5’s (I’ve considered just going from driver to 19-degree hybrid and getting an extra wedge or something).”…

…and wants to know if he would be better served by a driving iron. Our members have been sharing their thoughts and suggestions.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • MtlJeff: “If you can shoot mid 80’s, you probably hit it well enough to hit a bunch of different clubs. Personally, I think hybrids are easier to hit….but some driving irons are quite forgiving. I use a G400 crossover that is very easy to hit and looks more iron-like. Something like that you might like. Be careful with some of them though because they aren’t always super forgiving, so you’d have to hit them first.”
  • HackerD: “G410 crossover is my version of a driving iron, feel like I hit it straighter than a hybrid. Just as easy to hit as a hybrid.”
  • hanginnwangin: “I shoot in the low 80s normally and in the 70s on my really good days. I have probably around the same or similar swing speed as you. I have been hitting my 4 iron off the tee on tight holes, and it’s been working pretty well so far. I hit it about 190-220. I have a 4 hybrid but just can’t hit it as consistently as the 4 iron, and it doesn’t even go much farther. I have a 5 wood which I only use for 220+ yard par 3s or wide-open fairways. Basically, it’s all personal preference and what you do best with. Everyone is going to be different. Try new stuff out and see what works. But if irons are the strongest part of your game (they are for me as well), I would give the 4 iron a shot. You can get a lot of roll out on the tee shots with it,”
  • Hellstrom: “Don’t laugh, but I bought a 17* hybrid with a senior flex shaft at a garage sale for $5, and I can hit it nice and easy and keep it in play without losing any distance. My driver SS is between 105 and 110 usually and swinging this thing feels like swinging a spaghetti noodle, but it works. I don’t have it in the bag all the time, but I do use it for certain courses. I take my 6 iron out and throw that in, so if I struggle with getting the ball off the tee, I just go to that.”

Entire Thread: “Driving iron for a mid-handicapper”

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