By David Phillips Jr., GolfWRX Contributor
TaylorMade’s setup at the PGA Merchandise Show is like any other major equipment company. Just as they have done the last few years, TaylorMade positions its display in an isolated room at the far end of the Orange County Convention Center, distancing itself from its competition — companies like Titleist, Nike, Callaway and Ping, which are clustered together on the other end of the building.
At this year’s Show, TaylorMade’s setup gave visitors the feeling that they were walking into a Miami nightclub — call it Club TaylorMade. The two huge entrances were tunnels, which featured bright lights to let visitors know they were in for something special.
TaylorMade added to the party feeling with booming house music, which was quiet enough to be able to engage in normal conversation without having to yell. The main lights were dim, but there were enough colored spotlights to brighten the party. Check out the video tour below we took that shows the attention to detail.
Inside Club TaylorMade were about a dozen individual booths that were bigger than most of the booths on the floor. The displays towered to the ceiling, letting visitors know that the latest and greatest from TaylorMade was worth showcasing.
The first booth inside the entrance was the R1 booth, which was positioned to the right. Click here to read a full review on the R1. There were two white “c” shaped leather couches around a table that was designed as a giant adjustable sole plate that controls the face angle on the R1 driver. TaylorMade also positioned Apple iPad Minis all around with the company’s R1 app that allows golfers to virtually dial in an imaginary driver to what ever specs they choose.
Inside the booth. there were dozens of R1 drivers for visitors to pick up, waggle and say,
“Wow look at that crown.”
Move a little further into this booth and visitors could get their picture taken with TaylorMade’s R1-inspired War Paint superimposed on their face. There was a giant 10-by-20-foot TV that displayed a visitors picture with the likes of Sergio Garcia, Jason Day and Dustin Johnson. What if you wanted to keep your War Paint picture? Well, TaylorMade would print them out and put them in a special folder for you to take home.
Next was a giant display of TaylorMade’s Rocketballz Stage 2 drivers and fairways woods, which the company claims to be “Rocketballz-ier.” If you wondered what was so different about the new fairways, all you had to do was look up and it told you — last year’s original RocketBallz fairway woods were 17 yards longer, and this year’s Stage 2 models were 10 yards longer than that. It was an impressive display that reached almost 30 feet in the air.
The next section bragged of TaylorMade’s new line of golf balls, a sector that TaylorMade has seen steady growth in popularity and performance. The booth was exclusive, with a sign reading: “This ball is for TaylorMade players only.” Remember, it’s Club TaylorMade, so the booth had a velvet rope and a guard checking to see if visitors were on the list of players who play TaylorMade. OK, there was no list, all you have to do was say, “Yes, I play TaylorMade” and you got in. But you get the idea.
Inside there were a six men dressed in suits explaining TaylorMade’s Lethal golf ball. Once you talked to them for a few minutes and understood the evolution of the 5-piece golf ball, they reached behind the desk and pulled out a fresh sleeve of the balls that aren’t available in store yet.
Remember how I said we were just getting started? Well we have only covered the first quarter of Club TaylorMade. Next up from TaylorMade is “this little thing” that the company says has changed the iron forever. The booth has a 40-foot tall picture of the speed pocket on the sole of a 7-iron, which had a spotlight positioned behind it that showed through to highlight the speed pocket every few seconds. Click here to read the review and tech videos on the new RocketBladez Irons.
After covering only four booths, visitors may begin to get tired, so Club TaylorMade had its own lounge and bar area populated with six large flatscreen TV’s playing Golf Channel all day long. If you came at the right time, you may be able to meet Natalie Gulbis, who hung around the area during the show.
Are you a tradition blade putter guy, or you like the look of TaylorMade’s new Spider S putter, the higher MOI putter to date that TaylorMade has released? Either way, the putting green was the first chance to get a nice feel for TaylorMade’s new Lethal golf ball. If you started to get an itch to hit some golf balls on the putting green, it was no problem. There was a giant indoor driving range on the other side.
At the range, TaylorMade had six FlightScopes and every new club in its line-up with shafts galore to help golfers find what they needed. Bob VanSweden, TaylorMade’s two-time fitter of the year, was also on standby. As much as golfers wanted to keep hitting the $900 R1 Super TP with a Oban Kiyoshi White shaft, they needed to keep moving on the velvet carpet that led the way into the Adidas booth, which was essentially a giant TaylorMade-Adidas golf shop. Every bag, towel, hat, visor, glove and accessory TMag fans wanted was there.
At the Adizero booth, there was combination after combination of the new shoes and clothing lines to match. Maybe the coolest part of the booth, which could be lost in all of the TMag glitz and glam, was the Twitter wall that showed all TaylorMade golf tweets in real time. Simply awesome.