Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Is TaylorMade Losing It’s Edge to the Square Driver?

The "hottest" marketing trend in the driver world today is the square-headed driver. Both Callaway and Nike officially hit the market with their entries at the recent PGA Show. Yet, TaylorMade appears to be sticking with their moveable weight concept they introduced in 2004. Does this mean that TaylorMade is losing its edge in the driver market that it's owned for years?

According to president and CEO of TaylorMade-Adidas Golf who was quoted at the PGA Show, "the square-headed driver phenomenon will be over in about 90 days." Wow! That's a big time shot over the bow of Callaway and Nike who are relying on their "squares" to help push driver sales in 2007.

What seems to be really occurring is the creation of two retail pricing levels. The first at $300 and a second at $500. Mr. King at TaylorMade is probably right in that the square driver phenonmenon will quickly fade and be replaced by something new in 3-6 months. Look at the last three Ping gererations with the G2, the G5 and now the Rapture all coming out in the last eighteen months.

TaylorMade's entries for 2007 are a throwback to their earlier Burner (retail price $359) which is targeted to price-conscious "bomb and gouge" player that focuses on speed to satisfy their need for added distance and the r7 SuperQuad (retail price $499) which should attract bigger budgeted golfers more concerned about course management and accuracy versus power.

In comparison, Callaway's entries are the Big Bertha 460cc (Retail Price $299) and the FT-i Series (retail price $499). Even Nike gives you two pricing options with its SasQuatch Sumo Square Driver (retail price $499) and the SasQuatch Sumo Driver (retail price $299).

If square drivers take the market by storm, expect to see new iterations of the concept extending into fairway woods and perhaps hybrids. If not, you'll see those hot "squares" in the discount rack for $299 by May 1st.

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At 2:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is one supposed to "objectively" choose a driver?
Doe sit really amke a differecn except psychologically=
Wh at is in your opinion the most forgiving HT driver ont he amrket?

At 7:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Nike driver is terrible. It feels and sounds like a baseball bat (wood).

At 10:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think the square heads are a fad at all although I can completely understand why the Taylor Made CEO would say so...erm.

I have hit both Nike and Callaway's new square head drivers and while I prefer the Callaway (looks and sound), both are very solid clubs and no fad.


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