Must See Video – TaylorMade Unfiltered

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We think we've got something pretty special today. It's not every day that a golf company executive gives you a completely unfiltered and honest assessment of his company and where they fit in the industry today. When we spoke with Sean Toulon, Executive VP of TaylorMade-adidas golf, that's exactly what happened.  The interview features some great soundbites for you TaylorMade fans...and you other guys too.

TaylorMade-adidas Golf is sometimes compared to the New York Yankees (before Mariano fell down, Jeter broke his foot, and A-Rod became A-Roid) because, well...if it's your team on top you love the team on top. But if it's not your team on top...well...screw those guys. It's also probably not a stretch to compare what happens when they dial-up the new product hype machine to a Justin Bieber concert.

For TaylorMade fans it's almost music, and it's definitely an experience - another round of awesome gear from the #1 Performance Brand in Golf.

For detractors, claims of 17 yards...and then 10 more amount to insufferable, detestable noise. Dear God, make it stop.

100% headache guaranteed.

Whether you love them (fanboy), despise them (hater), or are one of the few who can legitimately claim indifference (comatose), it's hard to make a rational argument that anyone else in the industry can waggle the proverbial needle quite like TaylorMade. These guys get people talking, which is exactly why I wanted to talk to them.

At the recent PGA Show I tracked down Sean Toulon, Executive VP of TaylorMade-adidas Golf. Don't let the suit fool you. This Toulon guy isn't afraid to go off-script.

What I got was nearly 10 minutes of what, by golf industry or golf executive standards anyway, amounts to Must See TV.  Here's just a sampling of some of the things Mr. Toulon shared with me:

Just A Few Of The Things You Will Hear In The Video


Watch the video (the whole damn thing) to learn more about TaylorMade as company, because even if you think you know everything about TaylorMade Golf, you're probably going to learn something. And if you're one of those guys who hates absolutely everything TaylorMade does, you might just come away from this feeling differently.

About Tony Covey

Tony is the editor of mygolfspy. His coverage of golf equipment extends far beyond the facts as dictated by the companies that created them.

He believes in performance over hype. #PowerToThePlayer

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

David W February 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Until recently I would be considered “comatose” because I truly was indifferent. That was until I hit the RBZ Stage 2 3W. That club blew me away. I haven’t hit the driver but hear it’s not as hot as the 3W. If it was I wouldn’t see how anyone could choose any other driver. The 3W is a MONSTER!


Dick Higgins February 23, 2013 at 1:24 pm

MyGolf Spy – I really enjoy this!!! I read it from top to bottom each week. Is there a chacne that you could do an iphone app for this? That way I cn read it when I am away from my computer.
Or do you have an iphone app. and I have not been able to find it.

Thank you for considering this request.
Dick Higgins


David W February 26, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I have been waiting for an Android app for a while. Would love to have these articles formatted for my phone.


joro3743 February 23, 2013 at 7:13 am

Lets face it people, Taylor Made is proof positive the gimmicks and millions of Dollars spent on Marketing counts. And Mark King is a marketing genius. Give em something newer and “better” every 6 mos. and we win.

However it is still pretty hard to beat the LCG Irons and Burners with the Bubble shafts.


Al February 22, 2013 at 10:34 am

Sigh. As my dad says, “its not the club stupid.”

Get what works for you. I don’t knock clubs because I don’t play them. I have a buddy who plays w/ old wilson clubs, and he scores high 70’s. Just play what you like, play what you’re comfortable with.


Arjun February 21, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Interesting video…a lot of it is TM hype (he knows he’s talking to the camera). That said, there is an element if truth in what he says…in so far as products must perform in order to sell. Do they have to perform the best to sell the best-probably not. I have rebuilt my set and my game over the past year or so-I game, at R11S’s (Driver, Fairway and Hybrid) and I also game Wilson FG tour V2’s, and the Mizuno MPR12 wedges…my ball of choice is the Wilson FG Tour. The thing is, I got fitted for all of the clubs. I hit just about every club there was out there and decided that for my pocket, this is what worked best-I am long-off the tee and off the turf..a 5-10 yard gain Matt’s less to me than keeping it straight-if I’m straight I generally score well-so I just bought clubs which felt good, and went straight without aging too much attention to the yardage. Know your game, know what you need and know what you like-then get fit for that. Whether into TM or not, is besides the point really.


dave February 21, 2013 at 2:25 pm

It is NOT the clubs, to me they are all in a 10 yard grouping distance, I am annoyed however with how many Pro’s are paid to play a Taylormade driver after hearing time after time how much better the Razr Fit and the 910 D3 is from touring pro’s who don’t play it.

Bottom line is it’s the golf ball, Jack is right reel in the ball and make it generic for the pro’s the amateurs can figure out the marketing for their own game. Dave


Lowandleft February 21, 2013 at 10:54 am


“Hats off to TM, this is not Delorean Motor Co or the Sham-Wow! The product performs comparable to other competitors, and through sheer marketing they have taken the product (the product=insert white driver) to Numbero Uno!!”


Regis February 21, 2013 at 10:50 am

Not yet sold on the new iron techology but lets be realistic. TM brought the metal wood and adjustable driver with customer interchangeable shafts to the game. Every other manufacturer has been playing catchup for the last 30 years and that probably is not likely to change and it has a lot more to do with inovative thinking than paying the pros to play their products


Favre the Looper February 21, 2013 at 10:35 am

I dont play any TM products. But as someone who’s worked for a Fortune 50 (there is a zero omitted on purpose) not 500 company for over 25 years, my one comment is: I seriously doubt any of the detractors have a degree in Business and/or Marketing. Its amazing how people hate ingenuity and success, the ‘why didnt I think of that’ mantra. Hats off to TM, this is not Delorean Motor Co or the Sham-Wow! The product performs comparable to other competitors, and through sheer marketing they have taken the product (the product=insert white driver) to Numbero Uno!! Then add on their ability to get the club into the bag of non-TM staff players: DL3, Luke Donald, Charles Howell..on and on. This then acts as further deer antler spray for the public, “I’m gonna play what the big boys play!”. Its all Marketing 101 fellas, “All company policies and activities should be directed toward satisfying customer needs.” Customer needs in the golf world= feeling of length euphoria (damn the up-lofting arguement) and showing off the new toy that is #1 on the tour. Oh and as someone who’s hoofed the sack inside the ropes on a couple of tours, white-head envy abounds. Rory would put one in the bag tomorrow and play 13 Nike clubs, but the fine pint torpedos that.


Augustine February 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Anyone knows marketing sells, so we do not need a degree to understand that concept.

When the RocketBladez came out two month ago, i wanted to actually test the Tour model which was the ones the TM Staffers were using, it had traditional specs without longer shaft lengths and strong lofts. However, it wasn’t avilable until two month later and I recognized why.

I had a chance to hit the Tour vs Non-Tour version recently, and the Tour version did not perform any better than my current set of irons at similar specs, while the Non-Tour RocketBlades played a club longer.

If TM had launched the Tour Version as part of the original debut, people will find that the new product, despite a new design feature, did not improve distance as greatly as loft and lie adjustments can achieve.

There’s something called ethics and standards in advertising, and Taylormade (and any other Fortune 50 companies know that) which is why they have tonnes of fine print. Maybe one day Golf Equipment ads are going to sound like pharmaceutical ads which requires full disclosure by law.. “side effects of extra distance might include: hitting the ball out of bounds, higher scores, reduced consistency. stop using this product immediately if you scores don’t improve and seek a PGA professional immediately…”


Fleeter February 21, 2013 at 9:14 am

Rocketbalz took them over the top last year, and also seeing a lot of white drivers on the tee blocks every time you turned the TV on. Sales this year just might be down some because of the economy too? Not everybody out there can afford to upgrade their sticks every year.


FHymee February 21, 2013 at 6:16 am

Come on guys …….

Not trying to defend TMaG but……. We all know how they mislead the general public, Longer shaft + Stronger lofted irons = greater distances. The Object of the game is to get the golf into in to the hole in the fewest amount of strokes. Case in point, yesterday’s round at a 212 yard par-3. A little down wind, green 20 feet below the tee box. I pull out a 6-iron, flush it, 30 feet from the pin on the green pin high. Guy who tagged along with us playing the the new Rocket Blades, pulls out a 4 iron, damn near bingo stamps my ball on the green, both two putt and walk off with a par…… What I am saying here is, who cares what is stamped on the iron head, we ALL have different ways, methods, equipment, etc to get the ball into the hole with the fewest strokes…… I admit, I asked the guy if I could try his 6 iron on the Par-3. Same Ball, same swing, flush it. The second I hit it, I said “that is gone”…… I flew the green by 20 yards. Kind of felt like the original Nike SlingShots to me….. Different Strokes for different folks……

I cannot believe I just defended TMag…… :)


Ron February 20, 2013 at 6:48 pm

AUGUSTINE you are sooooo RIGHT about their lack of honesty , the truth is is that they cut a hole in the bottom of the club and jack up the lofts and convince people its the hole in the bottom of the club is the reason why it goes far. Thats how STUPID the public is.


golfer4life February 20, 2013 at 5:20 pm

6 and 7 irons are generally used for demos/fittings, check out there lofts compared to the other lofts in the set. They aren’t the only ones doing it either now.


Augustine February 20, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Very indesgenuine interview “we don’t do gimmicks”. Hmmm… For months TM staffers have been using the rocketbladez Tour version but advertises the retail version… In the past it’s even worst where TM staffers are using “B” and “C” stamped heads (or version 2 or 3 for woods) that are smaller, less offset, etc.. How is that now a gimmick?

The 17 yards gained for better players (if your ball speeds is 150mph) is exactly the gimmick we’re talking about… How many recreational golfers can get that type of ball speeds even in their driver (100mph @ perfect 1.5 smash factor)?

I was hoping taylormade would come out and say “there is no rule that says a 7-iron has to be a certain specs so we tinkered with various lofts lie length etc to help golfers hit longer easier” that would have been a lot more honest than “our product has to perform” well of course it does but how? It’s not technology it’s changing the specs to achieve a desired result – distance sells.


Ron February 20, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Andy those TM pros win with products so different to the retail product that they really shouldnt be called TM clubs that they use on tour.


Brian February 20, 2013 at 3:16 pm

So in 5 years this higher, further thing should have me hitting wedge 190?
“If you aren’t playing an iron with a slot in the bottom you’re not playing the best” Even though I may buy Rocketbladez Tour and think they are one hell of an invention, I’m not sure everyone will feel left behind by playing a “slotless” iron….we’ll see!


Ron February 20, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Why buy their drivers when they put the cheapest made shafts in them plus their retail heads are so tinny sounding to begin with , just cheap quality all the way across the board, but people buy em cuzz of the advertising stupid I cant beleive people can be that naive and stupid to buy into that crap and yet be smart enough to hold a good job and have a good home.


golfer4life February 20, 2013 at 8:22 am

I think people may be seeing through some of the hype. TM sales down 52% at a certain golf retail store. (no I’m not saying, I like my job) People seem like there just not buying in anymore.


johnloft February 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Actually, TM is having their best year ever so far.


golfer4life February 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

johnloft, appreciate your reply and not trying to stir things up, but it is fact. Now maybe they are making it up somewhere else, but I’m talking one of the top retail store chains in the country and I would be very surprised that being that far off that others aren’t seeing similar results. And by the sounds of things on this and other sites, I would be led to believe it is in deed a concern.


GolfSpy T February 20, 2013 at 6:14 pm

I’m not sure if I’d buy 25% across the board, but I do suspect that sales are not what they were last year, and while I’m sure if true, TMaG doesn’t love it, I’m not sure I’d be anywhere near ready to press the panic button, nor would I make a blanket statement that people simply aren’t buying in any more.

Last year was phenomenal for TaylorMade because of the RBZ fairway. Not only did people suddenly care about a club that’s largely been forgotten by the golfer, and really, ignored by manufacturers, TaylorMade was able to trade on the success of the RBZ FW buzz to sell the namesake driver. Realistically, the RBZ driver was certainly as good as anything, but without the FW to propel it, nothing about it was buzzworthy in and of itself.

Nobody…not even TaylorMade is going to strike gold with a fairway wood 2 years in a row. I think what they were able to do was convince a portion of golfers that it was finally the right time to upgrade the fairway. They’re not going to get those same guys to re-up (not like they might with a driver), so the only real option is to somehow reach the guys they didn’t reach last time around. It’s a hard sell. It’s unrepeatable on that least not 1 year later…and certainly not with a fairway wood.

The point of all this…if the numbers are down substantially it’s almost certainly due to a reasonable, and you would hope, predictable, if not expected, decline in fairway wood sales. Last year was special…perhaps once in a generation for fairway woods. It’s not happening again.

Other potentially contributing factors to a TM sales decline: Stronger and better packaged competition from Nike and Callaway, and the beginning of a new product cycle (913 series) for Titleist.

From a competitive standpoint, TaylorMade is going to be tested for the first time in quite a few years. It will be very interesting to see how they respond.


golfer4life February 21, 2013 at 8:55 am

T. You pretty much nailed what I’ve seen (except its 52% not 25%) There seems to be more people getting fit now, not sure if its because of some free fitting offerings or they are finally understanding that’s the only correct way to do things. With that, they just aren’t seeing the gains with some TM products, at least not enough to invest money on something that’s only a year old. The rocketbladz line seems to be doing the best, which makes sense because that’s where their concentrating there advertising on.
I’m also finding a large number of people just not digging the graphics that are offered on there metal wood lines.
But above all, I believe your correct with the stronger competition this year. Seems every manufacture has something good to offer in one of there lines.
It was also probably not a good idea to take there PUD from 30% below wholesale to 40% off retail. That made for a 30 – 50% increase in pricing if you have an account. Never a good idea to hose the people selling your products for you.
Thanks for the great work and allowing me to chime in every now and then.


Kygolfer1980 February 20, 2013 at 3:42 am

TaylorMade ain’t scurrrred!!!


Tony February 20, 2013 at 3:08 am

Bought a RBZ 5w because it was shop worn and half price, good deal. Pulled the junk stock shaft and put in a VS Proto, believing the hype I thought it would be long. Currently play a 17* Ping Rapture V2 as my fairway finder but it’s a fraction short of the distance I’d like to work for my course and set up. I thought the RBZ would be longer wrong, its barely longer than my Ping i15 20* hybrid.

Well done TM, you got my once but you’ll never get a cent out of me again, should’ve known better.


spaz February 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I want Sean’s take on the Wilson Reflex iron. How does TMAG claim they invented iron slot technology?


Joe Golfer February 19, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Yes, Wilson Reflex iron came out in the year 1980. There’s a video and short article on the Frankly Golf website, which is run by former USGA equipment head honcho Frank Thomas:
He mentions that at that time, the Reflex iron was tested by the USGA and showed NO spring-like effect, though Wilson advertised it as having such. Currently the rule has changed, though it is very vague. Copied and pasted from that article, here’s what it says: “Now the rules say a little bit of spring like effect is OK but separate spring designs which unduly influence the ‘little bit of spring-like-effect permitted’, or ‘unduly influence the movement of the ball’ are not permitted. To further confuse you see the actual wording: Appendix II 4-c in the Rules of Golf.”
I don’t know if TMag is having any significant effect or if it is all hype with their new irons, but I would imagine the superstrong lofts certainly contribute. I was once given a free Rocketballz five iron, and the loft is 23*. So I guess I agree with most of the TMag “haters”, though only mildy. I would imagine that the quality of their equipment is okay for many average golfers, but they’ve changed the way that clubs are marketed, and definitely for the worse in my opinion, as now there are large gaps between the shorter irons to the extent that one almost needs two gap wedges to fit between the PW and the SW. And unfortunately, several other companies are following suit to keep up with the TMag claims of great distance gains. Meanwhile, the weekend golfer doesn’t realize that they’ll have big yardage gaps in their game because of the crazy lofts.
The video clip interviewing TMag Sean Toulon seemed like a loveletter to TMag, as it didn’t ask any of the hard questions. It was more like an advertisement for TMag than an interview, so I really don’t think it is going to change many minds regarding TMag.


Justin February 21, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Watch: just for saying “I agree with you”, I’m going to be the one that gets raked over the coals.


Ron February 19, 2013 at 5:24 pm

I think I just openened a can of worms but unfortunetly thats the way it is in life.


Tyk February 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Sean should be Scott, sorry!


Tyk February 19, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Interesting interview T! Of course what Sean says has to be taken with a grain of salt, it isn’t like he is some disinterested 3rd party, but it is still interesting to hear what he has to say!


Ron February 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Thats right TM is a marketing company not a good quality golf company. When a golf company advertises alot, most of their money goes into that , which means not much will go into the clubs, which means you will never ever get quality clubs thats the way it is in business. They have way too many commercials and touring pros that come first to pay off which means its impossible to have quality clubs for retail public to get thats why they have alot of tour issue versions of their woods and irons for the tour gys, thats why their drivers are very tinny sounding and the forging and specs of their irons are not top notch giving you that clicky feel they have. Thats why companies like bridgestone who dont avertise as much and dont pay many pros have much more money to go into a better quality product, their irons and driver are ten times the quality as TM. This is not opinion this is FACT.


Andy February 20, 2013 at 6:27 am

What utter rubbish. This of course is why I spent all last year watching a Callaway advert (shot in Las Vegas) on every single commercial break Sky Sports Golf had !

Because TM make so much money they can afford to (and do) invest more than anyone else into their products. That’s why they lead the way time and time again. And then there’s also those tour pro’s that obviously know nothing, yet win with TM products week in / week out.


Ken February 21, 2013 at 11:50 am

When are all of you going to realize, you test and use what ever works best for you!
example: This weeks GOLF WEEK Mag. ( Golf industry recap mag. ) also at GOLFWEEK.COM. Brant Snediker, Bridgestone Ball user (330) sponsor Hat and all that, uses an old Black (4 years Old) Taylor Made Burner, not the white 2.0 or the new R1 with all those gadgets on them. or the Bridgestone.


Justin February 21, 2013 at 10:37 pm

Briny Baird gamed the old TMaG 300 driver up until he lost his card. I haven’t heard much from him since, so I don’t know if he’s switched or not.


bill February 19, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Next up, tm drivers that shoot fireworks off after impact.
Tm is a marketing company who happens to sell golf clubs. Tm could be successful at selling shoes if they wanted. Pay top players to play tm and watch the sales come pouring in.


Charlie February 22, 2013 at 7:20 am

Bill is right. TM is using marketing to get or be #1. A golf club can’t be redesigned each year to go further. If a 5 iron goes 150 yds and the next year they say it will go 10 yards further on and on the last 5 iron is not the same as the first in loft. Can’t be. Ok, maybe some material changes in the head but a slot? Comon.

I play with a guy who is a TM golf club junkie. He is what TM loves. Buy the latest. Does it help him? For a while and then he is back to his old swing problems which he has yet to figure out because he tries to solve them with new clubs.


Dave Mac February 19, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Watched the video and it did not change my mind! The truth, you must be joking, I think his mentor was Gordon Gekko. It is cringe worthy what people will do to sell, let’s face it, in the internet era if the product was actually that good, it would sell itself.
Once again Sean please easy up on the hype.
By the way if you have not watched it, there is an interesting UK video (on uTube) showing the revolutionary performance benefits of the slot and how it was out distanced by a non slot Mizuno 825 (in a fair fight). (search RocketBladez Mizuno JPX825 Irons)


FHymee February 19, 2013 at 11:08 am

Gimmick = passing off that the R1 TP model is the exact model they use on tour when in fact it is the R1 V1 or the R1 V2…. TMAG bring back a true TP model……


GolfSpy T February 19, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I definitely think there’s a market for a SuperDeep/Tour-design head. Of course…if they do release one, there will be a contingent of people who complain about TaylorMade releasing another driver.


FHymee February 20, 2013 at 6:05 am

They dropped the ball on a the TP line, granted they sell more clubs to the mass market but it was nice to have an option to choose from the TP line for better players. They do have a great marketing campaign, just disappointed when I saw the the R1V2 that a buddy of mine had…..


Justin February 21, 2013 at 10:31 pm

Does it really matter if there’s a “TP” on it somewhere? If you get fitted for the driver, it’ll be the best thing for you… those two letters don’t mean a thing.


FHymee February 22, 2013 at 6:01 am

Actually they do my friend…. well at least it use to. The TP line was designed for better players, Apples and Oranges…. Shaft is different, head is different.


GolfSpy T February 22, 2013 at 6:52 am

In some cases they still do offer Tour models. What some see as unfortunately, of late, they haven’t done it with the flagship (R-Series) driver. It’s confusing as hell, but with current TaylorMade products…and those in the recent past…

The designation “Tour” (RocketBallz Tour vs. regular ol’ RocketBallz for example) refers to the head (usually neutral, or slightly open, with different weighting and COG), while the “TP” (Tour Preferred) designation refers only to the shaft (and generally just means “real” as opposed to designed for).

It’s the questionable naming convention that gets us to 4 versions of the RocketBallz for example:
RocketBallz – standard head, designed for shaft
RocketBallz Tour – “Tour” head (very different from Tour Issue), designed for shaft
RocketBallz Tour TP – “Tour” head with “Tour” (real) shaft.

And if you want to do a special order, it’s not impossible to end up with what amounts to a RocketBallz TP (regular head, TP shaft).


jeff February 19, 2013 at 10:46 am

Great interview. He must have mentioned performance 20 times, just like the Callaway guys in yesterday’s article. He’s definitely stretching the truth when he says the slot in the iron is the second largest invention in golf clubs. Regardless, I can’t wait to see what the golf landscape is like 5 years from now.


dkasjdkl February 25, 2013 at 11:53 am

Wilson had the slot technology a long time ago… I personally like Taylormade’s equipment from 5 years ago. But I just do not like the sound, feel, weight, or look of the new clubs since the white burst onto the scene. Taylormade reminds those I have to be the center of attention type people. When I think of Taylormade fans, I think of guys who wear Loudmouth that can’t break 90 and hit on teenage girls.


Forrest February 19, 2013 at 10:25 am

I’m hoping that he regards the TM Bubble driver as the #1 invention in company history.


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