TaylorMade vs. Callaway: The Fight for #1 Gets Dirty

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Written By: Tony Covey

TaylorMade had a pretty good week. TaylorMade/Ashworth Staffer Justin Rose just won the US Open, but you knew that already.

From the narrow perspective of the golf equipment world, Rose’s big win is as much a win for his equipment sponsor.

Not only did Rose win with nearly a bag full of the latest and greatest TaylorMade gear (R1 driver, RBZ Stage 2 FW, a combo set of RBladez Tour and TP MB irons, a Spider Blade Putter, and the new Lethal ball), by outlasting perennial US Open bridesmaid Phil Mickelson, he gave TaylorMade what could be seen as a head to win over Callaway.

You probably knew all of that too.

What you’re probably hearing for the 1st time is that Rose’s US Open win is actually the 2nd time in less than a week that TaylorMade had cause to celebrate victory at Callaway’s expense.

Inarguably Justin Rose’s first career major is a big deal, but it’s entirely possible that the results of two mostly unknown cases decided by the mostly unknown National Advertising Division (NAD) could have the more lasting impact. The decisions announced last week have the potential to change the fundamental nature of golf equipment advertising.

No Truth In Advertising

We hear it from our readers all the time:  The golf companies are full of crap.

They make one ridiculous claim after another 10 more yards, 17 more yards. If even half of it were true we’d all be driving the ball 400 yards.  Where’s Ralph Nadar when you need him?

Why do they even bother to put a number on it, they might as well just say “we’ve got the longest driver in golf” and be done with it.

That’s basically what Callaway did last November when they kicked off their Tweet to Unleash campaign.  At the time, and for most of the spring, Callaway billed the RAZR Fit Xtreme as the longest driver in golf. They even had a hashtag (#LongestDriverinGolf).

Not surprisingly, TaylorMade had a really big problem with this…even the Twitter part.

Why TaylorMade Cares

Golf companies say things all the time. Almost everyone in the industry can lay claim to something, and that something almost always becomes the brand identity.

Adams has the hybrid, Titleist has the ball, and for TaylorMade, regardless of any talk of being The #1 Performance Brand in Golf, the driver remains the thing.

It’s not unreasonable to say that for TaylorMade having the best (by whatever measure) driver in golf is their heritage. They see it as a birthright. And while we can split hairs about how absolute or even quantifiable the notion of the best driver in golf may be, for most it simply boils down to distance.

The longest driver in golf is the best driver in golf, and for another company to claim they’ve got the former, but extension they’re claiming the latter, and that’s a statement that is absolutely detrimental to the TaylorMade brand identity.

TaylorMade wasn’t about to let that slide.

Legal Realities

Legal disputes happen all the time. At TaylorMade and Callaway’s level, everybody almost always has some legal stuff pending with nearly everyone else.

Disputes are part of the business. Sometimes they play out in a courtroom. Often little things are handled politely over email. The reason, probably the only reason, the consumer doesn’t hear about it more often is that neither the Darrell Survey nor Golf Datatech has a category that quantifies litigiousness.

If somebody ever figures out to translate legal hours into market share, I promise you – we’ll all hear a lot more about who has the #1 Legal Department in Golf.

Checks and Balances

I shouldn’t make light of the role the legal departments play. Arguably, the lawyers are the consumer’s best friends. You think the claims golf companies make are outlandish? Some might be, but I can promise you that each and everyone one of them has been thoroughly vetted. It might take a footnote or two to frame things in the proper context, but the reality is golf companies can’t straight-up lie. Their legal departments won’t allow it.

With the dual caveats that I don’t actually have a legal degree, and neither did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night; I can all but guarantee that everything your favorite (or least favorite) golf company puts in print –whether it’s 17 more yards, the #1 ball in golf, or the longest driver in golf will hold up against any legal challenge.

The Corporate Lawyers know how to cover ass, which is why it’s important to point out that while it’s obvious legal departments were involved, Case #5589 was, technically, never a legal dispute.

Meet The NAD

The National Advertising Division, which I suppose you could describe as the watchdog arm of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, is a “self-regulatory system [that] monitors the marketplace, holds advertisers responsible for their claims and practices and tracks emerging issues and trends”.

Though not legally binding, when a claim is settled by NAD, both parties agree to abide by the final decision.

In that respect it’s not totally unlike “The People’s Court”.

The NAD accepts complaints from both consumers and competitors, and for those competitors, filing a dispute with NAD is often much less expensive than the traditional route. Based on stated pricing, outside legal fees aside, it cost TaylorMade no more than 20K (industry chump change) to take Callaway to task.

That diminished expense coupled with a statement (the longest driver in golf) that could be difficult to disprove in court (again, I’m not a lawyer), probably explains why TaylorMade decided to take their gripes to NAD instead of the courthouse.

NAD Neither Tests Nor Verifies

What you absolutely must understand about NAD is that their role is not to validate the claims being challenged. They don’t do any product testing whatsoever. At the risk of trivializing the important role the NAD serves, they’re basically the fine print police.

The NAD determines whether the stated conditions used as the basis for any advertising claim are sufficient enough to justify those claims, and whether any relevant disclaimers (the fine print) are sufficiently prominent and not obfuscated or omitted in any way that might be misleading to the consumer.

It’s still your responsibility to read the fine print. It’s NAD’s job to make sure said print passes the sniff test.

NAD Case #5589

The basis of inquiry (the claim) begins like this:

A claim made by Callaway Golf Company (“Callaway” or “the advertiser”) for its Razr Fit Xtreme driver was challenged by Taylor Made Golf Company, Inc. (“Taylor Made” or “the challenger.”)

The challenged claim, which appears in print, on the advertiser’s website, and in a Twitter promotion, is: “longest driver in golf”

Challenger’s Position:

Taylor Made objected to Callaway’s clam that its Razr Fit Xtreme driver is the “longest driver in golf.”1 Taylor Made argued that this claim suggests that golfers of any handicap, fitness level, gender, age, and in any course condition will hit a longer distance with Callaway’s driver than with any other driver in the world.

Take me at my word when I tell you that’s barely the beginning of it.

The NAD’s Case #5589 provides a mind-numbing behind-the-scenes look into OEM driver testing procedures, statistical analysis, and the lengths to which a company will go to protect its brand identity.

Case #5589 is the basis for a back-and-forth between TaylorMade and Callaway that’s the written equivalent to a drunken slap-fight between two sorority girls. It reads like a festering stew of comedy, irony, and contradiction.

Case #5598 makes my face hurt.

It’s equal parts laugh out loud funny, and almost total ridiculousness.

It’s the kind of nonsense my 2-year old daughter calls Silly Business.

Mine is Bigger than Yours

At its core Case #5589 is little more than a giant pissing match between the two biggest names in golf, and that alone could be reason enough for just about everyone outside of Callaway and TaylorMade to be largely disinterested in the proceedings.

Me…I’m fascinated by the whole thing.

To come out on the winning end of an NAD-arbitrated dispute the complainant doesn’t have to disprove the claim in question. Instead, there just needs to be a reasonable case made that the basis for the claim is insufficient to make said claim.

Simply put, TaylorMade had no obligation to prove that their driver, or anybody else’s for that matter, is longer than the RAZR Fit Xtreme, they only had to prove that something that went into building the foundation for Callaway’s longest driver in golf claim was, for lack of a more concrete description, a little hokey.

A Total Lack of Standards

Before we get to the details, it should be pointed out that when it comes to performance testing, particularly performance testing for the purposes of making claims like “17 more yards” or “the longest driver in golf”, there aren’t any industry standards.

There are absolutely no rules that govern how many other clubs you should test against, how many golfers you should use, what the ability level, physical attributes of those golfers should be, or even whether or not it’s necessary to test using both men and women.

There is no standard that dictates how many shots should be hit, which shots get tossed out, or even whether everyone hit the same clubs, or just a subset.

Companies differ on the importance (and validity of robot testing), whether or not golfers should be properly fit, and apparently there hasn’t been a lot of thought put into to whether or not it’s a good idea to use company employees as testers.

It’s an unregulated mess, which ultimately made things much easier for TaylorMade.

Callaway Made a Lot of Mistakes

As part of the NAD process Callaway was required to submit details about the tests they used to justify their longest driver in golf claim. As it turns out, there were a lot of holes in Callaway’s methods, and TaylorMade was happy to point out every last one of them.

I’m far from certain of what the number absolute right number of drivers you need to hit before you can claim the longest in golf is, but I am certain it’s more than 6 (Callaway tested their own driver against only 5 from its competitors).

I’m absolutely certain that you shouldn’t claim your 2013 driver is the longest in golf when you test exactly zero other 2013 models.

I’m not certain what the average handicap of your testers needs to be, but I am certain that, when the suggestion is your club is the longest for everybody, 58% of your testers shouldn’t have handicaps of 6 or less.

I’m not positive how many shots each tester needs to hit with each club before the test is valid, but I believe that all of your testers should hit all of the clubs the same number of times. You can’t have different guys hitting different groups of clubs, which is exactly what Callaway did.

And if all of that wasn’t enough, more than anything else, I’m 100% positive that if you’re going to claim you have the longest driver in golf, your group of testers should most definitely not be company employees.

Yup…Callaway used Callaway employees to provide the data that Callaway used as the basis for their contention that a Callaway driver was the longest in golf.

When MyGolfSpy tested drivers this year we rounded up as many as we possibly could have. If you count pro/tour models, we tested more than 20 drivers. Our testing panel featured a balance of low, mid, and high handicap golfers. Every tester hit every club in our test. We hit a minimum of 20 shots with each club (Callaway's testers hit 12 shots per club). We made every reasonable attempt to properly adjust each club for each tester (Callaway's testing was limited to the neutral position), and should the day ever come when we release a driver, you can bet we won't use MyGolfSpy employees to test it.

Like I said…there aren’t any standards for testing, but what Callaway did isn't the model we'd use to develop them.

Plenty of TaylorMade Nonsense Too

In the interest of winning…or piling it on…or whatever, TaylorMade introduced its own special kind of nonsense into the proceedings.

I think most would agree that 6 drivers does not a longest driver in golf test make, but does anyone know with any degree of certainty how many clubs you need to test?

TaylorMade does. The answer is 184

Seriously. Stop laughing.

184 is the number of drivers that appeared have appeared on the Golf Digest Hotlist since 2004, and TaylorMade would have the NAD believe that they actually believe Callaway should have tested every last one of them.

Horse shit.

Never mind the fact that the hotlist routinely excludes basically everything not produced by a major manufacturer (Krank, Geek, KZG, Wishon, Acer, Alpha, Bang…the list is longer than what Callaway actually tested against), I can state with some degree of certainty that there’s nobody outside TaylorMade’s legal department who actually believes that there’s much value in testing a 2013 driver against a collection of drivers that have been off the shelf for nearly a decade.

Like I said, horse shit.

5 certainly isn’t enough. 184 is a joke.

But Wait, There’s More

In case you’re wondering about the 5 drivers Callaway did test against the RAZR Fit Xtreme; they were the top 5 selling driver (dollar sales) of 2012. The back and forth between the two companies contains a whole lot of basically pointless disagreement over numbers.

While Callaway claims their test included 54.5% of the top-selling drivers (again, dollar sales) of 2012, TaylorMade is quick to point out that Callaway’s numbers are based on data from a single month, and well, one month does not a sufficient sampling size make.

Wake up…it’s about to get good.

Now is a great time to point out that TaylorMade has frequently promoted the fact that last year they had a 52% share of the metalwoods market. What they don’t say nearly as often (if ever) is that the 52% number was based on data from a single month. Fortunately we now understand that a one-month sampling is insufficient for making any determinations about market conditions.

TaylorMade further explains that even if Callaway did actually test the top five selling drivers from 2012, it’s possible that the actual longest driver in golf might not be among them. Essentially TaylorMade is arguing that best-selling does not mean longest.

Now is a fantastic time to mention that two of the five drivers Callaway tested RAZR Fit Xtreme against were TaylorMade Drivers (R11s and RBZ). To help fight Callaway’s assertion that the RAZR Fit Xtreme is the longest driver in golf, TaylorMade actually argued that both of its own drivers may not be the longest in golf.


That’s the problem with pissing contests; even when you win, you don’t come out smelling so good.

TaylorMade Wins…sorta

The decision itself condenses the mostly nonsense into a 10 page back and forth that ultimately ends in TaylorMade’s favor. The NAD agreed with TaylorMade that Callaway didn’t have any legitimate basis for making their longest driver in golf claim.

As a result, Callaway has agreed to stop using the phrase longest driver in golf …which is now an 8 month old promotion that hasn’t been part of any Callaway marketing for the better part of the last 5.

While disappointed in the decision Callaway will tell you they moved on long before the decision was rendered.

TaylorMade will applaud the process and celebrate the victory, but the reality is Callaway got little more than a slap on the wrist for an advertising campaign that we now know doesn’t come close to passing the sniff test.

Screw the High Road

While I agree with TaylorMade on much of the meat, the reality is they crawled deeper in the mud than they needed to. As I said, 184 was nonsense, and so was tossing in an “oh by the way” in asserting that, barely related to the complaint itself, Callaway violated California law and Twitter policy by failing to establish rules for the Tweet to Unleash contest.

Callaway disagrees on both accounts, and points out that they worked hand in hand with Twitter on the promotion.

Given the petty nature of some of the TaylorMade’s arguments, Callaway could have, even in defeat, claimed some high ground.

What about 17 More Yards?

Instead of letting things play out; in what certainly looks like an act of retribution, Callaway filed a claim against TaylorMade over the 17 more yards promotion.

While consumers might be anxious to see the 17 yards claim disputed, that was never really the basis of the argument. Instead Callaway decided to play semantics over a single video for the RocketBladez irons in which TaylorMade CEO mentions the RocketBallz fairway wood in passing while saying it gave the average golfer 17 more yards.

Anybody who read anything related to the release of the RocketBallz fairway wood knows that from day 1 the claim was that better players (150+ MPH ball speed) would pick up 17 yards. Mr. King’s statement in the video was a singular anomaly, and it’s at least believable that it was a mistake.

It’s not a fight worth having.

Nevertheless, Callaway complained…because TaylorMade complained.

Long before the claim (case #5584) went anywhere, TaylorMade fixed the video. The NAD ruled no harm, no foul.

Not only does it read like a loss for Callaway, the misguided interpretation is that the NAD validated TaylorMade’s 17 yard claim.

TaylorMade keeps on winning.

Big Changes Coming?

This is the first time that both TaylorMade and Callaway have used the NAD to settle a dispute. From the consumer perspective, I suppose it’s comforting that there is a process that exists to help keep outlandish golf company claims in check.

It might give you that warm fuzzy feeling, but the actual reality is not much of anything is likely to change. The process, which took 8 months in this case, will almost always outlive the campaigns it’s being used to dispute.

The NAD simply can’t keep up with the golf industry. Callaway’s campaign was basically over before the dispute started.

The fallout from TaylorMade vs. Callaway and Callaway vs. TaylorMade could be enough to give the next guy pause before making a nebulous claim like “the longest driver in golf”, but business as usual…the 17 more yards, the stuff that’s irrefutably covered by the fine print, it’s not going anywhere. If anything, the decision in case #5589 suggests we’re going to see even more of it.

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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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Mickey August 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

It’s been clear for some time that the marketing claims of all Golf manufacturers have been spurious at best, but I was genuinely surprised by how lax the regulations are and how much apathy there is in wanting to establish some (basic) ground rules.
The general public have also been conditioned, for many years, by the big players in the market to expect their latest Driver to be longer and straighter that last year’s model.
So any brand that can “own” the longest high ground is going to win not just the hearts and minds of the consumer but also their wallets.
TaylorMade have done this very well but I’ve always doubted its veracity.
Just look at the longest hitters on the PGA Tour, few of which use TaylorMade.
You’d have thought that they would “own” the Top Ten longest hitters.
Big hitters Bubba Watson (Ping), Bradley Keegan (Cleveland), Rory Mcilroy (Nike/Titleist), Jason Dufner (Titleist), Web Simpson (Titleist) whilst not all in the Top 10, they are highly successful Tour Players many of them blast their drives into another State.
But as someone has already mentioned (Indian/Arrow), you put the best engineered clubs in the hands of the average player and it will make zip all difference.
I know a good player who has all parts of his game and can’t putt to save his life.
He’s tried every type of putter with no difference.
He’s now using a Scotty Cameron which still doesn’t work.
I also believe that any advantage over the latest model (over last year’s) is marginal at best.
Golf ball technology has also given players extra distance which was another measure which I wasn’t sure was used in case NAD Case #5589.
Occasionally I revert to my old Cleveland Launcher and it still seems to go as far as my TM R11!
As Blu stated (about Callaway) I think they’re all snake oil salesmen.


Dave July 13, 2013 at 10:17 am

Taylormade is a joke and Callaway is only marginally better. The best driver taylormade ever built was the 07 Burner TP, everything else they’ve built since then has been inferior with nothing more than one gimmick after the other IMHO. I have owned and played just about everything out there, I happened upon a Titleist 910 D2 a couple of years ago which I decided to try (I had never owned or played a titleist driver prior to that experience) and was totally blown away. What a game changer for me, not only was it very long but the straightest driver I have ever hit bar none. So please spare me the Taylormade vs. Callaway talk, they both are a joke compared to Titleist IMHO.


Gurubobbo June 22, 2013 at 5:35 am

now lets deal with the big issues in the world…… Taylor Made, Callaway…… wankers!


RAT June 20, 2013 at 6:04 pm

When IronByron hits all the clubs with all different balls then it’s all bull.Go out and hit some at demo days then decide.


reqq June 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

Nike 5 victories 2013, Nike wins! Must be best golf clubs this year yes?!?!?


Charlie June 19, 2013 at 11:20 am

When I first read and heard that a golf club manufacturer had a club that will allow you to hit the ball further I immediately began questioning the soundness of the claim. Then, the next year I read and heard the same thing. Just using the same claim two years running should make one cringe. So the first first year I hear the claim I can hit the ball further by say 10 yds and I buy the club. The next year I hear the claim I buy the new club. So, I should increase my yardage by 20 yards. NOT!! We all know this. Excuse me, we all don’t as I play with a guy who buys the latest and greatest every year and sill doesn’t hit the ball well. For him it is either a new putter, driver etc. and the golf industry loves him.

Until the golf industry is reeled in from the false advertising we all need to use the “little grey cells” to realize what they say is for their purposes only.


Roger Dallas June 19, 2013 at 6:46 am

Look lets face it every one has a different swing, Callaway and I have bought a new set of theirs has improved my game, my age is 60 years young, however I do not think anyone can claim the best clubs? the technology is there for all to use, so forget the bullshit and try all the top brands to see what is best for your swing


TheHacker June 18, 2013 at 10:49 pm

I for one would be most happy to see if there’s an Iron Byron test result of all the drivers out there in the market. Even testing by humans done by mysolfspy I take it with a pinch of salt because nobody can swing the driver the same all the time.

However if we set Iron Byron to swing at the same speed …say 95mph, 105 mph, with the same launch angle, same ball, that ought to take away a lot of inconsistencies which is common with human testing. Although we can’t really control certain variables like weather, air pressure and such, but a machine test is still the best IMHO.


TheHacker June 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm

At the end of the day, the question that dumb consumers like me need to know… which is longer for me? I am still agonising over which driver to buy and can’t very buy buy both.

As for the 17 more yards thing for RBZ, I find there is some truth in that one for me. When I manage to catch it on the screws it does carry further than my previous 3 wood. However RBZ is really difficult to get it airborne when hitting off the turf.


ryebread June 18, 2013 at 3:34 pm

For those wanting the Iron Byron test results done by a neutral third party and with different swing speeds, they are out there — including some of the 2013 models. Neither TM nor Callaway 2013 models are at the top of the list for overall distance.

One could argue about their test methodology, consistency, ball used, etc. particularly if tests were done year over year. One could argue that manufacturing tolerances impacted the results (some interesting nuggets to suggest this happens). Short of being in the room, understanding the process and doing this on “blue printed” equipment, I don’t think you can ever really fully believe the results.

Understand that the OEMs are out to sell equipment. To stay in business, they have to convince us to pay top dollar for an item that we do not need that will depreciate heavily almost immediately. As a result, it’s always going to be about marketing because it is the only way that they can survive.

In short, play what you like and what you think fits your game. It’s all about being comfortable looking down at the ball anyways. Sometimes switches are good just to get that confidence level up.


Justin June 18, 2013 at 10:37 am

Until there’s a Consumers Reports for golf, every company is free to lie/warp the “truth” to their customers. Standardization would be a good idea, as well, especially where shafts are concerned. Unfortunately, there’s so many out there that think they’re almost pros they’ll eat whatever BS the companies feed them.


golfer4life June 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

They tried standardizing shafts (the way they are measured). Nobody wanted to play fair, all wanted it their way and wasn’t willing to compromise. I know, big surprise right?


DrewT June 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

As a few others have said…most here have diverse bags and we are all smart enough to not believe everything said…
Me..I have liked Callaway and they have the best preowned deals ( so thats what I have mostly (Taylor Made’s preowned site is nice but not too many deals)
And I figure there is a small something to technology advancing…thus I finally updated my 15 year old Ping knockoff Irons and grabbed used set Razr X Black online for $225 on a pre-spring sale and couldn’t be happier for the $.
(In another 5-10 years I figure tech will advance again and I will update, but in no rush)

And to add to silliness. My Cousin has always bought Taylormade…so we end up with a nice diverse set of clubs for us to mess with…


golfer4life June 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

The biggest most false claiming golf company has a problem with someone else? How about the early Rocketbladz adds with a lot of there tour players putting them into play. Look at how many actually play them. They are constantly putting out misleading sales numbers. They are way down this year, and that’s fact.
I use to give there company a lot of ‘push’ when it came to sales. And what was my reward you ask? How about taking a personal use discount from 30% off wholesale to 40% off retail (a final cost of + 40 – 50%) When asked why, was told they felt it was a better fit for everyone, really??? Haven’t seen the better ‘fit’ yet. I still fit customers in whats best for their game, just happens without the “push” there’s some better options. As you can tell, I’m not a big fan of saying, “we became huge but no thanks to you” I don’t think (I know) this was not a way to increase sales.
Another example of the spoiled rich kid not having enough.


Ray C June 18, 2013 at 4:06 am

as you can see in everyone’s bag, no brand stand as the sole brand in someone’s bag. My driver is a nike, my clubs are Wilson Staff forged and my wedges are even more of a mix. They are the best for me. For a company to claim anything is the best for everyone is absurd. They would have to make the sure the the shaft and the club head are perfect for the individual. Never going to happen in mass production.


Mark June 18, 2013 at 3:52 am

At the end of the day — who gives a monkey’s?
We, average Joe Punter, count on independent reviews and insights. And trying the stuff.
And even then we’re skeptical.
When I see something like “The longest driver in golf”, I think “That sounds like a load of cobblers” and tend to steer away from it.
The few golf companies I have respect for include Ping and pre-TaylorMade Adams.
Although in fairness, I tried the RocketBallsUp fairway wood and liked it. For whatever reason it was longer and easier to hit than my G15 fw wood. So I bought it. But that is just me.


Mike B June 18, 2013 at 12:47 am

You want long? Go non-conforming as the USGA limitations have grounded distance to a halt! What people should be looking for is accuracy and forgiveness since everything hits the ball the same these days. C.O.R. values can be expanded to work better throughout the club face but nothing else. Quit spending $400.00 to $500.00 dollars a pop every six months and get lessons!


Joe Golfer June 18, 2013 at 12:14 am

I can’t recall if it was this website or another golf one where an article noted that TaylorMade had several R1 model drivers. Two of them were not available for sale to folks in stores: only available to pros.
Watching something about a long drivers contest once, I heard them state that those guys can’t even play the standard drivers, as the face is too thin and would break too soon at their high swing speeds.
I wish the folks who advertise irons would also be required to tell the truth like some folks have posted about these driver testing methods.
I was reading up on the new Wilson D-100 irons, as there was a contest on a website recently about them, and it advertising that they are seriously long.
Yes, they must be seriously long. I looked at the lofts. The 4 iron is 21.5* loft. The PW is 44* and the Gap Wedge is 47*. So now you need yet another wedge to fit in between the GW and the SW (traditionally 55* or 56*). Seriously long, and seriously misleading advertising, in my opinion.


gunmetal June 18, 2013 at 12:06 am

The very thought that TM decided someone else was making outrageous distance claims and that they needed to be stopped, is one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a while. Go get em’ #ier’s!


reinmd21811 June 17, 2013 at 11:18 pm

After using 845’s for many years, bought a set of “updated” clone irons and driver. My game didn’t seem to improve, I’m a 20 handicap 68 year old player. Had my clubs checked, both the 845’s and the clones, and found that both sets had wrong lengths and bad settings. I then went to a local golf center, tried Callaway graphite irons in different “flavors”, picked up a set and had them checked for length; amazingly they were actually as advertised. I also tried out a new, then a 2012, Callaway Razr Fit driver in different shafts, different face angles and after almost 2 hours of checking and testing walked out with a driver that I am very happy and I now consistently much longer than my previous driver. BTW, I gave up on “hybrids” and other fancy newbies and use a Ping Eye2 persimmon 7 wood and a Cobra 5 Baffler and I’m playing better than ever. Golf is a personal game You need to go out and check out on demo days and at local golf centers that sell several different brands. Then go out and enjoy the game.


RAT June 17, 2013 at 9:36 pm

All things said and alot has merit but I agree there should be a robotic testing of off the shelf drivers from all mfgs and see who shines. The prize going to the winner.put up or shut up time. I bet TM and Callaway would not be willing to do this even with a million dollars as the prize! GolfSpy should over see the contest.Heck do it on national TV!


Joe Golfer June 18, 2013 at 12:42 am

Agreed. Put it on tv with robot testing.
We could test each driver at various speeds in 10 mph increments, with appropriate flex. Folks would then learn that the vast majority of drivers would be extremely similar in distance, and the driver testing would probably prove to be just as anti-climactic as LeBron James silly “The Decision” tv show on espn a few years back.


bullwinkle June 17, 2013 at 9:25 pm

I tried every 2013 driver before I purchased the Callaway Xtreme. I hit it longer and straighter than any Taylor Made Product period. The Low Spin Adams was second for me, I do have to admit my other Fairway wood, Hybrid, and Irons are Taylor Made’s latest and greatest and I hit them well for an old fart. Without TM’s influence Adams would be the best equipment, which is one reason TM bought them.


CB June 17, 2013 at 8:00 pm

I agree, shafts make the difference. If you can, find a pro to help pick out what works best for you and your swing, well worth the expense. On quality,Taylor Made makes great stuff, but you still find guys playing R-9’s, 580’s and just as far as new R1. We have become a consumer society, thinking the latest is the greatest…… not always true, I have fallen into the hype and purchased new irons two years in a row, Burner 2.0, Rocketbladz,, some benefit but not up to the hype, my old Rac’s were probably fine after all. Callaway is picking their quality up, you can almost tell the real from the fakes.


Bob Pegram June 17, 2013 at 7:50 pm

After what Callaway did to Orlimar, they deserve every loss they get and then some. When Orlimar was on the verge of having their initial public offering of stock, Callaway filed a lawsuit against Orlimar with no basis whatsoever. It was done specifically to wreck Orlimar’s public offering. It almost put them out of business. They came back as Bobby Jones Golf, but it killed their momentum. It was thoroughly evil on Callaway’s part. Eli Callaway is now burning forever.


Bob L June 17, 2013 at 7:02 pm

I recently decided it was time for me to look at purchasing a new driver. I tried all the latest TaylorMade and Callaway Clubs had to offer . Trackman only found a slight difference in distance and dispersion on all of them after hitting 10 balls with each club . I told the Pro who was doing the test that i thought i was not hitting any of them as good as my Taylor Made R9 Driver . He suggested i go and get it and subject it to the same test . Surprise , Surprise! my own R9 Driver was 2 yards longer on average over all the others and my dispersion was also nearly half of the others . I am a reasonably accurate driver of the golf ball and all hits would have been on the fairway with all of the clubs . To sumarize the Pro said to me there was no point in me changing as i hit the R9 better than any of them .


mike June 17, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Try this on for size. I play a 910 titleist driver a playing partner purchased the new r1 I hit it a dozen times and averaged 10 yards longer and not on a launch monitor. I went on ebey purchased a used r1 shaft same make and flex had it installed and I now hit my 910 10 yards longer. SOME TIMES COMMON SENSE IS NOT SO COMMON.


joel goodman June 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm

why doesn’t this site find an iron Byron or similar machine and buy 2 drivers. one callaway and one taylormade and test them side by side. Hit 50 balls alternating between the two and then measuring the longest drives… Seems too simple to not have been done. It would be better than any tests done so far. Using people to hit the drivers is completely without a control factor required in any valid testing..


jim June 17, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I think just about everything is BS these days. Pretty soon the boys on the Golf Channel will be sporting full tattoo sleeves just to keep up with all the girl pros and their implants. Only thing that remains consistent is Johnny Miller.


Ian Donnachie June 17, 2013 at 5:50 pm

lets get real, surely to make rediculius claims re extra yards etc, All clubs should be tested by a neutral organisation using same shafts and lofts. and the iron baron Let us get it out in the open guys. I spent 50 years in the golf trade and there has always been the ” mine is longer than yours” brigade.
I remember in the 60’s when plastic heads were being promoted, Golf World Mag organised a shoot out at Dunlop ball testing facility at Speke using Dunlop version of Iron Baron. Plastic heade out performed persimmon and laminate, all the stats were recorded and must be available somewhere. In todays high tech world we should be able to come up with meaningfull data which will bury all the bull which is stuffed down our throat


Scott Tice June 17, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I have used TaylorMade Burner, RBZ, and R-11s, I could hit a great shot (270-280yards) with any of them once in awhile, but prefer the RBZ. I also have used Callaway Diablo and Razr Black with a preference for the Razr, also on a good shot would get 270-280 yds. All of these clubs were over $200 each when purchased new. I also had purchased a knock-off Burner for $50, called a “Heater” at the local flea market in FL. I have hit a ball 300 yards straight down the middle with this club, according to the markers on the golf course. From the tee box I hit from the yardage for that hole was 401 yds. My drive was exactly at the 100 yd. marker. My conclusion is most every club is capable of great shots and it depends on the person swinging the club that makes the most difference. Same with putters. I purchase 2 Scotty Cameron putters and still make more puttts with my 2 ball Odysey. just my opinion, Scott


The Big Raccuna June 17, 2013 at 5:20 pm

It’s the Indian, not the arrow…….


Steven Meyers June 17, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Try as they made, Callaway can’t carry TaylorMade’s jock. Not even a contest!


Steven Meyers June 17, 2013 at 5:00 pm



Max Parris June 17, 2013 at 4:50 pm

I have used all Taylormade product for a number of years. When I saw the ad come out
stating 17 more yards using the new fairway woods I wrote Taylormade. In my letter I stated
that I did not believe the ad. If you will send me the two clubs to test and if I could hit the two clubs an average of 17 yards further using a gps for the distance I will buy the clubs. Guess what the response was??? You are correct guys, no response. That makes me think the ad
is crap. One more item to add. I have tested most of the new drivers on a tester at Golfsmith and found that none of the drivers is better than any of the others I tested. Put all the new drivers on a robot, hit the same balls at different swing speeds and then lets see some data.


Will Parsons June 17, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Taylormade claims 17 more yards. Callaway claims longest driver in golf. MyGolfSpy baits us with an email that promotes a story that “might just change the way golf clubs are marketed forever”.

It’s all hype. No substance. All three. Moving on. Nothing to see here.


Ed Barnes June 17, 2013 at 4:40 pm

We test drivers, fairways and irons inside on with a launch monitor and outdoors on the range. We test everything we can get our hands on. The mfg claims are usually BS for those who spend the most $$…the average golfer. We are still waiting for find anything longer.


Ed June 17, 2013 at 4:27 pm

Bring back the equipment that had “woods” wood. Quit making championship golf courses over 7500 yards. Look at Hogan and how he performed at Merion with the equipment of the day. Forgiveness in a wood/iron should not be a reward for a miss hit,


keenford December 20, 2013 at 11:02 pm

OH and while you’re at it, bring back the Model T Ford! Why can’t you guys understand that things change? This is the world of golf now. Accept it and take advantage of technology.


Joe Phillips June 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Every golfer can have an opinion, I have purchased a set of X forged irons and have to say I am very happy with my purchase after previously using Taylor Made CB irons which I could not fault.
These comments remind me of a football fans from two different sides of a city, example Manchester United v Manchester City
If golf companies did not pay their players, I wonder what Justin Rose would have had in his bag


Blu June 17, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I would guess TM clubs. Most players agents end of Dec each year contact the OEM;s their client would be interested in that particular companies equipment. Most of the better players stick with their sponsors.

When Titleist was taken over by the Korean’s… Major exodus from Titleist to Nike. There are several players playing other Equipment hitting TM drivers and NOT GETTING PAID. Luke Donald comes to mind real quick. A couple Ping guys pulling Ping Head covers off a r1 driver. That whete thang is kinda hard to hide. Maybe the black one will hide better under those OEM head covers and not be so noticeable on TV. Just look at the staff bag and see who is paying and them check to see if it is a iron contract.. full set contract that the player is bound buy.

Go to a PGA tournament.. go over to the tour vans and see who is coming out with what club in their hand. Watch the practice rounds on the driving range and see what other brands players are trying out. You be surprise what’s in whose bags.


Christopher June 30, 2013 at 11:29 am

As far as I know Taylor Made pay everyone who uses their drivers on tour, when Luke Donald plays a TM driver he gets a cheque from them just like everyone else.


Ron June 17, 2013 at 3:56 pm

Isn’t it always about the money? A new and better product comes out every 6-12 months so it’s absurd! Tiger and many other pros shorten their driver as it is still the hardest club to hit! I laughed when Ping came back out with the Eye2 wedges as many of the older irons are better than most of the newer ones. Any 460 cc driver is comparable. Unless we all revert back to 70’s technology all the calims and assumptions are to get people to buy new clubs or the companies go out of business.


Blu June 17, 2013 at 3:51 pm

I don’t buy clubs after reading the OEM’s hype. I spend time hitting the clubs(what a novel idea) before purchasing. I don’t hit rack stock shafted stuff. If a buyer is a better player(for that matter the not so go a player) needs to pay attention to the SHAFTS is the clubs. Stock stuff is bogus stuff, $9.99 shaft specials for Golfsmith type stuff. The shaft is the engine. Spend more time getting the correct shaft – ball and launch angle and you will gain distance with any club

People need to get over TM being the big dog on the block. They obviously build a quality product. 2012 TM did 1,5 billion.. next closets was at $900 million. $500 million is not so close 2nd place!

Callaway started the high prices and movement to build off shore(China). Callaway tried fooling the golfer(got away with it for awhile) with over priced Chinese crap. Eli Callaway was a snake oil salesman. Now Callaway is paying dearly for the lousy quality stuff they put out. High prices. Now they are a half step ahead of the bankruptcy courts or a hostile take over from Bridgestone Golf(Ball patents is what this is about)


David W June 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

All Taylormade needed to do was get a few players who hit their driver farther and use that in a commercial. They would have won hands down and wouldn’t look so stupid doing it. I personally don’t care what they say, that’s not what sells me clubs. I will always get fitted for club head and shaft before purchasing.


John Alexander June 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

In my opinion golf has become too much about the new equipment and how they can improve your golf game. I wonder if the “law of diminishing returns” has not been reached. I have reviewed the Golf Digest “Hot List” with great anticipation and eagerly go try the new gear out. These new and greater Drivers and woods did not help me to improve. I have gone back to Persimmon Driver and fairway woods and have not missed a fairway since I put them in play. In addition, I am not hesitant to hit the FWs off the deck.


keenford December 20, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Oh come on John…. Let’s get real here. Please don’t tell me that hitting a Persimmon wood is going to make your game better than using a modern day driver. Take some lessons with your metal woods and you’ll be straight and WAY longer than the Persimmon. Man! You guys that want to desperately hang on to the past kill me. I played with Persimmon as well but I would NEVER go back to it. Why? To prove a point? To fight change? Come on man. That’s like saying that you would rather watch a tube TV than one of the new HD flat screen TV’s. You guys really make me laugh.


keenford December 20, 2013 at 9:06 pm

And another thing……. if you can’t hit today’s fairway woods off the deck then I say again…. take some lessons.


Rex June 17, 2013 at 3:45 pm

What a hoot. So Callaway challenges a TM claim (+17 Yards) that the current Callaway VP of Marketing used when he was a VP of Marketing at TM (and they lose)… cuz this same marketing guy got a fast, hard beat-down by his former employer (TM) for upping the ante on truly baseless claims…. way to go Callaway. I thought Callaway was for “Winners”?


Shane June 17, 2013 at 3:40 pm

It all about a $!!! Bull$$$$!! At least in Cally’s XHot iron commercials and ads they say what the player in the ad actually uses!!!!!


SB in NC June 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm

The whole marketing of clubs is absurd. The major companies try to convince people that ever year or every other year they have discovered the holy grail in technology. The major golf magazines are in on the joke as they print whatever those companies want in their reviews and club descriptions.

Are we like Charlie Brown and believe that this year they are going to not pull the football out before we kick it?

I don’t mean to sound like an apple polisher, but your website with data that is objective are the only ones that can help us average players. We love the game, and want to get as much help as we can, because we need it. . Now if we can just get a standard length of clubs, and lofts and a standard for shaft flex between manufacturers, we might actually know what we are buying…


Mike Dean June 17, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I had my Cleveland 270 Ultra Light driver shorten and know pound the ball with a flight like a frozen rope all day long. My playing partners are usually behind me 20/30 yards. Shorter means better sweet spot contact – hence better control and longer drives. Try it, shorter is better but make sure are fit by a certified fitter.

Maybe pro’s can handle the longer clubs, but amateurs, not so much. Manufactures are marketing with smoke and mirrors…….All B/S.


John April 23, 2014 at 11:54 am

I agree with the 270 Cleveland. I have one and I out drive almost everyone I play with.
I’m turning 70 next month. I play with a guy who is 53 and big. I’m 158 lbs. He has a
Taylormade driver. He does not outdrive me many times.


C Graham June 17, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Could this not be ended by testing all drivers on the market with a calibrated robotic arm. I am sure I seen one on You Tube being used to test ball flight with the driver in a fixed position?
Too many variables when you involve humans.


Socorro June 17, 2013 at 4:35 pm

I agree. Such a test has the merit of taking the differing physical characteristics of golfers out of the equation and demonstrating ball flight with a standardized, repeatable swing. As the artcle clearly points out, the various marketing claims arise because companies do their own testing in an uncontrolled manner with golfers who have different skill levels.

A fully controlled test would require that the same shaft be used for all drivers and that this shaft would be swapped from one to the other driver (very difficult to do because of the different mounting configurations), or at least that the shafts come from a single manufacturr and are pre-matched for bend profile and torque. .

Since the USGA imposes restrictions on the trampoline effect, I’m willing to bet that the if Iron Byron hit five-ten drives with each driver, the average distance in the air among the top of the line drivers from all manufaturers would be statictically the same, and marketing would have to find other half truths to differentiate products. Maybe “Hit the prettiest driver on the market!” or “Play the club that X used to win Y!”

The only real way to get more distance and play at one’s peak, is for every player try a series of clubs at the range or on a simulator and find the one he/she likes best then get them tweaked by a knowledgable club fitter.


Dennis Anderson June 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm

I have been changing drivers every six (6) months since January 1990 to the longest available driver made by any of the top names. On average I increase my driving length 10-15 yards every six months. I am now hitting the ball 786 yards on a still hot day at sea level! This comment in no way sponsored by Callaway or TaylorMade.


Greg Nay June 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm

That is outstanding… I now only need a PW for all my iron shots. As a side note it is a 23 degree PW.


dave June 21, 2013 at 8:01 am

Awesome, Hilarious, a true Golf fan. Great, quick read. Dave L.


lukesmurf59 June 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm

TaylorMade is so pathetic. Just build a better club than Callaway, quit whining that their old advertising campaign was unfair. And for the record, your ads are flipping absurd. I have no respect for TM, everything they put out is just another gimmick. The R9 series of clubs were the last good things they put out.
And to throw in my own “by the way” I tested the RBZ against my Nike VR Pro Ltd. Edition and I averaged exactly 17yds LESS with the RBZ. You can imagine the TM rep’s face when he looked at the data.


SpacePlace June 17, 2013 at 11:02 pm

TaylorMade a gimmick? Wow…why all the hate towards them? Your as bad as the Ford vs Chevy, or Coke vs Pepsi.
TaylorMade gimmicks include….metal driver. Now try to find a wood club. Moveable weights, now almost every manufacturer does it. White drivers…yup, others are following suit and moving away from black. Even your beloved Nike — which, by the way, if it’s so awesome how come the #1 player in the world doesn’t play their current driver or golf ball??? And adjustable faces/adjustments – every club manufacture does it now.
Yeah – you’re right, Lukesmurf59, TaylorMade is all about the gimmicks. Some people might call them innovators or trend setters.


Steve P June 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm

You’re actually suggesting “white” is not a gimmick?
“White drivers…yup, others are following suit and moving away from black.”
Are you just one of the tens of millions of suckers that bought into TM’s white driver: alignment and non-glare “technology” story?
How dumb are you gonna feel this September when you realize there is not a white club in their entire new line for late 2013/2014?


Bandwagon June 19, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Taylormade has made some big strides in the golf when it comes to club technology. However, they were not 1st to the marketplace with an adjustable driver nor were they the first to the marketplace with a white driver. What TM does that is better than the other companies is the marketing of those features. Hands down they are the kings at that, no argument there. Not everything they do is gold, XFT wedges with replaceable wedge face plates were a failure and even the ATV wedges don’t sell.


Jeff Trigger June 26, 2013 at 12:24 pm

The reason TaylorMade wedges don’t sell is the fact that TaylorMade does very little marketing for them. There isn’t much profit to be made in wedges either. A driver costs what, $20 to make, and they sell them for $300 and $400? It’s not hard to figure out what I’m going to push. TaylorMade pumps their drivers first, fairway woods second, irons third. I mean, look, the buzz around Rose’s putter isn’t due to TaylorMade, it’s due to the internet pointing out that it’s a different style of putting.


keenford December 20, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Uh…. SpacePlace – do you even have a clue who was the first to introduce a metal driver? It most certainly wasn’t TaylorMade


AH June 17, 2013 at 3:26 pm

I think that most people are aware that advertising will always be a slew of half truths and sensational claims. If you take it too seriously then I feel like you take on some of the responsibility of the advertising mirage.

While brand name and advertising can certainly influence decisions, it should never be they main factor in purchasing a golf club in my opinion.


RAT June 17, 2013 at 3:23 pm

then set standards and methods that will determine the claims by the manufactures to be true or false. Everyone play by these rules in advertising for golf .


Kurt June 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I’ve had a R-11, and R-11s, tried a Callaway X, I placed the first two on Ebay, buh bye Taylormade for whom, surely it’s a Jest….ha Tom


Christian Furu June 17, 2013 at 2:03 pm

They will always be right. I can guarantee that there’s someone out there who hits it 10 more, 17 more or whatever more yards. Not everyone. Not most golfers. But someone.

And compared to what? There’s always going to be someone who plays an old club and gains a lot with a new club.


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