TaylorMade Golf History

By Mike Camunas

TaylorMade is a golf manufacturer based in Carlsbad, California, and a subsidiary of the German-based adidas group. TaylorMade was started in 1979 by Gary Adams, the inventor of the metalwood. Over the years since then, TaylorMade has become one of the most popular and well known golf companies around the world. Hundreds of professional golfers on the PGA and European Tour use TaylorMade/adidas products, as do many amateur and casual golfers.


In 1979, Adams took out a $24,000 loan on his house and founded TaylorMade Golf in McHenry, Illinois. He leased a 6,000-square-foot building and hired two employees. The company initially offered just one club: a 12-degree stainless steel driver. It was designed by Adams to have a wood made out of metal and to hit the two-piece balls that were a fad at the time, but have since become the norm. The metalwood, also called the Pittsburgh Persimmon, was first developed by Adams but did not begin to gain wide acceptance over traditional woods until the early 1990s.

Adams displayed his metalwood at the TaylorMade booth at 1979's annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida, and numerous orders were placed, totaling more than $47,000.

In 1983, TaylorMade introduced its Burner driver, a club with a 7-degree loft and dimples on the head to help with aerodynamics. TaylorMade didn't change its R7 line until 2007, when it added adjustable weights. In 2009, the company made the loft and face angle adjustable.

TaylorMade was independently owned until adidas bought the company in 1997, and in 2006, TaylorMade/adidas had its first $1 billion revenue year, marking only the second time a golf brand has achieved this in industry history.


In 1981, Ron Streck won the Houston Open with a TaylorMade driver, marking TaylorMade's first PGA event win. Later that year, all woods and irons were introduced to the open market and the company's sales topped $1.2 million.

In 1982, the number of PGA Tour pros using TaylorMade drivers jumped to seven and included an LPGA player, as well.


TaylorMade's most popular products are the R7 Quad and the Burner lines. Each line includes drivers, woods, irons and wedges. TaylorMade also has a putter line sold under the Rossa brand.


TaylorMade has distinctive logos, one using the name "TaylorMade" and a "T" emblem. It also has a Burner logo, its emblem being a "B" with flames. Generally, the colors associated with TaylorMade are black, red, silver and white.


About The Author

Mike Camunas is also reporter for the St. Petersburg Times, covering local golf in the Tampa Bay area, from events to golfers hitting hole in ones, to even covering the professional events that hit town. He has been playing golf for about 11 years and has not seen his handicap lower. Maybe one day, but he'll stick to his day job for now.


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