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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Maybe I will get a Nike brick tied to a rope so I can lay up and play out of the rough more? It might make the game more fun.
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