TaylorMade-adidas Golf has the drive to be the best in the golf equipment industry. The top golf club maker makes metal drivers and irons (R11, Burner, R500 Series), putters (Spider, Rossa), and balls (Distance Plus, TP Tour) that are sold worldwide. Other products include bags, apparel, and accessories, as well as items for women and kids. It sponsors players on the PGA (Mike Weir), Senior PGA (Gary McCord), European PGA, and LPGA (Se Ri Pak) tours. Gary Adams founded TaylorMade in 1979 after discovering that balls struck by metal drivers travel farther than those struck by traditional woods. TaylorMade is part of sporting behemoth adidas, also owner of Reebok.
TaylorMade-adidas is the largest contributor of adidas's Other Businesses, which accounts for 12% of the group's overall sales, and is a key driver for sales in that segment. The company is currently working to extend its market leadership in metalwoods and boost its share in irons, golf balls, and footwear. The company points to innovations such as its R11 driver complete with white clubhead (launched in 2010) as helping to set a standard as an industry leader.
Improving its drivers and other golfing accoutrements has always been a focus, but in recent years TaylorMade-adidas has concentrated on building its brand through acquisitions. The golf equipment maker expanded its business by acquiring golf apparel maker Ashworth in 2008. Valued at about $73 million, the Ashworth deal gave TaylorMade-adidas a vast products portfolio, a boost in its distribution capacity, and a greater marketing presence. The acquisition also satisfied adidas's strategy of investing in its golf business. Ashworth makes men's and women's sportswear and accessories under the Ashworth, Callaway Golf (under license), Kudzu, and The Game brand names.
Buying Ashworth, a big name in golf apparel, has allowed TaylorMade-adidas Golf to establish a golf lifestyle business akin to what Ralph Lauren has built with his Polo brand. To attract golf professionals and enthusiasts alike, the golf clubs manufacturer relaunched the Ashworth brand in 2010 with a new Golfman logo. The rebranding included taking the new Ashworth look on tour, too, by tapping tour icons such as Fred Couples to peddle its new apparel.
The company adds credibility and visibility to its well-known adidas Golf, TaylorMade, and Ashworth names by traveling with professional golf tours. TaylorMade-adidas Golf's core sales channels include green-grass retailers, off-course golf specialty retailers, and sporting goods stores with golf departments.
TaylorMade-adidas became the #1 selling iron brand in golf in the US in 2009 despite the recession. In 2010, to maintain its momentum, the golf clubs maker rolled out an extensive sales and marketing campaign named "Project Burner" to bring more golfers into its fold through a mantra: "stop playing obsolete irons."
To boost its presence abroad, the company has been focused on developing innovative products and expanding its metalwoods business outside the US. The latter effort is through partnerships the likes of the China Golf Association. TaylorMade-adidas Golf is working to achieve the same market share worldwide that it has in the US.
To keep itself lean and mean, the company has been selling off brands that aren't top performers. TaylorMade-adidas divested the Maxfli brand to allow the company to focus on its namesake golf balls. – less