If we’ve learned anything from TaylorMade-adidas Golf the past several years – and if you haven’t you haven’t been paying attention – it’s that the company delivers on its promises. For example, when Mark King became TaylorMade president in 1999, the personable Wisconsin native promised to return the company to the top of the metal woods market. With great marketing and cutting edge technology in products such as the r7, r9 and now r11 lines of metal woods, TaylorMade is again No. 1 in metal woods sales.
King certainly would like to do the same with golf balls. That mountain, however, is much harder to climb and waiting at the top is the 800-pound gorilla known as Titleist. Rest assured Titleist parent Acushnet Company isn’t going to make the same mistakes on the ball side that TMaG’s chief rival, Callaway Golf Co., made on the metal woods side that allowed TMaG to take over the market place.
That said, TMaG is putting up an impressive fight for golf ball market share with its Penta TP golf ball. The five-piece ball, which sells at retail for around $45 per dozen, isn’t a household name yet, but it’s no shrinking violet, either. Consider that more than 200 professionals worldwide, including new world No. 1 Martin Kaymer, Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas, Ricky Barnes Rory Sabbatini play the ball and the TMaG marketing department is gearing up for a big year of pushing the Penta TP to consumers.
“We’re ready to spend more than we ever have and generate more buzz than we ever have,’’ Lindsay Main, TMaG’s global product marketing manager for golf balls told me. “The five-layer technology has been a huge story for us. It’s all about getting as many players as possible to try the ball. Once they do they love it. But we’re up against some pretty big competitors so it’s just about trail for us right now.’’
The Penta TP is the first five-layer golf ball on the market. Every layer, Main said, contributes to its performance. The urethane cover, for example, provides feel; the outer mantle promotes spin off the short irons; the middle mantle provides control in the mid irons; the inner mantle gives the ball its high launch, low spin off the long irons; and the core promotes high launch, low spin off the driver for greater distance.
“Tour players are so dialed in as to how they want the ball to spin and what kind of trajectory they like off all their clubs,’’ Main said. “What our engineers noticed with Penta was they could really satisfy a player with four levels – like our TP red ball – but it didn’t spin enough around greens. The TP Black was firmer and spun quite a bit around the greens, but the 8-iron spin was a little too high.
“With Penta TP, that fifth layer allowed us to tone down 8-iron spin and provide optimal spin off all the other shots without increasing spin off the driver. Five layers allows (a player) to manipulate the reaction on every shot. That’s a big win for us.’’
And TMaG the past decade is used to winning.