A Week with TaylorMade at The 2018 Genesis Open

The Arrival

I arrived at the TaylorMade M House not knowing what to expect.  A green journalist on his first press trip, covering a sport he stinks at.  I was intimidated to say the least.  All I truly knew was that TaylorMade was unveiling 2 new drivers and iron sets with technology in them that would knock the socks off of any golfer and I was super excited to get a in depth look at them.

When my Uber driver asked, ‘Is this the place, bro?’ I had to pinch myself as we pulled up to the gate of a multi-million dollar Beverly Hills pad that would make Oprah blush.  I entered the home to be greeted by a host of TaylorMade staffers, who all looked to be scratch golfers, and other journalists who I’d be sharing a home with for the week.  I’d be remiss not to mention our house chef, Randi who had scrumptious fajitas waiting for me upon my arrival.  Shortly after my fajitas, I went to my room and slowly slipped into a fajita coma with visions of golf splendor dancing in my head.  I knew that this was going to be a week for the books.

Getting to Know the Clubs

Bright and early the following morning I enjoyed a little bit of Chef Randi’s homemade granola and we were off to Riviera CC for a visit to the TaylorMade Tour Truck followed by an Inside the Ropes Experience, which I didn’t have the slightest clue of what that meant.  I’d soon find out…

Entering the TaylorMade Tour Truck we were greeted by Wade Liles and Chris Trott.  These two guys are the definition of ‘Life on the road,’ as they travel roughly 50,000 miles a year to each tournament and act as a one stop shop for TaylorMade golfers.  The truck itself is an absolute treasure chest of golf equipment, as this is where the athletes go to pick up gear for their upcoming tourney.  Everything from their clubs to their hats travel on this truck.  Drawers filled with thousands of grips and shafts. Multiple Driver and club heads customized to each golfer’s liking.  Anything the athletes need can be found on this truck.

Throughout the week Liles and Trott act as clerks to the best golfers in the world.  If DJ wants to adjust the weight on his Driver, these are his guys.  If Rory wants a different grind on his wedges, these are his main men.  Even if one of the golfers wants a whole new set of clubs before the tournament kicks off, Liles and Trott need to fill that order.  So as you can tell, these two men play very critical role to the some of the best golfers in the world.

Chris Trott Grindin’ a wedge

TaylorMade’s M3 & M4 drivers feature a revolutionary technology called Twist Face. What’s Twist Face you ask?  Essentially, Twist Face is TaylorMade’s solution to counteract golfers’ most common misses, high toe (a hook) and low heel (a slice).  The driver face has been ‘twisted’ open on the high-toe and ‘twisted’ closed on the low heel, creating one of the most forgiving drivers in the game.  So when you miss the sweet spot, your slices won’t slice as much and your hooks won’t hook as much.  Liles went as far to say “We couldn’t have made a better driver than we did this year.”

If you don’t believe him,  you can take Tigers word for it…

Both Liles and Trott mentioned The Genesis Open was a particularly special one due to the fact that none other than Tiger himself would be making the switch to the TaylorMade M3 adjustable weight Driver in his long awaited return.  Liles had been working with Tiger a few weeks prior to the tourney, working on different club lengths and weights.  Obviously this is Shangri La for any golf club fitter.  “My whole career I’ve always wanted to make clubs for Tiger, and now I am,” Liles stated.  Pretty sweet job if you ask me.

Directly following our time in the Tour Truck, we were off to see these magical swing sticks put to use Inside the Ropes with the #1 golfer in the world, Dustin Johnson.  About a ten minute walk through beautiful Riviera CC and then boom!  I am 5 feet behind DJ watching him destroy golf balls with the M4. Seeing this beast in action was a real treat.  The sound he produced with his contact could only be described by a crisp THWACK, followed by the sound of a rocket taking flight.

 

Testing the Clubs Myself

The following day started with a delicious breakfast of Huevos Rancheros from Chef Randi.  The perfect base for a day on the links.  Each press member was given their own set of TaylorMade M3/M4 clubs (sweet!) and we were off to Angeles National Golf Club, a course Jack Nicklaus designed himself.

We first hit the range, where we got to swing the wrenches for the first time.  I must preface this by saying I am a tremendous slouch on the golf course.  A 15 handicap with a terrible slice to be precise.  So I was a bit skeptical to see if Twist Face could save my miserable game.  I took 10 hacks with both the M3 and M4, and decided the M4 was more for me.  I just liked the sound and contact I was making with the M4 better.  This is no coincidence, as I later found out the mad scientists at Taylor Made fashioned the M4 with Geocoustic Technology specifically created to deliver best-in-class sound and feel.

Decisions
Decisions

After getting through about 3 holes, I quickly found out that Jack Nicklaus is a sick and twisted human being. Who creates a course where every shot you hit ends up in a sand trap?!  I legit ended up in a sand trap 15 out of 18 holes.  One could say I spent more time in the sand than David Hasselhoff, but one thing I found using the M4, was that my drives weren’t slicing nearly as much as they usually do.  They were actually staying in play (for the most part).  It became clear to me that TaylorMade created Twist Face not only with the golf elite in mind, but also the common hackers like myself.

PROOF: Me hitting out of one of the 15 sand traps my ball found

After our round, we returned home where TaylorMade’s VP of Product Creation, Brian Bazzel was waiting for us.  Brian is and has been the driving force (pun intended) behind Taylor Made’s groundbreaking technologies for the past decade and is a major reason they have been the best driver in the game for years. He was there to school us on the actual thought that went into the aforementioned groundbreaking technology that is TwistFace.  He mentioned that when coming out with something so new and different, there will always be skepticism within the industry until an event on the golf course affirms the research and development that went into creating the club.  That affirmation came on January 7th in Kapalua at the Tournament of Champions where DJ nearly aced a 433-yard Par 4 with the M3.  Bazzel recalled eating a bowl of cereal in his kitchen when it happened and immediately going bonkers.  It was at this moment he knew that TaylorMade had yet again changed the game.

The Tournament

At long last, the tournament was upon us!  This was the day we got to just sit back, relax, and watch one of the best fields in recent memory do what they do. The field included TaylorMade golfers Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, and as I mentioned earlier, new member to the TaylorMade team was making his long awaited return.  You may know him.  He goes by the name Tiger Woods?  Not to mention Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Phil Mickelson were also taking part, so the hype surrounding this tournament was real.  It was a perfect day.  Sun shinin’, birds chirpin’.  Chubbs Peterson would of loved it.

We followed the super group of Tiger, Rory, and Justin Thomas for most of the day.  As you can imagine, the crowds surrounding this group was daunting, so we had trouble getting close.  But the real treat of the day came after their round concluded.  When Tiger hit the range.  This is where we got to see his timeless swing from merely 10 feet away.  He continuously crushed his M3 over the netting as onlookers OoOed and Ahhhhed.  I was so enamored by Tiger, it took me 15 minutes to realize Justin Thomas was swinging right next to him.  It was truly the perfect icing on the cake to a great week.

 

Tiger at the range crushing his M3.  Look at that finish!

I came into this trip not really knowing what to expect, having minimal knowledge of the actual technological research that goes into creating a golf club.  I left basically feeling like I could go home and fashion a club out of materials in my garage.  As I said earlier, there is a reason TaylorMade Drivers have been the cream of the crop for this long, and that reason is their innate ability to continue keeping both the best golfers in the world and poor old schlubs like me in mind when designing their clubs.

Both the M3 and M4 Drive could be yours for one easy payment of $499.99 and $429.99 respectively.

Thank you for a great week TaylorMade!!