Gary Adams was more than a notable salesman and founder of TaylorMade Golf, Founders Club and McHenry Metals. He also was the “Father of the Metal Wood,” an inventor who was never afraid to take that next uncharted step in golf manufacturing.
Prior to his breakthrough, he was a golf salesman and worked under his father at McHenry Country Club in Illinois. He paid close attention to a new competitor in the golf equipment industry: the two-piece Surlyn-covered golf ball, which added distance and durability. Adams recognized that these new balls reacted very well with irons, but not the traditional wood clubs that were popular at the time.
In 1979, Adams borrowed money against his home to lease a 6,000-square-foot building in McHenry, Illinois where he founded the TaylorMade Golf Company. He hired two employees and offered one singular product: the Pittsburgh Persimmon, a 12-degree, stainless steel “metalwood.”
The Pittsburgh Persimmon revealed itself to the public at the 1979 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. While introducing a radical shift in performance and feel from the traditional wooden woods, Adams’ innovation upheld the same authentic golf club look and added greater forgiveness and distance.
In 1983, Adams and TaylorMade continued to pave the way and launched the TaylorMade Burner – a 7-degree driver with dimples on the head for improved aerodynamics. Then in 1989, Adams started Founders Club Golf Company and continued to elevate the standards of metalwoods. A few years later, he founded McHenry Metals and crafted a traditional-sized titanium driver.
Adams built TaylorMade Golf on innovation and technology. His vision of producing a driver made of metal revolutionized a game that previously had used only wood golf clubs. And every serious golfer around the world has Adams to thank for the metalwoods they use in their bags today.
Adams was named “Man of the Year” by the National Golf Foundation in 1984. In 1995, he was inducted into the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame, and the PGA of America honored him with the Ernie Sabayrac Award, recognizing his lifetime contributions to the golf industry.