If you’ve bought a set of TaylorMade irons or driver over the last decade it’s highly likely Tomo Bystedt has been involved in their design.
Tomo Bystedt has been the Director of Product Creation for both metalwoods and irons at TaylorMade but what equipment does he choose for his own bag? In the first of a new series we thought it would be fun to find out.
Which TaylorMade driver have you currently got in the bag?
I’ve played both SIM and SIM Max drivers, I feel in my job I’m obliged to play all the drivers we make. It’s the only way you fully appreciate how they perform. I’m a naturally curious person, it’s my handicap when it comes to golf, I change equipment constantly, just to see if something is better.
RELATED: TaylorMade P-Series irons tested
This year (2019) I’ve probably gone through 8 driver shafts, I suppose I’m fortunate as I’m not opposed to change, Brian Bazzel (Director of Product Creation) is the complete opposite. Brian’s played the same driver shaft for the last six years, the longest I’ve used one is three months.
Last year (2019) I had a Mitsubishi Tensei Orange that was in an M5 driver built for Tiger Woods for our tour shoot. I inherited that one, I actually play quite a few clubs that were built for Tiger. When new shaft models came out I tried the HZRDUS Green which was really good, then the Ventus Black and the new KBS wood shafts too. The Diamana Whiteboard and UST Lin-Q have also made appearances.
TESTED: Which TaylorMade iron suits me?
What's your current fairway and hybrid set up?
I play the SIM titanium fairway, it’s hosel is one click higher so plays at 16°. I have the Ventus Blue in there and I don’t change fairway shafts nearly as much. Depending on the course I’ll drop the 3-wood for an Original One mini driver. My choice usually comes down to how I’m playing and whether I feel I’ll need it a lot off the tee, it’s a really nice option to have.
TaylorMade GAPR LO
My GAPR LO is my 240 yard club, it was originally built for Tiger Woods too. I had it cut down a little and regripped, I’m comfortable hitting it from the tee and fairway.
How about your irons?
Right now I’ve got three different irons in my bag. I have the P790 4 iron, then P760 5, 6, 7, with 8 – PW in the P-7TW blades. The Tiger short irons are actually quite easy to play as they have quite a large profile. My current set up is the first time I’ve had a blade in my bag for a while, the last were the TaylorMade RAC MB’s back in 2006.
The shaft in my irons is a prototype Nippon, which we’re testing, and I really like it. Previously I’ve played the KBS C-Taper and Project X for a while. I actually have different shafts in my irons, of course golfers should never play a set like this themselves.
Grip wise I love the Golf Pride MCC Plus 4, with the Align reminder, I've always felt the reminder helps me grip the club consistently. I’ve probably got five different grips on my current set, don’t do this at home, but I just can’t be bothered regripping every time I try something different.
ROBOT TESTED: Which golf ball suits my game?
And which TaylorMade wedges, putter and ball are you using?
I carry three wedges 51°, 56°, 61° and right now I’m in the middle of transitioning to the new MG2 wedges. I’ve previously used High-Toe wedges which I loved. I find the MG2 spin a little more, but I’m still working out whether I prefer the full face grooves (of the High-Toe) or the extra bit of spin you get with the raw faces on the MG2’s. I sometimes mess about with custom paint fills on wedges, but generally I’m I play pretty standard equipment, I’m not that flashy.
I’ve used blade putter for most of my life, but I’ve played the chalk coloured Spider X pretty much all year (2019). I’ve got four putters which I inter-change when I’ve had a few bad rounds, but I have a putter collection that runs to over 100 models, all of which I’ve collected over the years.
For my ball, 90% of the time I play the TP5x, I had a stint of playing the TP5 just because I like playing yellow golf balls, and we make a yellow TP5 in Japan. I’m currently experimenting with the new TP5 Pix ball too.
RELATED: Best alignment balls tested
Tell us a bit about your game, Tomo, and what’s your handicap?
I’m a 0.3 handicapper, and I use Arccos to identify the strengths and weaknesses of my game. Arccos reckons I’m a 0.4 handicapper for driving and scratch for approaches. Chipping used to be my major weakness, but my putting is streaky nowadays. I’m always working on my driving though, I’ve had so many bouts of bad driving it’s often just around the corner. I can literally hit it all over the place. I use a laser rangefinder on the golf course so only look at my Arccos data after my round.
TESTED: Best 2020 Driver
What was the last golf club you bought?
Wow, that was a while ago it must have been before I worked for Acushnet in Japan. I remember buying a TaylorMade R300 Tour driver, probably in 2001. It was second hand so couldn’t have been more than $200.
What did you study at college?
Engineering and aerodynamics, coming out of college I was only interested in working in Formula One or golf.
Previous roles in golf?
I’ve been at TaylorMade since 2006. I was Director of Product Creation for irons before switching to metal woods two years ago. Before that I took a 50% pay cut to go from an IT company to get a job at Acushnet in Japan.
Your favourite project at TaylorMade?
You always remember the ones where you went out on a limb and did something different. The P790 iron changed our business for sure. We’d had some good products in the players distance iron arena before but never really quite broke through.
We took a gamble on the blade look of the original P790, at the time it was unusual, and internally not everyone was onboard. There was also scepticism around whether our target 5 – 10 handicapper would find the look, too hard to play. The P790 though became our best-selling forged iron ever, cracking the code for TaylorMade to the players distance iron market.
TESTED: Best Forged Irons 2020
Are you named on any patents?
Yes I’m named on two iron patents.
Last time you made an eagle?
The last time I had an eagle was at my club championship a couple of months ago, but I’ve had three this year (2019). The last was the worst eagle you’ve ever seen. It was the 6th at La Costa. I pulled a tee shot left, over hooked a recovery which ran partly up a cart path to the fringe, I putted it in from 40 feet. I’ve never had a hole in one.
Best golf course you’ve played?
I’ve got to say Pebble Beach is the most enjoyable course I’ve played, it’s the ambience of the place, even though architecturally it might not be the best. Cypress Point is incredible too, there’s so much mystique around the place, it’s hard to get on and there’s an amazing stretch at the end, which can’t be beaten. I usually collect a ball marker from each course I play.
How do you mark your golf ball?
I don’t if I’m playing casually, but for competitive rounds I put a little orange dot at each end of the side stamp.
Do you have a favourite club?
I’ve always been a good iron player so it’s got to be them. I love hitting driver, but it’s a love, hate relationship. Where I’m good friends with my irons all the time.
READ NEXT: WITB - Callaway's Dr Alan Hocknell