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TaylorMade goes back to black with R1

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Since TaylorMade launched its R11 driver in 2011, golf fans have associated its drivers with white-painted crowns. But the company’s decision to release a black-painted version of its R1 driver reveals that TaylorMade may be moving away from the color in the future.

According to Tom Kroll, TaylorMade’s global product manager, the company has decided to release a limited amount of black R1 drivers in an attempt to connect with whom he called “authentic golfers.”

“The [TaylorMade] brand has always spoken to the zero-to-four handicap,” Kroll said. “Some of those guys screamed loud and clear that they wanted a black driver, so we decided to give it to them.”

Click here to read out Editor Review of TaylorMade’s R1 Driver.

The black version of the R1 is identical to the white version in nearly every way — it’s still 460 cubic centimeters, with the same center of gravity, adjustable loft sleeve and face angle adjuster. It also has the same stock shaft — an Aldila RIP Phenom — and the same grip. But the driver’s crown, which was originally released in a matte white color with an orange-and-gray racing stripe, has been painted black. Underneath the glossy black paint is a black-and-gray racing stripe that has the same design. But because of the color change, the racing stripe is much less noticeable at address.

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The black paint also makes the driver appear smaller at address, about 10 percent according to Kroll.

“Some of the guys on tour liked the white head because it looked bigger, so they felt like they could swing it harder,” Kroll said. “But there will be guys switching into the black head because they’ll like the way it looks.”

The driver will make its debut on the PGA Tour next week in Memphis at the PGA Tour’s FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC South Wind. It will be available for purchase on June 10 for the same price as the white R1 driver, $399.

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Kroll would not comment on how many limited-edition drivers would be released, or what percentage of R1 heads will be painted black. But he did say that it will be a “small percentage,” and that “it’s going to be an interesting launch for us in terms of watching the numbers.”

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Click here to read what members are saying about the black R1 in the forums.

 

Click here to read what members are saying about the black R1 in the forums.

 

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. Barry

    Nov 30, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Just purchased the R1 Black……love the look but love the added distance (12 to 15 yds. more than my old Cleveland. Just hope I consistently hit it as straight.

  2. mississaugua monster

    Aug 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    will wait for 400cc black R1
    460 too big and white………….ru kidding me

  3. mark

    Jul 2, 2013 at 3:37 am

    I have just purchased this club “wow” is all a can say. Go out now and buy this u won’t regret it.

  4. Ben

    Jun 16, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    And in a couple years they will bust out the white again. It’s all marketing.

  5. Shad

    Jun 4, 2013 at 11:44 am

    The funny thing is that some people think TaylorMade is contradicting their initial claim that white “instills confidence and is easier to align”. Releasing a black version is just a desperate misguided attempt to increase lagging sales that are 100% due to the fact that they decided to put those stupid graphics on the crown of the R1! TaylorMade and all other club manufactures let me set you straight once and for all – Put all the graphics you want on the bottom of the club and the head cover, but THE TOP OF THE CLUB, WHETHER IT BE WHITE, BLACK, GREY, PINK, ETC. SHOULD BE CLEAN AND FREE OF GRAPHICS OTHER THAN A SINGLE MIDDLE ALIGNMENT AID, PERIOD! TaylorMade should have just released a white version without the graphics. The white heads are a much better club. That said, I know there are some mental cases that “just can’t get used to the white club head” so a black version should have probably always have been an option. Don’t get too excited folks, the new black R1 is just a temporary stop-gap fix to spur some better retail numbers this year. The next completely new version will be white.

  6. KCCO

    May 31, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    Should have done reverse…..crown flat, lettering gloss…..but beggars can’t be..ya know

    • G

      Jun 1, 2013 at 12:01 am

      No, it’s good that it’s shiny. Shiny makes you focus more. Matt does not. Flat or matt is just blah.

      • Curt

        Jun 1, 2013 at 9:26 am

        Agreed, flat black is boring. TM got it right, going stealth black!!

  7. IceDave

    May 31, 2013 at 9:17 am

    I think I’ve just won a bet! Great looking driver.

  8. Matt

    May 31, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Two years ago Sean Toulon said that TMAG would make the black driver obsolete, and they would not consider making a driver in any color other than white until 2016. Taylor Made marketing at its best.

  9. Roger

    May 31, 2013 at 3:18 am

    Brad B……..thats what i was thinking…….Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy
    But hopefully with Gals in School Uniforms….

    • WoodButcher

      Feb 5, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Ozzy is Black Sabbath, not AC/DC. You ment Angus Young I’m sure.

  10. Curt

    May 30, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Thank you TM, please stay black and end that white crap!!!

    The black looks so goooood!!!!!!!

  11. Brad B

    May 30, 2013 at 9:08 pm

    So they use AC/DC “Back in Black” for the 30 second commercial???? It’d work.

  12. bob

    May 30, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    doesn’t anyone else think this is hypocritical? i mean TM was talking crap about how black drives affect your aim and all that and know they release a black driver? stupid imo

    • Weavs

      May 31, 2013 at 8:51 am

      It’s called marketing to a broader market… Alot of people didn’t like the white version, so they made a black version. Alot of drivers come in different colors these days. I guess if they didn’t like making more money it would be stupid.

    • Jeff

      May 31, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      the benefits of having a white driver–particularly, lining it up correctly–still exist. there are just some people (*achem* members of this board *achem*) who, no matter how beneficial it is, they will never buy a white driver head. many of these players begged TM to come out with a black driver head that included the same technological advances as the white one (moveable weights, loft sleeve, sole plate–well, maybe not so much the sole plate, but still). Kudos to TM for listening.

      • Josh

        Jul 13, 2013 at 10:01 am

        If you can’t line up a driver correctly you should probably be spending your money on some lessons and not a new driver.

  13. John F

    May 30, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I also saw this here and was able to pre-order. Can’t wait for this puppy to arrive!

  14. JChoj

    May 30, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    The golf community is funny. Why does it matter what color it is? If a driver hit dead straight 350 yards on every drive it could be Neon Pink and Purple. I’d still use it.

    • John

      May 30, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      Because when you pay $400+ it’s nice to get what you want.

  15. Steve

    May 30, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    Wow. Their sales must not be anywhere near what they were expecting thus far… The black looks great though! I can see this flying off the shelf

  16. BC

    May 30, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Not sure how this is a Fail. Black finish, subtle graphics, adjustability…Yes, I will be back on the TM wagon with this. Give me some woods in the same make-up and my bag will be set!!

  17. Matt

    May 30, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Now you’re talking. Looks great!

  18. Big5Hole

    May 30, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Must…. Resist…..

    Who am I kidding; I’m going to put a deposit on one this afternoon if I can.

  19. Nike Loyalist

    May 30, 2013 at 11:10 am

    FAIL.

    • John

      May 30, 2013 at 1:02 pm

      Seriously? I don’t care for taylormade even and that thing looks sexy!

  20. oban wan-kanobi

    May 30, 2013 at 11:09 am

    About time this happens.!! I really hope they go matte black for retail; the shiny black is so 10 years ago.

    • Don

      May 30, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      Only problem with matte is that any marks show more in my opinion. Traditional finish is easier to touchup or keep looking good with a light wax or Scratch X or such if needed.

      • paul

        May 31, 2013 at 12:51 am

        I really like my shiny black driver head 🙁 Should i buy a new one in matte… Maybe ping I20…? Catch up with the times 🙂 Oh wait, that will be replaced with an I25 in 7 months. I will never catch up :'(

      • KCCO

        May 31, 2013 at 9:59 pm

        Not matte….

      • Jeff

        Jun 1, 2013 at 5:00 am

        If you sky your driver, you shouldn’t be buying a $300+ golf club yet.

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Equipment

Golf club history: woods and irons

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If you’re going to play golf, you’re going to need some clubs. The game dates back to the 1400s in Scotland, so naturally, golf club history does too. We’ve come a long way from wooden clubs and feather-filled balls. For the sake of this piece were going to stick with the modern evolution of the game’s equipment starting off with the invention of the steel shaft in the early 1900s.

Some of the first steel shafts came from a fishing rod producer in Britain by the name of Apollo and we’re developed in the early 1920s. The shafts were much more consistent than the wooden shafts they were attempting to replace but they were still considered inconsistent by many players. Steel shaft also didn’t catch on until a number of years after their conception because until 1924 the USGA considered them nonconforming equipment. It took 5 more years for the R&A to make them legal in 1929.

It was that same year in 1929 when True Temper advanced the steel shaft and developed the process to taper shafts down or create “steps”—something we are all familiar with now. These steps could be moved around the shaft and change the flex which created more options for golfers to find the right equipment and be fit.

Since that time, the biggest steps (no pun intended) we have seen taken in steel shafts have come from stronger, lighter materials to create more flex and bend profile options for golfers.

If you are curious about graphite shafts, check out my piece “The real firsts of the golf industry” for the history behind their development as well as some other technological firsts.

Here’s a broad survey of recent golf club history.

Golf club history: woods

best driver 2020

Now to the “big stick.” The term “driver” comes from the idea that the longest club was meant to be driven as far as possible from the teeing area and hence the name stuck. The club heads were made of persimmon, because of the strong dense nature of the wood. To get these wooden heads to where they needed to be for weight, they would be fitted internally with lead weights.

The video below profiles one of the last persimmon wood manufacturers in the world.

With persimmon becoming more expensive and golf growing in popularity, many manufactures shifted from using solid persimmon to laminate—that change also made the clubs more durable, and also a change in golf club history. Those companies included Wilson, Spalding, MacGregor, even Ping with the introduction of the Karsten driver and woods.

As technology continued to move forward, other companies used various materials like graphite composites to make woods, and as much as they worked well for increasing durability they never quite caught on.

The next jump came in 1979 when Gary Adams had an idea to make wood a thing of the past. He took out a $24,000 loan against his house to found TaylorMade Golf. The first product to market was a 12-degree metal driver; the very first of it’s kind in golf club history.

Since then, metal wood technology has continued to move forward leaps and bounds; shifting from steel to titanium, and titanium to multi-material heads featuring aerodynamic designs built for speed. The rules of golf have limited size and spring-like effect of drivers but manufacturers continue to innovate and make drivers faster and more forgiving.

golf club history: Irons

Until Karsten Solheim and Ping arrived on the scene (see Greatest Ping irons of all time), iron design remained mostly the same—thin, forged blades that weren’t very forgiving. It’s not to say that everything was exactly the same, quite the contrary, but from an evolution standpoint, these were just baby steps.

To see the blade evolution here are a couple of great reads:

Then, just like with putters, Karsten Solheim designed an iron that would help reduce the severity of shots hit away from the sweet spot and the modern cavity back was born: the Ping 69. It was then only a few years later in 1982 that the most popular iron of all time, the Ping Eye 2, was set free into the world and this is where iron technology went from baby steps to full-blown Olympic sprinting.

Cavity back irons make the game more enjoyable and easier because their design reduces the severity of mishit shots and get the ball in the air easier, something that benefits all level of golfers, even professionals. Just like drivers, over the last decade, we have seen the introduction of faster, longer more forgiving multi-material designs enter the market. As CAD design and manufacturing techniques go well beyond was would have been imaginable only a decade ago.

Golf club history: beyond cavity backs

New 2020 PXG Gen 3 Irons

The next leap forward was thin-faced irons so fast they needed to be reinforced with polymer materials to prevent them from caving in. The idea wasn’t new, with the introduction of clubs like the PXG 0311 or Taylormade P790, but they perfected the ability to build ultra-thin faced irons that not only performed but felt good too. The title of the first thin or slot-soled irons belongs to Wilson golf and their Reflex irons.

Conclusion

Technology will continue to push the boundaries of design, and golfers will benefit from these breakthroughs. The question of “how much further can we really go?” is up to engineers and advancements in materials and manufacturing, but however far it is, we should be excited about what they will think of next!

 

 

 

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The most popular golf clubs on Amazon right now (Summer 2020 edition)

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The most popular golf clubs on Amazon right now (Summer 2020 edition)

What are the most popular golf clubs on Amazon right now? From time to time, we like to get out of our little bubble of OEM releases and what’s being played on tour to look at what golf consumers are buying on one of the largest online retail marketplaces: Amazon.

Here are the best-selling golf clubs on Amazon as of July 2020.

1. Callaway Golf Men’s Strata Complete


The best-selling golf club on Amazon is actually a collection of clubs: a starter set from Callaway’s Strata line. 

From the listing: “The Strata 12 piece set is designed for maximum performance right out of the box; The set includes: driver, 3 Wood, 5 Hybrid, 6 to 9 Iron, PW, Putter, stand bag and 2 head covers.

Price: $249.99.

Buy here.

2. Pinemeadow Wedge

The most popular golf clubs on Amazon right now pinemeadow wedge.jpg

A decent-looking wedge for under 30 bucks…plus, it comes in 68 degrees!  

From the listing: “Built standard with high quality Pinemeadow steel from Apollo(R), a 125 gram shaft with a low to mid kick point for the same $19.95 value, perfect for the beginning to average golfer.”

Price: $29.19

Buy here.

3. Wilson Harmonized Wedge

Tidy-looking wedge with a sole grind that affords you some versatility for under $40. 

From the listing: “Blade shape with modified bounce angles for dead stop spin and versatility from the sand, rough, or fairway”

Price: $36.94

Buy here.

4. PreciseGolf Co. Precise X7 Junior

The top-selling junior set on Amazon, here. 

From the listing: “Right handed, designed for age 9-12, Boys, junior set includes: 15 driver, 22 Hybrid, #6/7 iron (1 piece), #9/P iron (1 piece), putter, 2 head covers and stand bag (rain Hood included)”

Price: $128.67

Buy here.

5. Callaway Women’s Strata Complete Golf Set

Just like the men’s version, Callaway’s Women Strata golf set is the most popular golf set in its category on Amazon

From the listing: “The Strata Plus Women’s Package Set is designed with distance and forgiveness technologies for women who want to easily hit accurate shots that go a long way. The complete set includes: Driver, 5 Wood, 5 hybrid, 6-9 Iron, Pitching Wedge & Sand Wedge, Stand Bag and 3 Headcovers.”

Price: $249.99 – $499.99

Buy here.

6. Pinemeadow Excel EGI Hybrids

Replace any of your irons with Pinemeadow’s Excel EGI hybrids

From the listing: “3 Hybrid/19°, 4 Hybrid/22°, 5 Hybrid/25°, 6 Hybrid/28°, 7 Hybrid/32°, 8 Hybrid/36°, 9 Hybrid/40° & PW Hybrid/45°. More and more players are trading in their traditional irons and replacing them with hybrids. The EGI hybrids allow you to do this for every iron in your bag. Join the movement and expect an improvement in your game”

Price: $43.26 – $69.63

Buy here.

7. PGX Offset Golf Driver

An affordable driver option with plenty of offset designed to help players hit more fairways

From the listing: “Offset anti-slice Technology. 460Cc clubhead. Headcover included ; The matte black finish and white and green gives the driver a clean and sleek look.  The offset of the driver helps you square the ball at impact.”

Price: $49.31 – $119.20

Buy here.

8. TaylorMade Men’s RBZ Black Driver, Black

TMs RBZ black driver is a great option for those looking for greater launch off the tee and comes in a sleek satin black finish

From the listing: “A large, 460cc Titanium head with an adjustable loft sleeve allows for optimized launch and trajectory. Ultralite Titanium core strategically positions mass for higher launch and trajectory control. Premium matrix White tie 55 shaft for maximum distance and smooth feel. Legendary speed pocket performance for high launch and low spin, resulting in more distance. New satin black finish with elegant detailing to improve alignment”

Price: $199.99

Buy here.

9. Square Strike Wedge

The extra wide sole of the Square Strike Wedge aims to do away with fat shots. The wedge is fully legal for tournament play and costs under $100

From the listing: “The Square Strike Wedge pitching wedge has an extra-wide sole and beveled leading edge prevent digging; No more chunked pitch and chip shots reduces wasted strokes; Heavy, solid feel promotes greater confidence vs thin-faced wedges that dig and rotate; Less rotation with the Square Strike Wedge golf wedge for men and women makes clean contact easier and much more consistent”

Price: $99.00

Buy here.

10. Wilson Golf Profile JGI Junior Set

The perfect set for kids learning the game, with each club in the set offering lots of forgiveness

From the listing: “Engineered with Super Game Improvement technology to enhance new Junior golfer experience. Weight is positioned very low in this oversized junior driver to help launch the ball for a better ball flight off the tee”

Price: $127.88 – $325.99

Buy here.

11. Pinemeadow Golf PGX SL Putter

One of the best-reviewed putters on Amazon. A great plumbers neck option for those on a budget

From the listing: “Perfect Balance. Alignment Tool. Headcover Included”

Price: $42.49

Buy here.

12. Cleveland Golf Men’s RTX 4 Wedge

Cleveland’s RTX 4 Wedge remains a very popular option amongst golfers and comes in several different finishes (Black Satin, Tour Satin, Raw)

From the listing: “4th Generation Rotex Face Technology with our sharpest Tour Zip Grooves yet, the most aggressive face milling we’ve developed, and even more precise laser milling, Rotex 4 generates more spin.”

Price: $99.99

Buy here.

13. Acstar Two Way Junior Golf Putter

A junior putter designed with both right and left-handers in mind

From the listing: “Zinc alloy putter head + 100% carbon putter shaft + anti-slip rubber putter grip construction, shaft flex: regular. Two way putter–Perfect for any golfer,whether you are right-handed, left-handed,advanced or a beginner, this double way putter performs at a high level ”

Price: $28.99

Buy here.

14. C3i Wedge

Featuring a wide auto-glide sole, the high-loft C3i wedge is a popular option for golfers looking for an effective wedge under $100

From the listing: “The C3i lob wedge is extra-wide. Its auto-glide sole cuts through the sand without skipping or digging; This sand wedge is a high loft golf club for men and women that gets the ball up easily to clear the lip and stop it quickly on the green; 12 degrees of bounce make sand wedge for men and women perfect for any type of sand, fluffy to firm; Get out in one more often and reduce wasted strokes; Makes bunker play a breeze with this sand wedge golf club.”

Price: $99.00

Buy here.

15. Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 Putter, Black

The evergreen Odyssey White Hot Pro 2.0 Putter remains one of the best-selling putters on Amazon

From the listing: “Designed to meet the meticulous performance demands of the world’s best golfers. Re-engineered White hot insert generates improved sound, feel and overall performance. Laser milling insert cutting process achieves tight tolerances for consistent performance.”

Price: $109.99 – $299.99

Buy here.

16. Wilson Golf Women’s Ultra Package Set

Designed for women picking up the sport, Wilson offers a complete set for just $219.99

From the listing: “Super game improvement design focuses on generating more distance for beginner golfers. Designed for Women’s swing speeds with low center of gravity for improved launch characteristics.”

Price: $219.99

Buy here.

17. TaylorMade Men’s RBZ Rescue, Black

TM’s RBZ Rescue is a massively popular club amongst golfers and it comfortably cracks the top-20 list on Amazon

From the listing: “Legendary speed pocket for high launch and increased carry distance. New satin black finish with elegant detailing to improve alignment. Shallow profile and improved sole geometry for optimized turf interaction.”

Price: $129.99

Buy here.

18. Wilson Golf Profile SGI Men’s Complete Golf Set

The super game improvement characteristics of this set from Wilson makes it one of the most popular sets on Amazon for teenage golfers

From the listing: “Designed for Teen swing characteristics to produce maximum distance and a rewarding experience for beginners. Large 460cc Driver Engineered with Super Game Improvement technology to enhance new golfer experience
Deep, perimeter weighted 431 stainless steel irons with very low center of gravity for improved accuracy and distance.”

Price: $319.95 – $349.99

Buy here.

19. Callaway Golf 2020 Mavrik Max Individual Iron

Loaded with technology designed to take your iron play to the next level, Callaway’s Mavrik iron cracks the top-20 list

From the listing: “With MAVRIK, we’re using Artificial Intelligence for the first time in an iron. Ball speed is further enhanced by our 360 Face Cup that flexes and releases at impact. We’ve created a sophisticated face architecture that’s unique to every loft, so we can create a significant boost in ball speed and increased spin robustness off of every iron.”

Price: $128.58

Buy here.

20. Wilson Golf Ultra Plus Package Set

Another Wilson golf set that has proved popular amongst buyers and offers an entire set including a 360cc forged titanium driver for under $300

From the listing: “Includes 9 clubs: Driver, 3 Wood, 5 Hybrid, 6-PW, Putter. Oversize 460cc forged titanium composite driver features advanced weight distribution to create an enormous sweet spot. Unique driver head design provides stability and improved launch conditions at impact for straighter ball flight for greater distance.”

Price: $299.99

Buy here.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about accuracy vs distance with the driver

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In our forums, our members have been discussing whether accuracy or distance off the tee is more important. WRXer ‘ShortSticks’ poses the scenario:

“Driver A (Accuracy): Hits most fairways and is a very straight hitter just not as long. Usually 10 to 15 yards shorter than Driver B, but not in near as much trouble. Not very workable, but can be coaxed into a slight fade or draw.

Driver B (Distance): Is long but can be wild off the tee. Can hit to places you have never been, but can also put you in some bad spots that make recovery more difficult. Is workable, but at times can get away from you.”

And our members are having their say on which element of the game is more important these days.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • juststeve: “I would say in general, as long as you can hit in play, longer is better. Keeping it in play means no O.B, no water balls, no balls deep in the woods and having an unobstructed next shot from a reasonable lie.”
  • mattavery727: “For me definitely driver A. I have 118 SS, and sure I can try to step on it and carry it over 300, but I also find trouble way too often. If I take a smooth swing and give up 15-20 but still in a fairway I like my chances at hitting the green or being close. My 7 goes 185 so as long as I am 185 in or less I have a pretty short club in my hand.”
  • gambit: “10-15 yards I’ll take driver A for accuracy. 30 yards and I’ll take my chances of going in the rough and bunkers.”
  • Tasals: “For 10 yards? Driver A. IIRC the tour average is ~30 yards for the benefit of being wild compared to be straight. So a gap wadge from 120 in the rough has equivalent distance from hole stats as a fairway shot from 150. Then you start seeing the major benefits when you hit a fairway or get a first cut lie, the proximity to the hole decreases pretty rapidly. The longer players over a season make more birdies than the shorter hitters, they make more bogeys, but the long guys tend to place better, and win more tournaments as well when they can get away with a few bad shots. I just don’t think the 10 yards is enough of an advantage.”

Entire Thread: “Accuracy vs Distance with the driver”

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