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Review: TaylorMade JetSpeed Fairway Woods
Summary: Don't let the name fool you. You don't need a lot of club head speed to hit JetSpeed fairway woods high and far.
Fairway woods for the masses
Pros: Higher spinning than the SLDR fairway woods, which will help JetSpeed’s target audience (golfers who need to hit the ball higher) hold greens. Muted appearance, subdued crown graphics. Consistently long and forgiving fairway woods.
Cons: Absence of a clear aim line/mark will bother some. $229 price tag seems high for a fairway wood with no adjustability.
Bottom Line: TaylorMade packed more forgiveness into a smaller, cleaner package with the JetSpeed. Like last year’s RBZ Stage 2, these are the go-to fairway woods for TaylorMade players who need more forgiveness or spin.
TaylorMade’s JetSpeed fairway woods are the company’s replacement for 2013 RBZ Stage 2 line. They complement TaylorMade’s recently released SLDR fairway woods, which replaced the company’s 2013 RBZ Stage 2 Tour line.
Like the SLDR fairway woods, JetSpeed fairway woods have a polymer-filled slot in the sole called a “Speed Pocket.” The slot cuts all the way through the sole of the clubs, which helps improve spring-like effect on shots hit low on the face, as well as on the toe and the heel.
Its construction also allows the center of gravity of the fairway woods to be moved slightly lower and more forward than the RBZ Stage 2, which reduced spin by 200-to-300 RPM in TaylorMade testing.
TaylorMade claims the JetSpeed woods’ low-profile head design helps golfers make contact below the ball’s equator, creating the ”longest and most playable” fairway woods the company has ever created. The company describes the Speed Pocket “an afterburner for your ball” that maximizes ball speed and (mercifully, if you’ve had to clean the pocket of your RBZ wood out with a tee 1,000 times) keeps debris out.
Above: TaylorMade’s RBZ Stage 2 fairway woods were much more playable than the company’s original RBZ models, but the indented slot in their soles still made them a dirt magnet.
For comparison, the JetSpeed fairway wood heads are about 10-cubic-centimeters larger than SLDR models, which is consistent with the company’s more-forgiving fairway woods. But they’re about 10 cc smaller than RBZ Stage 2 and have shallower faces than their predecessors, another change that dropped the CG lower to help increase launch angle. And regarding the clubface: what would a JetSpeed golf club be without a JetSteel face? TMag has introduced an “ultra-strong” steel alloy that contributes to the JetSpeediness of the face.
JetSpeed fairway woods come in five lofts: 15, 17, 19, 21 and 23 degree models with Matrix’s Velox T 69 shaft and retails for $229, which is $30 less than the SLDR fairway woods.
Like SLDR, TaylorMade claims the combination of the JetSpeed’s ultra-thin faces and new Speed Pocket promote faster ball speeds and longer total carry distances, and I can’t disagree. The clubs do exactly what most golfers need from a new fairway woods; add ball speed and launch angle for longer, higher-flying shots.
No, they’re not “spin killers” like SLDR, but they’re not supposed to be. For that reason, it makes sense to compare them to a different offering from the TaylorMade/Adams family, the Adams Tight Lies and Tight Lies Tour fairway woods.
On the launch monitor, the JetSpeed fairway woods offer very similar performance to Tight Lies and Tight Lies Pro, which have two slots — one on the sole and on the crown to help increase spring-like effect. The biggest difference is that the Tight Lies have very shallow face heights, which helps them perform better from the rough and other non-fairway lies than JetSpeed.
But the larger, yet still very playable size of the JetSpeed adds a sizable amount of forgiveness that the Tight Lies can’t match. They were forgiving to the point that it was legitimately surprising to see how true some balls hit very off center flew. Off the tee, JetSpeed fairway woods should perform better than Tight Lies as well thanks to their taller faces, which will give golfers more room for error on shots hit above and below the sweet spot.
The Matrix Velox T 69 shaft isn’t a true aftermarket model, but it was sturdy enough for me to keep the left side of the golf course out of play. Better players will appreciate that the shaft is slightly heavier — around 70 grams, depending on flex — than a lot of comparable stock fairway woods shafts. The shafts also have a reasonably low amount of torque (3.4 degrees in the stiff model) that gives the club a stable feeling during the transition.
Looks and Feel
It was strange to see TaylorMade, the company that seemed to be on a mission to add as much graphic ornamentation to their new blank canvases of club crowns, return to a darker, more subdued (positively barren) club crown. The company continues that trend with the JetSpeed fairway woods.
It’s strange, too, to think as recently as five years ago the art dec0-like graphics on the crown would have been profane. Now, they look comparatively minimalist. The sole of the club looks like a vapor trail and suggests something fast, which is apt, and the company continues its “blue period” accenting the club the with color as it did the SLDR.
It’s not clear who will complain that the white club heads have disappeared from TaylorMade’s current lineup with JetSpeed and SLDR. However, it’s likely that some will be less-than-thrilled by the absence of a clear aiming mark: The dark gray “T” near the face of the crown is practically invisible.
3 wood at address
5 wood at address
“Feel” is largely a subjective and largely irrational quantity. However, it’s enough to say that the JetSpeed fairway woods feel good and offer plenty of feedback. At impact, the club heads feel dense on center hits. But there is a significant difference in the sound of a center-strike compared to those…less so, and overall the club is louder than many of the models on the market.
Viewing the TaylorMade JetSpeed woods as complements to their SLDR brethren, the company presents consumers with a broad spectrum of fairway wood offerings for 2014. The company’s decision to include two 3-woods and two 5-woods (standard and HL) will help fitters dial in golfers, matching them with the club that’s right for their swings.
If players want to maximize distance, fitters will push them in the direction of SLDR. If golfers are looking for maximum forgiveness, they’re likely to be directed to JetSpeed.
JetSpeed fairway woods nicely round out the company’s 2014 fairway woods lineup. They’re a nice improvement over the company’s previous forgiveness-driven fairway woods, and in conjunction with the SLDR woods demand consideration if you’re in the market for a new fairway wood this season.