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Review: TaylorMade JetSpeed Driver

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Pros: Consistent launch and carry on strikes anywhere on the club’s large sweet spot, particularly those low on the face. Impressive distance for a driver with this level of forgiveness. Sleek, subtle look and an attractive $299 price point.

Cons: No moveable weights and limited shaft offerings. It’s also difficult to work the ball and keep ball flight down. Those who liked TaylorMade’s matte white crowns or the R1’s racing stripe may not like the more traditional, glossy gray crown.

Bottom Line: If you’re in the market for a forgiving driver this year, JetSpeed is a good place to start. It offers the spin and forgiveness many golfers need to hit consistently long drives.

Overview

The addition of TaylorMade’s Speed Pocket technology to its JetSpeed driver promotes lower-spinning, higher-launching shots than its predecessor, the RBZ Stage 2 driver. The Speed Pocket also dramatically improves performance on shots struck lower in the face, where, according to TaylorMade, most driver mis-hits occur.

With the JetSpeed woods in general, and the driver in particular, TaylorMade continues the theme of a low, forward CG. Given the more forward CG, many players will need to “loft-up” to optimize ball flight. Fortunately, the JetSpeed driver has a 3-degree range of adjustability, up or down 1.5 degrees from the printed loft in 0.5-degree increments.

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The JetSpeed is long and light (46 inches with a 299-gram total weight), and the stock Matrix Velox T 49 shaft weighs just 50 grams. The driver’s head measures 460 cubic centimeters, and it is available in lofts of 8, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees and retails for $299. The TP version includes a more robust Matrix Velox ST 60 shaft and sells for $399.

JetSpeed Driver Specs

Performance

It’s been clear since the JetSpeed’s release that it is a complement to TaylorMade’s 2014 driver line, not something that is meant to better the company’s low-spinning SLDR and SLDR 430 drivers. With this in mind, the JetSpeed driver is intended to be more forgiving and higher spinning than each of the SLDR drivers.

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In testing the 9.5 degree Jet Speed driver, with an average club head speed of 107 mph, ball speed was 155 mph. Average spin was 2600 rpm, with a launch angle of 13.6 degrees for an average carry distance of 265 yards, which are slightly better numbers for me than with last year’s R1 and RBZ Stage 2.

The touted forgiveness on shots hit low on the face isn’t off base, either. The traditional low-launching, high-spinning shot golfers expect from that type of strike is replaced with a slightly higher-flying, mid-spinning shot. On shots hit on the center of the face, distance was about what could be expected from a more forgiving club, although roll out was generally above average.

As found in our review of the R1, as well as our assessment of the SLDR, loft needed to be increased by 0.5 degrees in comparison to other models to make up for the lower spin rate.

Shots hit off the heel or toe of the club weren’t dealt the same degree of forgiveness as those struck low on the face, as both loss of distance and penal hook/slice spin resulted. It seems with the forward CG, TaylorMade has sacrificed performance on shots struck on the heel or toe of the club for better performance on shots struck in the center of the face.

Looks and Feel

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Visually, the crown of the JetSpeed driver is somewhat reminiscent of the 2007 TaylorMade Burner, and the dark gray/black coloration is certainly a significant departure from the white heads of last year’s RBZ Stage 2 and R1 models.

Screen shot 2013-12-26 at 8.11.50 PM

The sole of the club—with its flowing triangular design—is reminiscent of something aeronautical, and it looks sleek and fast. The club face itself is shallower than TaylorMade’s recent offerings in order to lower the club’s CG. That makes the club look and feel fast, although perhaps I’ve been conditioned to think this way by TaylorMade’s relentless marketing efforts. One of the coolest angles to view the JetSpeed driver from is from the side; the club looks like it’s moving through a wind tunnel.

As for feel, the polymer slot dampened vibration on off-center hits, particularly on the heel and toe where hits sounded much quieter and flatter. Feel on shots struck on the hyped “25 percent larger” sweet spot was percussive, loud and somewhat high-pitched and metallic. The 46-inch shaft felt long and light as advertised, but it was a little flimsier than most stock stiff driver shafts.

The Takeaway

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If you’re interested in a TaylorMade driver and don’t need the adjustability or spin-killing ability of the of the SLDR, consider the JetSpeed a way to save $100.

[wrx_buy_now oemlink=”http://taylormadegolf.com/JetSpeed-TP-Driver/DW-SQ078.html” oemtext=”Learn more from TaylorMade” amazonlink=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GP5121A/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_il_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00GP5121A&linkCode=as2&tag=golfwrxcom-20&linkId=EO47UVXQJRP5U6Q3″]

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47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. river huskey

    Dec 25, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    i got the tm driver for my birthday and i have never hit the ball better . im only fifteen and i can hit it upwards of 290 i can usally only hit 210 with my old callaway so i give it five stars .

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  3. dave

    Nov 27, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Not sure what went wrong with your Jet Speed driver… I just purchased one 2x months ago and the hype is there as advertised. In the past I have used Callaways, Titleist and Pings (all great clubs BTW), but during the last 2 yrs I went back to Taylormade. With the jetspeed, I find myself hitting more draws, and higher loft with standard 10.5 degree R-flex. I actually had to lower it to about 9.0. Overall, its a great long (I get approx between 280-295 yards) and forgiving driver!

  4. Big Mike

    Nov 8, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Picked up a tour issue 10.5 head and paired it with Speeder 757. Absolute bombs. High, straight and longer than anything I have hit including a previously owned SLDR and BB Alpha. The Jetspeed is a well kept secret that got lost in the SLDR buzz

  5. Kyle

    Aug 11, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Just bought this driver, since it’s $199 now and put it in play after one trip to the range. Had an R9 460 that I loved for a few years but it started having squirrelly flight and my pops was outhitting me and I could not let that continue, haha. picked up the stock, 10.5 with the 49g matrix stiff shaft and played for the first time with it through 18 and have never driven the ball better. i found i had to up the loft to the highest setting, which I guess would be around 12. I gained 15 yards average on every drive that I hit. Nice high draws with good roll out. Drove it distance where i’ve never hit the ball to and had to club down a club and half or so on most of my approaches. I’m a little guy but I can hit it far and I hit two drives right up against 300 yards, which is insane. the R9 usually got about 275-285 with roll when I tag it. The club looks great, very, very light however so if you’re not into that, maybe try another shaft. i’d recommend it to anybody looking to just simply upgrade with a minimum hit to the wallet.

  6. Larry

    Aug 8, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Went from 10.5 2012 TM Burner to 13 HL Jetspeed driver as I am seem to deloft every club in the bag. I gained some more hight on the drive and gained about 15 yds total, I am happy, I use the crazy Graves (Moe Norman) single plain swing and this has really helped get my driver into the air and out farther in the fairway…PS, I am over 60 and found the single plain swing a miricle worker…

  7. Blake

    Jun 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    I was lucky enough to receive the Jetspeed driver,fairway and Rescue for free. I was hitting a fixed 10.5 RBZ with R Flex shaft and was averaging 18-200 yards. I have Progressive-Relapsing Multiple Sclerosis. With the Jetspeed driver, my average drive jumped to 200-220. After about a month of practice, my average is 220-240 and climbing. I’m starting to see drives in the 270-280yard range now. This driver is no gimmick. It truly does what it claims. I play with healthy people and I am becoming the consistent Long Driver in the group. Say what you will but Taylormade makes great products. I use some second hand Burner Irons with Graphite R Flex shafts and I can out distance any of my group, club for club. My 8 iron is 130 yards. My 9 is 115, PW IS 100, SW is 85-90. My Rescue 4 is 210, 5 is 160-170, 6 is 150, 7 is 140. I can,t wait to get my hands on the Speedblade Irons and see the results of those irons since I’m getting these results from an old, second hand, beat up set of Burner Irons. Haters will always hate. You don,t have to like the driver or even the brand. You can go with something else, but you would be selling yourself short to not even give the clubs a chance. I started playing golf in January of 2014. I went from shooting 100+ to low 80’s. My handicap went from 22 to16 in a month. I plan on being in single digits in a couple more months. As I get better, the TAYLORMADE CLUBS are starting to do what they were designed to do…give me an edge.

    • Fernando

      Sep 6, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      I just bought the jetspeed driver and read your comment dated June 6. Congratulations for all the efforts you are makin
      g to improvre your game and overcame your ilness. A good example to follow. I hope the driver will be as usefull for me as it was for you.
      The best
      Fernando Landaburu-
      Buenos Aires

    • Kelly

      Mar 30, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      Whoa, in less than 6 months, went from over 100 to low 80’s? That is great! I am a healthy 54 , I started golfing in 2013 (3 seasons), and I just broke 100 last year. I am getting better every season though and only recently upgraded from a Top Flite starter set to Rocketballz irons, Jetspeed driver and Jetspeed 3-wood, so that can’t hurt :). My best drives with the Jetspeed are just over 250, my iron shots with the old set were about what yours are, the RBZ’s are definitely longer, haven’t really dialed in the distances yet. Anyway I am planning to get a Jetspeed hybrid to go with my driver and 3-wood which I really like so far. Best of luck to you.

  8. Justin

    May 15, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Has anybody tried a Fubuki in a JetSpeed driver head and can offer some feedback on the performance of this combination? I’ve got a JetSpeed in transit and have a Fubuki Alpha 60g X-Flex and and Fubuki Stiff-Flex 53 x5ct (the one that is a standard option in the Cleveland Classix XL Custom driver) that I might try in the JetSpeed. Any help anyone can offer would be most appreciated. Cheers from Sydney, Australia.

  9. Pingback: TaylorMade Driver Review - JetSpeed to Mini - The Golf Shop Online Blog - The Golf Shop Online Blog

  10. LS

    Apr 8, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    I used to love TaylorMade. In fact, I still hit TaylorMade TP Forged irons and wedges, which I absolutely Love. But now with all these gimmicky products they’re putting out, they are really tarnishing their name. You may not see it now, but you will. RocketBallz and Jetspeed are 2 prime examples. It’s like they are catering to the 20+ handicaps who know nothing about golf and just want something flashy. They never have good shaft options and they just seem to go for looks…Corny looks, might I ad. TaylorMade is becoming the Puma of drivers, and it’s a shame.

    • Doubleace

      Apr 25, 2014 at 2:57 am

      Wow if only everyone was as good as you think you are. I know plenty of 20+ handicappers I would rather play with than some arrogant person. The main difference between some 20 handicappers and some ten handicappers is the 20 handicapper counts all his strokes, and doesn’t roll his ball to improve his lie.

      • marty

        Jul 9, 2014 at 2:24 pm

        Lololololol

      • akinas

        Jul 13, 2014 at 7:18 pm

        I agree 100%. Why dont you just try ans improve your shots, rather than bashing on a company’s product when you hardly know anything about it.

  11. Liam

    Mar 30, 2014 at 9:06 am

    Don’t be fooled by the jetspeed nonsense. I bought the club after fitting and was getting 245 yards carry and dead straight on a launch monitor. But i was swinging like a lunatic.
    2 sessions in the range and all i was doing was slicing slicing. I was convinced i had been sold a dud.
    Played on the course, again i was swinging like a lunatic and slicing. Had a couple of beeers and decided to slow it down a bit.
    On the back 9 i hit 4 drives between 30-50 yards further than my very very best drives, with a Taylormade R7, a driver i have used for years and was very confortable with, except my ball flight was too high. My jetspeed is 9.5 stiif shaft I have it set on 11, the ball flight is lowish, with a hint of draw / hook but it will roll for ever after landing.
    Very nice club but don’t believe the crap about “jetspeed ” increased swing speed /ball speed. Like all golf clubs a slow pure strike if far superior to a fast clumsy strike.
    To sum up hit it well and it is a lovely driver , hit it poorly and you will not go as far as you 3 iron

    • Chris

      Jul 17, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Why were you swinging like a lunatic? The jetspeed marketing doesn’t mention that you can go up there and swing beyond your ability. It means the club promotes a lighter feel so your normal swing may see increased swing speeds. Go swing any driver like a lunatic and you’ll probably see your same swing faults to promote a slice.

  12. DBO

    Mar 14, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Hey guys, hope everyone is having fun bashing a good driver lol

    I have spent 4-5 hours at PGA tour super store, dicks, and my local driving range hitting drivers recently. Today I was hitting the SLDR against my driver **I currently hit a an old school Great Big Bertha II 9 degree with stiff shaft because I don’t like the feel of most of these newer drivers.

    Anyways, I was hitting my driver vs SLDR and was getting same results with each… If I hit pure, would carry 250ish, if I misfit I either lost 20-30 yards short, or occassionaly sliced the heck out of it, or came over the top and hit it dead straight 50 yards left of aim..

    The Pro then brought out the Jetspeed with 49g shaft at 10.5 degrees. .. I mishit a few and hit a few good ones trying to get used to it… After that I started hitting it high and straight… Consistently… Was carrying it as far as my best hits with SLDR and my Bertha… And when I hit it pure, I out drove those clubs by 20-30 yards. (Was carrying further than the others were rolling.

    Maybe I just warmed up really good after the first 85 balls, or this driver is a good driver… Personally i tnink its the latter… I went back and forth between them and the Jetspeed was much more consistent for me. High ball flight, not much fade or draw, no real slice or hook, no dead left hits (all after the first few to get used to it lol)

    Last time I went to Dicks, Ball Speed on SLDR was 140-144 avg with a few from 147-148…. This club def felt faster on my swing even tho I was swinging easier and smoother.

    My $.02

  13. Matt

    Mar 9, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Bash tmag all you want. The fact is they sell drivers because they perform. The R5 did, the r7 did, the super quad was amazing. The tour burner did, the r9 did, the r11 was the # 1 selling driver of all time. The r11s did, the RBZ 1.0 and 2.0 did, the r1 performed, the SLDR is killing it. Bash all you want while Mr. king laughs all the way to the bank. TMAG is doing something right!

  14. CBJ

    Feb 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    OK, I am 64, hit my R11 with a 50 gram shaft TM sent me for free. Swing speed is around 90, not a lot of roll. Good launch Angeles and can go low on 6000 yd courses as evidenced by a 4.3 (winter) hdcp index. Ave drive around 200 TDs. Looking for 225 and working with my pro to use my body more. Interested in the Jet Speed. Tried the SLDR, carried 160 with spin of 800 rpm, just fell out of the sky. Looking for serious thoughts from you. Will be trying Jetspeed at Superstore in Kennesaw next week. Your thoughts.

    • CBJ

      Feb 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm

      Excuse my spelling.

      • CBJ

        Feb 5, 2014 at 1:51 am

        Today I tested the SLDR and Jetspeed After hitting the R11 since last March. Taylor made had sent me a 50 gram shaft in June and my swing speed increased about 3MPH, spin dropped from 3900 to 3700 while my launch remained around 17*. when I tried the Sldr, R and M shaft, we adjusted to get a nice 15* launch angle but the spin was below 800 . Ball started on a nice trajectory but just dropped out of the sky. The Jetspeed gave amazing results at my lower swing speed. Club head speed +5mph, 2600 rpm spin rate, launched at 15.5 degrees average, slight draw (maybe 6 yds), able to hit a slight fade so I could control the ball flight on demand. I picked up more than 12 -15 yatds on average and the feel, sound and appearance were very good, soul satisfying.

        Final choice was HL model, 49 gram Matrix shaft, M flex and std face angle. Course is now 210 yds shorter after drives (14holes@ 15 yds). Average drive went from 210 to almost 225 with approx 20 yard wide target area hit on 13 of 15 shots.misses were tolerable.

        I will call my contact at TM to share stats. With us baby boomers becoming seniors, there is a targeted market with certain needs.

  15. Paul

    Jan 22, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Got a jet speed about a month ago .My good drives are long but my bad drives are bad.I got a regular shaft sp around 98 to100.Should I have got a stiff flex?

    • teebag

      Jan 31, 2014 at 6:54 pm

      No you should have bought an R1!

    • Doubleace

      Apr 25, 2014 at 3:02 am

      I bought the JetSpeed with stiff flex and it hits better and further than my R1, or the SLDR. SLDR was way over rated. JetSpeed is the real thing.

    • Lou

      Jul 5, 2014 at 9:15 pm

      Yes you should be in a stiff shaft.

  16. Neiler

    Jan 22, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    If tracking all claims on new drivers in terms of added yardage per each innovation launched surely I should be hitting 500 yard drives…of course I am? All very confusing but I got fitted for an i 20 driver and routiney hit the middle of the fairway on long drives so won’t be changing this for a while. That said, the 3 wood in jetspeed is impressive and did surpass my existing i 20 equivalent comfortably.

  17. Big Daddy

    Jan 21, 2014 at 7:19 am

    Tested the Jetspeed with a Elements Chrome shaft and had better results than the 913 and the SLDR. This is a really good driver for the $.

  18. DK

    Jan 11, 2014 at 9:06 pm

    As it gets harder to eek out yardage with limits on club tech, I appreciate the fact that manufacturers are doing research to continue the effort. I don’t have the ability to purchase everything that comes out, but testing new product is always enjoyable. The thing Taylormade has going for them is a willingness to be innovative and take risks. Haters will be haters though…

  19. Deaus

    Jan 11, 2014 at 5:05 pm

    Taylormade’s “Evidence” is not accurate and never really has been. from the 17 yards RBZ to the 27 yards stage 2. Taylormade will always have to include fine print and lots of it when they have adverts.

  20. Jeff Smith

    Jan 11, 2014 at 10:16 am

    What a pile!

  21. phil

    Jan 9, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    a club that is difficult to work the ball and keep it down doesn’t sound forgiving at all.

  22. Floyderick

    Jan 9, 2014 at 12:34 am

    Taylormade has really revolutionized golf equipment as we see it with this ground-breaking driver that is JETSPEED! Thank you Taylormade, another great product from Golf’s leading equipment company!!!

    • Deaus

      Jan 11, 2014 at 5:09 pm

      You are not by chance on TMAG payroll are you?

      • Doubleace

        Apr 25, 2014 at 3:05 am

        No he isn’t, but smart enough to know a good club when he see’s one. Unlike some who let their prejudices keep them from playing the best.TMAG is the leader, there is a reason for that.

    • Al

      Feb 12, 2014 at 9:04 pm

      They are the leading equipment company simply because they advertise far more than anyone else. Taylormade hasn’t done anything innovative this year. Mizuno had SLDR technology back when the Burner was popular and we all know that didn’t work too well. The Jetspeed is just an SLDR with no sliding weight in the bottom. Real original Taylormade.

  23. Aleksi Lepisto

    Jan 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I believe the link to the R1 review is incorrect…or am I missing something? It’s going to a thread about SLDR fitting.

  24. Tim

    Jan 8, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Why does Taylormade seem to invoke this marmite response. I will buy clubs form any company that produces a decent product. I had an R11, which was a really great club, I tried the r11s which was far to similar for me to be worth buying. The r1 and RBZ just looked ugly so I didn’t try them. I would potentially buy the sldr as it looks good, however I am currently using a Adams low spin driver, and I am not sure the sldr will be any better.
    This looks quite descent although a bit too much like the the burner drivers for my liking. I could never get on with them.

    • Doubleace

      Apr 25, 2014 at 3:07 am

      Tim, stay away from the SLDR, and look at the JetSpeed. A better club and less $.

  25. RG

    Jan 7, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    I’m not going to bash TM, It’s my fault for not being able to keep up and buy a new model every 3 months. I need to get with the program and realioze that the R11, R11s, R1,Rocketballz and Slider are now obsolete and I must get the JetSpeed. All this adjustability and customization is all wrong for me, I get it. I just need to bite the bullet and do the right thing and get the JetSpeed. TaylorMade I never doubted your infinite wisdom, you lead I will follow. Can’t wait to see the new model that I’m going to get in March.

  26. Christopher Barnes

    Jan 7, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    61* lie angle, that has to be wrong

  27. Jim V

    Jan 7, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    I just tried the Jetspeed out at my local Dick’s on the simulator. I compared it to the original Xhot, both 9.5, both stiff shafts. The Xhot on average was 12 yards longer and much straighter that the Jetspeed for me.

    • Ryan

      Jun 21, 2014 at 3:52 am

      Hey dipshit maybe because TM’s new motto is to loft up. Dustin Johnson went from playing a 9° last year to a 10.5° this year

  28. Martin V.

    Jan 7, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    So basically with next few years with TaylorMade’s claim of higher launch and less spin, we should get a 90 degree launch vertically up in the air with 0 spin. lol

    • Cris

      Jan 7, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      No need to take it to the extreme. TM has said that optimal launch and spin to maximize carry – all else being equal – is 17 degrees and 1700 RPM. There’s ample research that supports their claim.

      • HackerDav

        Jan 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm

        There isn’t enough evidence to satisfy anyone who wants to TMaG bash… never will be!

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Driver Reviews

Review: Ping’s G400 and G400 LST Drivers

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I still remember the first time I hit Ping’s G30 driver. It was July 2014, and I was at Ping’s HQ in Phoenix. Super low-spin drivers were all the rage at the time. With their forward center of gravity, they were helping golfers optimize their launch conditions beyond their wildest dreams: crazy high launch, ridiculously low spin. Many in the business, including myself, had one of these drivers and spent many launch monitor sessions trying to figure out how to get more distance from these high knuckleballs. The bad news was that forward-CG drivers, by nature, were really unforgiving. Bad shots were really short and crooked.

Before I knew the G30 was a big deal, Marty Jertson, Ping’s Director of Product Development, explained to me his vision for the perfect driver inside a conference room at Ping Headquarters. In his eyes, the perfect driver didn’t have the low, forward center of gravity (CG) that was being touted at the time. Its CG was located as low and as rearward in the driver head as possible, which he said would offer the best of both worlds: optimized launch conditions on good shots, as well as the best possible forgiveness on bad shots.

Building the perfect driver was a long way off (and still is), but Jertson was excited where Ping had landed with the G30. When it was released, the driver was a powerful testament to his vision. Its rear-CG design created great distance on good and bad shots, and it was also a very straight driver. The G30 sold incredibly well and, as a result, the industry mostly shifted away from forward-CG drivers.

It’s been nearly three years since the release of the G30, and Ping has just made another counterintuitive driver release. The company shrunk the size of its new G400 drivers in a climate where full-size drivers have become the norm. Granted, it’s only 15 cubic centimeters smaller, but it’s noticeable at address. Compared to the Ping G drivers they replace (which replaced the G30), the G400’s look like they cut carbs.

Despite their slimmer frames, however, the G400 drivers are actually more forgiving than the G drivers (which were even more forgiving than the G30). That’s why Ping representatives say smaller is actually better in the G400’s case. The drivers have the lowest, most rearward CG of any Ping drivers ever, and their smaller size is said to improve their aerodynamics so golfers can swing them fractionally faster. The other big change is a new face material made of T9S+ titanium, which is thinner and more flexible to help golfers generate more ball speed.

Ping_G400_LST_2

For this review, I wanted to put the G400 and G400 LST to the test against the G and the G LST drivers that they replace, so I took them to the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. I hit five shots with each driver on Trackman IV, and to ensure as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as possible, I tested each driver head with the same shaft. Each driver head was adjusted to the same loft, or as close as possible.

Note: The G, G LST, and G400 drivers I tested were 10.5-degree heads adjusted to 9.5 degrees. The G400 LST had a loft of 10 degrees, and it was adjusted to 9.4 degrees.

The Test

PingG400_2017

In my personal driver tests, I don’t usually see a huge uptick in distance or accuracy when comparing the latest drivers to the most recent models from the same manufacturer. Improvements generally come in the form of improved head shaping, a better feel, or enhanced adjustability. That’s why I was surprised to see such a big change in my launch conditions and dispersion with the G400 drivers.

G400 Test Results: With the G400, I launched my drives an average of 1.6-degrees higher than I did with the G while dropping spin an average of 416 rpm. That led to a significant improvement in distance. With my swing speed and ball speed staying about the same, I added an average of 7.2 yards more carry distance and 8.7 yards more total distance.

G400 LST Test Results: First, a note about the G400 LST. It has a CG that’s slightly lower and more forward than the standard G400 driver to help golfers reduce spin. Like the G30 LST and G LST, it’s still very much a rear-CG driver, but its design helps high-speed golfers who can consistently find the center of the club face maximize distance without highjacking forgiveness. When I test Ping drivers, the LST is generally the model that creates the best performance, and the G400 LST was no exception. I saw an average of a 1.2-degree higher launch angle with all other things staying about the same when I compared it to the G LST. The result was an average of 6.6 yards more carry distance and 3.1 yards more total distance. It was the longest and straightest driver I hit in the test.

Note: Ping also sells a G400 SFT (Straight Flight Technology) driver, which has added draw bias. To learn more about it, click through to tech story on the G400, G400 LST and G400 SFT drivers. 

Dispersion

G400_Dispertion

One way to explain the improved launch conditions is that I hit the G400 drivers more consistently. As you can see in the Trackman dispersion chart, I hit the G400 and G400 LST drivers straighter on average than the G and G LST. Is that its slightly enhanced forgiveness shining through? Maybe, maybe not.

To me, the changes Ping made to the look and feel of the driver were just as important as the performance difference I saw on Trackman. I’ve always preferred smaller driver heads, or at least 460-cubic-centimeter drivers that appear smaller than their size. For that reason, I felt more confident with the G400 drivers in my hands. I didn’t mind that I didn’t see any added swing speed or ball speed from the smaller driver head. I was sold on the looks alone.

I also preferred the sound of the G400 drivers to the G drivers. There was definitely much more of a “thwack” than a “ping” at impact, which made the G400’s feel more powerful. Looks and feel are subjective, of course, but to me the improvement was night and day. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that my fondness for the looks and feel of the G400 was at least a contributing factor to my improved performance in the test, if not the most important factor. When I like the way a club look at address, I tend to hit it better, and I know I’m not alone.

I do want readers to keep in mind that this was a one-person test and I hit a limited amount of balls. Yes, it’s a great indication that the G400 driver can be measurably better than a G driver, but it’s not a guarantee.

I also want to address the weaknesses of the G400 drivers. While they’re few, they could push golfers into another driver model in a fitting. Unlike Callaway’s GBB EpicTaylorMade’s M1 or Titleist’s 917 drivers, the G400’s don’t have CG adjustability. That means there’s no way to fine tune ball flight outside of a shaft or loft adjustment. A bigger deal for some golfers might be the G400 crowns. Despite their smaller size, there’s still a lot to look at address, as was the case with the G drivers.

Ping_G400_LST_4

Aerodynamic features on the front of the crowns, “Turbulators,” have been thickened for the G400 release. There’s also Ping’s “DragonFly Technology,” a geometry on the back of the driver crowns that helps push CG lower and more rearward in the driver heads. I personally think the G400 crowns give the drivers an old-school, muscle car-like look, but there’s no question they won’t fly with all golfers.

Whatever your thoughts about what’s on top of the G400 drivers, there’s no question that what’s under the hood can offer something the G and G30 drivers did not. Maybe you’ll like the smaller head. Maybe you’ll prefer the quieter sound. Maybe the improved forgiveness will show up on a launch monitor or on the course. Or maybe you’ll just flat out rip a G400 farther and straighter down the middle like I did.

If that last bit happens, try not to second-guess it.

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Driver Reviews

Members Choice: The Best Driver of 2017

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What determines the best driver on the market; is it the opinion of professional club fitters, professional golfers or testing results from a group of amateurs?

At GolfWRX, we believe all three sources can lead golfers to an answer. Being a website founded by passionate golfers with a mission to serve passionate golfers, though, we place a special emphasis on the opinions of our GolfWRX Members — the most knowledgeable group of golfers on the planet. No other group of golfers in the world tests golf clubs as frequently or as extensively as GolfWRX Members. So who better to poll to get an initial indication of the best performing drivers so far in 2017?

So we asked them, “What’s the best driver of 2017?” They voted for the three drivers they felt most worthy of the title and provided feedback about their selections in our special forum thread. You can see the results below (as of the first three weeks of voting), as well as quotes we pulled from GolfWRX Members about the drivers from our forum.

Remember that our polls will remain open for voting throughout the year, and we’re going to keep an eye on the percentages as more and more golfers have an opportunity to test these drivers. We’re also working on another Best Driver list, which will evaluate clubs in another important way. Stay tuned!

Keep in mind that there’s no single driver on the market that is the absolute best option for every golfer: that’s why nearly every manufacturer makes at least two different models. As this list indicates, however, some drivers are working better than others this year. Happy Testing!

Note: Forum posts were minimally edited for grammar, style, spelling and clarity.

Cobra King LTD Black (3.00 percent of votes)

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  • The General: All-black LTD is really clean looking. I’m about to cover up the orange on my LTD with lead tape. Orange is played out
  • mh7vwLove my LTD, but wish the black finish (or even this gray) didn’t have that subtle checkering you see in some like. Prefer plain black.
  • dbleagI am a fan of the black/orange combo. The performance and sound of the LTD is very appealing to me. I also like that the standard length is 45 inches. For me, that helps it be super-accurate. With the low-spin design, I hit it longest of the current offerings and can’t remember the last time I missed a fairway. Straight, solid, low spin and nice.
Further Reading

Mizuno JPX-900 (3.20 percent)

Mizuno_JPX_900_Driver

  • johnnythundersJPX goes straight. Best real-deal shaft and is long and very adjustable.
  • KT35That blue head looks awesome sitting on the ground. I hit balls off the toe and heel and didn’t see the big drop off in distance like the previous models.
  • nmortonThe JPX-900 is definitely more forgiving compared to the JPX-850, and sounds much better. Though they did sacrifice a bit by going with a little larger profile, but it’s easy to get used to. The graphics are so so, but this driver performs. I’m really digging the Evo II (shaft).
  • jay65I can see that Mizuno is really making a decent effort with its drivers/fairways in terms of tech and aesthetics, and they compliment the new JPX-900 line of irons really well, but if they’re going to make any inroads they really have to address this issue of their custom shafts options. It’s rubbish.
  • bok006The JPX-900, after being properly adjusted by the fitter, gave me an extra 20 yards just like that. My swing speed suggested I was borderline S to X (flex), but the fitter said unless I was fighting a hook I should stick with the S.
  • bubbagump: …the JPX-900, when properly fit, is just as long on a consistent basis than all the new models I tried in real life situations. It looks great, sounds solid and just knows the way to keep the ball in play.  
  • ChazbI’m 69 years old, have a swing speed of 91 mph and played nine with the JPX-900 this morning. It was in the 40s with a brisk wind hit it around 220 to 230 yards. It was a fairway finder, has great feel and is one of the easiest to control drivers I have ever hit. I can’t wait ’til it is warmer and can dial it in more. So far I have the two weights all the way forward for a lower flight and the other set with a draw bias with 10.5 degrees of loft. This driver is the real deal; it may not be the longest or the shortest, but it is a fairway finder which IMO makes it a winner.
Further Reading

Ping G (3.80 percent)

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  • Wesquire: Ping G is the most forgiving so it wins.
  • bopper53: Ping G hands down. Great distance and the most forgiving.
  • Dannydubbbs: The Ping G series is just too forgiving. The distance is comparable between most models, but Ping always seems to win out with forgiveness.
  • Bruin BearThe Ping G is going to be overlooked because it’s looked at as “game improvement,” but this driver is a beast. I liked the LS, but it requires a faster swing to get results and in the cold outdoors I just don’t have that all the time. I think the G is the perfect blend of performance and forgiveness.
  • cmrl1986Only reason I switched from the Ping G25 was that the G felt less harsh off the face. Same distance just about.
Further Reading

Cobra King F7+ (3.90 percent)

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  • EntourageLife: Ball really flies off face. Driver head controls spin well. Not one drive “ballooned” and trajectory was high and best of all… very easy to work ball right to left for a confident draw.
  • GollieThe F7+ is another great offering from Cobra… I didn’t get the “MAN, this is gonna take my LTD out of the bag” feeling, but it has very good sound, feel and performance.
  • J13F7+ is a great offering from Cobra and IMO is in the top-3 drivers this year. Epic is the standout for me numbers wise, then M series and F7+ are right behind it. Love the Agera (shaft) in there!!! Such a great shaft; I can’t seem to get mine out of the bag.
  • Golfer from MOHit both Cobras lefty and as a lefty the LTD is the shizzle. Last year it was the LTD and Big Bertha down to the absolute wire… the F7+ is more workable than the LTD, but not longer and a little worse on mishits.
  • BoognishI took a few swings with the F7+ at Golf Galaxy yesterday. 9.5 degrees with heaviest weight forward. The stock shaft is actually the same model I play in my GBB (albeit in smoked black instead of yellow). Ball flight and distance were similar to my GBB with good consistent sub-3000 backspin. Sound was OK, feel was harder than the GBB.
  • thechief16Just from the range (no LM), I didn’t see a noticeable performance improvement with the F7+ over the original King LTD. And I like the look and sound/feel of the LTD better.
Further Reading

Ping G LS Tec (4.90 percent)

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  • drvrwdgeI played the G LS with the Ping Tour 65X (shaft) tipped an inch for about a year. Just put the HZRDUS Yellow 75 6.5 tipped an inch and never thought it was possible, but it’s longer and straighter. Best driver shaft combo I’ve ever hit. You can feel that HZRDUS throughout the entire swing. Really gives you a solid connected feel.
  • Mtngolfer1: I am not sure that I would consider this a 2017 Driver, but my vote went to the Ping G LS Tec. The fact that my G is still holding its own against the latest 2017 releases has me very excited to see what Ping will release later this year.
  • 3woodvt: Fairway finder and plenty long.
  • pitchinwedgeI’ve found the LS to be nearly as fade biased as the M family. I get pretty good results with the LS by making a conscious effort to make more of an in-to-out swing. Any lapse in concentration and everything goes right. The M’s require even more effort, which is the reason I stayed with the LS instead.
  • 3 Jack ParAfter an up and down year with the G LS, I’ve actually recently gone back to my G30 LS head. I only have a couple of rounds as a sample so far, so I can’t really draw a conclusion about whether one or the other is better, but with the same shaft it seems like my G30 head might be a little longer. Honestly, the performance differences are pretty minimal if you really compare the two generations.
Further Reading

Titleist 917D3 (5.30 percent)

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  • GavaThe 917D3 is in my bag now, and I’ve found it incredibly long with a recently purchased Graphite Design Tour AD MJ 7TX shaft. Feel and accuracy has been a real improvement as well.
  • Togatown22I find my 917D3 to be just as forgiving as my 915D2 was, and man do I prefer looking down at the head shape and color versus the 915. Very confidence inspiring.
  • NIxhex524I would definitely give the D3 a whirl. I feel like Titleist has made great strides at making the smaller head way more hittable for us ams.
  • KPH808So in conclusion, I was hitting the ball about 9 yards further on average and 3-4 mph faster ball speeds with the 917D3 vs. the 915 D4. The biggest thing for me was the forgiveness between the two; the 917D3 was more forgiving on mishits.
  • brushieThe 917D3 head feels soft like the 910 and sounds great. I never had an issue with the 915 sound; it wasn’t great, but it didn’t bother me too much. This is much better, though. The 917D3 head shape is perfect to my eye as well. The area where the 917 shines is forgiveness. 

Further Reading

TaylorMade M1 440 (5.35 percent)

TaylorMade_M1_440_Feat

  • Tigermatt31: The M1 440 is best driver I’ve had ever.
  • TollBros: The M1 440 is definitely lower spin than the M1 460 or M2 from last year. Launch angle isn’t really any lower, but spin is lower for sure.
  • specimania: This year’s 440 is more forgiving.
  • MCozYes, this 440 is more forgiving, and yet it also appears to be more workable than both of the previous M1 and M2s.
  • nitramTo save you a bunch of reading and crunching numbers, I quickly concluded there was a little more forgiveness and exactly +0.4 mph ball speed with the 440. By forgiveness I simply mean this: A 1.48 smash 440 will give you the same ball speed and distance as a 1.49/1.50 430. But if you get a 1.50 from both there is no measurable gain. Side-to-side dispersion was better by 4.7 feet with the 440. Workability was a wash between them, although the 430 seems a bit more fade biased whereas I’ll describe the 440 as a scosche more neutral.
  • tj24: I hit the M1 440 with my Aldila RIP at an 80-gram X-flex. For me, the spin numbers were around 1700 rpm which is probably to low for my swing. I did, however, like the shape of the head and I felt like I could easily work the ball both ways.
  • halfsumoI really think they nailed it with the shape of this 440 head. Nice pear shape, no weird bulges or ridges that you have to get used to.
Further Reading

Titleist 917D2 (6.65 percent)

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  • tsletten: Love the sound of the 917D2.
  • bladehunter: No doubt the 917D2 is an accurate, forgiving driver that doesn’t look as big as it is and sounds fantastic.
  • JStangMaybe it’s just me, but I find the face to be more shallow (top to bottom) with the 917D2 than other drivers that I’ve tried lately.
  • LuckyLowbrowI was actually spinning it too low with the D4. Going up to the D2 normalized my spin rate, but led to such an improvement in consistency across the face.

Further Reading

TaylorMade M1 460 2017 (11.81 percent)

TaylorMade_M1_460-Feat

  • Ereim: I ended up going with the M1 460. It gave me a slightly tighter dispersion, and I liked looking down at it slightly more.
  • jdenham15: The 2017 TaylorMade M1 is a great driver, but I tend to miss wide right and struggled to turn it over.
  • ZBigStick: The M1 460 gave me the best results. Was able to increase launch without much added spin with the (T-Track) weight. Feel is good and felt forgiving; dispersion results backing that up.
  • BillMurrayGolfingThe face is hot, receptive, thin and makes a nice sound. I like that.
  • JStangSound and feel were both fantastic. I couldn’t ask for much more in the sound and feel department than what this club offers. Plenty of feedback was provided based on impact as I would expect. I could easily tell where I missed based on feel.
  • tnordJust as another tester found, moving the weight back and forward absolutely does impact how the club sounds. I’m much more a fan of the weight back.
  • chickenpotpieMoving the slider to the draw position made the feel of the driver a little harsher. Feel was much much smoother with that weight in the middle. I didn’t see any such changes with the front/rear slider.
Further Reading

TaylorMade M2 2017 (11.86 percent)

M2_Speed_Pocket

  • ZBigStickI liked the feel of the new M2 but seemed to get better results and numbers with the new M1. Could be the extra 5 grams of head weight?
    It was dynamite with the GD TP-6 (shaft)!
  • erock9174On Trackman it didn’t put up the most ball speed, but counting all shots the M2 had the longest average distance.
  • gripandripThe M2 seems to have a little bit of a fade bias for me. And the head is HUGE. Maybe it’s a mental thing to be able to turnover a head that large.
  • Bomber_11M2 has very big shoes to fill, as the 2016 M2 was arguably one of the best drivers of the last 3-4 years.
  • LONG&STR8It’s hard to ignore the sound of the new M2. That may be TaylorMade’s biggest fail with that driver, as the sound and feel was one of the best things about the first version that I’ll have in the bag until something better comes along.
  • Z1ggy16The new M2 was terrible for me, not sure why. Unsure if it was the shaft I used but it spun up like a monster and ball speeds weren’t any better than previous M2.
  • Peanut191I don’t really think that the new M2 was much of a step backward, probably more that it doesn’t seem like a big step forward compared to last year’s model. I was hitting my 2016 M2 against a 2017 M2 indoors (which usually amplifies the louder, more obnoxious sound) and I didn’t notice that much of a difference in sound. It could have been that I might have just happened to get a hold of a head that was more muted than normal with the new one, but I just didn’t notice much difference. Performance wise, I could tell that the 2017 was slightly more forgiving than the 2016 model, but I was basically getting the same ball speed and spin numbers, so I didn’t see the need to upgrade.
  • gioguy21: Played 54 holes this weekend. The M2 was as reliable as it could get. I hit 11/12 fairways Friday, 10/12 Saturday and 5/9 or so yesterday (windy). Controllable, just wants to go straight. The sound no longer bothers me. I think it’s when hitting indoors or in range bays that it gets unbearably loud. Makes a different sound when hit on the screws I’ve found, similar to last years M2/M1 with less high-pitched ring. The forgiveness is very obvious, as I hit a couple that were close to center of the face but either high or little out toward the toe that flew similar trajectory and distance to how a well struck shot would react. I think where this driver really shines is the ability to either tee it high and hit it with higher trajectory or the ability to hit it lower with a low tee (3/4 of the ball under the crown) and hit laser beams that don’t move left or right.
  • G-BoneFrom what I’ve seen on Trackman, 2017 M1 was a big jump from 2016; however, 2016 M2 was so good, 2017 is a minor jump.
Further Reading

Callaway GBB Epic (14.91 percent)

GBB_Epic_Hero

  • HDTVMAN: I hit both the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion and Epic with a 44.5-inch UST Recoil F3 shaft and the results were very close. From customer testing, it appears the Epic is longer for those with higher (95+) swing speeds. I have also seen that 44.25-44.5-inch lengths promote tighter dispersion with customers, no loss of distance and better over-all drives.
  • mbbrewer: Tried them all and for me Epic was the one. Fastest ball speed, lowest spin and tightest dispersion.
  • Ereim: Epic felt great, looked great and the numbers were basically 99.9 percent optimized for my swing.
  • johnnylongballz72There is Epic and there is the M series… then there is everyone else. The votes here show it, the PGA Tour use shows it and launch monitors everywhere show it.
  • misplacedtexan83: GBB Epic/Sub Zero pushed the envelop in design and materials to produce increased ball speed and gains. For once a driver did what a company said it would do.
Further Reading

Callaway GBB Epic Sub Zero (16.91 percent)

GBB_Epic_Sub_Zero_Hero

  • jdenham15: I tested the Epic Sub Zero and Epic against my 2016 TaylorMade M1 and the ball speed was 5 mph higher on average, which gave me about 10 yards more carry disstance. That was great, but the part that sold me was the forgiveness. I love my Epic Sub Zero. I feel like it’s easier to turn over and I can work it both ways.
  • Z1ggy16Sub Zero was hands down the best, including my gaming M1 (yeah, not even top-3) due to the combination of lower spin, good forgiveness and feel and looks.
  • jimhaire: I had a 2016 M2 and went with the Epic Sub Zero. The look at address suited my eye and the feel off the face was better for me. And the club went straight.
  • Sef: I have tested a lot of these drivers and for me the Epic Sub Zero was so much better than everything else. I wish I could just apply all three votes to it.
Further Reading

Members Choice 2017

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Driver Reviews

GolfWRX Members Gain 7 Yards on Average with 2017 TaylorMade M1, M2 Drivers

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5 GolfWRX Members
Gamer vs. 2017 TaylorMade m1/m2 Drivers
+7.01 Yards Distance Gained on Average
-615 RPM Spin reduction on Average

What can the new 2017 TaylorMade M1 and M2 drivers do for your game?

Five GolfWRX Members found out last week when they pitted their drivers against TaylorMade’s latest models at The Kingdom, the custom-fitting facility at TaylorMade’s headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.

The event was the first of #TaylorMadeTuesdays, a series of TaylorMade-sponsored events that are exclusive to GolfWRX Members. The five members received Trackman 4 fittings for their drivers, which were built immediately afterward so that they could test the clubs the next day at Aviara Golf Club, home course of the LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic.

12_things_TaylorMade_2017_M1_M2_drivers-1021x580

Our editorial team was present to observe and document the fittings, where they saw the five GolfWRX Members add an average of +7.01 yards to their drives with a new TaylorMade driver. Key to the success of TaylorMade’s 2017 M1 and M2 drivers was their ability to remove excess spin from the drives of each GolfWRX Member (-615 rpm on average). As a result, each player was hitting longer drives on their best shots, while achieving a straighter ball flight that was less affected by wind.

Every GolfWRX Member gained yardage with a new TaylorMade driver; the largest distance gain was an impressive +10.1 yards, while the smallest was a very respectable +4.8 yards.

TMDrivers2017_groupshort

Our testers were better players, but they covered a range of handicaps (+1 to 7.1) and swing speeds (95 to 117.5 mph) within the better-player category. Learn more about the five GolfWRX Members, their new drivers and their experiences in our individual recaps below.

Andrew Harveson (drewtaylor21)

Andrew_WRX_Aviara-4864

  • Distance Gained: 4.8 yards
  • Handicap: +1
  • Swing Speed: 117.5 mph

New Driver: M2 D-Type (9.5 degrees, set to 9 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Prototype PT6F5 (65X)

Old Driver: TaylorMade SLDR (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya ProForce VTS 6X Silver

Andrew Harveson brought a TaylorMade SLDR (10.5 degrees) driver with him to his fitting, which was already optimized for his game. He fits into a group of golfers who are often hard pressed to see distance gains from new clubs. The former college golfer, now 34, has an ability to consistently contact drives in the center of the club face. He also has an upward angle of attack with his driver (+3 degrees on average) that helps him maximize the distance of his drives.

Nonetheless, TaylorMade’s fitters helped Andrew find an average of +4.8 yards with a new TaylorMade driver, but it took some experimentation and outside-the-box thinking.

TMDrivers2017_andrew

Andrew’s SLDR driver was set to a neutral loft and lie setting, but to combat his tendency to hit shots that slid to the right his SLDR’s front weight track was shifted to the max draw setting. According to TaylorMade fitter Jason Werner, the SLDR is a more draw-biased driver company’s current M1 460, M1 440 and M2 models. After seeing the ball fade too much with those drivers, Jason had Andrew try the company’s M2 D-Type driver (9.5 degrees), which is designed with more draw bias to help golfers eliminate excessive left-to-right curvature.

Andrew’s Dispersion Chart

Andrew_Harveson_Dispersion

Andrew achieved slightly more left bias with the 2017 M2 D-Type, which was what he wanted for his tee game.

The M2 D-Type gave Andrew the confidence to play his preferred cut shot off the tee without fear that it would drift into the right rough. Actually, it created a bit too much draw bias for him, which is why the loft setting was lowered 1-click to 9 degrees. The change helped him lower his spin rate -553 rpm on average, while also opening the club face slightly to take the left side out of play.

“While the averages don’t really look better with the D-Type compared to SLDR, I had a few mishits in the D-Type grouping that, if removed, would have shown a more accurate picture of the results,” Andrew wrote in the forums.

The last piece of the puzzle for Andrew’s fitting was finding the correct shaft. He tried several low-launching shafts that proved to have too little torque for his swing, exacerbating his rightward miss. He ended up seeing the best performance from his gamer shaft, UST Mamiya’s ProForce VTS Silver 6X, which has a mid-torque design. TaylorMade’s Tour Department also provided him with a similar alternative that they thought he might like, UST’s Elements Prototype PT6F5 (65X), which proved to be a winner on the course the next day.

“[TaylorMade] gave me the newer [better] UST Elements Chrome Platinum Prototype PT6F5!” he wrote. “Supposed to be a very similar profile to the [Aldila] Rogue [Silver] 125. I was a bit anxious to see if it would hold up as the right fit, but after just a couple swings on the range at Aviara, I was convinced! It’s a bomber.”

With the M2 D-Type, Andrew’s good shots got better. His peak ball speed went from 175 mph with his SLDR to 178 with the M2 D-Type, enhancing his distance potential. He was also seeing a lower ball height from the new driver — his peak height was reduced from 135 feet to 122 feet — that he “really liked.”

“It was a bit amusing though, everyone at [TaylorMade] seemed shocked that I got put into the D-Type,” he wrote.

You wouldn’t expect the fastest swinger and most accomplished player in the group to be a fit for TaylorMade’s most draw-biased driver, as the model is generally reserved for slower swingers. As a traveling +1 handicap, however, Andrew’s needs were very specific and met perfectly by the 2017 M2 D-Type.

In Their Own Words: See what Andrew said about his experience

Brian Ussery (BCULAW)

Brian_WRX_Aviara-4252

  • Distance Gained: 5.5 yards
  • Handicap: 6
  • Swing Speed: 106 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 6X

Old Driver: Titleist 915D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 60S

Brian Ussery arrived at The Kingdom with a Titleist 915D2 (9.5 degrees) driver that he knew wasn’t right for him. The 43-year-old was aware of the fact that his low-launching, high-spinning drives were costing him distance, but he wasn’t sure how to improve.

As it goes in a lot of fittings, Brian didn’t swing as well as he wanted to at The Kingdom, but his outlook on the game of golf allowed the fitting to be a success. “Golf is my therapy and my chance to find peace, quiet, time away and fun,” he wrote in the forum. Spending time with the former minor league baseball player who’s now a lawyer, his commitment to improving his game was immediately apparent. On this day, getting better required patience with his swing and an open mind to the recommendations of his fitters. He was up to the task, and in the end he was rewarded with a new solution for his tee game.

TMDrivers2017_brian

The TaylorMade fitters started Brian with an M2 D-Type (9.5 degrees) driver, but he struggled to hit it high enough to be effective. He found much more success with an M1 460 that had more loft (10.5 degrees). Excessive spin was still an issue, however, especially with the added loft, but the M1 460 had a solution. By sliding the driver’s Back Track weight all the way to the front of the driver, he achieved a lower-spinning trajectory that not only allowed him to hit straighter drives but achieve more roll-out, too. It helped negate his negative angle of attack of -4.5 degrees, which was the main culprit for his low-launching, high-spinning trajectory.

It was at this point in the fitting that Brian had to make a decision. Did he want to continue to chase more distance or did he want a driver that would help him hit more fairways? With his busy work and family schedule, he’s only able to play nine holes of golf per week. That made the choice obvious; he was going to target consistency.

The TaylorMade fitters recommended Brian try a shorter driver. His 915D2 measured 45.25 inches on TaylorMade’s ruler, and he was advised to try a driver that measured 44.75 inches. With the shorter driver his consistency was immediately improved, and it was time to dial in the right shaft.

Brian’s Dispersion Chart

Brian_Ussery_Dispersion

Brian hit most of his shots with Fujikura’s Pro Tour Spec 73X shaft, which produced good results, but in the end he made the decision to go with Graphite Design’s Tour AD-DI 6X. It provided the stiffness he needed for straighter drives, but offered a smoother feel (Note: since Brian hit limited shots with the AD-DI 6X, the data displayed in the chart above shows his performance with the Fujikura shaft). His fitter, Jason Werner, supported his shaft decision. And as Brian put it: “Based on my on-course play … it would seem he is pretty spot on.”

With the M1 460, Brian saw an additional 5.5 yards of total distance over his gamer, but more important to him was the increased accuracy. Even at a higher loft, he was able to reduce his spin rate an average of -744 rpm. So now when his drives hit the fairway, they will keep rolling. And Brian expects to be hitting a lot more fairways.

In Their Own Words: See what Brian said about his experience

Chris Scheeweiss (Schnee)

Chris_WRX_Aviara-4802

  • Distance Gained: 10.1 yards
  • Handicap: 3
  • Swing Speed: 112 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (8.5 degrees, set to 10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex)

Old Driver: TaylorMade SLDR (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Blue 75TX

Chris Scheeweiss was the biggest gainer of the five GolfWRX Members, finding +10.1 yards on average when compared to the TaylorMade SLDR (10.5 degrees) driver he brought with him to the Kingdom.

Key to Chris’ success, a 3-handicap with ample club head speed (112 mph), was reducing the spin caused by his big miss, which was high and to the right. While that isn’t Chris’ typical miss, it’s what showed up at the Kingdom. TaylorMade’s M1 460 proved that he could handle that miss, as well as any other miss he might encounter on his journey to improve his game thanks to its wide-ranging adjustability features.

TMDrivers2017_chris

During the fitting, the M1 460 scrubbed -627 rpm of spin off Chris’ drives. To do so, TaylorMade Fitter Jason Werner gave Chris a 8.5-degree M1 460, but he increased the loft of the driver to 10.5 degrees, maximizing the full range of TaylorMade’s 4-degree Loft Sleeve. Adding two degrees of loft closed the club face, which helped eliminate Chris’ slice spin.

Jason made the adjustment without telling Chris, however, and he was glad when Chris said he didn’t notice the change at address.

The reason Chris didn’t notice the more closed club face? The crowns of TaylorMade’s 2017 drivers are engineered to look as square as possible at address regardless of what setting is used due to their cleverly designed black-and-white graphics. Chris had recently been fit at a local club fitter for a 2017 M2 driver (10.5 degrees), but this setup was “much better than the combo I was previously fit for,” Chris wrote in the forum.

Finding the right shaft was a faster process that Chris expected. Project X’s HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex) offered him the lower trajectory and added stability he needed to hit his best drives.

Chris’ Dispersion Chart

Chris_Scheeweiss_Dispersion

“Jason … didn’t think we had to go much further,” Chris wrote in the forum. “I wasn’t completely sold on the combo, but I deferred to his knowledge. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust the combo itself, it’s that I wasn’t hitting ANYTHING all that well, so I didn’t know how it would perform on course when my swing was better. I’m glad I trusted him, because it was AMAZING on course.”

As Chris works to eliminate the right tendency in his swing, Jason recommended that he try lowering the loft of the driver, which will open to face to reduce left bias. They agreed that at some point in the future Chris may be able to return to the 8.5-degree loft setting, which could net him even more distance. And if he needs more spin to optimize his launch conditions at that point, he can gradually slide the Back Track’s weight rearward to achieve it.

In Their Own Words: See what Chris said about his experience

Darrin Sloan (DNice26)

Darren_WRX_Aviara-4675

  • Distance Gained: 7.1 yards
  • Handicap: 1
  • Swing Speed: 110 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M2 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 65 (6.0 flex)

Old Driver: Ping G (10.5)
Shaft: UST Mamiya ProForce AvixCore 69 Red (Tour-S flex)

Darrin Sloan, 36, knew exactly what he wanted from a new driver. He arrived at his fitting with a Ping G (10.5 degrees) that was giving him the height he wanted, but he was looking for a straighter ball flight.

The 1-handicap, former college golfer started his fitting with a TaylorMade M2 (10.5 degrees) with a Project X HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex), a combo that significantly lowered his launch angle and spin rate. While it was giving him more distance, the ball flight was too low for his needs despite his 110 mph swing speed and average angle of attack of +2 degrees.

TMDrivers2017_darrin

Darrin told TaylorMade Fitter Jason Werner he needed a higher ball flight to cut the corners of the doglegs at his home course, where he plays 95 percent of his golf. So the two starting experimenting with different heads and different shafts in search of a more familiar trajectory, as well as more distance.

He actually preferred liked the look and the feel of TaylorMade’s M1 460 driver, but there was no denying the performance of the M2. It offered him nearly +4 mph of ball speed on average over his gamer, an incredible improvement.

Once the M2 (10.5 degrees) was linked up with a Project X HZRDUS Yellow 65 (6.0 flex) shaft, it was clear Darrin had a winner. The counter-balanced shaft helped him launch his drives higher, giving him the trajectory he needed to tackle his home course. It also helped him eliminate his miss to the right and easily execute his preferred right-to-left ball flight.

In terms of distance, Darrin was also able to sightly increase his carry distance (+0.6 yards) while significantly increasing his roll out (+6.5 yards). His total yardage gain with the new driver was +7.1 yards.

Darren’s Dispersion Chart

Darren_Sloan_Dispersion

The takeaway for GolfWRXers is that TaylorMade’s new M2 driver can offer more ball speed than the company’s M1 driver for certain players. And if you’re struggling with either a ball flight that’s too low or a rightward miss, a counter-balanced shaft like Project X’s HZRDUS Yellow can help.

In Their Own Words: See what Darrin said about his experience

George Cellette (GC70)

George_WRX_Aviara-4360

  • Distance Gained: 7.6 yards
  • Handicap: 7.1
  • Swing Speed: 95 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-BB 6S

Old Driver: Callaway XR (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujkura Speeder Evolution 565 (S-Flex)

Like a diesel engine, George needed some time to warm up during his fitting. But once he did, he began pounding drives down the left center of The Kingdom’s range.

At first, it looked as though George might post a ridiculous distance gain with a TaylorMade M1 460. He increased his distance more than 30 yards over the Callaway XR ’16 he hit at the beginning of the fitting. As he and TaylorMade Fitter Jason Werner dialed in the loft, shaft and CG setting, however, Jason noticed that George’s swing speed had jumped nearly 10 mph from 85 mph to 95 mph since he first started hitting balls. He asked George to retest his Callaway to make sure that the final data would reflect a fair comparison of his old and new drivers.

TMDrivers2017_george

The result was a smaller average distance gain with his new TaylorMade, but still an impressive one.

George first tested TaylorMade’s M1 460 with 8.5 degrees of loft, but because George was fighting a slice he closed the face to 10.5 degrees to create a left bias. As George loosened up, however, his slice turned into a gentle fade. For that reason, he switched George from the 8.5-degree head to a 9.5-degree head in a neutral setting.

While George’s warmed-up swing was the biggest contributor to the improved trajectory, a new shaft and weight setting also helped. At first Jason gave George a Project X HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex) shaft, a low-launch shaft with ample stability to help him reduce spin. It would have been a good combo, but George wanted to test a few more shafts to see if there was more distance available to him. The winning shaft ended up being Graphite Design’s Tour AD-BB 6S, which gave George an even lower-spinning trajectory.

The adjustable weight settings of the M1 460 further optimized George’s ball flight. Since he already had enough height on his drives, Jason was able to slide the M1 460’s Back Track weight all the way forward to decrease spin. He also slid the driver’s Front Track weight all the way to the heel to maximize draw bias. The two changes had George hitting high-launching, low-spinning bombs that barely had any curvature.

George’s Dispersion Chart

George_Cellette_Dispersion

When all was said and done, George was able to scrub an incredible -908 rpm of spin off his drives. And along with his straighter trajectory, he walked away with +7.6 yards of added distance.

In Their Own Words: See what George said about his experience

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