Pros: The R15 and AeroBurner hybrids offer faster ball speeds and more distance than the SLDR or JetSpeed hybrids.

Cons: The smaller, peanut-shaped R15 might turn some golfers away who like to see more meat behind the ball. Like the driver and fairway woods, the AeroBurner offers no adjustability.

Who are they for: The R15 is aimed at better players looking for a more compact hybrid that still delivers fast ball speeds across the face. The AeroBurner is aimed at any golfer looking for more forgiveness and more ball speed from their hybrid, even on slight mishits.

The Review

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The moment you pick up an R15 hybrid, you’ll know that this club was built for versatility. The smaller, tour-inspired shape is designed to maximize playability from virtually any lie. I found the club to be equally good from tight lies, off a tee and out of the rough.

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At Address: A TaylorMade R15 hybrid (19 degrees).

The smaller shape, which better players will appreciate, sets up square behind the ball and like the fairway woods, feels like you’ve got a powerful, precision mallet in your hands. Even with the smaller footprint, an open channel at the front of the sole increases ball speeds across the face.

Like other hybrids on the market with adjustable hosels, the R15 also has a 3-degree loft sleeve, which allows golfers to optimize launch conditions. The standard setting promotes a neutral ball flight, something I confirmed during testing.

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The AeroBurner Rescue is a blend of performance and forgiveness. Like the other AeroBurner metal woods, the Rescue has an aerodynamic shape with a raised center crown, the company’s new hosel fin, and a low, forward center of gravity, all working together to deliver maximum speed and distance.

The sweet spot is up to twice as large as previous models thanks to an improved Speed Pocket and Thru-Slot technology, according to TaylorMade, and instead of trying to gain clubhead speed with a longer shaft, the AeroBurner hybrids actually have a shaft that is 0.5-inches shorter the company’s previous hybrids, which will give most golfers more control.

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At Address: TaylorMade’s AeroBurner Hybrid (22 degrees).

Unlike the R15, the Aeroburner Rescue is also available in 5 (25 degrees) and 6 (28 degrees), giving golfers the freedom to drop their 4, 5, and 6 irons from the bag and replace them with more forgiving and easier-to-hit clubs. Even if you want to keep your 4 and 5 irons in the bag, the AeroBurner might fill that gap giving you the chance to hit shots you might never have tried before.

Testing

To this point, I’ve been split between the R15 and AeroBurner metal woods, with the R15 driver and AeroBurner fairway woods performing the best for me during testing. As I always do, I started the testing at the driving range. Just as I saw with the fairway woods, the launch angle, distance and peak height of both clubs appeared to be slightly higher than my current gamer. This time however, the R15 was the stand out. The feel at impact, a stable, neutral-to-slight-draw shot shape, and good distance was exactly what I was hoping to see.

That said, the AeroBurner didn’t disappoint. The flight was slightly higher and with more draw bias, but the distance was extremely close.

Unfortunately the weather has been hit or miss in Georgia, so I had to complete my launch monitor testing indoors. I headed to Golfsmith Extreme in Smyrna, Ga., where I tested the R15 and AeroBurner hybrids with a GC2 launch monitor and an Ernest Sports ES14 Doppler-based launch monitor simultaneously using premium golf balls. To get comparison data, I also tested TaylorMade’s SLDR and JetSpeed hybrids from 2014.

The Numbers

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Launch monitor testing confirmed my initial impressions on the driving range that the R15 was outperforming the AeroBurmer, but not by much. In fact, the margin between these clubs when you look at the numbers alone is razor-sharp.

The R15 produced 1 mph more ball speed and 1 more yard of carry on average over the AeroBurner, with slightly more spin and a slightly lower launch. The shot shape bias was neutral to a slight draw, which is what I was expecting. The AeroBurner on the other hand, produced consistent draws for me.

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The R15 hybrid has a 3-degree adjustable hosel, allowing golfers to dial in launch, spin rate and trajectory bias.

While the margin between the R15 and AeroBurner was extremely close, both clubs outperformed the SLDR and Jetspeed hybrids. The R15 was 5 yards longer than the SLDR and 6 yards longer than the JetSpeed. Looking at the best shots with all the clubs, the longest during the testing session came with the R15 — even though the SLDR and JetSpeed produced very similar ball speeds.

Distance isn’t the only reason we should buy a golf club, and with the R15 and AeroBuner hybrids producing similar numbers, I also wanted to look at the consistency of the two clubs. I did this in two ways.

First, I assessed the dispersion of the shots. In this case, the AeroBuner edged out the R15 with a slightly tighter dispersion, albeit further left of target.

Second, I took a look at the difference between the best shot and the average shots of the clubs. We all love stomping on a shot that ends up flying further than we expect, but the majority of golfers, myself included, prefer reliability and consistency to the rare bomb. In this case, the R15 was more consistent than any of the 3 clubs in every category except spin and peak height, where the AeroBurner was slightly more consistent.

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We found the AeroBurner hybrid (above) to be slightly more forgiving than the R15 hybrid.

With more consistent distance, a compact and versatile head shape, and the ability to adjust the loft with the 3-degree loft sleeve, the R15 rescue has found a place in my bag. That said, the AeroBurner Rescue also comes in a TP version which has a flatter lie angle and a slightly more open face, which might give the R15 a run for its money.

Buy the AeroBurner hybrid from TaylorMadeBuy Now on Amazon

The Takeaway

The R15 hybrids have a 3-degree Loft Sleeve and come in lofts of 17, 19, 21 and 24 degrees. The stock shaft is Fujikura’s Speeder 77 Evolution hybrid (X, S, R and M Flexes). A TP version is also available for $279 with Fujikura’s Speeder 869 Evolution Tour Spec shaft.

The AeroBurner hybrids ($199) are offered in the following models: 3 (19 degrees) 4 (22 degrees), 5 (25 degrees) and 6 (28 degrees).

For the better player looking for versatility from a classically-shaped club, the R15 is a great option. The larger, more forgiving AeroBurner is an excellent choice for golfers looking to maximize forgiveness.

Also, for those golfers looking to replace their long irons with hybrids, the AeroBurner will allow you the consistency to play the same model hybrid from your 3 all the way to your 6-hybrid.

Buy the R15 hybrid from TaylorMadeBuy Now on Amazon

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When he is not obsessing about his golf game, Kane heads up an innovation lab responsible for driving innovative digital product development for Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of RoundShout and creator of Ranger GPS, the free iOS GPS app for the driving range.

On a quest to become a scratch golfer, Kane writes about his progress (for better or worse) at kanecochran.com and contributes golf technology-focused articles on GolfWRX.com.

11 COMMENTS

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  1. Never been a taylormade fan, but a friend got a RBZ stage 2 driver, I hit it a few times, now I own one, along with the matching 3 wood, and am about to purchase the RSi 1 irons with the aero burner hybrids. They’ve come a long way in my book

  2. Its to bad that TM will only make these clubs in white, bans me from using their new clubs. I just cannot use white golf clubs…….

    Is it to difficult to make them in black?

    • Driver comes in black, but I’m not sure the website has it yet. I assume it will be the same case with the fairways, but it is highly unlikely that they release black hybrids.

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