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The Big Review – TaylorMade R9 SuperTri Driver
On Tour count alone, TaylorMade rule the roost when it comes to drivers. Now we all know that for the guys on Tour there are contractual issues at stake not just performance ones when selecting clubs but the extraordinary success of TaylorMade in this arena is testament to the quality of their clubs.
The original R9 used both adjustable face technology and adjustable weight positioning technology but only in a 420cc head. The reduction in forgiveness in the R9 was noticeable for those used to the larger heads. The follow up R9 460 had the adjustable face technology but the boffins could not quite manage to add in the moveable weights that has been so successful for TM since its introduction in the R7 to a larger 460cc head. The R9 SuperTri sees the first time TaylorMade has combined adjustable face technology and adjustable weight positioning technology in a 460cc head. So what do TaylorMade tell us about the R9 SuperTri?
"The R9 SuperTri was made possible by two crucial developments by TaylorMade engineers that saved enough weight to allow FCT and MWT to coexist in a 460cc head. The first is better, more widespread use of TaylorMade's Ultra-Thin Wall technology throughout the clubhead. The second is a new, lighter FCT sleeve that does everything the former one did while weighing three grams less. "
The SuperTri also adds in Inverted Cone Technology and a superior aerodynamics to really maximise the technological investment. The TP version is the same head as the standard version but includes a much wider range of premium shafts
Sleek all-black looks made this a very good looking club. The black PVD face was first seen from TaylorMade with the highly regarded R7 SuperQuad. The head shape is not quite the classic pear shape with its fractionally extended rear but it's a million miles from the lairy max-MOI efforts that are now so commonplace. Because the face is so deep it has a very reassuring look at address – not only do you get the sensation that the face is impossible to miss, you also get the subliminal message that you are playing a club with much greater loft so you don't need to rip into the ball to try and lift it up.
One advantage of the way TaylorMade has implemented the FCT technology is that since it is secured via a screw at the bottom of the shaft, the hosel is only fractionally narrower than a normal glued in version and so looks natural at address.
This club is all about the forgiveness. Hit anywhere on the face and you'll get a great result, one comment I heard was that it was 'stupid easy to hit'. You practically have to miss the ball to get anything other than maximum distance flight. In fact you almost always feel like you're hitting it out of the screws. This forgiveness is allied to phenomenal straightness – far straighter than you would expect in a head that is not square or triangular. Of course this straightness is assuming that you don't alter the set up of the club. The combination of FCT and MWT offers 24 combinations which allow for 75 yards of movement. As with the R9 it allows you to set the head up for a 2 degrees closed slinging draw to a 2 degrees open hard fade and practically anything in between. The FCT does the bulk of the work and the MWT does the fine tuning.
TaylorMade have publicly stated that this club is both higher launch and higher spin that the original R9. This makes the SuperTri suitable for a much wider range of players since more than a few players were surprised with the low launch/low spin qualities of the R9. The launch and spin levels are pretty much perfect for both the average golfer and for those with faster swings although those with swing speeds over 100 mph will probably want to investigate something other than the stock 60g Fujikura Motore shaft.
When the R9 came out, golfers everywhere raved about being able to change the face angle. Being able to customise the driver like this had previously been the reserve of Tour players and bringing this to retail in the same way as Nike have with the STR8-FIT system has been a huge success. With the addition of TaylorMade's moveable weights, the 75 yard spread was unmatched. The sting in the tail with the original R9 was the low launch and low spin and smaller slightly less forgiving head meant that the audience for the club was limited to the better drivers of the ball with faster swings. The R9 SuperTri addresses those issues completely – the appearance, adjustability, workability and technology stack are as good as the original but adds in increased forgiveness and more adaptable performance so that it can be used by golfers of any level. For those rare elite players looking for all this in a lower spin package, the upcoming R9 SuperDeep version will have you salivating but for us mortals the SuperTri is a smash hit in every sense.