|GolfWRX Top Rated|
TaylorMade's best work. The M1 460 and M1 430 are two of the longest drivers available, merging meaningful adjustability with a new level of forgiveness that allows them to work for nearly any golfer.
5 out of 5
Pros: The longest, most adjustable TaylorMade drivers ever. The M1 460 and M1 430 are incredibly high-launching and low-spinning, boasting the big forgiveness that has been absent from recent TaylorMade models. A new “Back Track” allows golfers to make tweaks to their launch and spin independent of loft adjustments.
Cons: At $500, they’re pricier than past models. An M1 430 is not available for lefties.
Who they’re for: Thanks to a major boost in forgiveness, anyone can play the M1 460 and M1 430 drivers.
- Models: M1 460 ($499.99), M1 430 ($499.99)
- Lofts (M1 460): 8.5 (RH Only), 9.5, 10.5, 12 (RH Only)
- Lofts (M1 430): 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 (all RH only)
- Length: 45.5 inches
- Stock Shafts: Fujikura Pro 60 (X, S, R M), Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage TiNi Silver 60 (X, S, R), Aldila Rogue Silver 70 (X, S)
I’ve shown a lot of golfers TaylorMade’s new M1 driver, and those who hadn’t heard about it asked me, “What’s that?” pointing to its black-and-white crown. Before I could explain what it was they’d blurt out, “It’s so cool!”
Visible technology is important to sales in today’s golf equipment space, particularly with drivers, but only if it makes a golfer want to hit the new club. With its distinctive look, the M1 is a driver most golfers will want to hit… and then probably hit again and again. It’s the highest-launching, lowest-spinning driver GolfWRX has tested from TaylorMade, and maybe more importantly, it adds a level of forgiveness that previous models have lacked.
We put the M1 460 to the test against TaylorMade’s two previous flagship drivers, the R15 460 and SLDR 460. Each driver was set to the same loft and was tested with the same shaft in its neutral setting, and all of the testing was performed at the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.
The M1’s improved performance can be attributed to its carbon composite crown. It saves 5 grams of weight from the design to lower the driver’s center of gravity (CG), which increases launch angle, decreases spin and improves energy transfer for more ball speed. It also gives the M1 a higher moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of retention of ball speed on off-center hits, which was another reason we saw both of our testers create between 1-2 mph more ball speed with the M1 compared to previous models.
Player 1 saw an increase of 1.1 mph with the M1 460 compared to the R15 460, and 2.1 mph more ball speed than SLDR 460. He also launched the M1 460 higher (0.6 degrees) than the R15 460, while decreasing spin a whopping 700 rpm. That allowed him to hit the M1 460 on average, 11.1 yards farther than the R15 460. Compared to the SLDR 460, Player 1 added 7.7 yards of carry distance and 6.5 yards of total distance.
Player 2 added 2.4 mph more ball speed with the M1 460 compared to the R15 460, while reducing spin 400 rpm, leading to a distance gain of 12.4 yards. He was also able to increase his launch angle 3.2 degrees compared to the SLDR 460, which along with a 2.2 mph ball speed boost led to an increased carry distance of 8.5 yards and an increased total distance of 5 yards.
460 or 430?
The M1 460 will be TaylorMade’s best-selling M1 driver and its most popular among tour players, but the company also offers an M1 430 that has a deeper face and is shorter from heel to toe. Unlike the previous SLDR 430 and R15 430 drivers, the 430 isn’t designed to perform differently than the 460 head. According to TaylorMade both drivers will produce a similar ball flight, with the M1 430 being about 50 rpm lower spinning.
Our testing results with the M1 460 and M1 430 were mixed, which speaks to the art of matching golfers with a driver that appeals to their visual preferences. Player 1 had nearly identical launch conditions with the M1 430, albeit 1.6 mph less ball speed, while Player 2 had noticeably different results. He created 0.8 mph more ball speed with the M1 430, while lowering his launch angle and spin dramatically.
The takeaway is that the M1 460 and M1 430 can both create big distance. Golfers will probably prefer the look of one driver over another, however, with most opting for the larger M1 460. But especially among GolfWRXers, the more compact M1 430 is sure to be a hit.
Dialing in the M1
With the big questions out of the way, “Is the M1 better?” and “What’s the difference between the M1 460 and M1 430?” it’s time for a discussion of what cements the M1 as the best driver in TaylorMade history — its wide-ranging adjustability.
Both TaylorMade’s SLDR and R15 drivers offered golfers the ability to move CG toward the heel for more draw bias and toward the toe for more fade bias with a “Front Track.” What’s new with the M1 is a T-Track system that includes a “Back Track,” which allows golfers to manipulate launch angle and spin rate independent of the M1’s loft.
The Back Track has a 10-gram sliding weight, which can move CG forward and back to serve the trajectory needs of different golfers. Moving the weight forward can decrease spin, and for that reason the most forward weight position is theoretically the longest M1 setup. Many golfers will actually see longer drives from the rearward setting, however, as it improves MOI to increase ball speed on off-center hits.
It’s hard to say what setting will work best for a golfer until they hit M1, so a good place for most golfers start is to hit the driver in its neutral setting and make adjustments from there.
For the most detail-oriented golfers, the M1’s adjustability could be its strongest selling point. It allows golfers to achieve a wide range of lofts and face angles with its 4-degree loft sleeve and the multiple driver lofts available. The T-Track features are also second to none, giving golfers the ability to independently shift ball flight higher, lower, more left or more right.
Unlike past years, the M1 also comes stock with three premium shafts, and several more are available through TaylorMade’s custom department at no extra cost. It’s a move that helps justify the M1’s $500 price tag, and adds to the variety of ways golfers can arrive at an ideal ball flight with the driver, based on their personal needs and preferences.
If you’re looking to fine tune your launch monitor numbers to achieve maximum distance, there may be no better driver to help you do so than the M1. Golfers who want their driver to look a certain way at address or provide just the right amount of draw or fade bias will also find that the M1 is a leader in the club house.
What do you want more of from your driver? Whatever it is, the M1 can deliver.
- See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the M1 drivers in our forum.
- First Look: TaylorMade’s M1 drivers, fairway woods and hybrids.