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WRX Spotlight Review: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

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Product: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

Pitch: The TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3 is a stronger-lofted version of the standard TaylorMade M5 3-wood. The Rocket is 14 degrees. The standard M5 is 15.

Our take on the TaylorMade M5 Rocket 3

“WOW, you really hit that 3-wood like a rocket!”

” Not like a rocket… an actual Rocket!”

The beloved 3-wood. A favorite club of both average golfers and pros alike, a club that many will hold onto well after what some might consider their “best before” date. But with new options and improved technology, these old faithfuls are getting the boot quicker for a lot of reasons including the ability to better dial in a fit and help minimizing misses.

Since making a club faster off the middle is becoming more and more difficult thanks to the limits set forth but the USGA, OEMs are changing the way we think about clubs and putting a greater focus on decreasing dispersion and optimizing misses. TaylorMade is doing this with TwistFace, which was originally introduced in drivers a generation ago, and has now been included in the M5 and M6 fairway woods.

I got to spend some time with the knowledgeable crew at TaylorMade Canada in their new indoor facility just north of Toronto (lets call it Kingdom North) In that time, we went through a driver fitting, and then to the new M5 fairway woods to try and replace one of my oldest faithfuls: a 14-degree SLDR Tour Spoon. To say I have a unique ability to elevate a fairway wood is something that even my fitter was a little surprised by. My numbers with my cranked down to 12 degree (measured) fairway off the deck were good but could be improved. I can hit it both ways (as much as a 6-handicap can actually claim that) but my trusted go-to shot is a slight fade with some heel bias contact because of my swing. I am willing to sacrifice some distance but usually hit it where I want.

What I saw at the end of the fitting was a club that produced longer shots along with a tighter dispersion without having to make or to try and make any changes to my swing. The final fit was a 14-degree “Rocket” M5 fairway set to 12 degrees. It beat out my SLDR by a total of nine yards, which is an increase of just over a total of three percent, including an additional six yards of carry.

To say I was honestly surprised would be an understatement. The SLDR TS is a club that the first time I hit it I went WHOA! Low spin, workable, looks exactly how I want that club to look (small and compact). You can see from the numbers below when it works it works.

Why does TwistFace work?

Let’s explain and get a little deep in the technology weeds for a second. Bulge and roll is not a new concept. In fact, it would be a lie to claim that all OEMs haven’t done something similar to this is the past or played with these two variables to help golfers hit better shots. Fact: Every OEM optimizes the bulge and roll on their clubs to increase speed and maximize performance. Tom Wishon actually had a line of woods at one point that went the other way had VERY limited roll from the top tine to the sole. With this design, more loft on the bottom of the head helped players who miss low or need help elevating the ball off the deck increase launch and spin. It worked. Cobra also has what it calls E9 technology to tweak bulge and roll to help maximize the speed and forgiveness of their woods. It also works.

What makes TaylorMade’s TwistFace different is that it is the most aggressive iteration of this bulge and roll tweaking yet, and by introducing it into the fairway woods and hybrids, it’s proving to be a winner — even for this now-proven wrong skeptic.

At the end of the day, the M5 Ti “Rocket” was a measurable improvement over my previous 3-wood. Now it would be disingenuous to say “if you aren’t using TwistFace in your fairway woods you’re not maximized,” but if you are someone that struggles with fairway wood dispersion and looking to find some extra distance for taking on par-5s, taking a look at the new M5 and M6 fairway woods as part of your next fitting should be very high on your list.

 

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Ryan Barath is a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop in Hamilton and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Billie Smith

    Jun 11, 2019 at 8:58 pm

    I hit mine 311 yards.

  2. Chris

    May 26, 2019 at 11:24 am

    Im playing the Rocket version of the M6 and love it.

  3. Nihonsei

    May 26, 2019 at 7:50 am

    Are you still able to move the ball (as much as a 6 hcp can claim) both ways with the extra flexed face?

  4. Walt Dillon Jr.

    May 24, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    The less expensive M6 15 degree worked better for me with noticeably fast ball speed and high flight

  5. H

    May 24, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    Dude, so you don’t hit this club to hit greens, huh? This is your tee shot club because you suck at hitting the driver?
    According to your chart above you hit the M5 lower with lower spin and slight bit of increase in speed.
    And now you can’t hold the green with that club.
    So don’t be dumb.
    I would never switch to that.
    I need a 3w that I can hit high and into a green to hold it on that green. Not a fire ball that rolls out 30 yards when it hit the deck

    • Red

      May 25, 2019 at 6:09 am

      Look closer at the numbers less then one degree change in launch, 200 rpm change in spin and if the difference between carry and total distance is indicative of roll, the m5 rocket is running out less/ stopping faster. Still may not fit what your looking for but just food for thought

      • Red

        May 25, 2019 at 6:11 am

        And I didn’t even do my own math properly oops.

        • H

          May 25, 2019 at 9:03 am

          It’s OK Red, you’re an eejit and there are plenty of much smarter people than you in the world, and we’re safe in that knowledge

    • usuck

      May 25, 2019 at 9:01 am

      Great, that’s his need not yours. Don’t be stupid, different players want different things and I bet you land 3 woods on greens 4 or 5 times a YEAR if you do at all.

    • Greg

      Jul 24, 2019 at 12:17 am

      To be fair, you don’t have to play it on 12 degree setting. Keep it on 14, or you can Jack it up to 16, but would probably just use a regular 15 degree head, or a m6. They launch higher.

  6. The Squire

    May 24, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    Uhhh boy, rocket’s, missiles, grenades, mortars, what’s next? Does it hit the ball in the direction where my swing competence sends it?

  7. Richard

    May 24, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    I use this almost as a ‘2-wood’. Set at 12 degrees with a Tensei White shaft. It really is a rocket. On a firm fairway hitting the big slinging draw I can get out near a driver. Very reliable club.

  8. Nick

    May 24, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    so a rocket and an original one? bit overkill?

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Whats in the Bag

Rory McIlroy’s winning WITB: 2019 Tour Championship

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Driver: TaylorMade M5 (9 degrees set at 7.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 70 TX

rory-mcilroy-witb-tour-championship-driver

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80 TX

rory-mcilroy-witb-2019-3-wood

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M5 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 90 TX

rory-mcilroy-witb-tour-championship-5--wood

Irons: TaylorMade P750 (4), TaylorMade P730 (5-PW)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 7.0

rory-mcilroy-witb-tour-championship-8-iron

rory-mcilroy-witb-2019

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Copper

rory-mcilroy-witb-tour-championship-putter

Ball: 2019 TaylorMade TP5 (#22)

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord

Rory McIlroy WITB Tour Championship

Rory McIlroy WITB Tour Championship

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Equipment

From the GolfWRX Vault: The story of the sand wedge

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In addition to continuing to look forward to new content that will serve and engage our readership, we also want to showcase standout pieces that remain relevant from years past. In particular, articles with a club building or instruction focus continue to deliver value and convey useful information well after their publish dates.

We want to make sure that once an article falls off the front page as new content is covered it isn’t relegated to the back pages of our website. We hope that you’ll appreciate and find value in this effort.

Cracking open the vault: In this 2015 piece, Mark Donaghy, author of “Caddy Attitudes,” looks at the game-changing history of the sand wedge, reminding us that “compared to the early days of golf, however, bunker play is relatively easy.”

A taste of Donaghy’s excellent piece…

Prior to the 1930s, the best club for short approach shots was the niblick, roughly equivalent to today’s 9-iron or pitching wedge. The design of this club, however, featured a flat, angled face and virtually no sole, making it difficult to use in sand and other soft lies as it was prone to digging into the ground. Players had to pick the ball cleanly off the sand, which required a good lie. The other alternative for bunkers was the jigger; it was similar to a chipper with a short shaft, but little loft. Less loft prevented the club from digging in too much on soft lies, but the compromise was the low launch angle and it was useless at moving through the sand to dig out a buried ball. The club was also not ideal for approach shots from a greenside bunker, as a chip shot made with this club tended to roll for most of its distance. The club designers in those days were often blacksmiths who offered up all sorts of strange solutions to the bunker dilemma.

The rake iron…was invented by a Scottish optometrist who became fed up of having to remove sand from the eyes of golfers playing at the local links, and created a club designed to cast up less sand when swung.

The governing bodies soon began to clamp down on design and banned many offerings. Spoon clubs offered varying degrees of loft and allowed players to scoop their ball out of sand traps and deep rough. Some had bowl faces, others featured deeply grooved faces, but not all of these designs conformed. Walter Hagen was using a lethal-looking sand wedge in the late 1920s, with a hickory shaft and a smooth concave face with a lot of loft and about a half pound of weight in the flange. This was deemed illegal and soon became outlawed.

It is widely acknowledged that the biggest breakthrough in sand play appeared in the 1930s, and many connect Gene Sarazen with the design of today’s modern sand wedge. The story goes that he dreamed this club up after flying with Howard Hughes, the aviation tycoon, movie producer and scratch golfer. When Hughes’s plane took off, the flaps on the wings came down. We don’t know if alcohol or narcotics were consumed at the time, but Sarazen made a connection between the flaps and the flange you could add to a club that would allow it to slide through the sand and help the ball pop up

Check out the full piece here. 

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Swag Golf proto putter

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Product: Swag Golf proto putter

Pitch: From Swag “Swag is the brand that isn’t scared to push the limits in a conservative sport that isn’t evolving to meet changing styles. We like to listen to music on the course, we want to be bold, we love having fun, we love golf, and we’re going to express that both on and off the course. We aren’t going to try to sell you on how great our proprietary materials are and we don’t need to rely on clever marketing to sell more. We’re a no BS company. What matters is that our putters feel good and in turn make you feel good when putting. We have some crazy ideas, we love to tinker, and we experiment on how to perfect everything we do. ”

Our Take on the Swag Golf Proto putter

Though relatively new, Swag Golf has been making a big splash in the industry for their high-end and striking headcovers and accessories. Perhaps less talked about when it comes to the company is their putters – something which I feel is likely to change after testing out their prototype rainbow finish flat-stick.

The putter is beautiful from whatever angle you look at – but especially at address. Extremely smooth lines, and with full-shaft offset, the blade’s shoulders and bumpers are flawlessly balanced to frame the ball and let the putter sit perfectly square. The single line alignment aid enhances the look and is positioned right in the center of the blade’s sweet spot, while the CNC milled flat-stick delivers perfectly smooth edges – noticeably on the neck for a sublime and soft profile.

With a head weight of 354g, the putter from Swag feels exceptional in your hands over the ball. Every detail matters when investing in a premium putter, and the sensation of the stable and firm feel of the flat-stick as well as there being no wavering of the head, makes the putter feel like an extension of your body when standing over a putt.

The sound and feel of the putter is an area where Swag has knocked it out of the park. With a fly milled face from 303 Stainless Steel, the flat-stick delivers an incredibly soft feel at impact.

No vibration is felt on impact, even on long-distance putts. It never feels like your hitting the ball but more caressing it, which is a pleasant sensation when putting from downtown. What you get in terms of sound at impact is a low, deep pitched note from a putter which rolls beautifully on its axis and produces no vibration on slight mis-hits.

To nitpick, the company’s “black mid pistol tackified kangaroo leather grip” took some getting used to. Initially, it took a little away from how impressive the flat-stick feels in your hands, but it gradually becomes more comfortable.

Overall performance-wise though, the putter from Swag provides everything you could hope for from a high-end putter. Exceptional feel at address, painfully attractive profile and precision at impact.

As of now, the company boasts self-confessed “putting nerd” Kevin Streelman as their PGA Tour ambassador. Streelman is currently gaming the brand’s Handsome Too proto, and after experiencing the Swag rainbow proto for myself, the highest compliment I can give is that I would be surprised if he (and PGA Tour newcomer Rhein Gibson) are still the only Tour pros to game one of the brand’s flat-sticks in 12 to 24 months time.

In terms of an Anser-style putter, Swag packs a hefty punch with their numerous offerings. While I personally love the eye-catching rainbow finish (which has been blasted to remove some of the boldness), I realize it’s not for everyone. However, the company has plenty more traditional finishes on their array of flat-sticks, which you can find on their website here.

Whatever finish you prefer your putters to come in though, it’s unlikely that any department of Swag’s flat-sticks will leave you disappointed.

 

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