2020 TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max drivers: maximizing the “moment of truth” AKA the three feet before impact.
That’s the key piece that I grabbed onto when I was being introduced to the new 2020 Taylor Made SIM driver.
This is where we have landed today in the pursuit of “have your cake and eating it too” performance. Golf technology is becoming a chase of maximizing performance down to literally three feet. On tour, your average player will increase speed in the “moment of truth” from 90 mph to 120 mph. Quite the jump, and frankly—I’m surprised it’s taken this long to bring that part into the bigger conversation.
With the launch of the new 2020 TaylorMade SIM drivers, the Carlsbad golf equipment machine has done just that. With the help of keeping some familiar tech and introducing some new very noticeable design ideas, the new 2020 TaylorMade SIM driver is fast, forgiving, playable, and it all comes in a tight, sophisticated package.
Let’s start with the name Shape in Motion (aka SIM) offered in three models SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max-D.
TaylorMade and its team lead by engineer Tomo Bystedt had one question in mind: How do we make a driver that increases ball speed and allows for maximum forgiveness? Currently you kind of have to pick one or the other. If a driver is an MOI machine, it most likely sacrifices distance due to its higher spin profile. If it’s a distance monster the opposite applies. Simple enough.
The team at TaylorMade knew they needed to look in a different direction to find a real combo that did both, hence the complex geometry proof that is SIM. In normal-person speak, it’s chasing this unicorn by adjusting the shape of the club rather than what’s under the hood.
2020 TaylorMade SIM
- Aerodynamic design: TaylorMade, in its research using a military-grade aerodynamic facility, discovered that it’s not only creating airflow across the body of the driver but more importantly the angle at which that airflow moves. Using wizard math to land on the shape, the new 2020 TaylorMade SIM driver has a shape that literally kicks in right before impact.
- Raised crown: The main thing you will notice in the new 2020 TaylorMade SIM drivers is an elevated clubhead. It needs to be said that typically a raised crown equals a higher CG, this is where the real science of this driver gets interesting. With the placement of the Inertia Generator that brings a substantial amount of weight down and low, the driver now accomplished a unicorn scenario, low CG and high MOI.
- Carbon: Carbon crowns have become the norm in driver composition these days, some OEMs are new to it, and some like TaylorMade have been in the game for a long time. The new 2020 TaylorMade SIM drivers have what TaylorMade believes to be the strongest, lightest carbon makeup in golf. What this allows is clever weight placement in other areas. That’s what’s fascinating about driver technology these days, they all get a weight tolerance and size limit, where and how they choose to place weight is where you see the personality of each company.
- Goodbye T-Rail, welcome back single rail: You will notice that the very effective T-Rail from the M-series is gone and the familiar one rail made famous by the SLDR is back in play. According to TaylorMade, the trade-off is nil. The placement of the inertia generator gives players enough mass in the back to mitigate any loss in workability.
What’s the same
- Twist Face technology: It’s a real thing, and yes TaylorMade is not the only company that utilizes a version of this, however, the feedback I’ve gotten from players that used the M3 and M5 drivers responded very positively to what the face will do on heel and toe strikes…so point is, it’s a thing and a good thing.
- Speed Injected Face: Can’t have all the science without a consistent face. If you don’t have it, you are a dinosaur. Speed injection is quite simple to grasp at this point, they push the face all the way to the legal threshold and depending on the face use a “speed injection” resin to more or less ensure that every face (not just tour heads) are as hot as the devil himself.
- The TaylorMade sound: Last year, there were two drivers on the market that had acoustics that rivaled any modern driver, the Cobra F9 and the TaylorMade M5. They both sound like Thor’s Hammer, solid, heavy and it was across the face. This is no easy task by the way. The new 2020 TaylorMade SIM drivers continued with this trend. I was able to put it through the ringer in Carlsbad and the first thing I’m always looking for with any driver is the sound, this thing swings and sounds like a sledgehammer. The thud that we all love at impact is very much there and on the shots that went a little heel side, the difference was negligible. Very well done here.
How it looks
The new 2020 TaylorMade SIM drivers look exactly how you would want it to look, it looks like you are gonna murder it.
TaylorMade drivers have always had a great shape, it’s one of the things that has kept them at the top year in and year out. The golf clubs just always look good. The shaping is what we have seen for years from TaylorMade. Personally, it’s a shape that I will always jump back to because it’s familiar and I know how to hit these drivers. It’s funny how it works like that.
The topline paint was thinned just a bit (based on tour feedback), and it bleeds further down onto the face to add a better frame at the address. The average golfer may not spot this, but the guys on tour don’t miss a thing, I’ve seen players set a driver down and if that top line doesn’t sit right, that driver gets handed back quickly.
The sound and feel
Pleasing acoustics have been something TaylorMade has always done well, especially in the M5. The new 2020 TaylorMade SIM driver is no different, and to be honest, all they really needed to do was just match the sound of last year and they win. Well, that’s what they did, the sound is identical to last year, which equals that heavy hit, hammer feel at impact. Point is, the new math built into this thing didn’t change the essence of the TaylorMade driver experience one bit. Not an easy task.
The other models
TaylorMade SIM Max
This high-launching, high-MOI machine will be popular for those players seeking a bit more forgiveness or for the better players, a touch more spin. It’s not uncommon for players like DJ, Rahm, Fleetwood, and Casey to look in this direction because, at their speed, a bit more spin doesn’t cost them much, they already hit it far enough. The face on the SIM Max is eight percent larger then SIM, which is a key factor in its forgiving profile.
Photos of the SIM Max (click to enlarge)
The Max-D will give a nice forgiving option (18 percent bigger face then S.I.M) to those looking to avoid the right side of the golf course or that need a little help drawing the ball…not a new idea, but players always appreciate the option.
There were rumblings about the appearance of the New 2020 TaylorMade SIM driver when it was teased out in spy pics. Advice to everyone, don’t let the pics fool you. In hand, this driver looks, sounds and feels amazing. The real question is, what will you gain vs what you have now? The answer for me was, well, not a ton, maybe 2-3 extra yards and a bit more forgiveness. If you are a player that switches every year, the days of gaining 10-15 yards are gone, it’s just reality. So what you need to be looking at in terms of gains is in the minutia. Maybe one more fairway per round, being able to work it around a corner a bit easier, etc. And that’s totally OK. In my case, it’s enough to get me to swap up.
HOWEVER, for those that aren’t in the Gear Junkie Dark Web and are wanting to look into making a driver switch after a few years, the new 2020 TaylorMade SIM drivers are a legitimate upgrade from models of the past. It’s the closest thing I have found to max distance and max forgiveness in a driver. It’s a win for TaylorMade. They always do this part of the bag well, and this year is as to be expected. Well done, guys.
Specifications, Availability & Pricing (Info Courtesy of TaylorMade Golf):
SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max-D will be available for pre-order on January 10 and at retail on February 7, 2020.
SIM has an MSRP of $549.99 USD and will be offered in 8, 9, and 10.5-degree lofts. Stock shaft offerings include Mitsubishi Diamana S Limited 60 and Project X’s HZRDUS Smoke Green 70, with numerous custom shaft options available at no additional cost. They come stock with a new Golf Pride Z-Grip (47g ).
SIM Max and Max-D have an MSRP of $499.99 USD and will be offered in 9, 10.5, and 12-degree lofts. SIM Max stock shaft offerings include Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 and Ventus Red 5, with numerous additional shaft options available at no additional cost. SIM Max-D’s stock shaft offering is the UST Mamiya Helium, with numerous additional shaft options available at no additional cost. Both models also come stock with the new Golf Pride Z-Grip (47 g). The women’s offering for both SIM Max and SIM Max-D include the Aldila NV Ladies 45 shaft and the Lamkin Ladies Sonar grip (38 g).
Sliding Weight Technology (SIM only): Familiar TaylorMade technology that offers a player up to +/- 20 yards of draw or fade bias.
Loft Sleeve (all three models): 2-degree Loft Sleeve allows for the adjustment of the loft, lie angle, and face angle of the driver.
Lee Westwood’s winning WITB: 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship
Driver: Ping G410 Plus (10.5 degrees at 10 degrees, neutral)
Shaft: Aldila NV 2KXV Green 65 X (tipped 1/2 inch)
3-wood: Ping G410 (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila NV 2KXV Green
Hybrid: Ping G410 (19 degrees at 19.7)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green Hybrid 85 X (40.5 inches)
Driving iron: Ping G Crossover (2)
Shaft: Ping JZ Stiff
Irons: Ping i210 (4-UW)
Shaft: Ping JZ Stiff w/Cushin stepped 1 strong
Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (60 degrees)
Shaft: Ping JZ Stiff w/Cushin, stepped 1 strong
Putter: Ping Sigma 2 Fetch
Grips: Lamkin Crossline Full Cord 58 Rib (+2 wraps) on woods, Ping ID8 White 1/2 Cord (+2 wraps) on irons
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
From a Fitter: Everything you need to know about wedge shafts
This is such a dark corner of the golf industry that I truly believe needs a lot of work. Hopefully, this article can shed some light on wedge shafts for you.
I will mention some standards, explain some of my experience, and hopefully, help you make some good choices.
Linking back to the first article on aspects of a wedge that I target when fitting, I place a lot of weight on the style, bounce, grind, and loft/lie/length to get my wedge fitting started. As we move into shaft options, I look at crossing T’s and dotting I’s to ensure a player enjoys their new wedge setup.
We carry a bunch of shaft options built into different heads. As yet we do not have a consistent way to swap shafts in wedges during a session that still allows them to play at a reasonable swing weight and perform as we would like. Moving forward, I will be looking to explore this area to see if we can deliver better service and experience.
Generic standards for wedge shaft setup
- Dynamic Gold “wedge flex”
- Matching exactly the same shaft in your irons to your wedges
- A slightly heavier shaft in your wedges
- Putting an 8-iron shaft in your wedges
- Using a wedge-specific shaft
During an iron fitting, we see a lot of variables in flight and feel, this is mainly because we use 6-irons as our demo clubs. When clients are hitting 6-iron shots, they are often looking for max carry, flight, and shot-shaping ability. This leads to hitting a lot of full swings and placing the shaft under a decent amount of load, therefore, we see some notable changes when we swap shafts. This will not show up as drastically in wedges as we are not always trying to hit the full shot.
As we get into wedge fitting, I discuss with my clients in-depth what they use each wedge for, how far they hit them, what is the most common shot they play, what are the most common bad shots, how does the ball react on the green and what shots do they feel they need in the bag. Basically, trying to get a good overview of their game in a short period. In very few cases do players mention the ‘full shot’ lets them down? Often players say they are more comfortable hitting “softer shots” or 3/4 swings, this gives them the flight/shot that they require on a regular basis and the niche shots and consistency lets them down.
Logic here says to me, you probably do not want exactly the same shaft in the irons all the way down to the lob wedge when you are hitting soft shots 95 percent of the time. When I look at shaft specs, I am trying to build a shaft that can easily put up with the stress of a full shot and handle a softer shot without feeling blunt (for all clubs in the bag).
When I merge this process into wedges, the only wedge a “matching iron” shaft seems to be applicable (for the majority) is the gap wedge or the wedge that is predominantly a full-swing club. This is the club you hit full and maybe knock-down shots with, but you’re rarely trying to hit “flicky” spinning shots. (Those shots are why you also have a sand and/or lob wedge in the bag).
It would then make sense that if you are rarely hitting any full shots with your sand wedge or lob wedge, you probably want a softer golf shaft in those (as they are not trying to put up with your “flat out” swing), still ensuring the shaft does not feel ‘blunt’ or hard work to play around the greens with.
This is not a one size fits all theory, but I think a lot of players would have success even thinking about their wedge shaft layout in this way.
As an example: Personally, I am playing True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue 120g X100 flex iron shafts. I hit a lot of full shots with my 50 and 54, so I have chosen to play the DG 120TI X100 shaft exactly the same way in those two clubs. My 60-degree however, I rarely hit the full shot, so I feel need it a little softer in stiffness, but I need the weight to get my tempo correct and to give me more control to hit lower shots. For this club, I play the Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue. I chose this shaft as the profile is very close to my iron shaft but it is 13g heavier and has a slightly softer tip section, which I feel gives me a little better response.
Please see the S3 shaft profile comparison below
(I am very lucky to have the S3 shaft data, it gives me an apples-to-apples comparison of shaft profiles and weights and make wedge shaft selection a lot easier).
I also wanted to capture some data to highlight the difference wedge shafts have as simply as possible. Below is a graph showing a PGA pro’s shot grouping with a few shaft options. His 6-iron speed is about 94mph, and he has a sharp back-swing to down-swing ratio. This would put him at the quick end of people I fit. This generally means the player enjoys stiffer shafts, stiff style profiles, high swingweight, high total/shaft weight (and again not in all cases).
He tested three shafts all in the same wedge head, with the same length, loft, and lie.
Please see the grouping below
The three shafts tested were: Nippon Modus 105 Wedge specific, Dynamic Gold Wedge flex and Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400.
In no way am I trying to demonstrate the DG S400 is the best shaft for wedges, but in this group of data all that shows up is, the stiffest profile, heaviest shaft (of the test group) gave the player the tightest grouping for his 55-degree wedge shot. His explanation was that he felt the club’s position in the swing better and the strike through the turf was much more consistent, producing more consistent land zones with the DG S400. This small test shows that the wedge shaft alone has an impact even for a skilled golfer.
There are however always exceptions to theories (especially in golf!)
When I have a player using, for example, C-Taper 130 X or Dynamic Gold X100 in their irons it is tough to find a profile that matches closely that is heavier and not any stiffer. In these cases, I tend to have them play the same shaft all the way down to their LW, but I try to increase swing weight and decrease FM in the niche shot wedges (SW and LW). This can just mean adding head weight to soften the shaft a little, or sometimes soft-stepping the product to get some ‘feel’ back.
The key take-away points
- Think about the shots you play with your wedges most and how hard you hit them
- Think about linking your shafts to your irons, but they do not always have to match
- Test options and measure: grouping, turf interaction and flight consistency
- Try and break down if the ‘”feel” of stiffness or weight help or hinder you making a consistent swing/strike
- Don’t just settle with the shaft the wedges come with… unless they match in with your setup!
Getting all the information in one article is always tough, and I hate generalizing, so feel free to shoot me some questions—I like to try to help and also hear your experience and ideas when I can!
2020 Scotty Cameron Special Select putters
Scotty Cameron has been refining and defining putters for more than 25 years at Titleist, and to celebrate 2020, he’s releasing the new Scotty Cameron Special Select putter line to showcase timeless, tour-proven designs, crafted with impeccable attention detail.
Putters are unique clubs because the great styles and classic shapes never go out of style, kind of like cars. Yes, we have seen a growth in larger geometry and technology packed designs, but the classics are classics for a reason, and they will continue to live on.
The inspiration for the new Special Select putters came directly from combining Scotty Cameron’s most classic shapes with tweaks driven by tour player requests. When it comes to Cameron-designed putters, it’s never going to be about reinventing the wheel, it’s about taking a proven philosophy and refining the end product to perfection. That also means using the best materials, controlling the process start to finish, and milling from a solid block of 303 stainless steel in the USA.
Each model in the Special Select putter line has been completely reworked, including Cameron’s classic Newport, Newport 2 and Newport 2.5 style blades. A newly refined Del Mar joins the new Fastback 1.5, Squareback 2, Flowback 5 and Flowback 5.5 mid-mallet models.
“With Special Select, I wanted to get back to the pure-milled shapes and faces that I’ve been crafting for tour players for over two decades now. We’ve brought those designs into the modern era with new setups, necks, faces, grips and weights. Every aspect of every putter has been redone. When it all came together, it was pretty special.” – Scotty Cameron
The Performance Behind Special Select
Everything Scotty Cameron and Titleist is driven by the endless pursuit of creating the most high-performance products for the best players in the world and then bringing that technology and performance to dedicated golfers. The changes made to the new Special Select line to differentiate it from previous Cameron putters of the past are all tour inspired and include
- Soft Tri-sole Design: Special Select blade models are milled with a tour-inspired soft tri-sole design. This self-soling feature promotes the putter sitting square to the target line at address. The key to this design feature is a slightly negative bounce sole that puts the putter in the correct position time after time.
- New Balanced Weighting: Heel and toe positioned weights in the sole of Scotty Cameron putters are not new, in fact they have been around for more than a decade now in other select models, but like the rest of the Special Select series it’s about refinement not reinvention. These customizable weights assure that each putter is properly balanced based on putter length, and the golfer’s stroke. There are stock configurations but putters can be made lighter or heavier by request through custom order.
- More photos of the Scotty Cameron Special Select putters in the forums.
- See what WRXers are saying about the 2020 Cameron lineup.
The blade models all come fit with new tungsten sole weights that are heavier than previous steel ones. This allows for sleeker shapes with larger sweet spots. The mid-mallet putters use a stainless steel sole weights for optimal balance and weight distribution.
- Refined Hosel Configurations: This is the true nitty gritty, to be sure every attribute of each model is perfect before being put in the hands of the golfer. The Newport and Newport 2 putters, for example, feature a slightly shorter plumbers neck for medium toe flow, with a newly-defined socket radius (where the hosel neck meets the top line) repositioned with onset to provide better visibility of the leading edge at address, allowing for easier alignment.
Scotty Cameron Special Select Models
As mentioned, there are eight models to choose from in the new Special Select line; three blade models and five mid-mallet options with a look and toe flow for any stroke.
- Newport, Newport 2, Newport 2.5, Del Mar, Fastback 1.5, Squareback 2, Flowback 5, and Flowback 5.5.
Each Scotty Cameron Special Select putter comes stock with a new grey Pistolini Plus grip with distinctive white lettering. The new Pistolini Plus maintains the shape of the original Pistolini but with a slight build-up lower hand.
The Special Select line’s un-plated stainless steel heads are bead blasted for an easy-to-maintain glare-resistant look that won’t show wear like putters with traditional plating or applied finish. The signature red cavity dots have also been given a styling upgrade with each dot milled with a recessed channel, which is then polished and hand-painted with cherry red translucent paint.
Pricing and Availability
Special Select putters will be priced at $399 and will be available Jan. 24 in North America and March 27 worldwide through Titleist authorized golf shops.
- More photos of the Scotty Cameron Special Select putters in the forums.
- See what WRXers are saying about the 2020 Cameron lineup.
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