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
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)
TaylorMade SIM Max-D
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.