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.
New for 2020: Cleveland Golf Smart Sole 4 wedges
Cleveland Golf has unveiled its new Smart Sole 4 wedges featuring three new models all of which contain an extra-wide sole with extra leading edge bounce in a design to ensure crisp, clean contact and better stability.
The Smart Sole 4 wedges all feature an extra-wide three-tiered sole, with added leading edge bounce, in a bid to provide maximum forgiveness from the fairway, rough or out of the bunker.
The new additions also contain upgraded Feel Balancing Technology which sees the redistribution of weight from the hosel to allow the center of gravity to be moved closer to the center of the clubface in design for improved feel and greater consistency.
The Smart Sole 4 wedges feature new aggressive milled grooves that look to generate better spin performance from all conditions.
Cleveland’s Smart Sole 4 wedges arrive in three different models – the C model (42°), G model, (50°), and S model (58°). According to the company, the introduction of the G model aims to provide full-shot capability and extensive versatility to go along with the S and C models.
The new additions for 2020 arrive in right and left-handed options as well as Men’s and Women’s offerings.
Cleveland’s Smart Sole 4 wedges hit retail on February 7, 2020, and are priced at $119.99 MAP for Men’s Steel and $129.99 for Men’s Graphite, while the Women’s Smart Sole 4 wedges are priced at $119.99 MAP for graphite.
Puma introduces Ignite PWRADAPT Caged footwear
Puma Golf has introduced its new Ignite PWRADAPT Caged footwear featuring a new PWRCAGE saddle unit designed to provide locked-in stability.
The Ignite Pwradapt Caged is designed to provide maximum comfort and a perfect fit and contains the brand’s new PWRCAGE Saddle which wraps around the medial and lateral sides of the shoe in a bid to provide unmatched stability.
Speaking on the new Caged footwear, Andrew Lawson, Footwear Product Line Manager, Puma Golf stated
“Our new CAGED footwear will keep you locked in and comfortable all day thanks to our new Adaptive Fit System and PWRCAGE saddle unit which provides the perfect fit, and stability like you’ve never felt before. Best of all, they come in a stylish, lifestyle-inspired, extremely comfortable package.”
As the laces tighten, the cage around a golfer’s foot on the new shoe seeks to form a perfect, comfortable but stable fit, while the Heel Lock Window is designed to cup the golfer’s heel comfortably locking his foot securely into the shoe.
The Ignite PWRADAPT Caged features a layered Adaptive Fit System which seeks to produce 360-degree support through the internal bootie. The external bootie equipped with PWRFRAME technology is designed to ensure that the foot is fully supported in highest impact areas.
Finishing off the technology on the new additions, the shoes feature full-length IGNITE foam cushioning and the PWRADAPT Technology sole is designed to provide responsive comfort and 3-dimensional traction that adapts to the way a golfer moves.
Both the lace and Disc version of Caged feature an Epic Tour Last – a refined, anatomical last shaping that aims to deliver both an excellent fit and ample forefoot volume for maximum comfort as well as a stylish toe-down look.
The Ignite PWRADAPT Caged collection is available in the golfer’s choice of five colorways (Gray Violet/Silver/White, Black/Silver/White, Quiet Shade/Silver/Black, Peacoat/Quiet Shade/Silver and White/Silver/Peacoat).
Limited-Edition colorways and styles of Caged inspired by upcoming, key tournaments this season are also expected to be released throughout 2020.
Available in sizes 7-15, the Ignite PWRADAPT Caged will feature a retail price of $150 and is available through select retailers and at pumagolf.com beginning January 21.
New for 2020: Bettinardi HLX 3.0 wedges
Bettinardi has unveiled its new HLX 3.0 Wedges for 2020, which feature a complete re-design of technology and appearance than previous editions from the company.
Unlike the brand’s previous H2 wedge line, the new wedges are crafted from Soft Carbon Steel in a move which aims to provide players with a much softer feel at impact, with a focus on greater versatility, control, and increased forgiveness on a variety of short game shots.
On the HLX 3.0 wedges, Bettinardi also took their milling expertise to the grind of the sole in a bid to produce more consistency in production, while offering maximum short game playability and repeatability.
Engineered through the company’s High Helix Cut machining process, the HLX 3.0 wedges feature an all-new face which is designed for ultimate soft feel. Through an optimizing process of removing material to generate groove depth’s and spacing to push USGA limits, Bettinardi’s HLX 3.0 wedges seek to offer golfers with ultimate versatility.
The C-grind wedge features a higher toe and heel to promote added relief, and clean contact, while the re-designed face which removed 20% more additional surface metal to allow the ball to move past the center of gravity aims to produce a more aggressive spin with more consistent distance control.
The RJ-grind is aimed towards players who seek increased forgiveness on tight lies and added bounce on square face shots and features the brand’s highest measured bounce for players with a steep angle of attack.
Bettinardi’s HLX 3.0 wedges arrive in both a traditional Chrome finish and the brand’s all-new Black Smoke finish – each of which is designed for greater optics and glare-reduction.
The wedges come with a custom Bettinardi Crosstour Soft Grey and Black Lamkin grip and players can choose between three Tour grade shaft options: KBS High Rev, True Temper S400, or the Nippon Pro Modus 115.
Pre-orders on Bettinardi’s HLX 3.0 wedges begin today while worldwide shipping starts from April 10, 2020.
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