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2020 TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max fairway woods: “Shape in Motion”

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The new 2020 Taylormade SIM fairway woods: V Steel is back in a beefed-up package.

It was 2001 when TaylorMade Golf launched the V Steel fairway woods, and over the past 19 years, it’s not uncommon to see one occupying a spot in a player’s bag. It was that snowflake fairway wood that launched high with low spin, it looked great, and it basically stood the test of time. It’s now 2020, and TaylorMade is bringing back the V Steel spirit in a package that is beefed up in every way.

The new 2020 TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max fairway woods offer a very popular sole from the past (V Steel) with some aesthetic upgrades from the previous package that add up to a club that is high launch, low spin and very forgiving. Themes we are used to with all the OEMs. Fairway wood technology has made quite the leap in the past decade with carbon, titanium, and clever weight placement to make them into mini drivers. It’s been a very fun ride for golfers everywhere.

95 percent of the fairways that hit the market go a mile in the air with no spin and fly forever. Like the drivers, gains for the season to season switcher won’t be huge, we just don’t live in that world anymore. What we are looking at now is trust across the face, for me it’s the gains I get when I hit it center thin. With my current fairway (off the ground) its the difference between a shot that carries 265 (flush) or a shot that carries 240 (thin). Personally I’m looking for that bottom number to get closer to 250 knowing the top number won’t move much, and I don’t want it to.

Let’s see whats going on with these things…

2020 Taylormade SIM fairway woods: The tech

SIM fairway

With a 180cc Zatech titanium face, and an even heavier (than M5) 80g steel sole weight, keep in mind that the sole weight is now fixed—unlike the M5 that could be moved for left or right preferences. It was very uncommon for players to manipulate that weight, so it was decided that its a better golf glub locking it in place. I agree with that choice.

The new 2020 SIM fairway is the Mercedes Benz AMG of fairway woods, and I’m not saying that to stroke anyone either: it’s the best of everything a player would want. It feels very heavy-headed, has a ton of playability, and it looks like a TaylorMade fairway wood should. For those who like the real granular info, Zatech titanium is a high-end, small-batch titanium that more or less gives TaylorMade the ability to tune up the face to be hot as well as forgiving across the hitting area.

SIM Max

I am a huge fan of the M6…huge. Especially if you get it dialed in, for me it was really easy to hit, very versatile, forgiving, went far enough, and you could hit little knee-high fastballs if you needed to. A living unicorn. The new 2020 SIM is basically the same fairway wood with V Steel tech and some small optical tweaks. At 185cc and a familiar bonded hosel (I love that part), the SIM Max has already caught the eye of Dustin Johnson who had it in play at Kapalua, and if I was going to guess, Rory and Fleetwood (non-staffer) will have it in play as well. Try ’em both, but definitely don’t make a decision until you have given this one the business.

SIM Max-D

190cc chassis in a draw-biased package that will be a hit with the players that long to hit that soft high draw. Simple enough.

Overall looks

At Address: SIM (Pictured Left) and SIM Max (Pictured Right)

As you can see in the picture, the lines of the New 2020 SIM fairways woods are softer from top to bottom. The goal was to give the V Steel technology some harmony to work with and with the rounded leading edges that allow the club to glide a bit easier into the turf, they accomplished that. For players that like to beat down on it, sweep it, or anything in between, the new 2020 SIM fairway woods have the tech to please any of them. What I noticed (especially in the SIM) was that thin strikes not only flew a bit farther but felt closer to flush than in the past. I spoke with a mini-tour player buddy of mine and he reminded me of what made the V Steel really work…

“Off the tee it was awesome because outta the top of the face it was REALLY hot but what made it magical was it felt really solid outta the bottom for fairway shots, for the tournament players that’s a big weapon to have.” -Anonymous WRX member

Overall feel

This is where TaylorMade really gets it right, and it’s been a pattern with the M Series and now bleeding into the new 2020 SIM Fairways Woods. They feel solid. Not soft, smooth, bouncy but hammer-like solid. That experience got better across the face when Twist Face was introduced. If you like a heavy hit, you’ll get it here. And let’s be honest, there are a lot of OEMs chasing this feeling, it’s awesome, but TaylorMade has been doing it well for years now so gotta give credit where credit is due.

Overall opinion

It’s fairly obvious in my writeup that the new 2020 SIM fairway woods are a winner, and yes I am a bit biased. I have been playing TaylorMade woods for a long time. However, in a job that gives me a look at everything, it becomes less about what’s best and more on what the experience is. Allll the OEMs make great stuff: it’s a fact. There are very few lemons out there anymore.

What I’m hoping you get from any writeup I do is a sense of what you might feel when you hit a particular club. In this day and age, that’s the first selling point: the experience, and after that with a solid fitter, the math of it all can be solved. Enjoy the hit first, find a fitter, get the launch math done and go with God. In TaylorMade’s case, they do what they always do, they made another awesome fairway wood line that has something for everyone. Can’t argue with that.

TaylorMade SIM MAX fairway

Click image to enlarge

TaylorMade SIM Ti fairway

Click image to enlarge

Specifications, Availability & Pricing (Per TaylorMade Golf)

SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max-D fairways will be available for preorder on January 10 and at retail on February 7, 2020.

SIM has an MSRP of $399.99 USD and will be offered in Rocket 3/14 degrees, 3/15 degrees and 5/19 degrees. It will be offered in the Mitsubishi Diamana FW Limited 75 stock shaft, with numerous additional shaft options available at no additional cost. It comes stock with the new Golf Pride Z-
Grip (47g).

SIM Max and Max-D have an MSRP of $299.99 USD. SIM Max will be offered in lofts of Rocket 3/14 degrees, 3/15 degrees, 5/18 degrees, 7/21 degrees and 9/24 degrees. Shaft offerings include Fujikura Ventus Blue FW 5 (R and A flexes) and Ventus Blue FW 6 (S and X flexes), with additional custom shaft options available at no additional cost.

SIM Max-D will be offered in lofts of 3/16 degrees, 5/19 degrees, and 7/22 degrees. UST Mamiya’s Helium FW is the stock shaft offering with numerous custom options available at no additional cost. Both models also come stock with the new Golf Pride Z-Grip (47g). Women’s offerings for SIM Max and SIM Max-D fairways include the Aldila NV Ladies 45 shaft and the Lamkin Ladies Sonar grip (38g).

Additional TaylorMade SIM features

Twist Face (Per TaylorMade Golf): TaylorMade introduced Twist Face to its fairway metal lineup in 2019 and has carried the revolutionary technology into each SIM offering.

Speed Pocket (Per TaylorMade Golf): The Speed Pocket in SIM fairways has been engineered to provide increased ball speed to the entire face while improving forgiveness on low-face impacts. A slot insert has also been designed to sit flush with the sole to improve sole interaction and eliminate turf drag from the Speed Pocket, aligning with the performance goals of V Steel.

Loft Sleeve (SIM Only): 2-degree Loft Sleeve allows for the adjustment of the loft, lie angle, and face angle of the driver.

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. JD

    Jan 14, 2020 at 10:43 am

    The 5 wood sim max is the most inviting fairway wood i’ve even seen in my life. It is the perfect size. Now if only fitting carts had stiff 5 wood shafts in them… 5 woods are not just for old folks anymore! Half the tour uses them!

  2. John

    Jan 6, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Yawn

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Whats in the Bag

Lee Westwood’s winning WITB: 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship

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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

 

Additional specs on Ping.com

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Equipment

From a Fitter: Everything you need to know about wedge shafts

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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!

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Equipment

2020 Scotty Cameron Special Select putters

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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.

2020-scotty-cameron-select-2

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.

2020-scotty-cameron-select-5

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.

2020-scotty-cameron-select-7

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

2020-scotty-cameron-select-16

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. 

2020-scotty-cameron-select-16
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.

Final Touches

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.

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