The write ups posted so far have been fantastic and painted a perfect picture of the details of the trip. Really well done fellas. I was there and still found some new info in Calvin’s post. I know the membership appreciates his talent behind the camera as well. My sincere thanks to Jory, Ryan and the entire team at TaylorMade for their hospitality. The entire trip start to finish was top notch.
I tried to document my experience as it was happening, so I am going to keep this write up more equipment and fitting focused. Also, I believe I amone of the few that have received their Trackman data, so I wanted to get that up for the numbers guys.
My game and Driver:
Currently a 2 handicap with swing speed bouncing around in the mid to upper 110s. I play about 20-30 rounds a year now that I’m married with a 2 year old son, but I did play competitive golf in my high school and college days. I’ll post trackman data to give you guys a better idea, but if you’re curious my swing is also in the video from Calvin’s post (I’m the second guy from the right in the green shirt). I have played every 2016 and 2017 M1 and M2 driver (aside from the D-Type, which I still think is a good club) for at least a handful of rounds over the last couple years. I’ve had both retail and tour issue versions of most of them as well, so I feel like I have a solid knowledge of what a TM driver can/will do for me. Outside of TM, I’ve only gamed Ping drivers of the last several years. The driver I brought with me is a Ping G400 10* LST w/ Diamana B 70 X. Notice I did not say gamer. In full disclosure, I have never gamed this driver. In fact, I took the plastic off the head on the range at Aviara on Wednesday. I kind of blew up the top end of my golf back after my last round the first week of October and decided I wanted to try the G400 LST. I still don’t currently have a fairway wood.
My last fitting was in April of last year and I was fit for an M1 440 9.5 w/ HZRDUS T1100 75 6.5 shaft. I have the trackman data from the fitting to compare to the M3/M4 fitting. On perfect/very good strikes, the M1 440 was incredibly impressive, however with my practice time (none) it wasn’t as consistent as I needed it to be. I ended up playing most of the year with a M1 460 9.5 and experimented a little with the M2.
The Kingdom Fitting:
I was matched up with Jason Werner for my fitting. Jory said he picked each fitter based on what he gathered from our game/setup/posts. Our personalities seemed similar and it things went smoothly. I started my warm up working through my bag as if I was playing a round. LW, PW, 7 irons and 3 irons. I wanted to make sure I was warm when I hit the G400 to give it a fair shake. The G400 LST performed very well considering I was not fit for this driver. I had played similar set ups in the past with good results, so it wasn’t exactly blind but you get the idea. The first TM setup Jason put together for me was the M4 9.5 w/ Atmos Red 7x. The numbers were good, but the feel wasn’t there for me at all. I prefer more of a one piece feel. Any time I can sense the shaft loading at the top, it feels like it’s wrapping around my back and I have no control of the clubface whatsoever. Jason then switched in the Atmos Blue 7x. This felt better than the red, but still not what I was looking for at all. He mentioned again, that the numbers were good, but we could do a little better and we had to get the feel sorted out. The third setup I hit was the M4 9.5 w/ Tour AD BB 7x. After two shots, I turned and said it was by far the best feeling setup of the three so far and Jason replied, “good, because these are the best numbers we’ve had too”. I hit 5-8 more shots with this combo and we both knew it was going to be tough to beat.
I switched in an M3 9.5 with the AD BB 7x to make sure we had the right head. While I hit M3 well and I preferred the look slightly, the M4 consistently game me an extra 1-2 MPH ball speed and dispersion was slightly more consistent. I pulled in the M3 440 for a few swings toward the end, but fatigue was setting in a bit and I just wasn’t finding the sweet spot. I know golf isn’t standing there hitting 60 drivers in a row, but it made me think that toward the end of a round, it could be a little more work than I want to be doing.
Throughout the fitting we were aiming between two posts in the fence at the end of the Kingdom range. This “fairway” was about 20 yards wide, so if you were hitting it consistently, you knew you had a winner. There several strikes with the M4/BB combo that felt identical to some from the G400 that held a better line. Again, TwistFace is not a miracle cure-all, but I hit shots within 20 minutes of each other, with strikes that felt the same, react differently with the M4 vs the G400. It’s like a lot of guys have been saying. This isn’t going to put a really poor shot in the fairway, but I believe it may keep a couple balls out of the woods or keep you in the edge of the fairway and out of the second cut in a given round. This was especially true with the toe hook miss.
M4 9.5, Tour AD BB 7x tipped 1". Set to standard loft, upright lie. Playing 45.5" at D4.
Club Champion Fitting - 4.3.17 - for comparison
As you can see, many of the numbers were very close with the M4 was marginally longer overall, but I would call it a wash in distance. However, the M4 was much more consistent than the G400 and had faster ball speeds. I would attribute that to the improvements TM has made in the engineering of the M4. In Bazzel’s presentation he showed the M4 sweet spot (the zone of at least .800 COR) was increased by 67% (if I remember correctly), with the majority of that increased area being higher and toward the heel and toe. The M4 wasn’t a monumental improvement for me if you look at the raw numbers, mainly because there was only so much improvement to be had. What the M4 did give me was more consistent ball speed, better dispersion as well as my longest drive of the day, I’ll certainly take that.
Another note, this was my first proper outdoor fitting and I don't think I'll be able to trust an indoor fitting again. The ability to see the actual ball flight is invaluable.
In my earlier “preview” fitting post, I mentioned an odd experience during the long drive contest. The full story is after our fittings, we had lunch and the driver I was fit with was disassembled as the TM crew were cleaning up the range. When it came time for me to hit, I grabbed a 9.5 M4 and popped the AD BB 7x in there and figured I would be good to go. We had 4 shots to get our longest and straightest drive. I hit my second shot as good as any during my fitting and Perry, who was running the Trackman, shouted out my distance. It was 20 yards short of my average in the fitting. I hit the next two in similar fashion with the same results. Perry said spin was up over 2700. I was suddenly VERY unsure about my fit. After we finished the contests, Jason came back over and talked with me and immediately set up another trackman and we started again. He assembled the driver and after about 10-12 balls, my averages were right back where they were at the end of the first fitting. I’m not sure what happened, I could have put the loft sleeve in incorrectly or used a weird ball or who knows, but I really appreciated Jason taking the time to go back through everything with me while everyone else had moved on. He told me to take it home, play with it and get back to him if there were any issues. Another testament to the pride these guys have in their work and the treatment you get at the Kingdom. I hit the driver really well on Friday at Aviara with the exception of two toe fades that still didn’t get me in any real trouble. I even kept up with Scott a few times. So as of now, I don’t have any complaints. I still have a T1100 65 6.5 with a TM tip, so I may play around with that as well once the season gets going.
M4 9.5, Tour AD BB 7x tipped 1". Set to standard loft, upright lie. Playing 45.5" at D4.
Also, in my opinion, the looks and feel of the M4 are much improved over the ’17 M2. The shape seems slightly more pear shaped and less flat than the ’17 M2. I had two ’17 M2 heads that I simply couldn’t bring myself to play because of the sound. I never thought twice about the sound of the M4. While I didn’t have any M1s to compare to the M3, the sound and shape felt similar to me while the cosmetic changes are nice.
After the driver fitting, we had some time before lunch so Jason went through some fairway woods and driving irons. I started with the M4 tour after talking to him about my previous woods and what I was looking for out of a fairway. The M4 has a great look, but I didn’t hit it as consistently as I would like. That may have been due to the stock shaft, since it’s a glued head and the aftermarket selection was limited. Jason then fit me in the M3 3HL and it was perfect. I ended up in the AD BB 8x .5” short of standard. Launch and spin were great and the shorter shaft gave me the consistency I was looking for. I was also fit in the P790 UDI with an AD DI hybrid shaft.
I am happy to answer questions anyone may have and I look forward to the replies picking apart my Trackman numbers.
Edited by RonSwanson, 17 January 2018 - 01:03 PM.