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Given the remarkable visual similarities between TaylorMade’s M1 and M2 drivers, I wanted to perform a head-to-head test of the clubs in their most neutral settings and see what the differences were.

To make it as fair of a test as possible, I hit 10 shots with each driver on Foresight’s GC2 launch monitor with HMT. Both drivers were set to lofts of 9.5 degrees, and were tested with the same shafts (Aldila’s Rogue Tour 70X) of the same length and tipping.

In my video, I monitored ball flight in a closed setting, comparing factors such as strike, club head speed, club path, angle of attack and much more. Watch it below to see me compare the averages, as well as my best hits with each of TaylorMade’s newest drivers.

As it turns out, the drivers are more alike than you may have thought.

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Rick Shiels has been a PGA Golf Professional for more than 10 years and started making YouTube videos on his channel four years ago. He loves creating golf-related content on his YouTube channel that is factual, informative, fun and entertaining. His videos includes golf tips, equipment reviews, on-course videos, news shows and golf lessons. Rick absolutely loves coaching golf, and he has setup his first golf academy in Lytham (UK). Quest Golf Studio is where he calls home, and it has the latest equipment that can help any golfer improve and better understand their golf games. You can book a lesson with Rick here. Rick is also very active on the social media account below, including SnapChat (rickshielspga).

76 Comments

76 Comments

  1. gary

    Mar 24, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Great video Rick! You’re the man!!

  2. dwc

    Mar 21, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Rick – really enjoy your videos. I have a question for you though since I watched not only this video but also your review of the M2 by itself and the review of the M1 versus the Cobra King driver. In that review, the M1 beat the Cobra because your average spin numbers were under 2,000 for the M1 versus about 2,500 for the Cobra. But when you reviewed the M1 versus M2, they were both over 2,000. How does that work? Were you using a different shaft in the M1 versus Cobra video?

  3. Mike Barnett

    Mar 21, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Excellent comparison, well done sir!

  4. 299yards

    Mar 20, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Always supplying great videos! Looks like some people on replies are looking for an online club fitting from rick through his “reviews and tests” rather than seeing an indepth glimpse of how these clubs perform.

  5. Joe Golfer

    Mar 19, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    I must say, I really enjoyed the video.
    Afterwards, I even subscribed to Rick Shiels YouTube video channel.
    It was interesting to see those results.

  6. just plain bill

    Mar 19, 2016 at 10:19 am

    you know what i find amazing? the internet power i can feel by nitpicking the tiniest thing in a video…ooh, the power of endorphins generated by my negative opinions coursing thru my veins…lol
    meanwhile, the vid was informative and gave me another reason to go back to golfsmith and compare the m2 to what i currently swing, and not in a cage with monitors attached to my [email protected], but on the range where i can see the actual flight and distance and dispersion cuz ive hit a million balls there and know where i hit it, and where id like to hit it…
    id love to play a round with some of the jokers around here…bet they’d shoot 90 and claim they were just having an off day…

  7. moses

    Mar 19, 2016 at 8:54 am

    Great to see RS on here. I watch most of his video reviews. They’re very informative. Great review sir and looking forward to more.

  8. Gary Barber

    Mar 19, 2016 at 12:48 am

    I always enjoy your very informed reviews . You will always get trolls picking holes in your
    findings ..don’t feed them . Cheers from Canada mate you have to get over here to enjoy our some of the beautiful courses we to offer. gb

  9. Chuck D

    Mar 18, 2016 at 10:28 pm

    Great point Adam! I’ve hit both and the M2 just sounds better and the sweet spot is larger as well. Less loss of speed on off center hits. Went with the Kuro stiff shaft at standard length and I’m not
    looking back. I have FINALLY found a driver after all these 23 years of ball striking! Rick, I’m a
    new fan and enjoy your reviews and information tremendously! Keep smashing those drives!!!

  10. Dylan

    Mar 18, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    I’m thinking new vs old. Get ahold of an r510 tp, swap in the rogue and put it up against the M1 430. Make it a real head-to-head test to see not only how much of a difference there is in distance but also in forgiveness and ball speed.

  11. Ryan

    Mar 18, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    I like Ricks reviews. Don’t feed the trolls Rick ! Keep up the good work !

  12. Branson

    Mar 18, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    I can’t recall if I’ve hit both with the same shaft, but i’ve found that i hit the M2 better. It seems like it has a bigger sweet spot and doesn’t lose much distance on just off of center hits. Any data on that?

  13. thomas murphy

    Mar 18, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Watched this last night. I think it is a great compare, the only question (besides the what about he 430cc head) is if the M1 is so adjustable…was in just “middle adjusted” (yes) or was it adjusted for Rick’s “optimum” output…and that amount of adjustment may be greater in other golfers. IE all our results may vary but it is a great view that adjustability can be a great tool for a fitter and for a marketing vehicle…but it doesn’t mean more will be better. Going back to GolfWRX shootout..the M2 performed as well as the M1 but was rated down because it lacked adjustability…so bravo for going to Rick to once again show it is results that matter and M1 == M2

  14. cmyktaylor

    Mar 18, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Request: Same review but with adding the 430 in.

  15. Stefan T.

    Mar 18, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Rick is the best! Glad to see my favorite golf YouTuber teamed with my favorite golf website. Great stuff Rick. Cheers

  16. tony

    Mar 18, 2016 at 10:44 am

    so they are virtually identical in terms of launch, carry, etc but why not also evaluate dispersion???? Wouldn’t the average consumer want to take that into account just as much as launch data???

    • Rick Shiels

      Mar 18, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Tony. Dispersion is always hard to factor into account. That can often be the players adjustment rather than the clubs. Front to back can be measured and I’ll mention that next time

      • SW

        Mar 18, 2016 at 8:22 pm

        Great excuse. Why bother playing golf if it’s not important to hit the target

  17. Weight

    Mar 18, 2016 at 9:23 am

    M1 head is 198 grams
    M2 head is 194 grams

    that might be enough difference to cause the dynamic loft to change

    His swing is inefficient. If he knew how to sling the heavier weight, he should get more out of the M1 with some adjustments.

    • cmyktaylor

      Mar 18, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      If Rick, a PGA pro who swings clubs all the time, can’t make the efficiency adjustment, do you really think any of us can? His video was extremely helpful in getting me to think again about the M2. Your comment, not so much.

    • Rick Shiels

      Mar 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      Very little difference

      • SW

        Mar 18, 2016 at 8:21 pm

        Enough of a difference to cause a 2 swingweight difference!

        • Mark Moser

          Mar 19, 2016 at 12:58 am

          Swing weight does not equal more distance.

          • Innit

            Mar 19, 2016 at 2:50 am

            But it can cause some people to feel that the head is too heavy for them to control it well enough to hit it where they want it and how, which, was the problem that people complained about with the SLDR, innit?

  18. Jim

    Mar 18, 2016 at 7:38 am

    Glad to see Rick S making it to golfWRX. His videos are all pretty informative and he certainly is referenced enough on this site already, along with Mark Crossfield (who should also be added here).

  19. Mat

    Mar 18, 2016 at 6:41 am

    I stopped at “…fair as possible, I hit …”

  20. Mark Bainbridge

    Mar 18, 2016 at 2:32 am

    One way to make this test more professional would be to use two clubs with the same measured loft. To state that because both are set at 9.5 degrees the lofts are thus identical is to ignore manufacturing tolerances; which, in the case of stated loft, can range from +2 to -2 degrees. If the total weight of each club was also given, and they were identical, this would also enhance the credibility of this head-to-head test. Rick Shiels (like Mark Crossfield) is, in my opinion, very typical of UK PGA professionals in that their knowledge of club performance dynamics is somewhat shallow.

    • Rick Shiels

      Mar 18, 2016 at 1:33 pm

      Noted mark.

      • Mark Bainbridge

        Mar 18, 2016 at 10:11 pm

        Thank you for reading my comment.

    • Lee

      Mar 18, 2016 at 3:46 pm

      Mr Bainbridge how dare you suggest the tolerance of these American (sorry Chinese) heads can be + or – 2 degrees! Being honest I’m British and Rick is a really good guy, personally I think TM would have supplied pretty accurately measured heads (ala from the tour van) sadly I don’t given any credence to the states as Rick hits it better than us mere mortals.

    • Ryberg

      Mar 18, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      How do you know the tolorences?
      And whats up with the “UK PGA…” Comment. Just try to think before you act!

      • Mark Bainbridge

        Mar 18, 2016 at 10:10 pm

        I know the tolerances (check your spelling) because I have friends in Taiwan who own golf club manufacturing facilities. I live in the UK and have extensive experience of interacting with UK qualified golf professionals. I have also spent time at the PGA headquarters at the Belfry in Sutton Coldfield. I never offer comment unless I know that about which I speak.

        • Mark Moser

          Mar 19, 2016 at 12:57 am

          As a guy who ran a golf shop in downtown SF and was certified by all the manufactures as their top tier fitters the tolerances are not +\-2 degrees. That’s an outrageous and factless statement stated by a competitor. I can state for a fact that at MOST the difference may be 1* at most as we checked the heads in our fitting process. 95% of the heads we tested for our fittings and customer were spot on and the U.K. Comment was completely disrespectful. You don’t know nearly as much as you’d like to believe!!
          That’s a fact.
          Great article and it would be great to test the older 580 series against today’s equipment and compare to see how much the new technology has helped/hindered our games. I have an old Wilson Staff Tour persimmon driver in a dynamic stiff steel shaft that I plyed in high school that I still hit on the driving range when my contact gets a little screwy to help fix my contact. I can say that when you hit it on the screws it is 10-15yds shorter than my XR and 913D3 drivers. I find it does run out more than today’s drivers. Still enjoy throws and my old Nicklaus Golden Bear blades w leather wrap grips I got for my 12th birthday. Oh the great memories. 🙂

    • SirBigSpur

      Mar 29, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Dude, you’re a hack. I’m sure Rick has forgotten more about “club performance dynamics” than you’ll ever know. And why is it you believe UK PGA Professionals are less qualified and less knowledgeable than those in the US? I’m from the US and I still find this statement ridiculous!

  21. Chuck D

    Mar 18, 2016 at 1:36 am

    And to think the step brother M2 got no respect in the Golfwrx driver test! How could that be? The M2 is a beast!

    • Adam

      Mar 18, 2016 at 7:59 am

      They said it was because most times the M2 performed as well as the M1, but the M1 got the vote due to adjustability. I bet if you did the same driver test, showed the testers the results and asked which one they’d pay for out of pocket then the M2 would have got a ton of Gold medals and may have even edged out the M1

  22. Willy

    Mar 17, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    +1
    lol
    The OG of YouTube reviews!!!!!

  23. cocheese

    Mar 17, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Great to see Rick on here! He and Pete are my faves on Youtube!

  24. Chris

    Mar 17, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    This video is old. Just has a WRX logo put in it.

  25. john

    Mar 17, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    crossfields course vlogs are funny, but his club reviews are absolute crap, he’s so jaded – he proved the other day that shafts don’t change the performance FOR HIM, but was also shown that for some golfers it makes a huge difference. But he still believes shafts don’t change anything because FOR HIM they don’t. Rick on the otherhand seems to enjoy the new and shiney golf clubs that manufacturers give him for free and is excited for new gear – even if it always performs the same (as everyone knows, nobody makes bad gear anymore, it’s all the same)

    • Eric

      Mar 18, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Agree, Mark has become a bitter cartoon, I just can’t even watch him any more!. Some other channels who shall go nameless have also lost the plot and seem to think the channel is about them personally. Rick seems to be doing a great job of keeping his channel fun and interesting, and unlike Toolfield he seems to actually like his viewers ????

      • Willy

        Mar 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm

        crossfield > shiels for me all the way, but I do like Rick’s reviews as well. But for me, crossfield gives me more of a review than Rick does, Rick loves to do the comparisons on distance which I don’t really care about (lofts are not always the same so what does the test prove?). I do like how he has a 13hcp review stuff, those two are great together in their videos.

  26. Leon

    Mar 17, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    So glad to see you on WRX, Rick!

  27. Mr B

    Mar 17, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    Maybe I missed it but nothing about dispersion?

  28. KK

    Mar 17, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Sorry, no time for a video. Please post the summary and graphs next time. Thank you.

    • Eric

      Mar 18, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      Lol, however apparently plenty of time to write and complain, lol

      • KK

        Mar 18, 2016 at 9:17 pm

        It took 15 sec to write and complain, another 30 sec to follow up and reply. I see the video is 8 min 30 sec. I win.

  29. Other Paul

    Mar 17, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    Way to go Rick. If they take the best youtube person for golf club reviews and get them doing articles on here then we just need Kelvin Miyahira on here for golf instruction and this site will have the best of both worlds!

  30. es

    Mar 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Rick your contributing to golfwrx now? way to go!

  31. HKO

    Mar 17, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    can’t wait to see the review of all M1 to M9 drivers side by side.

  32. cody

    Mar 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    cool, i think you could do this test with 5 different drivers with the same shaft and the numbers would be that way. I think equipment has reached a point where they are all neck and neck.

  33. BH

    Mar 17, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Great stuff, Rick.

  34. Adam

    Mar 17, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    Great video!
    Here’s the big question though… Were you able to make any adjustments on the M1 that significantly increased your performance? Could you dial it in to outperform the M2, specifically by moving the front to back weight?

    • NT

      Mar 17, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      I reckon the M1 would have been dialed in for himself as that is the driver he plays. Only a guess but that is what I would expect from Rick.

    • duh

      Mar 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      if you look at the brief article above the video you see this test was done as neutral as possible.

    • NT

      Mar 17, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      I take that back. On second watch he said M1 was set in middle position. In one of his WITB videos he shows his M1 setting. He has fade/draw in middle and the other either all the way forward or all the way back.

    • cmyktaylor

      Mar 18, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Agreed: That would be interesting. Also, note that the wear and tear for his M1 was with the setting all the way back. When he plays the club, he wants the weight in the back.

    • Rick Shiels

      Mar 18, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      I normally play this driver in 9.5° head weight in the back to high and weight in the middle for neutral.

  35. Mikec

    Mar 17, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    As always Rick, great job!!

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Why wedge mastery is so elusive

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I have conducted numerous surveys of golfers over my 40-year golf industry career, because I have always believed that if you want to know what people are thinking, you simply have to ask them.

As a gearhead for wedges and a wedge designer over the past 30 years, most of my research and analysis is focused on these short-range scoring clubs and how golfers use them. What this research continually tells me is that most golfers—regardless of handicap–consider the wedges the hardest clubs in the bag to master. That’s because they are. I would even go so far as to say that the difficulty of attaining mastery even extends to the best players in the world.

Watching the Genesis Open this past weekend, for example, it seemed like these guys were hitting wedge approaches on nearly every hole. And while there were certainly many shots that covered the flag—like Max Homa’s approach on 18–there were also a great number that came up woefully short. Not what you would expect when a top-tier tour professional has a sand or gap wedge in their hands.

The simple fact is that wedges are the most difficult clubs in our bags with which to attain consistent shotmaking mastery, and that is because of the sheer design of the clubhead itself. For clarity of this article, I’m talking about those full- or near full-swing wedge shots, not the vast variety of short greenside shots we all face every round. To get mastery of those shots (like the tour pros exhibit every week), you simply have to spend lots of time hitting lots of shots, experimenting and exploring different techniques. There are no shortcuts to a deadly short game.

But today I’m talking about those prime opportunities to score, when you have a full- or near-full swing wedge into a par-five or short par four. We should live for those moments, but all too often we find ourselves disappointed in the outcome.

The good news is that’s not always all your fault.

First of all, you must understand that every wedge shot is, in effect, a glancing blow to the ball because of the loft involved. With 50 to 60 degrees of loft—or even 45 to 48 degrees with a pitching wedge—the loft of the club is such that the ball is given somewhat of a glancing blow. That demands a golf swing with a much higher degree of precision in the strike than say, an 8-iron shot.

I have always believed that most golfers can improve their wedge play by making a slower-paced swing than you might with a longer iron. This allows you to be more precise in making sure that your hands lead the clubhead through impact, which is a must when you have a wedge in your hands. Without getting into too much detail, the heavier, stiffer shaft in most wedges does not allow this club to load and unload in the downswing, so the most common error is for the clubhead to get ahead of the hands before impact, thereby adding loft and aggravating this glancing blow. I hope that makes sense.
The other aspect of wedge design that makes consistent wedge distance so elusive is the distribution of the mass around the clubhead. This illustration of a typical tour design wedge allows me to show you something I have seen time and again in robotic testing of various wedges.

Because all the mass is along the bottom of the clubhead, the ideal impact point is low in the face (A), so that most of the mass is behind the ball. Tour players are good at this, but most recreational golfers whose wedges I’ve examined have a wear pattern at least 2-4 grooves higher on the club than I see on tour players’ wedges.

So, why is this so important?

Understand that every golf club has a single “sweet spot”–that pinpoint place where the smash factor is optimized—where clubhead speed translates to ball speed at the highest efficiency. On almost all wedges, that spot is very low on the clubhead, as indicated by the “A” arrow here, and robotic testing reveals that smash factor to be in the range of 1.16-1.18, meaning the ball speed is 16-18% higher than the clubhead speed.

To put that in perspective, smash factor on drivers can be as high as 1.55 or even a bit more, and it’s barely below that in your modern game improvement 7-iron. The fact is—wedges are just not as efficient in this measure, primarily because of the glancing blow I mentioned earlier.

But–and here’s the kicker–if you move impact up the face of a wedge just half to five-eights of an inch from the typical recreational golfer’s impact point, as indicated by the “B” arrow, smash factor on ‘tour design’ wedges can be reduced to as low as 0.92 to 0.95. That costs you 40 to 60 feet on a 90-yard wedge shot . . . because you missed “perfect” by a half-inch or less!

So, that shot you know all too well—the ball sitting up and caught a bit high in the face—is going fall in the front bunker or worse. That result is not all your fault. The reduced distance is a function of the diminished smash factor of the wedge head itself.

That same half-inch miss with your driver or even your game-improvement 7-iron is hardly noticeable.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Breakthrough mental tools to play the golf of your dreams

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Incredibly important talk! A must listen to the words of Dr. Karl Morris, ham-and-egging with the golf imperfections trio. Like listening to top athletes around a campfire. This talk will helps all ages and skills in any sport.

 

 

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On Spec

On Spec: Homa Wins! And how to avoid “paralysis by analysis”!

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This week’s episode covers a wide array of topics from the world of golf including Max Homa’s win on the PGA Tour, golf course architecture, and how to avoid “paralysis by analysis” when it comes to your golf game.

This week’s show also covers the important topic of mental health, with the catalyst for the conversation being a recent interview published by PGA Tour with Bubba Watson and his struggles.

 

 

 

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