TaylorMade never seems to rest, and 2013 is no different . At this point you know about
their latest version of Golf's most adjustable driver, the R1 . . . but is the R1 the best
adjustable driver ever introduced by the industry leader, and if so, why? TMAG claims it's
the most adjustable club ever, so when they sent it, we thought we'd oblige and give it a
proper review and test run.
The initial reaction from the golfing public was mixed about the new crown graphics - the
red-ish/orange & black diagonal stripe merge with a gray top section that were designed to form
a triangular alignment aide. I heard rumblings from some at the Orlando PGA Show a few months
back - it's too busy looking, it's distracting, it resembles a race car - those were a few of the
comments. Although I confess to preferring my golf clubs with a more simple look, I figured I'd
keep an open mind. Then it occurred to me: Did you really think the gurus from Carlsbad would
introduce a new driver that resembled the previous two (R11 & R11s) but with a few more
adjustable features? Would that be enough to Wow the consumers and grab their full attention?
Probably Not. After a few swings - launching high straight bombs, it's doubtful anybody pays
attention to what's on the crown . . . besides aren't there players on tour right now playing hot
pink, and bright orange drivers?!!
TMAG is the absolute best in the biz at creating buzz for their product and driving your obsession
to have to have it. Afterall, millions bought a product called RocketBallz in 2012.
Think about it, you're a TMAG staffer in a meeting at their HQ in Carlsbad, You have to come up with
a concept that will wet the appetite of all those enthusiastic golfers in cold weather climates, who
will be watching golf in Hawaii, Southern Cal, and South Florida, just chomping at the bit to get out
and see some sunshine and play THEIR game (and play it better than ever before). All the while,
knowing - that your marketing machine means nothing if the product doesn't deliver BIG. When you
can stoke the fire and deliver the goods, you get an unstoppable force . . . in this case
TaylorMade-Adidas Golf. I leave the PGA Show each year thinking - What will TMAG think of next?
This year was no different.
If you're not a big fan of adjustability in golf clubs, especially the driver, then you're in the stone
ages. It can be argued that other companies have made prettier drivers, longer drivers, different
sounding and feeling drivers . . . but it would be hard to argue that anyone makes a better
or more versatile driver. You don't lead the PGA Tour every week for over a dozen years in a row
for no reason. Like it or not, what the Titleist brand is to golf balls, TaylorMade has become to
drivers and it's not even close folks. So the question still begs, Does the R1 live up to the hype?
The stock powerplant, just like the R11s is the Aldila RIP Phenom, this edition is sporting the new R1 color
scheme. The clubface of the R1 has plenty of pop, the ball jumps off the club and tends to launch slightly
lower and flatter than some recent drivers tested. Ball speeds were slightly faster than my previous driver
with spin rates staying on the low side. The R1 was tested with the stock RIP, and with two different
Matrix shafts: Q3 Red Tie, and Radix S in stiff flex. Since I prefer to game my driver at a swing weight of
D4 - D4.5 and at 44 3/4". This would be a challenge to accomplish without further altering shaft length,
or grip weight, considering most drivers today come stock between 45 1/2" - 46", but not in the R1.
For example, because the Matrix Q3/Red Tie is 67 grams raw, instead of the 63 gram Radix S or the stock
Aldila RIP, I simply removed the 10 gram cartridge, and installed a 6 gram weight, instantly taking
the swing weight from almost D7 to D4.5. That's an option that sets the R1 apart. Another benefit that's
been a staple since the R7 was introduced nearly a decade ago is the ability to alter ball flight by simply
installing a different weight cartridge into the toe or heel side of the clubhead to help correct an
undesirable ball flight pattern that may be too severe in either direction. More weight in the heel promotes
a right to left ball flight, and weight in the toe obviously promotes a fade.
The next is the the ability to change face angle independent of
the loft setting. In just about everyother adjustable driver or
fairway wood, once loft is added the face angle becomes closed and
promotes a hook.The opposite is true for delofting the clubhead, it
promotes a low fade.
In the R1 you can have the best of both world's and to a significant
degree. The Face angle setting can go open or closed 3 degrees, so in essence you can add loft and still
have the appearance of a slightly open clubface. No other club has this capability. Obviously the novice
golfer would need some help from a clubfitter to help him/her, for the better player or the person who
knows their game inside and out, this is like solving the Rubik's Cube.
The sound at impact is a good loud "twack", but not anything undesirable, it's very similar in pitch to
the sound of the R11. Although you'll hit it deep with the R1, this is not a 47" club with a 40 gram
shaft, the emphasis is on getting you tuned to the right set up to maximize your potential. The R1 is
rather easy to work in either direction, and both high and low, but don't be afraid to crank up the loft
a bit more than you might play in another driver, the R1 tends to bore more than balloon. With the
shaft sleeve offering loft settings between 8 and 12, your sure to find your preferred launch conditions.
After putting in some time both on the range and the
course, I dialed in My R1 specs: 10.5 loft/1 degree
upright lie/6 gram weight heel - 1 gram weight toe/
Neutral face angle.
Once you've acquired YOUR R1, there are 3 factors
to maximize the performance of your new big stick:
1 - How well are you swinging . . . are you hitting it in the center of the clubface?
2 - Is the club set for you correctly ? loft, lie angle, face angle - is set up square, open, closed?
3 - Does the shaft flex/weight/torque and grip properly fit you and your swing?
Given all of the options and possibilities of this driver, there has never been a golf club before
that enables you to maximize your options like the R1. By the way, by the time I finished the
review the stripes grew on me. Stripes and Hype aside, the R1 is leading the way.
To learn more about the R1 and other products from TMAG : http://taylormadegolf.com/