TaylorMade ('17) M1 Driver Review Print

 

By Jason Bruno

In January of 2016, TaylorMade Golf introduced the M Family of metalwoods

incorporating the use of carbon fiber with titanium to form a potent multi-

material tee box launcher. This past December at Ibis Golf & Country Club

in West Palm Beach (just minutes from LinksNation HQ) and weeks later at

the PGA Merchandise Show in January, TaylorMade unveiled the 2nd generation

of M metalwoods. By now you've seen them on tour and maybe even in your

local retail shop, but what has changed since the original?

 

 

 

 

 

2017 / 2016

The new 2017 model on the left has a 6 layer carbon crown design

featuring a slimmed down and flared white front section (Original 2016

model is pictured on the right). Does the new one look better, go farther,

feel better? Some of those answers are subjective to the individual, but

one thing is for sure, the bar was raised awfully high with the original

'16 models, they are absolute monsters off the box.

 

 

Any time you're conducting a review of a product known for being the industry

leader for well over a decade, there's a certain buzz and excitement that follows

- and let's be honest, what golfer doesn't get excited over testing new drivers.

We headed to PGA Village (PGA of America's flagship property) in Port St.Lucie

and their state of the art Foresight Sports Performance center for testing, then

a round on the Wannamaker course.


 

 

 

TECH stuff

The success of M1/M2 in 2016 was huge, elevating the #1 Driver in Golf to

another stratosphere of big stick domination. So what could the R&D Team

at TMAG possibly do to further the success of the M Family? The new slogan

for 2017 - "Same Letter. Better Everything". That's great marketing, but will

the performance bear it out? One thing is fact, the adjustability quotient has

taken another leap forward. TM engineers saved 3 grams of weight by using

a lighter 9-1-1 titanium alloy core skeleton paired with a carbon toe panel

('17 M1 has 43% more carbon fiber than last years model) which allows

for a larger T track - providing even greater adjustability. (3 grams doesn't

seem like much to you and I, but in the engineering world it's gold. These

brainiacs fight for every milligram to improve their golf products).

 

 

 

 

 

 

The new T-track (shown in neutral setting) allows for 64% more front to

back movement than the '16 M1. As far as method of adjustability, nothing

has changed - move the 12 gram weight back = higher launch/greater

forgiveness, move it forward = lower launch/less spin. Move the 15 gram

weight to the heel = more draw bias, towards the toe = more fade.

 

 

 

 

 


This view illustrates the refined sole design, as you can see the sole plate

lips over the weight on each track, this equals less debris caught in the

T-track and a sleeker sole. Streamlined from the original M1.

 

 

 

 


Gen One

The original M2 was our pick for the Best Driver of the Year in 2016,

and quite simply it produced performance #'s that no driver in our

stead ever has - EVER. In our opinion, it also produces the ideal sound

and feel at impact. So the new M models have a ton to live up to.

 

 

 


 

Powerplant

Stock shaft offerings for the 2017 M1/M2 : Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro

Kage TiNi (shown above), Project X HZRDUS and Fujikura XLR8 56.

Select shafts from Aldila, Fujikura, Matrix, UST, and Mitsubishi are

available at no up charge.

 

 

 


Appearance

Certainly appearance is subjective, some prefer last years traditional

red/black color scheme over this years lime/charcoal combination.

Personally, the color means less to me than the design aspects, and

the more I look at the new models (M2 also shown) it reminds me of

a high performance sports car - inspiring confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

M1 nameplate located on the rear section of the crown adds a nice touch.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foresight Performance Testing


Pictured above, a staff member at the PGA Learning Center works on

his game as we set up shop on the adjoining Foresight Simulator. We've

discussed innovation and appearance of M1, but we all know fancy claims

and good looks won't get you onto the shortgrass or produce distance

gains. It was time to get to work . . .

 

Needing a base of comparison the testing began with my gamer ('16

M2) that's equipped with an Aldila Rogue Silver 110msi stiff flex shaft.

Although my swing speed usually tops out around 107 mph for step on

it all out swings, my normal playing gear is right about 103 mph.

Consistency & accuracy were the objectives here, so after a dozen or

so swings reaching normal speed and distance #'s, we went straight

at it with the new M1.

 

*Just a bit of background on my game: I'm a scratch player who prefers

to work the ball, but have recently gone back to my natural right to left

"push draw" - which means I start my ball barely right of target and it

peels off just left of it's starting point. I never want to see a pull, not even

when I play a fade. My miss often stays straight or is a block right. When

the miss goes both ways it's a smoke & mirrors day for me at best. If the

adjustabilty of M1 can narrow in the miss and tighten dispersion all while

giving me the same carry and roll as the gamer then we'll give it a huge

thumbs up.

 

 

 


Within a half dozen swings after switching to M1, it was evident that

the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage wasn't the correct fit for my aggressive

transition. Spin rates, launch angle and dispersion were all over the

place. A quick swap into the Aldila Rogue, and instantly the #'s were

nearly identical with the M2 gamer. After some fine tuning, we got the

settings dialed in (I prefer a slightly open face and an upright lie angle)

and the data showed a very tight dispersion pattern. In order to keep

the testing non-bias for either model we alternated back and forth between

heads after every 5 swings (once finished and the data collected, we

eliminated the single best and worst extremes with each), and here were

the final results via Foresight.

 

('16) M2 Stats:

Swing                    102.4

Ball Speed                147

Smash                    1.45

Launch                    15.5

Azimuth                    0.4

Side Spin                 60 rpm R

Backspin               2245 rpm

Peak Height              37.8 yds

Descent angle           40.8 degrees

Carry                     256 yds

Total distance          286 yds

Offline                       9 yds R

 

 

('17) M1 Stats

Swing                   103 mph

Ball Speed             149.2 mph

Smash                     1.45

Launch                    13 degrees

Azimuth                   0.9

Side spin                  1 rpm L

Backspin              2371 rpm

Peak Height             32.9 yds

Descent Angle          38 degrees

Carry                    254 yds

Total distance         284 yds

Offline                      7 yds R

 


 

 

The Foresight results produced virtually identical performance stats (with

launch angle being the only real significant difference). What does this mean?

It means on paper the new M1 is on par with the absolute best driver that

we've ever tested. Driver performance on an an indoor launch monitor is

just one element of testing, these stats are just the beginning. The "reality"

test would be out on the course, and luckily we had an afternoon tee time

set up on the Fazio designed Wannamaker course next door at PGA Golf Club.



Feel/Sound


The original M metalwoods produce my personal favorite sound and feel of

any driver previously tested or gamed here at LinksNation (2014 SLDR 460

gets runner-up honors) and that's saying a bunch. The best way to describe

the sound is as a muted thwack with a springy feel off the sweetspot when it

compresses the ball at 100+ mph at impact. The new M1 feels really solid at

impact and has a slightly louder thwack, somewhere similar to the SLDR.




On Course Performance


It was finally time to put the new TM weaponry to the real exam and see if

it could be trusted under pressure in real conditions.


It was blowing 20 mph all day on the Wannamaker course with intermittent

precipitation, so this would be a stern test. Immediately the M1 impressed

in a large way, rippin slight draws through even the toughest left to right

crosswinds (typically the toughest wind for right handers). M1 showed it

could launch high if need be, but its natural tendency (under this operator's

guidance) was a medium trajectory flat bullet. So far so good . . .

 

Take a good look at the picture above, the 15th at Fazio's Wannamaker

is where it was put up or shut time for the industry leader's new crown

jewel. The tee box is actually 150 yds back and tucked to the right of

this view with the entire carry over water. At 271 yards to the front pin,

it would normally be nothing more than hybrid and wedge, but this was a

driver test not a stroke play event, so taking on "Fools Gold" was mandatory.

A flared crop duster to the right would certainly end up in the water hazard,

and at 255 yds to the front edge into the cross breeze it would take something

solid. I decided to take dead aim at the mound just left of the green figuring

a slight push would be online with the flag, a straight ball would possibly

bounce back towards the green, and a draw would end up pin high in the swale

leaving a tough but do-able up n down. The tee shot was struck solid and

flew right at the intended target, it had a slight draw of about 3 yds and carried

to the mound pin high and bounced down into the swale exactly the correct

distance. After a decent lob shot and two putt for par, the questions were

answered . . .


This was not the usual "get used to the driver somewhere on the front 9" type

of experience that often accompanies new driver on the course testing, it was

an instant love affair of long and precise tee shots all day long. Basically point

and shoot from the every tee box, golf journalists Len Ziehm and Dan Hauser

were first hand witnesses to the M1 highlights, "get your own", I said. The exam

was passed and with honors.




Summary


Certainly the Indian has something to do with how a test subject performs,

but after you've done enough of these reviews you know a blue ribbon

arrow when you see one. The '17 M1 is just that - worthy.


Is the Gen2 version an upgrade though? That depends on exactly where you

stand. If you're already gaming the original M1/M2 driver, than any type of

distance upgrade is likely to be minimal at best, but if you're in the market

and want the very latest top of the line technology, it's a no brainer - but

keep this in mind, the proper shaft and head model are absolutely critical

as we detailed during testing. GET PROPERLY FIT, it WILL change your game.


Value wise, there are good deals to be had on the original M drivers Dustin

won the U.S Open with, JDay ruled the world rankings with and Justin Rose

won the Gold Medal with - TM is the #1 driver brand in the game and for

good reason. As far as my gamer is concerned, the testing will continue

as we try to figure out exactly which one to go with, but as of this moment

there's a refined new "M" in the bag . . .

 

 

 

For more info on M1 and Taylormade products: http://taylormadegolf.com/