3balls Golf

What is the best TaylorMade driver?

TaylorMade's driver performance lab

Picture of TaylorMade’s performance lab.

Asking which TaylorMade driver is the best is like trying to choose the best supercar or donut from that little bakery on the corner that makes everything fresh in the morning – how do you judge the best of an amazing array of drivers? TaylorMade drivers, including the popular RocketBallz Stage 2, the R1, the R1 Black and the SLDR, are like nothing you’ve ever swung before. We’ve put together a quick guide to the best and worst features of these new clubs to help you decide which driver is right for your game.

RocketBallz Stage 2

This sleek yellow and gray club looks great on the course, but that’s not the only upgrade TaylorMade has made to the RocketBallz series. Expanding the clubface to 4100 square inches and moving the center of gravity slightly toward the heel are intended to benefit the average golfer.

Pros:

The longer shaft provides an opportunity for longer drives, improved aerodynamics reduce drag on the clubhead so more power gets to the ball and the repositioning of the center of gravity on the head encourages high launch angles, low spin-rate and an over-all faster ball. Once set correctly, launch angles are very consistent.

Cons:

A longer shaft proves more difficult to control for some players. A perceived overlap between head lofts and loft adjustments can cause confusion and make personalizing your driver frustrating. If you’re upgrading from an original RocketBallz driver, the fine tuning may not be worth the price tag.

R1 (and R1 Black)

The R1 and R1 Black drivers by TaylorMade are among the most adjustable drivers on the market – they allow you to adjust loft, face-angle and weight into a total of 168 different configurations. Since the average golfer’s swing changes practically on a daily basis, all these settings make sure you’re always swinging the right driver without changing clubs.

Pros:

This club offers an optimal setting for practically everybody. The shorter standard shaft length of 45.5 inches is easier to control without sacrificing distance and makes the club feel weightier on the head. Loft angles are easy to set with a simple numbering system and the club is surprisingly forgiving.

Cons:

The busy graphics of the R1 are a real turn-off for many golfers (though that can be remedied by purchasing the R1 Black), as is the high level of personalization. Personalization can be game-changing if you can dial your club in right, but if you just want to play a few rounds, it may be more of a hassle than a help.

SLDR

This driver is the latest addition to TaylorMade’s fold, featuring a total redesign of the moveable weight system. It’s also the longest TaylorMade driver ever, making even longer drives possible for golfers with excellent club control. The SLDR is an unassuming driver for the casual player who doesn’t want to tinker with their club more than necessary.

Pros:

The redesign of the moveable weight system features a simple slider to redistribute a 20 gram weight between the heel and toe – it takes about 15 seconds to tweak – and a 12-position loft sleeve; it’s far simpler to adjust than other TaylorMade clubs, making it more of a grab-and-go option.

Cons:

The simplified adjustments on this club limit the amount of adjustment that’s actually possible. It won’t be the right club for everybody, unlike the R1. The longer shaft may also be a problem for many golfers.

Ultimately, the choice of a driver is a personal one, but no matter what level of adjustment you want in a club, TaylorMade has it. From the complicated, but fully adjustable R1 (and R1 Black) to the simple slide-and-go settings of the SLDR, TaylorMade produces consistently excellent drivers with a huge following.

Photo credit: stevegarfield / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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