PG's TaylorMade 2012 Equipment Review
It’s that time again when manufacturers bring out the new season’s ranges, and TaylorMade haven’t disappointed! A refresh of the R11 series with the introduction of the R11s range has been joined by the RocketBallz (RBZ) range to replace the Burner Series of products. PG fitters, Simon and Jack, have given them a once over and here’s what they make of what’s new from TM in 2012.
The R11s is a slightly bigger head than the R11 so marginally more forgiving but essentially the only change is that the sleeve adjusts loft by 0.5 degrees more in each direction (although this is yet to be tested in-house) and the adjustable plate on the sole has greater adjustment too. In theory they have used more aerodynamics (and therefore slightly adjusted the aesthetics) on the sole to improve head speed and stability but improvements will only be very marginal – other than that the club appears to be very similar to the previous model.
The RBZ Driver has gone back to a slightly more classic shape than the Burner head it replaces – less pointed in the back so cleaner lines to the head. Similar high launch low spin, a bit of draw bias, but an adjustable weight in the back of the head for balance and the same adjustable sleeve as the R11s for loft. They have moved away from the silly-long shaft length and reduced it back down to a better length so have actually listened to the tour and industry’s thoughts on Driver length. Overall it’s likely to be a solid head.
The RBZ Tour is very similar to the Burner TP in looks (slightly less pointed in the back again) and alleged to be a touch lower launch. Not as light a head weight, which is better as this was a struggle with the Burner TP, but a good head and likely to be more used than the Burner TP. Again has the added adjustable sleeve alike the R11s.
The cut away behind the face is very similar to Adams’ last fairway wood and is meant to produce a greater COR and faster speed. The theory is high launch, very low spin and high ball speed for max distance. It may be good for players who hit a high, spinny cut as the standard head sits with draw bias but may be too much of a “bomb” for better players looking for control. Players that don’t hit a very high-spin fairway wood might struggle to get this up enough without the right loft.
There’s some nice ideas in there but it could be a bit one-dimensional in theory – It’s ultimately designed to get as much distance as possible which might work for shorter hitters, but players who already play an average-to-long fairway wood may see it coming up too close to their Driver, which is why we might not see too many in tour pros’ bags.
RBZ hybrids have the same cut away behind the face and are a neater shape than the previous Burner model, no point at the back and very wood-like head shape, which will give good confidence. As with the FW head, they’re designed as a high launch, low spin cannon and will be very forgiving and easy to flight. Again we’ll have to wait and see how low spin it is – this could hinder the better players but for high handicappers it will be a good club. The Tour model is likely to be very low spin but again we’ll wait and see how it flights in the US before passing judgement.
An update on the previous Burner ’09 heads, with very little changes other than aesthetically and most likely a slightly springier face to hit it further but pssibly with a little less consistency. The 6i loft at 27 makes it very strong and will mean a lot of wedges or big gaps at the bottom end of the set and the cast head material will mean adjustments are impossible. This means they might only suit a very small amount of people without compromising their set make up and ball flight.
The long irons will be good driving irons but the strong lofts will kick spin too low for most people making it difficult to get a flight from them, no matter how forgiving the heads are.
The same head shape as the irons but designed using an ATV (All-Terrain Versatility) sole grind with the sole shaped to allow as many shots as possible to be played without compromising contact and consistency. The same toe bar and sound dampening insert as the irons have been used but the faces are not quite as “hot” as the rest of the iron set but still designed to be a long hitting wedge.
Replacing the Xft wedge the ATV uses a versatile “All-Terrain Versatility” grind, softening the toe and heel whilst leaving some bounce on the mid section of the sole with the aim of eliminating the need for different bounce options on each wedge whilst keeping a classic wedge shape.
Taylor Made have carried on their white putter series, adding in a new Manta face-balanced putter which will also be the head used for belly putters and the DA.62 as the classic Ping Anser shape, heel/toe weighted style.
The white has been relatively popular to help with alignment and gives a distinctive look and there is a softer insert in the face, the weights on the bottom allow head weight changes to suit feel, which is not too dissimilar to other manufacturers like Scotty Cameron have done recently. Assuming the weighting is used to control overall weight as opposed to heel/toe weighting avoiding loss of head balance then the weigh options could come in handy for customization and individual fitting.
All in all they are solid heads but not that different to anything else if you take away the white paint job!
Penta TP5 and TP3 Balls
The TP5 has introduced a softer core to lower spin with the driver and increase distance with augmented inner, middle and outer mantle layer composition to stabilise performance through all areas. The TP3 introduces a 3 piece ball with a High COR core for speed and low spin with the driver, mantle layer to stabilise the core and to work with the core and cover to balance performance through the irons and a Urethane cover for greenside spin and soft feel. The main performance difference is that the TP3 is a slightly higher spin ball, in particular with the irons.
You can find out more about TaylorMade’s 2012 range of clubs at: taylormadegolf.eu.