Review: TaylorMade R1 driver

The new R1 Driver by TaylorMade Continues to Push the Limits to Adjustability

TaylorMade Golf is one of the most visible equipment manufactures in the industry in large part because of its high-profile white drivers and fairway woods. The company was one of the first to introduce moveable weight technology in the R7 line of drivers and the evolution continues with the introduction of the new R1 driver.

The R1 boasts the most adjustability options to date. Not only can the golfer adjust the loft of the clubs from eight degrees to 12 degrees, he or she can adjust the face angle from open, neutral and square in varying degrees.

Perhaps I am just a cynic when it comes to moveable weights and adjustability in golf clubs, but I’m not sure all the features are necessary for the average player who might not be able to take advantage of the technology, as can a touring professional.

My average swing speed with a driver is approximately 115 mph, and I have not noticed any significant improvement with the new adjustable drivers when I compare it to my 2008 non-adjustable driver. Although the golf industry manufactures have convinced golfers that if they adjust the setting of the clubface to closed they will miraculously prevent their slice, sadly this is not accurate.

As for the testing and performance of the R1 driver, I was not overly thrilled. Like all OEMs, TaylorMade designs (or co-designs) shafts specifically for their clubs. Most times, unfortunately, they are too light and not stiff enough. For example, R1 model I have has a stock stiff shaft, but the weight is insufficient and the flex point is too low.

I end up hitting the ball too high – even when the club’s loft is set at eight degrees. The golf ball trajectory is higher than my current 9.5-degree driver.

On the plus side, the R1 feels solid – it does not have a “tinny” sound at impact. In fact, the R1 is fairly muted – unlike other 460cc titanium drivers.

The R1 driver obviously works for a lot of players – it’s the most-played driver on the PGA Tour year. But it doesn’t outperform my current driver, so for now, I have no reason to change.

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