In mid-December, TaylorMade invited a slew of golf writers to its Carlsbad, Calif. headquarters to introduce and demo its new product line for 2011. One of the showcased clubs – the R11 driver – is the company’s marquee new product for this year. It’s loaded with bells, whistles and three levels of adjustability, as well as a white crown.
Preferring traditional-looking clubs, I was truly expecting the R11 to be a novelty club, some type of marketing tool for the company to differentiate its drivers from all of the competitor products. Odd as this sounds, the whiteness actually had a comfortable familiarity to it, as I stood over the ball. The crown is not a bright white, but has rather a soft, vanilla ice cream hue to it. Best of all, the contrasting black clubface allows you to not only better see the depth of the clubface, but the clubface angle as well.
I could clearly see if the clubface was slightly open, closed or square as I lined up my tee shots. In fact, I adjusted the sole plate disc to all three settings – all other factors being the same – just to see how evident the clubface angle was. Then I took some swings. I sidetrack here to say that four or five years ago, I welcomed the then-new Cleveland Launcher driver into my bag, loving it, its conservative look, and its incredibly reliable performance. Believe me, while writing articles ever since, I think I’ve tested just about every driver on the market and have never found any better for my game than the Launcher. Until now.
The R11 hit the ball – and I’m taking a conservative estimate here – at least 15-20 yards further than my trusty Cleveland. Its clubhead shape is nice and conservative, its sound at impact is nothing short of powerful, and after two or three swings I had completely become color-blind, not once noticing the whitish crown color. In fact, it could’ve been hot pink or plaid, for all I cared. Ball flight was a consistent draw, like I typically strive for. It simply felt terrific. I’m sold.