TaylorMade RocketBallz: brilliant or bonkers?

Equipment

Is the distance gain from the new RocketBallz 3-wood actually useful?

Of all TaylorMade’s 2012 product line, the RocketBallz fairway woods are making the most noise.

The white-headed woods feature a special speed pocket design that, TaylorMade say, will help anyone who generates 150mph of ball speed gain 17 yards.

A bold claim, but one that is being backed up on Tour. Both Graeme McDowell and Luke Donald use them without being paid to do so, and a large chunk of the brand’s Tour staff have put them in play.

Armed with a TrackMan launch monitor, we gave the woods* a go to see if the performance backed up the promise.

Our two testers left with very different opinions.

BRILLIANT

Says Joe Whitley (7hcp)

A 3-wood that goes as far as a driver is something I’ve been dreaming about since I started playing golf.

Erratic doesn’t begin to describe my play off the tee, so something with a shorter shaft that still gets it out there, on paper at least, is my dream club.

The RocketBallz Tour 3-wood does just that – and more. In fact, I think it could be challenging my big-dog for distance.

It works by utilising a speed pocket on the sole that boosts ball speed. 

What it delivers is serious driver-like power with the accuracy you’d expect from a fairway wood. Is there any better combination off the tee?

The feeling at impact is like a gun going off – the sound is piercing and confidence-boosting – and the flight is really fast and strong.

The 17-yard claim was one that I didn’t even begin to believe, but the numbers don’t lie and both myself and Dan were routinely carrying the 3-wood over 260 yards, which is almost 20 yards more than we’d normally expect. 

Indeed, Moor Allerton professional James Whitaker, who was on hand to help us test, tweeted this picture of our stats

If, like me, you find it hard to keep your driver on the planet, this has got to be a one-way ticket to lower scores. After all, if you can hit more fairways without sacrificing distance, you’re onto a winner. 

What it delivers is serious driver-like power with the accuracy you’d expect from a fairway wood. Is there any better combination off the tee?

BONKERS

Says Dan Murphy (3hcp)

First things first – I have never hit a 3 wood as far as I did the RBZ Tour. It is ridiculous. I would say the best part of 20 yards longer for me. And not just one shot but on average.

Now that’s exciting. And of course my thoughts immediately turned to how I could put it into play.
But the more I thought about it the more it struck me that this extra length would be of limited use – and might even make things more complicated.

Unless of course I didn’t want to carry a driver any more, in which case it would be an easy decision.
But I like hitting driver. And one of the reasons is that it has a head at least twice as big as any other club. 

So if it came to a pressure situation, which club would I rather look down on?

Most of the time when I use a 3 wood it is off the tee. Generally on doglegs and shorter par 4s where I am playing for position. Having a 3 wood that went 280 yards would defeat the object.
It would also leave me with an enormous gap before I got to my 5 wood/hybrid – about 50 yards of gap, in fact.

Off the deck, it is more appealing, because driver is not really an option. There are certain (very long) courses where having a cannon in my bag would be very handy. But most of the time I wouldn’t even be taking the headcover off.

So, for the time being, I’ll stick with what I’ve got.

Now, if I could find a driver that went 20 yards further every time, that really would be a cause for celebration.

*We were sent the RBZ Tour – a 14.5˚ 3-wood with an extra stiff version of the Matrix Ozik that comes as standard.

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