TaylorMade R1 driver – reviewed
According to TaylorMade’s own research, 80 per cent of us are using a driver with the wrong loft. Even more alarmingly, 35 per cent are out by more than 2˚. Part of this is down to many of us not knowing what is best for our games and part that the adjustable driver phenomenon has become confusing.
Hence the new TaylorMade R1 which looks after your three basic requirements: loft, face angle and shot shape. The look of the club – – it is a stand-alone product so there is no fairway wood or hybrid though there is a tour version – is far from straightforward, with a nod more towards the space age, but the fundamentals are simple. Whatever loft, look or flight you are after, you’ll get it with the R1.
Let’s start with loft. If you are struggling to find your optimal launch angle at present you won’t any longer. The R1 offers 12 settings between 8 and 12˚ including seven standard and five upright loft options. The general feeling with drivers is that most of us could do with more loft and you might be very surprised how you begin hitting it when you move this up to the 11 or 12˚ mark.
When adjusting the loft you also move the face angle but you can still have an open face if you want – choose from seven postions. This may resemble a compass, or a very snazzy watch, but it is easy to get your bearings and find the desired setting.
Finally, shot shape is promoted via movable weights to help keep you straight or even encourage a draw.
"The TaylorMade R1 looks after your three basic requirements: loft, face angle and shot shape" Why the R1 is built for speed
All the technology in the R1 is designed to help increase your clubhead and ball speeds. The R1 looks like it is built for speed and the testing, and player feedback, suggest that it really delivers.
As well as being so adjustable, the R1 is also long and you might find as much as 10 yards extra from your R11S. Improved aerodynamics also help here with reduced drag over the head promoting faster clubhead speed.
Another factor is an Aldila RIP Phenom 55g shaft, which doesn’t feel like other ultra-light shafts and has the playability of something 10g heavier, while still helping to deliver more clubhead speed.
Inverted cone explained
Part of the reason you will hit the R1 further is down to Inverted Cone Technology. This cone is milled into the inner side of the clubface and expands the portion of the face that delivers high ball speed. It has a similar effect in irons and even your off-centre hits will go further.
Lofts: Adjustable between 8 & 12˚
Shaft: Aldila RIP Phenom 55g
SRPs: R1 £349; R1 TP £399
Paul McGinley’s first impressions
We were with the TaylorMade staff player when he hit the driver for the first time
“My first impressions are that it has a real sports car look it but Justin Rose was telling me how he focuses on a smaller portion of the head and that really helps his alignment and I can see what he means.
“I tested one with a 55g shaft which is lighter than mine but it was still so consistent. I missed a couple and they went dead straight so that was also great. It felt so solid and I really love the look of the club behind the ball.
“Being able to play around with one head should really help the amateur player. I like it to sit a bit open and I was able to do that whatever loft I had it on. Interestingly my ball speed went up 5mph by just changing the loft.
“When the R11S came out it took me about 10 seconds to get fitted into it. The guys know my swing and numbers so well so they took out the shaft from my old driver and we were comfortable straightaway.
“I average 285 yards off the tee and, combined with the RocketBallz fairway wood, I was then able to get up on the 540-yard par 5s which I couldn’t before.
“For the first shot the white was a factor, after that I have never looked at it and I’m not sure I could even tell you what colour my fairway woods are.
“In 2012 it was about 50/50 on tour with the R11s and the RocketBallz driver so it will be very interesting to see how the R1 changes that.”