Our TaylorMade M4 driver review has been an ongoing process ever since the launch event in Carlsbad
We’ve had it on the launch monitor out in Abu Dhabi for a day of testing and have had numerous practice sessions with it on the range at Leeds Golf Centre.
We then went down to the Belfry to test a custom-fitted version of the M4 versus one we picked up off the shelf.
TayorMade M4 driver – First impressions
It’s hard not to get straight into the new technology of the TaylorMade M4 driver but it’s worth pointing out that the M4 replaces the M2 driver.
It’s the non-adjustable sister to the new M3 driver which is replacing the M1.
We’ve got a new finish on the crown which is grey compared to the white which we have seen from TaylorMade over the past 10 years or so.
Personally, I prefer the white but when I asked why the TaylorMade M4 driver had a different finish the the phenomenally successful M2 the brand told me it was important to keep evolving.
The TaylorMade M4 driver still shares plenty of similarities with the M2 with it’s carbon crown, low and back weight on the sole and something called Geocoustics which improves the sound and feel.
But the two most noticeable differences the TaylorMade M4 driver possesses are the ‘Twist Face’ and ‘Hammerhead’ technologies.
TaylorMade M4 driver – The technology
The introduction of ‘Twist Face’ in the TaylorMade M4 driver feels like a massive deal as it’s challenging the way drivers have been designed for the past 100 years or so.
Drivers are traditionally designed with ‘bulge and roll’ and which allows shots to be hit out of the heel and toe to spin back towards the centre or target line.
Well, that is what happens during robot testing but a fairly big difference between robots and actual golfers is that us golfers don’t always return the club face square to the ball.
So when we strike it out of the heel and toe we will have the ‘gear effect’ which spins the ball left and right but also a face that is too open or closed.
The Twist Face technology in the TaylorMade M4 driver should reduce the impact of off-centre hits and keep the ball flying straighter.
— TaylorMade Golf (@TaylorMadeGolf) January 1, 2018
The Hammerhead technology on the sole of the TaylorMade M4 driver is effectively a next-generation ‘Speed Pocket’.
It has now been divided into zones with a larger, flexible area in the centre to increase ball speed and reduce back spin for shots hit low on the face.
There are then two ribs either side which allowed designers to decrease the thickness and weight of the face making it more flexible and able to produce faster speeds.
Significant weight savings have been made from the crown, face and sole to allow a 41g discretionary weight to be placed low and back to increase forgiveness.
TaylorMade M4 driver – The results
So we had a good look at the TaylorMade M4 driver at the brand’s launch event in California but were able to get some launch monitor data back here in Leeds.
From the address position the TaylorMade M4 fills you with the same confidence levels the M2 did. It’s large, has a nice deep face and makes you feel like it’s going to be hard to miss.
I loved the sound and feel of the M2 and struggled to notice much difference with the M4 – it’s still fantastic.
Possibly a touch quieter and softer but if you liked the M2’s sound and feel you’ll be a fan of the TaylorMade M4 driver.
Performance-wise the numbers were about right for me with an average carry of 227 and average total of 251.
My swing speed was down quite a bit as it was freezing cold and I wasn’t using the same shaft as I have in my current M2. I used the new stock Fujikura Atmos Red 5 shaft as was keen to try it out.
I suspect I’ll get better numbers with my lower-launching Project X Hzrdus shaft.
But for an off-the shelf, not fitted model I’d say the TaylorMade M4 driver was working pretty well for me.
When we put the M4 up against the M2 out in Abu Dhabi the numbers were a bit better.
And then following our custom fitting session with the M4 at the Belfry, the numbers were even better with an average carry of 246 yards.
TaylorMade M4 driver – NCG verdict
The TaylorMade M4 driver really has its work cut out trying to replace the M2 – voted the best driver of 2017 in our recent poll.
All the new technology really makes sense and there’s lots going on in this product to help players hit more fairways.
If we can all keep our heel and toe strikes somewhere near the fairway, I think we’ll all shoot better scores.
It will be really interesting to see how many tour players put the TaylorMade M4 driver into play in 2018 and it will be even more interesting to see if their driving accuracy improves.
We spoke to Dustin Johnson at the launch event and he reckons he’ll hit one perfect drive in a round.
So if there’s some technology which can help the world’s best player hit one more fairway in a round then he’ll gladly take it.
TaylorMade M4 driver details
Lofts: 8.5˚, 9.5˚, 10.5˚, 12˚
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Red 6 (X), Fujikura Atmos Red 5 (S, R, A)
On sale: February 16