What's new? How much does it cost? And how does it perform? Tom Irwin brings you the low down on TaylorMade's new Stealth 2 Plus fairway wood
The Stealth 2 Plus fairway wood is the low-spin model in the new Stealth 2 fairway wood family. So how does it perform? You can find out in our TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus fairway wood review.
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Taylormade Stealth 2 Plus Fairway Wood review: NCG Summary
Fairway woods are one of strengths, and I currently game a SIM 2 3-wood so I was looking forward to trying these.
There are three new Stealth fairways, Plus is the flagship as it features a 50g weight on the sole that can achieve wildly different spin rates. It is carbon and titanium construction, differing from Stealth 2 and Stealth 2 HD, which are steel heads. It is also has the lowest profile.
- Almost 2 clubs in one
- Extremely forgiving, particularly with the weight further back
- More great acoustics
- Love the looks
- Stronger off a tee than off the deck
If I think of Taylormade metals, I tend to think of something jazzy, bold, striking. SIM 2 was pretty funky, and this has been something of a trait if you go back through the brands storied lineage. Right back to the Brass coloured Burner, the variously red, white and blue of of the Ms, Blue and White Jet Speeds, all through the years they are kind of shouty.
Until Stealth fairway woods, were, I guess unsurprisingly, quieter. Stealth 2 has doubled down on that. Stealth 2 Plus fairway wood has almost entirely black crown, and tight, little compact head. It is in fact a 170cc head, fully 15% smaller than its bigger brother the Stealth 2 HD. All of this adds up to a classic looking view from above, giving a feel of workability and versatility. It is almost cute.
The sole of this Taylormade Stealth 2 plus 3 wood is much the same, there are is some red framing to the silver adjustability, the branding, loft and club number are in white, but other than it is all black. It is cool and I think adds to the shelf appeal.
As you will read in my other fairway reviews I am player who tends to look at fairway metals as exactly that, rather than something to be used from the tee. I have never bought into the idea of a powerful 3-wood, always preferring to squeeze a driver. The adjustability in the Stealth 2 fairway tests this thinking.
The 50g weight in the sole has three different positions and from front to back this can alter spin by more than 500 rpm. When we also added loft, which adjusts 2 degrees up and down, we were able to back this up in our testing. This is a huge variance.
The head whilst the deepest of the three in the range is also relatively shallow, so in the back most setting you can achieve really high flying shots from the turf. Moving that weight back also creates the most forgiving set up, with maximum MOI which adds spin and helps off centre strikes. For a low spin player like me this is exactly what I am looking for.
The story this year with a lot of products this year, as we reach the limit of face tolerances, is about forgiveness and this is undoubtedly the case with the Stealth 2. These are certainly the easiest-to-use TaylorMade 3-woods I have used. Contributing to that is what TaylorMade call Advanced Inverted Cone Technology. In simple terms, the face is variable thicknesses, so weight can be distributed to where you need it most.
My carry numbers really did back these up, 244 to 236 is very tight front-to-back dispersion for a fairway wood, my bad shot is a bottom, and even on those thin strikes I was still getting decent numbers. As you will see from the trackman data below, there a lot of left shots. This is a player problem, and a number of these were toe strikes, but they are not unworkably left, and this speaks to the forgiveness of the Stealth 2 Plus fairway which is certainly promoting straighter shots.
To achieve ball speeds in the 150s every time from a club speed of 100mph is exceptional from a 3-wood. This data is all gathered with the adjustability on max forgiveness or max spin. Optimal for me. For the right player with the weight in the ‘Rocket’ setting (far forward) these ball speeds would climb even higher, for me.
The data was gathered on a grass range with a Trackman, from tee peg. I also took the Stealth 2 Plus out on to the course and played 3 holes. A dog leg left, a dog leg right and a straight hole from a high tee downwind. I found the Stealth 2 Plus to perform exceptionally well on the course. I guess I am not often looking to work a 3-wood in different directions, they are typically pretty easy to turnover.
The compact head of the Stealth 2 Plus allows for a squeezy fade, and as you build confidence in the tech, you feel happy opening your shoulders. I loved it off the turf into the greens, with the weight in the backmost setting you really can fly it high. The small head nestles nicely in longer grass, and it all adds up to a very high performing, very versatile 3 wood.
My initial fears with this package was that it was going to be too low spinning and too powerful for me to consider gaming, but that adjustability in the head means it really works for a variety of players. I might just hang on to that sample…
To test this product we travelled to West Cliffs a leading European golf course just North of Lisbon. The idea was to get some warmer weather and escape our frozen British courses. It of course rained, a lot, was very windy. Each of our test team were allocated a category of golf clubs, fairways, or a specific type of driver or iron.
We gathered data on a Trackman 4 or FlightScope. We used Titleist Pro V1 for all tests. The samples we have are either fully fitted for our testers or ordered in our assumed specs. We are then able to optimise performance by swapping shafts and playing with the adjustability. As well as that dry testing all of the product was tested on course in a comparative environment with other product from the same category. We recognise that no testing process is perfect and just aim to be fair in our treatment, transparent in our process and candid in our feedback.
TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Fairway: The Details
Available: 17th February (Pre-order 10th January)
Lofts: 3 – 18° & 5 – 15°
Shafts: MitsubishiKai’li Red FW (75X, 75S, 65R)
More information: TaylorMade Website
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