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Review: TaylorMade R1 Driver
The most adjustable driver you can buy is the new Taylormade R1 Driver. The combinations are endless: The R1 has adjustable weights, sole plate and loft; add to that the ability to switch out shafts, and it is mind-numbing how many tweaks can be made to this driver in order to get the best numbers. While the R1 is the ultimate adjustable driver, the majority of the buzz has been about the crown graphics. The stripes across the back of the driver head has people wondering if this driver is more about paint or performance. It really is the same debate that was had two years ago when the first white driver, R11, came out. The answer is the same now as it was then; there is more to this driver than paint. The Taylormade R1 should be capable of fitting any golfer with its endless combinations of adjustments and shafts.
This is obviously a point of contention for some golfers. This driver is not going to win a single beauty contest. The crown graphics will be noticed by all your playing partners, but in all honesty they don’t bother me one bit. The triangle cutout and stripes were square to the target line so they really didn’t cause any set-up or swing problems. The rest of the club is more about function than looks, too. The giant compass on the sole doesn’t dress up the package any, but again it functions as designed.
Taylormade has pretty much honed in their sound and feel over the last five years. If you have played an R9, R11 or any other recent version of Taylormade driver, you will get basically the same sound and feel that TMaG is known for. You can alter the feel and sound slightly by adjusting the weights (if you have a weight kit, not included with this driver).
The new adjustable hosel in the R1 seemed about as accurate as any loft stamped on a club. It comes stock set at 10 degrees, but you can drop it down to 8 or lift it to 12. I went both directions on the course and it really works. I hit low lasers at 8 degrees and hit really high floaters with 12. I went with my standard loft and found the ideal trajectory at 9.5 degrees.
Taylormade continues to use their Inverted Cone face technology, which offers very good forgiveness on off-center hits. This face isn’t their biggest ever, but it is plenty large for most inconsistent golfers.
Off the rack I was getting great headspeed/ball speed numbers on the launch monitor, unfortunately it wasn’t translating into great distance with the stock shaft. The 55-gram Aldila RIP Phenom just didn’t fit my needs. But having been fit last season with an Oban Kyoshi Black shaft for the R11s, I reshafted the R1 and instantly the spin numbers dropped and my distance numbers went way up. Hitting stock, I couldn’t get over 240, but reshafted I was hitting 275.
The club is all about getting it adjusted to your needs. I’d start with the loft and get the hosel set to your needs. Then I’d adjust the compass on the bottom so it looks the way you want when soled at address, and then if necessary change the weights. You really should be able to turn this into a fairway finder by getting it set to your swing. Try TaylorMade’s R1 tuning app for smartphones to help you make the ideal adjustments.
For me the stock shaft spun too much, but I have heard of others getting really low spin with the stock shaft, so get into 2nd Swing and hop on their launch monitors to get fit. They have many different options to try in the store. There is no reason to pay for an upgrade if you don’t need it, unfortunately for me I couldn’t get along with the stock shaft.
The R1 is the most adjustable driver on the market. Many people are talking about the paint, it may not be great looking, but it really doesn’t cause any problems. The real benefit of this driver is the countless adjustments you can make for your swing. It may take you some time on a monitor or at the range to get it fully dialed in, maybe even a shaft change, but once you get this driver figured out, the Taylormade R1 driver will be as good as anything you can buy.