Published on May 30th, 2013 | by John Fritz0
TaylorMade Announces Launch of the R1 Black Driver
We heard whispers about a potential mid-season release from TaylorMade, but the details were shrouded in secrecy. Was it a new wedge? An iron set, perhaps? The company itself was tight-lipped about the project known in its internal emails only as “Bacchus” (seriously), and leak-proof in a way that the State Department can only dream of.
Then a TaylorMade rep arrived at 2nd Swing last week toting what looked to be an R1 driver, but under the headcover lurked something we haven’t seen from the No. 1 company in golf for years: a black-crowned driver, the new TaylorMade R1 Black. White clubheads have become so synonymous with TaylorMade that seeing the R1 Black was just as jarring as the first glimpse of White was in those early days. Even though the club specs are exactly the same between R1 and R1 Black, the new color is such a departure that it makes one think more of Titleist or PING than TaylorMade — a tribute to just how effective white has been at setting TaylorMade apart from the rest of the pack.
As you can see, the early images that were out online before today were just as much speculation as everything else swirling around the R1 Black’s launch. The crown’s leading edge — the white part on a regular R1 — is now a classic metallic black. The V-shaped crown graphic toward the rear is still visible, but there’s no red or white paint, just a duller matte black or dark gray. The only white on the crown is the small white “T” alignment aid centered on the topline. Underneath, the sole still has the orange-red paint on the compass-like face angle adjustment plate. The contrast with the black finish makes this paint look more orange: Halloween colors that fit the scary, aggressive look of this club perfectly. The face is also black scored with lighter lines to aid in alignment and ball framing.
What’s behind the decision to come out with a black driver after all the success of white? The “science of white” has become a hallmark of TaylorMade metalwoods and one of the catalysts of their recent branding and sales success, but some consumers just absolutely refuse to play with a white club, and the R1 Black driver is TaylorMade’s attempt to bring some of those holdouts into the fold. This is going to be TMaG’s strategy going forward, as well: while still strongly committed to white, new metalwood releases will likely include a black option, as well.
The TaylorMade R1 Black driver will be seen on the PGA Tour very soon, and will be available to the public June 6, but you can pre-order now. Get fit for your R1 Black driver at the new TaylorMade Fitting Center in 2nd Swing’s Minneapolis store, or online at 2ndswing.com.