This week I was invited to attend a TaylorMade/adidas/Ashworth product preview day in Grand Rapids. It was a great opportunity for me to finally see the products in person and to receive training on just what makes each product special and unique. I can honestly say that this years line up is truly INCREDIBLE!
They have two new drivers – R1 and RocketBallz Stage 2. R1 takes the same technology found in the R11 and R11s drivers and tremendously improves it in so many ways. You now have the ability to adjust your loft between 8-12 degrees all in the same head (80% of golfers are currently playing a driver with the wrong loft). There are also 7 face angle options to allow you to set it up to not only a visually appealing position but also a better shot shaping position. The center of gravity is now lower and more forward. This allows for a higher ball flight with less spin and increased ball speed (i.e.: more distance!). What will be talked about the most though is the crown graphic technology. I can tell you from experience that starting with my second swing, I did not notice the graphics on the head. There is still the nice clean look from face to crown that I have come to expect from TaylorMade. Both the sound and feel were very solid. As much as I like my R11s driver, I will not hesitate replacing it with the R1 this spring! The RocketBallz Stage 2 driver is an improvement on last seasons successful RBZ driver. Stage 2 is faster and longer by improving the aerodynamics. There is not as much adjustability in the Stage 2 as the R1 but it does come with a loft sleeve with can adjust the loft + or – 1.5 degrees. This also has crown graphics to help promote easy alignment. While I like the Stage 2 driver and the $299 price point ($100.00 less than R1), I still lean toward R1 for the total adjustability factor.
The increase in distance, higher launch angle, steeper decent, and softer feel isn’t what impressed me most though. It’s the consistent distance with every iron that the speed pocket provides. No more hot spots as in previous irons. This is why you will see the distance iron on tour for the first time! “If you don’t have it, then you don’t have it”!