Happy Spring 2014! OK, for those of you in the Northeastern United States or in England, you would be right to think my wishes premature. But here in sunny drought stricken California, Spring is upon us. As with most years, the winter is time for some equipment updates and this year is no exception. This winter I picked up a Taylormade R1 Black on deep discount. It was just too good a deal to give up and right now many stores online and off, have the R1 going for under $200. Wow, that is a deep discount on a driver with an initial price of $499.
I changed more than just my driver, though my R9 was a great club and I still felt I had a few good years left in it. I also for the first time in 7 years went with a regular shaft on it as well. I played my first round with it at the Bayonet golf course in Monterey on our annual Christmas mini-vacation. I had of course, taken it out to my local driving range two or three times to get it dialed in and gather my confidence in the new club. I have to say, the transition from my R9 to the R1 was much easier than when I moved from my R7 to the R9. Yeah, I like Taylormade drivers. The R1 is very light, and you can adjust all sorts of things on it but I found that I like it setup just like I had my R9. 9.5 degrees, weights set to neutral, and the face neutral.
The biggest difference between the R9 and the R1 is the softness at impact and the sound, yes they go together. The R1 has a great feel and sound on a center strike, not as hi pitched as the R9 but not the crushed aluminum can of the old Cleveland Hi Bore. I find that the shaft is lighter, quicker and yet I can still be aggressive without any twisting. The tip of the shaft has a higher kick point and the club launches the ball higher but also straighter than my old R9. All of those are good things for me.
It has taken about a half a dozen rounds to get truly confident in the new club, and now I am starting to find my old distance plus. I love that I can tinker with this club and I can’t wait to have one of those windy spring days, so I have an excuse to loft down and try it out in that setup. Likewise, when it is in the 90’s in our summer, I can see lofting it up to 10 or 10.5 degrees and bomb it.
I highly recommend the R1, and it now comes in a "normal" color as well. You can’t beat the price right now, can I say a big thank you to the new SLDR driver by Taylormade for giving us such great discounts on a really good driver. Check it out on the Taylormade site.