With the Masters under our belt, it is time for a Spring equipment report. As you may have seen in an earlier post, I picked up the Taylormade R1 Black over Christmas break and now that I have played half a dozen rounds with it and had at least as many trips to the range with it, I think it is time for an early review.
So let’s start with adjustability and where I have settled in with it. When I first went out with the R1 I left it at the factory setting of neutral weighting, 10 degrees of loft and a neutral face angle. I hit a large bucket at the range with it and by the end of that session I had moved the weights to the draw bias and left the loft and face angle set to neutral. It we colder then and I had a nice high neutral shot with a slight fade if I kept my hands out of the shot. The driver seemed to produce a very high drive with little spin that softly fell out of the sky. I took it out for my first round at the Bayonet and Blackhorse golf course in Monterey, CA. I found the R1 extremely accurate with very little side spin on shots. But what I didn’t like was the distance I was getting. Nothing much over 220 yards and I was hitting my R9 last year 240-260 on average. So it was back to the range and more tinkering. Now I am very aware that I could have gone and had the thing fitted to me but where is the fun in that!
After another large bucket at the range, I set it up at 9.5 degrees loft, reset the weights to the neutral position, and closed the face angle 1 degree. This time I took it out on a cool morning in March with some friends from work and played the Sunnyvale Muni course in Sunnyvale, CA. I found the club just as accurate at 9.5 degrees as it was at 10, and the setup produced a more predictable slight fade which is what I want to hit. I found I could hit some longer drives but I still was not seeing the distance I was expecting. This time I did a little research (Golf Digest Hot List) and looked at what folks had to say about the club when it was new. Well the same thing came up over and over, the R1 is a high launch driver, so I went back to the range and this time I set it to 9 degrees loft and 2 degrees closed on the face angle and bingo, there it was, my familiar ball flight and my distance but with better accuracy. I hit the course with it and played Van Buskirk in Stockton, CA, and wow did I fall in love with this driver. The accuracy that was so evident at 10 degrees loft was still there at 9 degrees, but the ball flight was mid and penetrating, and I hit some of the longest drives I had ever hit at VB. I found myself in fairways going at pins with a 6 iron where before I has hitting my hybrid.
What I also like about this club is that I seem to be able to hit the center out of the face. The balance on the club is terrific and it is so light that it seems to fly through the hitting area. I generally am able to hit this club with a slightly ascending blow and catch it dead center more often that not. Needless to say, it is just another thing I love about this driver.
So is it a winner? For me you bet it is! I have had a Taylormade driver in the bag since my R7 460 driver but this is by far the best Taylormade driver I have ever hit. The Adila shaft is awesome, it is light and fast, and it responds to every setting you change. If you are like me half the fun with a driver like this is the ability to set it up for your game. Highly recommended!