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Introducing the Best Selling Driver & Fairway of 2013

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And Taylormade Barely Even Threatened To Sue Us This Year

Written by: Tony Covey (@GolfSpyT) - Unless you've been in a coma for the last couple of months, the announcement of new woods from TaylorMade, specifically the R1 Driver and RBZ Stage 2 Series woods came as anything but a surprise. The cat was out of the bag quite a while ago. Features (selling points) aside, the clubs were nothing short of the worst kept secrets in golf, and for once, the blame isn't on us. This year TaylorMade barely even threatened to sue us at all.

I suppose I could have simply rewritten a press release with a couple of money quotes tossed in for good measure (ok…the truth is I do have a couple money quotes of my own), but I decided I'd rather focus on what I find exciting, curious, and downright befuddling about the upcoming releases from the biggest name in golf. Bear with me folks...this is going to take a while.

If you’re not interested in any of that, I’m sad, but feel free to skip ahead to the pictures. There's over 100 of them in our photo gallery.

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TaylorMade R1 Driver

This is the first I’m hearing of the R1 or RBZ Stage 2.” – nobody

So as many of you already know, the Taylormade R11s is being replaced by the Taylormade R1. Like upcoming releases from Cobra (MyFly) and Nike (FlexLoft), the R1 features what TaylorMade is calling Loft Sleeve Technology. Despite the new name, Loft Sleeve is little more than the evolution of TaylorMade’s previous FCT technology. What all the OEMs implementing similar designs have done is figure out how to extend the range of adjustability (in TaylorMade’s case, 2° in either direction, 4° total) far enough that a single head can cover the most commonly purchased lofts.

TM Says 80% of Golfers Playing Wrong Loft

Why does that matter? TaylorMade says 80% of golfers are playing the wrong loft (based on testing on their MATT system). Interestingly enough, we've heard the exact same thing (basically the same number) from other OEMs. We've also been told that amateur level swings (like yours, you damn hack) change on an almost daily basis. Short story, the loft that fits us one day, may not be the one that fits the next.

I’m guessing most won’t take advantage, but Loft Sleeve gives you the option of adjusting your driver for the swing you have on any given day. Technically you could have done that all along, but Loft Sleeve’s hosel numerical loft based designations are much easier to understand. The real selling point for the R1 (and other like it) is that you’ll never have to worry about buying the wrong loft again.

MWT . . . Now Called Shot-Shape Technology

As part of a technology re-branding initiative of sorts TaylorMade has renamed MWT (moveable weight technology) to Shot-Shape Technology. It’s semantics…nothing has fundamentally changed, but the new name better expresses what the technology is designed to do. Simplification is a word I've heard tossed around by several different OEMs already this year, and it looks like TaylorMade has decided to join that movement.

R1 Specs and Technical Details

TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Driver

If I’m being honest about my own excitement level about the Spring 2013 products from TaylorMade, the RBZ Stage 2 Driver is the one spot where I’m not feeling it. I’m very much meh. I’m not saying it’s not better than last year’s (I don’t really know). I do know that last year’s was a great driver - arguably the best on the market  (funny story about this for another day), but this is all very slightly evolutionary, and while TaylorMade might tell me otherwise, I’m not seeing anything ground-breaking here.

Like the R1, the RBZ Stage 2 features Loft Sleeve Technology, however; TaylorMade has elected to restrict it to 1.5° degrees in either direction, and so multiple lofts (heads) will be available. I think it’s safe to assume there’s no technological reason to limit adjustability, but doing so is a great way to maintain some differentiation in what I believe is otherwise murky segmentation between the R-Series and the RBZ line.

Unlike the R1 which is only available in a single model, the RBZ Stage 2 driver will also be available in a Tour model. Apart from a different stock shaft (Matrix 6Q3 or 7Q3 TP), the primary difference is the placement of weight. The standard model is designed with a slight draw bias while the Tour model has a neutrally placed center of gravity.

Let’s Talk About Those Damn Crown Graphics

It’s hard not to notice the 7° sole compass (I’m not sure what they’re calling it these days since the previous designation of ASP (adjustable sole plate) has disappeared from the literature), but by far, the most attention grabbing feature of the R1, and certainly the RBZ Stage 2 lineup are the crown graphics.

When the first pics hit the internet, the designs were near universally panned. The “serious golfer” crowd stepped up to let us know that as “serious golfers” there was no way they’d put such a silly looking design in their bags. That’s a clown club, bro. And by the way, no other “serious golfer” would ever play it either.

It was practically official. TaylorMade had seriously jumped the shark.

“No way I’d play that garbage” . . . well . . . “I actually kinda like it”

Not only would TaylorMade lose their stranglehold on that #1 driver spot; never mind Nike or Callaway, TaylorMade driver sales were going to be dwarfed by second-hand Nickents. It’s just that bad.

But as it usually does, over time (all of a few weeks) the outrage tempered as golfers, even some “serious” ones moved from “There’s no way I’d play that garbage” to “I actually kinda like it”… kinda…seriously.

I should probably also mention that those leaked pics really didn't do the clubs any favors. Between bad lighting and factory plastic still on the crowns, the clubs couldn't have looked much worse. Take away Minka Kelly's makeup and force her to wear a moo moo; that's basically what we got with those early images. It’s all subjective anyway, and even if my take is that neither one is going to win the Miss Universe of Drivers pageant, neither graphic pattern is a deal breaker.

Settle down…it’s not that bad.

Buy Why are the Graphics There?

Despite all the talk of the graphics being nothing more than the latest in a long line of TaylorMade marketing ploys, the company’s claim is that they actually serve a purpose.

(Warning: Press Release  Regurgitation is forthcoming)

Plucked right from the Press Release (yes…I’m sufficiently embarrassed), here’s the official story on the RBZ Stage 2’s Crown Alignment Decals (small point… I spent 20 minutes trying to peel off the ugly decal. It didn’t work. If I can’t peel it off, doesn’t that make it paint?)

"The white metalwood crown that TaylorMade introduced in 2011 on our R11 metalwoods works with the black clubface to make it easier to align the face accurately at address. We’ve enhanced that alignment benefit on the RBZ Stage 2 driver with the addition of a prominent crown decal. According to Dr. Steve Hitzeman, Professor of Sports Optometry at the University of Indiana, the additional linear reference features on the RBZ Stage 2 crown benefit golfers by providing additional visual cues for alignment.

Designing the linear reference features was complicated, as we had to manage parallax as well as the rounded surface geometry of typical metalwoods. We used our MAT-T (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade) System to define the visual angular range for most golfers using typical metalwoods’ lengths and lie angles. This produced a visual reference angle of approximately 70° from the ground for metalwoods.  We fed that information into our Pro Engineer CAD system, which allowed us to define the exact layout of the decal in terms of position and angular orientation".

As for the R1, the story is slightly less involved.

The new crown graphic acts as an additional alignment aid, while the preserved white space creates a frame to position the ball against and promotes improved focus”.

So there you have it. As we expected the story behind the funky paint is one of alignment and visual acuity. The question is…what’s real, and what’s the kind of stuff you don’t want to step in with your brand new Christmas slippers? I got new slippers for Christmas. They're awesome, and I don't want to be sticking them in any poo.

Without getting into whether or not I find them pretty, or even tolerable, what I will say is that I actually find the decal graphics on the RBZ Stage 2 effective.  I’m not an expert on parallax and I honestly have no idea how a bunch of seemingly random lines can make a clubhead easier to square, but it does, and I think that’s pretty cool.

As for the R1…look, I don’t mind the paint job even if TaylorMade and I can’t agree on the color (they say orange, I say red), and I don’t find the graphics distracting, but comparatively speaking, I don’t see the same value in the R1 graphics as I do on the RBZ Stage 2.

If you wanted to argue that the R1 pattern was as much about TV recognition as anything else, you might be able to convince me. I think you just did.

Incidentally, if you overlay the R1 graphic pattern with the crown pattern on the new Adams Speedline series…let’s just say there’s enough similarity to suggest it didn’t happen by accident.

Before You Start Screaming The Crown Graphics Are A Scam

Now before you start screaming that it’s all a scam and I’ve simply had too much of the TaylorMade Kool-Aid, please take a moment to consider that TaylorMade isn’t the first to suggest that golfers can benefit (and potentially significantly so) from some added visual stuff on the crown.

The guys at TrueAim have been talking up their crown decals for a while (and they tested very well for us). We've known the research was happening. TaylorMade is simply the first to put the theories into practice on a production head. I’d wager they won’t be the last.

Quite frankly, the only thing that surprises me is that TaylorMade isn't offering multiple patterns in each head so that golfers can choose the pattern that best works for them. Give it time…

TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Fairway Woods

So given my lack of enthusiasm for the RBZ Stage 2 driver one might think I’d feel similarly about matching fairway woods. One (you) would be wrong (as usual). Before we get to the why of it, let me be clear about one thing - and it’s the kind of thing impartial, unbiased media-types aren't supposed to say out loud (we're all supposed to pretend we don't like some clubs better than others - which isn't much help to you guys):

Unless somebody gives me a REALLY compelling reason to do otherwise (and assuming TaylorMade pairs me up with a suitable shaft), the RBZ Stage 2 is going in my bag this season. For real.

More on that in a moment, but first...

17+10= ROCKETBALLZ-IER

Seriously…TaylorMade is actually going with that.

That was my one and only laugh out loud moment of 4 separate press releases sent to us by Taylormade. Now I know press releases aren't generally supposed to be funny, but this is TaylorMade, and occasionally they do work overtime. Perhaps they drink a little too much caffeine, or get all hopped up on goofballs. Whatever the reason, the result is a statement or two that comes across a little (a lot) over the top. I always laugh a few times when I read these things.

I mean, they say things that seem so outlandish (positively crap-tastic) that one could actually find himself laughing to the point of anger. And then one might spout off about how it’s all a giant pantload, and then a little bit later one finds out maybe it isn't and the by the time it’s all over all one has to show for himself is a couple days in a warmer climate, a stupid haircut, and a 3 wood that’s nearly as long as his driver. You know what I’m saying? Has that ever happened to you?

Whoa…flashback.

And yet, here were are again just a little more than one year later, and TaylorMade is saying something completely nonsensical.

ROCKETBALLZ-IER - Is That Even A Word?

Is that even a word? Worse…it’s a non-word, built from another non-word. Two non-words make a word now? C’mon.

In case I haven’t been clear…the 10 more yards (plus the 17 we got last year), that part I’m good with. I’m basically zero percent skeptical. Sure…not everyone picked up 17 yards last year (compared to the previous Burner), but plenty…likely a high majority, did.

Now I know we’re all supposed to be completely tired of 10 more yards claims (and I mostly am), but when I visited TaylorMade last January, TaylorMade’s Chief Technical Officer, Benoit Vincent told me, as matter-of-factly as he possibly could have, that his team believed there was another 20 yards worth of distance to be had in fairway woods. And yeah…that means fairway woods could eventually be as long, if not longer than drivers.

So...10 more yards…not surprising. Honestly, I’ll be surprised if the 2014 Taylormade Stage 3 doesn't offer 10 more.

But ROCKETBALLZ-IER… you've got to be kidding me with that. FYI…next year’s club will be the ROCKETBALLZ-IEST. You heard it here first.

The Most Hittable-Looking Fairway I've Ever Seen

Now sure…10 more yards sounds nice, but it’s not the reason why I want a RBZ Stage 2 in my bag. Even at zero more yards, I’d probably trade my RBZ for a Stage 2…and here’s why.

The first thing - even before those damn crown graphics - I noticed when I put the RBZ Stage 2 to the turf (actually Berber carpet) is how the trailing edge…really the entire edge of the heel side of the club sat so perfectly on the ground (without looking all nasty and toe up). It’s something you need to see for yourself, but it’s the most hittable-looking fairway I've ever seen.

The Taylormade RBZ Stage 2 is the Brooklyn Decker of fairway woods…well the Brooklyn Decker Wearing an Ugly Hat of Fairway Woods anyway. Whether that translates to actually being easier to hit remains to be seen, but it’s a definite confidence builder. As I always do, I wish it were a tad bit more compact, but the shape is otherwise flawless...just like Brooklyn Decker.

Also worth mentioning is that the Tour model of the Stage 2 fairway is adjustable. This was actually a surprise given that we've been told that there are performance implications to using an adjustable hosel in a fairway wood.

I bounced that idea off of TaylorMade’s Tom Olsavsky who told me that performance isn't the reason why last year’s RBZ wasn't adjustable.

“One of the challenges of the designing the Speed Pocket was durability, so adding an adjustable hosel in the same area was something we chose to avoid.  However, the overall playability of the Stage 2 fairways (Standard and Tour), is much better than the respective RBZ versions”. –Tom Olsavsky, Senior Director Metalwood Creation TaylorMade Golf

Contrary to what I may have suggested, there’s no plot to outperform Adams by crippling them with an adjustable fairway. Nearly everyone in the industry will offer at least one adjustable fairway this season.

In addition to basically the same lineup they offered last year, TaylorMade will also offer a 16.5° HL (high launch) Tour and 17HL° (standard) model. It’s not quite the Tour Issue only 4 Wood (17.5°) from the original RBZ, but I suspect it’s an offering that will appeal to many golfers looking for a longer fairway wood that launches a bit higher and lands a little softer.

If you want 17.5° adjust it. If you want an 11.5°, buy the Spoon…and adjust it.  See…adjustable fairways are cool.

TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Rescues (what everyone else calls hybrids)

Although TaylorMade didn’t devote much time to them in their press releases (or last year’s marketing for that matter – probably because nobody actually cares about hybrids), TaylorMade is releasing RBZ Stage 2 Rescues. FYI – They are also ROCKETBALLZ-IER, which is nice.

As you might expect, the marketing reads very similarly to the fairway woods. They offer faster ball speeds, and more distance (and slightly longer shafts …boo…boo...shenanigans!) from last year, and the Tour model is adjustable.

I don’t love that what TaylorMade calls a Tour 4H (20.5°) is .5° stronger than what I still consider the industry standard for a 3I/3H, but it is what it is. At the long end of the bag, filling gaps is still important, so jacked-up lofts aside, it should be about finding the club that fills the need rather than a club that has certain number stamped in the sole (or painted on the hosel). Let the chumps get caught up in the distance through less loft game. Unless you consider yourself a "serious golfer", you're probably smarter than that. Forget the number...buy what you need.

Last year’s RBZ Rescue was … IS … an absolute beast. The 16.5° (2H) became my preferred option off the tee, and is largely responsible for my handicap dropping to the point where I’m sniffing single digits.

IF (and I’m not saying it will) the new one gets me a little more distance still; given that I use mine almost exclusively as a fairway wood replacement, then hell yes, I’m all for it. And if it doesn't get me more yards, the adjustability (versatility) of the Tour model still makes for a compelling upgrade option.

Still Playing to the Middle

As far as the Stage 2 fairway wood and hybrid are concerned, I very much like what I see. The Stage 2 Driver…I’m reasonably confident it’s as good as anything else; it just doesn't get me hot and bothered (it's no Brooklyn Decker). The R1…maybe I’ll come around when I try it with a different shaft (performance can move me like nothing else), but frankly, it’s a little bit of a letdown for me as well. And it has nothing to do with those damn crown graphics (which I swear really aren't that bad).

Yeah, adjustability is cool, and nobody offers more places to stick a wrench than TaylorMade, but the lack of an R1 Tour option is somewhat befuddling…actually frustrating is probably a better word choice. TaylorMade makes no secret that the R1 head you buy in stores isn't exactly the one that will be in play on tour. That’s standard practice for TaylorMade.

TaylorMade R1 Retail vs. R1 Tour Issue (side by side)

The thing is…the total lack of a retail driver product that is clearly designed with the better golfer in mind flies in the face of the assertion that TaylorMade aggressively targets the 0-4 handicap market. I wouldn't suggest that the R1 isn't suitable for very good golfers, but it doesn't target that niche with nearly the same precision as a PING i20, Nike Covert Tour, or even an Adams Speedline LS.

The R1 is equally suitable for very average golfers, and probably nearly as suitable for very bad golfers as well.

While other OEMs have moved to clear differentiation in their product lines, the dividing line between the R1 and RBZ Stage 2 Tour would seem to be one between guys who like using wrenches, and guys who really like using wrenches. Even something as basic as cost would seem to be more of a differentiator than the actual performance characteristics of the drivers. Like I said, befuddling.

As I’ve said a few times of late, despite suggestions from TM HQ to the contrary, the secret to TaylorMade’s success lies in servicing the wide middle – the 5 to 15 market – better than anyone in the game.  There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just not exactly what I want.

As much as I’d love to see a R1 SuperDeep or something more similar to the Tour Issue head at retail (and I know I'm far from alone), it doesn't make a lot of sense in the context of the larger marketplace as a whole – and TaylorMade tells me it’s not happening.

I know I’m super-important, but even allowing for as much; what I want has nothing to do with what TaylorMade needs to do to remain on top, which is why I suspect, despite those assertions to the contrary, TaylorMade is content to mostly cede the narrower markets to its competitors, and perhaps even to Adams as well.

TaylorMade is doing what TaylorMade needs to do, but I’d be lying if I said the 2013 driver offerings have done much to make me think twice about spending more time with offerings from Adams, Callaway, Nike, Cobra, and Krank. Honestly, when it comes to the new drivers, I wanted to be more excited than I am. I thought I would be.

And About Those RocketFuel Shafts

In case you missed it from the spec sheets, the majority of TaylorMade’s new lineup is powered by RocketFuel (some Matrix, some Fujikura). Even though the new shafts are very real (I've touched them, they’re not holograms), they’re not what most of our readers would consider “real shafts”.

I know…we’re all fuming mad about this epidemic of made for shafts. They’re the scourge of the industry. Everybody should be using true aftermarket equivalents. After all…that’s what tour pros use, right? Hmm…hold on.

If you accept my premise that TaylorMade is all about the middle…does the average golfer, that "SCREW FITTING, I BUY MY DRIVER OFF-THE-RACK" guy actually benefit from playing the same shaft as PGA Tour pro?

I’m guessing most fitters willing to take a break from ranting about how off-the-rack has completely ruined the golf industry would tell you that, while lots of golfers might want a Matrix Black Tie in their driver, most would probably be better off without it.

As a manufacturer you can either bitch about off-the-rack purchasing, or you can accept that it's how the tremendous majority of golfers buy their clubs. For its part TaylorMade accepts the latter, which is precisely the reason why they continues to leverage “designed for” stock shafts while many of its competitors have shifted to what they claim are true aftermarket equivalents.

According to Tom Olsavsky, “The shaft we put in the club is the best for the golfer population we anticipate buying the club “.  Aftermarket shafts mean .335 tips, which Mr. Olsavsky explained aren't necessarily ideal for the average golfer:

"From a durability concern, the biggest challenge is the tip diameter. With the widest reach in the market, we must design for the optimum combination of performance and durability for all types of impact locations seen in the market. This requires a .350” tip design. Since aftermarket shafts are primarily designed for tour and better players, a .335” tip design is acceptable since these players don’t have the range of miss hits seen typically by the market golfer".

With the R1 and RBZ Stage 2, TaylorMade will continue to offer a large variety of aftermarket shafts as upgrade options, but don’t expect TaylorMade to follow the lead of its competitors and start making high-end shafts stock across the whole of the product line. Added Mr. Olsavsky, “We realize most golfers don’t need the same shaft as a tour player, so we don’t put a ‘tour’ shaft in the stock product”.

Brand New Tips

One of the things that made TaylorMade’s driver lineup so appealing was the FCT tip. Dating back to the original R7, if you had a shaft with a TaylorMade tip on it, you could put it in any TaylorMade driver. Bad news…with the introduction of Loft Sleeve, your FCT tipped shafts are now completely incompatible with the new heads.


Sonofabitch!

TaylorMade confirmed that moving to a 4° loft range necessitated a redesign of the FCT tip. They probably could have leveraged the previous adapter in the RBZ Stage 2, but chose to use the new style Loft Sleeve for compatibility (future-proofing) purposes.

Incidentally, you can use the R1 tip in the RBZ Stage 2. The numbers on the hosel won’t make any sense at all, but theoretically you could use the R1 tip to squeeze a little extra loft out of the RBZ.

A Too Quiet TaylorMade

The strangest thing about this entire Spring 2013 release is how quiet TaylorMade has been during the lead-up. Couple the lack of noise with less than the usual amount of bravado in the press releases, and one might get to thinking that TaylorMade has slowed its roll. I mean we’re talking about the company that makes the #1 Driver in Golf (and seldom lets you forget it). And yet, apart from the nebulous #TaylorMade13, and despite this being a pretty big release for them, all is silent in the Twitterverse and elsewhere.

Unlike the RocketBladez irons, there’s no big launch event planned (or if there is, I didn't get an invite). No preview hashtags (#freakishlylonger). Just a couple of Tour Pros opening boxes…that’s it. What the hell TaylorMade?

When I pressed TaylorMade for a hashtag preview of the marketing plan (because, let’s face it, the market plans are almost as interesting as the products these days), all I got back was #morecoming. That's not even a real hashtag. What the hell…again, TaylorMade?

The way I see it, one of three things is happening:

A) There’s a massive holiday hangover happening in Carlsbad and making any real noise would give TaylorMade a headache.

B) They know Nike and Callaway are gunning for them, and they’re going to lay low until they figure out what to do about it.

C) They've got something big planned.

Take your pick, but I’m nearly certain it’s not B, and it’s probably not A either.

What I've been told…and it ain't much…is that TaylorMade has “Big Things” planned for the next month and half. Love it, hate it. I don’t care, but do yourself a favor; watch it. It’s always entertaining, and no matter what industry you’re in, you will learn something from it.

So here’s my advice: While you wait for February 1st, when you can actually try the product for yourself, grab some of your favorite take-out, pop open your favorite beer (unless it’s Bud Light, in which case, go buy better beer), and sit back and enjoy the spectacle. It starts today.

A Fairly Easy Sales Prediction

I haven’t forgotten that “serious golfers” were equally as outraged when TaylorMade released the R11. That white foolishness… it wasn't going to play either, but TaylorMade sold it…in record numbers.

2013 isn't much different. Despite how it may have looked just a couple short weeks ago, I’m positive (at least I think I am) that TaylorMade wouldn't release two graphically-suspect drivers (fairway woods, and rescues too) if they weren't positive they could sell them. Their recent success suggests they might be smarter than detractors are giving them credit for. Besides…those graphics, they’re not really so bad.

For all the talk of Callaway or Nike over-taking TaylorMade...it's not going to happen this year. In both cases, there's simply too much ground to make up in a season.

Don’t get me wrong, TaylorMade definitely got out-painted, out-staffed (assuming there's no Tiger-Bomb), and maybe even out-innovated by Nike. While TaylorMade drivers are as good as they've ever been, I suppose there’s even a chance they might even get outperformed by somebody too. But contrary to what you may have heard, nothing in TaylorMade’s 2013 lineup remotely qualifies as a misfire, a mistake, or even a misstep. Not even close.

The chance that you've just seen something other than the #1 Selling Driver of 2013...there isn't one.

For information on the newly announced TaylorMade Lethal Golf Ball, visit the MyGolfSpy Forum.

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The Epically Ginormous TaylorMade R1 and RBZ Stage 2 Gallery - Snow Bound Edition

{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

GolfSpy_Zinger January 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Sweet Mother of Xtreme, this is AWESOME!

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18birdys January 2, 2013 at 10:11 pm

EASILY the ugliest looking clubs I’ve ever seen.

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Kygolfer1980 January 3, 2013 at 3:48 am

I actually like the new designs, breaks up the boring flat white on the crown. I wish the sleeves were compatible but it is what it is. Looking forward to see what everyone says after they game it.

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Alan January 3, 2013 at 5:01 am

I have a TM Corza Ghost putter and ATV Wedge and I like them alot. But I think Taylormade has lost the plot with graphics. If I buy new woods this season I’ll probably look at the new Cobras or Callys first

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David Mc January 3, 2013 at 5:30 am

The thing about going out on a limb is sometimes the branch breaks and you take a bug fall. I think this is the year Taylormade take a significant wood sales hit, as you alluded to in the article they already have been out-painted, out-staffed, maybe even out-innovated, they have been under-priced and bested on component quality.
17 was last year’s war cry and many consumers who bought into it got burned (they won’t be back for more of the same), for those that didn’t, many will hold on to last year’s RBZ (money is tight everywhere!). The problem with hoodwinking the customer is at some point they will rebel in large numbers.
If you want a product range of the year then the Ping G25 range is where I would be placing my bet!

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Caleb Stodden January 3, 2013 at 6:42 am

Very well written, great article. Thanks guys.

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Hula_Rock January 3, 2013 at 6:55 am

hahahahahahahahaah “That’s a clown club bro”……… never heard that one before. Think TMaG is going to miss the mark on the R1, seeing more Covert and G25′s being sold in 2013.

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Barbajo January 3, 2013 at 7:07 am

Brother you are on fire with the writing – the money quotes are, well, money! Not sure I could game this with thoughts of Minka Kelly in a moo moo or Brooklyn Decker in an ugly hat banging around my head.

And call me a heretic, but the clown, er, crown graphics don’t bother me a bit. And from a marketing standpoint, Taylormade sets a marketing plan and executes it as well as anyone in any industry – and they back it up with products that perform. And whoever came up with “Rocketballz-ier” should get a raise. Marketing is about getting a reaction, getting people to talk about your products and getting noticed over and above your competition by your CORE AUDIENCE – that significant middle you’re talking about. Great article and I respectfully disagree with a previous poster – I think TM will do just fine once again this year.

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RP Jacobs II January 3, 2013 at 11:46 am

This!! +1 and more elequent than I could say so this is what I’m goin with. Well said Bro!

As I rotate the RBZ T(No adjustments) with my i20, I don’t see a need to go with the Stage Two. I will say that the RBZ with the right shaft is a Beast!

Regarding missing the mark, and also respectfully, there ain’t no missin anything here. No one, and I do mean no one, has a better handle on the pulse of the MASSES than TMaG. Do I like the graphics? Hell no, as I still prefer the flat matte black of the i20 & the glossy black of my D3 over the basic white of the i20, much less the NASCAR graphics, however my thoughts & preferances and those of guys with similar thoughts & opinions are the minority, and as the only yardstick that counts, driver sales $$, is very telling, and TMaG continues to rack up indudtry leading sales.

Reality is what it is, and what it is is exactly what T says it is.

I mean, hell, it ain’t that bad. I mean at least the world didn’t end and we’re still here to have aimless, pointless discussions like this :-)

Have a Happy & Prosperous Year ahead & a Great season

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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RP Jacobs II January 3, 2013 at 11:49 am

I obvously meant the white of the RBZ.

Sorry

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Adam January 3, 2013 at 7:07 am

I love the pics in the snow….nice to see someone else has that problem right now.

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Tim January 3, 2013 at 7:18 am

The Mayan they had designing the sole of the R1 never thought it would make it to market.

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Adam January 4, 2013 at 6:48 am

LOL

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Smhgolf January 3, 2013 at 7:55 am

Wowowow!! I’d be the first to raise my hand and say I was in that group of folks lifting the bird at Taylormade when I first heard the Rocketballz name last year. After waiting in a line of what felt like 100 people to take a hit with the r11s and RBZ in person at the PGA Show demo day last year, and later testing them on a launch monitor I ended up with three RBZ tour clubs (driver and 3,4 hybrid) in the bag. At first glance, i’d say those crown graphics look awkward, but gone are the days of mentally shutting down any marketing concept Taylormade comes up with. Can’t wait to hit these newbies!!!

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Dan January 3, 2013 at 8:11 am

Awful. Im sure they play well but the graphics are ridiculous. The last thing I need is more distractions when I am about to Teeoff.

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Golfer Burnz January 3, 2013 at 8:24 am

Call me boring, but if this silly trend of moving towards high impact colors and graphics continues, we’ll all be driving a driver that resembles a NASCAR on a stick.

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blstrong (SeeRed) January 3, 2013 at 8:48 am

Nice write up, T. However, regardless of the number of times you say, “It’s not that bad,” it is, in fact, that bad. They look busy, gimmicky and a little cheap to me.

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RP Jacobs II January 3, 2013 at 11:54 am

Happy New Year Bro.

Hope that you & yours hadda nice Holiday Season

Drop in the back if ya getta chance :-)

My Best,
Richard

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Chal January 3, 2013 at 8:49 am

I don’t game a Taylormade driver and haven’t for years. They unfortunately do not make a low spinning driver that fits with my swing. That said, I bought the Rocketbladez irons and I am always excited to see what their product will look like. This year, from a driver standpoint, meh. I think from a pure excitement driven launch, I was really up for what Nike did and was not disappointed and I have never played a Nike club. It will be interesting to see if that 5-15 hdcp group latches on to these and spends. I could see some market share slippage this year.

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dick January 3, 2013 at 10:02 am

Sorry, I don’t like Taylor Made, but dig the graphics, of course I’m younger than my years. Can’t deny they are selling some good stuff. Very nice article. PS, you can keep my share of the snow too!

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frank January 3, 2013 at 10:47 am

great great great! I can’t ask for anymore golf clubs for presents. GEES I want one after reading that but which one? I currently own the whole rbz line I give up. taking up bowling

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GolfSpy Dave January 3, 2013 at 10:48 am

Good call on the True Aim, T. I had that same thought when I saw these for the first time. The graphics had to do something.

Sorry about the snow…

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finalist January 3, 2013 at 11:36 am

I’m trying really hard to come up with a strong academic opinion as a graphic designer worthy of some schooled design theory, but I can only think it helps TM with their earned media campaigns — PGA TV coverage, internet forum talk, driving range talk, etc.

The graphics are not timeless (not necessarily bad – they’re just decorative from a color and form standpoint). The designs are based on trendy asymmetrical layout patterns found in sporty, racing, techy things that are fashionable and fade as fast as teens change styles.

The concept of better alignment is arguable. As True Aim points out different people use different types of aiming shapes, so this would only “help” certain people.

Does changing loft up to 4° affect the CG location in a good or bad way?

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Oldplayer January 3, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Whatever happened to Mygolfspy being the friend of the little guy and not selling out to the big OEM’s. !!
That is the biggest Taylomade promotion I have seen anyhwere on the web. The amount of salesman marketing lines in your article is beyond belief. So much for “independant reviews”. You have well and truly become a mouthpiece of the mass marketers.

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GolfSpy T January 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Unfortunately X cut it before the final edit, so you missed the part where I said THIS IS NOT A REVIEW.

Look…this is a launch story, and quite frankly I think it was a pretty damn balanced one. Yeah..included specs, but if you want mouthpiece, I’d encourage you to actually check elsewhere (in some cases where press releases are printed word for word). Nowhere…absolutely nowhere did I comment on the specific performance of the club, expect to say what I believe and what I don’t.

Yeah…we said TaylorMade will outsell everybody in the driver market…which isn’t biased in the least…it’s roughly the equivalent of saying the sun is going to set tonight. I

I had questions about some things, I asked TaylorMade…they gave me their answers. Was I supposed to not print them because Oldplayer might not like what he hears.

Sorry…should I get off your lawn now?

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Oldplayer January 3, 2013 at 5:17 pm

I expect you to defend yourself and that is fair enough. I was tuned in to Mygolfspy long before it was also a forum and it was a small fringe site that catered for obsessed golfers that were looking for something apart from the overhyped diet of “the latest and greatest” that the big companies relentlessly peddle to golf equipment consumers.
You always said you were different; that you would not succumb to the pressures to of the industry to toe the company line.
Sadly it appears to me that you have failed in this objective. Your “launch” of this line of “the latest and greatest” (and other articles) is so mainstream that you .are making those bastions of the “pushing the big OEM;s line” like Golf Digest look like amateurs.
I understand that things change. I am just saying that I am disappointed. I liked Mygolfspy the way it used to be. I may not be popular for saying it but with respect I think you have gone against the original philosophy that Mygolfspy was founded on.. .

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GolfSpy T January 3, 2013 at 6:07 pm

Oldplayer – Comparing this article to something you’d find on a mainstream site isn’t fair. Have you looked at GD, Golf.com, etc.’s coverage today. The average run is about 3 paragraphs, and it’s basically re-written press release stuff filled with largely TMaG approved talking points. No insight…no opinion…no passion.

Our biggest competitors in the online space…1 basically reprinted press releases, the other published a couple of textbook tech articles. They were done well, but as I said, textbook. That’s not what I do…hours went (actually days) went into pulling this together, and making it something truly unique as far as golf equipment coverage is concerned. Yeah…there have been some changes around here, but any insinuation that we’re just like everybody else is ill-informed at best. Go see how everyone else does it…and then come back and tell me how you can’t tell us apart.

I can assure you, TaylorMade is not loving every last word of this article. I try to be complete, fair, and hopefully a good read too. I tell stories…that’s what this is. TaylorMade gets to tell some of its story, then I get to tell mine, and hopefully flush out what my readers care about along the way.

I will concede that we have changed. MyGolfSpy is a business…and a legitimate media one at that. We’re not like everyone else, but to stay viable, we have to compete with the other guys who play at our level…and that means we have to cover big OEMs.

Articles like this didn’t happen two and three years ago, because new product announcements were little more than email. The idea of launch events, and month long marketing campaigns…they didn’t exist. This is new territory, but to ignore it would be a disservice to our readers. It’s golf equipment news…that’s what we’re about.

Regarding our commitment to the little guy…we haven’t changed. We still work with companies of all sizes, and actively seek out compelling products from smaller companies (Scor and Krank are two that spring to mind). What you have to consider is that the the little guy has changed too.

When MyGolfSpy started, Nickent was the little guy. It’s gone. Adams was a little guy…now part of TMaG. Solus…gone. It’s a growing list, and there is little we can do about it.

I think we do a superior job of covering smaller putter companies, and the gadget/inventor guys trying to create the next big thing. USPG Black Ops is an up and coming shaft brand, and I believe they would agree that MyGolfSpy played a pivotal role in that growth.We still do more than anyone with and for the little guy, but as a business we’d have never made it to 300k unique monthly readers by not working with the big OEMs as well.

I would also add that many of the ‘little guys’ are fundamentally different. Once upon a time the little guy was someone struggling to make it with a competitive product, often at a better price. Now…many of the little guys are high-end niche brands…guys who sell single wedges for $300 a pop, $500 belts, $1000 putters, and $2300 iron sets. Some work on tight margins and don’t like to pass along product, others have a brand image (either real or imagined) that they believe doesn’t lend itself well to the type of coverage we provide (and that’s largely because despite what you might believe, we’re still viewed as unpredictable – good reviews and 100% positive light are not guaranteed).

Finally…what most don’t seem to understand is that we don’t always get to do exactly what we want to do. Some companies for whatever reasons don’t want to work with us. Sometimes we reach out…and it goes nowhere. The companies that get coverage are the ones who put forth the effort to work with us. Sometimes it’s just that simple.

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Oldplayer January 3, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Thank you for your detailed reply and explanation. I appreciate your time.

RP Jacobs II January 3, 2013 at 7:46 pm

Ya know OT, what’s kinda funny(in a sad, pathetic way) is that guys like you only come around and post these kinda comments when ya have something negative to say. I’ve been comin around this site for a bit too, and if there’s one thing I can’t stand and that’s bullsh*t. The kind that I find on WRX. It drips. It wreaks. And it’s garbage.

Now this is just one man’s opinion however I find it amusing that if you do indeed go on these other sites and read their stuff how you could say that T, X or anyone here at MGS has jumped on the blind man’s “big” OEM band wagon. Because, ya see old man, I take that personally, as I’m sure a few other guys do to. Because basically what you’re saying is that I and the other readers are foolish enough, dumb enough & knaive enough to drink the kool-aid. And I give T & X all of the credit in the world because your post doesn’t deserve a response, much less the well thought out heartfelt response that T gave ya.

If you’re not bright to have seen in this or any of the other posts that appear on MGS what T had to point out to you, then maybe you otta go back to where ya came from, cuz like I said, for you bein around here all these years, it’s kinda funny(remember how I used funny) how ya just drop in to throw some pathetic “same ol same ol” post out, well, you know where I’m comin from.

And what’s really amusing is, if MGS was in fact like you claimed they were, you post wouldn’t have seen the light of day, much less the light of this thread.

Seriously, you can’t tell the difference between this article & the crap on WRX & HP?

C’mon Dude, be honest.

You can’t tell the difference?

Like I said, T, X & the other spy’s are a class act(s), however When I read intellectually deficient, esoteric garbage like your post, well, I gotta comment.

And If ya have any comments that you’d like to direct to me, my e-mail’s [email protected]. You’re welcome to PM in the forum also, but an e-mail’ll give ya a little more freedom.

The best to ya OT.

Don’t let the door hit ya in the ass

fairways & Greens 4ever

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Joe Golfer January 3, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I actually like the graphics on the crown.
As for TM’s statement that most golfers are playing the wrong loft, I’m sure that’s true.
But as some other articles have noted, TM sometimes has a driver with a specific loft listed on it, and then when measured, the actual loft is far different than the listed loft. So maybe part of that is TM’s fault itself. Quality control isn’t what it used to be.
As for that dial on the sole for making adjustments, I just hope that thing holds up.
Imagine the average duffer hitting his fairway wood off those cheap driving range mats with little padding. Or hitting them off of hardpan, getting dirt hardpacked into the grooves around the dial. Or the paint wearing off over time, such that one can’t even read the numbers on the dial anymore. Seems like putting the dial there is asking for trouble eventually, but probably after the warranty has expired.

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GolfSpy T January 3, 2013 at 1:32 pm

We’re actually working on something about actual loft vs. measured loft right now. The thing to remember is that almost nobody makes, for example, a 9.5 degree driver, that’s actually supposed to measure 9.5. It’s common practice in the industry, and is done largely to account for the multitude of golfers who are convinced they should play less loft than they actually should.

If you’ve got a guy who thinks he should play a 9, but would be better off in a 10 (most guys), how do you make your driver perform better for him? Tweak the loft to account for ego and ignorance. It works.

As far as the sole plate goes…having it wear out to the point that the settings aren’t visible is one of the first things I considered…and then I wrote 5000 words and forgot all about it, but yeah…absolutely a valid concern.

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manbearpig January 3, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I want.

T you think you could add a few more pictures?

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RP Jacobs II January 3, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Dude, it’s because of pointed, edgy questions such as this that you are a legend in the making. You just keep pushin and you ask the questions that I want to but don’t have the male testosterone to ask!!

And I bet he ducks your question, but it doesn’t matter, you just keep diggin, LMAO!!

Hat’s off Bro ;-)

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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finalist January 3, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I’m just learning about the Manbearpig clan… Is the whole Manbearpig family on MGS? Because a family that posts together stays together, and I’m a envious.

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GolfSpy T January 3, 2013 at 2:09 pm

There’s some detail in the hosel screw I might have missed. Let me get right on that.

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manbearpig January 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Maybe one down the hole in the end of the grip too please?

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Jeff January 3, 2013 at 2:34 pm

The G25 is looking the best out of all the new models that I’ve seen. The crown graphics still haven’t grown on me at all. Maybe when I see them in person that will change, but until then I’m going to avoid these clubs.

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Drew January 3, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Poor Ping. They just launched some absolutely gorgeous G25 irons and yet they get no love at MGS :) .

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manbearpig January 3, 2013 at 2:51 pm
mygolfspy January 3, 2013 at 5:01 pm

You can blame Ping for that Drew.

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Jeff January 3, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Why dont you guys do some Driver testing on TM, Cobra & Nike so we can decide what will work best for us??? We need some reviews. Always great work!

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Drew January 3, 2013 at 7:15 pm

I like the graphics and can see how they can assist with alignment. So is the fairway wood making a comeback? I recall a 2012 write-up by MGS that hybrids were poised to render fairway woods obsolete.

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TwoSolitudes January 3, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Still don’t like them, and I still think they have really lost the plot in design. Maybe its because of what NIKE has done with the Covert launch – setting the bar pretty high for original exciting new products that are more than just paint.

There is just not much in this line up to be excited about for non-TM golfers and very little to encourage those using TM products made in the last few years to upgrade. The design looks busy and tired to me. Expectations of TM are like Apple now, just releasing a ‘good’ product isn’t good enough.

Maybe this mysterious ‘big thing’ will be the real game changer…..

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frank l January 4, 2013 at 5:39 am

I hit the R1 other day it sounds like a tin can, paint graphics not as bad as i thought but the sound is awful very cheap sounding and way too light.

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katie January 4, 2013 at 5:47 am

How many ‘weekend hackers’ are going to be able to work out on a daily basis what loft their swing of the day requires!! And few people want the nuisance of having to readjust their driver every few holes or even every weekend.

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mygolfspy January 4, 2013 at 7:30 am

I don’t think that is the right question to be asking. Rather than “how many hackers care about changing their loft on a daily basis” I think the better statement is, “for golfers that do know or want that type of customization it is now available.”

It is always curious to me why consumers get frustrated with technology and ask questions like this. I mean honestly why can’t you have both the option to leave it the way it is or if you want to tinker you can. Just makes sense. It covers more golfers wants and needs.

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RP Jacobs II January 4, 2013 at 7:57 am

First Katie, welcome & Happy New Year!

Not to split hairs, however I hope that there aren’t many golfers who “readjust their driver every few holes” because that would be a violation of the rules, though I have a feeling that that won’t stand in the way of a few, lol.

And it’s kinda ironic, cuz I play the majority of my golf with low-plus players and aside from the initial adjustment when getting fit at purchase, they very rarely, hardly ever, adjust after that. Yet I always see mid-high cappers with their wrench out on the practice tee tweekin their clubs, which is fine, because that’s why the option is there.

Just a couple of thoughts :-)

Have a nice season

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Kevin January 4, 2013 at 8:49 am

Wow!!! Just when I thought this website couldn’t get any worse you go and give the driver of the year award prior to the years drivers even being released to the public! Not to mention, the TM drivers haven’t even been released! I hope TM is paying you guys a hell of a lot of money to sell your souls and become prostitutes!!!! MORONS!!!!

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RP Jacobs II January 4, 2013 at 9:01 am

Dude, everything you typed is absolutely correct so It’s safe to say that since these are your feelings, this will be your last post, correct?

Obviously, this isn’t the blog for you.

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Kevin January 4, 2013 at 9:35 am

A blog implies that what you wrote about these clubs is strictly opinion! You basis for writing this article was that what YOU thought was factual info according to your writing! This ironically is what makes your “opinion” wrong. If you want people who have never posted before to only have one based on how they feel with an opinion in response to what you claim now to be opinion when it suits your argument, then that’s cool with me….

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RP Jacobs II January 4, 2013 at 9:49 am

Dude, my point exactly!! If you don’t buy T’s post above in response to Oldtimer, you obviously have no faith in either the writers or MGS, so unless you just like to read your own writing, why would you continue to post?

They suck. They’re bought. They’re just like the rest of the sites.

So you’re going away, right? Please. Pretty please. We get it. Point made. Time to move on down the road. No one’s arguing with you. You win. They’re hacks.

I mean ya gotta be about tapped out, lol.

Have a Happy New Year and a good season.

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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GolfSpy T January 4, 2013 at 9:58 am

I actually find myself wondering if it’s worth replying since based on your response it’s clear you either can’t, or can’t be bothered to read what’s right in front of your face. I’m not certain you’ll read, let alone, understand this:

I’m guessing you looked at the banner…got irate and commented. It sort of speaks to the polarizing nature of TaylorMade, which is great, but I’ve also found there’s more unreasonable negativity directed at them then anyone else in the industry. So be it, but we’re not going to pile it on just because some of you want us to write about nothing other than how badly TaylorMade sucks.

IF (and clearly you didn’t) read the article in its entirety you would have read the part where I said:

“TaylorMade definitely got out-painted, out-staffed (assuming there’s no Tiger-Bomb), and maybe even out-innovated by Nike. While TaylorMade drivers are as good as they’ve ever been, I suppose there’s even a chance they might even get outperformed by somebody too.”

There was plenty more of that in there…if you bothered to read.

I believe this article is well-balanced (specs, technical info, my perspective, and TaylorMade’s too). Sorry if you’re not interested in hearing the other side. While you might have an opinion of what a blog should be, we’re not willing to be pigeon holed, by such a narrow(minded) definition of what you think we should be.

The statement I made about TaylorMade being #1 was based solely on sales…and yeah…the season has just started, most of this stuff isn’t available. But…I have seen all of it, and while some of it is very impressive, some if it is more compelling that what TaylorMade is offering right now, but NOTHING is so overwhelmingly better than everything else that it’s going to unseat TaylorMade for #1 in Driver Sales. They’re too far ahead right now. That’s reality…and I suspect if you could find anybody at Callaway and Nike who’d be honest with you, they’d tell you the exact same thing.

There’s a reason why Callaway is calling it a #fiveyearwar and not #weregoingtobenumber1thisyearwar. EVERYBODY in the industry knows they’re not catching TaylorMade in a single season. And that bold prediction…which is basically generally accepted by everyone who actually knows what’s going on in this industry, is so simple even a moron could accurately make it. It’s not what I, or MyGolfSpy necessarily want to happen, it’s what everybody whose not obviously delusional knows is going to happen.

If when sales numbers come out at the end of the year, I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong…but I won’t need to do that, because picking the driver sales winner, given the state of the industry today, is a gimme.

But just so we’re clear…no $$$ from TaylorMade, or Cobra, or Nike, or Callaway, or…the list goes on and on. That could change, but for now that’s how it is.

So please, keep your insults to yourself, and if you don’t find MyGolfSpy to your liking, by all means, leave…don’t come back, I’d be happy to see you jump ship to one of our a competitor. We’re friendly with most of those guys, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy sticking it to them every now and again.

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Kevin January 4, 2013 at 3:04 pm

Ok, clearly you didn’t understand what I wrote either. I did read the article and am not surprised that you, just like most people who call themselves writers, authors, and or bloggers SEEM to think that you were unbiased. Unfortunately for your “argument” against what I said, I’m not a TM hater. I actually have played many of their drivers and loved them all…. Secondly and maybe even more importantly, I think and believe that in most cases (oh, and history is on my side here) that anytime any kind of research is done with these companies the testers are teaching pros, tour pros, and people who have a working knowledge of the business. In which case, the “research” isn’t done with the average 8 – 15 handicapper and so the results are based on who paid the most money considering all the shots are gonna be straight and long. So, what I’m saying if I’m saying anything is that your research, ideas, and conclusions are based on the fantasy that we can all hit the long ball if we just buy this driver, fairway wood, hybrid, iron set, wedges, and so on…. Sorry to be blunt but I would love nothing more than a retort considering there isn’t one….

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GolfSpy T January 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm

Frankly, I’m not sure what you’re even talking about anymore.

The point was simply this: TaylorMade will sell more drivers than anyone else this year.

That has nothing to do with whose getting paid to play, or what the average handicap of anybody is.

It’s not my opinion that TaylorMade sells more drivers than anyone else. It’s a fact based on ACTUAL REAL RETAIL SALES DATA, which says TaylorMade sells more drivers than anyone else.

It is my opinion based on those facts, and the factual sales gap between TM and their competitors that TaylorMade will outsell everyone else again this year.

That’s it. Nothing more.

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TwoSolitudes January 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm

I thought the title was supposed to be sarcastic. Its not the best driver. Its not driver of the year. Its not the best looking. Its not the most innovative. It probably isn’t even the best performing. But its safe to assume it will probably be a top seller.

That’s a compliment to TM marketing, and a backhanded compliment to TM. But the question implied is whether ‘best selling’ is an award worth winning…. Its like the GD ranking of ‘Demand’ which we all say shouldn’t be part of a ranking at all.

I thought it was funny. And the bulk of the story does nothing to imply that these models will be anything but ‘best selling’. I thought MGS did a good job walking the line here. The piece is well written and the pics are great.

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Dave m January 4, 2013 at 9:08 am

Ugliest shit I have ever seen. I won’t even try it it’s so damn ugly. Could be the year Nike starts to take over and I think callaway stuff looks much better. Ping,cobra even Adams stuff looks much better. There is so much cool stuff being released this year I think tm stuff is going to do bad. I’m in the market for a new driver,fairways and hybrids and I think the other companies have created a much better buzz about their products. I can just see people walking into the golf stores or pro shops and being like this is cool that’s different I’ll try this and maybe this and then seeing TM and being like god what the he’ll were they thinking. I just feel like since R 11 they haven’t stepped up their game at all. Also I agree with a few posters could my golf spy do a complete review on drivers and other categories on the new stuff. The best fairway wood review of 2012 was great but let’s face it that year was done people want to see how the new stuff compares. Thanks

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Kevin January 4, 2013 at 9:38 am

Dave, sounds like your right on point and 100% correct!

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GolfSpy T January 4, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Dave – Last year TaylorMade didn’t really make a big marketing push with the driver, but by nearly all accounts the RBZ was a special fairway (Mickelson had one in his bag several weeks ago b/c Callaway didn’t have anything that could touch it). TaylorMade leveraged the success of the fairway to sell drivers.

I don’t think the RBZ 2 will have the same impact (not convinced people will ever be as willing to replace fairways annually as they are drivers). The R1 is interesting, but for the same reasons as the Nike Covert and the Cobra AMP Cell. Otherwise, in terms of what consumers see when they pick it up, resigned sole plate aside, it’s not much different than what they saw last year.

The issue for Nike and Callaway is that they’re playing from a position of disadvantage. Visually…and perhaps technologically (especially from that visible technology standpoint that golfers love so much) the Covert is probably the driver that’s going to grab the most attention. Callaway has a very good driver as well, but their issue is that visually it may not be dissimilar enough from the previous model for consumers to see the distinction.

Both Nike and Callaway are going all in with revamped Tour Staffs (although Callaway seems to have a larger plan predicated on consumer engagement). Club sales will depend heavily on Tour success, and it’s going to take some time before it translates to market success.

Neither one of the TaylorMade drivers is going to be a market failure…and that’s what matters here. I think it’s possible both Nike and Callaway, and to lesser extents PING and Cobra could nibble at TaylorMade’s market share (in much the same way that others are doing it to Titleist on the ball front), but catching TaylorMade won’t happen this year…and probably not next.

Regarding testing of newer products…We’re actually looking into doing a big head to head driver test similar to the FW test. We’ve firmed up some of the details of what we’d like to do, but we have one issue of sorts that we’re still working through.

I’ve reached out to several OEMs to get some perspective from the various R&D teams. It’s not 100% that we’re doing it, but it’s something we’re likely going to move forward with it very soon.

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Dave m January 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm

That would be great. Thanks!

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Hitman January 4, 2013 at 11:35 am

To MGS,

I can clearly tell the difference between a club review and an article that details a new product launch. I love both types of articles and can tell the amount of time you put into each article is massive. I am a self-proclaimed “data geek” but your club review have more data than I can appreciate, ha. Anyway, I look forward to more well written product launch articles. MGS allows me to keep informed with new products and provides great insight/ opinion on new products from reliable sources (golf enthusiast who are smart and offer a balanced approach). I hope other OEM’s (especially Cobra, since they my preferred driver option) provide MGS sufficient product so you may write more product launch articles.

Keep up the great work, it does not go unnoticed.

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Douglas Krugler January 5, 2013 at 5:36 pm

Is it ll true or are they just trying to sell clubs

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Barbajo January 6, 2013 at 6:22 am

Went back and re-read the article just to see if there’s something I missed, since something in there pissed off a few people. I must have missed it again….

Look, TM is the #1 manufacturer in golf. They sell more stuff than anyone else….by a lot. Is there stuff far and away better than anyone else’s? Nope, and I didn’t see that statement in the article. Is there stuff junk? Don’t think anyone who’s hit an R-anything driver or FW can make that statement and stay credible.

Predicting they’ll be the best sellers of the year?

Well, duh! Darn right that’s a gimme.

Polarizing is a really useful word here — you’re either okay with the white crown and the graphics, or they make your sphincter tighten. That’s in the eye of the beholder.

As far as saying this blog is somehow biased toward TM? From this perspective, it just ain’t in there. I’m no apologist, but goodness, there just doesn’t seem to be anything in there to get so angry about, unless you’re bringing your own anger to the table.

Lighten up – golf is a game.

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RP Jacobs II January 7, 2013 at 10:10 am

John, I couldn’t agree more with your last two paragraphs! I probably shouldn’t have gone off on a few of the posters like I did, however it just seems that they only come out of the woodwork to tear into MGS or X, T or one of the guys when they have a vitrol filled post and I very, very rarely see them posting a positive post or kudos for the other 95-97% of the articles(not reviews).

And if we go back across the last 2-3 years, how many responses from T & X are there like T’s response above, where they take the time and with class and forethought respond to basically garbage. I give em credit because they always respond in detail and with class, when with this segment of poster, nothing they say will satisfy them.

We won’t see or hear from them again for 3, 4 or 6 months or whenever the next article appears(HaHa, TMaG seems to bring them into the light, lol) that because they are “bringing your own anger to the table,” they will attack again. It’s one thing not not like TMaG, and there are quite a few non-fans on this thread, however ya notice that there are only a few who are looking for a reason to attack MGS(about 2-3%).

As I’ve always said, for better or worse, I only speak for myself, however I gotta tell ya that it’s so nice to see T tell em to take their garbage elsewhere. It’s one thing to have a spirited discussion or debate over the message, yet it’s another and totally uncalled for to attack the messenger!

Great post John!

My Best,
Richard

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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TheHacker January 7, 2013 at 1:18 am

I am so buying the R1 driver. Just bough the RKBZ 3 wood and liked the feel of it. Hope the driver don’t disappoint.

My DST driver’s days are numbered ….

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Jonny B Good January 7, 2013 at 9:04 am

Taylor made is a joke… Wow. I will never put that club in my hands! Ugly. Oh, and the Commercial is pathetic! Cant beleive the pros agreed to doing something so bad! Paint on their face? Really?! Good luck TMAG.

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GolfSpy T January 7, 2013 at 9:15 am

Jonny – You’ll be in the minority, I think. Golf clubs have for all intents and purposes become commodity goods. In terms of the meat, there’s simply not much distinction between one and the next. As golfers slowly figure that part out (and I think they’re finally starting (only starting) to do that), manufacturers have adapted to the changing marketplace.

Simply put, good performance isn’t enough, you’ve got to give the consumer a reason to pick your club up, and see what it is the marketing says they should see. It boils down to rack appeal, and putting something distinctive out there.

The R1 does that. As does the RBZ 2, and the Nike VR_S Covert. Each is non-traditional, but distinctive. For most, even if they think they hate the design, they’re going to pull it off the rack to find out just how much they really hate it. Getting it off the rack and into hands is how you sell clubs.

RocketBallz was a stupid name, and so consumers wanted to check out the goofy white club with the stupid name…and then they bought it…in stupid numbers.

I don’t think the R1 will be quite as successful, but I promise you, TM won’t need any luck to move it off the shelves.

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choppersmakemelaugh January 9, 2013 at 7:36 am

So many of these opinions on here make me laugh! You, chopper might have taken the cake… Clearly people love to hate #1 i’m ok with that cause I hate the Yankees personally. “Taylormade a joke” you just sound like an ignorant dumbass! It’s called marketing and in todays social media world it is relavent. How about all the kick ass NIKE commercials they do for other sports? Does that make NIKE a joke as well??

And those Pros you refer to dipshit have no choice they are payed millions… NOT TO MENTION DJ JUST WON WITH THE NEW R1!!!!!!!! I guess he’s probably pissed he had to paint his face cause he just collected 1. something million for his victory using the ugliest driver ever made…

enjoy being out of play chopper!

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MFB January 13, 2013 at 9:18 am

Taylormade makes some good products, I like my R11.
I am just not sold on the one size fits all club head, especially since I have read some pretty interesting articles form people who are much smarter than I am on the science and engineering of how a driver head and face works.
Also the other problem I have is the R1 that DJ won last week with and the R1 most of the pros are using are not even close to what is being release to the public, right now, they are closer to a R11 or R11s because they do not have the one club head for all lofts they have heads that have specific lofts with the R1 head shape, paint scheme, and compass on the bottom.
May turn out to be a great club, we will see.

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RP Jacobs II January 14, 2013 at 4:37 am

MFB, welcome & thanx for posting. This is not so much directed at you as I hear this and see it in the blog/forum all of the time and that is the mind-set, “the R1 that most of the pros are using are not even close to what is being released to the public.”

Well, you’re right, lol, & there’s a reason for that, actually a couple. #1, most people(98-99%+) couldn’t hit the exact club(s) that are bein played on tour, whether from a shaft standpoint or in the case of a driver & MWs, the heads. I happen to play a Tour Issue RBZ Tour P Version & the face is hotmelded w/a 4* fade bias. That works fine for me, yet could you see the average golfer(about 85-90%) swingin a club that is 4* open, LMAO? And there are faces out there more open than that.

My point is that you & most golfers could probably no more hit a Tour Issue driver than you could drive Jeff Gordon’s car around an oval @ 180mph+, and if you could happen to hit a Tour Issue driver, you’re in the vast minority. However, from a quality standpoint, you won’t notice a difference, just spec-wise.

#2, is cost of a Tour Issue piece of equipment. Obviously, the mark-ups are ridiculous in some cases, though the manufacturing costs are obviously higher, cuz many of these are basically custom spec’d or low runs. I mean, c’mon, do you think that the average Joe is gonna pay that kinda money for a club, especially a club that they can’t hit, HaHa?

I mean, if you wanna play the driver that the Big Dogs hit, it’s out there, and you can get it, though it ain’t ever gonna be at Dick’, GG or even your local pro shop. Though I think that to attack a club or OEM, cuz the club that you’re buying is not spec’d out to the average tour player’s specs is disingenuine, and quite frankly, foolish.

I mean, hell, if ya don’t like the graphics, or ya think that the ASP technology is smoke & mirrors(Ha, Ha it is) or ya don’t believe in one size fits all, while I may or may not agree with ya on every point, at least you’re puttin up some valid points.

But to say that one of your two biggest problems is cuz you’re not gettin the same club as the pros, when you very easily could, just not at Dick’s & not for $299 or $399, well, you see where I’m comin from.

And regarding one size fits all, and I’ve probably read many of the same articles as you’re speaking of, I would agree that the are some issues with all of the supposed adjustability goin on with the R1 & the 11(s) before it, I assure you that IF properly fit at the time of purchase, and that’s a big IF, however, if this happens, with the flexibility that the adjustability factor gives a fitter, there is a much better chance of properly fitting a golfer, than say 5 years ago, when I walk in and I want/need a 4-4.5* fade bias face and you walk in and you want/need a 2* draw bias face. And my bro plays a TI with a 2* fade bias, so he’s standin behind you lookin to get fit.

You speak of “fixed lofts,” and I just yesterday purchased a Tour Issue fixed hosel(10.5*, “fixed loft”) Cally Razr Fit, and you could buy the same club, just as I said, it doesn’t pay for Dick’s, GG & the other retailer to stock them, so you’re gonna pay more.

I didn’t mean to slice n’ dice your points, though when ya break em down & think about them, they really don’t have much merit.

And please don’t respond that you want the TI fixed hosel Cally Razr Fit or the TI RBZ Tour P version for $299 or $399, lol.

The Best to ya this season

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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MFB January 14, 2013 at 7:25 am

I did not say this was a bad club I merely pointed out a couple of issues that I and a whole lot of people out there have.

My first point was the one size fits all club head for loft from any Manufacturer.

Way too many articles out there by people a whole lot smarter than both of us explaining the science of how a single club head for a wide range of lofts is just about impossible to achieve the best results for anyone.

My second point about the difference in the retail vs the Pro version is more a principal thing than anything else. Everyone knows Jeff Gordon’s car is not the same as the one they drive NASCAR makes that known, as Taylormade does not.

RP Jacobs II January 14, 2013 at 8:08 am

Number one, that’s fine to speak comparitively regarding your intellect, however please leave me outa the comparison. I happen to have a MSc in Metalurgical Physics & a MSc in Industrial Administration(a fancy word for MBA, lol ;-) & while I have been fortunate to have been surrounded by people brighter than me at every level(though very rarely “a whole lot smarter,” lol), I have also learned that IQ or intellect does not guarantee accuracy or correctness.

Being in the medical field, I can give you a clinical study from a decorated physician from Harvard & a diametrically opposed study from his counter-part at Hopkins. One’s black & one’s white. There are a lot of factors that go into that, too many to get into here.

I did not argue your point regarding lofts. Why do you think that I got a fixed hozel Razr Fit(10.5)? It’s just easier/cost effective to do this with the masses.

If someone’s follish enough at this date(01/14/13) to think that just cuz theses adds show the guys hittin these drivers and that they’re gonna walk into Dick’s and grab that exact driver, well Dude, they got way bigger problems than a sh*tty golf game(And trust me, that’s a good description of that guy’s game, HaHa).

And don’t sell your intellect short. Most very bright people are very dogmatic cuz they’re used to throwin their letters around, and I’ve found that many, & i’m talkin well over half, when pushed to validate & verify, they fold like a cheap suit. Sorta like the bully syndrome. Their tone of certainty exceeds their actual knowledge & they’re not used to bein challenged.

Challeng em :-) !

Have a good season ;-)

Fairways & Greens 4ever

golfer4life January 7, 2013 at 9:41 am

RBZ Driver – “I do know that last year’s was a great driver – arguably the best on the market” ??? Is that sales based or performance based? After doing many a fitting in 2012, not only wasn’t it one of the best, it wasn’t even in the top three. At least not in stock form from smash factor #s, distance or distance from center line. While I agree that didn’t stop it from being great in #s sold. It seemed like it either fit really well or not at all. Now the FW and rescues were the real deal on both sides. Not trying to stir it up, just wondering what I missed???

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RP Jacobs II January 7, 2013 at 10:24 am

I would think that as a fitter you could probably speak to the performance numbers & probably also sales number that you saw. I’m just curious, and this is a sincere question, what were your top 3 drivers from a performance fitting standpoint and also just from a sales standpoint?

I’ll let T answer your questions

Thanx much

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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golfer4lfe January 8, 2013 at 4:14 am

RP J 2. From what myself and my co-workers found was, performance wise in no order would be,Titleist 910′s, Callaway RazrFit, Cobra AMP. Sales, R11s, Rocketballz, RazrFit. I would say that seemed what fit the masses best. The Ping G20 was one of the most forgiving, but lacked a little for better players. The Ping I20 was really good for better players. Also remember that I’m speaking in ‘stock configurations’. I feel the TMs really benefited from shaft upgrades or at least in the TP lines. Can’t wait to see what the upcoming year brings. Gonna get a sneak peek at the show in two weeks.
G4L

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RP Jacobs II January 8, 2013 at 10:30 am

G4L, thanx a lot for the reply. Your sales based driver #s were sorta like I figured.

It’s kind ironic on the fit/performance side cuz my driver rotation(all fit) consists of the D3, the i20 & the RBZ Tour. Last year I had the RBZ in my bag about 60% of the time, with the i20 about 30%, though I finished the season with it and had a 2nd in my Clubs & won a multi-club Match Play Championship, so it’s opening the season in my bag, HaHa.

The D3 was in for about 12-15 round(one month), and I loved the “feel” and I hit it well, though it lacked the “pop” of the i20 & the RBZ T, and I had the same shaft in it as I do the i20(Design Tour AD 9003 S(74gr). As far as “pop,” the i20 has it, hands down.

Again, thanx for the response

Have a great season, both in the shop & on the links

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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golfer4life January 9, 2013 at 7:29 am

RPJ2. I like all your pics you gamed and would have to agree with you. On a whole, 910 stuff seemed to produce the best #s because of the stock fitting options available. The problem with the TM stuff is that it either fit or didn’t. The shafts were what they were unless you wanted to pay the up-charge or TP. They were difficult to get good smash factor numbers. I know they had some problems with that because the tour guys were on there second and third versions of the RBZ & R11s drivers. From what I heard it was a consistency thing. (smash factor, yup they even miss the center. ha) As a better player what did you feel it lacked or excelled at?
Thanks
G4L

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GolfSpy T January 9, 2013 at 7:55 am

I don’t know about any consistency issues with the R11s. The 2nd version (V2) basically existed from the very beginning. Just like this season’s V2, last year’s was smaller and lighter. The smaller design allows for more versatility with shafts (heavier while maintaining ‘normal’ swing weights’, and also suites some player’s eyes better. TM claims launch and spin characteristics are the same. We’ve heard they spin less, but have never tested head to head. Also noteworthy is that last years’ V2 was available in 8*, whereas the retail model stopped at 9*. They were, however; from the inception fundamentally different heads.

Regarding the V3, again…this is distinctly different head from the V2 and I suppose what you could call V1 (retail). It was smaller still (number escapes me, but I believe it was 400ccs +/- 10 (again…not exactly positive…and it’s not that important in this context). Again…mostly player preference in that model, but wholly distinct from V1 and V2 models.

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golfer4life January 10, 2013 at 8:01 am

Thanks GolSpy T. That makes sense. From what I heard, also part of the smaller head was guys having a hard time working the ball. Felt they had to work to hard to move the ball flight around (felt it was hard to be consistent) with the larger head.
Thanks for the response.
Cheers
G4L

RP Jacobs II January 9, 2013 at 9:32 am

G4L, thanx on the pics. Regarding the D3, it lacked absolutely nothing, and from a purely #s standpoint, it had the the best #s inside. I’m real, real big on visual, as in lookin down and likin(lovin, lol) what I see at address. From this standpoint, I really liked the smaller, black, pear shape(traditional) look of the D3. I really, really wanted it’s on-course performance to match the numbers, cuz distance-wise, inside, it was #2(i20 #1, RBZ T #3), however, on the course it was a good 10-12yds behind the i20 and about 5-8yds behind the RBZ.

Though the shaft was the same as the i20(see above), the D3 has a 43.75″ shaft in it & my i20 has a 44.5″ shaft, as does my RBZ, so I realize that this will account for part of the distance gap. I believe that another factor in the distance difference is mental. I mean, I hit the RBZ & i20 in some fairly high pressure situations, and when I step up with them, especially the i20, there’s absolutely zero doubt in my mind that I’m gonna get every yard out of it that my swing can produce. I don’t talk about this a lot, cuz people might think I’m a little off(yea, like they don’t already, LOL), but in my mind, I own that club, along with the RBZ. I just don’t have that confidence level with the D3, so I really don’t think that on the course, at least, I don’t go “after it” like I do the other two.

The third factor, and you know this better than I, is that just because I have the same shaft in two different drivers doesn’t mean it’s apples-to-apples, cuz some shafts just fit some heads better/worse than others. The biggest factor of the three, to me at least, is the confidence level. I mean, I feel that I could pick up any driver, regardless of head or shaft, and within a few holes, at least keep it playable if I had to. But to walk up to a tee with the smirk that I sometimes have, knowing that I’m gonna get 265yds & 280yds if I “nut” it, well, that’s a different level, lol.

I actually won a long drive in a 32 man scratch swat last summer with the i20 @ 287yds(Sorry, no 320yds rockets here, lol, and actually, there were 5 drives past me, though none in the FW, however my Bro put it @302 about 2′ offa the FW, HaHa), and that drive is literally the drive that I visualize every time that I step up to the tee, and while I very rarely match that distance, in my mind, I put that swing on it.

So, there’s my amateur analysis, lol. It’s the indian, not the arrow. The D3 is a hell of a driver.

Have a good one

My Best,
Richard

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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RP Jacobs II January 10, 2013 at 7:46 am

As an aside, two of the three longest hitter in one if my swats play the D series. The one guy, an asst pro, plays the D2 & the other, a 1 hdcp, hits the D3. So that face is plenty hit enough with the right Indian firin, HaHa.

Have a good one

Fairways & Greens 4ever

RP Jacobs II January 10, 2013 at 7:48 am

Sorry, I keep hittin “I’s” instead of “O’s” on my damn phone, HaHa

Fairways & Greens 4ever

golfer4life January 10, 2013 at 7:51 am

Thanks Richard. Nice to get an ‘honest’ and well thought out reply. We share a lot of the same thoughts on what makes something go and or stay in the bag. When I look down, its got to look a certain way for me also. And that’s every club in the bag. Don’t tell anyone but, the difference in distance w/drivers when you get the right shaft in it is not much at all ;-) With that said, I have had a hard time with a driver that’s not some shade of black. Call me old and busted I guess ha. Also just as important for me is sound. I was not a happy camper a few years back when I felt like I was at a softball game while golfing. Glad for the most part they figured out how to make metal not sound so much like metal. I’m a big fan of the I20 also. Might be the best looking driver I’ve ever seen. If your not driving it 320, you prob should be testing 12 – 15 different balls. Opps sorry, wrong review haha
Long and straight
cheers,
Brian

RP Jacobs II January 10, 2013 at 8:49 am

G4L, my pleasure. If ya ever have the time, drop into the forum, especially the “Gentlemen’s” thread, though there are a lot of great threads and reviews.

And I don’t really know where you call home, but if ya ever get close to The Burgh, my #’s (412)897-5129. Some great swats at some great tracks, and your like the guys :-)

The Best to Ya,
Richard

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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GolfDose January 10, 2013 at 2:29 am

Taylormade done it again. I really want that RBZ Stage 2 set of driver and fairways.

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Alex January 10, 2013 at 8:19 am

Over the past 3+ years I’ve primarily played Ping drivers starting with the G15 and moving on to the G20. Both were played with the stock ping shafts in stiff at 44.5″. As someone obsessed with equipment I’ve bought/sold a number of other drivers over the years that normally are nothing more than a driving range experiment. Included sticks have been the TM Burner (OG), Nike VRS with upgraded Oban shaft, and i20. I’ve also had a chance to hit all of the many of the recent Callway releases, the Cobra Amp, Cleveland TL310 amongst others. All have been good sticks (as almost everything from the major OEM’s I touch seems decent these days), but nothing was ever really longer than the G20 or for that matter, the G15. However, I stumbled into a fitting at a TM Performance Lab in the DC area and took advantage of the opportunity. After the fitting, I walked out an RBZ Tour 9′ with Kai’li 70S shaft. Now, I cannot conclude if the results are due to the fitting or the club, but the RBZ Tour driver absolutely blows my other drivers out of the water. Playing a local muni that I’ve probably played 50 rounds on the past two years, I’ve seen spots of the course that I never dreamed of previously. Reached two of the par 5′s in two for the first time. Again, the RBZ Tour is not the only variable in the equation but I have to say it is the longest driver I have ever played. This is coming from someone who was never a TM fan previously and always liked the idea of a Ping driver in the bag. Now, if I can just find a way to get the sound of the RBZ Tour muted…..

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Alex January 10, 2013 at 10:04 am

Also – just wanted to add that I really enjoyed the article. Completely different spin than found on other golf sites with the regards to the TM release.

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RP Jacobs II January 13, 2013 at 10:30 am

Alex, great post. Yea, I really like the RBZ T, though I have to say that for whatever reason, the sound doesn’t bother me. My bro, on the other hand, who is one of the 2-3 longest hitters outa our club, absolutely crushed my RBZ, and he plays a totally different shaft set-up than me(his ss is 117-120 all day vs. my 108-110, lol), yet the sound so “annoyed” him that he wouldn’t even finish a round with it.

And, like you, he put it places that his fit G15, never went, about 10-15yds longer than the Ping. He normally will put 4-5 drives over 300 in a round(He’s a 3 hdcp), yet the day he hit my RBZ, his first 3/4 were between 302-311yds and he hit his G15 on the last 8 drives cuz of the sound. Go figure, lol

Anyway, nice post.

Drop in again & visit the forum if ya have the time

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Moo January 10, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Great article! I didn’t like the white until I got my RBZ Tour Driver! I’m a Taylormade fan, but I’m not sure why there are so many silly haters??? Really, they’re just golf clubs, why so uppity? I just purchased a RBZ Tour TP Rescue 3. Wow, it’s super long and I had to pull my 3 wood out of the bag. The Matrix Altus 85 shaft is phenomenal and I was hitting it as long as my driver on the range. Can’t wait to try the Tour Spoon Fairway!

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katie January 10, 2013 at 8:42 pm
RP Jacobs II January 14, 2013 at 3:20 am

First Katie, welcome to the blog. Now, I gotta question for ya. Puttin aside all of this super-duper technology(gee, it’s nice to see that the Japanese market is bombarded by the same rhetoric as us, HaHa), are ya tellin me/us that the average “Joe” is gonna launch bombs with this 46.75″ shafted, 275gr driver?

Light n’ Long=Longer, is that the gist of it?

Hmmmmm, lemme get back to ya on that, lol ;-)

Have a good one Buddie :-)

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Ari Marcus January 11, 2013 at 10:07 am

I like how the Stage 2 has a straight grey line on the crown, probably for aesthetics but can serve as an alignment aid. The R1 seems to busy for me on the crown. WIsh they would’ve stuck with the all white crown, but Taylormade is all about innovation and raising the bar.

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Choppersmakemelaugh January 20, 2013 at 6:10 pm

I think someone on this forum said the R1 was ugly, cheap and gimmicky…. Well that’s makes it 2 out of 3 for the R1 2013 and counting. Not to forget about Sergio’s win.

You all keep hating TM will keep winning.

Lets not forget about the fact Tm’s engineers are so far ahead of other OEM’s it’s frightening. They will have 80 drivers in play a week by yrs end.

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Lou Cherniss February 8, 2013 at 11:33 pm

Barf……..,’nuff said.

I’ve ordered a new Krank Element…….if it’s gonna be ugly at least I want it to be different.

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Desmond February 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Enjoyed the article.

I demoed the R1 on an outside range. Of course, I don’t have numbers. But feel and sound were terrific even with a misfit shaft (I take R flex, they only had S flex). I’ve never really liked Aldila shafts and TM doesn’t really have a liteweight alternative – that’s perplexing.

As to the graphics, they’re cool. I don’t notice them when swinging. I don’t let trivial, anal issues bother me – lol. If it helps me aim straighter, give me graphics and give me fairways.

As to length, it carried as far as my Adams 9088/Fuji Blur 55 and was more consistent. Perhaps I liked the slightly heavier swing weight.

While the faceplate does not change the face angle, it does help to lay the club square (or whatever angle you like) at address. It’s a fine club. I’m considering it. Now let’s see more shaft options…

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Pat February 26, 2013 at 6:38 pm

X Hot!!!

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Desmond April 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Okay, it’s 6 weeks later, and I’ve hit the TM Stage 2 fairways and hybrids several times against Adams Super S, LS, and the XHot.

I seem to get along with the Stage 2 Tour in Fairway and Hybrids, and even with the heavier shaft, I’m getting better distance consistency with Stage 2 versus the competition. Callaway is very nice and consistent, but not as long … for me.

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Rob Burrows April 26, 2013 at 10:01 am

I grabbed the demo with the stiff Fujikura TP shaft set at 9.5 and square, walked onto the first tee and hit it straight down the middle, long with very little effort. Easy to work the ball, long and amazing feel. I went back and bought it the next day. I love the graphics, tweak ability and the upgraded shaft is awesome! It truly feels like cheating and if you don’t have this weapon in your bag, well it sucks to be you! Can’t wait to start hammering it by my brother!!!!

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GolfSpy T January 14, 2013 at 8:03 am

Marty – Please do post links to a couple of the articles you reference (re: science of lofts, best results, etc.). I’d definitely be curious to read them.

I would actually disagree that TaylorMade doesn’t make it known that Tour Issue heads are different. Certainly they’re not going to put a disclaimer on the club at retail (Note: This is not identical to what is played by our tour pros), but I would suggest to you that as far as lack of, or mis-information about tour vs. retail, NOBODY is more upfront about it than TaylorMade. The differences are well documented, and the reason for that is TaylorMade doesn’t appear to have any reservations about sharing that TI and retail are different…and they’re different because the swing of the average golfer (including the majority of very good golfers) is almost nothing like the swing of the average tour pro. The equipment needs are fundamentally different, and TaylorMade accounts for that in what I believe is a reasonable fashion.

The problem for TaylorMade and most any other OEM is that even the most average golfers can convince himself that something about what he does in the golf swing makes him an ideal candidate for a tour issue (or similarly designed PRO version of a retail club). You make those heads readily available, guys are going to buy them…including lots of guys who have no business doing so, and when they don’t perform, TaylorMade’s brand will suffer for it.

Here’s the reality – Nike, Callaway, Adams, PING, COBRA and probably everyone else has ‘Tour Issue’ heads that are not quite retail in their design. I would challenge you to find another OEM for which the distinctions between the tour heads and retail ones are so readily available.

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