Though the competition is fierce, substantial tour and consumer validation have cemented TaylorMade’s place in the vanguard of golf driver design. With some of golf’s top players on their tour staff – Dustin Johnson and Jason Day to name two – and others playing the driver just because they want to, TaylorMade would be justified sitting on their laurels. But they don’t and are constantly pushing the envelope and searching for more distance, control, adjustability and forgiveness.
TGW happily accepts a regular invite to TaylorMade headquarters, interviewing the product design team and, across the street at The Kingdom at TaylorMade, capturing feedback from TGW customers as they try the new products. The result are the golf driver reviews you see below.
Upgrading Golf’s Most Dominant Drivers: Reviewing the M1 and M2 Drivers
Calling TaylorMade’s M1 and M2 drivers anything other than a smashing success in 2016 would be a significant understatement. Jason Day and Dustin Johnson rose to No. 1 and No. 2 in the world using M1 drivers, while J.B. Holmes led the PGA Tour in driving distance using an M1 430.
M2, meanwhile, dominated driver counts at Tour events throughout the latter half of the year and even made its way into the bag of Tiger Woods when he made his long-awaited return at the Hero World Challenge in December.
Even more importantly, recreational golfers followed suit in spades, as the unmistakable black and white crowns of M1 and M2 were prevalent at golf courses and driving ranges throughout the world. All said, 2016 did nothing but enhance TaylorMade’s reputation for producing the No. 1 drivers in golf.
“The introduction of M and the way it took over both on Tour and in the marketplace … it really was a revolutionary product,” said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade Senior Director of Product Creation for Metalwoods.
Of course, in the world of golf, technology never stands still, and TaylorMade is a company that will never rest on its laurels, which is why it went to work throughout the last year on ways to make M1 and M2 better.
That hard work has resulted in brand new M1 and M2 models, both of which are delivering improved performance and enhanced forgiveness, a combination that will benefit players of all ability levels.
TaylorMade M1 Driver: In terms of the new M1, its construction now features 43 percent more carbon, including a lighter six-layer carbon crown and a carbon toe panel on the sole. The weight saved in that design approach allows for a lower CG placement, which delivers improved launch conditions and most importantly higher MOI. And that enhanced forgiveness was a priority for TaylorMade engineers.
“The M1 is still about personalization but one of the things we did hear was that it could be more forgiving,” Bazzel said. “Even the best players in the world want ball speed protection, and the new M1 is considerably more forgiving, which is a dramatic step forward.”
Additionally, the weight saved in constructing the clubhead enabled the T-Track system to be revamped. The new M1’s back track is now longer and its weight is two grams heavier, which gives players the ability to even further fine tune their launch and spin conditions.
Players will also notice that the new M1, while still at 460cc, features a slightly larger overall profile than its predecessor, which also contributes to increased forgiveness. And in addition to being moved lower, the CG has also been moved slightly more forward to keep spin rates down and to maintain higher ball speeds from impact points across the face.
Also a focus for TaylorMade with the new M1 driver were improved sound and feel, as the internal acoustic management system was modified to work better with the new materials used in the construction of the clubhead, with the result being more controlled vibration and pitch at impact.
Players will also have the option of selecting a 440cc model in the M1. In addition to the smaller profile, it also features a deeper face and three grams of additional weight in the T-Track, all of which are designed for the player who values maximum workability in a driver.
The M1 also features an impressive lineup of stock shaft options that will fit the needs of most players. Being offered are the Fujikura XLR8 Pro 56 (high launch, mid-to-high spin), the Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Dual Core Silver TiNi 60 (mid launch, low-to-mid spin), and the Project X HZRDUS Yellow 65 (low launch, low spin). There are also 30 additional premium shafts available at no upcharge for players in need of a different profile.
M1 drivers will come at a stock length of 45.5 inches and also once again feature a lightweight aluminum loft sleeve that will allow players to adjust loft by +/- 2 degrees. The stock grip for the new M1 will be the Lampkin UTX Cord, and available lofts will be 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, and 12 degrees. There will not, however, be a 12-degree option in the 440cc head, and the lone options for left-handers are the 460cc head designs in 9.5 or 10.5 degrees.
TaylorMade M2 Driver: As far as the new M2 driver is concerned, it also features significant upgrades.
“I didn’t predict the level of excitement of the (original) M2 on Tour,”Bazzel said. “With the new M2, we had to push the limits. We had to use clever geometric shaping to give the player more forgiveness, and we also wanted to give them incredible, explosive sound.”
Arguably most notable on the list of changes for the new M2 is a redesigned Speed Pocket that is three times more flexible than its predecessor, which creates and preserves more ball speed from all impact points.
Also new is what TaylorMade is referring to as Geocoustic Technology, which as the name might suggest is a combination of geometry and acoustics that makes the new M2 more forgiving thanks to its modified shape and gives it better sound and feel at impact.
Additionally, the combination of carbon and titanium used in the head construction created 25 grams of discretionary weight that enabled mass to be moved low and back in the clubhead. The result is a driver that exceeds 5,000 MOI points while still delivering high launch conditions and low spin rates.
A new D-Type model will also be available as part of the M2 driver lineup, with both versions being 460cc clubheads. By having slight offset and being more heel-weighted, the D-Type has a built-in draw bias to help players who struggle to square the clubface at impact, which will help eliminate an unwanted fade or slice.
The M2 will feature the Fujikura XLR8 Pro 56 (high launch, mid-to-high spin) as its stock shaft, while the M2 D-Type comes standard with the Matrix Ozik White Tie 55 (high launch, mid-to-high spin). There are also 30 additional premium shafts available at no upcharge for players in need of a different fit.
Both M2 driver models will come at a stock length of 45.75 inches and feature lightweight aluminum loft sleeves that will allow players to adjust loft by +/- 2 degrees. The stock grip will be the TaylorMade Dual Feel and available lofts will be 9.5, 10.5, and 12 degrees, with the 12-degree option not available for left-handers.
There also will be women’s M2 and M2 D-Type drivers available, both of which will come at a stock length of 44.5 inches and for right-handers only in lofts of 10.5 and 12 degrees. The stock shaft for women in the M2 will be the REAX 45 and in the D-Type will be the Matrix Ozik White Tie 45. Both women’s models will also come standard with Winn Dual Feel grips.
All said, when it comes to the new M1 and M2 drivers, TaylorMade is excited about the early feedback it has been getting and feeling quite good about what it has accomplished from a design standpoint, especially given that improving on such widely popular and effective products presented some obvious challenges.
“Overall, I don’t know that golfers will appreciate the level of advancement in forgiveness in these products,” Bazzel acknowledged. “The materials changed, and the construction process in which we put these products together is about ninety percent different. It was all done to make a revolutionary product line even better, and that’s probably what I’m most proud of.”