TaylorMade Golf has released their 2009 golf lineup and it's a doozy. Boasting some pretty snazzy technology and giving you enough options to make your head spin, TaylorMade has something to offer to every level of golfer from the high-handicap duffer to the gearhead who tweaks his clubs after every round.
Yes, we quite frequently poke fun at the folks at TaylorMade for releasing a new driver every other week, but once in awhile they release some equipment that causes you to stop what your doing and pay attention. And they have some of that with this new lineup. How good is it? Ask Pat Perez who won the Bob Hope over the weekend with the R9 driver in his bag. So join me as we see the latest and greatest from the folks at TaylorMade.
We've come a long way since the days since the r7. With the R9, you now have what TaylorMade calls Flight Control Technology (FCT), which by using a wrench, you can change the face angle, loft angle and lie angle. Customization is a wonderful thing.
How does this newfangled technology work? Well, there is a a small metallic sleeve positioned over the tip of the shaft. The shaft is then secured to the clubhead with a specially made bolt in the bottom of the clubhead which was "designed to be retained in the well to eliminate the chance of losing it", which is a great since you now that would be the first thing golfers will lose (or quite possibly the wrench).
The FCT sleeve is made from 7075-T6 aluminum alloy and is "ringed around the bottom with small teeth, which tightly mesh with a second ring of matching teeth within the hosel." You can change the clubhead's face angle, loft angle and lie angle just by loosening the FCT bolt, removing the shaft from the head, rotate the sleeve and shaft into the specific position you desire then lock them into that position within the head with the FCT bolt. So easy, even a club pro can do it! (We kid…)
Prior to this, in order to change the face, loft, and lie angles you would have the hosel bent by someone who knows what they are doing and unless you knew the guys in the Tour vans, that could be a hit and miss proposition. Now you can do the same thing without the worry about potential damage to your club. Information overload, here I come.
For those of you who have previously used the r7 line with the Moveable Weight Technology (MWT), the R9 is no different in this regard. The clubhead has three weight ports and comes with one 16-gram and two 1-gram weights. Put the heavy weight in the heel port to give you a draw, the toe port to give you a fade, and in the middle port for straight flight. According to TaylorMade, with all the various clubhead characteristics settings and weight configurations, you have up to "75 yards of side-to-side trajectory change", otherwise known as the fairway to the right and left of the one you are playing.
The new wrench can be used with both the FCT bolt and the movable weights and is designed specifically for the R9 as the bolt requires 40 inch-pounds of torque to tighten fully (older MWT wrenches deliver only 30 inch-pounds of torque). Just like the older wrenches, the R9 wrench "click" when either the FCT bolt or MWT weights have been tightened.
The R9 driver has a new clubhead shape that combines the shape of the r7 SuperQuad with the r7 Limited, which is a more triangular shape with "beautifully contoured corners." According to TaylorMade, "the triangular shape offers four distinct advantages:
- It allows for a deep back, far-from-the-face CG location that makes it easier to launch the ball.
- It contributes to a higher MOI for greater stability on off-center hits.
- It allows for an exceptionally low CG location that's lower than that of the r7 Limited and the r7 SuperQuad.
- It works more efficiently with MWT, allowing it to use only three ports and cartridges to more effectively influence trajectory than the r7 SuperQuad could with four."
In addition, the R9 utitlizes TaylorMade's "Ultra-Thin Wall (UTW) technology" which allows the clubhead walls to be be a scant 0.6 millimeters thus allowing more weight to be moved for the Moveable Weight Technology and a lower and deeper center of gravity to be possible. Less weight equals more speed.
Toss in the old reliable Inverted Cone Technology and you get a clubface that has an expanded area that serves up higher ball speed. Higher moment-of-inertia, lower center-of-gravity and the Inverted Cone Technology gives you a much more forgiving driver. I for one will gladly take some extra forgiveness, thank you very much.
The shaft for the standard version is a Fujikura Motore graphite shaft with High Inertia Tip (H.I.T.) technology (kudos to the marketing folks for that one). The 65-gram shaft has an advanced tip construction to help promote a faster ball speed. The R9 TP comes with a Fujikura Motore F1 65-gram shaft with H.I.T. engineered to be slightly stiffer and with lower torque.
The R9 driver will be offered in 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5°degree lofts for righties and 9.5° and 10.5° for lefties in X, S, R and M shaft flexes. The MSRP is a cool $500 (about $400 street), while the R9 TP comes in 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5° lofts for righties and 9.5° and 10.5° for lefties in X, S, and R shaft flexes. The MSRP is $600 (about $500 street), and you can pick up either one of these bad boys starting on March 20, 2009, which is conveniently around my birthday. Thank you TaylorMade!
R9 Fairway Woods
The R9 fairway woods incorporate the same FCT technology as the drivers so we won't spend much time going over the details again. Rather than 75 yards of side-to-side trajectory change, the R9 fairway wood gives you 35 yards.
The R9 fairway wood's clubhead features the same "new classic" shape as the R9 driver in order to give you "a clubhead that's particularly easy to aim and which sets up cleanly and beautifully behind the ball at address." It looks quite inviting.
The center-of-gravity location is "more than 50 percent lower than the similarly sized r7 fairway woods" which make the R9 fairways easier to launch than their predecessor. The new classic shape also gives you a higher moment-of-inertia for more stability on those pesky off-center hits and the underside of the head has a more rounded and beveled sole design than previous TaylorMade metalwoods which reduces the amount of sole surface that comes into contact with the turf. Less of chance for you to lay out the sod. Doesn't get any better than that.
The R9 fairways come with a 70-gram Fujikura Motore graphite shaft in X, S and R shafts for both righties and lefties with loft options including a Tour 3-wood (13°), 3-wood (15°), 4-wood (17°), and 5-wood (19°) and carry a MSRP of $275 per club (about $230 street).
The R9 TP version comes with a "more advanced, tour-caliber" 85-gram Fujikura Motore F1. Loft options include a Tour 3-wood (13°), 3-wood (15°), 4-wood (17°), and 5-wood (19°) in X, S and R shafts for both righties and lefties and will carry an MSPR of $360 (about $300 street) per club. Both versions are available on March 20th.
The Rescue 2009 is a throwback in a way as the clubhead size is similar to the original Rescue Mid as opposed to the over-sized hybrids being put on the market today. The Rescue 2009 boasts a "two-tiered, monochromatic crown and silver clubface" which is huge improvement in my opinion over the Rescue Mid's appearance.
A crown decal is "strategically positioned" in order to make alignment easier so that your clubface is positioned properly to your target-line, thus helping out with your accuracy (although you still have to make the swing).
The Rescue hybrid's size, while similar to the original Rescue Mid, also boasts UTW technology in the crown, so weight is saved and moved in order to lower the center-of-gravity location.
The sole has been redesigned and has recessed areas in the toe and heel to lessen turf interaction and reduce twisting or slowing down clubhead speed. Any time you have less of chance to chunk one is a good bit of design.
The Rescue 2009 comes in two flavors, the standard Rescue and the Rescue TP with the big difference being that the Rescue TP hybrid has the same Flight Control Technology (FCT) technology that's in the R9 driver and fairway woods, while the standard Rescue hybrid does not. For those who like to tweak their clubs, the TP version might be for you.
The Rescue TP hybrid comes with the Aldila Voodoo VS8 graphite shaft with S-core technology, which has an internal carbon-fiber rib system to stabilize the shaft's cross-section. According to Aldila, "S-core technology increases the Voodoo's hoop stiffness by 80% compared to conventional graphite shafts, allowing the Voodoo to better resist ovaling and deformation during the swing, which in turn maximizes energy transfer to the ball to promote increased distance." This allows the shaft to be constant throughout the swing which leads to greater consistently in order to square the clubface to the ball with more regularity and giving you
The Rescue TP comes in X, S, and R flexes. More options abound as the Rescue TP hybrid is also available in two custom shaft options, the Fujikura Motore 85 graphite hybrid shaft and the Matrix Ozik Altus Hybrid graphite shaft; both in X, S and R flexes.
The standard Rescue hybrid comes with an Aldila RE*AX 65-gram graphite shaft and in S, R, and M flexes is offered in 2-wood (17°), 3-wood (19°), 4-wood (22°), and 5-wood (25°) for righties and 3-wood (19°), 4-wood (22°), and 5-wood (25°) for lefties. The Rescue TP hybrid is offered in 2-wood (17°), 3-wood (19°), and 4-wood (22°) for righties and lefties. Both become available on May 1st. The Rescue hybrid will carry a MSRP of $199 (street of about $160) while the TP version carries a MSRP of $249 with a street price of about $200.and it becomes available at retail on May 1st.
Burner 2009 Irons
The Burner 2009 irons were designed with blending more forgiveness and giving you more distance in mind. The long-irons, middle-irons and short-irons were all designed separately by the TaylorMade's "iron-creation team" who started with the 4-iron with the goal to make it forgiving and long. They accomplished this by thinning the clubface as much as possible to make it more flexible and faster for a higher coefficient of restitution.
Custom 450 stainless steel alloy was used for added strength, allowing 1.9 mm thickness across most of the face. Inverted Cone Technology was used in the back of the clubface to in order to increase ball-speed on those pesky off-center hits. The clubhead is increased in sized by expanding the perimeter which increases the moment-of-inertia "to a higher level than any previous TaylorMade iron."
The width of the sole was increased as well in order to get the center-of-gravity lower and farther away for the clubface. The offset was increased as well in order to make it a bit easier to square the face at impact. The top line is thicker to give you the appearance of more mass behind the ball at address which should help give you more confidence.
The mid-irons and the short irons are a bit smaller in size in comparison to the long-irons but share many of the same design characteristics. The mid-irons boast a slightly thinner topline and sole than the long irons while the short irons have a slightly thinner topline and sole than the mid-irons.
Taylormade's SuperFast Technology "now incorporates progressive coefficient of restitution, progressive moment-of-inertia, and progressive shaft-length, starting with the short-irons up through the long-irons" as well as ultra-light shafts and grips." All of this gives you faster ball speed and more forgiveness as you progress from a lot of loft like found in the shorter irons to a little loft such as found in the longer irons and is important to having the longer irons give you the type of ball flight and distance that they're intended to.
While there are distinctive differences in the Burner 2009 irons, they do share many of the same design elements. The first is each iron has a "multi-functional" sole with beveled edges and consistent thickness.
Another element is the Inverted Cone Technology which is located in the back of each Burner's cavity, expanding the size of the clubface area that delivers the high ball speed. This gives you more distance on off-center hits which in turns gives you a much more consistent distance from shot to shot.
Like the rest of TaylorMade's iron lineup as of late, a sound-managing cavity badge is positioned in the back cavity which "utilizes a multi-layer construction composed of carbon composite, aluminum and ABS polymer" and is affixed to the back of the clubface with a thin visco-elastic layer which TaylorMade claims "gives you a softer sound and vibration of impact to promote the kind of soft feel that forged irons are known for delivering."
The Burner 2009 irons come available in full sets that include 4-iron through attack wedge. You can add a 3-iron, sand wedge and lob wedge to your set as you desire as well. All the clubs are offered for righties and lefties except the lob wedge is only available for righites (no love for you lefties).
The MSRP for a set with steel shafts is $840 with a street price of about $700 while the MSRP for a set with graphite shafts is $1,080 with a street price of about $900. The MSRP for individual clubs is $105 (street about $90) with steel shaft and $135 (street about $113) with graphite shaft. Flexes are available in S and R in steel and S, R and M in graphite. You can add the Burner 2009 to your bag on March 20th.
Okay, I want the R9 driver, fairway wood, and the Rescue TP. Enough said. My last four drivers have been TaylorMade with the last two being the r7 and the r7 460 TP. I don't mess around the weights that much in the past but the ability to further tweak my clubs to fit my goofy swing characteristics on my own is very exciting. My only concern with all the options is that I might screw around with settings myself rather than having the settings set for my under the watchful eye of my instructor.
Nonetheless, this is an exciting lineup and March can't get here fast enough to get these into my hands. Hopefully,this will also be the last driver TaylorMade releases for awhile as well.