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TaylorMade r5 Dual Driver Review

Aug. 10, 2005     By     Comments (33)

The TaylorMade r5 Dual drivers incorporate design elements from the successful r7 Quad drivers in a bigger clubhead. The new design has both benefits and drawbacks.

TaylorMadeTaylorMade Golf has surged to the top of the driver marketplace over the last few years. The company which first popularized the modern metalwood fell off the pace a bit in the late '90s, but rebounded strongly with its 300 and 500 series titanium drivers. TaylorMade successfully followed those products with the r7 Quad driver, which stands as one of the most-played - and most-imitated - drivers on tour and at retail.

This year, TaylorMade applied some of the design principles of the r7 Quad to the new r5 Dual series. We had a chance to take one of the r5 Dual models for an extended test drive. Read on to see what we thought.

TaylorMade R5 SoleAt first glance, the r5 looks quite a bit like the r7. But a closer look reveals that the design breakthrough of the r7 - removable weights that can be changed to fine-tune your ball flight and trajectory - is altered considerably in the r5. Instead of having four TLC (TaylorMade Launch Control) ports like the r7, the r5 has two ports. And while the r7's weights are interchangeable, the r5 has fixed weights.

According to TaylorMade, the design rationale behind the r5 and its fixed-weight design was to simplify the process of configuring the weights. So the r5 is available in two standard versions: Type D and Type N. The r5 Dual Type D driver has more weight placed toward the heel and a "pull-heel" design that combine to help golfers hit a draw (or minimize a slice). The r5 Dual Type N driver has the weight distributed more evenly between the weight ports and a more pear-shaped head design to allow more workability to golfers who like to shape their shots. (There is also an r5 Dual TP driver with moveable weights, but more on that later.)

I tested the r5 Dual Type N driver with a 9.5° head and the stock M.A.S. stiff graphite shaft. The Sand Trap's Erik J. Barzeski also tested the r5 Dual Type N, and I'll include his feedback along with mine.

Construction
The biggest difference between the r7 and r5 drivers, literally, is the size. While the r7 is in the 400cc area, the r5 drivers spec out at 450cc, just a hair shy of the USGA/R&A limitation of 460cc. What makes bigger better for so many players is that a larger driver head has a higher moment of inertia (MOI), or resistance to twisting. So when you hit the ball off-center, a higher MOI will help stabilize the clubhead and keep your shot from going as far off-line.

TaylorMade R5 Face
The r5 features a 450cc clubhead to help increase MOI and minimize the penalty in hitting shots off-center. The large face should do its share to inspire confidence, too.

Aside from size and the aforementioned moveable vs. non-moveable weights, the r5 drivers are built with the same proven technologies used in the r7 and other recent generations of TaylorMade titanium drivers. This includes Inverted Cone Technology (ICT), which is meant to create a larger sweet spot, and Super-Thin Wall (STW) technology to move unneeded weight from the walls of the golf club to the TLC ports. The r5 Dual drivers also have a deep face design, which helps launch the ball with less spin.

Esthetics
TaylorMade R5 AddressThe r5 Dual drivers aren't the shy type. They are big and bold in every way. Even though TaylorMade is 10cc shy of the size limit, these drivers look even bigger than many drivers that claim to be right at the 460cc mark. The large, metallic black clubhead seems to dwarf the golf ball at address, making the small, subtle TaylorMade logo on the crown a very useful alignment aid. The clubhead seems to set up a few degrees closed - a little bit more than I'm used to seeing even with today's monster-sized heads.

When viewed from the bottom or side, the r5 drivers look very futuristic and high-tech. The polished metal of the club's sleek sole runs from the leading edge back to the TLC ports, which are positioned about a half-inch away from each other and look a bit like dual exhaust pipes on a sports car.

I really liked the looks of the r5 Dual Type N that I tested. The sharp angle of the toe and the keel-like sole actually reminded me of the "Star Trek"-esque esthetic of the old Big Bertha War Bird drivers, which is a good association.

The only part of the clubhead that didn't click for me was the clubface. The brushed metal finish is stark, with five short grooves on either side of the center of the clubface and a small r5 logo toward the high toe area. Compared with the rest of the clubhead, the face seemed a little unfinished. It isn't bad, it just stands out from the rest of the club's appearance.

TaylorMade R5 Toe
When viewed from the bottom or side, the r5 drivers look very futuristic and high-tech. The polished metal of the club's sleek sole runs from the leading edge back to the TLC ports.

The rest of the club is a very bold presentation. The stock M.A.S. S-65 graphite shaft is a strong red color for a few inches below the grip, then gray the rest of the way to the head. Aside from a small r5 logo, all the shaft's graphics are hidden on the underside of the shaft at address. This combination of colors, along with a bright yellow accent color, are repeated on the large, cushy headcover, which feels and stretches like neoprene and has a long sock-like extension at the end to protect the shaft while the club is in your bag.

Performance
TaylorMade R5 BottomWhenever anyone asks me for advice on buying golf clubs, the first thing I always tell them is to get fitted before they buy anything. The experience Erik and I had with the r5 Dual Type N drivers on the course is a good example of why fitting is so important. We both had issues with the performance of the driver that could have probably been eliminated from the start with a properly fit shaft.

The main issue both of us had was with hitting the ball left off the tee. The r5 Type N is set up with neutral weighting, but we both found it to produce draws on a regular basis. Erik reported that other testers who tried the driver had similar experiences with the exception of one tester who usually hits a cut off the tee - he hit the ball straight with the r5 Dual Type N.

Erik alleviated the problem by opening the face a few degrees at address, while I adjusted my setup by opening my stance a bit and playing for a fade. Once we made these adjustments, the r5 really came to life. Distance on drives was right there with other top drivers on the market, and off-center hits didn't lose much distance.

For me, the r5 had a medium trajectory and good roll in the fairway. Erik found the trajectory a bit high, but found that the ball still got through the wind with ease. We both thought the shaft rewarded a smooth swing, which is good, though it was harder to control the direction of the ball when, as Erik put it, you want to "step on it."

TaylorMade R5 Back
The r5 Dual's weight ports are fixed in the non-TP version. If you want to move them, spring for the Tour Preferred.

The thing I liked best about the r5 Dual Type N was the sound and feel at impact. I would characterize them as "meaty." When you make a good swing, you're rewarded with a deep metallic "ching" sound and very solid feedback to your hands. It reminded me of the old Titleist 975D driver in both respects, only amplified, which is a very good thing.

Conclusion
If properly fit, the TaylorMade r5 drivers can be very good drivers. Based on the experience Erik and I had with the Type N version of the driver, I would suggest the follow as a general rule:

  • If you tend to slice the ball a lot, try the r5 Type D
  • If you play a fade and your main miss is a big slice, try the r5 Type N
  • If you hit the ball straight or fight a draw/hook, try the r5 Type N with a very strong shaft or look at the r7

That said, I'd love to try the r5 Dual TP (Tour Preferred) version of the driver. It has a clubhead that is the same as the r5 Dual Type N, but with interchangeable TLC cartridges. I'm willing to bet that shifting a bit more weight toward the toe of the club would have put an end to the leftward shots Erik and I both experienced.

TaylorMade R5 Trajectories
If you hit the ball straight or fight a hook, you may want to look at the r5 TP or the r7 instead of the r5 Dual N.

I would compare the standard r5 drivers very favorably with other drivers with fixed weights, like the MACTEC NVG driver. In all the r5 Dual drivers are a solid sidekick for the r7 Quad drivers in the TaylorMade product line, offering a size and type of performance for nearly any golfer.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (33)

Discussion

  1. Joe says:

    With a heat gun, some patience, and a pair of needle noise pliers, you can easily remove the weights on the regular (non TP) R5. The weights in there are screwed in, but also epoxied, hence the need for a heat gun to remove them. This will void your warantee, but it's an easy way to essentially get a R5 TP for $250.

  2. Gary says:

    VERY VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE R5. I purchased the stiff 9.5 N and I play with a fade but it doesn't look like the fade is showing up anymore. I am killing the ball when I hit it, and the ball going right down the fairway. My only complaint is that I am setting my tee very high for this club and it makes me a bit nervous. Other than that.....This club is perfect for me.

  3. Justin says:

    Does anybody know anything about the TaylorMade r5 XL driver? This is a new version sold exclusively at Dick's Sporting Goods? I'm having trouble finding information on it. Is it an upgrade or update to the r5 Dual?

  4. C Walker says:

    The 'XL' stands for Extra Large, and is a 460cc version.

  5. Russ A says:

    I also have found that the R5 Neutral, has a tendency to draw. I usually have a straight ball flight and I have to adjust my swing to hit a little cut to get a straight ball flight out of it.

  6. Yaron says:

    I just bought this club, and based on what I am reading here I think I made the right choice. I have to go to the driving range later and get a real feel for it, but based on what I have read, I will be happy.

  7. Justin says:

    FYI...You need to get the TP version to have a square face. The non TP version has a closed face.

  8. Geil says:

    The R5 dual type N is made in heaven. I have tried a lot of drivers already but this is the best I had. It is very easy to hit 300 yards. Forgiveness and feel are excellent.

  9. Ray says:

    I love my R5. I tend to hit a draw and thought this would be the exact for me, but I guess with the right shaft anything is possible. I do find it hard to be consistent, one time 340 the next 280.

  10. Mike says:

    I bought a r5 duel driver used but I'm not sure whether I have a d or n version, how can I tell which one I have?

  11. Mike says:

    I bought the r5 N used for $75.00 and it has really payed off for me, even when you misshit the club you still get a descent drive but if you hit it clean you get a massive drive and straight down the line, I love this club!!

  12. Willy says:

    I've been playing the R5 d for a year now and thought I had the best driver made. Not the perfect one but the best that I could hit. It was consistent and mostly straight (when I made good contact). Tried many brands. Then tried the Ping G5. I think I may have to say goodbye to R5 and replace it with the G5.

  13. David says:

    I bought the R5 Dual TP and love it. Per Mike's question, the D or N is specified between the weights on a regular R5. For those of you thinking about the TP driver, it isn't just a removable weight R5 as noted in the heat gun response by Joe. The TP features a Diamonte shaft as well as a square face. The shaft will last the lifetime of the club and will retain it's properties even after tens of thousands of swings. The shaft alone is worth about $200 and the club is now selling for $299 as it is no longer being manufactured.

  14. Jordab says:

    i just recently bought this club (r5). i was using a nike fusion driver with slice on most drives. now i bought this club and i hit it either strait or with a slight draw, which i prefer over a slice. i used to drive about 260, but now im going strait and it goes about 280 yards. this is a great club with a great value!!

  15. Zach says:

    :evil:

    i bought this club three days ago and when i took it out on the range today the head cracked on the last ball.....needless to say i no longer have a useable R5

  16. Bryan W. says:

    :mad:

    you don't really need to golf its fun but buing a club that costs that much isn't worth it! its a lot for 1 club i tend to like to spend my money on a baseball bat or something that is more useful

  17. mike says:

    i had a r5 but just got a r5 tp i am supprised at the difference in weight of the tp it feels heaver / having trouble getting use to it but still love the club.

  18. Steve says:

    I have been using the R5 for almost a year now and I love it as well. I am having a problem with the ball going right and to fix that I have to set the ball outside my front foot which makes it very awkward to line up although it goes straight. I can hit other drivers lined up normally. If anyone has any thoughts, please let me know. I've spent time on the range and just can't get it to work out. I have the R5 N type with Stiff shaft. :???:

  19. Nick says:

    Ive got this in neutral 10.5 stiff shaft and i found it difficult at first as the shaft, although right for me was a change to the regular flex im used to. But soon as i got used to it (3weeks 4 rounds) im nailing the ball about 280yrds. But every now and then a loss of concentration makes a fade. However this is definately a worthwhile club to buy.

  20. Nick says:

    To stop the fade all i do is close my wrists a bit more on impact but to move forwards into my swing sooner thus the ball is hit with a squarer club face. thats what worked for me anyway, hope this helps steve.

  21. NABICUS says:

    I WENT TO dICK'S AND HIT ABOUT 100 BALLS WITH 5 DRIVERS. NIKE, TAYLOR MADE AND ONE OTHER. I ACTUALLY (DARN caps) i actually tried the 10.5, 9.5 flex and stiff shafts and for me, the 9.5 stiff is perfect. I tend to slice or fade when I dig in and really swing. My ball speed was around 140-150 and I was hitting the ball 245-260 yards and staying within an acceptable range off center line.(for me). INcluded in that yardage was 10-15 yards of roll after initial ball mark. I have my found my driver. And for 129.99, what a deal.
    I cant afford 250-300 for a driver, but this was too good to pass up.
    Highly recommend it for an intermediate golfer like myself. :mrgreen:

  22. LUIA says:

    FUCK I cant hit bought i bought sumo and it is totally different buy it and you will get aprox 20 or 30 yards more

  23. Bob says:

    Steve, time to get back to basics. First, put the ball back into the traditional position inside your left heal (I assume you're a rightie). Second, keep your right elbow attached your body on your take-away. This will control your plane. When you come back down into the ball make sure that right elbow is attached to your bodie as that is the "slot" everyone talks about. If that doesnt straighten your ball, check your grip. The "V's" formed by your right and left hand should point to your right shoulder. If this doesnt work I'll eat my hat.
    Bob

  24. Tyler says:

    :cry: just bought this club today and only a couple balls into the session the head cracked. Its being sent in and I'm hoping that it's going to be covered under warrenty.

  25. House says:

    can anyone compare an r5 to a callaway hyper-x ?
    I found both on sale here in the classifieds for about 50 bucks, don't know which way to go...

  26. Mark says:

    Does anyone know if you can convert a Taylor Made r5 dual, type N driver to a type D, draw driver, by changing the weight scews?

  27. nate says:

    Hey guys i just got an R5XLD i was using a dunlop loco crazy long and my T shot was always a slice to the left but with the R5 i can hit my T shot strait down the fairway i love this driver i also picked up about 30 yards on my drive! i would recommend this driver to anyone looking for a good driver at a fair price, i paid $149.99

  28. Jeff says:

    Hey, I just bought a used R5 dual TP. The club is set with 2gr in the toe and 10gr in the heal. What is this set to do, draw, neutral, or fade? I usually fade alittle with my r580, but hit this fairly straight on the range. Where can i find a chart or manual to adjust the weights?

  29. James says:

    I just purchased a used r5D driver about a month ago because it had a stiffer shaft than my Adams insight with a regular flex shaft, and I thought that this could have been causing my consistent slice. I did not realize at the time what I had just bought because I did not realize that this club had a closed face specifically to adress this problem and hit it straight the first time I swung it, but now that I have corected the problem that was causing me to slice my Adams it seems that I am always hitting either a draw or a hook with the r5 and am back to swinging the adams for straighter drives and more distance. I will keep this club in my arsenal however any suggestions?

  30. ken says:

    Just bought used R5 Dual D(think D between weights it says
    either O or D) anyway I Hit first drive straight and extra 25 yards but next two drives trying to get more, I sliced bigtime bad,I Teed up less high than I did with my Adams Offset. I will try not to try to kill ball from now on and tee higher ,any other Ideas?
    thanks
    Ken

  31. Murray CLyne says:

    I have a R5 Daul TP --- It says it has 2 Gram and a 6 gram...The one at the heel is grey and the one at toe is yellow Is this okay or what should I have and are they rechangeable if I got different weights.

    Help Pleae

  32. Murray CLyne says:

    I have a Taylormade R5 Daul TP --- It says it has 2 Gram in toe and a 6 gram..in heel.The one at the heel is grey and the one at toe is yellow Is this okay or what should I have and are they rechangeable they seem to screw half way out the stop or do I but pressure and unscrew farher. If I got different weights wha would I get and where would they go - toe-heel? I'm slicing ball real bad to the right and I'm right handed Help PleaeMurray CLyne

  1. [... TaylorMade Golf has surged to the top of the driver marketplace over the last few years. The company which first popularized the modern metalwood fell off the pace a bit ...]

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