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TaylorMade r7 425/460 Drivers Review

Mar. 24, 2006     By     Comments (26)

TaylorMade has been one of the leaders year over year in drivers on tour. This year they have revised their R7 line with the new 425 and 460 models. For current TaylorMade fans, this is a newer, more stylish version of driver that is not only appealing to the eye, but the golf game as well.

Taylormade R7 425 SoleWhen it comes to the tee ball, TaylorMade leads, it does not follow. The 300 series driver was #1 on tour in 2000 and 2001 and TaylorMade followed with the successful r500. More recently the r5 and the r7 quad have been found worldwide in the bags of Tour professionals and amateurs alike.

While it is rare to see a new driver accepted so quickly by tour players, the new r7 425 was in the bag of nine players at the season-opening Mercedes Championship. Even with the new Nike SasQuatch and the highly anticipated rollout of the Titleist 905R, the new r7 still seems to be the talk of the industry.

I've been using a Titleist 983K and then a 905S for years, and I've come to appreciate the traditional pear-shaped design and playability in the Titleist drivers. I've spent a few months with the r7 425 as well as the larger r7 460. For $399 a pop, one would expect a solid club with excellent performance. Read on to find out if that's what we found.

Fujikura R7 Reax Shaft
The much, much improved Fujikura REAX stock shaft. TaylorMade worked with Fujikura to custom-build this shaft for the new r7 clubheads.

Build
The TaylorMade r7 425 takes the r7 line from 400cc - the size of the 2005 r7 Quad - to 425cc. The 425cc clubhead puts the r7 425 right between the r7 Quad and the r5 Dual (450cc), both literally and in appearance.

Taylormade R7 425 HeelWhile the size change from the r7 Quad to 425 is relatively minor, there are a few other changes that stand out in this revision. First are the changes to the Movable Weight Technology (MWT). While MWT is not an addition to the r7 line, TaylorMade has moved the TLC ports further apart in the 425, increasing not only stability but the forgiveness of the driver. If you are stepping up and playing the TP version (and ponying up the extra $400), it comes with 12 movable weights, providing even more flexibility and options. The r7 460 has two movable weights, one each towards the toe and heel of the head.

The next big change is the introduction of a Fujikura REAX shaft. To explain the new shaft, I'll defer to our resident industry expert Donald MacKenzie and a previous column when he scooped the info on the new r7s before everyone else. Don says about the REAX shaft:

There is an area of the midsection of the shaft that is reinforced by two high-grade woven graphite strands. Meanwhile, the r7 425 TP version will have a different REAX shaft with Fujikura's Rombax technology, which stretches the entire length of the shaft. Both versions of the REAX shaft are designed to help keep the shaft from deforming - and losing energy - during the swing.

Last, there is a change in the weight dispersion and thus the neutral center of gravity. TaylorMade employed the use of "Ultra-Thin Wall Technology," which allowed the walls of the clubhead to be reduced to 0.6 mm. This is a 25% decrease over the wall size in the r7 Quad and, according to TaylorMade, "saves critical weight." Not only did it lower the center of gravity, but it also allowed TaylorMade to increase the size of the head and build up the TLC ports while more traditional drivers can't spare the weight.

Taylormade R7 425 Toe Diagram
By reducing the crown thickness to 0.6mm, TaylorMade saved precious weight and lowered the center of gravity.

Look and Feel
TaylorMade did a great job in the design of the new r7. There is a yellow stripe along the back ridge of the club. The outer movable weight chambers are grooved into the bottom of the club like they were shot into it with a high-powered rifle. Again, the style is very similar to the old r7 Quad, but has a much more sleek and new-age look. While the Quad always struck me as a bit "bubbled" on top, TaylorMade got the 425 and 460 right. These are confidence-inspiring, sleek-looking clubs.

Taylormade R7 460 SoleFrom the top, the driver has a nice, clean black look to it. Again, from this perspective you don't have the bubbly, odd-looking top of the r7 Quad. Though I typically prefer the pear-shaped drivers like the Titleist 905S, the TaylorMade r7 425 features more of a circular, rounded head shape. It took a little getting used to, but I can set up confidently now after a short adjustment period. If I had a word to describe the looks of these clubs it would be "sharp." From every angle the lines feel sleek, smooth, and true.

These drivers are closed to a greater degree than any other drivers I've hit in the past few years. This forces me to forward press with my hands more than I'm accustomed to in my normal setup. I'll discuss later what effect this had in my testing, but suffice to say it didn't help at first.

The other difference between the new r7 and my 905S is the weight. All TaylorMade drivers have felt extremely light to me in the past… especially the r500 and r7 Quad. The r7 425, and even 460, has a lighter feel to it, but it's not as severe as its predecessors. Most likely the difference in weight is in the new REAX shaft. My preference is for a heavier driver. I feel like I can control the club, specifically the head, throughout the swing. Even though and the new r7 is on the light side, it was heavy enough for my liking.

Performance
Taylormade R7 LogoI'm currently playing with a 9.5° Titleist 905S with a stiff Fujikura Speeder shaft and have a swing speed in the 110-115 mph range. My normal shot is a low, boring draw with a low spin rate. I normally don't have a lot of carry (250-260 yards), but I get a ton of roll (out to 280-290). Both the r7 425 and 460 I reviewed came in 9.5° models with the stiff REAX Fujikura shaft. To get an initial feeling for the stiffness of the shaft, I'll usually take a couple of practice swings with both drivers. Other than the difference in weight mentioned previously, both the Titleist and TaylorMade shafts had a very similar feel. Obviously this isn't the most scientific test, but I've come to trust my instincts.

My first impressions of the r7 425 were not good. I hit a series of balls very low and very left. The weights were set up in a 2-12-12-2 arrangement (heel to toe) which, by TaylorMade's standards is optimal for a high ball flight and also neutral weighting as far as left/right. Out of about 20 balls, I only a couple that were playable. Everything else was left of John Kerry.

Taylormade R7 Face Address
The new TaylorMade has a sharp, clean look to it.

I decided to get back out on the range and take a few minutes to evaluate my setup and how the club felt. The one change I made - which was small - was to put my hands a bit more forward at setup. This seemed to resolve the issues I was having with the closed face sending the ball low and left. Once I made the adjustment the balls started flying much better.

While the ballflight was still a bit lower than my 905S, I was at least as long with the r7 425. My carry was probably in the 255-260 yard area where it is usually a bit above 260 with the Titleist. As for the directionality, it was a bit off at first. I couldn't keep the ball online with the 425 and had issues pulling and pushing it a bit even after I adjusted my setup. However, something started to click once I took it out on the course. I played a round with it and had a great round off of the tee, only missing four fairways and never getting into any serious trouble. Since that round, I've hit the 425 numerous times at the range and loved it. They do say they own the tee box, not the practice range, so perhaps that has something to do with it… <grin>

Taylormade R7 425 460 Exploded
There are multiple configuration options on the 460 and even more on the 425.

As for the 460, there where some differences and some similarities. The biggest difference to me was the launch angle. The ball came off the 460's face much higher than the 425's and was almost identical to my 905S. I hit a few drives with the 460 that were longer than the 425 or 905S. There was no noticeable difference in control or directionality, though I wasn't expecting one given the identical shaft in the 425 and the 460.

Movable Weights, Wrenches, and Extras
Taylormade R7 425 HeadcoverBoth the r7 425 and the 460 come with wrenches to swap and move around the weights. If you'd like additional weights, they retail for around $15 (or less) apiece. If you lose your wrench, that's about $30. At no point did I have trouble moving the weights around, and once locked into place, the weights stayed where I put them without rattling. TaylorMade has perfected movable weights in at least this regard.

The headcover, while very stylish, is a bit tough to work with. It is nearly impossible to get it on with one hand. I usually have to pull the opening apart with both and stretch the sock over the clubhead. It should eventually loosen up over time. I'd rather have this problem than a headcover that repeadedly fell off.

The grip is a pretty standard one. All rubber, so if you like the corded grips or anything special, you'll have to replace it yourself.

Conclusion
I was admittedly ready to give up on the r7 425. I kept hitting the ball low and left. In the end, after a small adjustment in my setup, I'm glad I stuck with the driver. Once I settled in, the r7 425 was a solid driver. I believe that golfers currently using TaylorMade drivers would be well served to upgrade to the new line if they are looking for even more control. With an improved shaft and more forgiveness, I can finally say again that I really like a TaylorMade driver. It may not knock my Titleist out of the bag just yet, but I can't say I'd miss a beat if someone were to steal my 905S, either.

TaylorMadeHowever, the r7 460 just might replace the 905S. I felt very comfortable swinging it and loved the ballflight. The other great thing about the r7 460 is that it didn't feel that big. Yes it is 460ccs, but before, during and after my swing I never thought about the size. I haven't joined the super-sized driver bandwagon yet, but if I do, the r7 460 will likely be the driver to get me there.

Please pardon the analogy, but I usually like to stay away from the first year a new car is released. There are always some bugs and kinks to work out. The r7 Quad was that first year car. The 425 and 460 shows a great improvement and two clubs that are worth taking out for a test drive. Don't be surprised if they park themselves in your bag.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (26)

Discussion

  1. Harry says:

    I have been a TyalorMade guy for many years now, starting with the 200 Series drivers. I've played the 510 TP, r7 TP, and most recently, the r7 460. This driver feels like home. Its setup is classic TaylorMade - confident and easy. The results are terrific. The 460 launches high, due in part to the low CG and the kick point in the REAX, and carries amazingly far. My carry went from 272 from my r7 TP to 286 on average, and this is only after a week's use. I just hope they don't introduce a TP 460, because I know I won't be able to contain myself to spend another $800.

  2. Sam-Tee-Time says:

    Currently I play an R5-N, 9.5* with an Accra T60 shaft, and I was actually not intending to buy a new driver. However - I demo and test everything on the market, as I enjoy testing and comparing various clubs. A recent demo day had me gushing about the R7 460cc. Here is my (short) review:

    The R7 460cc is absolutely the best driver I've ever hit or owned. It has a marvelous combination of forgiveness, a super-hot face, and very very good distance. I was also very surprised by the REAX shaft - I typically do not like Taylormade's OEM shafts, but this shaft felt smoother, and more accurate. This club was the absolute pinnacle of what a driver should be - a great combination of feeling, forgiveness, and super-hot distance. It's my next driver, easily.

  3. Van Hudson says:

    I absolutely love my Taylormade R7 425. I'll admit that when I first took it out and played it I had a problem with it going left all the time, (due in part to my swing fault). So after some carefull examination and switching the weights at the driveing range for a slight fade, I've taken my 20% fairways hit and turned them into 48% and long… this is without question the longest driver I've ever hit. I've never put a golf ball 300 yards before this driver. Accounting for wind, I hit one with the wind 303 yards… longest yet at my age of 37. Into the wind, nice and easy swing, 270 with roll. Still, I'm hitting with the big boy's and that's never been the strength of my game. Taylormades campaign of "Find Your Game" still holds true. I've put all Taylormade product in my bag simply because they feel superior to me. Everything else to me is a nice substitute. Simply put… you've gotta try this driver!!!

  4. Alex Barton says:

    Hey this is a great review. I'm looking into buying a new driver myself, and it was between the 425 and the 460. I've been trying to look for somewhere to help me decide. You just helped me make my mind up. I'm only 15 and i'm only 5ft 5 but i hit my drives around 275 yards (thats my average and thats playing with a very veyr old 200 steel. Hopefully this will add more consistency and distance to my drives. good review!

  5. David Herndon says:

    Just picked up the r7 460 which included a free 3 wood that I'm waiting on (I'm a lefty). The driver is awsome. I was hitting a Taylormade 300 8.5 degree stiff and went with the 9.5 stiff on the 460. It definitely hits higher than the 300. The difference at the range was the 460 was flying into the net behind the 250 yd signs! The 300 hits the net on the role. It's unbelievable, it keeps going and going and going just like the Energizer Bunny! Can't wait to get in on the course.

  6. Manick says:

    I just got the r7 425 and got a free r7 steel fairway wood, which I upgraded, to a titanium r7 fairway 3 wood. Both the clubs are a pleasure to hit with after you set it according to your taste. And I guess no one would change the TLC cartridges once you get that perfect setting. But my drive has increased about 40 yards (was using a ram 400cc before) with the driver and shots with the fairway wood are much straighter and longer. I would recommend anyone buying this club recently under the free fairway wood offer to upgrade to a titanium wood, as it will be worth your money.

  7. Chris Lee says:

    I just purchased the R7 460 after trying many clubs. I was using the Ping G2 and never felt I could dial-in a comfortable swing. My jaw dropped when I read your comment about the TaylorMade 460 not feeling like a big club. That is exactly the comment I made to the salesman while trying it out in the swing analysis center. Somehow, TaylorMade created a powerhouse of a club that hits straight but feels like a 3-wood in my hands.

    By the way, picked up a hybrid 19 degree for free ($200.00 club) and love that as well.

    I think TaylorMade will remain in the lead with this new R7 460.

  8. Dale Clegg says:

    For those who have problems hitting the Taylormade to the left, you may be interested in knowing that, of the major club names, Taylormade has the highest lie angle at 59*. Compare that to Callaway at 56* and Titleist at 57*.

    I have a very upright swing and can't hit a Callaway without slicing. But I can swing the Taylormade with neutral bias and hit it straight as an arrow. Just goes to show you that not every club is for everyone.

  9. Jonjo Wood says:

    I have recently purchased an R7 460 and already love it after only one round of golf with it. Its huge head provides tonnes of forgiveness but at the same time makes the club feel like a normal sized driver, I purchased mine with an aldila shaft upgrade and love the results! had one problem however... after about 5 hits at the range, somthing came loose inside the club hed, i suspect it was just glue but wasnt too pleased, eventually it came out and i didnt see what had been inside it, i hope nothing else similar happens in the near future, but other than that the club is a Dr Martin on a stick! nice job Taylormade! XD

  10. Raul Flores says:

    I purchased the r7 425 and had some problems at first but got the hang of it rather quickly. I hit 300 yards for the first time and at the age of 20 some people in my foursome said i had much potential. Taylormade is doing great things in golf..can't wait to see what they'll do next!!

  11. Don Mayer says:

    :cool: SEEKING "FORGIVENESS"!
    I REALLY APPRECIATE THE REVIEW BY DAVE KOSTER! I only wish I had found it before I purchased a slightly used R7 425 with the R flex std shaft. My experience was the same at the range. My first swing went a mile but right! Huge slice. I checked my set up, then started push them left, not a hook but straight and to the left. I had tried a friends R7 Dual set up for draw and S shaft last week it seemed very light, first hit was way left, it didn't feel good. I also had the feeling that I needed a heavier club. I have had Taylor Made for the past 10 years and like each version except the 200. I have had the copper Super Steel, 200 Steel, R580 which I had been recently hitting really long and straight. But was tempted for even better results. I keep reading about the "forgiveness" But I wasn't ready for 460 huge yet. I has swung some and felt like pumpkins.

    I hit two baskets today with the R7 425 and was spraying it around, hitting beyond 260-270, a little farther than my R580 but generally to the left. I was using the stock set up with 2 gm forward and 12 gm in the back for Neutral but high flight path.

    I will try pushing my hands a little forward at address. I think once I figure out what to do with the closed face it will be a great club.

  12. steve says:

    hi i got a r7 draw and i need help with it i seem to hit in the centre and go nowhere like it climbs and just falls out of the sky so i have to leave it at home and i use my old calaway steelhead ten deg s please help me its killing my game thanks steve

  13. Calif says:

    I am debating whether to get the 425 or 460.... But one thing that really concerns me is the loose particles in the head of the 460 (and not of the 425)...as one person above mentioned...and another I read at another board.

    Is that a common for the 460?

    Also...any other comments before making the selection between the two?

  14. rrassoc says:

    Funny comment about the loose particles in the 460. I had some too, until I tightened up one of the weights!

    I never used the 425, but I did have a regular (400cc) quad before getting the 460. I like the bigger head, but I just plain hit the ball too high. After less than one season, I replaced the r7 460 with the superquad, which is awesome!

  15. The Orical says:

    The r7 425 is pretty much the best driver on the market. I have had it since it came out. I have a 9.5 and have weights set to standard. Im a highschool golfer 5'9'' 150 pounds i hit average of 315 to 320 with around 300+ yards of carry. This driver is crazy long. Today i Hit a Green 330 away in the air, and through the day hit 3 more drives over 330. I love this club

  16. Dan says:

    Anyone help me turn my R7 460 from draw to neutral? There is a 14 gm weight in the heel and 2 gm weight in the toe right now...that's the way it came...everything I hit draws too much for me and I don't like it...I need to know what other weights to purchase to make it neutral. If anyone can help I would REALLY appreciate it!

  17. Calif says:

    Anyone help me turn my R7 460 from draw to neutral? There is a 14 gm weight in the heel and 2 gm weight in the toe right now...that's the way it came...everything I hit draws too much for me and I don't like it...I need to know what other weights to purchase to make it neutral. If anyone can help I would REALLY appreciate it!

    Flip the two weights around and you should be good to go. If not...get more gm into the toe by buying aftermarket weights.

  18. Dan says:

    GREAT! Thanks!

  19. Bryan says:

    I have two versions of the R7 425's. I have the TP with x-flex and the standard with a Matrix Ozik Code Seven in stiff flex. Getting a bit older so was looking for a driver for my near future so I purchased the stiff version. Have been using the TP for the past two years and can honestly say it is the easiest driver I have ever hit! Actually felt guilty hitting it. Could swing as hard as I wanted and got good results with all kinds of swings. Put the standard version in play at the end of the year on the back nine of my final round. All I have to say is, WOW!!! I think with a quality shaft, this club is a winner. I'm very much a feel player and both fit the bill well. If you're looking for a solid great feeling driver that is easy to hit, this might be the one. Give it a try.

  1. BogeyLounge linked here

    [... When it comes to the tee ball, TaylorMade leads, it does not follow. The 300 series driver was #1 on tour in 2000 and 2001 and TaylorMade followed with the ...]

  2. [... When it comes to the tee ball, TaylorMade leads, it does not follow. The 300 series driver was #1 on tour in 2000 and 2001 and TaylorMade followed with the ...]

  3. [... When it comes to the tee ball, TaylorMade leads, it does not follow. The 300 series driver was #1 on tour in 2000 and 2001 and TaylorMade followed with the ...]

  4. [... When it comes to the tee ball, TaylorMade leads, it does not follow. The 300 series driver was #1 on tour in 2000 and 2001 and TaylorMade followed with the ...]

  5. [... When it comes to the tee ball, TaylorMade leads, it does not follow. The 300 series driver was #1 on tour in 2000 and 2001 and TaylorMade followed with the ...]

  6. [... When it comes to the tee ball, TaylorMade leads, it does not follow. The 300 series driver was #1 on tour in 2000 and 2001 and TaylorMade followed with the ...]

  7. [... When it comes to the tee ball, TaylorMade leads, it does not follow. The 300 series driver was #1 on tour in 2000 and 2001 and TaylorMade followed with the ...]

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