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TaylorMade r7 Limited TP Driver Review

May. 2, 2009     By     Comments (27)

Is the last r7 the best of the lot?

TaylorMade r7 Limited TPMore than four years after the original TaylorMade r7 brought movable weights to golf, TaylorMade released what is most likely the last of the line this winter - the r7 Limited TP. It emerged a few months after the non-TP model, which hit stores in mid-September. TaylorMade also produced a limited edition of the Limited for Patriot Golf Day, which sported a Patriot Golf Day logo on the toe, the image of an F-16 jet etched onto the sole, and a specially-designed headcover in red, white and blue.

TaylorMade is known for releasing many models of clubs in rapid succession, which is why we have the r7 Limited TP review after the R9 driver's release (which will be reviewed, itself, shortly). Every time a new model comes out it tends to lower the retail price and resale value of the previous models. This can be frustrating to TaylorMade owners who want to upgrade and find that their old model has lost resale or trade-in value. On the other hand, virtually any golfer can find a recent model of TaylorMade driver that fits their game for a relative bargain.

So what kind of golfer will most benefit from the r7 Limited? Read on to find out.

Design and Technology
According to TaylorMade, by moving the weights around you can promote as much as a 35-yard change in left-right tendency in the r7 Limited. That's more than the r7 Quad promised, and the Limited accomplishes this with only three weights (a 16-gram weight and two 1-gram weights). This three-weight system is also used in the R9, by the way. TaylorMade claims that this three-weight system can actually create more horizontal variation in ball flight than the four-weight system. While that may be true, the stock weights offer just three combinations. Fine tuning may require the purchase of additional weights.

The r7 Logo on the Sole

Making adjustments on the r7 Limited is extremely easy. To favor a fade, use the 16-gram weight in the toe. For a draw, use the 16-gram weight in the heel. For no draw or fade bias, use the 16-gram weight in the middle port.

There's more to the technology - thin walls and crowns, the placement of material in the clubface to expand the sweet spot - and more, but it's all fairly standard fare in the r7 line, and you can read about it here if you'd like.

Esthetics
TaylorMade seems to have embraced the triangle as their shape of choice for drivers, fairway woods, and to some extent, hybrids. The r7 Limited clubhead is a softened triangle with rounded angles. The new R9 features an even more softened triangle, though the shape is still recognizable, and the r7 Limited head from front to back is deeper than the R9. At first look, I would place the r7 Limited into the geometric, game-improvement school of drivers, but first looks can be deceiving.

Though there is more going on behind the face and on the bottom of the clubhead than I am used to, I had no trouble adjusting to looking down at the clubhead. It doesn't feel as large as some of the geometric drivers with square or u-shaped heads that are currently on the market.

The r7 Limited TP at address

Though the shape of the head is pretty close to that of the r7 CGB Max, I find the Limited much easier to look down at than the Max. It's at least in part due to the paint scheme, which is a nice dark charcoal that TaylorMade describes as "a radium ion-plated finish." The dark color serves to downplay the triangle shape and generally makes the Limited look like a smaller clubhead.

According to TaylorMade, the r7 Limited features a neutral face, even in the non-TP models. That puts it more in the "players" category of club than the "game improvement."

Performance
I took the r7 Limited TP down to Myrtle Beach in March for 144 holes of intensive research. Despite my end-of-winter swing, I was able to work into a groove (off and on) with the r7 Limited.

The TP version of the Limited offers two choices of stock shafts: the Diamana White 65 TP by Mitsubishi and the Fujikura Rombax 75 TP. I found the "S" Diamana White 65 TP shaft easy to load with plenty of muscle to launch the ball high and long. It's a solid choice for players with similar swing speeds to mine (100-105 mph) and the appropriate tempo.

The face of the r7 Limited

The Limited continues TaylorMade's move toward three movable weights that the company used in the r7 CGB Max driver. These movable weights are arguably the main reason to consider the Limited over other similarly shaped drivers.

I was surprised that with the 16 gram weight in the center (neutral) setting, I found it a little difficult to consistently hit a fade. While my normal swing tends to produce a draw, I can usually hit a fade when I need to and often play a little fade off the tee to rule out the big hook. With the r7 Limited, my fade swing (holding off releasing the clubhead) tended to produce a straight shot. When I released the clubhead, I hit a little draw (or a hook if I got too handsy).

While this wasn't a great fit for my swing, slicers will find some help in this driver, and after I noticed the behavior, it wasn't tough to adjust. With the neutral setting already taking away any trouble on the right I could aim up the right third of the fairway to give myself plenty of room for the ball to move left. Overall, it worked out pretty well. With the drive aimed down the right side, even when I turned it over a bit too much and hit a hard diving hook the ball rarely wound up farther left than the rough.

I briefly tried the draw setup (16 g. weight in the heel port). But it made me even more prone to hitting hooks, so I quickly abandoned it. Those players who struggle with the slice should find that this setup straightens them out a little.

The TP logo on the toe

When I moved on to the toe setting, I thought I'd found the hot setup for my swing. Releasing the clubhead normally produced a long straight shot or power fade. I was also able to draw it a little when I needed to.

The only drawback to having the heavy weight in the toe came when I didn't release the club or get through the shot. On those occasions, the ball started right and kept going right, and had a good bit more altitude than my typical draw or cut. Basically, the ball left the premises in a hurry, stage right.

I came to prefer the occasional smother-hook to the odd block-push, because the block-push had a nasty habit of going OB or into water. While my hook in the Carolina pines tended to get knocked down by the branches before getting into too much trouble, the block push gets high enough to get over some of the trees and into some real ugly spots. And that is really the best aspect of having movable weights in a driver: you can pick your miss, which can be very useful on the course.

If the stock weight options don't seem optimal for you, additional weights may be the answer. Back in Ohio on a whim, I took out the 16 gram weight and one of the 1 gram weights and replaced them with a 10 gram in the center and an 8 gram in the toe. Bingo! For me, that combo worked great and made the driver feel more neutrally biased than when the 16 gram weight is in the center port. With this combo (and a ball position change), I started hitting straight, long drives that carry as far as many of my drives had previously finished rolling.

While much of this gain is due to moving the ball forward in my setup, the r7 Limited does generate a lot of carry. Lower spin has been a selling point of drivers in recent years, but the fact is you need some spin to generate lift and keep the ball aloft. Too much spin or too little spin are equally bad and will rob you of carry and distance. The Limited produces more spin than many drivers, which will help slow swing speed or low spin players keep the ball in the air longer.

The downside of the spin generated by the r7 Limited for my swing is that the ball did not always roll out as much as I'm used to and on drives into the wind the ball occasionally ballooned a bit. Again, players who naturally generate less spin will not experience this ballooning. Downwind the ball rode the breeze and seemed to fly forever. With no wind, the driver was similar in distance to my current driver. Apparently, the additional carry and reduced rollout offset each other, but carry is always more accurate than roll. As they say, you can carry a fairway bunker a lot more often than you can roll through one.

Mitsubishi Diamana White 65 TP shaft

Specs and Extras
The introduction of the TaylorMade R9 has already driven down the advertised price of the Limited from $399.99 to $299.99 at most retailers (and lower at some others). The r7 Limited TP with its upgraded shaft is generally $100 more. The only obvious differences between the two versions of the r7 Limited are the shaft and "TP" logo on the toe.

The TaylorMade r7 Limited is available in 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, and 11.5° lofts with a 60 g., 45.5" Matrix X-CON 5.5 MOI shaft in "S," "R," and "M" versions. The TP is available in the same lofts, minus the 11.5°, with the Mitsubishi Diamana White 65 TP ("S" or "X") or the Fujikura Rombax 75 TP ("R," "S," or "X").

The Limited driver is available left-handed in 9.5° and 10.5° and 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5° in the TP. All Limiteds come from the factory with 59° lie and have a swingweight of D3.

The magnetic coverI was happy to hear that the r7 Limited comes with a magnetic closure headcover. The best headcover I've ever had was an SMT headcover with a magnetic closure and plenty of room to easily load the driver. It worked great.

Alas, the r7 Limited headcover does not offer as much room, particularly in the neck. Loading the driver into the headcover can take a little longer than I'd like. The magnets hold the narrow neck closed well, but they also want to close it as you are trying to put the driver into it. Perhaps over time the headcover will lose its stiffness and load more easily, but for the time being it's a minor annoyance.

Conclusion
So did TaylorMade save the best r7 for last?

The answer depends on what kind of player you are. Suffice to say this is a very good driver, but one that will definitely work best for a certain type of golfer (as all clubs tend to do).

If you are a player who generates less than optimal spin with your driver, if your drives seem to go up and come right back down in comparison to those of your playing partners, or if you hit the ball lower than you'd, then the r7 Limited might just become your best friend. If you fit the profile, the r7 Limited should help you get more carry and more distance out of your drives.

Even if you don't exactly match this profile, there's still a lot to like in this driver. There's good distance to this driver, though it's not a flat out bomber. The adjustable weights can help you tailor the club to your swing or to virtually eliminate your worst misses. The clubhead is reasonably forgiving of off-center contact while rewarding shots hit flush. And for a club from the geometric school of driver design, the Limited has a far better sound and feel than most.

Still, the r7 Limited arrived so late in the r7 lifecycle that the R9 is probably going to take a chunk of the sales that might have gone to the Limited. However, golfers who don't need all the adjustability of the R9, and who could benefit from extra carry, might find just what they need in the r7 Limited. Best of all, they'll be able to find it at a discount.

Links that May be Helpful
TaylorMade Website

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (27)

Discussion

  1. Harry Goss says:

    I just purchased the Patriot Limited driver off e-bay for $199.00. I noticed you said there were only two shaft choices. My driver has a Fujikura Re Ax 60. I enjoyed your review my finding is similiar. I had the Burner TP with the 75 gram shaft. I find the face of this Limited driver is hotter and carries further. The adjustability really works.

  2. DBake says:

    Isn't this driver already out dated? Way to go TaylorMade....

  3. Golfer71 says:

    An articulate and enlightening review. After reading i'm pretty clear this driver could help my game and finally we get to read some serious and carefully considered feedback on a new driver, however i've just pulled the trigger on a Mizuno MX700 which i'm hoping will provide similar support for my game. In the end for me I just wasn't keen on the look of the triangular head. :smile:

  4. Isn't this driver already out dated? Way to go TaylorMade....

    As you know, that's how TaylorMade tends to operate. New clubs every 17 seconds. Which is great for the consumer - because now it's $199 - and bad for the consumer who cares about having the latest and greatest.

    … however i've just pulled the trigger on a Mizuno MX700 which i'm hoping will provide similar support for my game. In the end for me I just wasn't keen on the look of the triangular head.

    I believe the MX-700 is George's next review, and I think he likes it quite a bit.

  5. DBake says:

    Also interested in the MX-700, even though I will most likely not buy it. Mizuno keep making those irons and wedges though!

  6. Adam Carbarundum says:

    Test drove the R7 Limited recently and came to the determination that it honestly offers no tangible upgrade from any previous version of the R7 series of drivers. As mentioned previously and by others, this club started out overpriced to begin with and still remains priced equally high now that the R9 is on board. The real question is why not wait until the price is reduced following what? The R11??

    Just my thought, but I honestly don't know where Taylor Made gets the money to continually push out a new club offering every few months?

  7. Wachesaw Golfer says:

    Just got one at $199 with the Matrix X Con and this is one great driver which I cannot see being "outdated" for several years.

  8. al says:

    My driver SS is in the low 90's and I've been playing a CGB MAX 9.5* with an NV 55grm. shaft. I love it with tweaked weights- 8 in the heal, 6 in the toe, & 4 in the back.

    Just got an R7 Limited for $199 and after playing with a few non-stock weight combos, it's as good as Mr. MAX, for me.

    The head is 440 cc's compared to 460 for the MAX. It has a slightly more penetrating flight with better roll out. The Matrix shaft is superb.

    If you are a moderate SS hitter like me, check out the R7 Limited especially with the lower price.

    PS-- The new R9 head is 420 cc's and the fuji Motore shaft really needs to be loaded to come alive.

  9. Ernest Reed says:

    Thanks for the Review!!! :smile:

    I recall emailing Erik about his impressions of the R7 Limited driver and whether any plans were in place for a review. The response? TaylorMade had not yet provided the club for review… It appears they now have.

    Great review, but sadly it comes on the heels of the new R9 Driver, which has caught my attention moreso than the r7 Limited. Timing is everything, but I for one do appreciate the efforts of George in providing me with a much sought out review.

  10. It appears they now have.

    The first one they sent was busted up quite nicely by UPS. It took awhile to get the second one… And George, like me, lives in a state where we have winter, hence the slight delay in publishing the review. We believe that being thorough is far more important than being first.

  11. Ernest Reed says:

    We believe that being thorough is far more important than being first.

    Absolutely agree, Erik!

    This website is one that I view daily as I know that when it comes to reviews, you are going to provide a thoughtful and thorough review. In fact, several purchases I have made over the last couple of years have been as a direct result of your reviews.

  12. benelliboy says:

    I like the new R7 limited. It plays like the old R7 460 but with more playability. Its longer too! You can hit it high or low. You can hit a draw or fade. I play the stock version in 9.5 stiff with the taylormade/matrix shaft. The shaft is pretty easy to load. Which for me is great considering my ss is only 95mph . I have always been a fan of Taylormade drivers and really want to see the new R9 460 coming out May of 09. I heard the R9 460 is supposed to drive the ball longer with just as much control as the R9 420.

    Also I really like the shoes Addidas sent me with the purschase of my R7 limited for $199. I received them in just three weeks from ordering. I thought that was pretty fast.

  13. RON K says:

    I purchased an R7 limited on Tuesday with a stiff ozik 5.5. Took it to the range that evening to see if it would go as far as my 2008 tour burner Tp with ozik shaft. It seemed to go just as far in the air and continued to run on the ground when it hit. Seem to be easier to hit strighter also. I also have an R9. The R7 Limited seemed exactly like the R9 except for the fact that the R7 goes further. I loose 10 - 15 yards with the R9 compared to my other drivers so it is going up for sale. R7 limited is a steal at 199 plus free golf shoes.

  14. Michael says:

    Love the review, I played a 907D2 last year and although i hit it OK i thought i could get more. So I first picked up a Tour Burner 9.5 stiff cheap took it to Florida last month did not really like it i think it has more to do with the shaft. So last week i was in my buddies shop and was looking at the R9 he said take the R7 Limited out you might like it and the price has come down. I played for rounds with it all i can say is WOW :razz: I'm glad i did not purchase this when it came out @ $399 i would have been :evil: . I even got a free pair of shoes all for $199.00

  15. jordan miles says:

    i love the r7 limited tp it's great value but i don't like the shaft i like the orgininal lite shaft i don't have the strength to hold that kind of shaft :grin:

  16. al says:

    Just one add on, nothing to do with the club itself. Just received my free shoes.
    They are last years powerbands with mesh on the upper half of the shoe. Quite a bit lighter than the all leather powerbands and the mesh keeps the footies a lot cooler on hot days, just don't wear them in the rain.

    Too bad the promo has ended.

  17. Lew says:

    :smile:
    So far the r7 Limited outperforms the r9 by a lot.

    The Sound, Feel, and Distance does it Big time. And its very light. Compared to the r9, which is kind of heavy.

    I'll continue using my r9 from time to time. I'm playing Grayhawk, Eagle Mtn, and Ocotillo in AZ next week with my r7 limited...

  18. JT says:

    Being a current R7 Quad Driver user & non liker of the current crop of 460cc monstrosity's but interested in new technology - Is this a much better driver then the Quad? Assuming it is a little more forgiving & sounds as if it may hit the ball higher? And also would you be able to use weights from the Quad in the Limited to tailor your settings a bit more….thanks in advance any feedback, good review.

  19. Joe says:

    I bought the r7 limited from golf galaxy (left hander 10.5) and found this is a great club with e mono shaft.. will buy again

  20. David Sperry says:

    Having played the R580XD for several years, I decided to look at replacing it. It does what I need it to do, but seems heavier then other newer TM drivers and I like that. If you were to compare the two, would the R7 Limited be a better choice for a 60 yr old with a lowering ss?

    Thanks for any thoughts.

  21. al says:

    Having played the R580XD for several years, I decided to look at replacing it. It does what I need it to do, but seems heavier then other newer TM drivers and I like that. If you were to compare the two, would the R7 Limited be a better choice for a 60 yr old with a lowering ss?

    Thanks for any thoughts.

    What do you mean by a lower ss? Some seniors consider mid- 90s slow.
    Anyway, i had an extra 45 gram stock shaft from a R7 CGB MAX and i put it in the limited head. This shaft is a proprietary Mitsubishi "Bassara", a nice $300 piece of graphite.

    While it is soooo light, it has a mid-bend point and the combo is a killer. My ss is high 80s to low 090s and this is my longest Taylor yet !!!!!!

  22. Jim Moore says:

    George's review is right on the money. I have a R7 Limited TP, 10.5 with the Rombax shaft and find it to be one of the most appealing TMs ever. My previous favorite was a 540XD TP followed by the R5 TP. I have played tried/virtually every TM model since the original 12 degree, including the R9 and this one is a gem. The sound it makes is non metallic, almost fiber insert on persimmon. Even with my cache of TLC weights I could not find a weight combo that would produce a fade. However, tweaking the weights does change the trajectory. More weight in the back port sends the ball higher. The draws I hit with this club are muted and manageable, so far. I like a driver that's about 44.5 inches and plan to cut this down and adjust the weighting. That should also cut down on the left bias issue with my swing. A fine club and a really cool, understated headcover.

  23. Jerry M says:

    I've been playing the R5 for the past few seasons. I'm not a long hitter as my typical distance is approx. 230 yards. Last weekend I borrowed a friends R7 Limited and loved it. My shortest drive was 240 and hit most 260 and two drives at 280. I usually hit a fade and tend to end up on the right side of the fairway. I'm not sure how the weights were set, but my fade was minimal and ALL drives right around centre. Whatever the technical details, the reality was all the proof I needed.

  24. PRM says:

    I've had every driver made it seems. I wasn't at a practice center where Taylormade had a Demo Van out and I was bantering with the rep that I havent hit their drivers since the 320i. He finally took me aside and said amongst the Tmade crew the secret was the R7 Limited TP. He said its the hottest club they have and if you can find one get it. I happened upon one at a local Roger Dunns in a used barrel all alone, brand new still wrapped for $249.00. Hands down the best driver for me I've ever owned.

    Simply stated 20-25yds farther and straight. When my previous drives would start falling this is still climbing. Only 25 yds you may ask, but a 9 iron instead of a 7 or better yet a 6 instead of a 4, yes its a big difference. We wont even talk about being in the fairway at 280 rather than stuffed under a tree at 220.

    Its good...real good.

  25. Jon says:

    Last year my brother came out with his R7, 3 screw, triangular shaped club. I wasn't hitting well with my driver and tried his. I crushed the ball (R flex 9.5) I went to buy one but could not afford it. Recently I went to a seminar at Golf Galaxy and there in the used clubs was the R7. I bought it after hitting it into the screen, took it out yesterday and out drove my buddy by no less then 25 yds.(we usually are only 5-10 yds difference. I have many drivers but this is the best one I've hit. I like the Titilist 907 D2 driver but I hit more fairways with the R7 with no loss in distance.

  26. J Ayotte says:

    I recieved the r7 Limited this past Christmas as a surprise- my wonderful wife heard me talking about it and pleasantly surprised me- it is BY FAR the best driver I have played- the slice is non-existent and i am hitting the ball on average about 30-35 yards longer than before. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

  27. goalfer says:

    Hey everyone. Sorry to bring up an old subject for my first post but I'd really like to know just how far from the top o' the line TM driver I am with using my R580XD. It has worked for me for a long time, but I may be giving up distance/accuracy (duh!) with something newer.

    So please let me know how deep I'm bunkered. And thank you for a wonderful site. I've been a lookie-loo for quite awhile and this is the only one I trust.

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