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TaylorMade R9 TP Fairway Wood Review

Mar. 18, 2009     By     Comments (32)

TaylorMade puts out yet another solid club

R9 FairwayFor years now, TaylorMade has been one of the industry leaders in golf club design and manufacturing. They continually put out some of the best golf equipment available. Though they are probably best known for their drivers, with such past beauties like the r7, they also have made some absolutely fantastic fairway woods over the years as well.

I still think back to when my father first came home with his first Raylor or his Tour Spoon. They were great clubs and well ahead of their time.

I've never had a 3-wood I've completely trusted. Many of my playing partners have that "go to" fairway wood that they know will find the short grass when the chips are down. Such a club would be a great find as it would take some of the pressure off my driver. So as you can expect when I heard I had one of the new R9 TP 3-woods coming my way I was full of anticipation. I already had a Burner TP 3-wood in my bag and I was ready to put the new one to the test to see if I needed to switch.

Technology and Design
The designers at TaylorMade have decided this year to leave their MWT (Moveable Weight Technology) off the fairway wood line and have employed their new FCT (Flight Control Technology) instead.

FCT gives golfers the ability to set the face angle, loft, and lie to eight different positions to help us optimize our trajectory and shot shape. This is accomplished by rotating a metal sleeve fitted over the tip of the shaft into eight different positions. Each position provides for a different setup and launch conditions. Basically, you remove the shaft from the head by loosening the FCT bolt with the new (white) wrench, twist the shaft to the position you prefer, and screw the whole thing back together again. For the tinkerer out there this is just about as much fun as you can have with a wrench and a driving range.

R9 Hosel
Up close you can see the hosel positions for TaylorMade's new Flight Control Technology.

The R9 fairways come standard with Fujikura Motore shafts that have been developed with H.I.T. (High Inertia Tip) technology. Fujikura claims its new H.I.T. technology delivers more power to the ball by keeping more energy in the tip of the golf shaft. The TP model comes with a slightly upgraded Fujikura Motore F1 shaft.

The head design has been dubbed "new classic" by TaylorMade due to its successful combination of both modern and classic head shapes. It looks like Taylormade has outdone themselves again. If nothing else they should win the award for golf club brand with the most acronyms and nicknames!

Esthetics
As I mentioned above, TaylorMade has dubbed the head design as "new classic" due to a modernizing of the classic head shape. Whether this is true or a lot of fancy PR I don't know, but I like it either way. The triangular shape isn't as excessive as some "geometric" metal woods, and it's rather rounded as well, which helps.

The crown is a dark shiny black with nothing but a small TaylorMade logo as an alignment aid. This is definately a return to the classic look for TaylorMade as the crowns on their 2008 Burner line had more graphics and lines on them than a set of high rise blueprints.

R9 Address
TaylorMade's "New Classic" head design is a lesson in simple effectiveness. Nothing here to distract from hitting a great shot.

The soles are also beautifully understated as they are a brushed silver with simple TaylorMade and R9 graphics adorning them. I personally like this as I believe a club's performance should set it apart, not its snazzy paint job.

The Fujikura Motore F1 shaft is maroon and silver in color with simple graphics to match. Really the only thing out of the ordinary at all on this club, that would alert someone to its unusual abilities is the hosel area where they have put the FCT position aids.

R9 Fairway Wood Sole
TaylorMade also left the sole of the club devoid of unnecessary graphics. You can see in this photo the FCT bolt that connects the head to the shaft.

Simply stated, TaylorMade has removed anything and everything from this club that might detract from its overall look and left behind nothing but what is necessary for it to function as a good golf club. This is somewhat of a breath of fresh air in a time where it seems neon colors are finding their way onto clubheads at an alarming rate.

Performance
This R9 TP 3-wood came to me with the standard Fujikura Motore F1 stiff shaft 15° of loft. I first took it to the range to play around with the FCT positions. I started with the position I like which is standard lie 2° open (the R position), and worked it all the way around trying all positions until I got to 2° closed. I was struck by really how little each move affected my ball flight.

Afraid I was unconsciously adjusting my swing for each position I employed a friend to help me by changing the positions without telling me where they were. This blind test produced slightly different results, with me being able to tell the difference between the 2° closed and 2° open but not any of the positions in between. Not only that I found the position I liked most was 1° closed which is very odd for me. I fight a constant hook and to have a club work best for me when it's closed sent up red flags.

R9 TP Fairway Wood Toe

Ball flight and workability were fantastic. Though certain shots were possibly slightly easier to hit from certain FCT positions, I was still able to hit draws and fades with the hosel set in all positions. I have a difficult time fading the ball with my current Burner 3-wood and I was very happy to see this club allow for a left to right ball flight. I was also able to control my trajectory quite easily as well. I was slightly surprised by this as I thought the FCT might hurt workability. The opposite actually came true as the hosel position ended up having less to do with ball flight than the swing did. Again this is the way I believe it should be. A player should produce the shot, not the club.

Distance from this club was also very nice, if you want to hit your 3-wood as far as your driver. I hit this club at least 25 yards farther than my 2008 model Burner TP 14.5° 3-wood. The ball jumped off the face. I would go as far as to hypothesize that this comes from the new Fujikura shaft technology, but I am not entirely sure. I'm also not entirely sure that I really need to hit a 3-wood that far, but it's nice to know I have that in the bag.

R9 Face
The clean lines and nice setup of the R9 fairway woods promotes confidence

I hit the Taylormade out of a number a different lies from hardpan to thick rough. It did well from most of them, especially the tight lies. The only lie that gave it a little trouble was long, thick grass. I had to try very hard to keep the face from turning over as the grass grabbed the hosel. Again, this is a guess, but the FCT hosel area is thicker than normal an may not pass through grass quite as easily. Regardless, I seriously doubt anyone would be hitting a 3-wood from that kind of lie in the first place.

Off-center hits were forgiven to a point one would expect with a Tour Preferred version fairway wood. Good enough to keep slight misses from being effected too much yet finicky enough to give good feedback. I personally wouldn't have it any other way. I would venture a guess to say the non TP version and its more flexible shaft with slightly more torque might be a touch more forgiving.

R9 Toe Stock

As I have mentioned in other reviews I believe the sound the comes from hitting a ball is also a very important part of choosing a club. The sound that comes from the R9 fairway woods is just like the rest of the club: nice and understated. There was nothing more than a muffled crack, no tinny metal sound at all.

Specs and Extras
The R9 Fairway Woods will be available in 13°, 15°, 17°, and 19° models and come standard with a 70-gram Fujikura Motore shaft for both righties and lefties. The TP model, (tested here) is available in the same lofts but instead comes standard with a tour-grade 85-gram Fujikura Motore F1 shaft. The MSRP will be $275 and $360 respectively.

Motore Shafts
Fujikura Motore shafts come stock on the R9 series. The Motore F1 (bottom) are stock on the TP line.

The FCT has 4 main positions with a halfway position between each. The main positions are (L) 2° closed standard lie, (NU) Square 1° upright lie, (N) Square 1° flat lie, and (R) 2° open standard lie.

Each model comes with the new white wrench for removing the FCT bolt from the shaft. The company warns users not to use the old yellow and black MWT wrenches as they do not provide the 40 inch pounds of torque necessary to keep the head securely on the shaft. Also provided is a pamphlet outlining the process of moving the head around to find your best fit.

As always I like to mention the headcover. The Taylormade R9 headcovers both look and work very well. Mostly white and black they are the sock type that do a good job of protecting the shaft as well. I appreciate a good headcover design. There is nothing worse than fighting a headcover on and off six times a round.

R9 Fairway Wood Face Stock

Final Thoughts
I know some say we seem to give a lot of favorable reviews here on The Sand Trap, and this is a positive review. I do have to say I am not completely sold on the Flight Control Technology as a whole. I found it difficult at best to see any real changes in ball flight from one setting to the next. This leaves me to believe that the average 15 handicapper won't be able to see a difference at all.

This is not to say that this is not a good golf club, because it is. It's actually a really good club. I believe that any handicap could probably benefit from putting solid equipment like the R9 fairway woods in their bags. It would be a winner in my book even without the FCT.

So why the abundance of positive reviews? Because it's rare for a company to introduce a dreadful club these days. With millions of dollars at stake, it doesn't happen. TaylorMade, you could say, pushes the envelope a bit more than some other companies, but in the end, it comes down to what you like. I like the R9 fairway wood, and think you might too if you give it a try.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (32)

Discussion

  1. Justin says:

    Finally a review on the R9 fairway wood! I've been trying to find a good 3 wood for years and I'm really eager to try the new R9 since I'm a fan of TM's woods in general (carrying a superquad R7 as my driver right now).

    Out of curiosity, would you prefer the new Titleist 909 or the R9? Which one is the R9 TP comparable to? The F2 or F3? I know ultimately it comes down to personal choice but I'd like to shorten my simulator hogging time :P

    Thanks!

  2. NIC says:

    So if you have to choose from 909F2 and R9 fairway wood
    Which one you will choose? and why?
    is R9 carry farther?

  3. Trent Charlton says:

    I am also having a hell of a time deciding between the 909F2 and R9 fairway wood. I would love a side by side test! :wink:

  4. I would love a side by side test!

    That's available to you - find a local demo day.

  5. George says:

    If you have a good swing get the titleist if your a high handycapper get the r9 but there both really good

  6. Trent says:

    Thanks George for breaking it down, it sounds like the R9 is my club. I have only been golfing for 2 years now and I can use all the help I can get. I have a 3, 4, and 5 in the hybird and I honestly say that I would have given up the game of golf if it were not for those clubs. They always go long and staraight so I guess I want to give this fairway wood a chance to go into my bag.

  7. NM Golf says:

    If you have a good swing get the titleist if your a high handycapper get the r9 but there both really good

    BAD advice! Trent, this is complete cookie cutter advice and not entirely accurate either. Please read Erik Barzeski's review on the 909F line from titleist here: http://thesandtrap.com/clubs/titleist_909f_fairway_metal_review

    The Titleist 909F series consists of two different heads with different characteristics. I have hit the 909F2 and it is a good club. The F3 is slightly more forgiving from what I hear. I would say the R9 is no more forgiving than the F3 and possibly could perform more like the F2. The R9 TP model that I tested is not all that forgiving at all and the heads are the same for the TP and Non TP model. The only difference between the two is the shaft.

    Basically, you need to hit both the R9 and the 909F3 as they will perform similarly. Only then will you be able to really make an informed decision. To say one is for good swings and the other is not is nonsense. I would go as far to say neither would be considered a "forgiving" or "game improvement" golf club.

  8. Trent says:

    Thanks NM Golf. My Taylormade Hybrid 3 19 degree goes about 200 yards when it hit it well and my driver willdo about 250 when I hit it well. That leaves a huge gap for me and I need a club that could go 225 yards if I hit it well and that is why I am looking for a Fairway 3 15 degree.

    I will try the Titleist 909F3 vs the Taylormade R9 (non TP) tomorrow and get one or the other and start working it into my par 5 holes and long par 3s off the tee. Do the higher end shafts really make that much difference for a newer higher handicap golfer? I am hitting the ball everyday now and play at least 2 rounds a week and up to 4 rounds a week.

    Getting this club right means everything to me with such a big gap between 200 and 250 yards.

  9. George says:

    Trent sorry to comfuse you NM Golf is right but what i ment was the design of the R9 has a more pointed angle lip angle which makes it easier to hit out of the ruf and FW the titleist has a flatter lip so more grass gets cought between the ball and club face through contact if you look at bobby jones fairway wood design that is why it is so goofy looking good luck with your purchase and with your game

  10. cole says:

    Just got my 3 wood yesterday went out first swing 250 right down the middle

  11. Derek says:

    Have tried an R9 #4 fairway (non-tp version) and it was extremely long both off the deck and the tee.

  12. Sebastian Thomas says:

    I visited the local golf shop on March 6 and saw the R9 drivers being taken out of the shipping box. I asked to try it, but they didn’t have a demo. They let me try one of the new ones anyway (I’m a good customer): stiff shaft, 10.5, non-TP. I enjoyed hitting it on the range and hit it well, so I bought it. After experimenting with the MWT and FCT adjustments, I hit best (straight) with the shaft set to the left setting mark, and the heavy weight in the toe - the club seems to have more pop with the weight in the toe. I’m in the fairway 95 percent of the time, maybe more. Good enough. One problem: with my settings, the driver hits high, so it doesn’t hit far against a strong March head wind. Otherwise, it hits about the same distance as most other drivers. On April 1, I went back to the shop and tried the R9 fairway woods, stiff, non-TP. I hit the 5 wood and 3 wood perfectly straight with the FCT set to neutral. I bought both and hit them really well (Apr 4) after adjusting one mark toward left. While at the range, an employee let me hit his R9 3 wood with the TP Motore shaft (stiff). That shaft was too heavy at 85 grams and maybe the kick point was too high for me because I pulled every shot about 20 yards straight left. The FCT adjustments do make more difference on ball flight with the driver than with the fairway woods. I've always been a slicer and fader with woods, but all three of these clubs hit perfectly straight shots, unless I purposely work the ball. Good enough.

  13. Prospetiva says:

    Got this club slightly used from a pga professional who played with it for a few swings and man oh man… I don’t and will probably never regret getting it. I’m a six month old golfer who’s barely braking 100s and first time I hit it, the ball just flew!! It was so straight and long that I couldn’t believe I was the one hitting it! I normally hit a fade on my shots but this club even at Neutral just flew straight! even a miss hit near the toe flew straight and long… I’ve been relying on my 3 hybrid and have been waiting for a good fairway wood and as luck would have it, I’ve found her!

  14. hawkeye says:

    WOW!

    Was fitted today and this is the longest 3wood i've ever hit. Was carrying 250 according to the numbers. Hit it great - thanks for the review - really helped and prompted me to try it!

    Will be getting it with YS-6 shaft.

  15. OGCJeff says:

    I recently ordered a entire new set from 52 and 58 z groove wedged through r9 driver. Unfortunately for me, all but the 19 tp rescue (new with fct) were backordered. I took receipt of the hybrid last week, dialed into nu setting and absolutely loved it. I was not necessarily looking to replace my 3 iron but more to give me that 230-245 approach distance and a reliable short tee club. I got my R9 tp 13 degree 3 wood today and can't believe that I am even more impressed with this club than I was with the hybrid. I am replacing an older cleveland 3 wood that I have had for over 6 years. The first thing that I immediately loved was the bigger head. Im not one for a super large head on the driver but really appreciated it upon address with the three wood. I also dialed this into NU and proceeded to hit 10 balls off the range within 10 yards of my target (roughly 250 yrds). I then played 5 holes hitting off of the tee, fairway and out of 2 inch rough with superb results. I feel this is my new "go to" club and cannot wait to see how many strokes I am going to shave.

    The Motore F1 shaft feels heavy at first but seems to get itself in just the right position and is very responsive to different setups.

    For reference.

    I am a 3.4 handicap with a 117 mph driver swing speed. I seem to be hitting this club about 265 yds.

  16. David says:

    25 yards longer than the burner tp 3 wood???
    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW!
    I should definitely give these a try.
    i absolutely love the reviews you guys do on this website.
    Keep up the good work!

  17. Matt says:

    Just ordered a customized R9 TP from TGW... I really wish they would've offered this club in 13 deg LH. Alas, they do not and my R9 TP w/ Matrix X-Con 5 shaft 15deg will be here in time for August... Can't wait!

  18. Terry Sumpter says:

    I bought this club through my friend who works for Edwin Watts on his advice. WOW! What a change in solid ball striking it has made with my game. The ball flight is terrific for my 7 Handicap. As a lefthanded sceptic of golf clubs I give this club a solid thumbs up to Taylormade. I am ordering the 5 wood today and I know I won't be disappointed. I set this club in the neutral position and the ball flight is straight as an arrow. You will not be disappointed with this club. My Callaways are out of the bag and have been given away!

  19. Lefty says:

    I picked up a lefty R9 TP 9.5 stiff with the Motore shaft. Wanted a change from my current driver (Titleist 907 D1 Aldila stiff 9.5) because i was losing yardage since it had a low kick point and i was finding that Iwas "ballooning" most of my drives. I am hoping to get a lower trajectory flight with the R9 TP. I will give you my feedback after this weekend. I got 2 rounds lined up to test drive the R9.

  20. Trent says:

    Your going to like it Lefty. I am getting over 300 yards on my driver, I am getting about 265 on my 3 wood and about 245 on my 5 wood. I am very happy I got these 3 new R9s.

  21. Bryson says:

    Great Review!

    Is the clubhead made of titanium or steel for the r9 fairway woods?

  22. Div says:

    OCG Jeff you are an absolute numpty exageration i think so what a mug

  23. Pierre says:

    Got R9 4 wood and I love it... :)

    I removed my #3 and #5 wood Ping Raptor (hate them) from my bag ..... best move I ever did.....
    Great control and felling...

  24. Matthew says:

    Get the R9 if you're a high handicap? I don't believe that's true. I'm a 1 handicap and I actually think the R9 is better than the Titleist. I'm not saying the 909D or 909F are bad, in fact they are quite good, but I like the R9 much more.

  25. Mark says:

    After loving the R9 460 Driver, I thought I better try out the 3 wood.
    I'm a 22 Hcapper and, once dialled in to it, hit it longer and was actually able to work it ! (as good as a 22er can)
    Like me, try it, then buy it.

  26. Bill Baird says:

    If you want the best of both worlds, puta 4 wood head on the 3 wood shaft and then open it 1-2 degrees. Now you have a great fairway wood!!
    I am a scratch handicap and this is the best fairway wood I have ever played. I also put the r9 5 wood in my bag.

  27. Elliot says:

    I just bought a barely used demo r9 5-wood. While the little graphic that comes in the manual illustrates ball flight and lists the face angle and lie of the club under the four labeled settings, I can't find a table that tells how the settings affect loft. Qualitatively, R appears to deloft the club while L adds loft, but does anyone know the actual numbers for the 8 positions? Just curious.

  28. Craig says:

    I purchased the R9 4 wood a couple weeks ago and absolutely love it!!! My driver swing speed is between 88-94 mph, but opted for an "R" shaft. I can get the ball up easily and it is longer than any other fairway wood I've ever owned...and that's a "few" ;-) I'm a 10 hdcp and working the ball is NOT a priority with me, but I have pulled off a couple cuts, draws, and hooks successfully.
    Well, I got a little greedy and purchased an R9 TP 13* 3 wood with the "R" 70-gram Fujikura Motore shaft. I'm thinking of using it off the tee on those days when the driver gets benched or on windy days down here in TX. Hope the rain holds off this weekend so I can take my new weapon to the course.
    I also highly recommend the Raylor (22*). It is awesome from the fairway, rough, or any other mess you might find yourself in.

  29. John Tann says:

    My second or third golf shot with the R9 65g TP 3 wood was dead straight 266 slightly uphill though being there was a group on the green I decided to relax my swing a bit and just get thru the ball and with a less powerful attack to the swing, say 80 percent, the club produced a fantastic result. The ball flight was medium elevation line drive with a slight draw. I left the ball about 20 yards dead center between the adjacent traps. The lighter TP shaft most definitely promotes a easier swing for ultimate results but controllability is enhanced dramatically. I found that off the tee a similar shot was produced, leaving just short of a 250 yard ditch that crossed the fairway that so many people drive their ball into. Long story short if I have the short game to go along with my long game I'd be shooting the scores I dream about. I just ordered the matching 5 wood to the same specs and can't wait to play that club from about 230 or so hitting either high low draw fade I am confident that it will perform as long as I hit it at about 80 percent.
    The shaft is perfect for me as now I don't feel as though I have to overpower the shot to hit it well and still get a decent result. Maybe its not the 280 yards I can hit with a heavier shaft but it is a lot easier on my back and that's going to help more game has much as the new woods. So its a win win any way I look at. Can't wait to get used to hitting hard once and awhile to see if it can perform like the matching shaft on my driver. WOW is all I can say about Taylormade woods, especially the these later renditions.

  30. Jacob says:

    I bought the r9 3-wood 15 degree a couple months ago and i cant say anything bad bought it. I had the nike dymo square head which was terrible just saying. So i saw the r9 and decided to give it a try. I couldnt be more satisfied with ive nvr felt or comfortable with a club in my hand. Im 15 and just the average like everyday golfer and if i were you i would give this club a try because it is absolutly amazing!

  31. Neil Hughes says:

    The only downside is that if you decide you need to change the shaft, the sleeve that enables the FCT technology makes this prohibitively expensive.

  32. dielhi says:

    Hi, folks. I am a 19 hdcp. and after 5 years of trying to get off the tee with a 460 driver which was so light I could not even feel the clubhead, I decided to try a strong 3 wood. So I went to my local store, here in the frozen north, and the only club the very nice salesperson could find was a 13 deg. Taylormade FTC adjustable 3 wood. I hit some balls in their hitting area and decided to buy it, as it was on sale. I took it out to the practice range this morning and was positively impressed. HOWEVER, I have no idea how to make adjustments - assuming I want to. I hit my 5, 7 and 9 woods perfectly straight, I have a very neutral grip, but when I hit my brand new 3 wood the predominant shot was a slight pull hook. What setting should I put this club at? And will it make any difference? The setting now is neutral, and I have not changed it. Any feedback I can get would be most appreciated.

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