This Wednesday I was able to attend a TaylorMade media day event yesterday at the La Costa Resort. Want to thank all the great TMAG staffers (Christa, Michael, Dave and Mike) for having me and sharing this exciting line of prodcuts. I was even able to play a round with Tom Kroll, the global product lines manager for woods.
For more on all of TaylorMade's New line of products, check out these links:
I have to admit I still thought the name RocketBallz was a joke even before I was given the presentation yesterday. But there is a much larger story to it. It was based off testing TMAG tour staffer Dustin Johnson's experience with the prototype. “I brought the prototype out to some players and Dustin Johnson was the first one to test it,” said Todd Chew, Tour Product Specialist. “He's unbelievably long, as we all know, but he was just blown away by how far the Rescue was going. Dustin said a couple of times,'It‟s like a rocket.' When the prototype returned from initial field testing, Taylormade's engineers took the creative liberty to etch the name, “RocketBallz,” into both the CAD model and the sole of the prototype clubhead. “I never thought RocketBallz would actually show up on the prototype,” said Todd Beach, Senior Director of Product Engineering, Metalwoods. "Typically, it's got an MW label and a number on there, whatever our number is. When the prototype came back, I was like, 'What are you guys doing?' I can‟t believe you put that on there. There‟s no way we‟re going to call the product that." The marketing department decided to keep the name, never has a product name come from the R&D department.
TMAG is calling this line the hottest name in golf and feel they couldn't have called it anything else. They are boasting HUGE distance gains, they can legally claim 17 yards increased distance with the fairway wood. Dustin Johnson was hitting it 330!
The driver will come in 2 models, RocketBallz and RocketBallz Tour. The great feature of both drivers it that they are tunable at $299. Something TMAG thought was important since they place so much emphasis on the golfer being fitter for correct equipment.
Design Features for the RocketBallz Driver:
- White Crown, PVD black face for improved alignment, elimination of glare, and because the white color, the 460cc RBZ driver appear slightly (2%) larger, which when compared to the size of the ball, TMAG feels, adds confidence builder when teeing off.
- Shallower profile than the R11S for higher launch
- More draw bias than R11S
- Flight Control Technology (FCT) which allows the golfer to easily adjust the performance angles (face angle, loft and lie) of the RBZ driver to one of 8 settings via the FCT sleeve. These settings allow a range of launch conditions that promote up to 60 yards of side-to-side trajectory adjustment.
- a modern, aerodynamically shaped clubhead outfitted with a lightweight, 50-gram shaft. This shaft is 1/2" shorter than the Burner 2.0. Golfers were complaining about the 2.0 shaft being too long and sacrificing accuracy. They made an adjustment, went shorter, 46", with the length without giving up distance.
- CG further apart and closer to the face for more ball speed.
- Inverted Cone design for optimal ball speed.
The Tour version is a little different:
-more compact looking
I enjoyed hitting the Tour driver in the 9* head. Testing it against the R11S it went slightly further and both were longer than my R11. Again I was able to test the same shaft in all 3 heads. The look is for those who like the Superfast 2.0 or PING drivers. I think it's better looking than the 2.0 which I didn't like at all. More compact gives it a stealthy, bullet like appeal. Ball flight was lower than the R11 and for me had a tighter dispersion. The white crown works with the bits of lime and it's fun to yell "RocketBallz!" after a good driver. Best driver out there at $299, no question.
TOUR Driver face, notice the deeper profile
Availability and Pricing
The RocketBallz driver will be offered in two models to cater to a wide range of players. The RBZ driver is available in three lofts – 9.5°, 10.5° and HL (high-launch), while the RBZ Tour comes in 9° and 10.5°. The standard RBZ SuperFast Matrix Ozik XCON 5 shaft comes in four shaft flexes – S, R, M and L. The RBZ Tour model comes equipped with a Matrix Ozik XCon 6, 55-gram shaft in X, S and R flexes, with the option of 25 additional shaft choices.
Both RocketBallz drivers will sell at $299 and are available at retail on Feb. 3, 2012.
RocketBallz Fairway Metals and Rescues
These will be huge in 2012. TMAG rolled out a carpet during the presentation to illustrate how far 17 yards was. That is about the average distance increase they are seeing and what they can legally claim. Sean Toulon calls it the "Most incredible machine ever created".
So how did they make the fairway wood so much hotter? They found a way to push the limits of COR (coefficient of restitution) to the limit. Something that has never been done before in steel fairway woods. Here's what TMAG did
- Deeper face, for a larger trampoline.
- improved sole geometry and a “Speed Pocket” to improve overall head and face flexibility
- CG moved forward and below the center axis. Previous fairway woods have the CG too low and back with a majority of golfers hit too low off the far, producing low launching and high spinning shots. Promotes a higher launch angle and lower spin-rate, better distance
The incorporation of deeper face, low-and-forward CG and RocketBallz technology has allowed us to create the first steel fairway that reaches USGA/R&A speed limits.
TMAG compared their RockerBallz 3 wood to another company that has a pocket on the sole. TMAG was able to increase the COR from .77 to .81 by making the face deeper, moving the CG while the other competitor club went from .74 to .76
More spring like effect, more distance.
Even though there are all these great design features the club looks really pleasing to the eye at address. Similar to the Burner 2.0 but with improved symmetry. Really frames the ball well, looks easy to hit off a fairway lie or a tee. I personally saw distance increases, not exactly sure how much but watched other golfers get on a launch monitor and see some major distance jumps, some were 20 yards farther! RocketBallz is the real deal and you could hear players from the media day yelling "RocketBallz!" throughout the course.
The RocketBallz Rescue is just as impressive, TMAG claims it's 10 yards farther. Very similar attributes to the fairway metal, looks great and launches. There will also be a Tour version of both the fairway and Rescue RBZ clubs. Characteristics are a smaller address appearance, a slightly open face angle, a toe- weighted CG, and both are equipped with a heavier, stiffer, tour-grade shaft.
Unlike the RBZ driver, the RBZ fairway and Rescue are not adjustable
Pricing and Availability
The RocketBallz fairways’ lightweight shaft and grip are critical to the overall weight of just 315 grams. The RocketBallz fairway woods come standard with a Matrix Ozik XCon 5 50-gram graphite shaft in four flexes (S, R, M, L). It will be offered in three lofts for right-handed golfers (Lofts: RH: 3-15°, 3HL-17°, 5-19°, 7-21°, 9-24°) and three for left-handed golfers (LH: 3-15°, 5-18°, 7-21°).
The RocketBallz Tour fairway woods come standard with a Matrix Ozik RUL 70 75-gram graphite shaft in three flexes (X, S, R). It will be offered in three lofts for right-handed golfers only (Lofts: RH: 13°, 14.5°, 18°). Additionally, a selection of 25 custom TP shafts will be available for upgrade.
The RocketBallz Rescues come standard with a 65-gram graphite shaft in four flexes (S, R, M, L). It will be offered in four lofts for right-handed golfers only (Lofts: 3-19°, 4-21°, 5-24°, 6-27°).
The RocketBallz Tour Rescues come standard with an 85-gram graphite shaft in three flexes (X, S, R). It will be offered in four lofts for right-handed golfers only (Lofts: 2-16.5°, 3-18.5°, 4-21.5°). Additionally, a selection of 5 custom TP shafts will be available for purchase.
All of the RocketBallz fairway woods and RocketBallz Rescues are available on February 3, 2012 with the individual product pricing listed below.
RocketBallz Fairway Woods: $229 RocketBallz Tour Fairway Woods: $229 RocketBallz Fairways with TP shaft upgrade: $32
RocketBallz Rescues: $179 RocketBallz Tour Rescues: $179 RocketBallz Rescues with TP shaft upgrade: $229