First and foremost, I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years! Now that we've got that out the way, it's time for Bag Drop to get back on track, and what a better way to do just that than with a huge release of products from TaylorMade?!
They're back at it again with the latest additions to the proven Burner and "R" lines of drivers, but they also churned out a what will likely be a real treat for fans of TaylorMade's forged players irons. We've got a lot to cover, so lets not waste any more time with introductions!
Burner SuperFast 2.0 and SuperFast 2.0 TP Drivers
Leading off this week is the second iteration of the Burner SuperFast driver, which was introduced right around a year ago. The SuperFast line is designed specifically to help players get the club moving faster through impact. By engineering a lighter, more aerodynamically enhanced club, players realized an increase in clubhead speed, and ultimately longer distances off the tee.
The newest members to the Burner family are the Burner SuperFast 2.0 and Burner SuperFast 2.0 TP, which takes the SuperFast tech and combines it with an ultra-large face and an increased refinement in aerodynamics. Not only is an increase in clubhead speed promoted, this latest TaylorMade GI driver also promotes a higher launch angle and a decrease in spin, all which should equate to even longer distances over last year's Burner SuperFast model.
The Burner SuperFast 2.0 also has a new head shape, which helps to leverage the benefits of TaylorMade's proven Dual Crown Technology. The benefit of this is a lower center of gravity (CG), which in turn leads to a higher launch angle, lower spin, and overall distance-promoting launch conditions.
The Burner SuperFast 2.0 also holds the title of having the largest face of any TaylorMade driver ever made. The exceptionally deep face spans a whopping 4,550 mm2. The entire clubhead employs Ultra-Thin Wall construction which, along with a triangular head shape which allows for improvements in weight distribution and results in a more forgiving clubhead. Such a large face gives a lot more room for "less than square" contact, especially in light of the overall longer club length. The sweet spot is further expanded thanks to the presence of TaylorMade's Inverted Cone Technology, which is milled in the back of the club face. Also present is precise weighting that promotes a bit of draw bias, though the face angle measures up to square/neutral. The white crown of the Burner SuperFast 2.0 immediately grabs your attention and is a stark contrast from the black PVD finish of the face.
Like the previous Burner SuperFast, weight is trimmed in as many places as possible. By using components such as a 25g Winn Lite grip, the SuperFast 2.0 takes the title of lightest TaylorMade driver ever, weighing in at a minuscule 279 grams. This reduction in weight combined with a tip-soft 46.5" Matrix Ozik XCon 4.8 shaft is said to promote a distance gain of up to five yards over the previous model.
The TP model has a few key differences. Possibly the most visible difference is a more compact address footprint, though it also features a visible toe-side weight port. The face angle also measures slightly open. A Matrix Ozik HD 6 shaft wrapped in a 43 gram Tour Velvet Light grip rounds out the technical differences between the SuperFast 2.0 and SuperFast 2.0 TP. Note that I said technical differences. The standard model will be available in three lofts (9.5°, 10.5°, and HT), while the TP model drops it down a bit and offers an 8.5°, a 9.5°, and a 10.5°. Of course, there is a slight difference in price as well - the Burner SuperFast 2.0 will retail for $299 while the TP model will cost you $100 more, ringing up at $399. Expect to see these in stores February 4th.
R11 and R11 TP Drivers
Over the past seven years, since TaylorMade originally introduced the r7 driver, the whole general concept of adjustability has really sky-rocketed, both in terms of industry adoption (with nearly every major manufacturer now offering some form of adjustability), and from a technological standpoint. Not only have the methods of adjustment grown, so has the degree of flexibility offered by each. TaylorMade has year in and year out upped the ante since then, and now, the new R11 and R11 TP marks the first time they offer independent adjustment of both loft and face angle.
First it was the interchangeable heel and toe weights (MWT, or Moveable Weight Technology, still present after seven years), then they gave us the ability to change the angle of the driver head on the shaft via the use of an adjustable shaft sleeve/hosel combination (FCT - Flight Control Technology). Now they bring us ASP (Adjustable Sole Plate) Technology, which allows the fine tuning to reach a whole new level.
When modifying the club using FCT, not only does the face angle change, the loft does as well. As the face is closed, the effective loft increases, and vice-versa - the loft decreases as the face opens. Now, the player adjusts the loft using FCT, while ASP provides up to 2° of additional face angle modification in either direction. Though we're not clear on exactly how ASP works (it's a sole plate, so how does it affect the face?), we have asked TaylorMade for more details and will update this post when we get a response.
The combination of FCT and ASP also can result in up to 4° of range in the face angle if needed. Add in the multitude of combinations offered by MWT, and you're left with 48 different configurations available to the player. TaylorMade states that this can promote up to 100 yards of side to side trajectory adjustment.
The slightly triangular-shaped clubhead clocks in at 440cc, though the white crown makes the head appear ever-so-slightly larger than one might expect. The white crown is a stark contrast to the black PVD of the R11's face, with the intent of making the club easier to aim. Another advantage to the white crown is that it eliminates the glare you might see with glossy black clubheads.
Included with the R11 is two weight cartridges, a 10-gram and a 1-gram, though 4- and 6-gram weights are available for purchase if you'd like a greater degree of flexibility. The standard R11 is available in your choice of 9° or 10.5° of loft for right-handed players, while lefties get to choose from 9.5° or 10.5°. It comes equipped with a 45.75", 60 gram Fujikura Blur shaft, featuring a medium-firm tip profile. Four shaft flexes (X, S, R, M) are available and the TP model has 19 available shafts on top of the standard Fujikura Blur TP. The R11 hits stores February 4th with a price tag of $399 for the standard model and $499 for the TP.
Forged Tour Preferred Irons
All three of TaylorMade's new forged irons mix the appearance of a more traditional players iron with modern technology and performance. By working with their staffers, TaylorMade's engineers developed what is likely to be the most appealing TM iron for low handicap players since the RAC MB TP Smoke.
Forged irons are typically devoid of performance technologies. Their compact and solid construction, with thin sole, thin topline, high CG location and little to no offset, forces a very specific type of impact parameters to hit a good shot, with virtually no margin for error. The reward for that sacrifice is unparalleled feel and workability. We took a long, close look into the makeup of forged irons to determine if we could advance the performance with the use of technology, and we found that we could.Bret Wahl - Sr. Director of Iron, Wedge, and Putter Development
As you can gather from the pictures below, all three models prominently feature a weight port positioned on the center of the back, low near the back edge of the sole.
The reasoning for its existence is actually quite interesting, as it functions to solve a problem that has existed for quite some time. According to TM, manufacturers have used weight cartridges in the irons' hosels in order to make swingweight uniform across the entire set. The problem is that by doing that, the center of gravity becomes inconsistent as you move through the set. By using this weight port and precision weights in each iron, swingweights remain consistent, as does the CG.
The precision-weighting port proves that it is, in fact, possible to innovate and improve the performance of a true, forged bladeBrian Bazzel - Manager of Iron and Wedge Creation, TaylorMade
Also common to all three TP models is a new, advanced (and conforming) groove design that promotes an increase in spin and control out of the rough.
Tour Preffered CB
Okay, so this one isn't totally forged. Instead, the multi-material Tour Preferred cavity back iron combines a cast body with a forged face in order to take advantage of the forgiveness of a deep cavity back cast club, while retaining the superb feel of a forged iron.
Uniting a forged face with a cast cavity allows us to deliver the best of both worlds: the soft feel of a forging with the stability and forgiveness of a deep undercut cavityBret Wahl
As the largest of the three new irons, the TP CB also produces the highest MOI values, which is expected, as it's the most forgiving of the three. A main contributor to the forgiving nature of the TP CB is the incorporation of TaylorMade's Inverted Cone Technology (ICT) - the only one of the new TP irons that does so. If you're not familiar with ICT, quite simply it promotes faster ball speeds across an expanded area on the club face.
The TP CB is the only model that can be purchased with graphite shafts, though the standard is the new, lightweight 110-gram True Temper Dynamic Gold XP steel shaft. Not only is this new shaft considerably lighter than the standard Dynamic Gold, it also promotes a higher ball flight. As mentioned, there is a graphite shaft option which comes custom for this set from Fujikura. Two flex profiles will be available, a 90-gram stiff flex and an 80-gram regular flex. Regardless of the shaft you choose, they will come wrapped in Tour Velvet grips and will start at $899 for steel and $1099 for graphite.
Tour Preferred MC
Next on the list is the TP MC, which offers a more ideal mixture of feel, workability, and forgiveness. The TP MC is, unlike the partially cast TP CB, created using an exclusive six-step forging process that is said to produce a more consistent, precise head shape and finish.
The overall shape of the iron is very clean with a thin topline, a straighter leading edge than the TP CB, and a less cambered sole. The sole is designed to be thin and clean, and interact with the turf with minimal resistance.
We worked obsessively with our Tour Staff to shape the TP MC irons into something that looks perfect to the better player's eye, while at the same time incorporating feel, workability and stability.Brian Bazzel
The TP MC is available with steel shafts only, with the True Temper Dynamic Gold being the standard. Like the TP CB, the new TP MC comes topped with Tour Velvet grips and will hit shelves with a price tag of $899 in March.
Tour Preferred MB
Last on the list is the "flagship" iron in this latest iron line, the muscleback blade TP MB. It The overall shape and clean lines, combined with minimal offset makes the TP MB a very attractive option for the player searching for a traditional blade iron. As one would expect, the TP MB was designed to provide exceptional feel, feedback, and a greater degree of workability over that of the other two models we covered here.
This is the iron that many of our Tour Staff pros been waiting for. The lines are clear and clean from every angle, and the pure feel of the ball on the forged face at impact is as good as it gets.Keith Sbarbaro - VP of Tour Operations, TaylorMade
Like the TP MC, this iron is produced using the same six-step forging process in order to ensure quality and precision in every iron that rolls off the line. Like the other two irons, a visible weight port is used to ensure a consistent CG across every iron in the set. A lot of the same qualities found in the TP MC are here as well, including the thin sole, straight leading edge, and tapered hosel, all of which work together to produce the ultimate in turf interaction.
Input from TaylorMade's staffers led to the choice of the True Temper Dynamic Gold and Tour Velvet as the shaft and grip combination for the new TP MB. There are a few choices in terms of set composition, as the TP MB (as well as the TP MC) are offered in a 2-iron up to a pitching wedge. The standard set consists of any eight irons of choice and will set you back $899. Expect to see these in stores this coming March.