I could take the easy route here, and make a joke about TaylorMade's frequent driver releases; to be quite honest, it was the first thing that came to mind. The problem is that too often, we overlook the qualities of great clubs and improvements in technology at the expense of getting in a quick jab.
Nevertheless, TaylorMade's constant technology and innovation push has it's share of supporters. And why shouldn't it? The r7 line was one of the most successful in history. Even last year, a number of people spotted Retief Goosen playing the r7 SuperQuad, even in the midst of TaylorMade's massive R9 marketing push. The Burner line has also historically been extremely successful, thanks in part to incorporating a healthy amount of forgiveness at an affordable price. So how does TaylorMade continue to build on such a solid pair of drivers? Read on to find out!
Burner SuperFast Driver
What makes the new Burner SuperFast different than its previous iterations? For starters, TaylorMade put it on the golf club equivalent of the Subway diet, making it 14 grams lighter than the '07 and '09 Burners. Why shed the weight? Quite simply, a lighter club leads to greater clubhead speed through the hitting zone, which can generate higher ball speeds and longer distances off the tee.
The weight isn't the only factor playing into swinging this club faster. By using simple aerodynamics, TaylorMade was able to increase the rate in which the head cuts through the air (via the reduction in drag). While doing this, they somehow found a way to increase the size of the clubface by 14% over last year's Burner. The clubface now spans 4,500 square millimeters. The extreme MOI of this driver means that you'll get a great deal of forgiveness across that large face.
In an effort to further reduce the overall weight of the club, TaylorMade used the ultra-light Matrix Ozik Xcon 4.8 shaft. Not only is the shaft extremely light, it is also tip-soft, meaning that it will help the club produce more ball speed, with more spin and a higher launch, all of which can lead to greater distances off the tee.
Continuing with the concept of faster swing speed through the overall reduction of weight, the new Winn Lite grip tops off the Burner SuperFast. While weighing only 30 grams (14 grams lighter than Burner '09's grip), the Winn Lite manages to maintain the same feel of the previous stock grips.
The Burner SuperFast also makes use of the Dual-Crown technology, which has been a major component of the Burner drivers for a couple of years now. The Dual-Crown technology effectively helps relocate the center of gravity low and deep, further promoting a higher launch and an increase in spin.
TaylorMade states that the larger face is important because the average player is going to have a harder time consistently hitting the sweet spot with such a long club - the Burner SuperFast is 46.5" long, a full inch and a half longer than "standard" and two inches longer than the average driver length on the PGA Tour. Not to be Debbie Downer here, but perhaps someone should point out that shorter clubs are more controllable and better contact is a great way to add distance, too.
Among the other changes, the Burner SuperFast's face increases the bulge and roll design to more effectively maximize forgiveness on off-center contact. Also contributing to the forgiving nature of this club is the Inverted Cone Technology, which has been found on TaylorMade drivers for quite a while now. In a nutshell, the Inverted Cone Technology promotes a faster ball speed, even when contact is made outside the sweet spot.
Options and Availability
In addition to the men's version there is also a ladies Burner SuperFast on the way, which will make use of a more feminine color scheme. There will be three lofts available - 9.5, 10.5, and HT, along with five shaft flex options ranging from Ladies to X-Stiff. Look for them to hit your nearest retailer in mid-February at a price of $299.
Burner SuperFast Fairway Woods
A lot of the same design characteristics found in the Burner SuperFast driver has been carried over to the Burner SuperFast fairway woods, and maintain the same concept of helping the golfer generate a faster club speed (and longer distance) via a reduction in weight. At an overall weight of 301 grams, not only is the new Burner SuperFast lighter than the Burner '08, it is also a half-inch longer and has a deeper face. Created out of 17-4 steel, the 200 cubic centimeter head is the largest steel fairway wood ever created by TaylorMade.
Options and Availability
Three lofts are available: a 13° 2-wood, a 15° 3-wood, and a 17° 5-wood. Like it's larger sibling, the same flex options are available to meet the needs of all swing speeds. They will launch on the same day as the SuperFast Driver for $199.
Early last year the equipment world was introduced to the 420cc TaylorMade R9, which marked the first time the company made use of Flight Control Technology, or FCT for short, which essentially helped the player promote a draw or fade, via the use of a grooved hosel fitting. This grooved fitting would allow the shaft to be removed, turned, re-seated, and tightened again, effectively opening or closing the clubface up to 2° in either direction. Combined with the extremely popular Moveable Weight Technology (MWT), the original R9 was a technician's dream, though only if the technician preferred the smaller 420cc head.
The R9 460 would follow shortly thereafter, though devoid of the longtime favorite MWT. Still, with this advancement, a lot of fans of TaylorMade's highly successful 460cc r7 line were left wondering, "where's the MWT?" Now, those longing for the ultimate in adjustability can finally have the best of both worlds, packed into a more forgiving, 460cc head in the form of the new R9 SuperTri.
TaylorMade's Todd Beach, Senior Director of Metalwood Development, had this to say:
Those two drivers were created because TaylorMade didn't yet have the ability to combine both FCT and MWT in a 460cc head. A year later, we do.Todd Beach, TaylorMade
So what can be expected from the newest iteration of the R9? The combination of FCT, MWT, and a 460cc head allow for a number of improvements over last year's versions. First off, the new SuperTri launches the ball higher, and with more spin, thanks to the center of gravity being located two millimeters further back than in last year's model. Effectively, the higher launch and increase in spin can leads to more distance over the original R9 and R9 460. Like the original, TaylorMade says that the golfer can change his shot shape up to 75 yards laterally.
As far as forgiveness goes, the Inverted Cone Technology is still present, expanding the hotter area of the face that will produce a fast ball speed and getting the player further down the fairway, even on off center contact. The crown has also been reshaped in an effort to reduce air drag as the head cuts through the air on its way to the ball. It does this despite the fact that the face of the SuperTri is the deepest of any MWT TaylorMade driver to date, measuring a full 62mm. All of these qualities are well and good, but what will most likely catch your attention first is the dark color scheme of the head. Reminiscent of the r7 SuperQuad, the SuperTri has a gorgeous black PVD clubface that works beautifully with the primarily black sole.
The stock model features the Fujikura Motore 60-gram shaft, which complements the idea of reducing the weight of the club. Being five grams lighter than last year's Motore isn't the only thing special about this shaft; it also helps to increase distance by giving the club a higher launch angle as well as an increase in spin rate.
Options and Availability
Included with the club is a single 16-gram weight screw, along with two 1-gram screws, as well as the wrench needed to take advantage of the FCT and of course a headcover (which can be seen below). There are four lofts available; 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, and 11.5°. The stock Fujikura Motore comes in five flexes, L-flex being the softest available and X-Stiff being the stiffest. If the TP option is more you're liking, you'll get the same head, but with wider variety of premium shafts which include the Aldila Voodoo, the Mitsubishi Fubuki, and the Matrix Ozik. The R9 SuperTri will be available mid-February at a price of $399 ($499 for the TP option).