A TaylorMade Rescue has been in my bag for the past three years and I haven’t found one to replace it during that time. I’ve tried nearly half a dozen that all had decent results but none could beat the overall performance of the TaylorMade.
When the chance came to review the latest offering from TaylorMade, I jumped on it. My older-generation Rescue has been in the bag since 2005 and has seen better days. While I’ve admired Mizuno and Titleist in the iron area, I’ve had a TaylorMade driver and Rescue or fairway metal in my bag for many years. Their dominance in this area has been the result of superior products, not just marketing.
The TaylorMade Rescue ’09 offers some improvements that are hard to pass up, especially if you’re like me and have skipped a few generations. The question is, though, will this new version be good enough and retain the qualities that I’ve come to love and appreciate about my old Rescue? Read on to find out.
Build and Technology
The basic build and shape of the TaylorMade Rescue has not changed much in the past few years. From the Rescue Dual TP that I currently have in my bag to this model, the biggest changes are inside of the club. The one most promoted and hyped by TaylorMade is that the center of gravity has been lowered by 10 percent over the 2008 model (and probably a lot more over my older one).
The other feature of the ’09 TaylorMade Rescue is on the bottom of the club. There the heel and toe has been recessed promoting two things: reduced drag and more playability. The TP version of the ’09 TaylorMade offers one more piece of technology.
That one piece of technology is the new Flight Control Technology (FCT) that TaylorMade has introduced to a variety of their clubs this year. According to TaylorMade’s website, FCT “utilizes a metallic sleeve positioned over the tip of the shaft. The sleeve can be rotated into different positions, changing the characteristics of the head, by loosening the bolt that secures the sleeve and shaft into the clubhead.” Translation: you’re able to change the loft, lie, and face angle of the club easily to fit your preference.
Look and Feel
If you’ve read any of my previous hybrid reviews, you’ll know that I think that hybrids are a bit strange on the looks. I’ve never been fond of the look of my Rescue Dual TP. The good news is that the ’09 Rescue has shown a vast improvement.
From the top the Rescue ’09 has a solid black look with a straight line that runs parallel to the face, curving away towards the back of the club at the ends. The result is a clean and simple look.
The sole of the club is equally well done. The recessed heel and toe is painted black against the steel of the rest of the sole resulting in what looks like a claw. There are much harder lines on the bottom of the Rescue ’09, but just as appealing to the eye.
Feel does not disappoint either. First, when resting the club behind the ball the club does not turn at all. Some Rescues or hybrids have a tendency to open a bit, making the alignment a bit open. The Rescue ’09 does not suffer from this. You can easily align yourself and not worry about the club shifting. Throwing your alignment off even by a couple degrees on a club like this can result in some wild shots.
One other good attribute that has been retained in the Rescue ’09 is the feel of the ball off the face of the club. Simply put, it is solid. Since Rescues are truly between woods and irons they can take the attributes of both. The Rescue ’09 has the feel of an iron when striking the ball. There is no hollow or dull feeling. A player gets good feedback with the Rescue ’09 and the sound is more like an iron than it is a fairway wood.
Typically, when I evaluate a hybrid, I have in mind two main features or areas of interest. The first area is the long, high shot that I have never been able to execute with my irons. You have all manner of disaster around the green and have to carry the ball 220 yards to the green. A 3-wood is too low and/or too long. I can’t carry a 2- or 3-iron that far. Any 3 iron that goes 220 yards for me is a low hook that carries 200 and rolls another 20 plus yards. My current TaylorMade pulls this shot off and I won’t consider a hybrid that can’t.
I received a 19° Rescue ’09 which is the same loft as my current hybrid. I chose the TaylorMade because it has a higher launch angle than any other hybrid I’ve tested. After hitting the first set of balls with the Rescue ’09 it was easy to see that it was going to be very similar to what I’ve been using for three years. It produces a higher ballflight than most hybrids but not a ballooning ballflight.
To compare my TaylorMade Rescues more closely, I did a test for the 225 yard shot of death. I hit a series of balls from about 225 out with both clubs. The similarity was once again evident. So much that if the clubs were painted the same I might not even know which was which. Both clubs could carry the ball onto the green without any problems. Distance was very similar as well. The biggest difference was on mis-hits. The newer Rescue ’09 was a more forgiving. After just a couple shots that did not catch the center of the face it was apparent that forgivability was the main thing I was missing by not upgrading sooner.
The second area I like to review hybrids is in its “recueability” – which is the ability get you out of trouble. There are three rescue shot tests I like to run through with any hybrid. The thick rough shot is the first one I tried. There was nothing rough about it though. I was able to get the ball up out of the rough without any issues. The Rescue ’09 had no problems working through the rough and getting the clubface on the ball.
The next trouble area to test was the tight lie. When I first started using a hybrid/rescue club this was one shot I was surprised that it could handle so easily. For some reason I thought the iron would manage it better but the Rescue is a much better option. The TaylorMade Rescue ’09 was no exception. Again, the ball flight was still high and penetrating.
Lastly, I always like to try out a few punch shots. Whether it is getting out of the trees or hitting some wind-cheaters, a reliable low shot is a great one to fall back on. Of all the tested areas this was probably where the TaylorMade performed the most average. It was a bit difficult to control the trajectory and keep it low. Contact was not the problem. Neither was distance control. If I have a low branch in front of me, that might be the problem.
Options and Extras
17°, 19°, 22° and 25° TaylorMade Rescue ’09 models are available. If you’re a lefty, only the 19° and 22° are available. This gives golfers a variety of options if they are not only looking to replace a 2 or 3-iron, but possibly a 4 and 5-iron as well.
As for shafts, there are two options. The first is the standard RE*AX Superfast 85 shaft. This is their “stock” shaft and the one I reviewed. I was more than happy with the stiff model that came with it.
The head cover is very similar to the ones TaylorMade has provided in years past for their Rescue clubs. It is a solid nylon cover with a stretchy section along the back that allows the club to fit tightly around the cover. Unlike the Bobby Jones head covers in one of my recent reviews, I’ve never had to worry about losing this cover. Along with the functionality, the styling and look is good as well.
I believe I’ve finally found a replacement for my old TaylorMade Rescue TP. It’s only fitting that it is another TaylorMade. The Rescue ’09 improves in enough areas, most importantly forgiveness, that it was an easy choice.
Anyone looking to replace not just a long iron, but (as in my case) an old hybrid, should give this a swing. I’ve reviewed and tried numerous hybrid and Rescue clubs in the past three or so years and only put ones by TaylorMade in my bag. Others have come close and tempted me to make a switch, but I could never pull the trigger. Only by TaylorMade mixing the old with the new was I willing to make that switch.