Sep 9th, 2015
Next Year's Hottest Driver, Now!!!
Words: Daniel Owen
In the middle of deepest darkest Connecticut – The Forest Moon of Endor, at the Foxwoods Resort – (Stop making me look up Star Wars references, grandad! – Ed), we’ve been privy to TaylorMade’s exclusive new driver launch. The M1 is coming, and we’ve got the scoop.
TaylorMade have the number one driver on tour. They have four players in the top ten of the world ranking. Jason Day has just won his first major at the PGA Championship using a full bag of TM equipment. Yet the perception is they are on the back foot this year, under increasing pressure from some of their competitors. They need to hit back, and hit back big with a driver launch, a driver that will dominate. And they believe the M1 is that product. Their first, as they call it, ‘Unmetal Wood’.
We were invited to join their global sales meeting, and the launch event had a religious fervour akin to an Apple product launch. Or this might have just been my delirium setting in after being awake for 18 hours having travelled from Brighton to Mashantucket, Conneticut!
Seriously, though, the TaylorMade team have an obvious passion for the brand, with new CEO David Abeles enthusing about his roots in the Connecticut area as well as his history with the brand. Various engineers were brought on stage to talk about the product, flashy videos where shown on the big screen, and there was an unannounced appearance from major winner Jason Day who proceeded to evangelise about the brand, the people, and the product. But despite all the razzmatazz, it was still clear that the star of the show was the M1 driver.
So what’s different this time around then? The immediate, obvious difference is the carbon fibre crown. TaylorMade have stuck with full titanium construction for a long time, but this is the first time they’ve moved to a carbon crown to save weight. 10 grams lighter than the crown on the R15, this is a huge saving on a head that weighs in at around 300 grams.
TaylorMade have been able to move the centre of gravity so low that they are confidently claiming this is their longest driver ever. Despite the two tone crown, this driver has a real classic, almost persimmon-like pear shape at address. It's like Darth Vader had a driver-shaped baby with a Stormtrooper, a seriously sweet looking boom stick.
The second thing you’ll notice is the T-Track weighting. A 15g sliding weight from left to right can be moved to adjust shot shape: Put it in the heel hit a draw; put it in the toe to encourage a fade. A second 10g weight is adjustable from front to back. The further back the weight, the higher the MOI, launch and spin. Put it forward and get a lower flying, lower spinning trajectory.
Where SLDR and R15 were arguably targeted at the better player, the M1 should work for a much larger section of players.
We don’t get to hit the club until later today, but the third thing we’ve noticed is the sound. It sounds incredibly solid. A real thud that the tour pros have been loving if the video above is anything to go by. Composite-crowned drivers can sound terrible, so they’ve really worked hard on the acoustics of this head. If you look at this cut-away image you can see some of the internal structures that help give the head a hot, crisp, solid sound.
The hosel is adjustable plus or minus two degrees, great for dialling in lie, loft, and face angle. Two heads are available, a 460cc, and a slightly more compact 430 that is slightly lower spinning.
The driver is available with three shaft options to dial in the club even further. A high launching Fujikura Pro 60, a mid launch Mitsubishi Kuro Kagi TiNi Silver, and a low launching Aldila Rogue Silver 70. With all these options, properly fitted it should be impossible not to find the perfect driver for you.
We’ll keep updating you with more info over the next couple of days. If this driver goes as well as it looks and sounds, then TaylorMade have a serious winner on their hands.
The driver launches on the 8th October, and will retail at £429.
Related to this article: