Oct 8th, 2015
TaylorMade M1: The Exclusive First Hit
Bombs away, this Driver is LEGIT!!!
Words: Daniel Owen Photography: Joseph Donahue
So we’ve hit it. The new TaylorMade M1 Driver. A monochrome bomber. TaylorMade are sure this will be the number one driver on tour at the BMW Championship in its first week out there. After hitting it we know why they're so confident. We got to hit the 430, and the 460 heads, and they are both belters.
So the most polarising thing about the driver will be it’s look. The dual colour crown will never be called conservative, it really stands out. Working in a similar away to Odyssey’s versa alignment, we found it very easy to line up.
Would we prefer it to be all black or all white? Yes. Did we dislike it? No. The obvious carbon fibre on the crown looks very slick, fast and aggressive as well. Just like when the first R11 white driver hit the fairways, next week everyone will notice TaylorMade’s new driver, they won’t be able to miss it.
Appearance wise, the bigger and the more popular 460cc head has a traditional shape at address. Very pear shaped, if it was all black, and had a triangle on the crown it could pass for a Titleist.
The 430cc head is a little more traditional TaylorMade –rounder, slightly more bulbous. If you liked the R7, or the old 510TP, this is definitely the descendent from that. The sole is a little loud looking, but who sees that at address anyway?
According to the engineers, the two heads don’t perform as drastically differently as previous models, and the 430 head should only spin around 100rpm less than the 460. This isn’t what we found in testing.
I’ve always struggled with spinning the ball too much. The ball launches too high, and I get no roll out. Not the case with these heads. The ultra low centre of gravity with the T-Track weights in the forward, centre position were launching around 14-15 degrees with around 2,500 RPM Spin. Really good numbers.
The 430 head wasn’t even reaching 2000RPM. This is unheard of for me, a driver that doesn’t spin enough. It wasn’t as forgiving either, I could definitely see and feel the mishits more. So despite preferring the look of the 430 head, the 460 was a clear winner for me. I’ll need to get it on the course, but based on the stats this is the longest driver I’ve ever hit.
I hit the ball pretty straight so I didn’t feel the need to adjust the weights too much. However TaylorMade brought Steven Bowditch out on the range, and he was absolutely munching the 430 head. He loved how constant the spin stayed on miss hits, as it makes a big difference at that level of the game. Playing with the draw and fade front weight was making a huge difference to his shot shape. It’s really useful if you have a regular miss to straighten out that ball. Me, I’m not that good!
The Carbon crown really improved the feel of this new TaylorMade M1 driver for me. I like my driver to be on the quieter side, and have a soft feel, like the ball is compressing on the face. This is exactly what the M1 gave me. The R15 is a much harder feeling hit in comparison especially out on the toe or in the heel. It won’t appeal to everyone, but for me, I loved it.
Shaft wise the M1 comes with three standard options, The Aldila Rogue Silver, Mitsubishi Kuro Kage TiNi, and Fujikura Pro. I'm a high spin player so the Rogue was great for me. But if these shafts don't work for you, there are 25 other no cost options to ensure a great custom fit driver. Pretty sweet if you ask me.
Choosing a driver is personal preference, but for me this was a big improvement over the last TaylorMade drivers. Better shapes, softer feel, lower spin, more forgiving, and longer. Pretty much everything you could ask for in a driver. The two-tone crown may prove to be a marmite moment, but we found we were used to it in no time.