Jan 2nd, 2018
TaylorMade twist the script with new M3 & M4 driver faces
Twist Face with a side helping of Hammerhead
Words: Daniel Owen
Every so often a club manufacturer claims that they have a game changer on their hands. TaylorMade have a pretty good track record in this department. Metal woods. Movable weights. Adjustable hosels. Forward centre of gravity for low spin. All these haver changed the way we pick a driver. The next big leap? According to TaylorMade it's Twist Face.
TaylorMade’s Twist Face technology rethinks the way driver faces are designed to help everyone hit the ball straighter. Twist Face is featured in both the new M3 & M4 drivers, is TaylorMade’s solution for golfers most common misses. Specifically, those resulting from shots hit high on the toe, and low on the heel.
To counteract the high-toe miss (a hook), the driver face has been ‘twisted’ open (loft increased & face opened) on the high-toe to help straighten ball flight. Similarly, to counteract the low-heel miss (a slice) the driver face has been twisted closed to de-loft and close the face in the low heel area. TaylorMade’s Twist Face technology delivers a corrective face angle when hit off-centre for longer, straighter shots. While looking at the golf clubs the face doesn’t look that different. We saw some oversized face inserts that really showed off how different the face shape is to traditional driver faces.
TaylorMade studied captured data from more than half a million shots that simultaneously tracks head presentation (in-out path, angle of attack, loft, impact location), initial launch conditions and final landing location of the golf ball, TaylorMade engineers discovered there was a flaw in the traditional bulge and roll. By studying the performance of thousands of shots in each quadrant across the face of all golfers’ levels, researchers determined these shots were not averaging to be on the center line. In fact, high face shots and high toe shots have a left tendency of the target line and spin significantly less. Similarly, low face and low heel shots tend to land right of the target line with a significantly more spin.
In addition to Twist Face technology, the M3 driver features a new matte silver front section and a raised, aerodynamic five-layer carbon composite crown. Years of research and development have culminated in some of the thinnest, strongest and lightest composite panels in the industry. With both the 2018 M3 and M4 metalwoods, TaylorMade engineers were able to design thinner and lighter composite panels (the M3 & M4 drivers both feature a 5-layer carbon composite crown) than ever before.
Exclusive to the M3 in both the 460cc & 440cc models is a new Y-Track adjustability system that allows for CG adjustment of the head to obtain desired, optimal ball flight parameters. Unlike the previous M1 drivers the toe track and front to back track on the M3 are connected, allowing all 22 grams (two 11g weights) of moveable mass to be utilized for both heel to toe control as well as front to back CG adjustment. The Y-track gives the golfer more CG adjustability than ever before with more than 1,000 unique CG configurations — more than double the number of positions in the 2017 M1. Add in TaylorMade’s 12 position, 4-degree ultra-lightweight aluminum Loft Sleeve (back sleeve compatible) and the result is an unparalleled level of personalization.
The flat curvature of the front/back track provides the lowest CG possible regardless of the weight setting. In fact, when the weight is in the back position versus M1 2017, the 2018 M3 CG is 36% further back. This makes the moment of inertia (MOI) 10% larger without raising the CG projection on the face. Furthermore engineers were able to increase the total amount of front / back CG movement by 83%.
For the first time ever, TaylorMade has engineered a slot housed in the sole of the more adjustable driver model. The new Hammerhead slot was engineered to work in combination with Twist Face and Inverted Cone technologies to deliver maximum ballspeed across a larger area of the face and thus, resulting in a larger sweet spot. The Hammerhead slot’s design is defined by three design elements; the central Speed Pocket, the face geometry and the stiffening ribs.
By dividing the Speed Pocket into zones, TaylorMade increased its overall length from 82mm to 100mm — a 22% increase. Additionally, it allowed for the creation of a larger flexible center zone, designed to increase ball speed on low face impacts and drop unwanted backspin. By using the new ribs, engineers were able to decrease the thickness and weight of the face allowing for a more flexible face designed to deliver higher ballspeeds across a larger area of the face. Engineers challenged themselves to evolve the construction and performance of the Speed Pocket; their answer was Hammerhead, a radical technology engineered to deliver longer drives.
The M3 will again be available in a 440cc model, which utilizes a slightly smaller head, deeper face and 22g of moveable weight, working in unison with all of the same technologies as its larger 460cc counterpart.
Both the 460 and 440cc come equipped with MCA’s popular Tensei CK Red (high launch), Blue (mid launch) or White (low launch) shafts in R, S & X flexes along with a Lamkin UTx cord grip. As the company has offered for the past few years, TaylorMade is also once again offering more than two dozen additional premium custom shaft options at no upcharge.
Available for pre-order on February 1 and at retail on February 16 at £479, the M3 460 driver will be offered in 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° & 12° loft options, while LH models will be offered in 9.5° and 10.5° lofts. The M3 440 driver (RH only) will be offered in 9° & 10° loft options.
The new M3 fairway takes a premium, adjustable fairway to the next level; constructed with a 450 stainless steel body, strong Ni-Co C300 face and new, thinner 5-layer carbon composite crown (same as the M3 & M4 drivers). An improved track system that houses more moveable weight (29 grams compared to 25 in the ’17 M1 fairway) allows for the adjustment for preferred shot shape; from fade to draw, more than ever before.
The M3 fairway also utilizes an ultra-thin, ultra-light crown and sole panel. The combination of the composite panels saves up to 8g over a similarly shaped metal fairway. The discretionary weight is placed low and forward into the M3’s clubhead to create driver-like launch conditions (high launch & low spin).
The sliding weight track (SWT) on the M3 fairway, first introduced in a TaylorMade fairway with last year’s M1, incorporates a new, smaller Loft Sleeve screw, which allowed for the moveable weight track to move 3.5mm forward, which resulted in the CG moving almost a full millimeter forward too, an 8% change over the ’17 M1.
Bringing the track forward led to a more streamlined overhang design which led to improving the sole to turf interaction for the M3 fairway. By designing an overhang that extends across the length of the track the playability of the sole was improved while allowing the weight track to be further forward.
The smaller screw head and port area to the Loft Sleeve also positively affects the Speed Pocket. By taking up less room on the sole, the Speed Pocket length from heel-to-toe on the M3 fairway is longer than the M1 2017 Speed Pocket. The through-slot is extremely efficient in terms of size and material usage, giving us the ability to package it in front of the track. The through-slot promotes faster face-flex and ball speed on mishits low on the face and also reduces backspin leading to more overall distance.
Available on February 16, 2018 at £279, the M3 fairway will be offered in 15° (3), 17° (3HL) and19° (5) loft options while LH models will be offered in 15° (3) and 19° (5) options, equipped with an MCA Tensei Blue shaft in A, R & S flexes (65g) and X flex (75g). All models come equipped with a Lamkin UTx cord grip.
The new M3 Rescue incorporates a moderate sized, Tour-proven and preferred shape first introduced by the ’17 M1 Rescue but with more moveable weight — 30g compared to 27— and a successful sole design that will appeal to players of all ability levels. The crown showcases a whole new look with a premium two tone, matte silver front section and gloss black back body framing the ball beautifully. The sole is engineered with a performance-driven adjustable sliding weight system, allowing golfers the opportunity to not only experience the neutral/fade biases of its predecessor but having more moveable weight for an unparalleled level of personalization in a TaylorMade Rescue.
In addition to the new 30g sliding weight and advanced sole design, the head comes equipped with a 3-degree ultra-lightweight aluminum Loft Sleeve. Premium components again are offered as stock options, with a MCA Tensei Blue hybrid 80g shaft in R, S & X flexes as well as a 70g A flex along with a new Lamkin UTx cord grip.
Available on February 16, 2018 at £239, the M3 Rescue will be offered in 17° (2), 19° (3), 21° (4) and 24° (5) options while LH models will be offered in 19° (3) and 21° (4) options.
The M4 is the most forgiving driver in the TaylorMade line. The M4 driver not only utilizes TaylorMade’s most groundbreaking ‘18 technologies (Twist Face & Hammerhead), it also incorporates Geocoustic engineering –combines geometry and acoustical engineering to unlock more forgiveness and best-in-class sound.
Geocoustic technology combines geometry and acoustical engineering to deliver more forgiveness and best-in-class sound. Driver heads with a low back centre of gravity typically have low frequencies because they tend to have fairly flat soles. Geocoustic sole shapes allow for a low CG and larger head size, but with a more curved sole which has inherently higher frequencies, leading to better sound and feel. The Geocoustic sole design of the M4 driver freed up discretionary volume that allowed engineers to increase the overall face size and also improved sound and feel.
Similar to the M3, the M4’s Hammerhead slot features reinforced outer portions for a lighter, more flexible face, which results in a larger sweet spot. The centre portion of the slot increases ball speed low on the face and drops unwanted spin for straight distance. Additionally, the newly designed face saves 8g of discretionary weight. To increase the stability of the driver, the rearward mass pad has been increased from 22 to 41 grams – an 86% increase.
Also new to the M4 is a redesigned face that is both thinner and lighter. The maximum thickness has been reduced from 4.47mm to 3.6mm and the heel/toe perimeter thickness has been reduced from 2mm to 1.92mm. In addition, the mass of the face has been reduced from 45.5g in the ’17 M2 to 37.6g – 17.3%.
The M4 driver RRP £369 will be offered in a new 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° & 12° loft options, while LH models are available in 9.5° and 10.5°, each coming equipped with a Fujikura Atmos Red shaft in 6X, 5S, 5R, 5A along with a TM/Lamkin Dual Feel grip. For women, the M4 driver is available in 10.5° & 12° lofts, equipped with a TM-Tuned 45 (L) shaft.
In addition to the standard M4 model, TaylorMade is also offering a higher-launching, more draw-biased model, the M4 D-Type (also 460cc). The M4 D-Type (D signifying draw) combines multiple draw-biased design technologies to help players who consistently fight fade-to-slice trajectories find more fairways. In addition to the multi-material construction, Twist Face technology and Hammerhead Speed Pocket, the D-Type is more heel-weighted (41g), has slight offset and uses advanced visual cues to promote a square face at address and a more draw-biased face at impact.
The M4 D-Type driver RRP £369 will be offered in 9.5°, 10.5° & 12° loft options, while LH models will be offered in 9.5° and 10.5° lofts and equipped with Matrix’ Platinum White Tie shaft 55 S,R and 45 A,L, which complements the driver’s draw-biased performance. For women, the M4 D-Type driver is available in 10.5° & 12° lofts, equipped with a Matrix White Tie MSF5 45 g (L) shaft.
In the M4 fairway, TaylorMade’s longest fairway has been made even more forgiving, taking everything learned from the use of multi-material composition, Speed Pocket, Geocoustic Technology and ICT integration to deliver a remarkably high-performing complement to the M4 driver that delivers maximum distance and forgiveness by way of a larger sweet spot and more optimal launch conditions. A new split-weight mass pad separates the weight at the outward extremities of the head to preserve ballspeed on shots hit off-.
The M4 fairway utilizes a thinner and stronger Ni-Co C300 face along with TaylorMade’s proprietary Inverted Cone Technology (ICT) to increase the higher-COR area of the clubface, thus minimizing ballspeed losses on off- impacts delivering more distance more often.
In addition to the M4 fairway, TaylorMade is also introducing the M4 Tour fairway, which features a smaller head size (156cc versus 175cc) with a slightly deeper face, designed for better players who prefer a more compact look, lower launch and more workability.
The M4 Fairway RRP £229 will be offered in 15° (3), 16.5° (3HL) & 18° (5), 21° (5HL) and 24° (7HL) loft options, while LH models will be offered in 15° (3), 16.5° (3HL) & 18°(5) lofts, equipped with Fujikura’s Atmos Red 75g 6S, 6R, 5A shaft and a Lamkin Dual Feel grip. The M4 Tour fairway RRP £279 will be available in 15°(3) & new 18° (5) lofts (RH only) and comes equipped with MCA’s Tensei Blue (65g S and 75g X) flexes and Lamkin UTx grip. For women, the M4 fairway is available in 3HL, 5HL & 7HL lofts, equipped with a TM-Tuned 45 (L) shaft and a Winn Dual Feel grip.
Completing the M4 metalwood lineup in 2018 is the M4 Rescue. M4 offers the best of all worlds with key performance technologies working in sync to produce exceptional ball speed and a larger sweet spot for enhanced overall playability.
The low-profile body of the M4 Rescue has a tiered two-tone crown with the same matte silver front and gloss black rear section that showcases the distinctive, widely recognized aesthetics TaylorMade’s M series of product has become known for.
The M4 Rescue features a cut-through Speed Pocket to increase launch and maximize ballspeed on shots hit below center face. Similar to the M4 fairway, a new split-weight mass pad separates the weight at the outward extremities of the head to increase the club’s forgiveness by preserving ballspeed on shots hit off-. In addition to the added forgiveness, a Geocoustic sole design and a short, fluted hosel work in tandem to optimize sound and feel at impact. The M4 Rescue is designed to help average golfers replace a long iron with higher, longer and more draw-biased performance.
Availability & Pricing
The M4 Rescue RRP £199 will be offered in 19° (3), 22° (4), 25° (5) and 28° (6) lofts while LH models will be offered in 19° (3), 22° (4) and 25° (5) lofts and equipped with Fujikura’s Atmos Red shaft 7S, 6R, 5A and a Lamkin Dual Feel grip. For women, the M4 Rescue is available in 22° (4), 25° (5) & 28° (6) lofts, equipped with a TM-Tuned IR 45 (L) shaft and a Winn Dual Feel grip.