Keith Sbarbaro, vice president of tour operations at TaylorMade, takes a look behind the numbers
Rory McIlroy Launch Monitor Data…Revealed!
Like every golf fan, I had followed Rory McIlroy for years and I knew he was a phenomenal driver of the ball.
However, when we started working with him I was able to see just how well he presents the driver to the ball.
He hits the most beautiful high draw, maximising every inch of his speed. It’s poetry in motion.
When he joined us, Rory was struggling to get the ball to turn over and he was using a 7˚ driver, so my goal was to get him a little bit more loft and I knew that with our TP-5x ball, which is lower spinning, I could go up in loft.
That would get him better launch conditions and also help him turn it over.
So he originally played an 8.5˚ M2. With similar ball speeds, I was able to get him more launch and less spin.
In December last year we introduced Rory to the M3 during a photoshoot and we did a fitting that day.
His M2 driver was so good, the initial goal was to get him something as good as that.
The difference this year was that we started with the M3 and he just started flushing it right out of the middle.
We then went into the M4 and he started heeling it a little more. The M3 actually fit him better.
Your ball speed measures how solidly you’re hitting it.
At impact, is the ball lined up with the centre of gravity of the driver?
Rory’s normal clubhead speed would be 120mph and then he gets 180mph of ball speed out of it. That’s incredible efficiency.
Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Rory are about as efficient as you get.
They all maximise their ball speed for their clubhead speed.
When you match maximum ball speed with perfect launch and spin, that’s when you start to hit it really far.
Rory spins the ball between 2100 and 2300rpm with his driver.
When he hits cut shots, the spin can get up to 2400rpm, and if he really gets one high on the face it might dip a little under 2000rpm, but it is still maximised.
The beauty with the M3 was the ball speed actually went up from the M2 the year before.
It wasn’t game-changing speed, but there was a little bit in there and because of that we could get him a few extra yards.
At that initial fitting Rory averaged 317 yards of carry, with TrackMan normalised.
It was just one shot after the other as well.
Rory has said that he is getting a bit more distance from the ball rolling out further, and that would be an indication that it’s spinning a hair less, but I haven’t seen that in our fittings.
Having said that, he’s the one out there on the course playing it and it could well be the case.
See the clubs Rory McIlroy currently has in…
The latest TaylorMade drivers on the market
When Rory first saw the M3 we used a head tracker.
He had one miss that was 9mm off the heel using the Twist Face and it went straighter than his 2mm miss with his old M2.
The 2mm off the heel went nine yards off line, and the 9mm went three yards off line.
It was compelling. His concern was that his heel miss cuts back towards the fairway, which is his safety play.
These strikes are going to spin more than a centred hit, but they just have less side spin so they go further and straighter. It’s genius technology.