As always, there has been a lot of fuss made around the launch of TaylorMade’s new M1 driver and with good reason. The original M1 was an excellent performer and TaylorMade continue to dominate Tour counts week after week.
So with such a high bar set with the original M1, how could its replacement better it? Well there isn’t a new name for starters, that could get confusing. But TaylorMade claim it has made a raft of technological improvements, most notably upping the use of carbon fibre – there’s a whopping 43 per cent more in the new M1 compared to the old.
This has allowed TaylorMade to lengthen the back track on the T-Track system and also include a 2g heavier sliding weight. This should create greater spin and launch separation in the two extreme settings. You can also get slightly more draw or fade bias through the front sliding weight compared to the old M1.
The first difference is noticeable looking down at the two drivers at address. The titanium white section behind the clubface is much narrower on the new M1, because the crown on the new M1 uses more carbon fibre. It also appears larger and has a few extra graphics, giving it a more forgiving, high-tech appearance.
In terms of performance, there was very little between the two. With the shaft, loft and sliding weights in the same place (neutral bias, front position) the average carry was near enough identical, with the new M1 pipping the old M1 by a yard. Also notice how we achieve exactly the same ball speed and peak height with each, as well as very similar launch and spin numbers.
So are they different at all then? Well yes, actually they are. The first thing to point out is the ball flight. Notice how much more consistent the ball flight was with the new M1, with much tighter left and right dispersion. We think this comes from a more stable clubface on off-centre hits – we certainly felt less of a drop off in feel from the new M1 on mishits.
The second difference is the shot shape bias. You can also see how most of our misses with the new M1 were to the left compared to the old M1, which were pretty evenly spread left and right. This is perhaps down to the carbon fibre toe section increasing the heel weighting slightly, and thus the draw bias, something that the front weight can negate easily by being move a couple of clicks towards the toe.
Finally with the new M1, you get a greater separation of launch and spin in the two extreme back track settings. We experienced over 500 rpm more spin between the two and also an increase in launch angle of 0.6°. This just means that slower swing speeds are going to get a little more help keeping the ball in the air, widening the demographic of golfers that can maximise performance.
So if you’ve got the original M1, we don’t think there’s a huge reason for you to switch from old to new, but there’s no question the new TaylorMade M1 is one of the best performing drivers on the market at the moment. So if you have an R15 or something older than that, it might be worth you forking out for the upgrade this time around.