The TaylorMade M1 driver burst onto the scene earlier this year with it’s futuristic looking crown and double weight track system promising even more yardage. But with its launch coming relatively soon after R15, does the new model outperform the old significantly enough to justify an upgrade? That’s what we wanted to find out.
We pit the M1 driver, which we were custom fitted for in the USA during the launch, against the R15, which we were also fitted for last year soon after it’s release. We also tested the M1 head against the R15 with the same shaft we had in the M1 to determine the difference in performance between the clubheads themselves.
What first stood out as a difference between the two drivers was the sound. While both feel incredibly solid at impact, for us the M1 just nipped it by combining this solid feel with a louder, more powerful sound.
In terms of performance, it’s worth noting how tight the overall performances were. The M1 delivered marginally lower spin than the R15 with the same shaft while also offering a slightly lower launch angle. As a result, carry distance and total distance were higher than both R15 specs tested but just by two and three yards respectively.
Ball speed increased by just 1mph with M1 over R15 and as you can see, when using the same low-launching Aldila Rogue shaft the launch angle was almost identical.
In summary, the performance between the two drivers was very similar with the M1 just about trumping the R15 on distance and offering slightly lower spin. Many, like us, will prefer the unique look and sound of the M1 but if you like a clean, traditional looking crown you may still favour the R15.
It would be fair to say that if you have the R15 driver, there’s arguably not enough of a performance gain to upgrade to the M1 but if you haven’t changed driver for a few years then the M1 will likely offer significant performance gains over your current gamer as well as extra adjustability options.
One other point to consider is that the M1 driver offers more adjustability than the R15. Not only can you adjust shot shape with M1, you can also move the weight back in the head to make the clubhead more forgiving – a performance trait that is difficult to test but one many amateur golfers prioritise.