“Expected the unexpected… right now!”
That’s what we were implored to do by TaylorMade CEO, David Abeles, as he bounded on stage at TaylorMade’s eagerly anticipated global product launch at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut tonight.
And for someone who was equipment editor at Golf Monthly when composite drivers from Callaway, Mizuno and Yonex first hit the scene just over a decade ago, that’s pretty much what we got.
For after an introduction highlighting TaylorMade’s history of innovation since the company first introduced metalwoods to the market in 1979, the latest evolution – the M1 – was unveiled, hailed as the brand’s first ‘unmetalwood’ on account of its complex, multi-material construction.
TaylorMade too dabbled in 2004’s original composite, carbon fibre revolution that never really took hold with its XR-05 CTi model, but only now does the brand feel the time is right for the potential of this weight-saving technology to fully realise the tangible performance benefits it seeks from every new product.
We’re talking fractions of millimetres and the odd gram or two here and there, but Abeles pointed out that in the motor racing world, a saving of just 5lbs in a 1500lb car is the difference between 1st and 10th place.
TaylorMade M1 designer, Todd Beach, an aerospace engineer in a former life, stressed that titanium clubhead crowns now had nowhere else to go having been shaved from 1.5mm to 0.5mm over the past decade, and the only way to make further weight savings in the clubhead crown was via a titanium/composite hybrid.
The resulting M1 driver and fairway woods sport a split-colour crown – white titanium at the front, then a dark carbon composite at the rear.
The M1 also boasts a simple, yet highly effective, T-Track adjustable weight system that allows the player to choose from a comprehensive range of settings to manipulate ball flight from high to low and from fade to draw bias.
Reaction from TaylorMade tour pros to the new ‘unmetalwoods’ has been universally positive, such that the brand is supremely confident it will instantly become the number one driver model when players tee it up at this week’s BMW Championship – the penultimate leg of the FedEx Cup play-offs.
He sent out the worryingly signal to his peers that testing with the new M1 had given him another 3mph off the tee – equivalent to about 10 yards. Not bad for someone who dispatched one particular drive over 400 yards during his USPGA triumph.
Day also spoke briefly about the second major TaylorMade product launch of the evening – the PSi iron series, comprising both a PSi model and a PSi Tour.
For tour pros to change their irons, a new model not only has to look and feel right, but also offer tangible performance benefits, and the key to the PSi’s performance is that it builds on the Face Slot technology introduced by TaylorMade in 2013, offering improved performance across the whole face.
Tour pros aren’t so much interested in a ‘hot spot’ that might lead to improved performance from certain areas of the face, so much as greater consistency over a wider area for more uniform distances across the whole face.
Full product reviews of all the new TaylorMade product launches announced tonight will feature on our website as soon as the GM team has tested the product.