Even before their official launch, TaylorMade M3 & M4 drivers have successfully created a huge buzz in the golf retail market. The idea this year is to find more fairways instead of gaining max distance. While this sounds like a refreshing change, can consumers really get excited about hitting it straight, or is the thought of 10 yards longer still more appealing?
History has proven that distance has always outweighed accuracy for consumers, but I sure wouldn’t bet against the marketing power of TaylorMade on anything! Buzz words like “Hammerhead Slot”, “Y-Track”, “Geocoustic”, and “Twist Face” definitely sound cool, but what do they all mean? We will break down the tech behind these new drivers and give our take on if they actually work or not…
The Hammerhead Slot is TaylorMade’s answer to the highly successful “Jailbreak” technology found in the Callaway Epic Driver. This slot claims to expand the hititng zone of the entire face while delivering a faster and lower spinning ball on thin mishits. Unlike Jailbreak, Hammerhead does not connect the top and bottom of the driver, which brings up a question: “Why would that be important?”.
When you hit a golf ball, we all know the face bounces like a trampoline to propel the ball forward. As the face flexes, the energy is dispersed all around the club. By structurally attaching the top and bottom of the club, this allow the energy to be forced back into the face and through the golf ball. All that being said, the reinforced slot does help propel thin shots further down the fairway, but in general we could not detect an increase in ball speeds across face.
Last year the M1 driver featured a T shaped movable weight system to help alter launch, spin, and overall MOI. While the new Y-Track (found on the M3 only) is supposed to improve upon the older technology, we found the movable weight to be considerably less at 22 grams (vs 27 grams from the M1). The main benefit of the new system is that it will allow both weights to be moved anywhere along it’s track instead of being tied to 2 independent grooves. Overall this does seem like nice upgrade for the golf junkie that really likes to dial down their club.
We won’t be talking too much about this one. Geocoustic (M4 Only) is really just a fancy term for sound technology. Simply put, it sounds more solid so you think every drive is headed to Boom-Town! Our testing did prove to us that M4 does sound more solid than last years M2 driver.
This is where it gets really good…Twist Face is a modern take on bulge and roll found on every driver face. When a golfer misses the sweet spot of the driver it’s usually in a diagonal from high toe to low heel. The high toe shot is usually made from an inside out swing and forces a very high hook ball flight, while the opposite is true to the low heel. Twist Face has a corrective bend to send those typical mishits back towards the center of the fairway.
After extensive testing we can say that this twisted face really does help to bring the above shots back to the center line, but nothing can be quite that easy! Multiple shots from different swing types show us that “common” misses are not quite as common as we think. On multiple occasions a high toe miss was also accompanied by a slightly open face and the twisted design only enhanced that shot to go further right. The same was shown on several low heel shots hit with a slightly closed face. Once again, that doesn’t mean this tech doesn’t work, it’s just that fixing one flaw leads to enhancing another.
At the end of our testing, more drives definitely did find the fairway, however the shot dispersion from left to right was a bit greater than what we would like to see.
**A little side note is that Twisted Face technology is not exactly brand new. Both Cobra and Adams have had corrective face technology since about 2012, they just are not nearly as good at telling their story.**
Looks: The BMW”ish” styled M3 and M4 drivers are some the sharpest looking TM drivers to date. The lack of wild colors should also help this driver appeal to the masses.
Technology: Hammerhead will help thin shots launch further down the fairway. Y-Track will allow more weight to be moved across the extreme limits, while Geocoustic makes every drive sound like you crushed it. Twist Face will keep typical misses from being as bad as they should have been, but may also enhance dispersion on the not-so-typical miss hits.
Final Thoughts: Behind all of the fantastic marketing terms is a new driver that will perform slightly better than the M1 and M2 of last year. That is not necessarily a bad thing since many thought that M2 was the best driver of 2017. With a combination of great looks, creative marketing, and solid technology, we would not be shocked to see either of these models as driver of the year for 2018!