Well today was going to be a big preview of the PGA Show. Instead Taylormade lifted the embargo on official images and details. I said the 2017 drivers were just continuations of the 2016 line. I had mentioned that I didnt think Taylormade had much in the way of new technology so they continued their successful M1 and M2 line. This year they have some new technology and are releasing two new drivers to replace the M1 and M2
Yesterday I rolled out the new slogan for the blog. It was “Making Golf Equipment Simple for Everyone”. Explaining the new twist face isnt simple and can get complicated but just stay with me.
For a long time golf companies have put something in their driver called bulge and roll. It is a design feature to help you hit the ball straighter. Its something that every driver has and helps you with out you knowing it. If a golfer hits the ball out towards the toe, the result is a hook that has very little spin. On the other hand if a golfer hits it in the heel it is a high spin slice. This is probably something you notice on your own shots.
To combat the ball launching with little spin and going way left when its hits off the toe Taylormade is shifting this bulge and roll and making the toe side open and with a little more loft. It is doing the opposite in the heel. Essentially Taylormade is taking the traditional Bulge and Roll and twisting it. Hence the name twist face.
The big question is does it work. Taylormade is saying their research showed that shots on the toe of a traditional driver ended up left of the target by 8 yards and shots off the heel are 6 yards to the right. With twist face technology they are seeing the high toe shot go only one yard to the left and heel shots are going 2 yards to the right. Going from a 14 yard difference to a 3 yard difference is pretty significant. It will be interesting to see if it works on the course. I could use help on the low heel shot. I cant wait to get this in my hands and go over it.
While all of that sounds awesome there are some things that need to be pointed out. First off is the fact that it is such a small change its not noticeable on the driver. All of the marketing materials Taylormade is putting out show a VERY exaggerated face shape so people can get an idea but it is not as severe at some pictures are showing. The second big thing to mention is the face this isnt something new. Companies like Cobra have been doing this for a few years now. Taylormade isnt always the first company to do something (slots in a fairway wood) but they do tend to be the best at it.
This is the piece of tech we have seen in all of the leaked images. ITs the most prominent and the one that drew the most pre-release intrigue. It appears this is Taylormade’s answer to last years Epic Jailbreak technology. If you remember Jailbreak was the technology that Callaway introduced. It is two titanium bars behind the face to give it more support and increase ball speed.
Hammerhead is the new speed slot. This year they broke it up into three pieces and the metal inbetween the slots are the supports that match what Callaway was doing with the Epic. They are there to give the face support and to increase ball speed. More ball speed equals more distance.
M3 vs M4
The M3 is the replacement for last years M1. It is Taylormades highly adjustable driver. The last few years Taylormades weight adjustability has been 2 separate weights on two separate tracks. This formed something that looked a lot like a T. This year though Taylormade has combined it to make one track but they made it in a Y shape. Golfers will be able to put the weights in over 1000 combinations. This sounds like a lot and it is. It is a bit much but once you find one you like youll probably be sticking with it. It is fun just to see what all the settings will do but that many settings and combos is probably unnecessary.
The m4 is the less adjustable of the two. Where they have the track in the M3 it is replaced with a Geocoustic sole. What the heck is Geocoustic you might ask. Its basically a ribbed sole that makes the club sound better. Dont make it more complicated than it is. Its all about sound. The M4 has a solo weight low and back in the club to increase the MOI (forgiveness) to a level Taylormade hasnt been before. That doesnt mean its as forgiving as a Ping SF Tec or anything but if a golfer wants distance and forgiveness it will be hard to pass the M4 up.
M3 and M4 Fairway Wood and Hybrids
It is a little sad reading about the fairway woods this year though. Like the Epic last year the technology hasnt been perfected yet on those small club faces. Also dont expect the new hammerhead technology on the fairway wood or hybrid. With that being said Taylormade has always produced really good fairway woods and I wouldnt expect these to be any different. Based on pictures alone the M4 will get some serious testing this year and may end up in my bag.
M3 and M4 Irons
Lets talk irons now! Irons are one thing I am constantly looking for. I have a difficult time finding a set I like and sticking with it. Sadly though the new M3 and M4 irons dont seem to be a major game changer. Both sets include the new RibCOR. Basically support beams on the toe and heel. Taylormade is claiming faster ball speeds and more distance. The conspiracy theorist in me thinks the support beams are there to prevent the face slots from caving in like they did on their irons a few years ago. That was a warranty nightmare and I wouldnt be surprised if it was a large point of emphasis this time around. In addition to the RibCOR they continue the fluted hosel, inverted cone face technolgy and face slots.
The m3 is the smaller more compact of the 2 sets. That being said they are thicker and if a thick topline annoys you these will not be the solution. The other big thing to notice is the lofts. I am not one who gets up in arms over loft jacking but these are some serious strong lofts. Make sure when you take these for a test you atch up loft to loft rather than number to number.
Over all I like the line up. The drivers look much better than they did in leaked photos, The face twist idea is a great one and actually makes total sense. It may not be a new idea but seeing if Taylormade can take it next level is intriguing. I am sad to see the technology from the driver stay in the driver but if the technology isnt ready for fairways then I salute them for not pushing it and releasing a bad club.