Review: TaylorMade M1 430 Driver

TaylorMade's Best Fitting Driver
Things have changed and changed quickly in the golf industry.  You can’t just release a new driver by just changing the name or color anymore, consumers want something new and something that actually has measurable advantages.  Since there are USGA limits placed on drivers, there is only so much that can be done.  But that doesn’t mean that most golfers are hitting the best possible equipment for their game.  Most could use a better fitting driver to optimize their results.  TaylorMade’s M1 driver line might be the best fitting driver line available right now.
The TaylorMade M1 driver fitting starts with 2 heads, the 460 or the 430.  The 460 is going to be aimed at the largest segment of golfers, while the 430 will fit the lower handicap or those that prefer/need some spin reduction and prefer a smaller head.  The white and black crown is distinct. The driver each over 4 different base lofts with adjustable hosel sleeves.  There are 3 different “off-the-rack” real deal shafts for different launch parameters, plus an additional 25 no up-charge shafts available.  After the main details are fit, then the T-track system allows for even great fine tuning during the fitting.  Moving 10 grams of weight side to side for direction and 15 grams front to back for forgiveness and height actually alter the ball flight and feel of the club.  Honestly I think there is an M1 option that would fit any golfer.

I had the privilege of being part of the M1 launch event at Lake of the Isle Golf Club.  They had a huge showing of sales reps, PGA players, and media representatives there to tell the story of the M1 driver.  While it wasn’t as unexpected as they hyped, I did walk away with a lot of excitement at TaylorMade concerning this driver.  They really believe in this product.  The numbers they showed of the tour staff testing was impressive.  I guess what was more impressive were the fitters getting almost every person there into something that was as good as, if not better than their current “gamer”.  Sure it was just on the range, but it seemed like people were genuinely please with the numbers they were seeing.  The real story is actually in the CG of this driver.  While face cor is maxed at the center, the off-center hits and optimal launch numbers are still adjustable based on the CG.  The new weights and carbon fiber crown allow them to get the CG really close to the neutral axis.  This means forgiveness and distance.

After my time on the range, my fitter and I locked in on an M1 430 9.5 with the Aldila Rogue 60 stiff flex.  Front track just a touch off center toward fade and the back track 3/4 way back for forgiveness and height.  I found ample forgiveness in the 430 head and really like the spin numbers I was seeing from this combo.  Everything just looked better, felt better and went straighter.

I’ve had the driver in-hand on my home courses now for about a month.  My first round was an absolute mess with the driver.  Some internet troll made fun of my swing and I couldn’t get it out of my head.  Everything went left and short.  After a day at the range and some mental adjustment that my swing is just fine(even if not the prettiest) I came back with a vengeance.  I starting hitting drives out to places I’ve only reached once and while when the stars aligned.  Added to that fact was that I hit 12 of 14 fairways too.  I was really happy with this driver.  It is a great fit fro my swing.  I really like the sound, which TaylorMade spent a great deal of time and manufacturing costs to get it right.  It has a really good muted metallic thwack.  You feel the ball pop off the face without any harshness.  My on course impressions were backed up with even better Flightscope numbers.  It took it to the range with my SLDR 430 and went back and forth with bucket of balls and found the M1 out performed the SLDR. 
Comparison Specs:

TaylorMade M1 430
  • 9.5 Loft
  • Aldila Rogue 60 stiff
  • T-track = center & back
TaylorMade SLDR 430 TP
  • 10.5 Loft
  • Aldila Rogue 60 stiff
  • Sliding weight = center
Flightscope X2 Launch Monitor
  • TaylorMade M1 430 Driver
    • Spin: 1865 rpms
    • Launch Angle: 14.7*
    • Dispersion: 7.3 yds
    • Club Head Speed: 103.1 mph
    • Ball Speed: 152.1 mph
    • Total Distance:  281.9 yds
    • Carry Distance:  265.9 yds
Flightscope X2 Launch Monitor
  • TaylorMade SLDR 430 Driver
    • Spin: 2021 rpms
    • Launch Angle: 14.3*
    • Dispersion: 9.1 yds
    • Club Head Speed: 102.5 mph
    • Ball Speed: 150.9 mph
    • Total Distance:  273.4 yds
    • Carry Distance:  259.3 yds

TaylorMade stepped it up with the new M1 driver.  The fitting options should allow anyone to get fit for optimal numbers with this club.  The simplicity of the adjustable T rail should make anyone feel comfortable moving things around for even better results.  The “real deal” stock shafts are long overdue from TaylorMade.  I’m thinking anyone should be able to find a no-upcharge favorite out of the 28 shaft choices.  The only issue that will cause consumers some angst is the $499 price tag.  There is no TP model or up-charge for most options, but the new base price is high. 

I think if golfers take the time to even do a very basic fitting, they will find an M1 that will beat their current driver.  It has so many adjustable options and optional shafts that the ability to fine tune it to your swing is beyond what most other driver have available in their settings.  The M1 is TaylorMade’s Best Fitting Driver.

For more information:

Quick Hits:
+Awesome sound
+Great fitting options
+Excellent numbers
+Near neutral axis CG
+No-charge 28 shaft choices
+Real deal stock shafts
+T-track system works

–$500 base price point