REVIEW: Taylormade R1 Driver

There is more to this driver than paint. 2.0
When the R11 first came out in white, it was all the talk.  There were positives and negative comments.  But it was more than just paint, the R11 was a really good driver no matter what color you painted it.  In 2013 the R1 driver again has the golfing world buzzing with its crown graphics.  This time Taylormade painted striped graphics on the the white crown.  The same positive and negative comments have ensued.  But like always Taylormade put more into this driver than just paint, it is their most adjustable driver ever.  The Taylormade R1 has MWT, Face angle adjustability and an adjustable loft hosel.  The combinations are endless in this one driver.  Taylormade wants you to make it #Your1.  But let me say, that is no easy task with so many variables.  If you want the best fit, it is going to take some time to get all the adjustments just right to find the optimal numbers for your swing.  Once you get it dialed in, it is as good as it gets.
Let’s start by talking about the crown graphics.  This club is not going to win any beauty contests.  It has so much going on all over the place, between the T for an alignment aid, the stripes on the back and the big R1 it isn’t the prettiest club.  With that being said, it really doesn’t matter.  I had this driver in the bag for 5 rounds this winter.  I played in FL and the Dominican Republic with it.  I can’t say even once the graphics bothered me on the course.  They are done in a way that looks square to your target so I wasn’t distracted by the lines nor was I thinking this was a hook or slice machine based on the appearance.  Yes, when you set it down to tee off, everyone will see you are playing the TM R1, but visually it didn’t cause any problems for me.
 

While the new paint generates the most buzz, the best feature of the club is the new adjustable loft hosel.  Taylormade has used an adjustable hosel for some time, but this one does so much more.  It is adjustable from 8* to 12* loft and a variety in between.  The stock setting is 10*.  I found that the adjustability really works.  I dropped it down to the lowest setting and I was hitting much lower shots than normal and t cranked it up to 11.5 and found that it resulted in much higher shots.  I was impressed by the change that was visually noticeable on the course just by changing the hosel a little bit.  I settled on the 9.5 setting, it just gave me the best launch angle.

Once you have your loft dialed in, then you can adjust the giant compass on the bottom to the desired face angle at address.  This plate goes up and down depending on your desired look of the head at address when you sole the club. It doesn’t change the face angle if you hover the club, but if you sole it and grip it, you can get a little help with a fade or a draw.  Again this “compass” isn’t the most attractive,  but it works.

Finally you can tackle the weights.  Stock it only comes with 2 weights a 10gram and 1 gram.  You can move them from one side to the other to change your left or right shot shape.  I still have an older weight kit from a few R versions ago so even more MWT is available if you have the weight kit.  You can adjust the sound, feel and swing weight with the moveable weights.

So out of the box and to the course I went.  I just made a couple of adjustment prior to my first round based on what I thought would be the best fit.  For the most part, I guessed right.  After a couple holes I started tinkering (I know not USGA approved, but I was just testing, not an official round)  I started to adjust the flight some, get a little better shot shape and had it dialed in.  I was swinging well, hitting the center of the face, but just couldn’t seem to get the distance out of the club.  The guys I happened to be paired up with kept saying nice drive, but it seemed to be short.  As we kept watching the ball flight, it seemed to spin too much.  It would hit the ground and stop, and then into the wind I really started to notice some ballooning.  The stock Aldila RIP Phenom 55 seemed to be the issue.  It is lightweight and not really a great fit for my swing.  Last year I was fit for an Oban Kiyoshi Black shaft for the R11s.  I ordered an R1 tip and shafted that up.  The next round was like night and day,  similar ball flight, but now huge carries and lots of roll.  I was able to get even better numbers and better results than the R11s.  The more adjustable hosel allowed me to raise my launch angle a degree without raising my spin, so I picked up a couple of yards with the R1 with the Oban Kiyoshi Black shaft.

The R1 has a number of new features but still retains many of the Taylormade signature qualities. The sound is that metallic TM  crack that many golfers have grown accustomed to hearing.  The inverted cone face hasn’t changed either so the head is forgiving on off center hits.  It has a nice stock headcover with standard velvet grip.  The length is standard TM 45.5″  There is also a TP version of the R1 which basically is just an upgraded shaft.  Previous shaft adapters will not work in this head so if you found the perfect shaft for your R11 or R11s you will need a new tip for the R1.  This make sense with the new adjustability.  Thankfully TM is selling them at various retailers so it can be done.  For me it was necessary to switch out shafts, no matter how I adjusted the head, it spun to much with the stock shaft.

There is more to the Taylormade R1 driver than just the paint, it is the most adjustable driver TM has ever made.  If you have the time to tinker and dial it in, you will find excellent results and might even be able to pick up some benefits over previous drivers.

For more information: www.taylormadegolf.com

Quick Hits
+So much adjustability
+Longer than R11s
+1 driver head for everyone
+Great TM sound and forgiveness

–Stock shaft
–not the most attractive club