Review: Taylormade R11 Driver

This driver would be good in any color
 The hit of the 2011 season has been the white driver.  Taylormade first introduced us to the “Ghost” concept last year with the Rossa Corza Ghost putter.  (review here)  Since then they have painted just anything and everything white that they can.  While white paint isn’t going to change the performance of a club, it will certainly get people’s attention.  White paint isn’t going to keep this club in the bags of golfers, but its outstanding performance will.  In all honestly they could have painted this driver any color and it still would be a great driver.

The white paint is interesting.  You’re immediately drawn to it.  You also initially notice it on the backswing out of your peripheral vision.  It takes a couple of swings to get used to that, but once you do, it won’t bother you at all. I know there was an ad by a competitor against the white head showing it with a shadow; but the sun has to be just right to make this happen, and even when it does, that little shadow isn’t going to bother anyone.

Besides the white paint, the R11 has a combination of FCT, MWT and ASP what Taylormade calls 3D tuning.  These three adjustable parts of this driver allow any golfer to get the exact setting they desire.  There is the possibility of so many different combinations, it can be dizzying.  The 3D tuning really doesn’t take that long to set up.  First remember that the ASP has no impact on performance, just appearance at address if you are resting the club on the ground.  It does make it look closed, neutral or open if the club is resting on the ground, once you lift it, it has no real use.  FCT is easy to adjust it the lie angle and loft angles.  It has 8 settings.  I found the standard neutral works best for me.  The 3rd setting that took the most tweaking to get it where I wanted it was the MWT.  While the R11 doesn’t come with a weight kit, I had one from my old R5 TP.  I have a whole bunch of different weights, I think I tried almost every combo I could think of until I settled on a lighter than expected combo of 6gr heel 1gr toe.  This is 4 grams lighter than stock, but really seemed to do the trick for me.  It comes stock with a 10gr heel and 1gr toe.  But also swingweights at D5 so this brought it down to D3

 I was surprised to see the loft at 9 instead of 9.5 degrees loft, but I think that is because of the hosel adjustment (FCT).  This new loft allows for greater adjustment and maintains a gap between the 9* and 10.5*  Previous 9.5 and 10.5 lofts had some overlap.

 No one is going to miss you rocking this driver at the course.  You will most likely have to field some questions about it too.  But if your results are like mine, you will be more than happy to share them.

 On the course I was really impressed with this driver right off the shelf.  I’ve heard of many golfers getting their best numbers with the “made for” Blur compared to the TP version.  (also saving them $100).  It had a good feel, just not quite as tight feeling as the real deal Blur available in the TP version.   There are many other TP shaft options too, most for just a $100 upgrade.  I had long, lowish spin, mid high drives with the “made for” Blur.  It was rolling out quite nice, even for the early spring.  It was fairly straight, but from time to time because of the length of the shaft at 45.75 and whip of this shaft, I would lose one right or left.  Even though the shaft got a little wild with my swing at times, the face was very forgiving.  I noticed I hit the ball all over the face early in the season, but didn’t lose significant distance or lose them way right or left.

 The sound and accessories are pretty stock Taylormade.  The good metalic sound at impact can be changed with the weights.  More tinny with less weight and more muted with heavier weights.  The Tour Velvet grip and long sock headcover make for a nice combo.

 The real winner for me is also the fact that R9/R11 tips are available to purchase from Golfsmith and other club making stores. (Thank you Taylormade)  This allowed me to try a whole bunch of other shafts I have.  This is when I found the real winner.  The R11 9* with the Nunchuk shaft (review here).  This combo is the best I have ever hit.  Straight and long.  It is hard to believe that a shaft that only comes in one flex and works for everyone can be that good, but it was.  I hit more fairways over 5 rounds than I ever have before.    When it came to distance, it seemed like the Blur was longer by a couple yards, but because I hit more fairways and got more roll, my average length went up.

 Sure not everyone is going to buy into the white driver and some don’t want that kind of flashiness, but the truth is this driver is good.  With the right shaft, it might be the best.  I think I found my 2011 driver; Taylormade R11 9* loft, N (FCT), 6gr H 1gr T (MWT) Neutral (ASP) with the Nunchuk shaft.

Check the price online here

For more information:

Quick Hits
 +3D Tuning
  +Availability of FCT tips
  +Low-Spin, Forgiving face

 -White doesn’t appeal to all
  -Can get expensive if you go the TP route or extra shafts

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