Review: TaylorMade R11S Driver

Small changes lead to Super results

When I saw the first R11S commercials talking about how various PGA pros picked up yardage with their R11S vs. their R11 I was skeptical.  I wondered how the best players in the world could see such gains.  If they were properly fit, how could a new driver improve their numbers?  After my testing the R11S I can see how this happened.  Let me tell you now.

I had the R11 in the bag for much of 2011.  It was a great driver and allowed me to test a whole plethora of shafts.  The R11S has just some small changes to the head.  The face is a little wider, the body is longer and the weights are closer to the edges.  While many will just see it as another white headed driver, those subtle changes allow for a more adjustable driver and better fitting options for those willing to take the time.  You can get better numbers with the R11S.

Stock the R11S comes with the Aldila Phenom shaft.  It is OK, but nothing “wow”.  I got OK numbers with it, but the spin and launch were a little high to be ideal.  (LA 15.2* and Spin 3162) It felt good and went fairly straight, but even with a number of adjustments to the head, I still couldn’t quite get to the optimal launch numbers.  I was also working on a review for Oban (review here), so I went to my local shop, Totally Driven (review here) and hopped on their Flightscope LM.  We got some base numbers and went through each Oban shaft and found that the Oban Kiyoshi Black shaft was the perfect match for my needs. (LA 14.2* and Spin 2267)

On the course I found that the little changes from the R11 benefited my game.  The R11S was more forgiving than the previous model.  I was able to hit more off center shots and still found the middle of the fairway with virtually no distance loss.

The longer body front to back gave me more confidence on the tee.  It’s slightly larger footprint seemed to set up a little better behind the ball for my eye.

The wider weights also improved the feel.  It seemed a little hotter off the face.  I also think that this head stock is a little lower spin.  I couldn’t get the spin numbers as low with the R11, but with the R11S I was able to get them down to a perfect rate, yet maintaining an ideal launch angle.

The R11S sound is still pure Taylormade.  It has that metallic thwack with just a slightly higher pitch than the R11. 

I think just about every TM tour player switched over to the R11S, and I can see why.  The small changes that Taylormade introduced with this driver has made for super results.  I think that to get the full benefit of the R11S you will need to be fit on a launch monitor.  When you do, you will be able to see improvements with the R11S.

Check the price online here

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Quick Hits
+More Forgiving
+Greater Adjustability
+Better Fit

–Time to find just right adjustment
–Stock shaft is just OK

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