Review: TaylorMade R9 460 Driver

Surprisingly Really Good

Getting a new driver right before a golf vacation is always a risk.  I did this one other time and it really backfired.  Not only are the courses completely unfamiliar, but also having a big stick that you have never hit before can lead to high scores and loads of frustration.   The Taylormade R9 460 arrived the day before I left on vacation so I didn’t even have time on the range to test it or even hit a single ball.

The first hole jitters combined with a new driver led to a perfectly striped drive landing at my normal distance.  The rest of the first round was more of the same.  I hit 13 of 14 fairways.  WOW! was how my playing partners described my drives.  I hoped that the honeymoon would continue for the rest of my vacation, it would really make for an enjoyable trip.  Sure enough, 12 of 14 the next round, 13 of 14, 12 of 14 and 12 of 14.  Even the misses weren’t bad, and honestly didn’t have much to do with the driver, but rather my aiming point.  I had the coveted high launch with fairly low spin. Playing from the fairway on new courses is always a good thing.

While the results were great, let’s cover the details of the club.  I got about as basic of set-up as you can get, R9 460 9.5* stiff flex stock Aldila Reax shaft, set in the Neutral position, topped with a basic tour velvet grip.  It is just a simple off the shelf driver; this might also be part of what has impressed me.  Rarely do I hit stock shafts or set-ups well.  

The head has 8 positions from closed to open.   In the neutral position is almost perfect, maybe just a tiny fraction of a degree closed.  But the rest of the positions seemed to be just as described by the marking.  It comes with a simple torque wrench for adjustments.  I found it just as easy to set-up as the first R9 driver.  The shape of this head is just a bigger version of the original R9.  It is just a touch less triangular than the R7 limited and a touch more than the Superquad. 

The feature that won me over was the face.  This face is hot and forgiving.  Having played (at least for a short time) just about every TM driver, I think this is the most forgiving face I have hit yet.  It is a really straight hitting head.

The shaft was my biggest fear prior to hitting this club.  It plays long at 45.5” and I feared the Aldila Reax would be a spin machine.   The length didn’t seem an issue because the face is so forgiving and the shaft was stable enough to return the club head to the ball as desired time and time again.  After multiple rounds, this is the best stock, (non-TP) shaft TM has ever put out.  It was much tighter than expected and spin was moderate to ideal.  It had the feel of a VS Proto and played pretty similarly.  Whether or not the profile has anything to do with each other, I thought I would need to reshaft it, but at this point I’m not sure there would be much gain for what I need.  Now if you have a TP shaft profile that you really like, the extra $100 is worth it.  The TP shafts are the real deal, so you can get a pretty reasonably priced upgrade.

You can expect the same great sound as all TM drivers, just a touch higher pitched and less muted than the R9.

This driver had immediate success and acceptance on the tour for good reason.  It is a solid fairway finder.  So don’t be afraid to drop this one in the bag, even if you don’t have much time to practice with it, I think many golfers will get good results with this one.  The Taylormade R9 460 surprised me right off the shelf, it is really good.

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