TaylorMade R9 TP Driver

The One Club Tour Van
For years tour clubs have been all the rage on the Internet.  The main draws of the tour clubs are the open face angles or special weighting configurations.  The Tour van was able to do this and offers a wide variety of heads to tour players that aren’t available to the public.  The adjustments that could be made to a tour players clubs on site offered the best custom fit driver a pro could want.  Taylormade has introduced such quick adjustability for the everyday golfer without access to a tour van with the advent of the R9 family of woods.  Not only is this great for the amateur that doesn’t have access to the tour van, but the tour vans have been busy keeping the stable of tour pros winning week in and week out with the new R9.

For my testing I used an R9 TP 9.5* w/ Motore F1 65 stiff and R9 3-wood 15* w/Motore 70 stiff.  I was pleasantly surprised that my Driver came in right at 45”.  This is a departure from recent TM offerings stretching the shaft length past 46”.  At 45”, a driver is manageable and repeatable for many golfers. 

This club has a couple of acronyms to describe what it can do; FCT (Flight Control Technology), & MWT (Moveable Weight Technology).  These two aspects of the driver offer so many adjustments, I’m sure only a mathematician could figure it out.  I started tinkering and moving stuff around I quickly realized that the options seemed endless.  There are 8 different orientations that the shaft can be used in the head, this is the FCT.  Neutral, Open, Closed and Neutral Flat are the 4 main and then there are ½ setting between each of these.  I had fun with this at a launch monitor fitting.  I could pass the driver around, and everyone liked a different setting.  I found a bunch of guys liked the full 2* Open setting while I preferred the Neutral flat setting.  On top of the shaft angle adjustments, there are 3 weight ports; one in the center and then 2 pushed to the corners of the heel and toe, this is the MWT.  The R9 did not come with a weight wrench or extra weights, but my R5 TP kit came in handy to mess around with the weight configuration.  These adjustments allowed for tweaking of spin rates, trajectory and feel.

After reading and trying to figure out the manual needed to make full use of this driver, I finally got time to hit it.  Again I was impressed by the pleasant sound that almost all TM drivers offer.  It is that solid metallic click.  It is not offensive in any way.  The feel was so solid which I attribute to the 420cc size head and TM face technology.  Even though the overall club was a little smaller than the max, I found the deep face fairly forgiving. 

With all the adjustment available it is hard to find someone who couldn’t make this club work for them.  Even though the head was smaller, it still inspired sufficient confidence on the tee box.  It looked outstanding with the gloss black finish and slightly triangular shape.

Now lets spend a little time talking about the Motore Shafts.  In the driver I got the real deal.  Motore F1 65 stiff.  It has similar spec to the Fujikura Z series, which if you read my review from last fall; it was just about my favorite shaft in 2008.  I had incredible result with it and the Motore acted almost exactly the same.  The Fuji Motore is extremely smooth and now just a touch more stable with the addition of H.I.T technology.

There are couple minor details to remember.  Make sure you know how you want the club set-up and plan on keeping it that way if you regrip.  If you rotate the shaft to a different orientation with a new grip, the alignment may be all off, the standard Taylormade grip has no such markings for that purpose.  As always, the R9 headcovers are just what I like to see, a nice form fitting cover with a long sock to protect the shaft.

If you are looking for pure distance, this is not the club for you, but if you want to find more fairways then the R9 is a club worth looking into.  I didn’t feel like I lost any distance, considering I was landing in my usual places on some well-known courses, but I didn’t gain 10 or 15 yards, as we often want to see with a new driver.  But my FIR did go up with this club, especially if you like to work the ball a little off the tee, this is by far the best driver for that.

You no longer need to go looking for “tour issued” clubs, you can do the same thing with an R9 Driver.  You will have hours of enjoyment finding the right settings with these clubs and then finding fairway after fairway with them.  There is a reason this club is in so many tour players bags, it can be adjusted so that just about anyone can find the fairway.

For more information: www.taylormadegolf.com