Taylormade R1 Driver Review
In this Taylormade R1 Driver review you will learn about the new technology developed by Taylormade, the difference between the Taylormade R1 vs R1 TP and various other insights on their new driver. Taylormade has been on the cutting edge when it comes to drivers over the past few years, but can they maintain their momentum for long? If the Taylormade R1 Driver is any indication, the company still has a bright future ahead for itself.
New Technology in the Taylormade R1 Driver
With the new technology craze sweeping the golf world, Taylormade certainly doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to their new R1 Driver. As opposed to their previous R11S Driver, the R1 has similar features “under the hood” so to speak, with the main difference being the look. Whereas the R11s had a smooth white finish to it, the R1 has a noticeably large stripe (in black and orange) on the crown of the clubhead with a large R on it. I personally find the graphics on the club head to be a bit much. They make me think of the movie series ‘Fast and Furious’ where with big ‘Type R’ graphics on the hood and sides of the cars. Taylormade states that the racing stripe is meant to be used as an additional pre-swing alignment feature.
That being said, I really like the look of the sole plate. It is basically a compass – with ‘N’ standing for ‘Neutral’ instead of ‘North.’ If the rest of the club had the nautical look of the sole plate I would be drooling over it.
80% of golfers are playing a driver with the wrong loft. – Taylormade
As far as the technology of the club is concerned, the R1 Driver features two upgrades, one to the loft sleeve and one to the face angle sole plate on the bottom of the club. The loft sleeve now has 12 different loft settings (as opposed to 3) to change the launch angle from 8-12 degrees. The face angle sole plate allows the clubhead to open or close more, with 7 different face angle options to choose from. And as always, Taylormade features two movable weights to change the shot shape.
R1 Motto: ‘Every loft. Every look. Every flight.’
The R1 is pretty much at the top of its class when it comes to all of the different customizations that one can use, and it comes with an Aldila RIP Phenom 55 graphite shaft, with flexes ranging from extra stiff to senior, and only comes with the one color choice (no all-white crown available). If you are looking to see how much new technology can affect your game take a look at the Taylormade R1. The expansive range of adjustments is ideal for golfers that have not perfected their swing (which is 99% of us). As your golf swing evolves your Taylormade R1 will be able to adjust and evolve with you. The quick adjustments can also be of benefit as weather conditions change. On a windy day set your loft a bit lower to avoid getting caught in the breeze.
Does it stack up well against the Competition?
Taylormade is no longer leaps and bounds ahead of its competitors when it comes to driver technology these days, and that couldn’t be more apparent when comparing it with the Titleist 913 and Nike VR_S Covert Drivers.
Both the Titleist 913 and Nike VR_S Covert drivers feature loft adjustability options, with the Nike driver also featuring adjustable face angles but no movable weights, and the Titleist diver featuring one interchangeable weight in the back but not adjustable face angles. Taylormade still provides the most customizations of any driver on the market today, but the competition is slowly creeping closer year after year. If you are interested in other options to consider be sure to check out my best drivers of 2013 article.
Taylormade R1 vs R1 TP vs R1 Super TP
Taylormade has decided to market three versions of the R1 driver. The differences between the R1, R1 TP (‘Tour Preferred’) and R1 Super TP are very slight, but worth understanding. First, let me state that there are no differences in the driver head in these 3 models. You heard that right – they all have the same R1 head. Then, you may ask, why are there three different ‘versions’ of the R1? My guess is for marketing purposes. The R1 TP or Super TP definitely sound better than a lowly normal R1. What you get for the extra few letters or words on your club are different shaft options. Here is a breakdown of the shaft options for each version:
- R1 - Aldila RIP Phenom 55-gram shaft
- R1 TP - Adila RIP Phenom 65-gram shaft
- R1 Super TP - OBAN Kiyoshi White shaft
In addition to these offerings there are plenty of custom shaft options available online or at your local golf shop. Getting fit for the proper shaft is just as important as playing a high performance driver head like the R1. A slight change in flex and weight will dramatically change the feel of the club.
Taylormade R1 vs R11S
One of the biggest differences between these two modern Taylormade drivers is the naming convention used for the adjustable features. The R11 and R11s have acronyms such as FCT (flight control technology) which was the mechanism for loft adjustment and ASP (adjustable sole plate) technology which adjusts the face angle. These have been simplified on the R1 and are now much more straightforward. The loft adjustments are now done on the ‘loft sleeve’ and have the lofts etched into the plastic. There will be no confusion in adjusting up or down and knowing exactly which loft you are set to. The ASP is now the ‘face angle adjuster’ which does exactly what it says – all by changing the north arrow on the nifty little compass.
The R1 has a lower center of gravity than the R11s. The club head is at the limit of 460cc but the weight adjustment allows the R1 to have a hotter head giving a more penetrating ball flight.
For better or worse the golf world is very consumer driver. While I love to test equipment and pass along my thoughts on what is new and worth checking out, I am definitely not one to upgrade to the latest driver(s) every few months. That being said, people are raving about the R1 – even compared to their ‘old’ R11s.
“The R1 felt ‘head heavy’ and the sound was a bit tinny and it felt somewhat harsh” –Jut, golfwrx
The Taylormade R1 Driver is one of the best golf drivers on the market without a question. Is it the best? You will have to answer that. The driver market is so fierce that any number of top brand drivers will perform within a similar range. Factors other than distance are vital to choosing a driver. Looks at address are very important to me (I love ping for this), but don’t mean as much to others. Sound is also another huge factor.
No new driver is going to fix your swing. If you are reading this Taylormade R1 review in hopes of finding a cure for your swing I can tell you now – it won’t help. Take a look at some of the other articles on my site and focus on swing mechanics or better yet, take a lesson. If you are ready to spend the money on a new driver, the adjustability and technology behind the R1 make it a force to reckon with. The myriad face angle and loft adjustments are great to experiment with on the range and on course… and will also be there for you as your swing changes and improves.