TaylorMade R11S Driver Review:
With the release date of February 3, 2012 the TaylorMade R11S driver introduces interesting technological advancements to the popular R11 driver. It is the premiere item in TaylorMade’s 2012 line of drivers. The new version of the R11 is not a complete driver redesign. Think of it more as being what the iPhone 4 is to the iPhone 4S. The R11S has gained quite a bit of pre-launch buzz with “fitting” commercials featuring Sergio Garcia and Dustin Johnson. An updated version of the very popular R11 driver will be a great option for those looking at new drivers this year. In this post I outline what improvements have been made over the R11, the new technology in place, specifications and insight into whether the R11S is right for you.
The differences between the Taylormade R11S and the Taylormade R11 fit into the adjustability and technology categories. The new driver design features a different pocket on the sole of the club which TaylorMade claims to improve club head speed. More of the club’s weight has been shifted forward which will improve ball speed off the face. The shape of the club head has been streamlined making it more aerodynamic and lowering ball spin. The flight control sleeve has been changed to be adjustable to 1.5° increments while the R 11 was only adjustable at 1° increments. This gives an extra degree of variation in the updated club. The new soleplate is able to be adjusted to five different positions. The R11 featured a three way adjustable sole plate.
The ability to fine tune settings is where the updated TaylorMade R11S really shines. With this club you are quickly able to tune the loft, face angle and flight path – making it a fully tunable driver like the R11. The added adjustability options give you a total of 80 different settings. That is probably far more than necessary for the average golfer and definitely more than anyone will fully test. The advantage of this is that you are able to really tweak angles after you have it initially dialed in.
- Flight Control Technology (FCT)
The flight control technology adjustment is located where the shaft connects to the driver. With this you are able to increase or decrease the loft of your R11S driver by 1 1/2° increments through selecting one of the eight available positions. Adjusting this gives you the ability to change launch angle and ball flight height. Many higher handicappers will go for a higher loft while lower handicappers generally use a lower loft. This is a fun feature to play with because it lets you see how big of a difference a few degrees can make without actually needing various versions of the same driver to test. I prefer my driver to have a bit more loft – but I do not consider driving the strength of my game.
- Adjustable Sole Plate (ASP)
The five sided adjustable soleplate creates a red pentagon on the bottom of your R11S driver head. This is where you are able to adjust the face angle of the club. Going through the settings from closed to open you have Closed Plus, Closed, Neutral, Open and Open Plus. This gives you 3 degrees on either side of neutral for a total of 6 degrees of range within your face angle tuning.
- Movable Weight Technology (MWT)
With the movable weight technology system you are able to tweak the ball’s flight path by changing the club’s center of gravity. There are two separate weights here that you are able to adjust in the heel and toe of the club. Having a larger portion of the weight in the heel of the club promotes a right to left ball flight while having more weight in the toe promotes a straight ball path.
The combination these three options provide a total of 80 modified settings for you to experiment with. The great thing about these adjustments is how easily they are done. It is no problem to make quick adjustments on the range to test different lofts or weight settings or even during a round. I am curious to know that anybody changes or settings based on a whole configuration during play in a nice draw or fade around a turn in the fairway.
As stated in the improvement section, advancements in design have allowed for a more aerodynamic head shape and a more forward center of gravity. TaylorMade claims these improvements will increase club speed by 1% and will increase call speed by 1 mph automatically over the standard R11 driver. Like the R11, RocketBallz and other TaylorMade drivers the R11S features inverted core technology. The company states that the goal of this is to expand the portion of the club face that delivers maximum ball speed. This basically means that they make the R11S as forgiving as possible during off-center hits.
R11s vs R11s TP:
The R11S and the R11S TP both feature the exact same driver head. I repeat, there is absolutely no difference between the two. The difference is solely in the shaft of the drivers. The R11S as features an Adila Rip Phenom 60 gram shaft while the R11S TP has an Adila Rip Phenom 65 gram shaft. For most golfers (like me) the Phonem 60 is a great choice. Click here to read more on the R11S TP.
The R11S features the same basic color scheme as the previous R11. That is a white crown with black PVD face and red accents highlight the adjustable features on the driver. TaylorMade claims that the white club head makes it appear larger than other colored club heads of the same size thus giving golfers more confidence at address. It may be true, but it sounds like a marketing pitch to me.
I really REALLY loved the look compared to the R11 -sportspup, golfwrx.com
The 460cc club head is new to the R11S. Last year’s TaylorMade R 11 featured a 440cc club head. 460cc is the maximum size limit as defined by the USGA. The R11S’s shape plays off of classic drivers. It features a slightly triangular shape to provide higher MOI and a promote a more forward center of gravity.
The materials used in the R11S are the industry standard for all top quality drivers. This includes a titanium head and graphite shaft. TaylorMade has modified the thickness of the titanium at various places inside and on the shell of the driver to produce many of the technological and shape improvements for the updated version.
There are plenty of TaylorMade R11S accessories available to include hats, clothing, towels and anything else you can dream of that has room for a logo. The necessary and supplied accessories are the head cover the ever important R11S tool key. Without the key you are unable to fine tune your driver and adjust the settings – do not lose it!
The pros of the driver are laid out in detail above. To summarize, it is a highly tunable driver with 80 settings that can easily be adjusted to help you drive the ball better. The larger 460cc head size makes the R11S even more forgiving than the R11 and he shape and technological improvements can only help your game.
This is the best driver I have ever used. The distance and accuracy is fantastic. -robamos, thesandtrap.com
The biggest con of the R11S driver in my opinion is the price. Some would say you get what you pay for but you are definitely paying for all of the tricks and gadgets that this drivers supplies – for many golfer this will be more than paid for will increased distance and accuracy. It is hard to justify upgrading from the R11 unless you need the additional degrees of modification. The color is another downside to me. Being in the Southwest and having intense sunlight for most of the year anything white is hard to look at for more than a split second when in direct sunlight. I may have to start wearing sunglasses during play to overcome this.
Where to Buy:
The TaylorMade R11S is definitely a hot item and will remain so for most of the year as it provides an improvement on an already excellent club. At the time of this review both Amazon and Golfsmith have the driver for the same price. I recommend buying through Golfsmith they offer a great playability guarantee which allows you to return the club for credit up to 30 days after purchasing and using it.