Lots of companies make adjustable drivers, but no company has embraced adjustability more than TaylorMade.
Since the 2004 release of the r7, a black driver trimmed in yellow and red, the company's flagship driver has always been adjustable. For 2012, that trend continues with the release of the white-crowned R11S on Feb. 3.
The R11S is not radically different from last season's top-of-the-line TaylorMade model, the R11, but there are a few evolutionary differences.
Last season's R11 featured a 440-cc head, but the R11S hits the USGA's maximum legal size, 460cc. TaylorMade says the bigger head combined with better aerodynamics make the R11S a little longer than the R11, and it has a slightly-larger sweetspot. The club should also do a better job of helping golfers maintain ball speed on mishits.
While last season's R11 had a red adjustable plate on the sole that allowed golfers to choose from three face angles, the R11S has five settings: Neutral, Open, Closed, Slightly Open (Open+), and Slightly (Closed+).
The adjustable sleeve that connects the shaft to the head can be set in a Neutral, Higher or Lower setting. The Higher setting adds 1.5° of loft (transforming a 9° driver into a 10.5° driver) while the Lower setting decreases loft by 1.5°.
"In many cases a golfer may not be able to see that much of a difference with the smaller sleeve [used on the R11], but the larger sleeve is going to give them the ability to dial in that launch condition to be exact without changing the spin rate," says Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior director of product creation.
There are also two weight ports in the R11S—one in the heel and one in the toe—which can hold the one- and the 10-gram weights that come with the driver. Positioning the 10-gram weight in the heel encourages a draw while screwing it into the toe should help you hit a fade.
There are 80 different ways you can set up the R11S, and according to TaylorMade, the club offers 140 yards of left-and-right adjustability.
"All in all, the package is going to give the golfer a little higher launch and less spin than the original R11, which should translate to more distance," says Olsavsky.
The R11S will come standard with an Aldila RIP Phenom 60 shaft for $399. The R11S TP, which features the same head but one of 25 upgraded shaft options, will cost $499.