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December 19, 2011

TaylorMade R11S driver is more adjustable, more aerodynamic

Posted at 1:03 PM by David Dusek

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.

TaylorMade R11S Driver

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.

Click here to watch an exclusive video of Olsavsky talking about the R11S

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.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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December 12, 2011

TaylorMade releasing RocketBallz fairway woods and rescue clubs

Posted at 12:00 AM by David Dusek

Mike Ferris, TaylorMade's vice president of product marketing, was counting each stride as he marched across the front of the conference room. "Twelve, thirteen, fourteen," he said before touching the wall, turning around and pacing back again. "Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen."
P.T. Barnum would have loved the way Ferris had just shown how much longer TaylorMade claims the new RocketBallz 3-wood is than last season's Burner SuperFast 2.0.

TaylorMade RocketBallz fairway woods
David Dusek
TaylorMade RocketBallz fairway woods

This is the club that gave the RocketBallz family its name. According to TaylorMade, the engineers who developed the club—and a small number of Tour pros who were given a chance to hit the earliest prototypes—all said that the 3-wood "hit the ball like a rocket."
Having a little fun, the engineers etched "RocketBallz" into subsequent refinements of the prototype, more as a code name than anything else. They never expected the name to stick, but it did, although it was shortened to RBZ on the sole.

(Click here to see an exclusive video on the RocketBallz fairway woods.)
Once you get past the name, the first thing you'll notice about the RocketBallz fairway woods is a cavity carved in the sole. Positioned just behind the face, it is designed to increase the flexibility of both the face and the sole of the club to help increase ball speed.
Golfers will notice a weight plug positioned directly behind the cavity. In drivers, weights like this one are often positioned in the back to move the center of gravity lower and farther from the face to encourage a higher ball flight. In the RBZ fairways, TaylorMade has moved the center of gravity in these clubs forward.
"Historically, we've always said, let's move the center of gravity back to make the club easier to play" says Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior direct of product creation. However, Olsavsky notes, most golfers hit their fairway woods and hybrids high in the face. He says the physics that helps you hit longer shots with your 460-cc driver doesn't help you as much with fairway woods because they feature a smaller head and shallower face. In order to get a higher launch angle, more ball speed and more carry distance, TaylorMade says that it moved the center of gravity in to keep it more aligned with where golfers actually hit the ball.
Olsavsky says the combination of the cavity and the forward adjustment of the center of gravity increased the RocketBallz ball speed by 3-4 mph over the Burner SuperFast 2.0. He also notes that the same features make the RocketBallz Rescue clubs 15 yards longer than their Burner counterparts.

TaylorMade RocketBallz Rescue Clubs
David Dusek
TaylorMade RocketBallz Rescue Clubs

"We have never seen a fairway wood that has gone right up to the USGA speed limit," Olsavsky says. "We had some things made from titanium that got close, but no one wanted to pay for them, so we're excited to be able to produce a product in a steel construction that goes right up to the USGA limits for coefficient of restitution [COR] and CT [the face's trampoline effect]."
Like the rest of TaylorMade's 2012 wood and rescue offerings, the RocketBallz line features a white matte finish on the crown and a black face to aid in alignment. But unlike the R11 clubs, the RBZ models are not adjustable—TaylorMade hasn't been able to incorporate moveable weights into a head that features a channel on the sole. (At least not yet.)
The fairway woods will be available in both standard and Tour models. The Tour version has a slightly smaller head, a more open face angle and a fade bias. Similarly, TaylorMade will offer a standard RBZ Rescue club and a Tour Rescue.
When they arrive in pro shops on Feb. 3, the RocketBallz fairway woods will come standard with a Matrix Ozik XCon 5 50-gram shaft; the Tour version will come with a Matrix Ozik RUL 70 75-gram graphite shaft. Each will cost $229 and lofts will range from 13°-24°. RocketBallz TP fairway woods with upgraded shafts will cost $329.

Arriving in pro shops on the same day, the RocketBallz and RocketBallz Tour rescue clubs will each cost $179 and come with a proprietary TaylorMade graphite shaft. A RocketBallz Rescue TP with an upgraded shaft will be $229. Available lofts will range from 16.5°-27°.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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TaylorMade's RocketBallz driver coming February 3.

Posted at 12:00 AM by David Dusek

After walking through the glass doors of TayorMade's Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters, I was asked to sign a document forbidding me from writing about the stuff I was about to see. Forty-five minutes later, every eye in the second-floor conference room was focused on me. Sean Toulon, the company's executive vice president, asked, "So David, what do you think?"
I'd just been shown a new line of clubs that would be joining the R11 and Burner families.
For an internal sales meeting, Toulon had starred in a video with Nick Faldo that lampooned one of the company's TV ads, so I knew he'd go the distance to get a laugh. Part of me thought the name I'd just seen was a joke.
Glancing at my watch, I played it straight,. "Sean, I don't think I'll ever forget the time and place where I first heard about RocketBallz."

TaylorMade RocketBallz driver
David Dusek
TaylorMade RocketBallz driver

But RocketBallz is no joke, and clubs bearing RBZ on their sole will start arriving in pro shops near you in early February. (According to TaylorMade, the engineers who developed the line said the 3-wood "hit the ball like a rocket." Having a little fun, they etched "RocketBallz" into their prototypes, and the name stuck.)
TaylorMade's goal for the RocketBallz drivers—there are two, a Tour version and a Speed version—is to deliver some of the R11's adjustability at a lower price. Get ready to hear the catch phrase "Adjustability at $299" a lot.

(Click here to watch an exclusive video about the RocketBallz driver.) 

Using an included torque wrench, golfers can remove the head of the RocketBallz driver and re-attach it in any one of eight settings to change the face angle and effective loft of the club.
The RocketBallz driver does not have moveable weights or an adjustable sole plate like the R11. However, it's light and designed to help golfers generate more clubhead speed.
Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior director of product creation, says, "The aerodynamics of a driver are critical because you are trying to develop the maximum amount of speed with the minimal amount of effort." According to Olsavsky, the RocketBallz head is 1-2 mph quicker through the air than the Burner SuperFast 2.0, and the club weighs less than 300 grams when fitted with it's stock shaft, a 50-gram Matrix OZIK XCon 5.
Like every wood and rescue club in TaylorMade's 2012 line, the crown of the RocketBallz driver is white. According to the company, the combination of a black face and matte-finished white crown makes it easier to align the club and square it to your target.
The screw in the back of the club is not adjustable. This weight cartridge is designed to lower the head's center of gravity and promote a higher ball flight with less spin.
The Tour version of the RocketBallz driver has a slightly smaller head than the Speed version, and it comes with neutral weight bias instead of the Speed version's draw bias. The Tour model also has a slightly deeper face and comes standard with a 60-gram Matrix OZIK XCon 6 shaft.
A room full of TaylorMade executives weren't looking at you the first time you heard about the RocketBallz driver, but I bet you'll remember the name too.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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December 05, 2011

Winner's Bag: Tiger Woods at 2011 Chevron World Challenge

Posted at 9:37 AM by David Dusek


DRIVER: Nike VR Pro (8.5°) with a Graphite Design Tour AD DI 6 shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: Nike VR Pro Limited Editon (15°, 19°) with Mitsubishi Diaman Blue Board 103 shafts
IRONS: Nike Forged VR-S Forged (3), VR Pro Blades (4-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
WEDGES: Nike VR (56°), VR Pro (60°) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts
PUTTER: Nike Method 001
BALL: Nike Tour D

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Nike clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook | Google+


December 01, 2011

Callaway RAZR Fit, its first adjustable driver, coming in 2012

Posted at 8:14 AM by David Dusek

Adjustable drivers have been around for years, and lots of golfers like them because they allow you to tweak things like the loft, face angle, lie angle, and weight distribution. However, one of the biggest names in golf equipment, Callaway, hasn't offered one. Until now.
In late January 2012, Callaway will release the RAZR Fit driver, which was quietly made available to tour pros during the PGA Tour's Fall Series. It's already found a home in the bags of Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.

"We wanted the adjustability to be easy for the consumer to use and to matter, so when a golfer makes a change we want him to be able to notice a change in the ball flight," says Luke Williams, Callaway Golf's global director of woods and irons.
Out of the box, the RAZR Fit will come with a neutral face angle, but you can open the face 2.5° or close the face 1.5°using a torque wrench to unscrew the head from the shaft and re-attach it in one of three different settings.
The RAZR Fit comes with a 12-gram weight in the toe area and a 2-gram weight in the heel, but using the same torque wrench, the weights can be switched to increase the draw bias of the club.
In addition to being Callaway's first adjustable driver, the RAZR Fit is also the first driver to feature Callaway's newest face, which is dubbed "Speed Frame." It's an optimization of the hyperbolic face pattern that Callaway has been using for several years, but the company says it should help golfers maintain more ball speed when they hit outside of the sweet spot.
"The center of the face tends to be the hottest spot on a driver, and that's capped by the USGA," Williams says. "So what we want to do is make the areas around the center behave more like the center of the face."
The crown of the RAZR Fit is made from Forged Composite, a unique carbon material that first appeared in last season's RAZR Hawk and Diablo Octane drivers. By melting millions of carbon fibers, Callaway engineers can press and mold the carbon material into very precise shapes and designs; in the case of the RAZR Fit, Forged Composite has been used in the crown to make it thinner and lighter. This allowed Callaway designers to add weight to the bottom and back sections of the club to lower the center of gravity.
The RAZR Fit will come with an Aldila RIP NV shaft and should cost about $399 when it arrives in pro shops.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook | Google+


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