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TaylorMade R1 Driver Review

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TaylorMade R1 Driver Crown
© TaylorMade-adidas Golf
• Improved sound
• Lots of adjustability - player can tune club for loft, face angle and shot shape
• Lower overall spin results in more roll

• Alignment decal look on crown may be distracting, disorienting for some

• The TaylorMade R1 driver can be adjusted to 168 different combinations of settings.
• Can be adjusted for loft, face angle, plus right-to-left trajectory through movable weights.
• Because loft is adjustable, not stamped with a set loft angle.
• Black-red-and-gray graphics over top of white crown.
• MSRP at time of launch: $399.99.
• Stock shaft is Aldila RIP Phenom 55. Many other shaft offerings available.

Review: TaylorMade R1 Driver

Feb. 9, 2013 - Has the R&D department at TaylorMade finally gone too far? Recalling the introduction of its R7 driver, TaylorMade brought adjustability onto the scene as the new holy grail. There were numerous versions of that driver; the 425, the 460, the draw, the TP ...

With the R11 driver, some purists cried "foul" when TM introduced a pure white crown, but many performance-minded golfers couldn't get enough. Golfers were able to tinker with the loft, face angle at address, and trajectory. Now with the R1, TaylorMade has a driver that adjusts 12 different ways for loft, seven ways for face angle, and also boasts trajectory tuning.

So back to the question. The answer to how much adjustability is enough lies with what adjustability promises to deliver to the consumer - a proper fit.

TaylorMade R1 Driver Sole© TaylorMade-adidas Golf
With all the loft, lie angle and face angle options in the TaylorMade R1 driver, there is a fit for nearly every golfer. The rub, of course, is whether the golfer can make consistent contact between clubface and ball - and whether each golfer who buys one understands the effects on ball flight well enough to properly tune the driver.

Compared to TaylorMade's previous adjustable drivers, the R1 has less spin, achieved in part by moving the center of gravity forward. The tradeoff for a low-spin driver head is that loft needs to be set a little higher than in the past, but with uber-adjustability, that's easily done.

The TaylorMade R1 driver performs as advertised, which is to say: better than the R11S driver. Higher ball speed off the face means more carry yards. Not many more, but more. About 1-3 more carry yards in our testing, but notably with much lower spin, which means golfers see more roll-out for more overall distance.

The sound of the driver is solid - more of a thwack, and less "tink" than TaylorMade's last model R11S. The stock shaft offering of Aldila RIP Phenom 55 is fine, but I'd personally prefer a return to the Matrix line of stock shafts. The Aldila feels a little whippy, perhaps even too light at 55 grams. That's OK for many of us, who can use a little bit more clubhead speed, but might be too light for the higher-swing-speed players.

The look of the clubhead is not at all classic. TaylorMade has adorned the cluhead with a graphic alignment device, which like most anything, can grow on you (remember when all graphite shafts used to be gray or black?). The sole view reveals all the moving parts and looks cumbersome, including a compass-looking face angle adjustment dial that would have Lewis and Clark doing cartwheels.

But if the only exploring you are set on doing is finding the center of the fairway, TaylorMade's R1 driver gives you a very good shot. Once you dial in the specs to optimize your flight - and we might suggest a good clubfitter could help - that should be all you need. Until, of course, the next big introduction comes along from the R&D department at TaylorMade.

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