But first things first: That look. The R1 driver's crown graphics will strike some golfers as cool, perhaps some as busy, but everyone can agree it's a different look.
The crown look is in two parts: The white finish, which reduces glare and presents a contrast to the dark clubface, has been used by TaylorMade through several generations of drivers now. But added to the R1's crown is an orange, black and gray graphic that does, the company says, serve a purpose.
The graphics, TaylorMade says, provide "linear reference cues" to help golfers square the face at address. For example, the graphics frame a triangular white space behind the clubface, and that white space serves as a frame against which to position the ball - "helping to heighten focus," TaylorMade claims.
Regardless, you might just think it's a cool look.
As for the adjustability of the TaylorMade R1 driver: Golfers can change the loft angle, the face angle, and use movable weights to affect shot shape. To wit:
- Loft: Using what TaylorMade calls "Loft-Sleeve Technology" gives the golfer 12 possible settings for loft, ranging from 8 degrees to 12 degrees. With a standard lie angle, the golfer can choose from seven loft settings within that range; with an upright lie, there are five loft settings.
- Face angles: The R1 driver can be set to one of seven face angles -
neutral (square), slightly open, more open, maximum open, slightly closed, more closed and maximum closed. The golfer can change the face angle without affecting loft.
- Movable weights: The R1 driver includes two movable "shot shaping" weights. Changing the weights affects the clubhead's center of gravity location, moving the CG up to five millimeters. This can help promote a draw, or the weights can be set for a neutral (straight) trajectory.
The stock shaft in the TaylorMade R1 driver is the Aldila RIP Phenom 55, an ultralight graphite shaft for some extra "oomph" in clubhead speed. While it weighs only 55 grams, its design gives it the feel of a 65-gram shaft. It has a stiff tip and firm grip end, but a softer center for added kick.
The TaylorMade R1 Driver reaches retail outlets on Feb. 1, 2013, priced at $399. taylormadegolf.com