At the M2 launch in Orlando I caught up with Brian Bazzel, Senior Director of Product Creation at TaylorMade to talk about the new range of woods and irons.
Brian, you’ve just launched the M2 family of woods, which look very similar and have a similar name to the M1, so why have you done that rather than gone with separate brands as you have done in the past with R15 and AeroBurner?
You are absolutely right. When you set them down together you really can’t tell the difference and that is because of the multi material construction. That is what let us deliver the performance we delivered in M1 and it is also letting us deliver the performance in M2. It is a huge opportunity for us and for golfers to advance performance and that is why they look similar.
Did you think there was any differentiation required between the two models, as you only really see the difference when you turn them over?
I think it is a nice thing to have both drivers under the same umbrella. When you see them out there on Tour and you want the best of the best with the M1 and the M2 you really can’t see the difference.
But they deliver slightly different things and that becomes obvious when you look at the sole. With the M1 you can personalise it with the two moving weight tracks and with the M2 it comes already preset with the natural forgiveness that a lot of golfers are going to go for.
So does it come down to whether some players need the personalisation of the M1 to get the best performance? Will some players suit the M1 and some suit the M2?
I think all golfers would benefit from the adjustability if they want to tinker with it themselves, but the M2 driver now gives you the option of the distance and forgiveness without needing to dial it in.
The M2 seems to be more forgiving, so what proportion of golfers do you think will need the adjustability of the M1?
I would like to say everybody! But the thing is with the M2 is it delivers the two things that golfers want most which are maximising their distance and maximising forgiveness so a lot of players will be happy to stop there and take that without needing to dial in the adjustability. The M2 will resonate with a lot of golfers.
One of your best recent products was the AeroBurner Mini driver. Are we likely to see something similar coming into the M range?
Right now I would say that has been put on a bit of a hold. The Mini driver is a unique product category - I personally love it - but not as many golfers gravitated towards it as expected. However there are still some out there and the AeroBurner Mini driver is still available, so we are still waiting to see how it develops, but there are no current plans to include a similar product in the M range.
The M2 fairway has really caught the eye and seems to be going a lot further in your tests. What is that down to as I was getting the same club head speed with the fairway as I was with the driver?
The M2 fairway is maxxed out for distance. It is unbelievable what we can do now with the construction. We have the composite crown that has let us move the weight down, but also the SpeedPocket, the channel on the bottom of the sole, is critical to delivering the extra performance that we are seeing.
For example if you took the SpeedPocket out the fairway would spin 600 rpm more and you would lose 2mph in ball speed. That technology is not going away - it is getting better and better. The M2 fairway is the best we’ve got and people should take advantage of that.
You’ve mentioned the aerodynamics that uses the difference in the height of the face and the crown at the front. Is that similar to the trip steps we are seeing other manufacturers using?
It’s very different. A trip step creates turbulence to help airflow whereas the curvature we use tries to create a laminar flow to attach the air to the head a bit longer as opposed to breaking it up. We feel that from the numbers we see that this is the best way to get aerodynamic performance and we are still able to get the CG down with that shape.
With the M2 irons there are no face slots like there are in the RSi and PSi models. Is there a reason for that?
There are a couple of different reasons. The 360°undercut in the M2 irons expands the face area and really increases the speed all across the face and not just in the centre. What the face slots do is let you take a smaller head and make it act like a bigger head.
We couldn’t honestly put that into the M2 iron at this point because if we did it would make the face too fast and the weight would have gone up, so with the M2 irons we are delivering a big sweet spot, incredible speed and a CG that is super low for launch and height.
If I was to ask you which M2 range product you are most proud of, which would it be?
I would have to say the M2 fairway because it is just incredible - the longest fairway we’ve ever made.