A new TaylorMade driver is always big news in the world of golf equipment.
When it packs in the learning from 15 years of 'R' innovation and TaylorMade say it's their most technologically advanced driver ever, then everybody should sit up and take notice.
With the inclusion of two weights in the new Front Track System, that also pushes the boundaries of their belief in low and forward CG, golfers can see the developments TaylorMade have made with the R15.
Manipulating the centre of gravity (CG) has been at the heart of TaylorMade's search for more distance, most evidently in the SLDR series of drivers and the R15 takes this belief in a low and forward CG position a step further.
The R15 driver has 75% of its mass in the low and forward position to promote a high launch and low spin launch characteristic. Ultra thin wall casting creates a 'thick thin crown' that varies between 0.4mm and 0.5mm and saves weight that the designers can move where it will have the most impact.
Compared to the SLDR 460 driver, the Front Track System in the R15 is 12mm closer to the face resulting in 40g more weight in this area to help reduce spin by about 100 to 200 rpm and increase launch angle by 0.5° to 1.0°.
Moving the Track System this close to the face presented a great challenge to TaylorMade's engineering team, but they believe the results justify the time and effort put in.
The Front Track acts like a Speed Pocket in the R15 driver and this is the first time TaylorMade has used this technology in an R Series product. The speed pocket performance expands the sweet spot and decreases spin for extra distance. The sweet spot also benefits from TaylorMade's now familiar inverted cone technology that acts to stretch the sweetspot over as much of the face as possible.
The Front Track is also one of two elements that add adjustability to the R15 driver. Housing two sliding 12.5g weights that can be moved independently, golfers can set up the driver four ways depending on the playing characteristics they are looking for.
With both weights in the centre of the track distance will be optimised, whilst splitting them one to each end gives the R15 maxium stability. For those looking to shape the ball, positioning both weights towards the toe or the heel will promote a fade or a draw flight.
Players can also dial in the loft of their R15 driver thanks to an adjustable loft sleeve that has 12 positions offering +/- 2 degrees of loft manipulation. This combines with the initial loft offering of the drivers of 9.5°, 10.5°, 12° and 14°, the highest TaylorMade has offered on a driver, so the loft up message behind the SLDR driver is still very much relevant for the R15.
Benoit Vincent, Vice President Research and Development, sums up the R15 driver:
Everything we have learned on low-forward CG, sliding weights, Speed Pocket, and adjustability have gone into the R15, making this our most technologically advanced driver ever.
The standard R15 has a 460cc head with a larger shape at address than in previous TaylorMade R series drivers and comes in either a Satin White or Gloss Black finish.
A 430cc head is also available, plus a TP model in both head sizes that is differentiated by a unique shaft offering of the Fujijura Speeder 757 Evolution TS.