The TaylorMade AeroBurner fairway replaces the TaylorMade JetSpeed fairway which made our Best Buy list in 2014, but was a little under-appreciated in the market.
In keeping with the Aeroburner driver I reviewed, TaylorMade has given the AeroBurner fairway the aerodynamic and cosmetic treatment to create faster looks and performance.
Like most of the 2015 TaylorMade range we are back in white, which does have the advantage of the white crown contrasting with the black face at address to help alignment.
Look closely and you will see that the crown features a raised centre section with the lower outer sections featuring rough 'nodules' to disrupt the airflow and get the head going through the air quicker. There is also a little fin on the corner of the head where it joins the hosel called the AeroHosel to improve the aerodynamics.
The raised section creates a couple of subtle shadow lines that work with the small AeroBurner logo to assist with lining up and I did like the look of this at address.
First impressions were that the head looked a little smaller at address than I thought it would do for a distance fairway, but it is still a good mid-sized head offering a lot of forgiveness.
It's a little deeper front to back than the R15 fairway and the other main difference is that there is no adjustability.
Turn it over and it looks very different to the JetSpeed with the red and silver scorch mark graphics surrounding a dark sole and a gaping red TaylorMade Speed Pocket.
Yes, it is back and twice the size both lengthways and front to back to enable the face to flex even more. Information from TaylorMade says that the CT or speed off the face is 0.1 higher than the JetSpeed at 0.81, which is driver-like numbers.
When the Speed Pocket appeared in the RocketBallz fairways the slot was open, but now that it is bigger TaylorMade has filled it with a flexible red cover that still allows the face to flex by nine times more than before.
So does it work?
Take the AeroBurner fairway out on the course and the first thing you notice is how light it feels, thanks to a 60 gram TaylorMade Matrix Speed Rul-Z shaft that has a short fixed hosel.
This shaft is also a little longer than standard at 43.25 inches in the 3-wood, but it is actually 0.25 inches shorter than the standard JetSpeed fairway shaft. This is a good thing as it is more manageable and it still felt like it was all in proportion and was very stable through impact.
And what an impact. Right from the off it felt very powerful and the ball leaves on a great mid-high trajectory when hit from a tee. Hit it from the deck and the flight is a little lower, but it still gives similar distance as the Speed Pocket helps to get more ball speed from those impacts hit lower on the face.
The sound is a little hollow and to a degree, understated, as normally companies who make distance fairways want it to make a 'crash' sound. However the Aeroburner is much better for this as a result because it is not going to put off anyone with this sound, whether they are hitting or watching.
The light weight meant that it didn't really have the feel that better players are used to with a heavier fairway in order to feel the head and the shaft through the swing. However it is not really that type of club and I think once you get it on the course you will forget about this.
I was on a par-5 lying in the fairway with the flag 20 yards on the green and I was thinking that with a good 3-wood I could possibly sneak on the front or have an easy chip left. The AeroBurner put it to 3 feet past the flag and more satisfyingly, past the gorilla I was with who played from the same spot and had been outhitting me all day.
Now not every shot will be like this, but if this isn't the longest fairway in the market then it is right up there. Yes, it could give a little more feedback or maybe sound a little better, but really I don't care. It was great fun to hit, performed excellently and it really put a smile on my face, even more than the previous TaylorMade slotted fairways have done.
Should you try this out? Absolutely. Will you? Well, I could see that the styling of the club may polarise opinion as TaylorMade is promoting this as 'No Nonsense Distance' club, which it is, but the looks and white head cover may be a bit too racy for some and that is the only thing I could foresee holding this back in the market.
Look past that to the very competitive price tag and maybe that, combined with the performance, will be more than enough to tempt you to take it for a spin.
So try it and start smiling too.