Performance wise the TaylorMade AeroBurner fairway was hard to beat, but for some it lacked a little in looks, sound and feel.
With the M2 Fairway, TaylorMade has fixed this by combining the best bits of the AeroBurner with the best of their M1 fairway.
The M1 was their first fairway to feature a graphite composite crown and at the time of writing is the only major manufacturer to do so currently in the market. Using it in the M2 means that they save weight compared to a steel crown as it is 14g lighter, which then lowers the Centre of Gravity (CG) as the majority of weight is in the all-steel chassis.
As well as the sole, this manifests itself in the white leading edge that contrasts with the classy black crown and face to act as an effective alignment aid.
It also gives a dramatic look at address, which will be familiar to M1 users although there are a couple of slight differences. The head of the M2 is a little deeper front to back and also a little more rounded. The M1 is a little more toe heavy in the shape and the crown does not fall away as sharply to the rear and TaylorMade say that their Tour players prefer this style of club for how it looks and plays.
However the big difference is really in the sole. The M1 had two sliding weights, but in the M2 these have been replaced with the wide looking Speed Pocket of the AeroBurner, but in black this time.
This swap happens in the M2 driver too, but rather than just looking like a cut and fill, the Speed Pocket has had a bit of visual attention to give the M2 fairway its own personality.
The smile shape of the slot is similar to the AeroBurner fairway, but is part of a wider cut-through Speed Pocket that enables the thinner nickel-cobalt alloy face to flex more at impact.
Compared to the M1 fairway, the M2 Speed Pocket is more flexible for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it is more flexible because the bottom of the face is not attached to the sole and can flex more. In the M1 there is a steel bridge over the top of the sliding weight channel that connects the two.
Secondly, the presence of the two adjustable weights makes the M1 Speed Channel more rigid too, so by having a more flexible Speed Pocket, the M2 generates 400-500rpm less spin at impact.
The fixed hosel from the AeroBurner also comes across and not only does this save cost, it also saves weight and gives a streamlined look. This works well in a fairway as I don't think adjustable hosels are as compulsory as they are in drivers nowadays. The hosel is called a Thick Thin Fluted hosel as you can see from the ribbed design that saves weight and maintains strength.
Out on the course and you immediately experience the M2's other main benefit over the AeroBurner and that is the sound and feel. The carbon composite crown working with the hosel gives a lighter sound than before and it is also more solid and pleasing on the ears.
This is where the Fluted hosel comes in too bizzarely. When TaylorMade make the Speed Pocket bigger, they get more performance, but it also affects the sound and not in a good way. The Carbon Composite crown helps improve the sound, but not enough.
Traditional hosels don't really affect sound, but the shape of the Fluted hosel does and TaylorMade has designed it so that the sound vibrations it makes cancels out the less desirable ones from the Speed Pocket and that is what gives the M2 fairway its great sound.
The hosel design also means that it weighs the same as before even though it is longer, which means that it does not raise the CG height. Plus it is also more flexible so that unlike the AeroBurner they can bend it to adjust for lie if required and that means they don't need the weight of an adjustable hosel that would also raise the CG. Clever stuff.
The AeroBurner head lacked a little in feel, but went so far that nobody really cared that much. The M2 gives you that distance, but with the sound and feel too and it had me sold at that point.
Using SkyTrak on our range, the numbers were impressive. Even though the AeroBurner feels light, the M2 feels just as easy to swing and I was consistently achieving higher club head speeds, with some up as high as my driver swing speed of 100 mph.
The lower CG of the M2 was giving around a 1° higher launch with lower levels of spin that was adding 10 or more yards to the carry distance on average. Yes, you read that right.
TaylorMade has been saying off the record that their private testing was showing even bigger gains than that, so I feel confident in saying that the M2 is going to be longer for most players than the AeroBurner, which was hardly a slouch itself.
The stock TaylorMade Reax shaft is pretty good and there are other types available through custom fitting at no extra cost, which is good to see.
The flight was medium to high and the performance from the tee and the turf was equally as good, so I am struggling to find anything that would put you off the M2, as even the price is pretty fair for what you are getting.
Depending on your swing speed, you may find it worth trying out the 16.5° 3HL head instead of automatically reaching the for the 15° 3-wood if your launch angle hitting from the turf is around 10° or less. The M2 is not only spinning less than M1, but also less than most other fairways, so if you don't generate enough launch to get it high enough, you won't get the distance advantage of that low spin.
To prove the point, in the last 3 years TaylorMade's sales of the 3HL has gone from 10% of fairway sales to 25%, so it would be worth testing this option together with the 18° 5-wood.
The M2 fairway is probably TaylorMade's best fairway since the transformational RocketBallz models. It looks the part, sounds and feels great and delivers better performance than the M1 for less money.
Well done TaylorMade.