The TaylorMade M3 fairway wood continues with the M1 2017 design of a premium fairway for better players with an adjustable sliding weight.
The overall design concept is pretty much the same but with several improvements. Whilst it is a more compact head than the TaylorMade M4 fairway, it seems a little more rounded and generous looking than the previous M1.
The metal section of the crown is thinner than before and now a silver colour which is less in your face but still provides a unique look and colour contrast with the face for easy lining up.
The crown is made from the same 5 layer carbon crown as the TaylorMade M3 driver, which saves weight to drop lower in the club.
The body is made from 450 stainless steel and the face is a Ni-Co C300 alloy as before, so it is really the revised weight track that makes the biggest difference and it is all down to a screw.
The screw that holds the shaft in the adjustable hosel has been made smaller and this enables TaylorMade to move the weight track 3.5mm closer to the face.
With the track working with the small curved Speed Pocket at the front to let the face flex more, this is all good and moves the CG 8% forward compared to the M1 2017 which will reduce spin.
By being further forward the track can be wider and the overhang on the front edge of the track from the face is greater to make it more playable.
The weight itself is also up 4 grams to 29 grams to drop that CG and provide what TaylorMade call drive launch conditions of high launch with low spin.
Certainly it did seem easier to get going than the M1 2017 and I could see this having quite a wide appeal with most single figure handicaps. It sounds good and the face and head just felt a little livelier than before.
The adjustable weight also seemed more in balance when you moved it along the track and the difference for me between the centre position and the heel position was about 10 yards of left to right dispersion.
With this heel setting I also managed to gain distance and get a higher flight that would hopefully stop quicker on a green, so this is where the adjustability can improve your game.
Moving the weight to the fade setting was OK for distance but less so for accuracy as more shots went right, so the setting works, but is not for me.
The stock shaft is the Mitsubishi Tensei which is relatively light and should work for most players and if not there is a host of options available for no extra cost through TaylorMade custom fitting.
Compared to the M4 fairway, the M3 was a few yards longer with a lower flight for me, principally because it spun the ball less as most of the other factors were the same.
Those factors do not include the price which is £50/$50 more than the M4 so this factor could be a factor for those who don't have a significant performance gain to factor into their decision.
The M1 2017 was really for better players, especially if they wanted to create an anti-left fairway by putting the weight in the toe. However the TaylorMade M3 fairway is a much more balanced club with a wider appeal and with that easier launch is a real alternative to the M4 and the other hot fairways in the market for those who have high speed swings or need to keep the levels of spin down.