The TaylorMade M4 driver is the more forgiving and non-moveable weight relation to the M3 driver and replaces the 2017 M2 version.
Like all family though it bears the same facial features as the TaylorMade M3 driver with the latest Twist Face design.
This is a re-invention of the bulge and roll philosophy that has been the backbone of driver design since the Bulger driver of 1888. This vertical and horizontal curvature of the face creates a gear effect that puts opposite spin on the ball that aims to keep the drives hit off centre heading back towards where you intended.
What TaylorMade has done is re-visit this fundamental belief of face design and through analysis of data from 500,000 shots saw that most players will miss the centre low in the heel or high in the toe.
Now this is not exactly news to club designers worldwide, but what TaylorMade has done is increase the curvature of the face in the low heel and high toe areas in order to improve the gear effect.
Therefore high toe shots that come off with less spin and a draw bias will hopefully have a higher launch with extra spin than before because the contour of the Twist Face adds this.
The reverse is true for the heel area where a delofted area takes spin off and changes the face angle to stop the ball from going high and to the right.
Testing the Twist Face on GC2 it was impressive to see that the dispersion of my shots was tighter and that my worse shots were going further, which in turn is making the club more consistent.
There was also a slight increase in ball speed from the new wider Hammerhead slot in the sole that is 22mm longer at 100mm than on the M2 2017 and is now reinforced with two bars along its length.
This gives the slot more rigidity towards the edges and as a result TaylorMade can make the central section thinner and save 8 grams of weight that has then been moved low and back in the head to deepen the CG.
The non-moveable weight in the back of the sole has been increased from 22g to 41g thanks to the face diet and the re-designed Geocoustic sole.
This is TaylorMade’s name for the curving of the recessed section on the sole of the club and the shape helps make the sole stiffer and the new design therefore does not need the ribs on the inside to modify the sound, which also helps save mass that is now in the sole weight.
There is also a draw version of the M4 driver called the D-Type that has the weight positioned more towards the heel in order to close the face at impact and create up to 20 yards more draw bias than the standard model.
The M4 crown is also a little taller than before, but because it is made of carbon it is lighter and therefore not raising the CG higher than the M2 2017 driver.
The leading edge is now silver instead of white and a little thinner than the previous version on the M2. It's the first time TaylorMade has used this colour on the crown of a driver since the SLDR S driver four years ago.
The head is also a little taller and a bit shallower than the M3 which has to accommodate the weight tracks, whereas the M4 has the freedom to have that single weight low and back.
Comparing to the M3 driver on Trackman, the M4 actually produced a similar launch with more spin for me at 9.5° head, which was similar to the result I had with the M1/M2 drivers last time.
My swing speed is around 100-105 mph and the way I deliver the club means that the M3 with its extra adjustability makes that the better head for me as I can get the spin down more easily.
This seems to be the way now with TaylorMade's drivers as the first M1/M2 models were a little more equitable and a lot of their top players used the original M2, whereas now you will probably see most of them in the adjustable M3.
The M4 is still a very good driver for a wide range of players as it is a little more forgiving and importantly £110/$70 cheaper than the M3.
The M4 comes with a Fujikura Atmos Red shaft that is light and 0.25 inches longer at 45.75 inches in order to try and maximise that club head speed.
Overall the M4 is a quality product and the addition of the Twist Face to the large, low CG head will help the forgiveness for golfers with average swing speeds and below or those who don't put enough spin on the ball.