TaylorMade have really pushed the boat out in the last couple of years with the release of their Stealth and Stealth 2 ranges, with that unmistakable red carbon face claiming to offer new levels of ball speed.
This year, the new Qi10 range has placed more emphasis on forgiveness levels through a combination of lightweight materials, refined head shapes and placement of weight.
Who Is It Aimed At?
Said to be the 'perfect blend of distance and forgiveness', this is the model which TaylorMade say is the most widely used among both Tour players and amateurs and so will probably suit the largest range of golfers.
Personally I think higher handicappers might be better looking at the Max model as it should provide a little more forgiveness, especially off the deck. This model was great when hit well, and gave me some great numbers, but at times it felt like I was having to work harder to produce this.
There are three new fairways available models in the Qi10 range this year - the standard Qi10, Qi10 Max and Qi10 Tour.
Every new model has a uniquely optimised face design, which is said to maximise ball speed right across the face for every different loft. This was done with the help of computer simulations to determine the shape and thickness of each area of the face (we've heard that one before!), providing better results in areas where you're more likely to strike it.
The fairways use a new Infinity Crown which wraps around the head for a clearer view at address, and it has been used to move weight lower in the clubhead for more forgiveness, as well as providing a bigger face profile to encourage more ball speed.
The Qi10 fairways also incorporate a number of technologies that you may already be familiar with if you have used TaylorMade woods in the past, including the Thru-Slot Speed Pocket which gives better performance on strikes that are low on the face, as well as the V Steel sole technology to improve turf interaction.
TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway Wood Review
This is yet another great looking metalwood from TaylorMade. The new colour scheme sees a mostly black head with flashes of white, grey, blue and navy on the sole which is a departure from the eye-catching red of the Stealth lines.
It looks modern, but in some ways it also reminds me of classic TaylorMade woods from the last decade or so, which I think is a good thing.
The all-black crown is smart with the TaylorMade logo doubling up as a clear alignment line. The head size is large by the ball and the head was pretty stretched back so there's plenty of surface area at address, although I did find that the club sits quite tall which didn't fill me with as much confidence as a flatter head shape would.
I tested the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fairway on the same day as the Qi10, and true to form I felt like the profile of the Callaway fairway was a bit friendlier for the average golfers, especially for those who are looking at this club as an option off the deck as well as off the tee.
I was a little surprised by how heavy the club felt whilst swinging, particularly compared to the Paradym Ai Smoke that I was also testing. I tested this club with a Fujikura Ventus TR shaft which is just under 70 grams, so I was expecting it to be a little easier to swing, although it did feel very solid through the ball.
At impact the sound didn't really jump out at me, even when hitting indoors. I didn't dislike it, but I found that it didn't add much either - although I know that there are plenty of golfers who will probably prefer that.
However there was lots of stability and plenty of forgiveness across the face, something which was also reflected when I tested the club on the launch monitor...
The numbers produced by the Qi10 on the GCHawk were really good - getting up towards 140mph ball speed is really good for me and I'd put it down as one of the longest fairway woods I have ever tested!
The overall consistency that I saw from this fairway was impressive too. I'll admit that I did take out a couple of mis-hits because I didn't want them to detract from the overall averages with this club, but that was solely down to me rather than the club.
Having said that, I did feel like I was having to work quite hard to achieve these kind of numbers. I wouldn't say that I'm the most confident great fairway wood player so I'd perhaps be looking for something a little more forgiving in this department to give me a bit more confidence, especially when hitting off the deck.
This was proven when I compare the data with the Paradym Ai Smoke Max, which launched a little higher, with a slightly greater peak height, and overall it just felt a little easier to hit even though the Qi10 produced a higher ball speed.
The numbers really were great, but on days where I wasn't swinging as well or when faced with tricky lies and with the pressure on, I can't help but think that I'd rather be standing with the Qi10 Max in my hands instead.
TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway Wood Verdict
The Qi10 range is bound to be a success because TaylorMade seem to just consistently make great quality woods, and the new design is a little more 'conventional' than the previous Stealth which might also help too.
There are multiple different head shapes available again this year, which has become the norm with most equipment manufacturers now, which mean that pretty much every golfer will be able to find a club to suit them.
I loved the look of the Qi10 Fairway, and I was really impressed with the performance too. I do have some slight concerns about the overall forgiveness levels, but I'm looking forward to testing it out on the golf course where it really matters.
Would I Use It?
In an ideal world, I'd love to use this fairway wood but I'd like to put it head to head up against the Qi10 Max to see which one performs best for me. The Max should provide a little more forgiveness, but the standard head also looks a little sleeker and provides a bit more workability which is tempting.
TaylorMade Qi10 Fairway Wood Pros & Cons
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