The TaylorMade R15 fairway is the first R fairway since the R11 fairway four years ago and whilst we have had various other models in between, this year sees TaylorMade return to the R franchise as a hi-tech better player range.
After the dark colour scheme of the SLDR and JetSpeed we are also back to the white crown and in the R15 fairway I think it looks pretty good. A lot of the rest of the club is very familiar at address with a large 150cc head offering a good looking profile behind the ball.
However the real differences comes in the sole where there is a sliding 25 gram tungsten weight to adjust the shape of the shot. Being a smaller head than the driver, the single weight offers the same weight movability as the R15 Driver, which has it split across two sliding weights.
The weight can be moved across 17 different positions from maximum fade in the toe, to maximum draw in the heel. Effectively how this works is that the weight slows down the part of the head that it is in, so with it in the heel, the toe is moving quicker and helps allows the face close to create a draw and vice versa.
The channel that the weight slides along also acts as a flexing Speed Pocket that you know and love from all those RocketBallz fairways. The R15 Speed Pocket is significantly bigger than any previous TaylorMade version and is there to expand the sweet spot because the face can flex more at impact to retain ball speed on those off centre hits.
Certainly the R15 fairway is very forgiving for a better player's fairway right across the face. Moving the weight did change the shape of the shot quite subtly, but it also changed the sound.
The R15 fairway sounded best in full draw mode with a very deep, solid sound, whereas in full fade mode it was a bit higher pitched, but still bearable.
The head also felt very different too, particularly with the weight towards the toe, as it is not usual to feel so much weight out there as you swing. However if you need it there, you will just get used to it.
Having the weight around the centre is probably best for most of us and leaving it in neutral should 'maximise distance', but it was difficult to say that it was noticeably longer in that setting.
Complimenting the adjustable weight is TaylorMade's usual Adjustable Loft Sleeve that has been around for a while and enables you to change the loft by +/- 2° and the lie from neutral to upright.
All this does give you 204 options for setting up your R15 fairway and that is before we get to the choice of shafts, which starts as standard with the excellent Fujikura Speeder 67 that is quite long for a fairway at 43.25 inches, the same length as the AeroBurner shaft.
What this means is that you will need a custom fitter to get the best out of this fairway and with more and more people using fairways from the tee then this fine tuning will be worthwhile.
There are many people I know who like to see visible technology on golf clubs and if this is you and money is no object then the R15 will be the TaylorMade fairway of choice as the styling and sound is much more refined than the TaylorMade AeroBurner fairway.
And the headcover is pretty cool too.
I like the R15, it's a great club. However the AeroBurner is just more forgiving, longer, more fun, less hassle, £30 cheaper and also has an open slot to collect dirt and grass, so really unless you are a born fiddler, I would go for that.
So please read our TaylorMade AeroBurner fairway review here.