TaylorMade are a brand that are never afraid to be bold when it comes to their club design and promotion, and the Stealth range certainly turned a few heads when it was first launched last year.
Now that we have all become a little more used to seeing the bright red carbon face on their driver heads, the second generation of this line has arrived and rather than wholesale changes it is centred around refinements to improve their existing products.
Like last year there are three different drivers available: Stealth 2, Stealth 2 Plus+ and Stealth 2 HD, which is the focus of this review.
The HD in the new Stealth 2 HD stands for 'High Draw' and this is essentially their anti-slice offering, although it's packaged up in a way that makes it's appeal much wider than those clubs tend to have.
The prime example of this is TaylorMade's new star signing Nelly Korda, who is currently using the Stealth 2 HD after signing for the brand this month. If it's good enough for her...
The Stealth 2 HD is TaylorMade's most stable and forgiving driver, with a new version of the Inverted Cone Technology (ICT) that is designed to maintain off-centre strikes and increase forgiveness, which is what TaylorMade are calling 'Fargiveness'.
Of course, the red 60x Carbon Twist Face remains, although this time it weighs 24g rather than 26g for even more speed, and there is an expanded sweet spot for better performance across the face.
The Composite Ring which unites the club head and frees up weight that is repositioned in different parts of the head to optimise MOI and add forgiveness.
Shifting their Inertia Generator (the pointed shape on the sole) closer to the heel has allowed TaylorMade to maintain a draw bias whilst also keeping forgiveness high, which is helped by the addition of a heavy 30g weight in the back towards the heel.
TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD Driver Review
Looks and Feel
Ever since the introduction of the M1 and M2 Drivers back in 2015, TaylorMade have produced drivers with a two-tone multi material crown and I think the new Stealth 2 models look great.
It's ultra-modern and eye-catching, and I'm sure it'll probably be a bit too much for some people, but if you're paying £500 for a driver then I think you want to be wowed and this certainly makes an impression.
I actually preferred the matte finish on the original Stealth driver but that's not to say that the Stealth 2 doesn't still look good - the matte/shiny debate on metals is all personal preference.
Down by the ball there was less visible offset or draw bias than I was expecting, which perhaps explains why someone like Nelly Korda was willing to put it in the bag. It's a fantastic shape which I think will inspire confidence without looking too big or stretched out.
Like last year's Stealth, the carbon face produces quite a dead sound and feel at impact which is really unlike any other driver in the industry and does take a bit of getting used to. I actually wanted more feel because it's good to get that instant feedback on where you have hit the ball on the face, and I found this driver doesn't really provide that.
I put the Stealth 2 HD up against my existing Callaway Epic Speed Driver and I found that the results were very similar between the two, which is probably unsurprising given that the Callaway model is only a couple of years old.
I tested these drivers on a freezing cold day and so my 100mph clubhead speed was only producing around 220 yards carry on average which is down on my typical number. The Epic Speed did manage to produce a slightly higher ball speed and this equated to a few extra yards of carry too.
I don't hit my driver massively high and I tend to have pretty low-spin which means that I can get low knuckle-type shots and this was something that I saw with the Stealth 2, it launched lower than my Epic Speed despite the 'High Draw' name which was a little surprising.
An average spin rate of 2361rpm was also pretty low, especially considering you'd expect the standard Stealth 2 and the Stealth 2 Plus+ Drivers to be the lowest spinning models in the range.
Like with the testing it was lower in flight than I was expecting, whilst the draw bias did take a little bit of getting used to.
The new weight and inertia generator positioning did seem to work though, as I felt like my club face was coming in to impact slightly closed which led to me missing some shots left. If you're someone who is used to hitting slices, this may be music to your ears however.
After a few holes I began to trust this shot shape though, and the more I hit the driver the more it grew on me as I found that it produced really consistent performance even when not quite struck from the middle, with a pretty tight dispersion on both good and bad shots.
The carbon face does make the driver feel a little more unforgiving than a normal titanium face, although thankfully the performance didn't reflect that.
TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD Driver Verdict
Was I expecting a bit more excitement? Maybe, but there's no denying that this is a great looking club that feels exceptionally stable and performs well, doing exactly what TaylorMade suggest it will do.
TaylorMade went for something bold and completely new last year when they first launched Stealth, so I suppose it makes sense that this year's offering was only going to see moderate changes.
The Stealth 2 HD features a design that will still appeal to the masses but gives you that bit of extra help if you do aspire to hit that draw.
Who Is It Aimed At?
If you're somebody who already hits a draw then I probably wouldn't recommend it as I think one of the other models would be easier to use.
But if you need some help calming down your fade, and you want a fantastic looking head which will turn heads at the golf club, the Stealth 2 HD is well worth a closer look.
Would I Use It?
I loved the look of the head and it performed pretty consistently too, but I found that I lost too many shots to the left with this driver which suggests that I don't need the HD model.
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