Goodbye titanium and hello carbon. TaylorMade Stealth is the most talked about driver on the planet right now, people may not know the name but they know the colour(s). The black and red head was used by Tiger Woods during his comeback at the PNC Championship last December, and if Tiger is playing it then Golfalot need to test it too.
Throughout golf equipment history, there has been three big moves in golf materials: wood to steel, steel to titanium and now (from TaylorMade at least) titanium to carbon. Carbon has been tried by companies for years, due to its light weight but it never took off due to the high price, the fear of cracking the face and the increased spin which was put onto the golf ball.
20 years in the making, and TaylorMade say they have finally cracked it - let's hope not literally...
This could be significant for golf equipment and TaylorMade are trail-blazers, I felt we were at a dead end with drivers in terms of distance and speed but is this a new horizon?
Why carbon? The short answer - it's lighter.
TaylorMade engineers took advantage of the lightweight carbon material by creating a 26 gram face, which is 40% lighter than a titanium face of equivalent size. Because of this weight saving the Stealth face can be made 11% larger than SIM2 and SIM2 Max drivers and nearly 20% larger than the 2020 SIM driver.
There are 60 layers of carbon in the red twist face which is said to produce more ball speed than the SIM2, however there is a thin polyurethane layer cover across the face called nanotexture face technology. This allows the carbon face to come alive and optimise distance based on improving launch conditions in both dry and wet conditions.
Other familiar pieces of technology carried over from the SIM2 are the thru-slot speed pocket and the asymmetric inertia generator for aerodynamics.
There are three models in the new TaylorMade Stealth driver range:
- STEALTH PLUS £499
The lowest spinning driver in the family which has more adjustability due to a 10 gram sliding weight track on the sole.
- STEALTH £469
Due to the weight saving in the face more mass can be positioned low and deep in the head. This adds 15% more MOI when compared to Stealth Plus and is designed to provide 200-300 rpms more spin.
- STEALTH HD £469
Draw bias with the highest MOI in the Stealth family of drivers with similar back-spin performance to Stealth.
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TaylorMade Stealth Driver Review
When watching Tiger Woods hit this club on TV the driver face looked very ‘in your face’ and seemed to split opinion on social media. However on closer inspection when you are looking down at address the crown is very clean, with a matte black finish and a Stealth stamp that is barely visible towards the heel of the club. Compared to the SIM2, there is far less going on. It's business on the crown and party on the face.
I judge my clubs on what they look like at address but you can’t ignore the face with Stealth. There are lots of black outlined hexagons which go onto form an oval in the middle of the face. To me, it’s got a Spiderman-like look to the face and Batman look on the crown.
The sole of the club has the softer lined inertia generator with Stealth written in the middle. The colour is black, with a hint of red and silver. Stealth Plus has the weight track on the sole.
A quote from Woods: “Hey, you got to love the colour…”
I had a lot of questions in this department when I first saw the Stealth: what was a carbon face going to sound like? How would it feel at impact? The biggest compliment I can give the sound is that I didn’t notice the difference from titanium. If I didn’t know it was carbon, I’d have never known.
The TaylorMade engineers have worked extremely hard to create a bright and powerful sound, and they have succeeded. Fellow golfers may say “Wow! Look at that driver” but they aren’t going to say “What the hell is that it noise?”
One thing I will say however, is that I found it hard to feel feedback in terms of strike as they all felt the same. Added to that, the ball doesn’t create strike marks on the face which is something golfers will have to get used to, I can feel the big miss on the face but not the minimal ones. I suppose this is a good and bad thing.
I achieved good ball speeds, which is what TaylorMade claimed with Stealth. My fastest was 135.4mph with a swing speed of 91.4mph. My carry average was 210 yards and 4 yards greater than the Stealth Plus+ and total was 5 yards more at 240 yards.
The longest carry I had was 219 yards which I was very happy with, this ball speed and distance was not at the expense of my dispersion. There was just 8 feet of curve on average in my shots.
I wasn’t as consistent as with the standard model as I missed more left and found the face a little easier to turn, but this is a compliment to its workability I suppose. There was a 21 foot curve compared to 8 feet in the Stealth.
Strangely, my average spin was higher in the Plus+ than Stealth which was surprising but both seemed on the low side anyway compared to other models I tested in 2021.
Carry average was 206 with a total of 235 yards average with my best being 212/240. The ball speed average was the same as the Stealth at 132mph and the launch was slightly lower but both of these numbers are to be expected.
I just wanted to hit this driver. The looks and backstory had me hooked and I swung the driver aggressively and ripped it on the golf course. I couldn’t stop hitting fairways and hitting it long. My first drive carried 225 yards and after that I was off. Striding down the fairways looking forward to hitting the driver at every opportunity I got.
The launch seemed better outside, higher but still with some penetration. I didn’t miss a fairway, I barely missed the centre of the fairway and it was long, 220-230 yards in the winter, no run and it was wet. I was buzzing!
My first shot felt the same swing and strike as my bombed Stealth, however the other two shots weren’t as true. I had not hit one strike like these with the Stealth, however they were all down the middle of the fairway.
The ball flight looked lower and flatter, meaning that the carry dropped by 10 yards in my good strike and 15 in my bad strike. In fact the difference between my good Stealth strike and good Stealth Plus strike outside was 15 yards total, which is a lot.
TaylorMade Stealth Driver Verdict
In my opinion TaylorMade are back and chasing down Titleist TSi for ball speed.
I love the design and it transferred into my performance. My indoor testing gave me hope as my ball speed was up but spin seemed low.
But out on the golf course was where I was really impressed. I hit the ball off the tee better than I have all winter, I never missed a shot with the Stealth, maybe the bigger face has come into its own here?
The usage of carbon material has increased my ball speed on the Trackman and I haven’t lost my accuracy. The strike felt solid, flush and it sounded how a driver should.
TaylorMade were never going to bring this carbon driver out until it was ready and it was worth the wait. I think this is going to be the benchmark for 2021 drivers in terms of ball speed and therefore distance. The standard Stealth was my favourite model, but the Stealth Plus+ is played by Tiger Woods.
Tiger’s quote at the PNC says a lot to me, he play the Stealth Plus “because the CG is moved forward so I am able to curve it more, and you guys know that I’ve always been a player that likes to work the ball. I didn’t like having just one shot. The driver set up we had for Augusta allowed me to draw the golf ball. But when I hit the cut, it was really short. I don’t have that difference anymore. They are very similar which is huge. And hey you’ve got to love the colour."
Who should use it?
Stealth is the standard driver which will suit the masses, notice how it isn’t the Max now which is a good thing in my opinion, a lot easier to understand. HD is for slicers of the ball and Plus+ is for faster swing speeds that like to work the ball like TW.
Would I use it?
Absolutely, the Stealth offered distance, accuracy and consistency. It’s the most excited I have been about a TaylorMade driver since I started testing with Golfalot and performance spoke for itself. If you are in the market for a new driver in 2022, this is a must try.
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