Product: Taylormade R15 Driver
Overview: TaylorMade has returned to its’ roots by bringing back the R Series of drivers with the sleek, sharp and highly adaptable R15 model. Perfect for golfers of all talent levels, the R15 allows the golfer to modify the loft of the driver’s face with its’ adjustable hosel and modify the shape of shots with two slider weights.
Shaping Shots with the R15
What I adore about the R15 is that there are now two 12.5-gram slider weights on the bottom of the club head that allows adjustments to be made from the heel to the toe. Previous models by TaylorMade had just one slider weight, causing issues for golfers who wanted more adaptability with their drivers.
For those golfers, like myself, who wanted that ability to shape their drives based upon the contours of the course, the R15 delivers precision without sacrificing length. But don’t expect to take the R15 straight to the course. Instead with the two weights, taking the R15 on the range is essential for dialing in the right combination.
The first time I used the R15, I put both weights directly behind the center of the clubface to maximize the energy directed to the golf ball. As expected, the balls I hit responded with the solid feel you expect from a driver from TaylorMade. The R15 has been touted as the driver to put in your bag for a distance bump on drives and after a few swings with the weights centered, I found this to be accurate.
Curious about moving the ball with both a draw and fade ball flight, I decided to tinker with the position of the 12.5-gram weights to test the boundaries of the R15. Once I moved the weights away from the extreme positions suggested for draw and fade, I found that I could dial in flight that created subtle side spin without sacrificing distance.
For those looking to adjust the driver between holes, the R15 uses a star-tool system that makes moving the weights quick and effortless.
Ball Flight with the R15
Shot shaping is not the only thing that is adaptable on the R15. Another feature that has become commonplace among higher-tier drivers, and is a perk found on the R15, is the adjustable hosel that affects the loft of the clubface.
The R15 offers a four-degree window for those looking to adjust their ball flight with the flick of a wrist. For example, with the 9.5-degree driver, the loft can be adjusted anywhere from a low of 7.5-degrees to the high of 11.5 degrees.
Why I love this option is due to the versatility the club offers when facing high winds or unique course features like tight fairways. By producing a lower ball flight, the golfer can reduce the effects that can control a golf ball. The flexibility provided by the hosel allows me to make the necessary adjustments to the driver and hit off the tee with confidence.
Even when moving the R15 to the lowest degree loft option, the club continued to perform at a high level.
Forgiving Your Bad Shots
With the inclusion of two weights, I’m happy to report that the R15 is one of the most forgiving drivers on the market. As I moved the weights around when dialing the R15 in for the perfect draw, I noticed that when they were sizably apart on the track system that my off-center hits still found the fairway.
In addition to the forgiveness factor, I felt that the R15 provided more carry when the weights were separated for shaping shots. With older TaylorMade drivers, the weights were further behind the clubface, but with the R15, the placement is farther forward toward the face helping create higher launch with lower spin. As a result, you’ll find even your mistakes off the tee traveling farther and with notably less punishment.
Looking Sharp, Feeling Sharp
When looking at the R15 at address, I was taken by the sleek design of the club. With the crown of the clubhead painted white, the driver looks more substantial than the preferred 460cc size for the amateur. While I obviously don’t think this detracts from the performance of the club in any way, it does, however, take more than a few swings to become comfortable.
What does work for the R15 is that the white clubhead doesn’t have anything other than a gray alignment aid that helps center the clubface at address. The minimal approach to the artistic design of the club helps make sure that the learning curve with the R15 is a short one.
Another great feature of the R15 driver is the feedback the club gives you when the ball is well-struck. You’ll immediately hear and feel when you’ve hit the ball in the center of the clubface. This direct response does feed into your confidence for upcoming shots as you find yourself chasing that feeling again and again.
Choosing Between the Two Options
There are two versions of the R15 available. There is a 460cc version and a smaller 430cc for more advanced golfers.
The aforementioned 460cc version of the R15 is the model that I first tested. Other than being larger, the 460cc is the right model for the higher handicap golfer looking for forgiveness and added length.
The 430cc places an emphasis on lowering the spin of the golf ball once it has been hit. Consistently lower on the distance of the golf ball’s carry, I found the 430cc model to be less rewarding when I hit the ball in the center of the clubface. But what the R15 430cc surrenders in distance, it makes up with controlling the spin of the golf ball leading to straighter drives off the tee.
One Last Thing
The R15 is a terrific driver for the amateur looking to add some pop to his shots from the tee box. With the track system and adjustable hosel, the golfer can dial in a variety of ball flights that weren’t previously available to the amateur through the club technology alone. I highly recommend the R15 to any golfer who would like to add distance and consistency to their golf game.