What are the best TaylorMade drivers and which one is right for you?
TaylorMade has been at the forefront of golf club innovation for more than 40 years and its drivers have been a favourite of golfers from all over the world.
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Its first steel headed driver – coined the Pittsburgh Persimmon that launched in 1979 – helped revolutionise the club-making industry and, more recently, the R7, the first movable weight driver, was another major innovation.
This year TaylorMade unveiled the Stealth, which caused ripples across the industry. Its face is made up of 60 layers of ultra thin carbon fibre and is considerably lighter than titanium. Critically the energy transfer benefits are what make the Stealth really special and the company is committed to making ‘carbon wood’ drivers indefinitely.
TaylorMade’s status means it also attracts some of the best players in the world and the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, Dustin Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, and Collin Morikawa use TaylorMade drivers with virtually all of them upgrading to the Stealth at the start of 2022.
RRP £469 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9º / 10.5º / 12º | Stock shaft Fujikura Ventus Red 5
What TaylorMade said…
Stealth has a 60-layer carbon-fibre face to remove inefficient mass from the front of the driver. TaylorMade say it gives better energy transfer at impact and additional ball speed and is the choice of four-time Major winner Rory McIlroy
The Stealth also has a MOI 15% higher than the Stealth Plus, meaning you can expect 200-300rpm more backspin (so the Stealth is a mid to low-spin driver) than the Plus, along with a mid-high launch and ball flight.
Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict…
The best golf equipment brands make three or more different drivers for a very good reason. One model of any driver family will suit a particular golfer better than the rest, and because one stands out, the others (when hit by the same golfer) can on the surface at least appear less attractive. This is exactly the case with the Stealth in our test pro’s hands.
Because the Stealth Plus suited him so well, the standard Stealth looks an inferior choice. But be under no illusion, for the majority of club golfers that won’t be the case. The standard Stealth will offer a better combination of ball speed and backspin which will optimise carry distance, and thanks to the extra 15% MOI it will be more forgiving and easy to live with on the golf course.
For the standard Stealth’s extra forgiveness, our test pro gave up 1.8mph of ball speed (versus Stealth Plus, but back weighted forgiving drivers never generate the fastest ball speeds) and 14 yards of carry, yet it still produced the fourth fastest ball speed in this category.
By including the Stealth amongst our five best forgiving drivers of 2022 we’re saying we love and can see benefit in the better energy transfer concept of a carbon fibre face, but we’re not saying everyone needs to go buy one. But if you’re considering buying a new driver this year, the Stealth drivers have to be on your shortlist.
RRP £499 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 8° / 9° / 10.5° | Stock shafts Project X Hzrdus, Smoke Red RDX 60 (mid flight), Mitsubishi Kai’li White 60 (low flight)
What TaylorMade said…
The Stealth Plus+ has a 60-layer carbon fibre face, which removes inefficient mass from the driver face to improve energy transfer at impact, so golfers get extra ball speed.
A 10g sliding sole weight helps dial in shot shape or improve ball speed (when positioned behind a golfer’s typical impact location).
TaylorMade say this model will be most at home in the hands of golfers who want to chase distance through lowering spin, as well as players who like more workable drivers and those who have a particular shot shape preference. It is the driver used by 2011 Open champion Collin Morikawa.
Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict…
Never, in 15 years of testing, have we seen a driver out-perform its peers by 12 yards of carry. Usually, once our pro’s data has been averaged, there’s rarely more than a handful of yards covering off the top models. And a performance difference that small can easily be caveated with “data can be reversed or slightly different on another day’s testing”. But double-digit carry distance gains are utterly unheard of, until this year.
We’ll admit to being pretty shocked by Stealth Plus putting in such a strong performance. We’d tested the model before (in creating our YouTube video) when it outperformed Callaway and Ping models, with tidy but not ground-breaking ball speed and carry distance gains (2.8mph of ball speed and four yards of carry distance gain over the longest). But those numbers were blitzed in our 2022 driver test. The difference in part at least can be explained in switching Neil Wain out of a recommended shaft (that to him felt hard work) and into the stock (low flight) Mitsubishi Kai’Li… and are we glad we did.
To put the Stealth’s performance into context, the model produced a ball speed 1.1mph faster than any low-spin driver we hit. By 12 yards, it was the longest driver within the category (it was also our longest overall driver by three yards). The Plus was flat-out No.1 at protecting ball speed loss on off-centre hits and second best at minimising carry distance drop-offs (only beaten by PXG’s 0811 Gen4 X by two yards). In anybody’s book that’s an outstanding across-the-board performance.
After what we’ve seen, we’re comfortable naming the Stealth Plus as our best low-spin driver of 2022, an award we’ve never bestowed upon a single model (whether low-spin, forgiving or draw biased) before. We’re certainly not saying everyone will see a gain of 12 yards. What we are saying is that if you’re looking at buying a new low-spin driver in 2022, hit the Stealth.
To put some context around our test pro’s performance, Neil has never played a TaylorMade driver before. He’s now very excited about getting the Stealth Plus out onto the golf course, particularly because he loves the crisp sound just as much as any performance gain. In the past he has shied away from super low-spin drivers, because their forward CG is less forgiving. But we feel Stealth Plus isn’t the very lowest spinning driver out there, hence why it suits Neil so well. So a switch to this lower spinning model (even though it might not be the lowest spinning driver available) will give an immediate gain in ball speed.
Thanks to slightly less spin there will be a decent distance gain. But as it’s not super low-spin, chances are he will also hit the fairway more often than not, and that’s just the sort of equation lots of decent golfers could replicate for themselves by switching to Stealth Plus this year.
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What TaylorMade say…
HD stands for High Draw, which means the model is specifically tailored to eliminate the distance-zapping slice spin that afflicts tons of club golfer drives.
TaylorMade say some draw drivers have weight lumped in the heel, which inadvertently lowers MOI forgiveness (as the CG is closer to the face), a trap the Stealth HD doesn’t fall into.
Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict…
Our test results show Stealth’s carbon fibre face doesn’t just improve energy transfer at higher swing speeds. There’s additional ball speed performance to be had here for more moderate speed players, too. And that’s really exciting.
Compared to this year’s other draw drivers, the Stealth HD was Equipment Ed Simon Daddow’s fastest in terms of ball speed. It was also his longest carrying driver over the Cobra King LTDx Max.
But what’s more impressive is how those numbers compare against his current driver (the Ping G400 SFT). Thanks to testing both we can see there’s a 1.6mph ball speed gain to be had by switching to Stealth HD, and thanks to the difference in spin, that could add up to a 21-yard carry distance gain, which of course is hugely significant.
RELATED: Best Draw Drivers 2022
RRP £329 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 8°, 9°, 10.5° | Stock shaft options: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw 60, Project X HZRDUS Smoke RDX 70
TaylorMade can lay claim to creating the whole high launch/low spin movement as their SLDR in 2013 was the first to pitch the concept to golfers.
A 12% larger face than the original SIM puts a bigger area of the face at the maximum CT limit in the SIM2.
The new carbon sole and aluminium back ring add up to a 5% gain in MOI over the previous model, too. Expect 200-300 less spin than the TaylorMade SIM2 Max.
TG’s 2021 verdict: Aluminium is a material that hasn’t been mentioned in driver design for decades, but incorporating it and a new carbon-fibre sole to nudge up forgiveness by 5% is serious dedication to the cause of improving forgiveness.
The TaylorMade SIM2 (like its predecessor) is not just a great looking driver; arguably it’s the most alluring driver story of the year.
By doing away with a weight track, not a single gram is wasted, so performance is utterly tailored to the target golfer.
The TaylorMade SIM2 was one of the best drivers of 2021, no doubt.
Our data has it creating 1.4% less carry (275 yards) than our very longest, but that’s a minuscule difference.
A carry drop-off of less than 7% between good strikes and bad pushes SIM2 inside our top 10 drivers for forgiveness, which is great result for a model that will find its way into many Tour bags.
Just like an F1 team reconstruct their car every year to eke out every bit of performance, TaylorMade broke down the SIM2 to optimise driver construction in a new way.
The SIM2 family chased extra forgiveness by combining an aluminium back ring with a carbon-fibre sole and crown plus a sizeable 24g inertia increasing back weight.
SIM2 Max had a 5% larger face (which inspires confidence and means a bigger area can be at maximum flexibility) and 3% more MOI forgiveness than the previous SIM driver.
TG’s 2021 verdict: Most golfers never get to see what’s inside their driver, but our pro was blown away when he saw a demo breakaway SIM2 Max head; calling the internal engineering “absolutely incredible”.
The new aluminium back ring is beautifully CNC milled and thanks to TaylorMade’s construction method, not a single gram is positioned inefficiently. It’s a level of detail that just wasn’t possible a few years ago, and one you don’t get it with every brand.
What does it mean in raw data terms? The TaylorMade SIM2 Max was a couple of yards behind the Callaway Epic Max (our longest forgiving driver) on carry distance. It was in front of Titleist, Ping and Cobra, all of which are stellar competition.
RRP £399 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 2º) | Stock shaft: Fujikura AirSpeeder 45
Thanks to the new carbon fibre, aluminium construction, along with 22g of backweight, TaylorMade reckon the Max D has 15% more MOI than the original, which means it is still one of the highest MOI draw drivers on the market.
A new AirSpeeder 45 shaft is light and will suit typical mid-slow speed golfers who buy off the rack, while other shafts can be combined with this head for stronger players.
TG’s 2021 verdict: We’ve been big fans of TaylorMade’s D drivers ever since the first M2 D-Type back in 2017.
We love how the engineers have come up with some clever paintwork to beautifully disguise how the face sits a little closed at address.
It means the TaylorMade SIM2 MAX-D is a serious proposition for any slicer (with a proper shaft fitting), not just slower speed players who struggle with a slice.
If you’re looking for a draw-biased driver, the TaylorMade SIM2 MAX-D must on your shortlist.
How we test golf drivers:
• We created an indoor test lab at Keele Golf Centre to ensure a controlled environment
• The leading brands supplied their drivers in our Test Pro Neil Wain’s spec. Draw models and those aimed at more moderate speeds were sent in Equipment Editor Simon Daddow’s spec.
• We rejected major misses but recorded how shots launched, span, peaked and dropped out of the air, before crunching the numbers to come up with our conclusions.
BEST TAYLORMADE GOLF DRIVERS – LADIES
TaylorMade Women’s Kalea driver
RRP £279 | VIEW OFFER
Loft: 12° | Shafts: Lady Flex
The Kalea utilises proven product technologies such as Speed Pocket™ technology that allows for flexibility low on the face for high launch and added forgiveness.
Further, a low/back centre of gravity provides an easy to launch club with added forgiveness throughout the set.
The net sum gains are considerable. The lightweight graphite also plays its part in helping the ball stay in the air longer and higher plus you also get a healthy two-year warranty.
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