TaylorMade Stealth, Stealth Plus+ & Stealth HD Drivers Review

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  • At a glance

  • TG Rating 5 out of 5
  • Owner Rating Not yet rated
  • RRP £469.00

What we say...

Thanks to brand new carbon fibre faces the TaylorMade Stealth, Stealth Plus+ and Stealth HD drivers improve ball speed, carry distance and on-course consistency. 

Only a handful of drivers have ever changed the game as we know it. So rare are true revolutionary drivers, over the last four decades just a handful of models have genuinely changed the direction of our game.

We’re thinking TaylorMade’s first steel headed driver (the Pittsburgh Persimmon that launched in 1979), Callaway’s first oversized Big Bertha steel driver, and the brands smash hit titanium, Great Big Bertha. Alongside those TaylorMade’s first movable weight driver, the R7 and Callaway’s first Epic (which had Jailbreak technology connecting the sole to the crown) are both worthy of a place amongst the game changing elite too.

All in that’s just five drivers that have forced the competition into playing catch-up over the last 40 years.

During those four decades wooden drivers have had their day, steel headed drivers have come and gone, and now TaylorMade reckon titanium face drivers are hitting the buffers too. TM are so confident of the performance of their new carbon fibre face Stealth driver, chief of Metalwood Creation – Tomo Bystedt told us “thanks to the benefits of titanium plateauing TaylorMade will never make a titanium face driver again”. TaylorMade’s radical answer is morphing themselves into a brand new Carbonwood company.

TaylorMade-Stealth-Driver

Carbonwoods might sound new, cool and different but carbon fibre drivers aren’t entirely a new idea. Others have tried and failed to use super lightweight carbon fibre in driver construction before (think the Callaway C4), yet TaylorMade insist the new Stealth will be no flash in the pan. Thanks to material and process breakthrough’s Stealth brings the weight saving and increased energy transfer benefits of carbon fibre to driver faces, so golfers can expect additional ball speeds, without losing the sound and feel DJ, Rory, Fleetwood and Morikawa expect from a TaylorMade driver.

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What you need to know about the TaylorMade Stealth carbon fibre driver face

Why carbon fibre?

Carbon fibre isn’t an obvious choice for a driver face, as there’s a need to be strong and flexible whilst having the capacity to withstand frequent high impact collisions. But where previous carbon fibre drivers had faces twice as thick as a traditional titanium driver face, which inhibits flex and deadens sound, TaylorMade’s engineers have developed their own half thickness carbon fibre specifically for Stealth.

And the company say it’s unlike anything the brand have used on driver crowns before. The new development means Stealth driver faces can be constructed from 60 layers of strategically orientated carbon fibre strips yet maintain the same amount of flex and sound as the face of the previous SIM2 Max titanium driver.

How does the Stealth driver face work?       

TaylorMade’s initial goal for exploring carbon fibre driver faces was saving weight. Since starting down this road though their boffins have found other benefits to using carbon fibre faces too. Let’s deal with weight first.

A traditional titanium driver face weighs 43g, by switching to lighter carbon fibre there’s a significant 39.5% weight saving by using a 26g lighter carbon alternative. The 17g of freed up mass is then repositioned to create the ledge the face is bonded to with extra mass being spread throughout the body.

It’s the extra weight removed from the face that TaylorMade say makes a carbon fibre face more efficient at transferring energy to the golf ball at impact. Think about it like a car crash, where a car with a lighter front end and heavy weight in the boot will create more force during a collision than the same weight car with mass evenly distributed throughout its entire body.

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TaylorMade-Stealth-Driver

This is no ordinary carbon fibre face

TaylorMade’s engineers had to built the Stealth’s carbon face from the ground up, as using existing materials would have meant the face being 1cm thick, which would have offered no flex and deadened sound.

First TM worked out how to make carbon fibre at half the thickness of what was currently available, then they worked out how many layers were needed, as well as the shape, size and profile of each layer to get just the right durability, sound and speed, whilst also maintaining the brands ball speed protecting Inverted Cone Technology on the back of the face.

TaylorMade say every face produced is scanned for imperfections as air bubbles cause failures, and because carbon is such a low friction material each face needs a nanotexture, (hence the pattern) and PU coating (which is very similar to the cover of TaylorMade’s TP5 ball) to ensure consistent spin no matter whether the face is dry or wet.   

But wasn’t TaylorMade’s Speed Injected Twist Face (first introduced on the M5 and M6 drivers) already on the legal limit?

Driver face spring was first limited in 1998, at the time the ruling bodies tested drivers for COR, but the test was time consuming, as it involved firing golf balls at a driver face from a high speed air cannon, and took 45 minutes to complete.

In 2004 the ruling bodies switched to CT testing, which involves dropping a pendulum onto driver faces, which made the test portable and much quicker to conduct. Making it possible for players to get drivers checked each week out on tour.

What TaylorMade’s crack team of engineers have come to realise is that lots of modern drivers hit the CT limit but fall below the previous allowable level for COR. So many drivers are actually COR losers. This difference though can be levelled up thanks to the physics and consistency of using a carbon fibre face, so with Stealth golfers get a legal CT with higher COR, which of course equals extra ball speed and distance.

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TaylorMade-Stealth-Driver

20 years in the making

TaylorMade say they’ve been exploring carbon fibre driver faces since the year 2000. Their first prototype was created in 2003, it had a titanium cover over carbon fibre base. In 2013 the company launched a limited-edition Japanese only Gloire Reserve driver with the brands first carbon fibre face.

In 2016 new manufacturing techniques led to the creation of the first 60 layer carbon face, the brand say they’ve been working on the new Carbonwood since 2018. 

What does the Stealth’s carbon fibre face do?

As weight is removed from the Stealth’s face it’s possible to make the face bigger, which inspires extra confidence, but also means a larger portion of the face can be at the maximum allowable CT limit. The idea improves forgiveness and shot-to-shot consistency, so golfers get more predictability and less drop-off between on and off-centre hits, without impeding the aerodynamics of the previous SIM and SIM2 drivers.  

TaylorMade say the new material also does away with face fatigue and CT creep, so unlike a traditional titanium face it won’t weaken over time. It means in 2022 anyone chosing a TaylorMade driver will be on the edge of the rules without ever inadvertently over-stepping the mark, like Xander Schauffele at the 2019 at the Open Championship.     

Face size example:

SIM                  SIM Max         SIM2 Max       Stealth

3470 mm2        3570 mm2         3750 mm2            4150 mm2

TaylorMade-Stealth-Driver

How much difference can you expect to see with a carbon fibre face?

Obviously TaylorMade have done a ton of testing with golfers from tour pros’ to their much more average test team. And results have thrown up some impressive gains.

Legally on average the brand are saying they can claim 1.1mph of extra ball speed over the previous SIM2 family, but during initial seeding, gains of 5 – 6 mph have not been uncommon.

The brand havent seen such impressive gains since the M1 in 2015 and R300 Series in 2001 (the R300 Series were created before COR limits were introduced). 

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What you need to know about the TaylorMade Stealth, Stealth Plus+ and Stealth HD drivers

TaylorMade has slotted its new carbon-fibre face into three driver models, each designed to cover off the playing preferences of everyone from Rory McIlroy to Rory Bremner. Along with the new face material, all three drivers have several things in common:

Bigger faces: Thanks to the material switch there’s less weight located at the front. It means Stealth faces can be bigger, to inspire confidence which often also leads golfers to hitting shots harder as there’s less fear of missing the centre. The Stealth’s face is 11% bigger than the previous SIM2 and a full on 20% bigger than the original SIM in 2019.

TaylorMade-Stealth-Driver

Speed Shaping: Since the original SIM TaylorMade drivers have been optimized for speed in the downswing and into impact, even though Stealth models have bigger faces they’re aerodynamically optimized, and come decked out with an Inertia Generator weight at the rear to maximise MOI performance.    

Speed Pockets: Speed pockets have been part of TaylorMade drivers for years the Stealth’s maximize face flex and ball speeds and produce additional forgiveness on low face strikes.

But they also have some key differences to make them more appealing to individual players too.

TaylorMade Stealth Plus+ driver

RRP: £499

Lofts: 8°, 9°, 10.5°

Stock shaft: Project X Hzrdus Smoke Red RDX 60 (Mid Flight), Mitsubishi Kai’li White 60 (Low Flight)

TaylorMade-Stealth-Plus+-Driver

TaylorMade have brought into three-driver families ever since they unveiled the M1, M2 and M2 D-Type back in 2017. The Plus+ is Stealth’s lowest spinning model, it’s the direct replacement for the SIM2 and TaylorMade say the head will lower backspin by 200-300 RPM compared to the standard Stealth.

The model is called Plus+ because there’s a sliding weight track located behind the face, which neither of the other models have. In that track a 10g weight allows golfers to dial in a preferred shot shape and/or boost ball speed by locating the weight directly behind the golfers typical impact position.

The model will be at home in the hands of golfers who want to chase distance through lowering spin and players who like either a more workable driver, or have a preference to see drives fly with a particular shot shape. Mid (Project Z HZRDUS Smoke Red) and low flight (Mitsubishi Kai’Li White) stock shaft options also allow golfers to alter launch and ball flight characteristics with the Plus+. 

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TaylorMade Stealth driver

RRP: £469

Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12°

Stock shaft: Fujikura Ventus Red 5

TaylorMade-Stealth-Driver

With no sliding sole weight, or needing to tie up any of the mass freed up from the new carbon face to create a track, the Stealth has a 15% higher MOI than the Stealth Plus+. That means golfers get extra forgiveness and ball speed protection when shots are sprayed across the driver face. The Stealth is very much the mass market model which means it will be the most popular and biggest selling within the family.

Like the previous SIM drivers the standard model has a fraction lighter head (200g vs the Stealth Plus+ at 202g) which is optimized for speed. TaylorMade say thanks to spinning 200 – 300 RPM less than the Stealth Plus+ and because of the mid-high flight Mitsubishi Ventus stock shaft golfers should see this model as a mid-high launch driver that offers mid-low spin. Compared to the Stealth HD, expect a more neutral ball flight shape, but with similar levels of forgiveness.    

TaylorMade Stealth HD driver

RRP: £469

Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° (10.5°, 12° women’s).

Stock shaft: Fujikura Air Speeder 45, Aldila Ascent Ladies 45 (Womens)

TaylorMade-Stealth-HD-Driver

HD stands for High Draw, which means the model is specifically tailored to eliminate the distance sucking slice that afflicts tons of club golfers. But what’s new with the HD, that’s not always the case with all draw drivers, is not sacrificing forgiveness to get a right-to-left ball flight. Unbeknown to most golfers is some competitor draw drivers, by inadvertently lumping weight in the heel, accidentally lower MOI and off centre hit forgiveness, that isn’t the case with the Stealth HD.

TaylorMade say the HD thanks to its lighter, higher launching Fujikura Air Speeder stock shaft and adjusted internal weighting is a high launch, mid spin driver with maximum draw bias. A women’s Stealth HD has the same carbon fibre face and forgiveness tech, with subtle cosmetic differences and its own Aldila Ascent shaft.

TaylorMade on the Stealth driver

“In the mid-2000's, our Research team developed an understanding that the weight of the face can affect impact efficiency, more specifically, the lighter the face, the more efficient the impact and the better the ball speed. We realised Titanium faces could only take us so far and carbon would be the face material of the future.

This breakthrough design of a lightweight carbon face in Stealth, has created a whole new starting line, a new era of drivers, a new threshold of performance and a new platform for more innovation.”

Brian Bazzel, Vice President Product Creation

“The technological innovation of our nanotexture technology brings the entire face together and was a key to making this driver a reality. Without this revolutionary cover design, we could not have achieved the launch and spin performance required to extract the optimal performance in dry as well as wet conditions.

Tomo Bystedt, Product Creation, Carbonwood Drivers

“The 20 year journey to today is a reflection of the engineering and R&D teams at TaylorMade that never gave up on the idea of a carbon face driver. The technical challenges in creating a driver face with a new material are vast.

Through two decades of work our team was able to solve various hurdles and create numerous technological innovations in order to bring today’s most advanced and precise driver to market.”

Todd Beach, Senior Vice President R&D and Engineering

How the TaylorMade Stealth and Stealth Plus+ drivers compare to the Callaway Rogue ST and Ping G425 Max in data

How the Stealth drivers compare to the Rogue ST and Ping G425.

Got a question about the TaylorMade Stealth drivers? Ask us on Twitter

TaylorMade-Stealth-Driver

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Review written by: Simon Daddow

Simon Daddow is Today's Golfer equipment editor.

About the author:

Simon Daddow is the Equipment Editor at TodaysGolfer.co.uk

Simon has worked in the golf industry for 30 years. Starting out as trainee professional at Downes Crediton GC where he learned the art of golf club making, before going onto work for Clubhaus Plc and Tony Charles Ltd as a golf club maker, and running Product Development at Benross Golf.

Joining EMAP Active (now Bauer Media) in 2006 as Equipment Editor, Simon has worked for Today’s Golfer and Golf World magazines and the Today’s Golfer website.

Simon is 46 years old, he’s played golf for 40 years and plays to a handicap of 10.

A lack of club speed means he’s short off the tee, but very handy from 125 yards and in.

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Product Information

TaylorMade Stealth Plus+ Driver

RRP: £499

Lofts: 8° / 9° / 10.5°

Stock shaft:

Mid Flight - Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 60

Low Flight - Mitsubishi Kai'li White 60

Stock grip: Lamkin Crossline 360

Adjustable hosel: Yes (+/- 2°)

TaylorMade Stealth Driver

RRP: £469

Lofts: 9° / 10.5° / 12°

Stock shaft: Fujikura Ventus Red 5

Stock grip: Lamkin Crossline 360

Adjustable hosel: Yes (+/- 2°)

TaylorMade Stealth HD Driver

RRP: £469

Lofts: 9° / 10.5° / 12°

Stock shaft: Fujikura Air Speeder 45

Stock grip: Lamkin Crossline 360

Adjustable hosel: Yes (+/- 2°)

Visit the TaylorMade website here

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