We all know TaylorMade don’t do product launches by half measures but even by its high standards, the launch of JetSpeed was a particularly glamorous affair.
The company whisked a small selection of European media speedily off by Embraer Legacy 600 Executive Jet to Turnberry Golf Resort to get the inside story on the new JetSpeed range of woods. We also tested out the product at its Performance Academy, before heading out to play a few holes on the Ailsa course, which has hosted four Open Championships.
The event marked the fifth of six driver launched in the space of 11 months for TaylorMade, a move that has seen some criticism on social media. On the flight over, we sat down with David Silvers, Managing Director of TaylorMade adidas golf for Europe, South Africa and Pacific, to talk about the reasons behind the unique launch and the product itself.
“The Legacy 600 jet is widely regarded as a true pioneer in innovation and advanced avionics,” he said. “It’s a fitting location to showcase the latest innovation from TaylorMade. We want to make golf more enjoyable. The number of golf rounds played is down and for golf to grow, we need innovation.”
The quick turnaround of product is another hot topic Silvers was keen to cover during the hour-long flight to Turnberry.
“The game wouldn’t grow if all the manufacturers stuck to regular product cycles,” he said. “Innovation drives demand, it excites people and it inspires. Greater consistency and faster clubs make golf more enjoyable. The distance gains we saw with SLDR were amazing and that’s why we brought it to market. We can’t sit on it and leave it in the wings. We have to live with some of the criticism from some consumers and retailers. But we have to stay ahead.”
The JetSpeed driver is the first from TaylorMade to feature a Speed Pocket behind the face. TaylorMade say this makes the sweetspot larger in the lower section of the face by 25%, the area which most amateur golfers tend to strike the ball.
The driver also features a 12-Position loft sleeve to adjust the loft by up to 1.5° either way via the hosel.
The fairway wood is longer than its predecessor thanks to an enhanced Speed Pocket, which is shallower, filled with a polymer to reduce turf interference and a different shape – it’s now curved at the edges to spread out the spring-like effect across the face for more distance on mishits.
You can read the rest of the interview with David Silvers, as well as our review of the JetSpeed driver, in the next issue of Today’s Golfer, on sale on December 26.
The JetSpeed is the second driver TaylorMade has brought out with an extreme low-forward CG, so what is the difference between that and the SLDR?
"The JetSpeed has the Speed Pocket, which means shots struck lower on the face have more ball speed and less spin than previous models," said Matt Byrne, TaylorMade Golf Experimental Technician.
"Higher handicappers tend to hit more down and across the ball with slightly lower swing speeds, generally striking the ball more in this area than better players. The SLDR has the sliding weight to change dispersion by up to 30 yards but will generally launch higher and spin less than the JetSpeed. The shaft is also half an inch longer in the JetSpeed driver."