Engineered for pure distance and adjust-ability, the Taylormade R1 Driver is already a success globally with four worldwide Tour victories, including two PGA Tour victories – one of which by Dustin Johnson at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
The team at Taylormade claims that 80% of golfers are simply playing the wrong loft. Therefore aren’t getting the most out of their driver. This year they’ve set out to fix that with the R1 and its patented loft sleeve. Which allows golfers to choose the loft (between 8 and 12 degrees) that best fits their game. That’s what’s new, but they’ve also kept what works! Including an adjustable sole plate for face angle manipulation and movable toe/heel weighting. Components you may recognize from previous Taylormade “R” models - R1 KEY FEATURES:
Just a few days before the official release of the Taylormade R1 Driver we were given an unique opportunity to test and review “the most adjustable driver in golf” on our own terms. This meant long hours at the range and dozens of buckets of balls. A challenge we were excited to attack!
- TAYLORMADE R1 REVIEW -
(9 out of 10) The R1 begs to be gripped n’ ripped straight out of the box. We found it to be pleasantly lightweight and well balanced throughout the golf swing. In fact it has a similar feel to that of the R11 and R11S from 2012. Which means it rests nicely on the ground at address and delivers a glorious ear popping “thawck” at impact that signals to your playing partners they’re away. Seriously, this driver is loud, and we loved it!
(8.5 out of 10) If you thought the all-white driver head Taylormade made famous last year was a little “out there,” you’re probably looking at the design of the R1 and wondering “how the heck is that not distracting?” Well, we found ourselves asking the same question after first laying eyes on it. Attractive, yes… conventional, no. Not by a long shot! That being said we did get use to the R1′s race inspired paint job after spending some quality time on the range with it. We even found its large white triangle area to be helpful for alignment. We can’t say this aggressive design is for everyone, but by the end of testing we came to love the R1′s unique design and graphics. It’s by far one of the most eye catching designs you’ll find on the course!
The underside of the R1 has some familiar Taylormade features including – two movable weights (a 1 gram and a 10 gram) located at the toe and heel. As well as an adjustable sole plate for quick face angle tweaks. Additionally, the loft sleeve (used for selecting your loft, duh!) is quite amazing from an engineering standpoint (more on that later), but remains unnoticed at address. As it should. Separately all of these components may seem gimmicky or even unnecessary at first glance, but when tweaked properly we found that they can improve distance and accuracy greatly.
(10 out of 10) The R1 is explosive! With a standard 10.5 degrees loft and neutral face settings our testing crew experienced +12.7 yards of additional distance on average when compared to the driver currently in their bag. After tweaking the loft, face angle and heel/toe weights some members of our crew were able to stretch that yardage gain to +20. While not everyone who tested the R1 experienced such dramatic gains in distance. Everyone did increase by a minimum of +7 yards. That may not sound like a whole hell of a lot, but the day I couldn’t use an extra 7 yards, is the day I no longer want to golf!
(6.5 out of 10) Like most drivers on the market off-center shots create wicked spin rates. The R1 is not so different in this category unfortunately. The key to keeping the ball in the fairway is solid contact with the sweet spot. If you can manage that the R1 isn’t your savior. Off-center shots with the R1 proved to be off target and unpredictable in our sessions at the range.
(10 out of 10) They aren’t calling it “the most adjustable driver in golf” for nothing! The R1 can be adjusted in 168 ways (with one tool) to change loft, face angle and heel/toe weighting. In fact, via the adjustable sole plate the face angle can be adjusted (4 degrees open/closed) to 7 different settings including: neutral, open, medium-open, maximum-open, closed, medium-closed, maximum-closed. Which if properly selected for your swing, we found helps to put the ball in the short grass more often undoubtedly. Loft can also be adjusted between 8 and 12 degrees depending on preference. We found the ability to adjust loft to be exceptionally beneficial when playing in windy conditions. Simply lower the loft to cut through the wind and send the ball rolling. If you’re looking for the optimal trajectory for your swing it may take some tinkering and trial and error, but we can personally vouch for the loft sleeve and its 12 settings. I’m locked in at 9.5 degrees and am lovin’ it!!
Overall, we found that minimal adjustments were necessary for most golfers, but all of our testers benefited from a few small tweaks. The easiest way we found to calibrate a players swing for adjustments was to use Taylormade’s smartphone app.
The app allowed us to properly diagnose and fix negative shot shapes (massive hooks & slices) and also helped to create shot shapes (draws & fades). You can spend a lot of time moving the weights and adjusting the sole plate until you find the perfect combination for your swing, but we recommend you check out the app. It’s simple to use and of course FREE!
(8.5 out of 10) For the price of a sports car payment you too can own a R1 Driver! Yeah… we know that doesn’t sound very appealing, but if you factor in the extreme adjust-ability and beastly distance the R1 provides it quickly becomes easy to justify its $400 price tag. Especially with that fat income tax refund burning a hole in your pocket! All joking aside, the R1 is a solid purchase for serious golfers. And it’s almost completely buyer’s remorse-proof if you ask us.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
If you’re in the market for a new driver this season that will add a more than a few yards to your tee shot and help to keep the ball in the fairway (of the hole you’re playing) more often, we highly recommend you get your hands on the Taylormade R1 Driver. During our sessions testing the R1 we experienced surprising gains in distance and were amazed with its adjust-ability. If you need to correct your ball flight or are looking to shape shots or simply knock it stright for once. We believe the R1 from Taylormade is an excellent choice.