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TaylorMade R15 Driver Review

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TaylorMade has been consistently making some of the best and most popular drivers on the market since their humble beginnings in the late 1970s. Constantly innovating, they recently took a short break from their very successful R series and came out with the SLDR which also proved to be a very worthy, well-liked driver. They then went back to the R series with the R15 and the result is phenomenal. Sure, it is not for everyone and I would not recommend it to a beginner but if you have a confident, consistent swing and hit the ball on the center of the face more often than not, you will find the R15 will give you distance like you have never experienced before. Continue reading this TaylorMade R15 Driver review to find out more about the club as we take a detailed look at it!

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Our Rating:

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It’s a Long Hit

It is clearly aimed at the lower handicap golfer who wants less spin and a good launch angle and, most importantly, distance. We read literally hundreds of reviews from both professional club testers and experienced amateurs who had used the R15 and a surprising number of them claimed it to be longest hitting driver they have ever used.

We will get into the technology in more detail just now, but they have moved the center of gravity forward and low which results in less forgiveness than they could have achieved. You can’t always have the best of both worlds.

They have to versions and the 460, referring to the size of the clubhead still offers a fair amount of forgiveness although less than many other 460cc sized drivers. The 430cc option is obviously going to have even less forgiveness but makes up for it in the extremely low spin, superb shot shaping abilities and again, outstanding distance.

Let’s take a look at what TaylorMade have done with the R15.

Key Technologies

You will notice we said technologies, not technology as there are a number to choose from on the R15.

Adjustable Hosel

First, let’s talk about the adjustable hosel. They have increased the adjustability to 2° from standard which is up from previous models that could only adjust by roughly 1.5°. This is important for the player this driver is aimed at as they well might need to adjust their loft depending on their swing speed, their game plan or even just conditions on the day.

Sliding Weights

TaylorMade has used two sliding weights on the sole of 12.5 grams each. That allows you to move the weights to improve forgiveness, increase speed, or give you a draw bias or other shot shaping preferences. Just to put that into perspective, the SLDR had a single movable 20g weight so not only do you have more scope to play with; you have an extra 5 grams to do it with.

The result is 21 options to find the perfect CG balance for your swing and desired playing style. Many players this driver is aimed at will be able to take significant advantage of this advantage.

Inverted Cone Technology

Although we remind you that does punish you for a mishit a bit more than the average driver of this size, they have enhanced the Inverted Cone Technology so there is some added forgiveness there.

TaylorMade R15 Driver

Speed Pocket

The front weight track, due to its forward positioning doubles as a Speed Pocket and gives it a bit more face flex for a slightly higher launch, less spin, and better distance when the ball is connected low on the face. As previously stated, you have a choice of the 460cc or 430cc heads and loft choices are 9.5°, 10.5°, 12°, or 14°.

TaylorMade has done a good job from the start and continue to innovate and improve. They have combined the best of all their technology and innovation perfectly on the R15.

Shaft

TaylorMade stuck with the 57g Fujikura Speeder with a length of 45.5 inches. This will suit most players in this category perfectly.

Looks

Despite mixed reviews, TaylorMade decided to go back to the white crown with a black face. People either love it or hate it, there appears to be no middle ground. For those who belong to the latter group, they do offer the R15 with a black crown on the 460cc version only. Those in favor of the white crown maintain it makes their lineup easier but obviously you cannot please all the people all the time.

Apart from the white/black debate, the shape and general appearance is good, without being remarkable. The graphics are more subdued which will appeal to the more conservative golfer. The alignment markings are bold and clear.

The headcover received many a positive mention from reviewers as well as those who had purchased the R15. They have gone for an old-school white streamlined cover that appeals to most golfers.

Feel and Sound

Despite all the technology the overall weight and the head, in particular, is remarkably lightweight. This will suit most golfers and aid in higher clubhead speed and therefore distance. Your setting of the sliding weights will affect the feel of the head weight so you will need to experiment to find the balance that suits your swing speed and style best.

Most people found the sound to be good. It is a solid, middle of the road pitch that is neither too weak nor too overbearing, a more traditional TaylorMade sound.

Your positioning of the weights will also have an impact on the amount or the impact of the feedback. Overall, the driver gives good feedback both in feel and sound but with particular settings, this will lessen. Again, it will be a case of experimenting with these settings to find the right balance for yourself.

Performance

The forgiveness is good and can be further enhanced, if needed, by the weight settings. TaylorMade has used pretty much all of their tried and tested technologies and incorporated them into one superb driver.

Given the amount of technology, it is important that the player understands how they work and experiments to determine what combination of adjustment will give them maximum forgiveness, distance or combination of the two, as well as any other requirements. The technology has the power to really help your drive but only if used correctly.

One of the main advantages the R15 offers is low spin and it certainly delivers on that. Combined with the high launch, it will deliver powerful, solid drives for most golfers. It is marginally less forgiving than many other drivers of the same size but it more than makes up for that in all the other advantages it offers. So, while it would not suit a high handicap player or those starting out, a competent swinger will gain a lot from the R15.

Spend Some Time With the Settings

Once again, I stress the importance of getting to know the weight settings and what will work best for you. They are adjustable for a reason and everyone has a unique speed and style as well as different objectives. These can also change over time, under different conditions or different courses. You will be doing yourself a major disservice if you purchase a driver as sophisticated as the R15 and do not take full advantage of all it has to offer.

Pros

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    Distance is the single biggest advantage you will get from the R15, provided you strike it correctly. Many reviewers rated it as the longest drives they have achieved
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    Great adjustability and shot shaping capabilities
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    Very low spin, high launch
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    Respectable, modest but attract appearance
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    Lightweight yet solid

Cons

  • thumbs-o-down
    Slightly less forgiving than many other 460cc drivers

Our Rating:

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Final Thoughts

TaylorMade rarely gets it wrong with their drivers and have really done a great job with the R15. They have combined the best of all their technologies and design skills perfectly to create a driver that will allow you to do pretty much everything you want to do with the ball. Fairways and greens!

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Ryan S

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