When it comes to writing these reviews sometimes I have a tendency of giving a ton of background information. Although I have no intention of straying too far from my usual ways there is a part of me that wants to jump right into the meat of this review. I won’t mince words but the reality is that their product cycle is a bone of contention for many consumers. I admittedly have been among the brands detractors in the past because of that product cycle. But the reality is that the brand continues to excel especially when it comes to its metalwood division. The brands founder Gary Adams has to be smiling from above seeing what his creation has become. Lately, TaylorMade Golf has seen its athletes go on a huge roll. DJ is number one on the world, Sergio Garcia won The Masters, Si Woo Kim won The Player’s Championship and the beat goes on.
2016 was a banner year for the Carlsbad, California-based golf giant. The brand released the M family of woods and irons and for the most part the equipment took the golf world by storm. Whether you were at a golf course getting set play your weekly game or you were tuning into a golf telecast on Sunday afternoon chances were that you saw one of their two-toned multi-material heads in play. Partially because of the brands willingness to pay players as their budget is a decent size. Partially because of a very strong marketing game. Lastly, because the products were just that good. How good? Well they were good enough to see a few Nike Golf equipment “refugees” and other Tour professionals start experimenting with their products. Namely the M1 and M2 drivers and fairway woods. Prior to the golf show last year I came into a M1 430 that I had one from TaylorMade… which in fact turned into my first review of a TaylorMade product. I was fit at their Performance Lab in Woodbridge, Ontario and I really did like the driver and 3 wood. However, I had a couple of issues with it. I wasn’t crazy about the feel (felt dead) and I wasn’t convinced that it was better or longer than my SLDR 430. On the other hand, when I first caught wind of the M2 I was excited about it. I was on an airplane on a short layover in Clearwater, FL. I would swing the M2 at the PGA Show Demo Day and I knew after one swing that (in my opinion) it was superior. Better length, feel and acoustics. I immediately wanted to sell my M1 and buy an M2 on the spot. No wonder why Rory and Tiger put it into play last year. It was a beast!
As the PGA Show approached this year I was excited to swing the newest generation of the M1 and M2 metalwood family. Would this year’s version be as good, better or a step backwards? I had an appointment arranged by TaylorMade Golf Marketing Manager Nick Obritsch to be walked through their product range. So I made my way over to their booth and I was introduced to TaylorMade Senior Director of Creation Brian Bazzel who was accommodating to talk me through the 2017 version of the “M FaM1ly”. There is more going on with the 2017 version of the M1 and M2 driver than a different look.
M1 – There are two models of the M1. There is the typical 460cc version but instead of going with a 430cc clubhead TaylorMade opted to go with a slightly bigger 440cc version. The M1 features a new 6-layer carbon crown and a carbon toe panel. This changes results in the M1 having 43% more carbon than in 2016. This change allows for a lower “Centre of Gravity” and an expanded T-Track which allows for more adjustability as far as launch angle and spin is concerned. Moreover, TaylorMade set out to improve the acoustics of the 2017 model. Part of the reasoning is due to the new material usage. Also engineers at TaylorMade focused on the internal acoustic properties. The end result is a more pleasing pitch at impact that is described as “best in class”. With the 2017 version, TaylorMade created a driver that offers golfer maximum forgiveness, performance and adjustability.
M2 – With the 2017 version of the M2, TaylorMade is offering golfers two versions of the M2. There is the “standard” version and then a “D-Type”. The D-Type features a draw bias (up to 20 yards) with weighting more towards the toe, a slight offset which will help golfers take out one side of the fairway (right for a right-handed golfer). The standard version offers a re-designed speed pocket that the company says is “three times more flexible” than the original version. The body is constructed of 9-1-1 Titanium and does feature the same 6-layer carbon crown as the M1. The titanium used in the construction of M2 and the carbon used means that engineers at TaylorMade were able to move approximately 25 grams of weight to be moved lower and more towards the back of the head. This provides easier launch, a hotter launch and more distance. Another feature found in the 2017 is “Geocoustic Technology”. I’ll use literature from TaylorMade to do the speaking in describing exactly what it is.
The new Geocoustic feature combines geometry and acoustical engineering to unlock more forgiveness and best-in-class sound. The new breakthrough in geometry comes from the sunken sole portion of the driver. This section utilizes ultra-light, thick-thin 9-1-1 Titanium—a design that enabled engineers to free up volume without raising the center of gravity.
Dispensing with some of the technical information behind the M1 and M2 drivers what was my perspective? As intrigued as I was about the M2 I cannot tell you much I anticipated swinging the M1. I really thought that the M1 was way behind the M2 (and several other products in its class). I would work with TaylorMade Golf Fitter Stewart Bannatyne at Demo Day. It wasn’t too long before I made my first swing with the M1. I was put into the 9.5* head with the Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage DC TiNi 60 which is one of three premium stock shafts that are offered by TaylorMade. I knew right away with my first swing that TaylorMade truly did address the acoustics and feel. Where I thought that the M1 felt dead in my hands last year the 2017 version felt lively. The ballflight I felt was penetrating and the T-Track was never tinkered with from its neutral (or stock) setting. The shaft and head did it’s job and the results were long(ish) baby draws with an average launch angle of 12* and spin numbers being around 2300 rpm. There was no evidence of ballooning and off-center strikes were not severely punished. I realize that it’s only paint but I love what TaylorMade did with the paint scheme in 2017. It’s a minor aesthetic detail but gone is the red slider and accompanying red accents. These give way to a black slider on the T-Track which I feel gives the 2017 M1 a sleeker look. I cannot stress how much of an improvement the feel and acoustics of the M1 is over last year. Working the ball was a breeze with draws and fades being hit at will.
The M2 in 2016 was as close to perfection as I’ve seen in a driver. As 2016 gave way to 2017 I had one simple thought. How could TaylorMade Golf improve upon the original? Could they really? Again, I was put into a 9.5* head and instead of the stock Fujikura Pro XLR8 56 we placed the same Mitsubishi Kuro Kage DC TiNi 60 that was in the M1 and as I recollect the M2 that I made passes with last year. There definitely is a difference in aesthetics this year and the difference in such is borderline “shocking”. What a difference and the sunken sole is noticeable. Where the M2 cosmetically looked almost “simplistic” and where TaylorMade toned down the M1. The 2017 M2 on the other hand was really “spruced up” and the sole looks sleek. Looking at it you want to put the M2 to work… aggressively. So I put the M2 to work and as one might think the M2 had a higher ballflight than the M1 however this wasn’t “obscenely so”. Making swings I couldn’t believe how easy the M2 was to elevate. Launch numbers were always in the 12* range with the spin being in the 2500 rpm range. The M2 I found to be as workable as the M1 however my distance was better with M2. Drives hung around 290 yards and the worst swing being a straight 270 yards which clearly demonstrates the forgiveness of the 2017 M2. Improvement over last year? In a word… yes!
TaylorMade knows a thing or two about metalwoods and they should. For a brand that has been much maligned over social media for its product cycle TaylorMade proved that this year was more than “paint and wallpaper” and wiley marketing. The products are simply outstanding. Hot, forgiving, high-performance machines. Personally speaking, I would be ecstatic to put either driver in my bag. I would love to swing them with a 70 gram shaft.
Until The Next Tee!