As of Feb. 3, 2012, user-configurable TaylorMade R11S woods will become an option for those of us looking for new fairway woods. But are these clubs an option you might want to look into? Read on to find out what I’ve learned.
You might already know that TaylorMade Golf is the world’s biggest proponent of adjustable woods and drivers. It’s been making adjustable drivers for a few years now, and the original TaylorMade R11 fairway woods, released in 2011, are also adjustable. But from what I can see, the new-for-2012 TaylorMade R11S woods take adjustability in fairway woods to an entirely new level. Here’s what I’ve found out about these versatile, innovative clubs.
First and most significantly, these woods provide enhanced adjustability compared to the R11 woods that came out in 2011. By using the included TaylorMade’s Adjustable Sole Plate Technology (“ASP”) and Flight Control Technology (“FCT”), golfers can set up their clubs in 24 different configurations.
For example, the ASP technology permits the club face to be set to square (neutral), 2 degrees closed, or 2 degrees open to promote the side-to-side ball flight preferred by the player. TaylorMade claims using the ASP system permits as much as 54 yards of side-to-side trajectory adjustment, so players can use it to promote a draw or combat a tendency to slice. The FCT settings on the hosel’s sleeve allow a golfer to adjust the club’s loft up or down by 1.5 degrees. According to the company, the end result of all this adjustability and the low, forward position of the head’s center of gravity is a fairway wood that becomes easier to launch, longer and more accurate.
Like the TaylorMade R11S driver (a club we review on another page of this site) and the company’s other recent woods, drivers and hybrids, TaylorMade R11S woods have a matte-white head and black face. TaylorMade is pushing this color combination strongly, and it has a couple of reasons for doing so. First, whenever you see one of these clubs, you know immediately that it’s from TaylorMade Golf. What company wouldn’t want that sort of instant recognition of its products? But there are some advantages to the white/black color combo from the golfer’s perspective, too. For example, the matte-white finish of the crown reduces glare from the sun. The black face frames the ball and makes the club easier to align properly. And, according to TaylorMade, the white crown makes the club appear larger than its actual size, a characteristic that promotes player confidence.
In addition to the ASP and FCT systems, these woods utilize a “Pull-Face” construction technique that results in a thin, light, “hot” steel face that promotes fast ball speeds. And the company’s “Ultra-Thin Wall” manufacturing process means the crown is extremely thin and light. The weight that’s saved with this process allows the head’s center of gravity to be pushed down and closer to the face to promote the better launch conditions that result from a higher launch and reduced spin. Like the “Pull-Face” construction, it also enhances ball velocity.
TaylorMade R11S woods are heavier and have smaller, shallower heads than the TaylorMade Rocketballz woods we review on a separate page, but they have the advantage of being user-adjustable (Rocketballz woods are not). You might hear a lot more about the Rocketballz woods because of the extreme distance gains that TaylorMade claims for those clubs, but these woods permit you to play with clubs that have essentially been customized for your own individual swing. It’s up to you to decide whether TaylorMade R11S woods or Rocketballz woods would suit your game better.
Available in 5 lofts (14-, 15.5-, 17-, 19- and 22-degrees), TaylorMade R11S woods come with a standard-length 43.5-inch, 70-gram Aldila RIP Phenom 70 graphite shaft in your choice of extra-stiff, stiff, regular and senior (“M”) flex. A TP (“Tour Preferred”) version of TaylorMade R11S woods is also available. The stock shaft for the more expensive TP version of the clubs is an Aldila RIP Phenom 80 graphite shaft in extra-stiff, stiff or regular flex, but other shafts can be purchased for an upgrade charge.
The Bottom Line: Can a few turns with a little torque wrench unlock significant performance gains for many amateur golfers? Your mileage may differ, but these clubs have the potential to help a lot of players. TaylorMade R11S woods are top of the line steel fairway woods that incorporate a ton of technology and offer 24 different settings. No matter what type of swing you have, you might be one of the golfers they can help. They’re remarkable clubs, and they just might be worth their launch price of $249 each. The price of the TP version of TaylorMade R11S woods is $349.