The TaylorMade R7 driver came in several versions, but that's something the company has been doing for a while now. Some versions of a line of TaylorMade clubs are the result of natural evolution, but others are designed with different types of golfers in mind.
While the R7 series was still in production, TaylorMade offered "regular" versions of the R7 driver with your choice of 425- or 460-cc club head, an R7 Limited, an R7 SuperQuad, and an R7 CGB Max driver. There's also a "Draw" version, but I already hit a draw naturally. The last thing I need is to hit a club that's been designed to fight a slice. I'd be wide left time after time.
So, the version I tested for this review was the "regular" 460-cc TaylorMade R7 driver. The company has been one of the leading driver manufacturers for years now, and I love the used TaylorMade R5 driver I bought from a friend, so I had high hopes for the club.
To the best of my knowledge, you can't buy a brand-new TaylorMade R7 driver anymore - the R7s were discontinued a few years ago, replaced by the R9s and now the current TaylorMade R11 line of clubs. I borrowed a friend's 10.5-degree 460-cc driver to hit for this review (the owner loves it, by the way).
When the TaylorMade R7 driver was introduced, a large number of professional golfers started using it almost immediately. I figured there had to be a reason. Clubs are a pro's bread and butter, the tools of the trade. A pro just won't use a club unless it delivers solid performance.
So, I expected a lot from the R7 driver. Ultimately, I wasn't disappointed, although I wasn't happy right away (more details below).
Performance is the really important thing, of course. But to me, a driver's looks are important too. It should give you confidence at address. Golf is at least 80% mental. If you don't like the way a club looks, chances are you won't hit it well.
Well, the R7 is sleek, with elegant lines and a classic black crown. No problems with its looks. But, the R7 sets up with a closed face. The closed face is intended to discourage slicing, but I have a natural draw. That meant that until I got the hang of how to hit this club properly for my particular swing, I hit a bunch of low hooks.
To "fix" this issue, I needed to make two adjustments - one to my hand position at address and one to the club. By experimenting, I learned that using more forward press during setup could prevent at least some of the hooking caused by the interaction of the closed club face and my draw. The second adjustment involved playing with the TaylorMade R7 driver's "Movable Weight Technology" (MWT). By altering the club's movable weights (located near the heel and toe), you're actually able to tune the driver's center of gravity so that it promotes a particular ball flight. So, I set the MWT to encourage a neutral ball flight rather than a draw. Voila! After I adjusted my setup and tweaked the weight system, the ball started flying straight as an arrow - and higher and longer, too. The weights are easy to move but stay in place firmly once locked into position.
Swapping and moving the weights of the MWT requires a special wrench that comes with the driver. So, if you buy a used TaylorMade R7 driver, make sure the wrench is part of the deal. Without one, you won't be able to take full advantage of the help the weighting system can give you.
The club's graphite shaft was nice - a regular-flex Fujikura RE*AX that delivered solid, predictable results. By combining this shaft with the thinner, lighter club head walls of the TaylorMade R7 driver (compared to my TaylorMade R5 driver), TaylorMade gave the club a light but controllable feel with a lower center of gravity.
The Bottom Line: I was unhappy with how I hit the TaylorMade R7 driver - until I moved my hands a bit more forward at setup and adjusted the club's movable weights. Everything changed once I got it all right. It's a solid driver that gave me nice results once everything was set properly for my swing. My drives were higher than normal, straight and just as long as most other drivers I've tested.
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