I know it’s hard to believe, but the TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid is so popular it took three months before I finally got my hands on one. These clubs are in such demand, they’re flying out the doors of pro shops and golf equipment stores before the employees even have a chance to take their shipping boxes out to the recycling bin.
What makes the TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid such a hot club?
Well, being a member of the tremendously popular new Rocketballz line of clubs certainly doesn’t hurt. The TaylorMade Rocketballz driver, woods and irons have been getting lots of favorable buzz. We review all these clubs elsewhere on this site, and we heartily agree with all the accolades they’ve been receiving. And now, finally, I’m able to review the TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid.
Talk about anticipation. Testing the Rocketballz driver, irons and woods made me eager to take on the hybrid. I just couldn’t beg, borrow or steal one until now (just kidding about the “steal” part).
Naturally, the TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid is a gold medal winner on the 2012 Golf Digest “Hot List.” I wouldn’t have expected anything less – after all, the other clubs in the Rocketballz line did exactly the same thing. But plenty of other clubs have won this award and not been sold out every time I went to a golf equipment store. This got me thinking there must be something really special about the club.
Turns out I was right. Have you ever been tempted to hit a hybrid off the tee on a par four or par five? I was, because my little TaylorMade rescue club was that sweet. I won’t say it was as long as my driver, but it had plenty of distance for a long dogleg hole, and its accuracy was superb.
Like the related driver and woods, the hybrid has a black face and a matte-white finish on the crown. That color combo has become extremely popular, in large part due to the success of TaylorMade’s recent R11 and Burner clubs. TaylorMade claims the matte-white crown reduces sun glare and the contrast with the black face makes aligning the club easier.
For a rescue club, the TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid has a large, deep club face. The center of gravity has been positioned low and forward to reduce spin rates and promote high launches – a combination that usually produces longer shots. The head is also designed to have a high Moment of Inertia to reduce club head twisting on off-center hits – a factor which can significantly increase a club’s forgiveness, accuracy and consistency.
A “Speed Pocket” channel on the sole is intended to create a lively face and act as a springboard to increase distance. Finally, an ultra-light shaft and grip are used to reduce the club’s overall weight and help you swing faster without swinging harder. It’s a happy combination that allows many golfers (including myself, as I learned during my testing) to achieve faster ball speeds, higher shots, more distance and more accuracy.
The club is available in several lofts, including 19-, 21-, 24- and 27-degrees. I tested the 21-degree model (the 4-hybrid), and I fell in love. It looked great and performed even better. In short, it was awesome.
The ball jumps off the face when you hit it on the screws, and the trajectory is high but penetrating. It was so long I kept wondering if I wasn’t actually hitting a 19-degree hybrid instead of the 21-degree. TaylorMade claims the RBZ hybrid is 15 yards longer than the Burner hybrid it’s replacing. I believe it.
I didn’t have any issues with different types of lies – the TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid was easy to hit from the fairway, but it was also easy to hit off hardpan and in light and medium rough. And it’s deadly accurate off the tee on par 3s and short par 4s. I even had some success hitting out of fairway bunkers, and sand shots are NOT my forte!
The TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid produces a ball flight that’s almost as straight as a string. Even my off-center hits were pretty straight, and that’s the kind of forgiveness many of us need.
The Bottom Line: Without question, the TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid is one of the best hybrids I’ve ever hit. I still wish TaylorMade had called this family of clubs the “RBZ” instead of “Rocketballz,” but I couldn’t wish for a nicer rescue club than this one. With an MSRP of $179, it’s a little pricey for a hybrid, but its stellar performance makes it well worth the cost. If the price is a little steep for you, the Cobra Baffler T-Rail hybrid is another rescue club that’s new for 2012. The Baffler’s performance is almost as strong as that of the TaylorMade Rocketballz hybrid, and it’s a great value at $20 or $30 less.