The name sounds like it’s straight out of a comic book, but TaylorMade
Rocketballz woods could be the real deal for a lot of golfers. And for
some, hitting the Rocketballz 3-wood off the tee will be like hitting a
smaller version of a driver.
TaylorMade Golf announced the February 2012 launch of these clubs with a lot of glitzy marketing hype. So, what’s the story behind these woods? Are they as good as the company is saying? Could one or two of these woods help most amateur golfers strike the ball a little (or a lot) better? Read on to see what I’ve learned about the new TaylorMade Rocketballz woods.
I’ll start with an impressive tale I’ve heard often enough to be convinced that it’s probably true. It begins with the report that Dustin Johnson hit a prototype of the TaylorMade Rocketballz 3-wood 330 yards during product testing. We all know about Johnson’s incredible distance, but 330 yards with a 3-wood is ridiculous even for him. And Johnson wasn’t the only tour pro having that kind of success with these woods. Sean O’Hair got into the distance act too. During testing, O’Hair said he’d never hit a wood past the 300-yard mark – but with the Rocketballz 3-wood he came very close – multiple times. And Justin Rose achieved a double-digit distance gain using the same club. On an overall basis, TaylorMade is claiming the Rocketballz 3-wood is up to 17 yards longer than other 3-woods.
I’m predicting right now that TaylorMade Rocketballz woods will be some of the top-selling golf clubs of 2012. Who wouldn’t want almost 20 more yards from their 3-wood? Personally, I’d be happy getting even 10 more yards just by picking up a different stick!
I think a lot of golfers have been overlooking woods for a few years now. Drivers are always hot and hybrids have become popular because they’re so easy to hit, but fairway woods have gotten lost in the shuffle. TaylorMade Rocketballz woods might be the clubs that help woods make a comeback.
The crown’s matte-white finish and the black club face are the first two things you’ll notice when you look at one of these clubs. All of TaylorMade’s drivers, woods and hybrids now use this particular color combo. The white head reduces sun glare, the black face frames the ball and makes the club easy to align, and the combination inspires confidence by making the club head look larger in comparison to the ball. That black face is hot, too.
A carved-out channel called a “Speed Pocket” is on the sole of all TaylorMade Rockeballz woods. The Speed Pocket, located directly behind the face, increases ball velocity and yardage by promoting more flex in the club’s face and sole at impact. It’s similar to Nike’s “Compression Channel” (used in its VR Pro woods) and the “Velocity Slot” used in Adams F11 woods.
A non-adjustable weight plug is located just behind the Speed Pocket. In a move that’s contrary to the current trend of moving a club’s center of gravity down and back to encourage a high ball flight, the weight plug on the sole of TayorMade Rocketballz woods moves the center of gravity forward, toward the face. The company’s research revealed that most golfers hit woods and hybrids low on the face, so it decided to position the weight plug low and forward, where it would help players hit a higher, faster ball with less spin and more carry.
A face design that’s deeper than that of TaylorMade’s R11 woods, the Speed Pocket and the forward-positioned center of gravity all combine to allow TaylorMade Rocketballz woods to promote a ball speed that’s three to four miles per hour faster than that provided by the TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 fairway woods. And we all know the general rule of thumb in golf: faster ball speed = more distance.
Standard and Tour versions are available in multiple lofts. The Tour version comes with a Matrix Ozik RUL 70 75-gram graphite shaft and has a slightly smaller head with a fade bias. The standard version is fitted with a Matrix Ozik Xcon 5 50-gram shaft.
The Bottom Line: The coefficient of restitution (“CoR” or “trampoline effect”) of TaylorMade Rocketballz woods is at the “legal limit” imposed by USGA and R & A rules. According to the company, these are the first and only steel-faced fairway woods to achieve that status. As a result, TaylorMade Rocketballz woods are some of the hottest clubs in golf. Personally, I think Rocketballz is a goofy name, but TaylorMade thinks it’s perfect. But when it comes down to it, the name doesn’t really matter. Performance is what counts, and TaylorMade Rocketballz woods deliver that in spades. I’m thinking about putting one in my own bag.