Anticipation is at a fever pitch for the new TaylorMade R9 driver and R9 fairway woods, which promise unprecedented customization with a quick turn of a wrench. The R9 clubs were officially released today.
The TaylorMade R9 driver and fairway woods feature TaylorMade’s groundbreaking Flight Control Technology (FCT), which allows you to change the face angle, lie angle and loft with eight individual club head positions.
Such customization is compelling, but is it worth the cost of
$399 for the driver and $229 for the fairway woods? Following is PutterZone.com’s TaylorMade R9 review, specifically a TaylorMade R9 fairwood wood review.
TaylorMade’s Flight Control Technology consists of a detachable club head that can be secured around the shaft in eight separate positions, with each position changing the face angle, lie angle and loft of the club.
The individual positions can affect side-to-side ball flight by up to 40 yards, meaning that they can take the slice out of your slice or the hook out of your hook.
The TaylorMade R9 driver also features Moveable Weight Technology (MWT), which features variable weight cartridges that can be added to ports in the heel, rear center and toe to promote more of a fade or a draw, further enhancing the scope of trajectory compensation.
The stock shaft is the Fujikura Motore 65 with High Inertia Tip (HIT) technology, which is designed to store and then deliver more energy at impact.
The View from PutterZone.com
I rarely review anything that isn’t directly related to putters. However, having just received a TaylorMade R9 fairway wood (the 15-degree 3 wood) in the wake of my personal fitting on the MATT system at the TaylorMade Performance Lab in Carlsbad, California, I am inspired to share my initial thoughts after my first trip to the range with the R9 (just a few hours after UPS dropped the box on the doorstep of PutterZone.com HQ). So begins my TaylorMade R9 fairway wood review…
First off, is the Flight Control Technology as simple to use and adjust as advertised? That was my biggest question, and the answer is a resounding yes.
With a few turns of the included wrench, I quickly separated the head from the shaft via a screw in the sole. The screw does not actually release from the head, quelling any concern about dropping and losing this vital connection.
Removing the head revealed a red coupling at the bottom of the shaft with clear markings for each of the eight positions: Left, Neutral, Neutral Upright and Right, and four positions in between. Each position represents a different combination of face angle, lie angle and loft.
From there, adjusting the head position to two degrees closed—or “L,” the position recommended by my fitting at TaylorMade Performance Lab—was a breeze. All I had to do was align the L on the red coupling with the vertical serial number on the back of the head, slip it on and screw it tight. In less than a minute, I had taken a standard wood and adjusted it to my personal specifications.
The different positions are echoed on a black shaft sleeve, enabling you to visually confirm your club head position when the club is assembled (see photo).
After my fitting, I feared that the two-degrees closed position might give me the visual heebie-jeebies at address, but to be honest, my eyes barely noticed difference when I set the R9 to L.
I’ve always loved the crisp, clean feel of TaylorMade’s woods (my driver is the older R5). I can’t say that the feel of the R9 is noticeably different or improved over other recent TaylorMade woods, but my ball striking and ball flight were vividly improved by the R9’s ability to adjust to my game. Also, the Fujikura Motore 65 regular flex shaft, which was the recommendation from my fitting, seemed to bring added snap to the point of impact. Overall, I was very impressed with the results.
The Bottom Line
The TaylorMade R9 driver and woods deliver on their promise of easy adjustability and remarkable flexibility. The new Flight Control Technology takes do-it-yourself personal fitting to the next level. The TaylorMade R9 3-wood earns its asking price with its crisp feel and technological prowess. The R9 clubs are ultimately going to help a lot of golfers bomb the ball with newfound precision accuracy.