TaylorMade R11 Driver Review

The TaylorMade R11 Driver hit the shelves early last month and it is the latest and greatest from the makers of the number one driver in golf. There are three major differences from last years R9 series; the white non-glare club head,  Adjustable Sole Plate (ASP) technology and a smaller 440cc head. With the new ASP technology, TaylorMade has made another step towards a completely adjustable driver.

From the Company:

Adjust the loft with R11 Flight Control Technology (FCT)

Check R11 Prices

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The R11 Driver Flight Control Technology (FCT) allows you to increase or decrease the launch angle by one degree. There are eight different FCT positions that allow you to increase or decrease the loft in .5 degree increments and with every adjustment comes a change in the face angle as well as the spin rate.

Adjust the face angle with the new R11 Adjustable Sole Plate (ASP)

 

The Adjustable Sole Plate (ASP) technology allows you the option of opening or closing the face angle of the R11 driver by two degrees without changing the loft of the club. After the loft or launch angle of the driver is set with Flight Control Technology, you can tweak the look of the driver at address by rotating the Adjustable Sole Plate.

Adjust the CG location with Movable Weight Technology (MWT)

The TaylorMade R11 Driver comes equipped with Movable Weight Technology (MWT), which allows you to tune the driver’s center of gravity to promote a draw or neutral ball flight. With the 10g weight in the heel and the 1g weight in the toe, you’ll get more of a draw bias ball flight. With the 1g weight in the heel and the 10g weight in the toe, R11 generates a more neutral ball flight.

Combined, TaylorMade calls these features the “Three Dimensions to Distance.”

Aero Shape promotes faster club head speed for more distance

The TaylorMade R11 Driver has a 440cc Aero Shape rounded crown to reduce drag and increase club head speed for more distance, six yards longer than the R9 SuperTri. The White non-glare crown and black club face promote easy alignment.

This driver promotes up to 100 yards of side-to-side trajectory change and 1,000 RPM backspin change, giving you consistent power and distance.

TaylorMade R11 Driver Specifications

Available in 9 and 10.5 degree lofts and both are available to left handed golfers (thank you!). As mentioned previously, the head volume is 440cc and the lie angle is 57 degrees with a club length of 45.75 inches and a D4 swing weight.

The stock shaft is the Fujikura Blur 60 and the stock grip is the TaylorMade 360. Below are the shaft properties.

Flex X S R M
Shaft Torque 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.7
Tip Size .35 .35 .35 .35
Butt Diameter .600″ .600″ .600″ .600″
Shaft Weight 60G 59G 58G 56G

Driver Review:

A couple months back I visited the Grand Cypress TaylorMade Performance Lab for a custom driver fitting. It was an awesome experience and if you ever get the opportunity, I highly recommend checking it out. It was determined that the driver I had been hitting, the Cleveland DST Launcher was completely wrong for me. It was too light and too “whippy.” Which, I suppose I knew.. Isn’t it crazy how every time you try a new club, it always starts out AWESOME and then after a while (typically when the return policy expires) your drives devolve to where they were before you picked up the new club? I eventually got this driver back on track with a different shaft.. but I digress.

From the fitting, I was originally going to be reviewing a R9 SuperTri with a stiff flex Aldila R.I.P Beta 70 shaft, but much to my pleasure, we switched it up for the nine degree TaylorMade R11 with both the stock Fujikura shaft and the Aldila Beta.

Below are the Aldila R.I.P Beta 70 shaft properties.

Flex X S
Shaft Torque 2.6 2.9
Tip Size .335 .335
Butt Diameter .605″ .605″
Shaft Weight 72G 70G

I must apologize ahead of time because this is mostly a review of a custom fit R11 with an aftermarket shaft. The reason for this is primarily because I wasn’t terribly impressed with the performance of the driver with the stock shaft and neutral setup.

Thanks to the fellas out at Hotstix (which I’ll be writing up soon) I was able to get these different driver configurations on a Trackman so I could provide you with some driver stats.

In the first R11 Driver configuration the FCT was set to standard, the ASP was neutral and for the MWT I had the 10g weight in the heel and the 1g weight in the toe (draw setup). After hitting quite a few shots, I notice little difference in the ball flight compared to my old driver. Below are some of the trackman stats (if you’re interested, I can send you the complete list).

Club Speed 93.9
Ball Speed 136.1
Smash Factor 1.45
Spin Rate 3649
Carry 227.5
Total Length 255.3

For the second R11 Driver configuration, we put in the Aldila R.I.P shaft and set the FCT to +1 (making the driver a 10 degree driver), ASP to neutral and the MWT to 10g in the heel and 1g in the toe. I noticed a huge difference with this setup. I was now hitting a draw with all my shots. I was happy with this setup, since it’s completely opposite to the norm, but I wanted to tinker a bit more. Below are the trackman stats.

Club Speed 95.8
Ball Speed 141.4
Smash Factor 1.47
Spin Rate 2839
Carry 235.4
Total Length 263.7

The final R11 Driver configuration in this review consisted of the Aldila R.I.P shaft, FCT set to +.5 (making it a 9.5 degree driver), ASP set to O (open) and MWT was 10g in the heel and 1g in the toe. This configuration had me in driver euphoria. The ball flew straight as an arrow, straight down my target line. I was completely dumbfounded. I really could NOT hit a bad drive and I have witnesses (references upon request :) ). Shot after shot on the driving range was straight and true and as you can see below, longer than the other two.

Club Speed 97.8
Ball Speed 141.8
Smash Factor 1.45
Spin Rate 2450
Carry 234.1
Total Length 268.5

R11 Driver Conclusion:

After we got the TaylorMade R11 tuned up, I played 18 holes out at Orange County National – Crooked Cat and was very pleased that the performance on the range translated very well to the performance on the course. I hit the ball straight 95% of the time. I preceded to place a whooping on Mr. John Duval from Intothegrain.com (using handicaps ofcourse..) which is an uncommon occurrence.

The club looks great, I’ve never had an issue of glare from my drivers but I’m definitely a fan of the white non-glare finish. One thing I don’t like and I’m not sure if it’s a manufacturer defect or if it’s by design, but the TaylorMade logo on the top of the crown isn’t centered over the clubface nor is it over the sweet spot. It’s about a 1/4 inch closer to the heel of the club. I couldn’t find any information explaining why this is, but if I come up with something, I’ll pass it along. Typically this would be a good aiming tool, but since it’s closer to the heel you’ll find that your shots travel further to the right or left (depending on your hand dexterity) than you intended.

I have to say, my favorite new technology with the R11 is the Adjustable Sole Plate (ASP). I’ve had a few different adjustable drivers in my time and it is always a pain if you want to make some adjustments because it requires unscrewing the club head from the shaft and finding the correct setting you want to try out. If the shaft isn’t marked clearly you can spend quite a bit of time fiddling with it to get what you want. With the ASP, you can keep the loft of club the same and it’s much simpler to unscrew the bottom plate to close or open the club face. There’s only three setting that are clearly marked and easy to adjust.

As you can see from the stats I posted above in this review, with the proper fitting, I was able to reduce my spin rate over 1100 rpm and the result was a much straighter ball flight that resulted in 13 more yards in distance. This is certain to shave off quite a few strokes off my game. So, if you are interested in this club, and I think you should be :), I strongly encourage you to get a driver fitting somewhere. It may cost you a little more upfront, but in the long run, you’ll certainly be more satisfied with your purchase.

Properly fitted, this is the best driver I have used and you owe it to yourself to give it shot.

I’d love some feedback on the review, I’m still trying to perfect the club reviews and I’m always open to constructive criticism, so if you have a moment and you loved or hated the review, please let me know. Don’t miss our TaylorMade R11 Irons review.

Have a custom club fitting question? Visit our Ask the Fitter page, post your question and you’ll be entered to win a free custom club fitting from the TaylorMade Performance Lab!

  26 comments for “TaylorMade R11 Driver Review

  1. at

    I’ve heard a lot of hype over this club, sounds like its all worth it. Great review!

  2. John Higgins
    at

    Thank you. I’m not crazy. I noticed the alignment aid being off on my R11 after noting my tee marks being towards the heel. I pointed it out to freinds of mine who I think thought I was nuts. I compared it to other clubs. You are the first write up I have read that notes the same thing, the alignment icon is towrd the heel.

    I will be reshafting mine. I have never been much of a crazy spec person on shafts but the stock S shaft on this thing feels dead.

  3. at

    The taylormade R11 sure looks good. Several of my friends tried and love it. i guess it is time for me to give it a try.

  4. Hannes
    at

    If you have a closer look you will notice that the Logo is an aiming marker but is to be alligned with the side closest to you rather than the centre of the ball.

  5. at

    Thanks for the info, do you have any thoughts or knowledge as to why it’s on the side closes to you instead of the center?

  6. Randy
    at

    I read an interview with Tom Watson that explains the alignment aid offset. At the bottom of your swing arc your shaft is actually bowed in such a manner that your driver head is about 3/8″ closer to your feet than it is at address. In the article, Watson advocated setting up to the ball with the ball slightly toward the heel of the club in order to insure that you don’t miss the sweet spot and hit the ball off the toe…or…even worse end up with the dreaded sky mark, always toward the toe. A person with a steep swing probably ends up with a few sky marks before they make the adjustment with a new driver. The alignment aid is meant to speed up that process by tricking you into setting up a 1/2″ closer to the ball

  7. Charles
    at

    After using a R9 Supertri for over the last two years and then purchasing the R11… I have to say I am very disappointed with the R11 Shaft. I have tried adjusting the head to most all of the settings and found the ball fades no mater I do??? VERY FRUSTERATING? After talking to others it appears the Standard “S” Shaft does not flex very well (VERY DEAD – too thick diameter in center and top of Shaft) as pointed out by John Higgins (whom I do not know). I have come to the same conclusion – I am going back to my R9 or seeing if Taylor will help provide me with a shaft the works more like the R9 “S” shaft.

  8. Steve
    at

    Not to rude but why on earth would ever spend 4-500 on a club and NOT get a custom fit/shaft? you already spent all that money just to go cheap on one of the most important features?

  9. Don
    at

    I also found that no matter what I did, I always had a fade or a mean slice with the R11. Interesting how in the beginning I was killing the ball – easily 20 yards farther than my R7, but after a while I wasn’t getting that distance anymore and I recently cracked the face. I have been trying a Titleist 910D3 which is easy to swing, but is no longer than my R7. I found that the R11 was very similar to swinging a stiff broom. My R7 is not as long but at least I can find the fairway 90% of the time with my worst hit being a slight draw. I could not hit a straight shot with the R11. If I could get my R7 shaft in the R11 I think that would be the perfect club for me.

  10. Steve
    at

    I have moved the adjustment on the bottom and it never looks any different to me. I think I did just as good with my Burner.

  11. Sunil
    at

    I’m wondering how come your club speed went up in the third trial, but the ball speed remained the same?!
    I myself went thro’ driver fitting on my R11.. When I started the fitting session, I started with my R11, stock shaft. My swing speed was ~91mph. Then as we tried different drivers and different shafts I tried turning more and hinging my wrists more. This made the swing speed go up and i was hitting longer (probably more warmed up too). As a last trial I went back to my R11 driver with the stock shaft I’d bought on Ebay. The conclusion was that if I switched to a matrix ozik shaft I’d gain between 6-8 yards. For a couple of hundred bucks.
    What the fitting session did help me with was finding the optimal settings on the R11, given the same shaft.

  12. andre
    at

    I fully agree with the above comments where there seems to be medium to large variations for r-11 driver.
    Before I found the perfect r-11, I bought 4 where the first one works wonder for few weeks and then,
    the shaft harden to become dead. The second one was a total scrap . It was heavy with a shaft that
    rapidly became dead(too stiff ). The third one was almost correct but was constantly shorter than my r-9 supertri. Finally , i got exactly what I was looking for by testing about 10 of those r-11 against my r-9 supertri.So my actual driver cost me about 2000$!.I can fade or draw at will without touching the screws
    and the distance is way above the longest driver I had (r7 cgb max which had a tendency to badly hook sometimes.

  13. andre
    at

    What I said on no 12 is also valid for Cleveland, Callaway, Ping and Titleist. As a scrach golfer, I have spent over 50k$ in golf clubs for all the above named suppliers and since early 2008 , I have played only with Taylor Made clubs because they are the best especially the R-11 driver.My comment on no 12 concern the shafts and it is true for all the top golf equipment suppliers.For those who will read my comments,please go to Taylor Made and try many clubs (say drivers) before deciding which one you are going to buy. I am mecanical engineer and I know that grafite shaft do change( get stiffer sometime) during the first 1 to 4 months you use them. This is also true for iron sets from my experience. Actually, I play with Burner 2.0 (longest and straightest of all the 20 iron sets I have tried)
    and my woods are R-11.

  14. Byrne
    at

    did you test the TP blur 65 gram version vs the TP 60 rip beta or was it stock blur vs TP rip beta?

  15. tomas mc
    at

    I got fitted for the r11 and was hitting longer and straighter than ever but as the months went by this change always had it set up for a draw but always seems to fade just cant find the fairway with it was thinking if i got more weights for it and what is the heaviest wights you can get for it.

  16. Don Woods
    at

    I paid to have an Aldila Voodoo shaft placed in an R9 driver and ended up with a club that was unplayable (wild slices). Upon conferring with a local pro and a rep from a sporting goods store I was told that in order to insert the shaft in the adjustment sleeve, the shaft has to be tipped an inch or more, resulting in a set up that is very tip stiff (too stiff for this 60 year old 7 handicap). I reinstalled the old stock shaft and got the old club performance back instantly. I write to ask those of you who have advocated after market shafts, (I just bought an R11) how you have handled this issue.

  17. Dave Mangis
    at

    After getting my R9TP and Burner Plus Irons stolen, I found a set of R11 Irons, added an xFT 60 degree Wedge, an R11 10.5 Driver, and an R11 3-Wood all with stiff shafts. I went to the range to try them out. I used a small bucket setting the woods. I have never hit the back net except on a bounce. I was hitting half way up the net frequently. Then I got a large bucket to try the whole set. My short irons are + 5 yds. The other irons are + 10 – 15 yds. I maybe could have bought myself a better Christmas gift, but I am not sure what it could have been. I went to a lake range and hit 20 balls with the PW at a 100 yd target. Every ball was 100 yds exactly, and I was dropping them a few feet to yards on either side.

  18. Sebas
    at

    Once you have adjusted the R11 driver, it is fair to assume your R11 fairways will get the same adjustment or you will need to completely redo the fitting steps ?

  19. LC Feetham
    at

    I bought a R11 after years playing with a Niclaus 440 – but it’s face finally cracked and had to be retired. Just before my first round (but a few buckets) with the R11…it’s face cracked too!! I will see about returning it today. Also – for those here complaining about shafts…no one with a swing speed below 104MPH should be trying to use a Stiff shaft. If nothing else for the pure enjoyment and feel, go regular and be happy.

  20. Bob Alcock
    at

    Bought an R11 June 2011 after my trusty burner developed a crack in the club face, first indications were impressive great feel of the clubface long and straight.
    After 5 months I noticed the ASP was cracked, returned it to Taylor Made, fair play they replaced it with a brand new club, 4 months later same problem, it’s just been returned again to Taylor Made and I await their response.
    Has anybody else had this problem?

  21. john
    at

    I recently purchased a r 11 driver… As the direct result of the driver fittin i was advised to have the tour perferred shaft due to my swing speed… This was all performed in doors on the launch monitor.. With weather breakin i have played with the r 11 and im very unhappy with my expensive decision… When i hit the ball it feels like im hitting a brick… I need a new shaft but after bein told what was proper for my swing speef i dont want to waist any more money..
    any sugg?

  22. Richard P. Jacobs Ii
    at

    Nice review though your favorite technology in the R11 is the one feature that was found to have ZERO mechanical validity & was for “visual purposes only”…Only TaylorMade could introduce a technology that @ the end of the day is non-existant…”For visual purposes only”..They say that the game is 80% mental, but come on…lol….And I play the SF 2.0 TP…Fairway’s & Greens 4ever….

  23. Roger Arato
    at

    I bought a set of R11 recently. The clubs are great to swing and hit balls with but except for one thing. The R11 driver doesn’t sound right at contact. It sounds like a cracking tin can. Nevertheless, the distance and the flight are just as how they are advertised and commented on. Has anyone experienced something like an unusual sound when the driver’s club head contacts the ball? By the way, the set was bought in China.

  24. Joe F
    at

    I recently purchased a R11S driver online at a golf closeout website. The club shipped from China and sounded like an aluminum bat when hitting the ball. I was able to hit it well but it is on it’s way back to China as the clubhead sounded hollow in comparison to ones at my local sporting good store.

  25. Bob Assante
    at

    I also just purchased the R11-S with hopes that it would be the “Silver Bullet” to cure all of my ills. Initially, with the face closed to C+, my slice turned into a draw, but soon returned and now remains constant. Also, I agree that sound of a solid strike is a lot like hitting a ball with an aluminum bat. Not exactly what I was looking for in a $400 Driver.

  26. andy
    at

    most drivers that sound hollow or are from china are fake !!
    also why wouldnt you play mizuno blades if you are a scratch golfer .

    also anyone swinging under 100mph should be in a regular 65 grm shaft ,it aint gonna go right for long .

    after 40 years of playing EVERY CLUB made . forged clubs and square drivers with the correct flex shaft work all the time .
    cheers .

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