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)
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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!