Riviera, the last stop of the West Coast Swing, has historically seen plenty of equipment tinkering as guys look to gear up for The Masters. 2018 was no different as 13 more Tour pros added an M driver to their bags. The changing of equipment is always expected, but there’s definitely a new trend amongst the world’s best: movable weights.
Movable weights have been TaylorMade’s bread and butter since we launched the innovation in the R7quad in 2004. Adjustable drivers have been a huge reason why we’ve climbed to become the #1 Driver in Golf. But despite the proven performance of drivers with movable weights, we’ve still had a ton of success with our non-adjustable options like R9, AeroBurner, and most recently M2 which was a huge favorite of the “free agents” who had freedom to choose what clubs to play when their sponsoring company exited the golf equipment business.
M4 is the latest addition to the “grip it and rip it” line of drivers, and it took no time at all for Dustin Johnson to add one to his bag before promptly picking up a win at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua.
Oddly enough, DJ made the switch to an M3 driver this week at the Genesis Open, despite the early success with M4.
We caught up with our Tour Technicians to see what inspired the change, and they said a lot of it has to do with movable weights. M4 is unquestionably our more forgiving driver. That’s obtained by putting the CG (center of gravity) as far back in the head as possible. This causes a higher MOI (moment of inertia), which makes it super forgiving and super straight.
DJ cited how straight the M4 driver was going after his win in Hawaii. That’s great at a wide-open Kapalua Plantation Course, but not great for navigating the tight eucalyptus-tree lined fairways of Riviera Country Club. And with DJ’s preferred shot shape being a cut, he was in need of a driver that was perhaps less straight and allowed for workable performance.
The reason M3 drivers are easier to shape than the M4 is the ability to move mass around to reduce spin. The less backspin, the more sidespin can influence shot shape. That’s why Dustin adjusted his weights to move the CG forward in his new M3, so he could more effectively hit his preferred cut, while still being able to draw the ball when needed.
Our Tour Techs also said the 22 grams of movable weight on the new Y-Track has been a massive help to getting Tour players dialed in. The Y-Track might seem like a minor evolution from last year’s T-Track, but the ability to move that much mass around almost the entire driver head makes it far easier to optimize the M3 driver for just about any swing.
One thing consumers often don’t realize is that Tour athletes have the luxury of swapping out a 9.5° driver to an 8.5° driver at the drop of a hat. However, despite having access to a full-range of various driver heads, the additional adjustability in the new M3 driver has made it incredibly easy for players and Tour Techs to make major adjustments to loft, face angle, and ball flight—resulting in more athletes steering toward TaylorMade’s adjustable driver model than in years past.
Amateur golfers most likely don’t the luxury of testing different heads, which is where the adjustable driver really shines. The new M3 gives consumers more range than ever to dial it perfectly to their swing, even if that swing should change or the golfer desires another ball flight in the future.
An example of how many athletes are starting to migrate toward the more adjustable M3 previous tournaments at Riviera compared to this year. At the 2016 Northern Trust Open at Riviera, there was a 1.9:2 ratio of M1 to M2, at the 2017 Genesis Open at Riviera there was a perfect 1:1 ratio of 2017 M1 to 2017 M2, and then this year, we’re seeing a 3:1 M3 to M4 ratio this week at the 2018 Genesis Open.
Tour pros are lining up to test Twist Face, but adjustability is making a huge impact on those pros actually making a switch. The ability to finely tune their equipment and immediately see the impact on Trackman can’t be ignored.
All that being said, both M3 and M4 drivers are getting tons of play on Tour and either could present a better fit for a golfer’s specific swing. It’s best to test both and play whichever better suits your game. If it’s a toss-up, keep in mind the M3 can adapt to your game as you progress in the sport.
M3 and M4 hit golf shops near you today. Experience them both to see which is best for your game.
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