I was very fortunate to be invited out to the TaylorMade 2019 Product Launch, along with jll62, to view the new lineup. It was a whirlwind 2 days that flew by. Our experience kicked off Wednesday night with the keynote presentation giving us the first glimpse at the new products. The following day was spent at the Kingdom and TaylorMade HQ. The morning consisted of a deep dive into the new products and Q&A with product development at The Kingdom. In the afternoon we were able to get our hands on the new product and start testing. Read along for my experience.
EVERYBODY GETS FASTER. That is what TaylorMade is claiming with the 2019 M5 and M6. With manufacturing tolerances, it was very difficult to have every head at, or near the legal COR limit. It was just not possible. TaylorMade started asking themselves how they could live in the space between legal limit and “Tour Spicy Heads” and make every head as close to the legal limit as possible.
The way to get the heads as close to the legal limit as possible is to make the head illegal and then bring it back to conforming. To do that, resin is added behind the face to bring the club head back under the COR limit where the screws are on the face. The max amount inserted into a head is 1-2g, so it is a very minimal amount. This is NOT speed foam. With the COR limit being pushed to the limit, the sweet spot on the M5 and M6 drivers grew 66%.
The question was posed how durable the screws on the face are and if there would be any performance hindrances while making impact on the screws. TaylorMade tested the screws and there were no issues with durability and hitting it on the screws as opposed to hitting it anywhere else on the face. Also, Twist Face will again be incorporated in both the M5 and M6 drivers. The feedback and testing were so positive they do not see a driver that won’t have Twist Face technology moving forward.
Following the morning sessions at The Kingdom, we were given time to go to the range to test the new product. I currently game a TaylorMade M3 9.5 with a Fujikura Motore Tour 7.2X set in the lower position. I prefer the lower setting because I like way the club sits at address. I was fit into the Motore Tour shaft a while back and have not found anything that has beat it out. My swing speed is 113, ball speed 165ish and my driver length off the tee is typically in the 285-295 yard range.
I initially wanted to try a couple other shafts besides the Atmos which is most comparable to my current shaft. I started with the M5 460 9.0 with the HZRDUS Smoke and the Pro Orange to start out. The M5 460 set up great and I really liked the matte black carbon finish on top. I was consistently getting numbers in the 165-167 ball speed range, but I could tell both shafts weren’t a fit for me.
I then switched into the Atmos 6X and I had a feeling this was going to be the right fit since I had been fit into my current setup for a while now. The first shot with the Atmos ball speed went up to 169 which was already a 4mph increase from my current setup. I was repeatedly getting 169mph ball speed and it became a fun game with the fitters trying to push to the 170mph ball speed mark. A few shots in I hit 170 ball speed, but my spin numbers were still a bit high. RPM was around 2600. We toyed with some of the weight configurations and settled on 1 weight completely up front and the other was in the way back toe for fade.
I have always been a bit of a high spin player, but I play the TP5 because I love the feel and spin around the green. The TP5 gives me the window I like to see with all my clubs and more of a lower flight. I was hitting all my initial shots with the 2019 TP5 and my fitters Joe and Tommy (awesome guys) said I need to give the TP5X more of a shot. I switched to the TP5X and was hitting 172 ball speed instantly! Total yardage of 300 yards and I was up 7mph at this point with just the combination of the 2019 ball and M5 head. The spin was in a respectable spot (2400 range) and launch at 13 degrees with the M5 460 9.0 but Joe insisted, “Hold on one second let me grab something”, and he came back 2 minutes later with a M5 Tour 9.0 head.
The M5 Tour is a 435cc head and it was the only one they had on site at The Kingdom. None of the Tour players had hit the M5 Tour at this point. Joe said, “Let’s try the M5 Tour to bring that spin down”. Until the original M1, I played a smaller headed driver for years. Right away looking down I thought it looked great. It is a compact, pear shaped head. It did look small after being used to the 460cc head for years now. First shot with the M5 Tour resulted in these numbers...
175 ball speed and spin down to 1939! Like I noted earlier I’m typically shy of 300 yards and can push it to 300 when I catch one perfectly. I have never seen numbers like this in my life and I’ve been fitted multiple times.
The M5 Tour has improved aerodynamics resulting in more speed and I saw the benefits instantly. My miss is typically low on the face too, so that is another positive for me with the M5 Tour head. I was worried about forgiveness, but I hit 15 shots with this setup to really test it and saw no downfall from forgiveness compared to the 460cc. I was repeatedly getting 174-175mph speed and spin in the 2000-2100 range.
In the matter of 30 minutes I went from my M3 with a very similar shaft (down from 7x to 6x though), new TP5X ball and the new M5 Tour head and gained 10mph ball speed! I know people might think that’s impossible saying I wasn’t optimized before, but I was darn close in my prior fittings. I would agree that the TP5 was a bad fit for me with the driver before. My shaft change was minimal, the new ball promoting ball speed is no joke (also tested with 6 irons and saw similar gains) and if you’re a high spin player, the M5 Tour head is a must try. I would attribute the M5 technology to a 3mph gain, M5 Tour head for 3mph, 2019 ball 2mph, and another 2mph with a touch lighter shaft.
The one negative I did see with both the M5 and M6 was the standard length coming in at 45.75”. All manufactures are moving to a longer stock shaft but I don’t think the average golfer needs a driver that long and can only be a hinderance. Make sure when getting fit, to get fit for the proper length.
Both the M5 and M6 fairway woods will have Twist Face technology. TaylorMade went through extensive testing to get the Twist Face correct as the fairway wood was a much different animal than the driver in getting the Twist Face correct. The driver incorporates one degree of twist in the face, the fairway woods will have 1.5 degrees of twist. The Twist Face in the fairways results in a reduction of 15 yards of left to right on shots hit off center.
The M5 line will feature a titanium head which I think will be a very welcome addition to the lineup. Along with the new titanium head the M5 3 wood will feature a new movable weight system which is a 65g steel movable weight. The movable weight makes up 30% of the total head weight. In the morning I held the weight not in the club and it’s incredible just how heavy it is. There are 7 different positions the weight can be moved to; neutral, 3 fade positions and 3 draw positions. The new M5 fairway line doesn’t have a HL option because the new titanium head promotes a higher launch. There will be a 14 degree (Rocket), 15 degree and an 18 degree option in the M5. The M6 will be avaialbe in 14 (Rocket), 15, 18, 21 and 24 degrees.
FAIRWAY WOOD TESTING
As I do with my driver, I play my fairway wood on the lower setting because I like the look of a more open club face at address. I currently play a M1 2017 HL set to lower so it’s at 15 degrees of loft. I started with the M5 3 wood 15 degree head set 2 clicks open to about 14 degree. At the start I moved the 65g weight all the way to the fade position just to test. My 2017 M1 has the weight one click toward fade. It was incredible how much influence the weight had on the shape of the shot. I hit a couple and they were all a slice. We moved it just to one click toward fade after that and it dialed in to about a 5 yard fade I liked to see. The amount of influence the new 65g weight is like nothing I have experienced with a club yet.
Right now, I hit my 3 wood 250 yards but I was seeing 260 yards consistently with the M5. I was very impressed with the feel, turf interaction and how straight I was hitting the M5 once the weight settings were adjusted. The only shaft available to me was a Tour AD-GP 7x which fit well for me, but I was surprised at how stout it was. It was an easy decision for me with the fairway as I knew right away I’d be getting a 15 degree M5 head and using my old Speeder 757 shaft that I’ve had in my fairway wood for years.
For fun my fitters Joe and Tommy said let’s try the Rocket head. It was a missile off the club. If you’re someone who likes to hit fairway woods off the tee and hit them better than drivers, the Rocket is the club to test. With the loft sleeve set to lower, I was seeing 272 yards carry and 286 yards total! For me personally that shot doesn’t fit into what I need in a 3 wood, but it was incredible the numbers I was seeing with a fairway wood.
It was a bit of a surprise seeing a $399 price tag for the M5 fairways. I wasn’t expecting a $100 increase and I can see how that could turn people off, but with the addition of Twist Face, a titanium head and the 65g movable it’s hard to offer that type of high end product without a price increase. Add in the 12 different loft sleeve adjustments and there isn’t another fairway wood on the market with this much adjustability. You won’t walk away disappointed from the M5 and M6 fairways after you test.
TaylorMade is a ball company. The 2019 TP5 and TP5X balls will be similar but they did make major improvements in areas based on the feedback they received from consumers. The biggest change to the ball itself was the addition of HFM. HFM material was added in the 4th layer of the golf balls making it 30% stiffer which creates more speed. HFM is a new higher modulus material that improves energy transfer through the ball. HFM acts like a stiff spring that builds up energy when compressed and rebounds quickly which creates the higher ball speeds. On average people are seeing a 1.7mph gain, same driver spin numbers and better greenside spin. The compression of the TP5x is now 97 while the TP5 is still at 85.
The two largest complaints from consumers about the 2017 TP5 and TP5X golf balls was the durability and the sight line. TaylorMade created a simulation at their R&D department trying to re-create a ball hitting off the cart path. TaylorMade wanted to make sure their outer core was more durable where you’d see less scuff marks no matter if a ball was hit off cart path, tree or anything else while still creating the same feel as the previous generation of TP5. Here is a photo of the test done to both the old TP5X and new TP5X.
The last change TaylorMade made to the ball was shrinking the size of the sight line of TP5 on the side of the golf ball. It is now a similar size as the side stamp on a ProV1. This was a change I was very happy to see as I always draw a line over the side stamp but the previous TP5 stamp was large and I had a hard time covering the whole stamp. There are many people who had the same request and it will be a welcome addition to the lineup.
TP5X VS PROV1X TESTING – GAINS OVER CLAIMS
TaylorMade hired 55 national ball fitters to travel the country and test the TP5 and TP5X against all the competition. Late in the day I had the opportunity to go inside and test on a GC Quad the difference between the current ProV1X and the 2019 TP5X with a P760 6 iron. This session was very similar to the ones that will be completed across the country. I hit three 6 irons with both balls and here were the results.
2.3mph gain in ball speed, dropped the spin 1100 rpm, almost identical descent angle, 8 yard carry gain and a 9 yard total gain with the TP5X over the ProV1X. Seeing both the gains with the driver outside on a Trackman and now inside on a GC Quad was quite the validation to me.
I want to thank TaylorMade and their team for this once in a lifetime experience at The Kingdom. Having the opportunity to learn about and test the new product was a golfer’s dream. Seeing all the hard work that goes into creating new product and the excitement displayed by all the employees have made me, as the consumer, even that much more excited about what is to come in 2019. It is going to be a huge year for #TeamTaylorMade.
You must be a registered user to add a comment. If you've already registered, sign in. Otherwise, register and sign in.