Editor's Rating

TaylorMade's R15 driver has found itself in the heat of championship moments almost immediately upon its release.

9.5

TaylorMade executives must have been giddy at the close of the PGA Tour’s Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles this February. A three-man playoff dwindled to two players after the second hole. Left standing were James Hahn and Dustin Johnson, both sporting their TaylorMade R15 hats.

It was an ideal win-win situation — for the company at least.

Hahn, the eventual champion, and the runner-up Johnson generated more beneficial headline and headwear publicity for TaylorMade’s newly released R15 driver than the company could have ever paid for in advertisements.

Sales surely spiked at the end of the tournament as the winning images beamed into millions of homes of the consuming golf public. If the R15 driver (and hat) is good enough for these skilled professional players then it should certainly do wonders for my game is the logical buying psychology.

TaylorMade executives, in the excitement over the payoff in their player sponsorships, were likely attempting their best Gangnam Style dance moves in their family rooms anticipating the unscripted — even in the shadows of Hollywood — boost in R15 sales revenues.

Hahn, until winning his first-ever PGA Tour event at Riviera, was best known for his very passable on-course imitation of Korean pop star Psy’s cult dance steps after sinking a putt on No. 16 at the TPC of Scottsdale a couple of years ago. Now he is a recognized winning and marketable face for TaylorMade’s latest and greatest driver.

Hahn and Johnson both took advantage of the R15 driver’s lower and more forward center of gravity feature, which promotes lower spin and a higher launch angle off the clubface.

TaylorMade R15's Front Track system and sliding weights

TaylorMade R15’s Front Track system and sliding weights

The most noticeable technological advance of the R15, released in January 2015, is its pair of 12.5-gram sliding weights located in what TaylorMade calls its Front Track system. The system is basically a channel located directly behind the clubface that allows the weights to be shifted anywhere from the toe to the heel.

Slide both weights together in the center of the track to allow a neutral bias and more distance. Split the weights on opposite ends of the track to provide perimeter weighting and stability. Arrange the weights back or forward in unison to promote the preferred ball flight. To prevent operator error and unintended results, the words FADE and DRAW are clearly labeled in the Front Track system.

The R15 offers even more adjustabilty with 12 different loft settings via its “loft sleeve” technology at the junction of the clubshaft and clubface.

TaylorMade partnered with shaft maker Fujikura to design specific shafts for the R15 models. The 460cc version features the Speeder 57 Evolution shaft; the 430cc club comes with the Speeder 67 Evolution shaft.

There are two different clubhead sizes available for the R15. More accomplished players – i.e. Hahn and Johnson – are better served with the more compact 430cc version. The larger 460cc club is available for players that want extra forgiveness for off-center hits off the tee – i.e. almost most everybody else.

Find the TaylorMade R15 driver at www.golfclubs.com.

TaylorMade also offers the R15 Tour Preferred driver that features an upgraded Speeder Evolution 661 Tour Spec shaft and Lamkin UTx grip.

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