TaylorMade Golf is set to release the new R9 and R9 TP drivers on March 20. Like the r7 family of woods that preceded them, the new R9 drivers feature movable weights that allow golfers to adjust the club's center of gravity and ball-flight bias. However, the new R9 drivers also employ a system that allows golfers to change the face angle, loft and lie angle of clubs.
Using a wrench that comes with the club, you can easily unscrew the shaft of an R9 driver from the head, then re-insert and secure it into one of eight different positions. (The same wrench unscrews the weights and the bolt that secures the shaft and head together.) Face angle options range from 2° open for players who prefer a left to right ball flight to 2° closed for players who want to hit the ball from right to left.
According to Benoit Vincent, TaylorMade's chief technical director, "As the face angle closes, the loft increases, and as the face angle opens, the loft decreases."
That means golfers who set an R9 driver with a draw-bias (closed face) should hit their drives with a higher ball flight than players who set a fade bias (open face). The chart below gives more details.
"In 2004, we talked about 7 to 10 yards of left-to-right adjustability with an r7, and we talked about changing the spin rates by maybe 200 to 400 rpm, and it blew people away," says Sean Toulon, TaylorMade's executive vice president of innovation. TaylorMade says the combination of adjustable face angles, lofts and weights in the R9 can create up to 75 yards of side-to-side adjustability.
The head of the R9 driver is slightly triangular in shape, hiding the three weight ports from the golfer in the address position. The face of the club is extremely thin, 0.6 millimeters in some areas, which allowed TaylorMade to move the center of gravity farther back.
To get fitted for an R9 or R9 TP driver, TaylorMade suggests you first try hitting an R9 with the loft you normally play, then use the adjustable-face system to find the address position that looks best to you. (Each will be available in 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5° lofts.) Finally, using the adjustable-weight system, hit several balls until your desired ball flight is achieved. In order to refine the ball flight further, some players may want to then try an R9 with a different loft in order hit their drives slightly higher or lower.
The only difference between the R9 and the R9 TP is shaft options. The R9 will be available with a Fujikura Motore 65 shaft, while the R9 TP will be available with an Aldila (Voodoo NV6 or VS6), Fujikura (Motore 65, 75 or 85), Matrix (XCON 5 or HD6) or Mitsubishi Rayon (Fubuki 63 or 73) shaft. The heads will be identical.
The suggested retail price for the R9 is $500, while the R9 TP is $600. But you'll likely be able to find them for about $100 less than those prices. To see more images of the new TaylorMade R9 and R9 TP drivers, as well as the R9 fairway woods, click here.