ORLANDO, Fla.--It is obvious which golf club is going to get the most attention in the first part of 2011.
Maybe you saw those TaylorMade staff players all dressed in white Thursday during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Maybe you've seen pictures of the TaylorMade equipment van, which has been repainted all white. Maybe you've seen that white blur on Golf Channel, as the white head of a TaylorMade R11 driver bashes another ball off a tee.
The R11 is an attention-getting club. First, there's the white paint job on the head. TaylorMade was known for its distinctive copper-colored driver heads in the '90s. Now they've reprised that smart marketing idea with white heads. Second, the R11 is part of the game-changing adjustability trend. The R11 has TaylorMade's traditional movable weights. It also has separate adjustments for face angle and lie. It's do-it-yourself custom fitting, giving customers the confidence that they can find a combination that works for them.
TaylorMade isn't alone in the double-adjustability category. Titleist's 910 drivers work that way, too. It's a trend that seems likely to continue and probably expand.
As for the attention the R11 is drawing, it's tangible. At PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day, the TaylorMade area was packed with people anxious to try the club and the crowd lasted all day. Even ten minutes before the range was to shut down, when I finally worked my way to the tee with an R11, there were still golfers waiting to hit.
The club has a nice feel and a nice balance. There was only time for half a dozen swings in a strong left-to-right wind. All I can tell you is I hit six very satisfying shots that the wind immediately swatted to the right. The ball jumped of the R11's face and I didn't need a launch monitor to know that those drives were big ones for me, which is good because I didn't have a launch monitor.
TaylorMade will market the heck out of this club (suggested retail price $399, by the way). Lots of commercials, lots of demo days, lots of tour players swinging on TV in PGA Tour events. You'll be seeing a lot of the R11 this year.
(Photo: David Walberg/SI)