After the success of the r7 and R9 drivers, the release of TaylorMade's third generation R11 adjustable driver was bound to cause a buzz in the equipment world.
But even before the pros at Kapalua start tinkering with TaylorMade's newest model, they'll notice the glaringly obvious thing that sets it apart—it's white.
"The satin white finish, along with the black face, creates the maximum contrast between face and crown to help you align the club more easily," says Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's director of product creation (metal woods). Olsavsky adds that the white finish helps to reduce the hot spots and glare often created on glossy-topped drivers.
Rumors have been swirling over the past few months that TaylorMade was planning to release a white driver, but many of those rumors failed to mention the R11’s new level of customization. In previous models, TaylorMade’s torque wrench was used to adjust the face angle, which automatically changed the club's loft as well. In the R11, loft and face angle are adjusted independently.
In the r7 and R9, an aluminum sleeve attached to the shaft, which screwed into the head in a variety of face angles. Not anymore. Now the R11's sleeve has eight settings to increase or decrease the effective loft by as much as one degree. Face angle is controlled by an adjustable aluminum sole plate. By moving the red triangular plate into the closed, neutral or open position, you can adjust the look at address. The face settings range from 4 degrees open to 4 degrees closed.
Like the r7 and R9 drivers, the R11 features weight ports—one in the heel and one in the toe—that allow for a draw or fade bias. The R11 comes with a10-gram screw and a 1-gram screw. Positioning the 10-gram weight in the heel promotes a draw, while putting it in the toe encourages a fade. According to TaylorMade, the moveable weights provide up to 25 yards of right-and-left adjustability.
Because the club is so adjustable, the R11 driver will be available in only two lofts — 9° and 10.5°. Olsavsky says that's all the loft options that are required, even for Tour pros.
To make his point, Olsavsky says you could theoretically set a 9° R11 to have an open face at address, a draw weight bias and an effective loft of 10 degrees. The same club could be adjusted to have a closed-face at address, a fade bias and 8° of playing loft.
In addition to all that adjustability, Olsavsky says the R11's head shape is more aerodynamic, making it at least 6 yards longer than 2010's R9 SuperTri.
The standard R11 driver will come with a 45.75" Fujikura Blur shaft and retail for $399. A TP version of the club will feature an identical head and several shaft upgrades for $499. Both drivers should arrive in pro shops in mid-February.
Below is a video of Olsavsky talking about the technologies and features of the R11: