Category: Better-Player Irons
Price: $799, steel; $999, graphite
WE TESTED: 4-GW with FST KBS 90 steel shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: The clubface has “inverted cone technology” to increase ball speed and forgiveness on mis-hits. A weight port in the rear ensures consistent swingweight and center of gravity locations throughout the set. Ultra-thin clubfaces in the long and middle irons promote a higher COR and longer shots.
OUR TESTERS SAY: Solid sticks with high marks for accuracy/forgiveness. Leans more toward a game-improvement iron than many others tested in its class.
PLAYABILITY: Shots fly high and straight on a consistent basis; reliable from the rough and tricky fairway lies.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Its strongest feature—easy to hit, and shots go straight, period; covers up misses distance-wise, and the reduced sidespin limits errant shots;
DISTANCE CONTROL: Some testers say the strong lofts and high flight result in longer shots than usual; consistent length due to excellent forgiveness.
FEEL: Center hits are responsive and lively; balanced feel through the swing and strong at impact.
LOOK: Does well at hiding gameimprovement characteristics at address; medium-thin topline and traditional profile create confidence.
Not as much difference in feel between solid hits and mis-hits as some testers would like; not as workable as many other models.
From The Shop Blog (July 31, 2011)
The one-piece stainless steel cast heads boast a thin, lightweight face design like the Burner 2.0. The weight removed from the clubface has been shifted low and back to create a higher launch angle, faster ball speed, increased distance and more forgiveness. The result is comparable launch, ball flight and length to the Burner 2.0, as well as 15-yard distance gaps between clubs. (Company testing with low handicappers indicates that the R11 and Burner 2.0 4-irons produce identical carry distance; the R11 6-iron is 1 yard shorter than Burner 2.0.)
The “Precision Weight Port” system (a plug similar to those found in Tour Preferred irons) is used in the R11 irons to dial in desired head weights and swing weights, and to ensure each club’s center of gravity is in line with the sweet spot. The fixed (red) plugs—2.5 to 17 grams—are made of aluminum, steel or tungsten and can not be adjusted by consumers.
In addition, a light and lively face combines with “inverted cone technology” to deliver more consistent ball speeds and forgiveness on mis-hits. At impact, the R11 feels and sounds more muted (quieter) than the loud-ish Burner 2.0 because the R11's clubface is slightly thicker in the impact zone and where it connects to the sole.
TaylorMade R11 Lastly, the R11’s short irons have a shallow undercut channel between the face and rear to control feel and CG location, the mid-irons have a moderate undercut, and the long irons have a progressively larger undercut that pulls weight farther back from the face for added forgiveness.