Category: Max Game-Improvement Drivers
WE TESTED: 9.5°, 10.5° with SuperFast Matrix Ozik XCon 5 graphite shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: The club’s “Flight Control Technology” (FCT) hosel has eight settings to adjust clubface angle, loft and lie for as much as 60 yards of side-to-side correction. Inverted Cone Technology (ICT) bolsters ball speeds on off-center hits.
OUR TESTERS SAY: One of the top-rated drivers. High marks for feel, playability and looks. Adjustability features allow you to tweak ball flight to your liking.
DISTANCE: Searing, penetrating flight helps to maximize roll, especially on firm fairways; off-center hits don’t leave you disappointed.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Sweet zone covers up misses, keeping them from being too penalizing.
FEEL: Very pleasing, emphatic feel at impact; light, stable club is easy to square up to the ball.
PLAYABILITY: Medium-high ball flight with a fair amount of hang time; easy to alter shot shape left or right by adjusting the clubhead.
LOOK: Contrast between black face and white head makes it easy to aim; wide body gives “can’t miss” confidence.
A few guys prefer a bit more forgiveness; its name, “RocketBallz,” draws some quizzical looks and laughs.
TaylorMade RocketBallz Tour
Category: Tour Drivers
WE TESTED: 9°, 10.5° with Matrix Ozik XCon 6 graphite shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: The deep-faced RBZ Tour features the company’s adjustable “Flight Control Technology” (FCT) hosel, which enables you to increase or decrease loft by 1.5° and to tweak face angle (3° closed to 3° open). Comes standard with a 55-gram shaft at 45.75”.
OUR TESTERS SAY: Among the higher-rated drivers. It’s a very good performer with strong, repeatable results.
DISTANCE: Many feel it’s as long or longer than their own driver; a few say it produces bigger drives than R11.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Easy to hit consistently well and find the fairway; a large sweet zone produces solid shots, even when the ball misses the center of the clubface.
FEEL: The ball compresses and jumps off the face quickly; a relatively light sensation through impact with few bad vibrations.
PLAYABILITY: A higher-than-average launch creates plenty of carry; natural shape seems to be a slight draw.
LOOK: White crown and black clubface are pleasing to most testers and easy to align on the tee.
Some testers find the white crown distracting; the high-pitched impact sound isn’t everyone’s favorite.
From The Shop Blog (December 12, 2011)
After walking through the glass doors of TayorMade's Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters, I was asked to sign a document forbidding me from writing about the stuff I was about to see. Forty-five minutes later, every eye in the second-floor conference room was focused on me. Sean Toulon, the company's executive vice president, asked, "So David, what do you think?"
I'd just been shown a new line of clubs that would be joining the R11 and Burner families.
For an internal sales meeting, Toulon had starred in a video with Nick Faldo that lampooned one of the company's TV ads, so I knew he'd go the distance to get a laugh. Part of me thought the name I'd just seen was a joke.
Glancing at my watch, I played it straight,. "Sean, I don't think I'll ever forget the time and place where I first heard about RocketBallz."
But RocketBallz is no joke, and clubs bearing RBZ on their sole will start arriving in pro shops near you in early February. (According to TaylorMade, the engineers who developed the line said the 3-wood "hit the ball like a rocket." Having a little fun, they etched "RocketBallz" into their prototypes, and the name stuck.)
TaylorMade's goal for the RocketBallz drivers—there are two, a Tour version and a Speed version—is to deliver some of the R11's adjustability at a lower price. Get ready to hear the catch phrase "Adjustability at $299" a lot.
Using an included torque wrench, golfers can remove the head of the RocketBallz driver and re-attach it in any one of eight settings to change the face angle and effective loft of the club.
The RocketBallz driver does not have moveable weights or an adjustable sole plate like the R11. However, it's light and designed to help golfers generate more clubhead speed.
Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior director of product creation, says, "The aerodynamics of a driver are critical because you are trying to develop the maximum amount of speed with the minimal amount of effort." According to Olsavsky, the RocketBallz head is 1-2 mph quicker through the air than the Burner SuperFast 2.0, and the club weighs less than 300 grams when fitted with it's stock shaft, a 50-gram Matrix OZIK XCon 5.
Like every wood and rescue club in TaylorMade's 2012 line, the crown of the RocketBallz driver is white. According to the company, the combination of a black face and matte-finished white crown makes it easier to align the club and square it to your target.
The screw in the back of the club is not adjustable. This weight cartridge is designed to lower the head's center of gravity and promote a higher ball flight with less spin.
The Tour version of the RocketBallz driver has a slightly smaller head than the Speed version, and it comes with neutral weight bias instead of the Speed version's draw bias. The Tour model also has a slightly deeper face and comes standard with a 60-gram Matrix OZIK XCon 6 shaft.
A room full of TaylorMade executives weren't looking at you the first time you heard about the RocketBallz driver, but I bet you'll remember the name too.