TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 Driver
From Golf Magazine ClubTest 2013 (March 2013)
TaylorMade RocketBallz Stage 2 Driver
Category: Game-Improvement Drivers
WE TESTED: 9.5°, 10.5° with Fujikura RocketFuel graphite shaft
DISTANCE: Long hitter for some, above average for others; many testers get the same length as with their own; excellent protection on slight mis-hits.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Generates lots of center hits and not a lot of misses; toe hits often correct into high draws.
FEEL: Pretty good pop at impact with a nice cracking sound through the ball; springy through impact; mishits feel surprisingly good.
PLAYABILITY: Repeating midhigh flight for most guys; more than adequate maneuverability for those who shape shots.
LOOK: Large white head and deep face set up well; black face is easy to align; crown graphics set it apart from the crowd.
Somewhat busy head graphics are not to every tester’s liking; some guys don’t perceive it to be a significant upgrade from the previous RBZ; feels a little light to some.
BOTTOM LINE: Well-balanced performer in a unique-looking package.
HOT STIX'S TAKE
Spin: Low to mid
Good ball speeds on off-center hits. Simple adjustability for an easy fit.
From Golf.com (January 2013)
If you play a driver with a name like RocketBallz, there's no secret about your goal on the tee. You're all about distance and want to smack the ball farther than every other guy in your foursome. With the release of the new RocketBallz Stage 2 driver, TaylorMade thinks it has a club that will let you achieve that goal more often.
For years, club designers have been trying to shift the center of gravity (CG) lower and farther back in drivers, but according to Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior director of product creation, it’s possible to go too far back. If the CG is too far back, he says, the center of the clubface can actually be above it. That causes lower drives that spin more and compromise distance and ball speed.
In this season's RocketBallz Stage 2 driver, the non-adjustable weight plug that was positioned in the back of the original RocketBallz has been moved forward. That helped designers shift the CG forward as well.
"We're finding a big difference with Stage 2," Olsavsky says. "We're getting higher launch, less spin, and more speed. That translates to more distance."
He says the Stage 2 launches the ball about 1° higher and produces about 300-400 rpm less spin. Olsavsky says that, and the improved CG positioning, helps make the RocketBallz Stage 2 anywhere from 7 to 10 yards longer than the original.
While there were two versions of the original RocketBallz driver—a standard and a Tour model—TaylorMade decided to produce only one version of the Stage 2.
"In 2012, the pros and general public split fairly evenly on which they liked [between the standard and Tour models]," says Olsavsky. "For 2013, we think that one head can cover both, and that's good for us, the fitter, the store owners, and consumers too."
The 460-cc RocketBallz Stage 2 not only has a larger face than its predecessor, but thanks to a new 12-position sleeve in the hosel, the standard 9.5° loft can be adjusted from 8° to 11°.
"Today we can make one head do more than we ever could in the past thanks to adjustability," Olsavsky says.
All those features lie under a white crown that features geometric designs in the back. According to TaylorMade, most golfers only see the ball and the leading edge of the crown at address; they don't focus or pay attention to the back of the clubhead. But when golfers are setting up to the ball, the point created by the graphics acts as an alignment aid.
The RocketBallz Stage 2 driver will come standard with a 65-gram Aldila RIP Phenom shaft and will cost $299 when it arrives in stores on February 1.