Well, I did it. And it was a tremendously interesting evening.
While my home course is fun to play, has good greens and even better people, it is very much lacking when it comes to a driving range. So at about 7 p.m., my pro set up the launch monitor on the first tee and I started beating balls.
I started hitting my own driver (Ping i15) to get something of a baseline reading. What I saw wasn’t totally surprising. The launch angle was a little higher than ideal as were spin numbers. They weren’t horrible, but they could be better.
The reality was that I wanted to hit two drivers: The Titleist 910D2 and the TaylorMade R11. I had hit the Titleist 910D3 previously and while it is awesome looking, the primary thing I wanted was more forgiveness.
We started with the R11. I’d hit a few. My pro would make some adjustments. I’d hit a few more. And we’d repeat. I pretty much tried to not pay attention to what was happening as I didn’t want knowing adjustments to influence my thinking and potentially my swings. I pretty much wanted to try to make good swings and do it blind.
After a while, I hit some with the 910D2 with a couple of different chances. We couldn’t really get the kind of numbers or ball flight we were looking for. So it was pretty clear it wasn’t going to be a winner.
What I found with stock R11 (with a 60 gram Blur shaft) was that I probably need a heavier shaft in order to bring the spin down a little bit. To further prove that point, I hit my pro’s G15 that had a 70 gram Diamana ‘ahina (the updated Whiteboard) and the spin numbers were good. That’s key as my carry distance remained about the same but the lower spin will likely lead to more run once it hits the ground.
I shouldn’t be surprised by this considering TaylorMade’s history of good drivers, but the R11 is more than just a driver head with a white paint job. There’s some good science in there as well. Both my ball speed and carry distance went up over my Ping. The carry distance went up between eight and 12 yards, depending on swing.
Is that worth making a change? I think so. Hopefully if we can get a better shaft in there, the spin will go down and the carry and total distances will be very good. As someone who isn’t a long driver, that is key. I had a couple of options, I could order the R11 TP from TaylorMade, but who knows when that would actually arrive. I could also just buy the stock R11 and order a new shaft off of the internet. The beauty of the R11 is that shafts can be switched out with just the turn of the wrench. There’s no shaft pull or epoxy needed.
I ended up going with the later. After buying the stock R11 — which is still decent — I won a eBay auction for a Diamana Kai’li 70 gram shaft. TM only offers the ‘ahina in a 60 gram shaft. I want the weight in an attempt to reduce spin, even though the Kai’li (the new Blueboard) will launch and spin a little more than the ‘ahina.
If the shaft is awful, I’ll flip the shaft on eBay and try the 70 gram Blur TP shaft and see what happens.
The early results on the R11 are solid even before getting the new shaft. The thing wants to go quite straight. The biggest challenge is to trust myself and realize I don’t need line up my shot down the right edge of the fairway in order to draw it into the fairway. Now I can just pump it down the middle and know that I might even cut it a little bit.
Did I think I would be among the masses buying into the hype and picking up a white driver? I didn’t know. But I’m all right with it so far. Even though I know TaylorMade will put out a new driver too soon (but that’s a topic for another post).