When TaylorMade released the original RocketBallz fairway woods two years ago, the company claimed it had created the longest-hitting fairway woods ever thanks to a channel designed into the club’s sole. Last year, with the RocketBallz Stage 2 fairway woods, TaylorMade increased the size of the channel and said it was able to eke out even more distance. Now, as it prepares to release the new JetSpeed fairway woods, TaylorMade said it has made even more improvements.
Two features are key to JetSpeed fairway woods: A slot in the sole of the club and a lower, more-forward center of gravity (CG) position.
TaylorMade called the slot in the sole of the RocketBallz and RocketBallz Stage 2 fairway woods a Speed Pocket. In the JetSpeed fairway woods, the Speed Pocket is no longer a channel; it’s an incision that slices through the bottom of the head and is covered with a black polymer. According to the company, the Speed Pocket allows the face to flex more at impact, especially on shots hit lower in the face, so it enlarges the sweet spot and helps golfers maintain ball speed on mis-hits.
“We don’t have to dip into the middle of the head (with the updated Speed Pocket), which allows us to keep the CG nice and low,” says Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s senior director of metalwood creation. “At the same time, it allows us to create the speed we really want.”
Unlike the Speed Pocket in the RocketBallz Stage 2 fairway woods that ran parallel to the face, the Speed Pocket in the JetSpeed fairway woods is curved, angling back in the heel and toe areas.
“Essentially, we are relieving the stress and pushing the hinges out to the sides and back,” Bazzel said. “That allows the face to flex and that mechanism to work better.”
The polymer covering the updated Speed Pocket makes the sole more uniform, reducing turf interaction when compared with last season’s RocketBallz Stage 2 channel design, Bazzel said.
The decision to push the center of gravity forward may seem counterintuitive, because for years golfers have been told that a CG position in the back of the head makes it easier to get the ball up in the air. However, Bazzel and other designers at TaylorMade said that by moving the CG position forward, golfers could get more ball speed for increased distance. Instead of relying on the CG position and backspin to get the ball in the air, TaylorMade actively is encouraging golfers to consider additional loft.
The JetSpeed fairways, which will come standard with a special version of Matrix’s new Velox T shaft, will be available in 15-, 17-, 19-, 21- and 23-degree models. The price will be $229. Players who use a strong 3-wood (typically 13 degrees) might consider a 15- or 17-degree version.