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TaylorMade R15 driver

CARLSBAD, Calif. – TaylorMade has doubled down on sliding-weight technology with one of its newest drivers, the R15.

Instead of one moveable weight, as was available on the company’s SLDR driver line, there will be two 12.5-gram weights on the R15’s Front Track system. The R15 will be available in two sizes: 460cc and 430cc.

“With the R15, right away you see the sliding split weights,” said Brian Bazzel, senior director of product creation for metalwoods. “We’ve taken the sliding weight concept from SLDR and expanded it. This is sensational stuff.”

The R15 family also will include fairway woods (one sliding weight, 25 grams) and Rescue hybrids (no weights). Both come with adjustable loft sleeves.

In addition to the new R15 family, TaylorMade has introduced a new line named AeroBurner that features what the company says is an improved Speed Pocket and better aerodynmanics for enhanced distance.

Both new families will be available Jan. 9.

How do the weights on the R15 work? While SLDR has a single 20-gram weight that can be moved from heel to toe, R15’s weights can be moved separately or in unison. If the weights are moved together, they accentuate a draw or fade bias. “That’s 35 yards of adjustability,” Bazzel said.

If the weights are separated, “they add to the inertia, or stability,” Bazzel said.

And that’s not all.

“The track system has been moved all the way to the leading edge,” Bazzel said. “So it acts like a Speed Pocket. It enables the leading edge to move. You’re expanding the sweet spot (and creating spring-like effect) when you allow that leading edge to flex.”

The 460 driver will be available in black or white clubhead finishes, while the 430 (TaylorMade’s lowest spinning driver) is white only. The length of the R15 drivers is 45.5 inches.

“The R15 looks friendly,” Bazzel said. “I love the look, but of course it goes much deeper than that. We’re all about creating a lower and more forward CG (center of gravity).”

Low and forward, in the TaylorMade universe, equates to less spin and more yardage. TaylorMade recommends golfers use more loft to maximize carry distance.

“The average is a degree and a half (more loft),” Bazzel said. “We’re recommending the same for the R15 that we do for the SLDR.”

The R15 also is lighter than the SLDR.

“Our SLDR head is 207 grams, which is on the heavy side,” Bazzel said. “Now (with R15) we have a 203-gram head. That’s 4 grams lighter. Still we were able to increase the moveable weight from 20 to 25 grams. That’s 5 grams. Adding the 4 and 5 together, we have carved 9 grams out of the head while still making a bigger footprint.”

The clubhead wasn’t the only thing to change, as far as weight. While the SLDR driver has a heavier 55-gram grip to help reduce the swingweight, on the R15 the grip returns to a more conventional 48 grams.

TaylorMade said all this focus on weight should improve the feel and balance for many ordinary golfers.

TaylorMade teamed with Fujikura to design specific shafts for the R15. The 460 has Fujikura’s new Speeder 57 Evolution shaft, while the 430 has the new Speeder 67 Evolution shaft.

Shafts for the R15 feature aftermarket graphics, meaning these shafts are the same as can be purchased from aftermarket dealers. “We didn’t want to leave any doubt in anybody’s mind,” Bazzel said.

Lofts for the 460 are 9.5, 10.5, 12 and 14 degrees. The 430 lofts are 9.5, 10.5 and 12. Adjustable hosels in both allow golfers to make significant changes in loft/face angle, which are related, as well as lie.

The 460cc and 430cc versions of the R15 are available Jan. 9, when both the full R15 and AeroBurner families go on sale. The retail price is $429 for both the 460 and 430. A TP version of both drivers is $499.

R15 fairway woods, which will be the company’s most adjustable yet, will be available in lofts of 15, 16.5, 19 and 20.5 degrees, and they will cost $279 ($349 for TP version). The R15 Rescue hybrids will cost $219 ($289 for TP version).

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