Behind TaylorMade’s all-white clubs for 2011

TaylorMade's new R11 driver

TaylorMade's new R11 driver

The official start of the PGA Tour season has supplied answers to questions surrounding TaylorMade’s all-white clubs for 2011.

We knew the R11 line would be white – white heads on the drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. Now we know the entire new Burner line, called Burner SuperFast 2.0, will be white as well.

Right now, TaylorMade is focusing on the introduction of drivers. Fairway woods and hybrids will come later.

The white finish is the same one used on TaylorMade’s Rossa Ghost putters. It is not glossy or glaring, but rather has a subdued matte appearance.

photo

Martin Kaymer tests the new white TaylorMade R11 driver

In all the R11 and Burner SuperFast 2.0 clubs, the white head will be complemented by a black face. Why? Better face alignment. TaylorMade says face alignment is quicker and more accurate with this combination.

Skilled golfers tend to aim the face at address. On the other hand, some aim the top line of the crown, while others aim the overall clubhead in general. Most, though, seem to aim the face.

Both the R11 and SuperFast 2.0 are not scheduled to be available at retail until Feb. 4.

Street price: $399 for the R11 driver, $499 for the R11 TP (same head, more expensive shaft); $299 for the SuperFast 2.0 driver, $399 for the SuperFast 2.0 TP (this is a different head with a smaller footprint, slightly open face and upgraded shaft).

Burner has become TaylorMade’s distance family, and Camilo Villegas will be the company’s “Burner Boy” for 2011. Villegas caused a stir last year when he announced – before his contract had expired – that he would leave Cobra for TaylorMade.

Now we know why TaylorMade wanted him so badly. He is earmarked as the symbol of the flashy, contemporary-looking Burner line.

TaylorMade already has released the new Burner 2.0 iron. Even though the company will be selling three new Tour Preferred forged iron models for 2011, TaylorMade officials acknowledge that the Burner 2.0, which is a cast club built for distance, will outsell the three forged irons combined.

When it comes to credibility, there is a certain amount of danger in advertising more distance from specific golf clubs, but golf club manufacturers continue to do it. TaylorMade, in introducing the Burner SuperFast 2.0 driver, is claiming it is “up to five yards longer than the first-generation Burner SuperFast driver.”

For many golfers, five yards is judged to be a significant yet realistic increase in driving distance.

photo

Martin Kaymer hits the new white TaylorMade R11 driver

Where might this distance come from? The answer is lighter weight. The SuperFast 2.0 has an overall weight of approximately 280 grams at 46.5 inches. This includes a 30-gram Winn Lite grip and 50-gram Matrix Ozik XCon 4.8 shaft.

The standard shaft for the heavier SuperFast 2.0 TP is the Matrix Ozik HD 6, which weighs about 65 grams.

The stock shaft on the R11 is the 60-gram Fujikura Blur. The size of the R11 head is 440 CCs, smaller than the 460-CC SuperFast 2.0. Length of the R11 is 45.75 inches.

The R11, like the R7 and R9 before it, features adjustable weighting. New to the R11 is a technology called ASP, or Adjustable Sole Plate.

This is a big deal, because it allows golfers to change the face angle of the R11 (from two degrees closed to two degrees open) without changing the loft. In the past, face angle adjustments also affected the loft. No longer, thanks to a changeable protrusion or “bumper” in the sole.

With the bumper in a raised position, the face is closed. With the bumper lowered, the face is open.

Titleist, with its new 910 metalwood line, also is offering independent clubhead adjustments. However, these adjustments are made with a hosel mechanism and not with a device on the sole.

With the start of the Tour season, another question has been answered by TaylorMade: How did the company choose its white-head, black-face color combination?

First, TaylorMade listened to its staff of touring pros. Second, using 10 different color schemes and variations, it conducted tests at golf clubs around the United States. Ordinary golfers expressed their opinions, and TaylorMade listened.

Who says golf clubs are boring?

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