TaylorMade JetSpeed driver

TaylorMade touted the distance-enhancing properties of a channel designed into the sole of the RocketBallz and RocketBallz Stage 2 fairway woods for the past two years. The company said the channel, which it referred to as a Speed Pocket, let the face flex more at impact, creating more ball speed and more distance, even on mis-hits. However, TaylorMade never designed a channel into a driver.

Now, with the December release of the JetSpeed driver, the company says it has enhanced the channel and built it into a big stick.

“The JetSpeed driver represents the first time we have incorporated a Speed Pocket inside a driver,” said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s senior director of metalwood product creation. “The reason why we did that, and really the benefit, is that it creates a larger sweet spot, lower in the face. In fact, the sweet spot is 25 percent larger.”

Bazzel said that as players’ handicaps increase, the more likely they will hit the ball low in the face, which often results in excessive spin and lower ball speeds.

Because the face of the JetSpeed driver is designed to flex more at impact, especially on low hits, it reduces spin and helps maintain ball speed on those mis-hits.

“The JetSpeed driver also has a low and forward CG (center of gravity), and that creates lower spin,” Bazzel said. “We really encourage you to loft up to get the launch up and keep the spin down. That’s the way you’re going to maximize your distance.”

Even professionals who are using drivers that have a low and forward CG are lofting up. According to TaylorMade, Dustin Johnson, who previously had been using a 9-degree driver, is now using a TaylorMade SLDR driver with 10.5 degrees.

TaylorMade did not design the JetSpeed to be as adjustable as the recently released SLDR. JetSpeed takes the place of the RocketBallz Stage 2, so TaylorMade is continuing its two-family philosophy regarding woods. The SLDR family was designed with tinkerers in mind (as the R1, R11 and R11S were before it), and the JetSpeed family was designed at a slightly lower price point with distance-craving players in mind (as RocketBallz Stage 2, RocketBallz and Burner were).

Still, TaylorMade gave the JetSpeed driver a 12-position adjustable sleeve that allows golfers to increase or decrease loft by up to 1.5 degrees. The weight on the sole of the club is not adjustable; it’s factory-installed to improve swing weight.

At address, players also will notice the JetSpeed driver continues TaylorMade’s other trend: Back to black. The last three drivers TaylorMade has released – R1 Black, SLDR and JetSpeed – have black crowns. Equipment aficionados also will notice a crown graphic on the JetSpeed very similar to the graphic found on Burner drivers of years past.

Look for the JetSpeed driver to land in stores on Dec. 13 at a cost of $299. It will be available in 8-, 9.5-, 10.5- and 12-degree versions and comes standard with a shaft that Matrix developed for the driver called the Matrix Velox T.

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