Club: TaylorMade M4 driver
Price: $429 with Fujikura Atmos Red shaft and Lamkin Dual Feel grip
Specs: Twisted titanium face plate with carbon-composite crown and sound-enhancing sole design. Lofts: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, and 12 degrees.
Available: Feb. 16
Using a new face and high-MOI design, TaylorMade’s M4 driver was designed to help golfers hit straighter, longer drives while maximizing forgiveness.
The M4 driver replaces last seasons’ M2 driver, and while it lacks the customization options of the TaylorMade M3, it has a very specific role in the company’s line-up.
“When you ask a golfer what he wants from a new driver, you almost always hear that he wants to hit it farther and he wants to hit it straighter,” said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s vice president of product creation. “The M4 has been built to deliver exactly that.”
Based on data collected by TaylorMade, engineers created a face design to offset inefficiencies in the way golfers tend to bring the driver face into impact. The numbers showed that golfers tend to mis-hit shots low in the heel with an open face angle or high in the toe with a closed face angle. The shots hit low in the heel tend to spin to the right, while high-toe misses lack spin and dive to the left.
To counteract those tendencies, TaylorMade’s Twist Face design pulls the high-toe area back and more open, so the hitting area points more to the right, and the ball is struck with more loft. The low-heel area curls down and left, so mis-hits in that area spin less and do not slice to the right as severely.
Players can’t see the twists in the hitting area at address, which is intentional. However, if looking up at the hitting area from the sole side, some of the curves are easily seen.
To help reduce spin and broaden the sweetspot, TaylorMade gave the M4 an updated sole channel. Called Hammerhead, it is a reinforced cavity behind the leading edge that allows the hitting area to flex more efficiently at impact while reducing spin.
In the back of the sole, TaylorMade designed what it calls a Geocoustic area. Bazzel said the rounded shape of the sole allowed designers to take sound-enhancing ribs out of the inner chamber and redistribute their saved weight low and in the back of the head where it can increase stability. The rear weight pad in last season’s M2 driver tipped the scales at 22 grams, but the M4’s weight pad is 86 percent heavier (41 grams).
“By shaping the back of the sole in this way, it also frees up volume,” Bazzel said. “That allowed us to create a larger face that is more forgiving.”
The 12-position adjustable hosel allows golfers and fitters to increase or decrease the M4 driver’s stated loft by as many as 2 degrees.