Gear: TaylorMade Original One Mini Driver
Price: $399.99 with Mitsubishi Diamana F Limited shaft and Golf Pride New Decade MCC grip
Specs: 275cc titanium head with carbon-fiber crown, steel sole plate and adjustable hosel
Available: Pre-order April 16, at retail May 1
By bringing back a mini driver that has several design features of TaylorMade’s M5 and M6 drivers, the company aims to provide more distance and forgiveness for control-oriented players who like to hit 3-woods off the tee.
Five years ago TaylorMade released the SLDR Mini driver, a club designed to provide driver-like distance and fairway wood accuracy for better players. The following year the company launched the AeroBurner Mini. In the four ensuing years, the category went quiet for TaylorMade, but now it is debuting the new Original One Mini driver, a club that shares many of the technologies and features found in the company’s latest driver offerings in a smaller, higher-lofted package.
Previous mini drivers were made using stainless steel, but the Original One Mini features three different materials strategically employed to enhance performance. The 275-cubic-centimeter body, which is larger than previous minis, and the face are made using titanium to save weight and boost ball speed, while the Original One’s crown is made using the same carbon fiber found in drivers. On the bottom of the club, a 50-gram steel sole plate is secured using a pair of screws.
Most modern drivers are 460 cubic centimeters in size, so this club is slightly more than half their size.
The combination of a light frame and crown, along with a heavy sole plate, drives down the center of gravity. Since the Original One Mini comes with either 11.5 or 13.5 degrees of loft and an adjustable hosel that allows players and fitters to increase or decrease the stated loft by up to 2 degrees, hitting higher-flying shots should be easier.
To help golfers hit those drives straighter, TaylorMade gave the Original One Mini the Twist Face technology that debuted in last season’s M3 and M4 drivers. Twist Face peals back the low-heel and high-toe portions of the hitting surface to counteract the most common mis-hits, so the severity of hooks and slices decreases.
The Original One Mini driver is not intended to replace a golfer’s driver, but TaylorMade thinks its 43.25-inch length and unique design should make it appealing to golfers who want more distance and forgiveness off the tee but who have come to depend on their 3-wood for accuracy.