Our Take on the TaylorMade Rocketballz Driver
Well, two things are obvious about the TaylorMade Rocketballz driver. The first is that although you might think the name is odd, you certainly won’t forget it. The second is that this new driver is clearly a product of TaylorMade Golf and its engineering prowess.
There are two distinct versions of this driver – the standard Rocketballz driver and the Rocketballz Tour. The regular Rocketballz driver, available in 9-, 10.5- and 13-degree lofts, looks slightly larger at address and has a slight draw bias, while the Rocketballz Tour, available in 9- and 10.5-degree lofts, looks more compact and has a deeper, neutral face. Because most of us would be more interested in the standard Rocketballz driver, I’ll focus on that version during this review.
So, are you ready for lift-off? As the company says, “brace yourself,” because you might get some tremendous distance gains out of a TaylorMade Rocketballz driver. Think of this club as delivering some of the TaylorMade R11 driver’s adjustability but at a lower price. The MSRP of the Rocketballz is $299, $100 less than the R11’s launch price. Not bad for a top-quality driver from one of golf’s biggest names.
It doesn’t have the R11’s moveable weights or adjustable sole plate, but by using the torque wrench that comes with the TaylorMade Rocketballz driver, you can optimize launch conditions for your swing by selecting one of eight settings that alter the head’s face angle, lie and loft. And, it features technology that can help you swing faster. You know what comes out of that, right? You got it – when you strike the ball properly, a faster swing will deliver more distance.
But first things first, and the first things you’ll see when you look at the driver are its matte-white crown and black face. TaylorMade says this color combo makes the club head easier to align and boosts player confidence by making the head look larger at address. TaylorMade first used this white/black color combination in its most recent Burner and R11 clubs. The white crown was controversial at first, but most golfers have adjusted to it. Now, you can’t buy a new TaylorMade driver, wood or hybrid that doesn’t have it. I have to admit I was a bit uncomfortable the first few times I hit a white-crowned/black-faced driver, but I adjusted quickly. Now, I rather like it. The matte-white finish of the crown even reduces the glare off the club head in strong sunlight.
In addition to the white crown/black face color scheme, the TaylorMade Rocketballz driver also implements the company’s focus on lightweight clubs that are designed to increase swing speed. The TaylorMade Rocketballz driver only weighs 299 grams when fitted with the stock 50-gram Matrix Ozik XCON 5 graphite shaft and the stock lightweight grip.
And speaking of the shaft, in a somewhat surprising move that’s counter to the trend toward longer shafts (intended to increase swing speed and promote more distance), the TaylorMade Rocketballz driver actually uses a shaft that’s ½-inch shorter than the stock shaft fitted to the TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 driver. Apparently, golfers were complaining about longer shafts being less accurate. TaylorMade actually listened and slightly shortened the shaft of the Rocketballz driver. At 46 inches, the company claims the shaft is still long enough to help increase swing speed, but the slightly shorter length also helps promote accuracy. According to TaylorMade, the aerodynamic shape of the Rocketballz driver head enables it to cut through the air one to two miles per hour faster than the head of the Burner SuperFast 2.0. Once again, more speed equals more distance when you hit the club properly.
The TaylorMade Rocketballz driver also features the company’s Flight Control Technology (“FCT”). The FCT system (a user-adjustable hosel) allows a golfer to select his or her choice of eight settings, each of which has a different effect on the club head’s face, loft, and lie angles. TaylorMade says the FCT settings are capable of affecting the ball’s side-to-side trajectory as much as 60 yards. If you’re a slicer, you can choose a setting that promotes a straighter ball flight. The FCT system can also correct a tendency to hook the ball.
A non-adjustable screw in the back of the head is actually a weight cartridge that lowers the head’s center of gravity. The club’s Thin-Thick crown design also lowers and moves the center of gravity closer to the face. The result is less spin, a higher ball flight and more distance. And, the “Inverted Cone” clubface technology built into the TaylorMade Rocketballz driver promotes faster ball speeds even when the sweet spot is missed.
The Bottom Line: The TaylorMade Rocketballz driver is all about increasing swing speed while still promoting accuracy. Isn’t that the perfect formula for most average golfers?
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