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Taylor Made R9 460 Review


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The Continual Search for the Perfect Driver

Taylor Made R9 460

 

It seems as though equipment geeks, *ahem*, WE are always on a continual search for something perfect underneath our #1 headcover. The driver is probably the only club in my bag that is always on academic probation. One bad round, or even a couple bad tee shots in a round with some significance, and the driver seems to be the easiest club to blame and subsequently replace with something different. Something that is more appealing to the eye, a bit more forgiving, a little better feel, or just a head that you feel more confident looking down upon. We often find that something better, but it's tenure in the top of the bag is ever volatile. As much time as we seem to spend on the 45"er, it seems as though OEM's also give the driver the most attention of all the products in their line-up. They hire some of the most intelligent minds in science to create the club we hit the longest. It's an ever evolving process where ideas and innovations continue to arrive on the consumer market place and in the hands of the best players in the world.

 

I am no different than anyone else when it comes to the driver. I want to hit it longer and straighter than my previous gamer. There is a reason I am trying you, it's because the last one failed me, so you better impress me and please do not let me down. Enter, Taylor Made's latest flagship driver, the R9 460. What could be better than "The Number One Driver in Golf?" This one is touted as the club that can totally optimize me with it's Flight Control Technology (FCT) I wanted to know so it gave it a test run.

 

TEST CLUB:

 

Taylor Made R9 460

Shaft: Aldila RE*AX Stiff

Length: 45.5"

Swingweight: D2

Face Angle: Neutral

Loft: 10.5

Grip: TM Round (Standard)

 

HDCP 12

Driver SS: 105 (Avg)

 

Looking down at the head at address, it seems almost perfect to my eye. An all black head with a subtle alignment aid. The shape of the head combines the traditional pear shape with a hint of the Taylor Made triangular shape mixed into one. The face depth seems almost perfect, not too deep, yet not too shallow, just about where I like to see it. Having the head in the "N" setting seemed almost dead on square to my eye. The grip is almost a necessity unless you know exactly where you want to keep the FCT setting. That's because there are no graphics on the grip and you can spin the shaft to adjust the FCT. Just the same with the Aldila RE*AX shaft. It's graphics allow for rotation of the shaft without distracting graphics facing up, no matter the FCT setting. Looking down on this head, giving it a few waggles, and it looks how you would want a driver head to look.

 

Looking at the sole of the R9 460, you will quickly notice it does not contain Taylor Made's propriety Movable Weight Technology (MWT). This was a significant omission on this head in my opinion for a club that provides total optimization. Other than the well documented advantages of manipulating ball flight by having MWT, I believe MWT is important for those that are interesting in achieving exacting swingweight specifications on the head without having to add lead tape, lead powder, or hotmelt. I believe this would have been an essential addition to this head given it's swingweight of D2 at 45.5 inches with a light weight (60g) shaft. If I were ordering a tour shaft or upgraded TP shaft at the length I want to play it (44.75") I would have to send the head out for swingweight adjustments. Sure, the average player probably cannot tell the difference between a D2 and D3. But it you are used to playing a driver at D3, you can tell the difference when it's been reduced to C8 or less, no matter your ability. Having a head with MWT would allow the player to truly dial in this club in the comforts of their home when trying different shafts and at different lengths. MWT was offered in the smaller R9, so I am not sure why the technology did not continue into it's higher MOI brother. Lack of MWT in this head was a real let down for me to say the least. At minimum, afford the consumer the ability to change the stationary weight plug.

 

Prior to the release of the R9 heads, if you wanted a Taylor Made driver set to a specific face angle, it was a very complicated process. First, you would have to find a COMPETENT clubmaker. Then, that clubmaker would have to have a specially molded device made to bend the head opened or closed. A contraption usually found only on the PGA Tour vans and BSG. Then, if you would actually see the process of bending a head, you would think that it was the last time you would ever see your head in one piece again. But with FCT, opening or closing the face angle is as simple as turning the shaft and tightening a screw. And if you don't like the setting, it's only as permanent as you want it to be. FCT is really a remarkable advantage for players that want to change the look of the face angle or flight of the ball. One of the confusing aspects of Taylor Made's marketing of FCT is the ability to adjust the loft of the driver in either direction. Well, yes, FCT can change the loft of your head, but it's really the effective loft of the head based on the degree of the face angle. For example, if the player wants to decrease the loft of the head, they will want to put the face into a setting that is more open than their current setting (i.e. from square to 1* open) This can lead to less than desirable results for the player that does not bring the head back to square at impact. Most guys in the golf equipment forum world get this. But, reading the marketing material by a golf equipment layperson, I believe is a bit confusing to comprehend what is actually happening to add or decrease loft.

 

After hitting a couple balls with the R9 460, you will not be disappointed in the sound you have come to expect from Taylor Made drivers. The best way I can describe the sound is to call it "solid metallic," which is almost a perfect sound and one you have come to expect from Taylor Made in this department. Never a disappointment in the sound of their heads, and the R9 460 is no different in that department. You are not going to hear this head from 5 fairways over, and it certainly does not have the muted feel of a composite head. It's right in the middle, and right where a driver should be. I found the distance of this head to be consistent with other flagship heads from other OEM's. When I played this head, I had a Callaway FT-9 (Altus) and Titleist 909 D2 (VooDoo for Titleist) in the bag. I was hitting all three around the exact same spots on my home course when I caught them solid off the face. Forgiveness is as expected in a higher MOI 460cc head. My miss hits are usually toe side and those misses flied about the same distances as the misses on the FT-9 and 909 D2. I will say that I thought the R9 460 ranked right in the middle of the three as far as distance/accuracy on misses. However, solid struck swings produced really comparable distances. The look and shape of the Taylor Made head have them all beat, so that is usually the deciding factor on clubs with matched distances like these three do. To the guys writing the attack ad's for the OEM's...relax, they are all good and fly about the same distance for a 12 HDCP like myself. :ohyeah:

 

The Aldila RE*AX Shaft is one that pretty much any player can hit. It may not be their ideal shaft, but I'll bet the majority of even low handicapers would be able to control this shaft with the right loft and flex. The softer tip really gets the ball up well, but I did not find it to produce a balloon affect whatsoever. It's a looser feeling shaft that really maintains it's stability well as a stock offering. It really reminded me of the Aldila NVS 65. Sure, for the guy that has a dialed in Whiteboard or a taste for one of the low spin Matrix offerings, you will want to swap the shaft out. But, you will be able to get by with this until you find one you like in this head. At a playing length at 45.5", it's one that I would have to cut down and re-adjust for swing weight if I kept this shaft in the bag.

 

Another curious decision from the Taylor Made camp is the ability to get other shafts to try. When compared to other OEM's, the aftermarket shaft selection is pretty basic in the TP line. A little of this and that from the top manufactures. It really lacks depth to truly dial in an optimized club. Also, ordering another shaft is annoying. You cannot simply place an order from an on-line retailer or pick one up in the stores. You have to special order one from the shop or your local pro and the prices really differ depending on who you order from. Also, I have found that not may golf course pro shops have Taylor Made accounts. This leaves you at the mercy of and luck of the draw of who you get at your local big box shop. Best wishes if you get the desired grip and length you are looking for. Now, having said this about the availability of shafts, I kind of get it when you look at it from the average consumer prospective. I mean, how well are the Callaway i-Mix shafts doing? How well did the CGB Limited do? I don't have the answer, but I do think for the average guy (not equipment nut jobs like us,) it probably is pretty confusing for a customer when they have so many options. But, it's not for me, and that's who is writing this review....right? I think they are on the right track though selling the clubs as a complete product rather than a head and shaft in separate boxes. I would like the ability to go on to an on-line retailer and select a shaft, it's length, and grip without having to go into a store to do so. I know what I want to try, so let me buy it with ease. If not, please made the tips available to consumers so they can have their clubmaker assemble a shaft for them.

 

Just the same, for a guy who wants to play his go to YS-6+, or UST Axiv, Oban....you get the point, the list goes on and it's really difficult to get these shafts assembled to play in either FCT offering. Sure, if there is a will, there is a way, and the way will cost you. But the process of this is complex and not consumer friendly at all. I guess I am looking for an FCT driver where I can play any shaft, at any length (within reason), with the ability to adjust for swing weight. That driver does not exist, with ANY OEM right now. The R9 and R9 460 are pretty close, and pretty darn perfect when you compare all aspects of this offering with every other option out there right now. It's about as perfect as you can get, but it's not 100% yet. I have a feeling it's not that far around the corner, given Taylor Made's commitment to updated product releases. All in all, a very nice product offering from Taylor Made. It's a driver that anyone can bag and play regardless of ability and quirks.

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Great review on the R9 460...very thorough. If your looking for a little more than the R9 460 then you should give the R9 Super Tri a go and see if it fulfills all your needs.

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Tremendous review. I play the R9 460 (picked it up at the end of last year) and was very happy with it. I agree, it would be nice if the shaft interchangeability (wow, that's a word?) was easier, but I'm not sure what can be done about that. Right now I just look to buy shafts that already have the R9 tip. As for the head, I'm very happy with it, I think it's forgiving, plenty long, and pretty straight.

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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This is a great review. i'm just a little partial to the SuperTri because it has the weights.

I agree, I wrote this review prior to knowing about the Super-tri release. Looking forward to seeing the new TM clubs.

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I'm hoping at some point the price of the R9 460 will drop down to $149.99. Need to be patient.....

Titleist 909 D2 10.5 s

TM Burner TP 13 deg r

TM R7 16 deg r

Callaway 3 Ibrid 19 deg r

Epon 701 4-PW s

Gauge Design 52, 56 deg s

TM Inza

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I'm hoping at some point the price of the R9 460 will drop down to $149.99. Need to be patient.....

all in good time.... it is a TM product.

Driver - :taylormade-small:   SIM2 Max 9° Tour MT 6-S   or   :srixon-small: ZX 7 9.5° Ventus VeloCore Blue S
Fairway - :srixon-small: ZX  3 wd. Ventus VeloCore Blue S

Hybrid - :srixon-small: ZX 18° GD Tour IZ S

2 Iron - :srixon-small: ZU65 18° AeroTech SteelFiber 110icw S

Irons -  :srixon-small: ZX7  Aerotech SteelFiber 110icw  4-Pw 1° flat
Wedges - :cleveland-small: RTX Zipcore Raw 50° 54° 58°  TTGDTI S400 1° flat

Putters -   Cameron Phantom 5x/Odyssey Toulon Stroke Lab Austin/Odyssey 2 Ball DFX/ TaylorMade Spider
Tour Black/Ping Anser F/Scotty Cameron TeI3 Sole Stamp Newport 2. All with different grips, weights, and lengths.
 

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:)

Am I wrong????

Driver - :taylormade-small:   SIM2 Max 9° Tour MT 6-S   or   :srixon-small: ZX 7 9.5° Ventus VeloCore Blue S
Fairway - :srixon-small: ZX  3 wd. Ventus VeloCore Blue S

Hybrid - :srixon-small: ZX 18° GD Tour IZ S

2 Iron - :srixon-small: ZU65 18° AeroTech SteelFiber 110icw S

Irons -  :srixon-small: ZX7  Aerotech SteelFiber 110icw  4-Pw 1° flat
Wedges - :cleveland-small: RTX Zipcore Raw 50° 54° 58°  TTGDTI S400 1° flat

Putters -   Cameron Phantom 5x/Odyssey Toulon Stroke Lab Austin/Odyssey 2 Ball DFX/ TaylorMade Spider
Tour Black/Ping Anser F/Scotty Cameron TeI3 Sole Stamp Newport 2. All with different grips, weights, and lengths.
 

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Does anyone think that TM is missing a revenue stream by not having extra shafts with the adjustable hosel available? Sure Cally iMix shafts do not all sell quickly, but a couple of other offerings would sell. Maybe the pervious driver with the 3 shafts included scared them away CBG or something like that.

Volvo Intorqueo

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @GolfspyDave

If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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Does anyone think that TM is missing a revenue stream by not having extra shafts with the adjustable hosel available? Sure Cally iMix shafts do not all sell quickly, but a couple of other offerings would sell. Maybe the pervious driver with the 3 shafts included scared them away CBG or something like that.

I believe you can order another shaft through any TM account. They don't market them that way at retail however.

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I believe you can order another shaft through any TM account. They don't market them that way at retail however.

I guess a second shaft is not really an impulse purchase. Some signage that you can order one would be helpful though.

Volvo Intorqueo

All the cool kids follow me on twitter: @GolfspyDave

If you are not a cool kid, following me on twitter will make you cool...

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Does anyone think that TM is missing a revenue stream by not having extra shafts with the adjustable hosel available? Sure Cally iMix shafts do not all sell quickly, but a couple of other offerings would sell. Maybe the pervious driver with the 3 shafts included scared them away CBG or something like that.

 

They are still trying to unload the CGB Limited, and it seems like golf stores never run out of i-Mix shafts.

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No, exactly right! ;)

 

Next week then....

Callaway FT-9 Driver 10.5* Grafalloy Prolaunch Axis Blue

Callaway FT-9 Driver 9.0* Grafalloy Prolaunch Platinum

Cobra Baffler Rail F Fairway 15.5* Fujikura Motore

Wilson FYbrid 19* UST Proforce AXIV Core

Cobra Baffler Rail H Hybrid 22* Fujikura Motore

Ping I15 Irons 5-UW AWT

Ping Tour-W 56*,60* DG Spinner

Ping Redwood ZB Putter, WRX Starshot, 35"

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Next week then....

you might not be far off. The original R9 is now on closeout..

Driver - :taylormade-small:   SIM2 Max 9° Tour MT 6-S   or   :srixon-small: ZX 7 9.5° Ventus VeloCore Blue S
Fairway - :srixon-small: ZX  3 wd. Ventus VeloCore Blue S

Hybrid - :srixon-small: ZX 18° GD Tour IZ S

2 Iron - :srixon-small: ZU65 18° AeroTech SteelFiber 110icw S

Irons -  :srixon-small: ZX7  Aerotech SteelFiber 110icw  4-Pw 1° flat
Wedges - :cleveland-small: RTX Zipcore Raw 50° 54° 58°  TTGDTI S400 1° flat

Putters -   Cameron Phantom 5x/Odyssey Toulon Stroke Lab Austin/Odyssey 2 Ball DFX/ TaylorMade Spider
Tour Black/Ping Anser F/Scotty Cameron TeI3 Sole Stamp Newport 2. All with different grips, weights, and lengths.
 

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Does anyone think that TM is missing a revenue stream by not having extra shafts with the adjustable hosel available? Sure Cally iMix shafts do not all sell quickly, but a couple of other offerings would sell. Maybe the pervious driver with the 3 shafts included scared them away CBG or something like that.

 

 

I guess a second shaft is not really an impulse purchase. Some signage that you can order one would be helpful though.

 

I mentioned my desire to purchase additional shafts in another thread. TM is definitely missing the boat since I didn't learn until reading this thread that it can even be done (buying another shaft with the R9 tip). Does anyone know what the pricing is like for additional shafts? I assume it's higher than just buying the shaft on its own, but by how much?

Follow me on Twitter: @MattSaternus

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I mentioned my desire to purchase additional shafts in another thread. TM is definitely missing the boat since I didn't learn until reading this thread that it can even be done (buying another shaft with the R9 tip). Does anyone know what the pricing is like for additional shafts? I assume it's higher than just buying the shaft on its own, but by how much?

I can look into this, and let you know tomorrow. What shaft are you thinking about??

Driver - :taylormade-small:   SIM2 Max 9° Tour MT 6-S   or   :srixon-small: ZX 7 9.5° Ventus VeloCore Blue S
Fairway - :srixon-small: ZX  3 wd. Ventus VeloCore Blue S

Hybrid - :srixon-small: ZX 18° GD Tour IZ S

2 Iron - :srixon-small: ZU65 18° AeroTech SteelFiber 110icw S

Irons -  :srixon-small: ZX7  Aerotech SteelFiber 110icw  4-Pw 1° flat
Wedges - :cleveland-small: RTX Zipcore Raw 50° 54° 58°  TTGDTI S400 1° flat

Putters -   Cameron Phantom 5x/Odyssey Toulon Stroke Lab Austin/Odyssey 2 Ball DFX/ TaylorMade Spider
Tour Black/Ping Anser F/Scotty Cameron TeI3 Sole Stamp Newport 2. All with different grips, weights, and lengths.
 

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