By Roger Graves
Forty-eight hours before TaylorMade Golf introduced its latest members of the “M Family” – the M2 driver, fairway woods, rescue clubs and M2 and M2 Tour irons – to the golf industry at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show, the company invited a handful of media testers to hit and evaluate the M2s on the range at the Waldorf Astoria Golf Club in Orlando.
The latest TaylorMade launch began with an overview of the M1 and new M2 lines by the engineers, designers and marketers who have combined talents to create a full line of high-performance equipment dedicated to forgiveness.
For those who embraced the multi-material and carbon-composite crown construction of the M1 in the fourth quarter of 2015 and hailed the M1 as the longest, lightest driver in modern history, fear not. The M2 is not replacing the M1, but is complementing it, according to TaylorMade-adidas Golf Chief Marketing Officer Bob Maggiore. In fact, the M2 driver is not bigger (both are 460cc), but it may be better for the typical golfer who needs more forgiveness, fewer adjustment options (which can be confusing for some golfers), and a lower price point without sacrificing distance.
“Similar to M1, the M2 product line meets the challenge of delivering more performance to players of all skill levels with the utilization of multi-material construction,” said Maggiore. “The M2 is built to deliver maximum forgiveness without sacrificing distance. TaylorMade has achieved this by leveraging the weight savings from the carbon crown and redistributing the discretionary weight to the sole of the club, resulting in a lower center of gravity that is farther back in the clubhead, which will benefit players of all skill levels. This ultimately gives many golfers what they want: distance and forgiveness. The result is a family of clubs that deliver hot trajectories with massive sweet spots and maximum forgiveness.”
The seven-layer carbon composite crown found in the M1 resulted in a five-gram weight savings that delivered exceptional distance for golfers. The TaylorMade T-Track system allowed golfers to straighten out hooks and slices with the horizontal sliding weight, while regulating trajectory by sliding the vertical weights forward or backward to change the center of gravity behind the hitting area. In the M2, the “T” Track is replaced by a single sliding horizontal weight to help correct hooks and slices, while the weight port is fixed near the back of the clubhead to ensure a higher trajectory, an element this tester found to result in a more consistent ball flight that generated prodigious distance with every swing.
The M2 is, indeed, more forgiving and seemed to produce consistently solid strikes and additional carry compared to the M1, which is also exceptionally long but must be set in a precise position for both sliding “T” components to result in maximum performance. For those who want maximum adjustability, the M1 is a tremendous driver at $499 per copy. For those who don’t need so many sliding weights, the M2 provides more forgiveness without sacrificing distance and carries a price $100 less at $399 per club.
According to TaylorMade, engineers focused on three key performance features that deliver exceptional ball speed in the M2 family — protection on shots struck away from center-face: inverted cone technology (ICT), a redesigned Speed Pocket; and increased moment of inertia (MOI).
The M2 driver utilizes inverted cone technology (ICT) to increase the size of the high-COR area of the clubface. ICT utilizes a thinner clubface, which would be above the legal limit for COR at the center if it were uniform thickness. However, the inverted cone feature is then added to the center of the clubface to bring that section back down to the legal range, while the higher COR remains out on the heel and toe areas of the face. The M2 also features a redesigned Speed Pocket that allows for greater face flexion than with a traditional, more rigid connection. More flexibility means greater energy transfer at impact made low on the face and thus, more protection of ball speed.
Lastly, the center of gravity in the M2 driver has been positioned low and slightly farther back in the clubhead. In M2, the moments of inertia (MOI) are among the highest of any club TaylorMade has ever produced. The increased MOI resists twisting at impact, resulting in farther and straighter shots when struck off-center.
Like its slightly older brother, the M1, the 12-position loft sleeve of the M2 driver provides up to four degrees of loft adjustment. In addition to the stock Fujikura Pro shaft, TaylorMade offers more than 30 additional premium custom-shaft options at no upcharge.
TaylorMade also announced the M2 and M2 Tour irons, which should not be overshadowed by the M2 driver. The M2 iron is dedicated to forgiveness (easy to hit), while the M2 Tour is a distance iron designed with a more compact shape geared for players looking for distance with added workability with a thinner top line.
Featuring many of the same technologies as the M2 iron, the M2 Tour is both a distance iron and a player’s iron, and accomplishes both with performance and design that will appeal to a variety of player types seeking distance benefits.
Distance is a priority with M2 Tour irons, but not the only one. Size, shape, offset, topline thickness, sole width, sound and feel were all scrutinized, ensuring an ideal blend of distance and playability in a more compact package, according to TaylorMade designers. The M2 Tour will appeal to low and mid-handicappers who like to work the ball but still favor the forgiveness afforded by a game-improvement distance iron. They will also like the sleek look the M2 has – the look of a player’s iron.