White is the new black

Taylormade R11 Driver (In-Depth)

Let’s just get it out of the way. The Taylormade R11 is white. It’s designed to cut down on sun glare and reflections on the crown that can be distracting. Is it unique? Yes, for now. Does it warrant buying a new driver? Not really. I can’t remember ever being distracted by my driver. Don’t get me wrong, I like the white crown, but any club maker can copy that feature. No, you buy this driver because it destroys golf balls with almost robotic precession. With more customization than any golf club ever made the Taylormade R11 driver ($400) is a tinkerer’s delight.

It takes only a few swings to adapt to seeing a white club at address. After that, it’s a game of adjustments. Make a change, hit a few balls, tinker and repeat. The outcome? Shifting a high push to a low fade. Anyone familiar with Taylormade knows about the Movable Weight and Flight Control Technologies. They’ve been carried over from the R9 series and continue to work beautifully. The new kid on the block is an Adjustable Sole Plate that can open or close the club face by 2 degrees by adjusting how a grounded club rests at address. The whole package allows golfers to change face loft and address position, launch trajectory and club weighting. The R11 provides up to 100 yards of side-to-side ball flight adjustments and 1,000 RMP of backspin change. Because of all of the options available, the R11 only comes in 9 and 10.5 degree lofts, but can easily be adjusted higher or lower depending on your preference.

Once set up on the launch monitor our guinea pig, Mike (from Golf Manhattan), saw his ball speed jump from his average of 152 MPH to between 158 and 162 MPH with the R11 in hand. Very respectable improvements indeed. The club just feels fast, and that produces more distance. In fact, Taylormade claims their more aerodynamic head is 6 MPH faster than the R9 SuperTri. The final factor in our assessment? Sound. The R11 is as solid sounding as any driver we have ever come across. Forget the high-pitched pings or empty tuna can dull thumps that other exotic head shapes can produce. The R11 sounds as smooth and as powerful as the swing itself.

The biggest question that came up during our testing was about the wear and tear of the white crown. Rest assured that Taylormade’s R&D department has thoroughly tested the R11 for scratch resistance, chips, ding, color fading and overall clean-ability. Our own experience has been that the white matte surface performs just like a shiny black driver. It cleans easily, but shanking a tee shot will leave a mark on the club as it would any other driver. In summary, the white surface ended up being a non-issue and when it comes to golf, that’s a good thing.

Editor’s Note: For those golfers who don’t want to mess with customization or just want a driver they can grip and rip, may we suggest the Taylormade Burner SuperFast 2.0. Advanced degrees in trajectory not required.

Buy Now: $400