TaylorMade M1 Driver Reviews (2016)
Here I’ll be providing a comprehensive review of the 460cc model of the TaylorMade M1 driver, branded TaylorMade’s longest driver and featuring a multi-material construction said to “unlock breakthroughs in distance, playability and feel for all golfers”. The claim is that virtually any golfer with any swing type can realize the maximum potential of the M1 through its innovative customization system.
How do these claims hold up in reality? Does the M1 have any weak points? How big of a step up is the M1 from the previous R15 model? Everything you need to know about the driver to make an informed purchase is compiled here. Read on.
In a hurry? Here’s the quick overview and verdict for you…
Rating: 4.8/5 (Excellent)
Pros: Does a better job of accommodating golfers of all skill levels than most (if not all) other TaylorMade drivers; extremely adjustable; can be extremely long; look/feel/sound are loved by many
Cons: Some people may not find it to be worth the high price tag; some would like impact to sound and feel a bit more solid; many find weights to be a bit weak in terms of altering shot shape
Recommended for: Golfers of virtually all skill levels, thanks to the M1’s extensive adjustment system. Skilled golfers will appreciate the ability to customize their ball flight, and high handicaps will appreciate the added forgiveness of the 460cc clubhead.
Want a high-resolution look at the M1? Click on the composite image at the top of the page and navigate the photos on the left-hand side of the screen.
What are the reviews like?
The M1 represents the pinnacle of modern driver technology and is one of the most highly rated drivers on the market. The 460cc model of the M1 currently has average ratings of 5/5 on Amazon (click here to read those customer reviews), 4.5/5 (87% recommended) on the TaylorMade website, 5/5 at Global Golf (here) and 5/5 on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website.
Customers have lauded the M1 for its quality construction, stylish and confidence-inspiring look, amazing solid feel throughout the swing, quality feedback, relative light weight, versatility, adjustability and distance — nearly everyone one would want in a driver. In terms of negatives, the thin crown seems to be susceptible to denting from bad impacts; also, people who don’t use a proper shaft for their swing often experience poor results.
What are the features?
TaylorMade separates the features of the M1 driver, more advanced than anything else on the market but still fairly easy to understand, into three main components (not necessarily mutually exclusive):
- “Personal Fit System“ — a clubhead adjustment system comprised of:
- a loft sleeve for adjusting loft, lie and face angle to your preference. There are 12 positions with an adjustable range of 4° (±2°). One movement of the sleeve changes loft by 0.5°-0.75°, lie by 0.5°-0.75° and face angle by 1°-2°. See the tuning manual for full details.
- a “Front Track“ and “Back Track“ for adjusting shape biases, launch and spin rates (discussed in more detail below).
- three featured stock graphite shaft offerings: the Fujikura Pro 60 (high launch; flexes X, S, R, M), the Mitsubishi KuraKage Tini Silver 60 (mid launch; flexes X, S, R), and the Aldila Rogue Silver 70 (low launch; flexes X, S).
- a “multi-material construction“, highlighted by TaylorMade’s proprietary 7-layer Carbon Composite Crown which is precision-formed, strong yet very thin and light. The weight saved with the crown allows weight to be placed in the sole, shifting the center of gravity (CG) lower and leading to a higher launch, lower spin and increased ball speeds. The weight savings also allow adjustable weights to be placed in the front and back tracks on the sole for unprecedented customization and personalization of ball flight.
- a “T-Track System“ that allows golfers with all different swing speeds and swing types to get the most distance and performance out of the M1. This system consists of a Front Track and Back Track (touched on above) with 25 grams of adjustable weight.
- Front Track: a 15-gram weight is responsible for changing the flight bias (draw, straight, fade). Moving the weight towards the toe will introduce a fade bias, while moving the weight towards the heel will introduce a draw bias.
- Back Track: a 10-gram weight is responsible for changing the launch angle and spin rate. Moving the weight towards the face will lower the launch and decrease the spin, while moving the weight back will heighten the launch and increase the spin.
The stock grip offered is the TM Lamkin Performance 360 (52g). See the specifications of the M1 driver below.
|M1 460 Driver||8.5°||58°-62°||45.5"||460cc||D4||RH|
|M1 460 Driver||9.5°||58°-62°||45.5"||460cc||D4||RH/LH|
|M1 460 Driver||10.5°||58°-62°||45.5"||460cc||D4||RH/LH|
|M1 460 Driver||12°||58°-62°||45.5"||460cc||D4||RH|
How does the driver perform?
Distance: In general, distance is not at all an issue with the M1 driver. Once the adjustable settings are at least reasonably well-calibrated, distance results should meet or exceed your expectations; many players and testers have reported distance gains of 15 yards and upwards over previous drivers like the R15.
As an example, a golfer who typically hits their driver too low with too little spin might use a high-launch shaft (Fujikura Pro 60 stock) combined with a center-positioned weight on the back track to achieve a distance-maximizing trajectory. Alternatively, the golfer might use a mid-launch shaft (Mitsubishi KuraKage 60 stock) combined with a rear-positioned weight on the back track. With the M1, it’s easier than ever to find a ball flight that is right for you without paying for a rigorous fitting.
Forgiveness: The M1 turns out to be quite a bit more forgiving than many of TaylorMade’s previous models like the R15 and the SLDR. While it’s not as forgiving as a max game-improvement driver such as the Great Big Bertha from Callaway, it still retains a decent line and ball speed on mis-hits. Moment of inertia (MOI), which is positively correlated with forgiveness, lies at around 4500 g/cm².
Playability/Trajectory: Not surprisingly, the M1 is impressively playable. Just about any type of shot — a high draw, a low fade, a dead-straight bullet — can be engineered using the multitude of customization features available. Want to hit a high fade to carry some obstacles and get the ball around a dogleg right? Adjust the face angle and loft using the loft sleeve, or move the weights on the front and back tracks into the “fade” and “high” positions respectively, and then just make your normal swing. Of course, more skilled golfers can also work different shot shapes themselves the old fashioned way.
Note that one movement of a weight left or right won’t really make much of a noticeable difference in ball flight; it’s the larger movements to the extreme positions that will tend to produce effective results. Normal trajectories with the M1 are quite high with very low spin — a recipe for distance.
What about look, sound and feel?
Look: The 460cc model of the M1 driver features a split-colour (black and white) crown with an unobtrusive alignment aid. The busy and stylish sole, mostly black with some red and white accents, prominently houses the two weight tracks as well as the effective loft and an M1 logo. The adjustable loft sleeve is easily accessible at the juncture of the clubhead and shaft. Overall, it’s a confidence-inspiring look that I think most people will really like — mostly neutral colours and nothing too “out there” or unnecessary.
Sound and Feel: The M1 tends to makes a fairly loud, slightly muted, hollow-sounding crack at impact. It’s not terrible, but it’s nothing really worth shouting about either. Auditory and feel-based feedback, which are less harsh than on the R15, are more than enough to distinguish where contact is made on the face. As for the feel, much of it comes down to personal preference, but generally most people (including me) find it to be very solid and stable throughout the swing. Note that feel does change minimally depending on the position of the track weights.
Where should I buy this driver online?
New 460cc M1 drivers are being sold in all different configurations by trusted sellers for over $100 off normal price on eBay — you won’t be able to beat their prices anywhere else and I strongly recommend checking it out. You can also buy new M1 drivers at a discount on Amazon and Global Golf.
What about a used one?
Check out eBay (link in the top overview), where you can find used M1 drivers being sold at more than $150 off. Incredible value!
The M1 driver is certainly a step up from the previous R15, but whether this step is big enough to justify spending the money for it will depend on the individual. If you appreciate a ton of do-it-yourself adjustability and are someone who likes to own the latest and greatest golf equipment, I would recommend giving the M1 a shot.