TaylorMade R15 Driver Reviews (2015)

by | September 27, 2015

TaylorMade R15 Driver Reviews

TaylorMade R15 Driver Reviews (2015)

This is a review of the 460cc model of the TaylorMade R15 driver, a 2015 Golf Digest Hot List winner.  Prior to the unveiling of their newest driver, TaylorMade claimed that the R15 was their most technologically advanced driver yet.  Is it a winner?  Is it more forgiving than its predecessors?  Read on to find out what you need to know about this driver to make an informed purchase.

What are the reviews like?

The R15 is a quality, top-of-the-line driver and this is certainly reflected in the ratings and reviews — it has a 4.8/5 stars on Amazon based on over 22 customer reviews, and a 4.6/5 rating on TaylorMade’s official website.  It’s a great time to consider this driver now that there are newer, more expensive models available and price drops are on the way.

Reviewers have praised its style, light weight, adjustability (loft sleeve and moveable weights) and hence versatility.  However, similar to previous models in the TaylorMade line of drivers such as the SLDR, many have found the driver to be not so forgiving on mishits.

Overview and Features

Like the TaylorMade Aeroburner and SLDR, the R15 has a center of gravity that is low and forward which promotes a higher trajectory and lower spin — a recipe for distance.

The R15 also has what TaylorMade calls a “Front Track System” which performs similar to a Speed Pocket.  This technology also reduces spin, and it produces faster ball speeds all across the face, effectively increasing the size of the sweet spot.

The R15 features a 4° loft sleeve along with two 12.5 gram slideable weights (as opposed to one for earlier models).  Keep in mind that changing the loft using the loft sleeve has the side effect of changing the face angle and producing a bias for draw or fade shots, so be sure to give careful consideration to any such adjustments.  Regarding the weights:  sliding them to the center will promote distance, sliding them to the heel will promote a draw, sliding them to the toe will promote a fade, and splitting them will promote stability/forgiveness.

The R15 is available in four standard loft configurations:  9.5°, 10.5°, 12° and 14°, and features a Fujikura Speeder 57 Evolution shaft and Lamkin UTX grip.

How does the driver perform?

Spin:  The TaylorMade R15 driver does indeed produce low-spinning shots.  Tests showed that, with the weights in the neutral position (together), many shots were around 2000 RPM, but there were also many that were closer to 3000 RPM.  The average RPM over approximately 20 drives in the test was roughly 2600 RPM.

The R15 is definitely one of the lowest spinning drivers currently available, rivaling the likes of Callaway’s Big Bertha Double Black Diamond.  Golfers who feel that they’re getting too much spin on their drives and feel that it’s hampering their distance should consider a driver like the R15.

Forgiveness:  Although the R15 overall seems to be more forgiving than previous models in the line, it still is relatively unforgiving.  With the weights in the split position, forgiveness is moderate — mishits go off line but not wildly so.  With the weights together, on the other hand, the driver is quite unforgiving.  For that reason, this is probably not the best driver for those who who aren’t particularly good off the tee or who generally can’t hit it solid with any consistency.

If you typically do make good contact with your drives, however, the R15 will likely be a huge boon for your long game!

Trajectory:  Note that the low-spin attribute of the driver will often translate to a lower trajectory initially, so it’s almost essential to experiment with different loft settings (often increase it) in order to find the one that will maximize your distance.  Once you do this, you’ll be able to realize the full potential of the R15.

What about look, sound and feel?

Please click on the composite image at the top of the page for a high quality look at the 460cc model of the R15.

It’s perhaps no surprise that the R15 looks great in both black and white.  The 460 cc head is big without being bulky, the crown is fairly clean and the design on the sole is slick and blends nicely.  Like other TaylorMade drivers, the R15 has a marking on the crown to help with alignment.  Personally, I’m not crazy about the headcover, which almost looks like an oven mitt.

The R15 sounds solid and muted at impact, almost dampened, which is nice.  I found that the Lamkin grip was was firm (not hard) and comfortable, and the club feels great in the hands.

When the weights are split, feedback is distinct — mishits are generally pretty easy to identify.  For some reason, though, feedback tends to be a bit wonky when the weights are together.  This might be an individual thing, but for me, there were instances when mishits felt great and solid shots felt terrible.  It doesn’t affect your shot, but it can make correcting your mistakes a bit confusing.

Where should I buy this driver?

As is usually the case with clubs, Amazon here is one of the best places to buy new R15s.  They have all shaft types and standard lofts available for selection.  At the time of writing, the R15 appears to be running at a discount on both Amazon and the TaylorMade website.  I personally prefer Amazon because shipping is free and fast, they have an excellent return policy and exchanging is easy.

What about a used one?

This search page on eBay is one of the best places to find used R15 drivers at bargain prices.  In fact, eBay itself is one of the best places to find used golf equipment in general.  Check it out!

Global Golf also has a large selection of used R15 drivers available in all different conditions.  Try the coupon codes 99afs or 15OFFLEFTY for discounts and free shipping deals.

Conclusion

Pros:  Amazing ball flight and distance on solid hits, more forgiveness than predecessors, great look and feel, adjustability can really enhance your game
Cons:  Still not as forgiving on mishits as other drivers, feedback can be misleading on certain weight settings

The TaylorMade R15 driver is an fantastic driver that provides the most benefit for the more experienced or seasoned golfer with a lower handicap and/or a good consistent drive.  Even amateurs or “hacks” can benefit greatly from this driver, but those who are most concerned with more forgiveness might want to look into other options.

Think the R15 driver might be an option for you?  You’ll probably want to check this out here!

If you have any thoughts or opinions about the TaylorMade R15 driver, be sure to leave a comment below!


Images courtesy of:  Amazon

6 thoughts on “TaylorMade R15 Driver Reviews (2015)

  1. Tanya

    You know I never really have cared for gold too much but my husband and my oldest son absolutely love it. I will forward this website onto them as they are always looking for the best drivers and golf clubs out there.

    However my son is just learning… what would you recommend him using for beginners? Any suggestions?

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Tanya, it depends on how old he is. If he’s under 14 or so, he should probably be using a junior set of clubs; otherwise, he should be able to handle full sized clubs just fine. He can start out with any decent set of clubs (you can get all-in-one sets, bag included, for great prices — see here).

      Once he learns how to make solid contact with the ball, and if he’s committed to getting good at the game rather than just hacking once a month, he can look into getting some higher-end stuff (see more of my product reviews). It depends on his budget, though — you roughly get what you pay for, although not everyone necessarily needs very expensive equipment.

      Reply
  2. Jay

    I’ve been playing golf for quite some time now (half of my life) and I can tell you know what you’re talking about!

    I’ve been using a Taylormade R7 for the last few years. Would you say its worth upgrading or is my R7 comparable?

    Thanks for typing up such a detailed review on the R15. Your experience really shows!

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Thanks for the comment. The TaylorMade R7… that’s an oldie… came out in 2006, I believe? I’m sorry to say I don’t know too much about that model. As for whether or not you should upgrade, it really depends. How does it perform for you out on the golf course? Think you could do better in the distance department? Forgiveness department? If the answer to any of those questions is yes, I would probably recommend trying a more current driver. It also depends on your budget. When buying online, be sure to pick the shaft and standard loft that you think is best for you to maximize the chance that you’ll be satisfied with the driver. I believe Amazon (among others) will let you return clubs that show some use.

      Also keep in mind that it could take you some time to get comfortable with the feel of a new driver, so if you’re not seeing success immediately, stay the course and be patient with it — it could pay off big in the long run. In any event, if you’re someone who golfs regularly, I think it’s a good idea to stay within 5 years or so of the newest drivers so that you can take advantage of some of the latest technology.

      Reply
  3. Funkydunc

    Nice review of the Taylor driver. Interesting to read about the varied reviews and views on how to set the thing up to maximise its strengths.
    Question: When you tried it out, how far did you hit the tee shot?
    Sadly, the pic at the top of the article wouldn’t open, so I could have a close look at the club.
    But a good read anyway.
    Duncan

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Duncan,

      I’m not sure what you mean by “wouldn’t open”, but clicking on the image at the top will take you to an Amazon page where you can view zoomed high-resolution photos of the R15 — I checked the link and it seems to be working fine. As for my results, I don’t exactly have a monster clubhead speed (although it’s fairly fast), but I was hitting the R15 around 295-300 yards on solid strikes.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Reply

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