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In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the TaylorMade BRNR Mini driver.
The BRNR Mini offers a modern take on TaylorMade’s Burner drivers of the late 90s, specifically the Ti Bubble 2 driver. With a classic, compact, ‘miniature’ shape and sole adjustability, it’s designed for better players who seek reliability and versatility in a retro throwback design.
Make no mistake: despite being inspired by clubs from the distant past, the BRNR Mini can certainly compete with today’s best woods. But how does it actually perform when put to the test? How does it compare with other TaylorMade offerings like the Stealth 2? Is it worth putting in the bag?
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
Most critics regard the BRNR Mini as performing very well for a mini driver. It has an excellent average rating of 4.7/5 (94% recommended) on the TaylorMade store.
What People Like
- packs plenty of distance
- impressively tight dispersions
- great off-the-deck results
- crisp, solid feel
- fantastic old-school headcover
- modern looks with a retro flare
What People Don’t Like
- very narrow appeal among golfers
What are the features?
A mini driver can be thought of as a cross between a driver and a fairway wood.
In the case of the BRNR Mini, you get:
- a premium titanium, steel, and carbon fiber construction designed to optimize sound, feel and performance
- 1.5g and 13g split weights that can be swapped for more forgiveness (13g in the back) or lower spin (13g in the front)
- a K-SOLE that is designed to promote a consistent “off-the-deck” result and increased distance by reducing resistance through the turf
- a Thru-Slot Speed Pocket that increases sole flexibility, leading to increased ball speed and forgiveness low on the face
- a special Twist Face curvature that reduces side spin and straightens out shots
- a 4-degree loft sleeve that allows you to adjust loft, lie and face angle
The BRNR Mini driver is available in 11.5° and 13.5° standard lofts at 304CC.
Included is an 4° loft sleeve that allows you to adjust loft, lie and face angle. There are 12 possible sleeve variations that can increase or decrease the loft and lie angle by ±2°, and the face angle by ±4°.
The stock shaft is the UST Mamiya ProForce 65 Retro Burner Edition. The stock grip is the SuperStroke S-Tech. Both have a sleek copper theme to match the head, and the shaft is slightly shorter than normal.
If you’re interested, full information on the driver, shafts, grips, their specs, and any custom options can be found here.
Below are the specs of the BRNR Mini driver.
Let’s cut right to the chase. Is the BRNR Mini as long as a normal modern driver like the Stealth 2? Probably not. But the difference isn’t much.
When I got to hit this club, I was seeing carry distances that were about 5 yards shorter than what I normally see with driver. On the other hand, the results were about 15-18 yards longer than what I tend to see with my 3-wood.
In my view, the distance performance of the BRNR Mini fits perfectly with what a mini driver is supposed to be. I would even say that distance surpassed my expectations. It’s definitely closer to being a driver than a fairway wood in this respect.
Forgiveness is an area where the BRNR Mini might surprise you. It really is impressive, despite the smaller head volume — almost on the level of a modern game-improvement driver.
During my testing, I intentionally hit some really awful ones off the toe and all over the rest of the face, and while they did certainly stray off line, the ball speed preservation in mis-hit areas was amazing. Even my worst strikes only saw a minimal loss in carry distance of around 5-10 yards.
I truly believe that the BRNR Mini could be a game-changer for players who tend to spray the ball all over the place with standard 460cc drivers. Sometimes a smaller head just suits the eye better.
With the 13g weight in the front, the BRNR Mini tends to produce a low, piercing trajectory. I would caution against this configuration if you have a slower swing speed or otherwise struggle to get the ball up in the air.
With the 13g weight in the back, the driver tends to produce a pleasant mid-high trajectory. This is the configuration I suggest for the majority of players as it provides an excellent balance of launch, distance and forgiveness.
Hitting off the deck is very achievable. It’s certainly not as easy as hitting a fairway metal off a tight lie, but as far as drivers go, the BRNR Mini is going to give you the best chance because of its shallower profile. I recommend keeping the weight in the back when hitting off the deck in order to get enough trajectory.
As you might suspect, the BRNR Mini isn’t lacking in the versatility department thanks to its compact shape. You can basically hit any shot you want with it as long as you have the aptitude, and this is one of the things that really give it a leg up over typical oversized drivers.
Of course, the first thing that immediately jumps out about the BRNR Mini is that it doesn’t look like a typical 460cc driver you would see today.
The BRNR Mini offers a modern interpretation of TaylorMade’s Burner drivers of the late 90s, specifically the Ti Bubble 2 driver.
While the head is slightly larger at 304cc in contrast to the 285cc of the Ti Bubble 2, the retro styling and aesthetics have been modernized. The glossy black crown has a similar “nano” texture to what is found in the Stealth 2 line, but with a unique copper tinge.
The sole of the BRNR Mini is dominated by the black K-SOLE plate, which is flanked on the top and bottom by copper-coloured regions. It’s not nearly as copper-focused as the Ti Bubble 2 was, but it’s enough to remind people where the inspiration comes from.
I think the overall look of the BRNR Mini (and the matching headcover) is fantastic and it really hits the spot for me. Some will undoubtedly be turned off by the copper accents, but the uniqueness of it all in this day and age is very much appreciated.
The Sound & Feel
Out of all of TaylorMade’s recent drivers, the sound and feel of the BRNR Mini remind me of the SIM the most.
I really love the feel of the BRNR Mini overall. There’s just a touch of softness that lets you know the ball is being compressed, but the feel is hot and somewhat explosive at the same time.
The sound is mid-pitched and fairly tight. And the good news is: despite the fact that the driver is relatively forgiving, mis-hit feedback is very informative without being overly harsh. You’ll definitely know when you make poor contact just by feeling it through your hands.
Where To Buy This Driver Online
You can order a BRNR Mini driver with your choice of loft and shaft flex on TaylorMade’s official store.
Another option is PGA TOUR Superstore. They offer performance guarantees, club fittings, club trade-ins, and other programs designed to make the buying experience as smooth as possible.
You can also buy the Stealth 2 driver from Amazon.
Don’t forget about eBay, where you can often find unbeatable deals on new and used golf equipment.
All things considered, the TaylorMade BRNR Mini is a very impressive mini driver. It packs many of the benefits you’d expect from a modern 460cc game-improvement driver while at the same time providing the workability, versatility, and off-the-deck performance that only a mini driver can.
With only a slight distance disadvantage compared to the Stealth 2 and similar models, excellent ball speed preservation across the face, sole adjustability, and a classic yet modern aesthetic, the BRNR Mini really has a lot going for it.
Let’s be real: its appeal is going to be very narrow among golfers. And the fact that you’re locked into one stock shaft and grip without any custom options is not ideal.
However, you might be very surprised at how well the BRNR Mini performs for you if you traditionally struggle with large-headed drivers, especially on holes with tight fairways. Just give it a try.
Interested in the BRNR Mini driver? Have you played it? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.