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In this review, I’ll be taking a look at the TaylorMade M3 driver.
TaylorMade has introduced three new breakthrough technologies in the M3: the Twist Face, the Hammerhead Slot and the Y-Track. These allegedly combine to produce better mis-hit forgiveness, more ball speed and distance, and more adjustability for dialing in your ball flight.
Here’s what I’m going to be covering in this review:
- Features & Technologies
- Look, Sound & Feel
- Where To Buy This Driver Online
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?
The TaylorMade M3 driver is viewed very positively in general, with ratings of 4.6/5 (over 77 reviews) on Global Golf and 4.4/5 on the official TaylorMade website.
As you might expect, the more reviews there are, the more pressure there is for the average score to drop, so the ratings the M3 has are indeed impressive.
The 440CC version of the M3 earned a gold medal on the 2018 Golf Digest Hot List.
What People Like
- excellent all-around performance: distance, forgiveness and adjustability
- it really does help straighten out shots
- the feel is amazing once you dial it in
- the impact feel is very satisfying
What People Don’t Like
- some people have issues with the head cracking and other physical defects
- can give poor results if the customization or configuration doesn’t match your swing
What are the features?
When creating the M3, TaylorMade strived to find a new, effective solution to the so-called “mis-hit problem”. How can the most common mis-hits be forgiven beyond simply making the face hotter?
Eventually, the M3 was born. It’s marked by three new technologies:
The Twist Face is quite different from the traditional driver face design, and is definitely the standout feature of the M3.
It consists of a new face curvature with a corrective face angle on off-center hits. There’re less loft in the low-heel, and more loft in the high-toe.
The end result is reduced side spin and straighter shots that more closely follow your intended line. The consistent spin results in more consistent distance, and more distance overall.
The new Hammerhead Slot is located in the sole of the club, just behind the face. It serves two main purposes:
- The outer portions of the slot are reinforced to provide a lighter, more flexible face.
- The middle portion of the slot reduces spin and increases ball speed on strikes low on the face.
This not only results in more distance and forgiveness across the face, but it also enhances the sound and feel of the driver.
The Y-Track, as the name implies, is a Y-shaped track on the sole that contains two weights. These weights (11g each) can be moved seamlessly to influence trajectory, spin, and forgiveness.
For the first time, the track is fully connected, allowing players to shift weight over nearly the entire width of the sole.
There are countless possible weight configurations, each encouraging a particular shot shape and trajectory. It allows practically any golfer to dial in the best ball flight for their swing.
The M3 driver is available in 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, and 12° standard lofts at 460 CC. Also available is a 440 CC version M3 in lofts of 9° and 10°.
The M3 driver includes a 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 by 0.5-0.75°, the lie angle by 0.5-0.75°, and the face angle by 1-2°.
The stock shafts available with the M3 are the TENSEI White (low launch), TENSEI Blue (mid launch) and TENSEI Red (high launch). The stock grip is the Lamkin UTx Cord.
If you’re interested, full information on the driver, shafts, grips, their specs, and any custom shaft options can be found here.
Below are the specs of the M3 460 CC driver. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How does the driver perform?
Distance with the M3 is excellent, but not in the way you might think.
These days, equipment manufacturers try to squeeze extra distance out of drivers by making the face “hotter”. With the M3, it’s more complicated.
For off, the Twist Face: it doesn’t produce unprecedented ball speed on its own, but its value comes from the corrective face angle. As long as you keep a relatively square face at impact, hitting towards the heel or toe will deliver a straighter ball flight that flies farther because of reduced sidespin.
The second thing contributing to more distance is the Hammerhead Slot. In my experience, strikes low on the face come out unusually hot; the end result is a ball flight that more closely resembles (but isn’t the same, of course) that of a sweet-spot strike.
The Y-Track allows you a ton of flexibility in dialing in your optimal ball flight and hence maximizing your distance. For example, if you tend to hit your driver too low, you can shift the weight back to heighten your trajectory.
All things considered, I found the M3 to produce the best distance of all previous TM driver models. That’s really the best you can ask for, right?
Most modern drivers labelled as “forgiving” have increased ball speeds across the face. While this means that mis-hits will preserve more ball speed relative to center strikes, it doesn’t do much in terms of straightening out shots.
The M3 is different. The Twist Face not only increases distance, but it also improves directional forgiveness due to the corrective curvature.
I have definitely seen this borne out in my testing. Mis-hits that I normally would expect to drift off line didn’t stray that much at all.
Ball speed forgiveness is very good, especially low on the face. Directional forgiveness is some of the best I’ve seen in any driver.
The Y-Track provides powerful adjustability for M3 users, and this makes for exceptional playability.
There are many different ways you can fine-tune your trajectory with the Y-Track. Here are some examples:
- Move the weights towards the toe for a fade bias.
- Move the weights towards the heel for a draw bias.
- Move the weights back (one on each arm of the Y) for a higher trajectory and more spin.
- Move the weights forward (towards the face) for a lower trajectory and less spin.
Golfers with high swing speeds may have more success with the weights forward.
Your trajectory will depend largely on the position of the weights, the loft sleeve setting, the standard loft of the driver, and your individual swing.
The sliding weight system on the M3 makes a real difference, and I highly recommend experimenting to find something that works for you.
What about look, sound & feel?
The M3 is meant to be the successor to the M1 driver. It doesn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that the shape is very similar.
The colours are also very similar (black and white) but there are no red accents this time.
At address, the M3 does appear a more elongated. The shape has a nice pear taper, with the toe sitting a little higher. The crown is also beveled, no doubt to streamline the aerodynamics.
The sole of the club has a sharp new design with the “M3” logo featured prominently. There are also indicators near the Y-Track that help you understand how the positions of the weights can influence the ball flight.
Overall, the M3 driver has a confidence-inspiring look that sets up very well at address. With that said, the bold contrast of the silver and black won’t appeal to everyone.
The Sound & Feel
When it comes to TaylorMade drivers in general, I find the feels to be quite polarizing: many love them, while others don’t like them at all.
I think the M3 continues this trend. Compared to the M1, the M3 seems a little louder and more metallic at impact. This isn’t necessarily ideal. However, sweet spot strikes feel very explosive and satisfying, and strikes near the heel and toe feel better than previous TaylorMade offerings.
All in all, I think the M3 has taken a small step forward (at best) with the sound and feel. It won’t win you over, but it won’t push you away either.
Where should you buy the M3 driver online?
The M3 driver has a little bit of age on it now. At this point, there are a couple places where I recommend getting one online, but keep in mind that it’s difficult to find it in new condition these days.
One place is Global Golf, which is the certified pre-owned source of TaylorMade golf clubs. They offer many attractive policies and deals that make the buying process smooth.
The other place is eBay. They are a fantastic source for golf equipment, and you may be able to find M3 drivers in new condition there as well.
The TaylorMade M3 driver is a really solid performer that will appeal to a wide range of golfers, and not just because of the next-level adjustability that the Y-Track offers.
It’s long, and it’s forgiving in the truest sense of the word. No, it’s not going to make shanks go straight down the target line, but it is going to straighten out your shots to an extent.
The M3 certainly delivers on its claims; in many ways, it’s an improvement over the M1.
And at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what kind of swing you have: if you can make decent contact with the ball, you can make the M3 work for you.
Are you interested in the M3 driver? Have you played it? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.