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In this review, I’ll take a look at the TaylorMade M5 driver.
With the M5, TaylorMade has built on the next-level Twist Face technology found in the M3, carefully calibrating the head to deliver as much speed as the USGA and R&A legally allow. A redesigned weight track also allows for powerful ball flight adjustability.
How does the M5 really perform? How does it compare to previous offerings like the M3? Is it worth putting in the bag?
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 M5 driver has excellent customer ratings in general: averages of 4.8/5 on Global Golf and 4.4/5 (over 125 reviews) on the official TaylorMade website.
It has been given near perfect scores by professional critics and website reviewers. It also earned a gold medal on the 2019 Golf Digest Hot List.
What People Like
- the Twist Face really helps to keep shots in the fairway
- many people report distance gains of 15-25 yards over their previous gamer
- fantastic sweet-spot feel that many think is better than the M3
- weight track adjustability is really handy for fine-tuning your ball flight
What People Don’t Like
- many golfers develop a dent in the toe of their M5 after a few months of use
- many golfers report different forms of physical damage due to bad mis-hits or high swing speeds
What are the features?
The standout feature of the M5 driver is the new and improved Speed-Injected Twist Face. It also has a redesigned T-Track.
Speed-Injected Twist Face
The M5 driver makes use of the Twist Face first rolled out in the M3 driver, but they’ve taken it to the next level.
First, it’s worth noting that most of today’s drivers are calibrated to be slightly under the speed limit. This speed is typically measured in the COR (coefficient of restitution) value, which has a legal limit of 0.83.
With the M5, TaylorMade made the face faster than the legal limit and then dialed it back by injecting a special resin into two circular areas low on the face. This resin stiffens the face, making it a little less flexible.
The end result is a driver face right at the legal limit of speed. This gives maximum ball speed for any given club head speed, which directly translates into more distance.
Of course, this works hand-in-hand with the original benefit of the Twist Face: a corrective face angle that makes strikes in the toe and heel work back towards the target.
The T-Track of the M5 has been redesigned as an “inverse track”. The part of the track that runs in the heel-toe direction is now at the back of the face, instead of at the front as seen in the M1.
The main reason for this change is likely to get the track out of the way of the advanced face architecture. In any case, it still allows for flexible launch and spin adjustments.
The two 10g weights have no fixed positions, meaning there are hundreds of possible weight combinations that will influence launch (high or low) and spin (draw or fade).
The M5 driver is available in 9°, 10.5°, and 12° standard lofts at 460CC. Also available is a Tour 435CC M5 in 9° and 10.5° lofts.
The M5 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 M5 are the Mitsubishi TENSEI CK Orange 60 (mid launch) and Project X HZRDUS Smoke 70 (low launch). The stock grip is the Golf Pride MCC.
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 M5 driver. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How does the driver perform?
Compared to the M3, the M5 driver definitely has a leg up in distance.
During my testing, I was getting on average 2.5 mph more ball speed and 12 yards more distance, which is a substantial difference on its own. Many of my colleagues have reported distance gains that are larger than this.
Distance on off-center hits, particularly high in the toe and low in the heel, is also some of the best I’ve seen, thanks to the corrective nature of the Twist Face. If I were using a typical driver, I’d probably lose an additional 10-20 yards on these kinds of strikes.
Sure, you can get excited about the marketing of a driver face that is “at the legal limit of speed” but you won’t truly understand the difference this makes until you hit some test shots yourself.
You can also use the movable weights and loft sleeve to dial in a distance-maximizing ball flight even more.
I found forgiveness to be very similar to the M3.
The absence of the particular Hammerhead Slot found in previous models may mean there’s less of a performance boost low on the face, but when you factor in the higher COR of the “injected” M5 face, the end result is nearly the same.
As I’ve touched on before, the Twist Face improves directional forgiveness due to the corrective curvature. In my testing sessions, mis-hits that I normally would expect to drift off line made an impressive effort to curve back to the target.
Forgiveness remains at a very high level, but doesn’t make a lot of new ground.
Trajectories with the M5 tend to be mid-high, especially for those with a high swing speed. This was my experience personally.
But overall, it’s difficult to pin down a trajectory because of the sheer number of ways you can adjust your ball flight.
Unlike the M6, the T-Track provides powerful adjustability for M5 users, and this makes for excellent playability as well. You could:
- Move weight towards the toe for a fade bias.
- Move weight towards the heel for a draw bias.
- Move weight back for a higher trajectory and more spin.
- Move weight forward (towards the face) for a lower trajectory and less spin.
Golfers with slow swing speeds may have better results with the weights back.
Your trajectory will depend largely on the position of the weights, the loft sleeve setting, the standard loft of the driver, the shaft, and your individual swing.
The sliding weight system on the M5 makes a real difference, and I highly recommend experimenting to find something that works for you.
What about look, sound & feel?
One of the first things you’ll notice when you look at the M5 is the two circular orange regions on the face — these are the speed injection grooves.
Compared to the M3, the M5 has a thinner top line, a slightly deeper face, and a cleaner look at address. It sits slightly open at address in order to look more appealing, although some natural faders may not agree with this.
The shape of the M5 is just a touch narrower than the M3. Aside from that, they share a lot of similarities including a beveled crown design with a strong black/silver contrast.
The coloured accents may look red in stock images of the M5, but they’re actually more of an orange.
The sole design isn’t my favourite; I think it looks a little bit tacky, and I prefer the design of the M3 more.
The Sound & Feel
I mentioned in my review of the M3 that I found it to feel fairly metallic and loud, with a decent amount of explosiveness on sweet-spot strikes.
The M5, comparatively speaking, sounds a bit lower-pitched and feels a bit more solid. I do prefer it over the M3 and would say it’s an improvement in any case.
Sweet-spot strikes remind me of certain Callaway drivers and are immensely satisfying. Hitting the sweet spot consistently can pump you up like nothing else, and it’ll make you look forward to every tee shot.
Where should you buy the M5 driver online?
The M5 driver is now more than a season old. At this point, there are a couple places where I recommend getting it online.
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 for a smooth buying process.
The other place is eBay. They are a fantastic source for golf equipment, and you may be able to find M5 drivers in new condition there as well.
You can still buy the M5 from the TM website, but only for a limited time.
I would definitely call the M5 driver a success. It either matches or surpasses the M3 in just about every performance metric.
It’s just as forgiving, but also longer due to the max COR face. It has just as much adjustability, and the sound and feel is noticeably improved. I do like the aesthetic of the M3 a little more, but that comes down to personal preference.
The only reason to get the M3 over the M5 is cost. If that isn’t an issue for you, I absolutely recommend giving the M5 a try and experimenting with the different settings.
Are you interested in the M5 driver? Have you played it? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.