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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 (eBay link), 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.
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 ratings and reviews certainly indicate that the R15 is a quality, top-of-the-line driver. It has a high average rating on Global Golf 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.
What People Like
Reviewers have praised the style, light weight, adjustability (loft sleeve and moveable weights) and versatility.
What People Don’t Like
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.
Click on the composite image at the top of the page for a high quality look at the 460cc model of the R15.
Overview & Features
Low & Forward CG
Front Track System
The R15 also has what TaylorMade calls a “Front Track System” which performs similar to a Speed Pocket.
This technology 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.
As for 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 stock Fujikura Speeder 57 Evolution shaft and Lamkin UTX grip.
How does the driver perform?
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 still one of the lowest spinning drivers 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.
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!
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 increasing 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 & feel?
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 Sound & Feel
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 awful. It doesn’t affect your shot, but it can make correcting your mistakes a bit confusing.
Where should you buy this driver online?
The R15 is quite an old model, and you can get them for crazy low prices now.
Global Golf, the official online retailer for used TaylorMade clubs, is currently out of stock. In the event they get stock, have a look at the current coupon discounts they’re running.
The best source right now is eBay. It’s a fantastic place to get these drivers, and I highly recommend checking out the listings.
- amazing ball flight and distance on solid hits
- more forgiveness than predecessors
- great look and feel
- adjustability can really enhance your game
- still not as forgiving on mishits as other drivers
- feedback can be misleading on certain weight settings
The TaylorMade R15 is an excellent 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 a high level of forgiveness might want to look into other options.
Interested in the R15 driver? Do you have any questions about it? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.