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This is a full review of the TaylorMade SIM Max driver.
The SIM Max shares the same cutting-edge technologies that define the SIM family of drivers including the asymmetric sole and Inertia Generator. But with a larger club face and deeper center of gravity, it delivers more MOI and forgiveness and is aimed at higher handicaps.
Just how much more forgiving is the SIM Max than the SIM? How does it compare with the M6? 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?
Like the standard SIM, the SIM Max driver has excellent customer ratings, and it appears to be more popular too. It has a 4.5/5 rating on Global Golf and 4.8/5 (over 525 reviews) on the official TM website.
It has also been given very high scores by professional critics and website reviewers. It earned a gold medal on the 2020 Golf Digest Hot List.
What People Like
- more beginner-friendly than the SIM
- higher spin and MOI gives many higher handicaps the confidence they need to play their best golf
- excellent forgiveness makes it easy to keep the ball relatively on-line
- better performance than both the M4 and M6
What People Don’t Like
- a lot more expensive than comparable alternatives
- may not be ideal for skilled players
What are the features?
The SIM Max has most of the same features as the regular SIM, namely:
- Speed-Injected Twist Face: a Twist Face that helps correct off-center hits is combined with injections that bring the speed of the face (COR) up to the legal limit.
- Asymmetric Shape: the unique design creates asymmetry and uses an Inertia Generator to shift weight back.
- Multi-Material Construction: allows weight to be positioned low and back in the head for less spin and higher MOI.
- Thru-Slot Speed Pocket: increases sole flexibility, leading to increased ball speed and forgiveness low on the face.
- Inverted Cone Technology: normally associated with TM irons, this expands the sweet spot on the face, leading to better mis-hit performance.
The key differences lie in the size, CG, and adjustability.
First, the SIM Max has an 8% larger face than the SIM. In addition to this, a weight track on the sole is removed to make room for a larger Inertia Generator.
This altered Inertia Generator shifts weight even deeper, increasing MOI, spin and forgiveness for the golfer.
The SIM Max driver is available in 9°, 10.5°, and 12° standard lofts at 460CC.
It includes a 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 shafts available with the SIM Max are the Ventus Blue 6 (mid launch) and Ventus Red 5 (mid-high launch). The stock grip is the Golf Pride Z-Grip.
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 SIM Max driver. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How does the driver perform?
The easiest and most useful thing for me to do during my testing session was to compare the performance of the SIM Max directly with the SIM, with the same loft and shaft.
I also noted how the performance compares to the M6, which is TM’s previous game-improvement model that also uses an Inertia Generator.
Here are my conclusions from the test:
For me, the distance of the SIM Max is pretty much neck-and-neck with the SIM. The SIM Max tends to launch higher and carry a little farther, but with less rollout.
You might expect a higher-spin like the SIM Max to suffer in the distance department; on the contrary, it manages to keep up with some of the longest, hottest drivers I’ve tested.
With that said, results depend on the individual. Some golfers with a strong, fast swing speed may get too much spin, adversely affecting their distance. Golfers with slower swing speeds may get the additional spin they need to keep the ball airborne for longer.
One area where I feel the SIM Max comes out slightly ahead is distance on off-center hits, which more closely resembles distance on center strikes.
If you want to enjoy the technologies of the SIM with a solid serving of forgiveness on the side, the Max is ideal.
After spending a few minutes hitting the SIM Max, it quickly becomes apparent that mis-fits feel a little more stable and the spin is higher. You’re less prone to catastrophic misses that sail into the trees or end up 60 yards short of the norm.
Compared to the M6, forgiveness seems to be very close. If I had to choose, I would say that the SIM Max has a slight edge in forgiveness, but not necessarily one that warrants an upgrade if the M6 is your current gamer.
If you want maximum forgiveness, I suggest looking at the SIM Max D, which has an even larger face and a draw bias to help with slicing.
The spin of the SIM Max seems to be above average. Combined with a large Inertia Generator that shifts weight back, the result is a mid-high flight that carries a long way.
Of course, it depends on the kind of swing you have, but golfers with slower swing speeds should have a pretty easy time getting the ball up in the air. If you don’t feel you’re getting an optimal trajectory on your shots, I suggest trying out different loft sleeve settings.
I didn’t notice any particular bias in the ball flight. The SIM Max is less workable than the SIM, but you can still shape shops with it to a certain degree.
What about look, sound & feel?
The SIM Max driver looks nearly identical to the SIM, with two key differences.
One is the size: side-by-side, you’ll notice that the face of the SIM Max is slightly larger, and the head is slightly longer from back to front.
The second is the sole design: instead of a weight track near the face, there’s a larger Inertia Generator that appears to covers more area.
Other than this, the SIM Max has the white/silver crown and blue accents found on the SIM. At address, unless you have a keen eye or are looking at them side-by-side, you would have a hard time telling the two apart.
The Sound & Feel
It’s always interesting to note how the sound and feel of “game-improvement” variants in a driver family compare to the original.
Such game-improvement offerings typically don’t feel quite as good in the center of the face, but they feel more consistent across the face, including in mis-hit areas.
Having said that, the sound and feel of the SIM Max didn’t surprise me much. Compared to the SIM, it has the same pitch but sounds slightly louder at impact.
Most mis-hits feel fairly stable, but what’s even better is that feedback is more useful than you might expect from a typical GI model. I was able to figure out quite quickly through the feel in my hands where the ball made contact and roughly how bad the mis-hit was.
Where should you buy the SIM Max driver online?
There are a couple places I recommend besides the official TaylorMade store, which is low on stock due to the age of the model.
One is Global Golf, which is the certified pre-owned source of TaylorMade golf clubs (new condition is also available). They offer many attractive policies and deals that make for a smooth buying process.
The other is eBay. They are a fantastic source for golf equipment, both new and used.
TaylorMade’s SIM MAX is one of the best game-improvement drivers a mid-high handicapper can currently get their hands on.
For many golfers, it delivers the same or more distance than the SIM. It’s also more forgiving, comparable with the M6 of the previous season.
I’m personally not a fan of overly-large club heads and loud impact sounds, but considering the forgiveness and playability the SIM Max offers, it’s definitely something I can tolerate.
As an added bonus, the SIM Max is $50 cheaper than the SIM, although this is still expensive for a driver. If you have the M6 or a similar model, it may not be worth the upgrade, depending on how tight your finances are.
Are you interested in the SIM Max driver? Have you played it? What’s your experience? Let us know in the comments below.