By Max Adler
The news that matters is the TaylorMade JetSpeed driver touches down in stores December 13th and costs $300, along with a matching family of fairway woods ($230) and hybrids ($180). The driver has a newly designed "speed pocket," or a thin gap in the sole behind the center of the face, and so too, do the fairway woods and hybrids. The idea is to make not only the face flex, but indeed the entire structure of the driver head, so that the ball will fly faster and with less punitive spin when you catch it low.
In addition to a redesigned sole slot that features a cut-through opening, the fairway woods (lofts: 15, 17, 19, 21, and 23 degrees) and hybrids (lofts: 17, 19, 22, 25, 28 degrees) both utilize a special high strength steel designed to be more flexible than the steel used in the RBZ line of metalwoods. The driver (lofts: 9.5, 10.5, and HL), which includes a crown design that gets as thin as 0.4 millimeters, features a 12-way adjustable hosel that can change loft by plus or minus 1.5 degrees.
Most interesting is the design's intent to position the center of gravity low and closer to the face. So many drivers of recent history have touted how low and far back from the face this theoretical point was positioned. "We believe this is the way toward that mythical land of ideal launch conditions, 1700 rpm's and 17 degrees of launch angle," said Sean Toulon, executive vice president of TaylorMade. "If we can continue with this technology, who knows, someday we could all be playing drivers with 16 or 18-degrees of loft."
The news that probably doesn't matter but might be no less intriguing is that the launch of the new clubs occurred while on a private Gulfstream G4 NetJets flight from TaylorMade headquarters in Carlsbad, Ca., to the company's newest TaylorMade Golf Experience in Las Vegas.