At first pass, TaylorMade's M1 and M2 metalwoods for 2017 might look similar to their immediate predecessors.
Makes sense. When you are the makers of the metalwoods that have been the No. 1 sellers and have been for much of the current century, messing around with a winning blueprint doesn’t seem like the right plan.
Of course, the distinct white-black, carbon-composite-crowned M1 and then M2 metalwoods were a dramatic departure for the company when they were first announced last fall and earlier this year. The company embraced a unique approach to lightweight carbon composite in the crown, allowing them to maximize adjustability in the M1 with a T-shaped track that featured two sliding movable weights. The carbon-composite crown also freed up weight to make the M2 a more forgiving option.
But as similar as the new M1 and M2 metalwoods look to the old M1 and M2, each is as radical a departure from its immediate past as the former was from anything TaylorMade had ever done before. In short, the M1 and M2 aren’t complete redos, they’re just what last year’s M1 and M2 wanted to be when they grew up.
Or as it was put by Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s senior director of product creation for metalwoods, “Our goal is to make last year’s product look old.”
The key behind the improvements is the use of new materials. Both the new M1 and M2 benefit from switching to a lighter titanium alloy, Ti 9-1-1. In addition to a reformulated and lighter carbon-composite crown, the new M1 adds a carbon-composite pane in the toe section of the sole. Altogether, the M1 uses 43 percent more carbon composite than last year’s M1. Combined with the lighter titanium alloy, TaylorMade’s engineers says the new M1 features a center of gravity that projects below the center of the face for higher launch, lower spin and better energy transfer.
It also improves the degree of adjustability on the M1, already the most changeable club in the game. The new M1 will have 5,796 possible settings, a 132 percent increase from just last year. The number comes from the 483 combinations available on the two sliding weights and TaylorMade’s 12-way adjustable hosel that accounts for plus/minus two degrees of loft change.
But more importantly, because of the weight-saving materials, the increased adjustability gives the M1 the potential for a greater moment of inertia (or stability on off-center hits). The center of the T-track actually extends nearly half an inch farther back than on the original M1 for a deeper CG and more forgiveness.
In addition, the two T-track weights, which allow the user to independently alter trajectory height and direction, utilize more weight than last year. Thanks to a 12-gram weight in the center, the total movable weight is now 27 grams vs. last year’s 25. Subtle is how flat the center track is, allowing the CG to stay low even as the weight slides back so shots still launch with low spin. There is also a 440 cubic centimeter version of the M1, which offers 30 grams of moveable weight in its T-track system.
The M2’s improvements are no less dramatic. They just happen to be relatively hidden. But the M2 reflects a fundamental shift in how TaylorMade went about designing the head. Rather than settling on a preferred shape and then creating internal ribs and other structures to mitigate the prototype shape’s failings in the areas of sound and vibration, the new M2 was designed from the inside out. Rather than using up valuable weight with these internal structures, the M2’s cleaner internal structure means more weight can be distributed deep to increase moment of inertia.
That change is most noticeable in how the carbon composite crown slightly overhangs the sole. That’s because the sole’s extra curvature improves the sound by stiffening the structure, all while significantly reducing any internal geometries to control vibration. According to TaylorMade engineers, the amount of mass devoted to these internal geometries was reduced by more than 70 percent. That results in a moment of inertia the company says is dramatically higher than any TaylorMade club in recent history (above 5,000 grams-centimeters squared) while still keeping the CG low.
Todd Beach, TaylorMade’s vice president of research and development for metalwoods, explained that the subtle change in the thinking about shape “opens a whole new area of design space for us.” It’s what the company is calling “geocoustics” or the marriage between internal and external geometries and acoustical engineering.
The M2 also features a new sole slot that’s reduced in mass from past versions yet is designed to dramatically increase the way the face deflects at impact for better ballspeed and decreased spin on impacts lower on the face.
For the first time in many years, TaylorMade will specifically offer an anti-slice version of one of its drivers. The M2 D-Type is heel-weighted and slightly offset to encourage less of a fade miss.
Visually, the M1 and M2 white-black crown has changed slightly due to a more intense manufacturing process that actually fits the carbon composite piece more precisely into the the titanium front part of the crown.
Both the M1 and M2 lines offer new fairway woods and hybrids, each mirroring the player types of each family. The M1 fairway woods and hybrids emphasize adjustability with a sliding weight positioned in the sole. The fairway wood features a carbon-composite crown, a 450 steel body with a C300 steel face insert. The track, which houses a 25-gram weight, has been moved midway back in the sole to allow for a cut-through slot toward the front of the sole. It’s designed for better face flexing on impacts lower on the face, as well as for reduced spin. The hybrid features a 27-gram sliding weight in the sole, as well as a similar cut-through slot towards the front of the sole.
The M2 fairway wood incorporates TaylorMade’s variable thickness, inverted cone face design, a technology usually reserved for drivers to distribute more of a spring-like effect across a wider area of the face. Its other key distance feature is of course the trademark sole slot that’s longer to increase face flexibility. The M2 hybrid is a larger profile, slightly draw-biased design.
In both the M2 fairway wood and hybrid, the back part of the sole is raised to improve turf interaction.
The M1 drivers will retail for $500, the fairway woods for $300 and the hybrids for $250. The M2 drivers will retail for $400, the fairway woods for $250 and the hybrids for $200. The M1 and M2 metalwoods are slated to be available in stores Jan. 27, 2017.