“ 350cc standard face design for players who want medium-trajectory drives with added spin for longer carry. Conforms with USGA Specifications on C.O.R. „
~ ~ Golfs a funny old game, so it is. The margins between success and failure are very tight, and the result of a competition can often hinge on a putt of no more than 2 or 3 feet. But theres one thing of which you can be certain; if you cant consistently put the ball onto the fairway (short grass) with your driver off the tee then theres simply no way that youre going to score well on a regular basis.
A good short game (pitching and putting around the green) can go some way to compensating for a wayward driver, but if you put your drive into the rough grass more than onto the fairway, then youll record bad scores more often than youll record good ones.
~ ~ Alas, this was the story of my own golf game for quite a few years up until recently. Despite excellent iron play, superb pitching, and a (occasionally) hot putter, I wasnt able to really get to grips with a very destructive hook (right to left shot) off the tee. So instead of putting for birdies, (one under par) I usually found myself struggling to save par, or even worse, a BOGEY or DOUBLE BOGEY! (One and two over par) My hall cupboard was full to overflowing with different drivers, and I got to the stage that I was seriously considering selling them all off to repay my outstanding mortgage! I spent an absolute FORTUNE in the vain attempt to discover my svelte touch of yesteryear, and to find a driver that would allow me to once again sweep away that little white ball with the conviction that it was going to go where I wanted it to!
~ ~ But fear not, dear readers, as I have now found salvation! It came in the form of a wonderful new driver from the golf club manufacturing company TaylorMade; the TaylorMade R540.
Ive had this driver for just over a year now and I noticed a huge improvement in my driving from the very first time I hit a ball with it at my local driving range. On the golf course (where it really matters) my scores over the past year or so have shown considerable improvement, and for the first time in a long while my handicap is once again beginning to come down instead of going up.
~ ~ So why is it that this driver from TaylorMade has effected such a dramatic transformation to my somewhat flagging golf game? Well, there really isnt a single reason, but instead a combination of new and innovative design and manufacturing methods by TaylorMade to help give the golfer that slight edge. In fact, so much of an edge does this driver give the golfer that it was ILLEGAL to use it in competitive play in the USA up until May of 2004. (It was always legal in the UK and Ireland though.)
Let me explain. Where the R540 (and the rest of the 500 series) driver ran foul of the golfing authorities was with something called the COR Statute. This rule dictates the maximum trampoline effect that a driver can have when it makes contact with the golf ball, or in simple terms, the bounce factor that dictates the maximum speed of the golf ball. Dont ask me to explain exactly how the golfing authorities measure this, but they came up with a (meaningless to me) figure of 0.83, (in the USA only) whereas the R540 had a COR factor of 0.86.
What this meant was that the golf ball left the face of the R540 driver at a greater speed, and with less spin, than any other driver. Greater speed plus less spin equates to the golf ball travelling a greater distance, in the case of the R540 anything from 20 to 30 yards further than its nearest competitor. (Callaway)
~ ~ But distance alone doesnt make a great driver. I never really lost my ability to hit the ball a fair distance from the tee, even when playing poorly. What caused me the most trouble was the fact that I simply couldnt guarantee what direction it was going to go in, and what trouble I would land the ball in at the end of its flight. I had become an expert at extricating myself from practically impossible situations, from knee high rough to deep in forests that nobody else had visited in generations!
Now with the new R540 driver, I am once again about 95% sure that my golf ball will be in a playable position after every drive, with the vast majority of my shots splitting the middle of the fairway at around the 260 yard to 290 yard mark. Its a LOVELY feeling, let me tell you!
~ ~ TaylorMade have achieved this seemingly impossible feat by using the best golf club designers in the business, and combining their skills with the very best that CAD (Computer Aided Design) has to offer.
The face of the driver (the part that contacts with the golf ball) is made out of ultra-thin, high-strength titanium, which is manufactured separately from the rest of the club head, and then welded on in two separate parts. This is what gives the club the extra bounce at the point of impact, and enables golfers with even a relatively slow swing speed to hit the ball FAR further than they ever have before.
The head is 350cc in size, with a standard height face design, so it doesnt feel like youre swinging an oversized house brick like you can with some of their competitors clubs, (Callaway and Wilson) whose similar drivers have much larger heads. (400cc to 450cc in size)
What TaylorMade have also achieved is to give the R540 a much larger sweet spot that any other driver has ever managed before. The sweet spot is the point on the club face which will give the golfer the straightest shot possible. The further from this sweet spot that the golf ball makes contact with the club face, the more off-line the shot will be. The sweet spot on the R540 is a practically unbelievable 60% larger than its nearest competitor, the Callaway ERC driver.
The result is obvious from the very first time you swing this club. Straighter shots on a more consistent basis, even from strikes that are less than perfect.
Combine all these factors with a 45 inch ultra-light graphite shaft weighing only 70 grams, and I believe you have almost the perfect golf club.
~ ~ There are various different shaft options and loft options to suit the individual golfer. For a golfer with a very fast swing speed, you can opt for a club with only 7.5 degrees of loft, and with a very stiff shaft. For an older or less strong golfer, the better option would be a regular shaft (whippier) with more loft; up to 12 degrees which will get the golf ball airborne more quickly.
~ ~ Now for the really good news. The price.
When the R540 first hit the market back in 2003, the price here in Ireland was a mind boggling 499. (Over £300 Sterling) I bought my R540 in McGuirks, a local Irish golfing superstore, for only 140 back in June 2005! Why the huge drop in price, you might well ask? Its because TaylorMade have now released newer versions of the 500 Series driver, the R580 and the R7 series.
Personally I dont like them, because they both have that ultra-large head that I complained about with Callaway and Wilson drivers. But we golfers are fickle creatures, and just like the old model of a car reduces drastically in price when a new model is released, the exact same thing happens with a golf club. Everyone wants the newest model, so the older version is reduced in price in order to shift it.
This is good news for those of us who are not dedicated followers of fashion. (That was the title of some old pop song, wasnt it?) If youre interested in purchasing one, then a search of the web using Google will throw up a plethora of sites where you can purchase it at a bargain price. Youll now get one FAR cheaper than the 140 I paid only last year, by the way.
~ ~ I highly, highly recommended The TaylorMade R540 driver. In fact, I simply cant recommend it highly enough. Its simply the best driver Ive ever hit in my entire golfing career, which now spans over 50 years. (Ive been playing golf, man and boy, since I was four, some 51 years ago !)