Industry Insider: TaylorMade's Tom Olsavsky
Golfing Magazine had a chance to chat with Tom Olsavsky, senior director of product creation for TaylorMade adidas Golf, recently and he brought us up to snuff on the company's ground-breaking R11S and RocketBallz drivers and fairway woods.
"The R11S driver is another leap in performance for adjustable drivers, a category we have dominated for the last eight years. Major improvements in size, aerodynamics, launch conditions and adjustability are the main reasons this product has been very successful this year."
The head on the new R11S is 460 cc, 20 cc larger than the R11 that it replaced. Although larger it is more aerodynamically efficient, having less drag and more club speed. The center of gravity has also been lowered to produce better launch conditions (higher launch and lower spin).
"All of these combine to produce a driver that is seven to 10 yards longer than the R11," said Olsavsky.
The larger size but lower center of gravity in the R11S was accomplished by using a Thick-Thin crown technology to reduce crown weight. The "Thin" areas are 0.4 mm, which is the thinnest the company has ever produced. The "Thick" sections are 0.6 mm, which is what TaylorMade has used for several years. Adjustability features were also improved to give a wider range of loft, lie and face angle than the R11.
"We now use a 1.5-degree sleeve, since many players need a larger range of these angles to be fully optimized. The adjustability features are critical due to the variety of swing types and therefore, launch conditions needed in the market."
Olsavsky said a major difference between the R11 systems and other competitive offerings is that only R11 products allow the golfer to change the face angle (using the Adjustable Sole Plate) independently of the loft.
Olsavsky said that the Standard RocketBallz driver is lightweight, 299 grams overall, for more speed and distance. It is designed with a shallower face and will produce a slightly higher trajectory in the standard loft setting.
"The RocketBallz Tour Driver is a deeper face for a slightly lower trajectory and a slightly stiffer and heavier shaft. Both incorporate the eight-position FCT sleeves at 1.5 degrees of loft tuning higher or lower, and is in the same sleeves as the R11S driver."
He added, "The RocketBallz fairways and rescues are breakthrough distance-performing clubs that incorporate three key features that when put together provide maximum distance."
First is a deeper and thinner face than traditional steel fairways. This increases ball speed off the face. Second is a Speed Pocket on the sole, a deep slot that allows the sole the flex more than traditional fairway woods. This also works with the face to create more ball speed.
And third, the center of gravity has been moved forward to be more in line with the typical contact point. This also increases speed and also drastically lower spin rate while maintaining a similar launch angle, which is ideal for ease of use and distance.
"All this combines to produce a fairway woods that are 17 yards longer than our previous Burner Superfast product and even longer compared to older fairways. This faster speed and lower spin performance comes in two types, Standard and Tour version.
These fairways and rescues are setting unheard of numbers in sell-through and market share."