TaylorMade Golf has teased you enough, and now they're ready to share why there are two red screws -- they're really blood orange, but they looked red on glance -- on the face of their new M5 and M6 drivers.
The screws -- one on the low toe and one on the low heel, and much smaller than the initial advertising made them appear -- are part of the next iteration of the company's Twist Face, which debuted in the M3 and M4 driver.
Twist Face, as you'll recall, is TaylorMade's take on modified bulge-and-roll, offering more loft and a more open face to counteract duck hooks hit on the high toe, as well less loft and a more closed face for high pushes hit on the low heel.
Making an illegal face, and dialing it back
In an effort to increase speed, TaylorMade sought to use some of the engineering we've seen in hollow-body players-distance irons to improve the measure known as characteristic time (CT), which the USGA tests for as a proxy for ball-speed generation and energy transfer at impact. It's a measure of how long the golf ball stays on the face of a club at impact. For a driver, the maximum allowed is 257 microseconds, though that's at the top end of the grace allowance on a 239 microsecond standard. And that measure covers the entire club fact, no longer just the middle.
TaylorMade says its 20 percent thinner face (in places) is actually designed to surpass USGA limits on CT, particularly increasing performance on the toe and heel regions. The company says the M5 driver has a 66 percent larger sweet spot than the M3. The new ports on the driver faces are then used to dial back the face performance to a legal limit. Through those ports, TaylorMade injects a new resin, to sit alongside a performance foam, designed to maximize ball speed to the USGA regulations. The amount of resin injected varies from head to head, as manufacturing tolerances mean not every head is the same. TaylorMade is basically saying they're doing the material equivalent of hand-polishing a wedge...except with a driver.
Hammerhead technology returns in both the M5 and M6 driver, with a larger profile along the sole to deliver the flexing performance along more of the length of the face.
Of course, the company's efforts working with carbon-fiber composite plating continues in the crown and in the sole. The material use continues to improve, while the overall footprint of carbon-fiber increases 10 percent in this fourth generation of the M family.
M5 and M5 Tour drivers
The M5 and M5 Tour drivers feature a new mushroom-shaped T-track weight system on the sole. With two 10-gram weights and a new shape, the company says there's are 1,770 unique combinations for golfers to dial in ball flight on the front-to-back track and shot-shape bias on the rear-sole track. The company says the track is now flatter thanks to new driver shaping and delivers even more of a weight shift relative to the neutral axis.
The M5 is a 460cc model, while the M5 Tour is 435cc -- slightly smaller than the 440cc versions offered in prior M generations. The M5 Tour is designed for a player who wants to be able to work the driver more while killing more spin.
The TaylorMade M5 driver will be available for pre-order on Jan. 18 and at retail on Feb. 1 for $550 each. The M5 driver will be available in 9-, 10.5- and 12-degree heads, while the M5 Tour will be the same price and available March 1 in 9- and 10.5-degree heads. The stock shaft offerings will be the Mitsubishi CK Tensei Orange 60 and Project X HZRDUS Smoke 70 shaft, as well other options with no upcharge.
M6 and M6 D-Type drivers
The M6 and M6 D-Type drivers have the same face technology as the M5s, and they're a little deeper in the face (by 1 mm). The carbon-fiber crown carries over from the M5, and it seems the story here is getting back to a weight distribution more like the original M2 driver. That thing was incredible, and it took the company by surprise with its popularity among Tour pros.
Though the M2 concept wasn't an inspiration, that badging was blown up to a 3D shape and advanced with better shaping and materials (including more than 50 percent more total carbon fiber coverage than the M4). The M6 driver has a big weight region low and back to drop that center of gravity for ideal launch conditions for most golfers. The positioning, dubbed the Inertia Generator, is more pronounced, and it'll inspire some comparisons to the Cobra Golf F9 Speedback shaping. The M6 driver will probably be the TaylorMade driver of choice for their customers in 2019.
The M6 D-Type features a big draw bias for that banana-shaped-drive-hitting golfer. There's a little visual trickery to hide the closed look of the face at address, while there's plenty of heel-centered weight to promote a draw.
The TaylorMade M6 and M6 D-Type drivers will be available for pre-order on Jan. 18 and at retail on Feb. 1 for $500 each. Both will have 9-, 10.5- and 12-degree heads in right-hand only. The M6 driver will have two Furjikura stock shafts: the Atmos Orange 5 and Atmos Black 6 in S-, R- and A-flexes. The M6 D-Type comes with a lighter Project X EvenFlow Max Carry 45 shaft in S-, R- and A-flexes. The M6 and M6 D-Type drivers for women will have only 10.5- and 12-degree heads with TaylorMade's proprietary Tuned Performance 45-gram ladies flex shaft.