TaylorMade's new lineup of Burner SuperFast 2.0 woods and 2.0 irons are longer and lighter than your typical clubs. Of course, that's the big story for 2011, as most of you know by now: longer, lighter clubs that manufacturers claim increase swing speed and distance.
For this month's We Tried It, I put four TaylorMade clubs to the test, including one TP version of the Burner SuperFast 2.0 driver (which doesn't have a longer shaft). What was it like to test out these sticks? Read on to find out.
Burner SuperFast 2.0 TP Driver
First Impression: A lot of ink has been spilled over the white crowns of the Burner SuperFast 2.0 and its R11 cousin. Of course it's a brilliant marketing move to paint the crowns white, but TaylorMade claims that there's an alignment benefit, too. When the white crown is contrasted with the club's black face, they say it's easier to align your shots.
Still some golfers and commentators have wondered if the shock of white is distracting. I was expecting to feel that way, but didn't. Its nonglare finish was in no way "blinding"; in fact, it was pretty easy to look at. If anything stands out as being "different," it's the head's triangular shape, which lowers the CG and improves launch and spin conditions. Looking at its profile, you'll notice that it slopes severely from top to bottom, which helps reduce drag so you can swing it faster than previous models.
Performance: This being the TP version, it was made for better players (Jim Furyk, Camilo Villegas and Rory Sabbatini have put it in play), and, unlike the regular Burner SuperFast 2.0 model, which measures 46.5 inches, it measures a more standard 45.5 inches. Its muted sound at impact provided the kind of auditory feedback that better players like, and the ball flew on a penetrating trajectory. It really felt like I was swinging a club built for a Tour pro. Higher-handicappers will want to test the regular Burner SuperFast 2.0.
Specs: Specs: 9.5_¡, 460cc clubhead, 45.5" Matrix Ozik stiff shaft, $400
Burner SuperFast 2.0 3-Wood
First Impression: Where'd all the weight go? Fairway metal and rescues tend to place more weight in their clubheads so it's easier to make a descending blow, but this featherweight of a 3-wood subtracts weight wherever it can (including swapping out a standard weight grip for a WinnLite one). As TaylorMade subtracted weight, they added length. Consider that the 15_¡ model measures a good half an inch longer than the 14_¡ 3-wood currently in my bag.
Not only did it feel light and long, the clubhead has what TaylorMade calls a "large address footprint," meaning that it's longer from front to back. Even though it measured 200cc, the clubhead looks to be about another 50cc in size. That made me feel very confident hitting it off the deck and the tee.
Performance: I hit it off the deck, on a tee and even on a mat at the local driving range. There's no denying that it's a distance boost, given its extra length. I bet some golfers will even want to hit it off the tee when they can't control their driver. My suggestion is to test it out yourself to see how the lighter, longer club impacts your distance and accuracy.
Specs: 15_¡, 200cc head, 43.75", X-Con 4.8 stiff shaft, $200
Burner SuperFast 2.0 Rescue
First Impression: Like the driver and 3-wood I tested, the Burner SuperFast 2.0 Rescue features a nonglare white crown and black face. It's longer in length than a normal hybrid, albeit by only a half inch or so. Also like the 3-wood and drivers, its head is triangular in shape, but less so than its two bigger siblings. (With a volume of only 115cc, there's not a lot of room to make it too geometric.) Maybe that's why I really liked the looks of it at address–nothing too different, just a solid-looking clubhead.
Performance: The Rescue is incredibly forgiving, something I normally wouldn't expect from such a lightweight utility club. It's a bold choice to make a hybrid this light, but it works. That said, if you're a better player, you might generate more spin, but then again, these are TaylorMade's game-improvement clubs, so better players might be better off hitting TM's Rescue 11 TP.
Specs: 18_¡, RE*AX 60-gram stiff shaft, $160
Burner 2.0 Irons
First Impression: Sleek, black finish, handsome design".wait a minute. Is this my 5-iron? When I first addressed the ball with the Burner 2.0 6-iron, it felt so long, I could swear it was my 5-iron. Then I compared it to my current 5-iron. It measured the exact same length.
TaylorMade has claimed that the introduction of these Burner irons marked the biggest technological breakthrough in the category since the PING Eye 2s were introduced in 1982. These clubs are long, lightweight (the steel shaft weighs 90 grams) and feature oversized, stronger-lofted clubheads that claim to make contact much more forgiving. Consider that the 6-iron loft is 27_¡, which is 1-3_¡ stronger than a typical 6-iron.
Performance: After I adjusted to the extra length, these clubs really flew, especially the mid- to long irons. And that's exactly what TaylorMade wants. The big question for potential buyers is how much extra distance do you want with your irons?
Specs: The longer irons have bigger, more forgiving heads, while the shorter clubs have a more compact head. The face thickness varies with each club. Look for stronger lofts and more offset on longer irons. $700