TaylorMade in ’10: New looks for R9, Burner

The anticipation surrounding TaylorMade’s new 2010 drivers has been greater than usual.

Why? It has been a year since TaylorMade, with the largest share of the retail driver market, has made a major metalwood introduction.

The company surprised many industry observers by deciding to bypass a metalwood launch in fall 2009. This was unexpected because TaylorMade has developed a reputation for multiple driver introductions in recent years.

The new philosophy, according to Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade’s senior director of product creation, is to manufacture fewer models and reduce consumer confusion that might result from the large number of TaylorMade offerings at retail and on tours.

TaylorMade has been tight-lipped about its 2010 models and will not allow any of its touring pros to use the new drivers until the San Diego Open, Jan. 28-31.

That being said, the company expects its new R9 driver to quickly become its No. 1 model on the PGA Tour. “This should happen within a week or so (of introduction),” Olsavsky said.

The two new drivers are the R9 SuperTri and the Burner SuperFast. Other additions to the Burner family will be SuperFast fairway woods and SuperLaunch irons, called by Olsavsky “the most-forgiving, easiest-to-launch irons we’ve ever designed.”

The R9 SuperTri has three movable weights, as well as 24 adjustable face positions. (TaylorMade calls this FCT, or Face Control Technology.)

Olsavsky said the SuperTri will produce a slightly higher trajectory than the previous R9.

The standard SuperTri comes with a Fujikura Motore 60 shaft, and the Burner SuperFast has a Matrix XCON 4.8 shaft. The SuperTri also will be available in a TP version with a choice of 10 premium shafts from Fujikura, Aldila, Matrix or Mitsubishi Rayon.

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Burner SuperFast driver

The skinny: Although this driver is 46.5 inches, it is truly a 10-ounce driver (the overall weight is about 285 grams). Instrumental is a 30-gram Winn Grip; a standard grip weighs about 50 grams. The clubhead has a dramatic slope on the crown and aerodynamic ripples on the sole.

Cost: $299

Available: Feb. 15

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R9 SuperTri driver

The skinny: The face is larger and deeper than the previous R9. The center of gravity also is slightly deeper. As a result, the driver is longer (45.75 inches) and more forgiving, according to TaylorMade.

Cost: $399 ($499 with TP shaft)

Available: Feb. 15

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Burner SuperLaunch irons

The skinny: This iron will replace the Burner Plus. The SuperLaunch has a lower face height, and the design goal, according to Tom Olsavsky, senior director of product creation, was to allow a golfer “to hit it anywhere on the face and get about the same distance.”

Cost: $599 steel, $799 graphite (8 irons)

Available: April 1

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