For most golfers, the phrase one-size-fits-all has only been a facet to consider when purchasing a cap.

Andy Roberts's picture
Andy Roberts
Sat, 5 Jan 2013

Great performance, looks the part.

Need To Know

One driver to suit everyone; easy to operate; 12-position loft sleeve; 7 face angle positions; two movable shot-shape weights; visually impressive
It may take some time to find your desired trajectory
Our score:
PRICE: £349.00 YEAR: from 2013

First Look

For most golfers, the phrase one-size-fits-all has only been a facet to consider when purchasing a cap.

That was before TaylorMade unleashed its unique R1 driver to the world in 2013, a club that features - yes you guessed it - one loft. Hats off, indeed.

While the £349 price tag may sound a little extravagant in the aftermath of a short-lived splurge over Christmas, the R1 provides every possible feature you could wish for in a driver. The price is right, in my book.

With last season’s R11S, the company offered us a white-crowned club that let them change the effective loft, face angle and weight bias. One of the biggest and most impressive differences between the R11S and this sportier R1 is independent loft adjustability.

There’s nothing worse than heading to a pro shop, taping up a new driver before handing over some dollar and then realising a week later you should have gone higher than an 8.

From a recent survey conducted by TaylorMade, results showed 80% of golfers are currently playing the wrong loft to match their game. With the R1, there are no such problems.

Take out the wrench and trial out different lofts from 8- to 12-degree including two upright positions before dialling into your desired launch angle. An easy-to-use, small dial on the hosel allows you to change the loft in half-degree increments, which was also quite good fun to play around with.

The new loft sleeve was designed in conjunction with the R1’s revamped adjustable sole plate with seven different settings that can change the face angle as much as 3-degree open or closed in 1-degree increments – forming yet another upgrade on its predecessor that offered just five settings in 1.5-degree increments. During my testing, I favoured neutral. 

I feel these settings will prove important because of the R1′s lower, further-forward centre of gravity, as some golfers will underestimate the amount of loft they’ll need for optimal launch conditions. And the face angle adjustability is a necessity as well, because a 1-degree change in loft on the R1 will result in a 2-degree change in face angle.

The last part of the tuning process is the movable shot shape weights of 10g and 2g to shift the clubhead’s centre of gravity location by 5mm. You can put the heavy weight in the heel for draw bias, or my preferred option, of placing the weight on the toe for a neutral trajectory.

For even someone as technologically useless as myself, I found that since I was in charge of independently tuning loft, weights and face angle, I could experiment with one variable at a time and learn exactly what was working or wasn’t. Although this took a little bit of time, all this tinkering was perfect to unlock some hidden yards and find my desired launch angle.

I struck around 50 balls on the range with the different types of lofts and was finally settled on 10-degree (half a degree down on my current driver). The results were a cleaner strike, a surprisingly higher launch angle and an additional five yards on average with drives averaging 225 yards carry and 250 yards distance.

In comparison to testing the R11S last year, the R1 offered me slightly more ball speed and less spin thanks to the lower, more forward centre of gravity. I also liked the fact the sound at impact was much more appealing than its predecessor.

In terms of looks, this is the most appealing TaylorMade club I’ve ever seen. The crown is just beautiful with its racing-style lines and the new linear marks that have been scientifically designed to help golfers with alignment and hit the ball straighter. The white space on the left of the head also allows you to focus entirely on the ball. 

The new RIP Aldila Phenom 55g shaft is another welcome addition as it’s incredibly light but still performs like the standard 65g shaft that I’m used to.


Great performance, looks the part, very forgiving and the loft sleeve is simple, yet great fun to mess around with. The orange and black is also visually appealing, and most importantly, it was long and straight. I can promise you, there is a setting within the R1 that will suit every type of golfer.

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Golfmagic reviews in association with Urban Golf, offering more than 60 championship courses across three venues in Kensington, Soho and Smithfield. If you want to keep your game in shape this winter, Urban Golf have some great winter offers including cut-price lessons and simulator hire. Click here for more.

first look


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