The black TaylorMade R1 driver has created a lot of buzz in recent weeks. (Courtesy: TaylorMade)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
In this week's driver edition of the Equipment Report Mailbag, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider Jonathan Wall discusses TaylorMade's black R1 driver, the number of colored drivers on TOUR, and the average weight of a driver shaft. Have a question about the latest golf equipment or what the pros are playing? Send a tweet to @jonathanrwall.
— Hurricane (@Hurricane_Heron) May 15, 2013
Answer: Ah, the black TaylorMade R1 driver. In my opinion, it looks like something Batman would use to crush the ball 300-plus yards down the fairway. If you haven't been following the story over the last few weeks, a black TaylorMade R1 driver showed up on the USGA's conforming driver list, leading to a flurry of speculation about the new club. According to TaylorMade Public Relations Manager Dave Cordero, the driver is a smaller-headed 400 cc (the current R1 is 460 cc), left-handed R1 prototype — that won't be coming to retail. Sorry, folks.
— ClubCrown (@ClubCrown) May 21, 2013
A: I can't give you an exact percentage, but as you'd probably expect, the number isn't that high. Nike's VR_S Covert driver, which features a bright-red crown, is played by a number of staffers, including Rory McIlroy, Seung Yul Noh, Nick Watney and Francesco Molinari. Cobra's AMP Cell and ZL Encore also come in a variety of colors — the AMP Cell in blue, orange, red and silver; ZL Encore in black, red and white — and are currently used by staffers Rickie Fowler (AMP Cell Pro - orange) , Ian Poulter (ZL Encore - red), Jonas Blixt (ZL Encore - blue) and Jesper Parnevik (AMP Cell Pro -silver). And then there's Bubba Watson with his pink PING G25 driver, which, in my opinion, could be the most recognizable on the PGA TOUR. So what's with the lack of color on TOUR? I polled a number of players at the Crowne Plaza Invitational and the general consensus is that most players grew up playing a driver with a black crown and never felt the need to switch. Some players prefer to stand out from the crowd, but for the large majority on TOUR, a simple black crown is just fine.
— Derek ten Haaf (@DerektenHaaf) May 21, 2013
A: I'd say it's somewhere in the high 60-gram range. The recent fitness trailer boom has seen a number of players go to heavier shafts over the last few years, bumping the average up a bit. While I don't see the average changing this season, the introduction of ultra-light shafts like Project X's PXv 39 — the first sub-40 gram driver shaft on the PGA TOUR — could see players try out lighter options in the future in an attempt to increase clubhead speed. On the flip side, some players still prefer to go with a weightier shaft — like Sergio Garcia who used a 103-gram Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 103-X shafts in his TaylorMade R1 driver at THE PLAYERS Championship. That happens to be the same shaft Tiger Woods currently uses in his Nike VR_S Covert 3- and 5-wood.