April 16, 2019
By Andrew Tursky, PGATOUR.COM
- TaylorMade is releasing a new Mini Driver that combines old-school logos and modern technologies from the company’s history. (TaylorMade)
To celebrate its 40-year anniversary, TaylorMade is releasing a new Mini Driver that combines old-school logos and modern technologies from the company’s history.
In 1979, TaylorMade released its first driver called the “Pittsburgh Persimmon,” which measured less than 200cc, had 12 degrees of loft, and was made of steel. Now, 40 years later, the company is releasing a new mini-driver in its remembrance. The new club is called the “Original One Mini Driver,” which uses an old font, and it says “Pittsburgh Persimmon” on the sole as a call-out to the original driver.
While the clubs have throwback shout-outs, the new mini drivers use modern technologies, including titanium bodies and carbon composite crowns, as well as Twist Face designs and Inverted Cone Technology for higher ball speed on off-center strikes.
TaylorMade first released a mini-driver in 2014 along with its SLDR line of metalwoods, and it continued making a mini driver during its 2015 AeroBurner release. Those steel-headed designs were made to satisfy the space in a golfer’s bag between a driver and a fairway wood. They were made so players had another option off the tee; they were higher-spinning, more workable and more forgiving than a driver, but due to their size, they were longer than a three wood.
Despite usage on the PGA TOUR from players such as J.B. Holmes, Brendan Steele and Vijay Singh, it’s been since the 2015 AeroBurner Mini Driver that TaylorMade released one of these designs at retail. That’s not because the concept of a mini-driver doesn’t work, however, it’s more that golfers in general don’t have a great understanding of why it works.
“It wasn’t because we didn’t think it was a good idea,” Tomo Bystedt, Senior Director of Product Creation for TaylorMade, explained to PGATOUR.COM. “It was more of a commercial reality that this segment is pretty small; it’s not for everyone. Not everyone is going to understand what it’s for and why they need it.”
Bystedt explains there are two main types of golfers who can benefit most from a Mini Driver: 1) high-speed, low-handicappers who want another option off the tee that produces long, workable shots, and 2) high-handicappers who “can’t keep the ball on the planet” and need more spin and control, without sacrificing much distance.
For a lower center of gravity (CG) on the new Original One Mini Driver, which will allow golfers to also hit this club from the turf (not just from a tee), a 50-gram steel sole plate was added to the bottom of the heads. Also, the new mini drivers, which have a speed pocket in the sole for greater ball speed, are larger than the previous SLDR and AeroBurner mini drivers. While the previous heads measured around 255cc, the Original One Mini Driver measures 275cc.
The Original One Mini Drivers are offered in 11.5- and 13.5-degree heads, each with +/- 2-degree loft sleeves. They will sell for $399.99 and come stock with Mitsubishi Diamana F Limited shafts at 43.75 inches and Golf Pride MCC Decade grips, although other shafts and grips are available at no upcharge. They are currently available for preorder and will hit retail on May 1.