TaylorMade M1 Driver Review

When TaylorMade announced details of its first global media launch event in ten years, golfing enthusiasts got rather excited. We now know that it was getting ready to unleash the M1 Driver on the world. It was, at the time, an unprecedented move, because the manufacturer had never built a multi-material club before. With its carbon fibre crown and agile T-Track weight system, the M1 promises autonomous positioning and a lower centre of gravity. The question is, did TaylorMade create a driver that flops or triumphs?

This review of the TaylorMade M1 Driver is going to find an answer by taking a comprehensive look at its strengths and weaknesses.

What TaylorMade Says

The ‘M’ here stands for multi-material because the driver is made up of both carbon composite and titanium. This is nothing to scoff at, as TaylorMade spent a whopping 21 years making nothing but titanium sticks. With each new release, the shaft would get thinner and the total weight smaller, but there was only so far that it could go with a singular material. So, rather than give up on the pursuit of that perfectly low centre of gravity, it decided to innovate.

Getting to Grips with the Technology

Carbon Composite Crown

What makes the M1 Driver special is its high-performance multi-material crown. It contains seven layers of carbon composite, which have been precision engineered and built to be super thin, super lightweight, and amazingly strong. This strength to weight ratio is particularly important because it enables faster swing speeds with a much slimmer, daintier tool. The weight that is saved here can be redistributed in the form of a mass loaded sole.

The club head weight is then, essentially, relocated to the centre and lower for a much more impressive transfer for power. If you are on the hunt for a driver that can give you more control over launch angles and a substantially improved energy transfer, the TaylorMade M1 is definitely worth a look. The blend of titanium and carbon composition around the crown also creates a really beautiful aesthetic, but more on that later.

T-Track Adjustable Weighting

The second big benefit of such careful weight distribution can be seen in the inclusion of the T-Track adjustable weight system. The five grammes of weight spared by the use of carbon composite is directed back into the T-Track sole set. This features a ten-gram front to back sliding mass (in red) and an additional fifteen gramme left to right mass (in black). While the back weight allows you to tinker with launch and spin settings, the front is great for creating draw, neutral, and fade conditions.

For instance, if you slide the front weight from heel to toe, you can modify your draw or fade by as much as 25 yards. Similarly, the back weight can add as much as 300RPM and 0.8 degrees to the launch angle. With a total of 13 possible positions each, there is no denying the level of flexibility and forgiveness inherent within the TaylorMade M1 driver. Creative players will get a huge amount of satisfaction out of such a supportive club.

12 Position Hosel Adaptor

The major drawback for the M1 is the complexity and awkwardness of its hosel design. It certainly works, and it functions well once you’ve got the hang of it, but this takes time. The best thing that you can do is get out on the range and familiarise yourself with its quirks. As the lie, loft, and face angles are not autonomous, modifications have to be very precise and not as intuitive as most players would perhaps prefer.

In fact, you might even want to download the tuning guide from the TaylorMade website if you plan to invest in an M1 Driver. On previous products, TaylorMade used a face angle adjustment on the bottom end to make up for alterations to the hosel. However, this extra mass has now been eliminated and the changes have to be balanced in another way. It is possible, to some degree, to counter the face angle by moving the front weight towards fade.

Keep in mind the fact that the back weight will add to a fade or draw too, because it influences the centre of gravity. If the weight is moved backwards, the face closes more gradually and supports a fade. If it sounds a little fussy, you’re right. The upshot is that, after you get comfortable with the hosel design, you’ll find that your shots become significantly more reliable and consistent. For players who aren’t very patient, though, it may not be worth the extra work.

Super Lightweight Shaft

The complexity continues when it comes to the shaft, though players looking for an easy life can just stick with the stock component. This is a super lightweight Fujikura Pro 60 (stiff flex) shaft. It is easy to control and provides a satisfying degree of balance. Nevertheless, if you’re not happy with it, there are a whopping 25 custom shaft options to choose from. And, they can all be ordered at no extra cost.

On the one hand, this is clearly a brilliant move. The TaylorMade M1 Driver is already one of the priciest on the market, so it makes sense not to charge customers more for their much-needed mods. On the other hand, it begs the question, does anybody need so much choice? The risk here is that players are only a modification away from turning a solid and reliable driver into something that feels completely alien and unfamiliar.

Appearance and Visual Features

The two tone black and white split of the M1 crown has divided players. Some can’t get enough of it and think the subtle crosshatched design is rather modern and cool. However, there are just as many fans of the brand who think it’s a little clunky and not nearly as sleek as previous TaylorMade clubs. It is the mix of black and white that seems to cause contention because the carbon fibre lattice work is not distinct enough to cause offence really.

Launch Distances

The M1 is an impressive club when it comes to launch distance and adjustments to distance, in particular. It isn’t the most remarkable product on the market, though, because it provides above average results but nothing truly exceptional. Sliding the back weight completely forward (or back) didn’t have much of an impact on total distance, but the move does offer benefits to spin and launch angle.

Accuracy and Precision

Clearly, the M1 has the potential to provide a remarkable degree of adjustability and precision. With all of the modifications and alterations on offer, the opportunity is there to fine tune the club and create something that is pretty much unique to your own style of play. The problem is that it takes time and an awful lot of patience. You simply can’t take this driver off the rack in your favourite touring store and head straight out onto the fairway; not if you want to be put in any great performances anyway.

The Bottom Line

Major Pros

The thing about the M1 Driver is that it has the potential to be exceptional in most areas. For instance, even launch distances, which are generally nothing remarkable, can be dialled up and taken to another level. Yet, in order to do this, a lot of tinkering has to take place first. This is, in some ways, a ‘project’ club. It is a stick that rewards its owners for careful play, consistent monitoring, and an eye for technical details. If you have the skill and the talent, the TaylorMade M1 Driver can do it all.

Major Cons

Unsurprisingly, though, not all players want to put this level of thought into their shots. So, it really comes down to personal preference and characteristics. If a ‘grip it and rip it’ driver is what you want, this won’t leave you feeling all that satisfied.

The Final Word

There is no arguing with the assertion that the M1 is a very good driver. It can feel like an awkward one, however; like its full potential is waiting just out of sight. It is bound to frustrate more casual players and those who like to keep their shots creative, but technical obsessives might just have found their dream club.