TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver Review

50 Words or Less

The TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver is a minimalist’s dream.  Long off the tee with versatility off the turf.  Excellent forgiveness.

Check out the new TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver HERE

Introduction

Mini drivers have floated in and out of fashion over the last several years, but they got a major bump after Phil Mickelson used one to win the 2021 PGA Championship.  TaylorMade’s latest, the 300 Mini Driver, has built a boatload of hype on the internet, but it’s caused an equal number of Plugged In Golf’s social followers to ask, simply, “Why?”  In this review, I’ll answer that question as well as the dozens of others we received from our readers.

Looks

I can hear the chorus of internet comments now, “The TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver is how all TM drivers should look!”  And I don’t disagree.  While I don’t mind the white borders of the SIM2 drivers [reviewed HERE], I prefer the black of the 300 Mini Driver.  TaylorMade also toned down the crown graphics.  Combine the all-black color scheme with minimal graphics and a smaller size and you have a club that looks like the perfect players driver.

Speaking of size, that’s something we obviously need to discuss.  The 300 Mini Driver is 307 cc, making it roughly 2/3 the size of most modern drivers, which are 460 cc.  Most modern fairway woods are knocking on the door of 200 cc, so the 300 is about one and half times bigger than that.  To my eye, the 300 Mini Driver is much closer to a driver than a fairway wood, largely due to its substantial face height.

The sole of the 300 blends modern and retro elements nicely.  There’s a callback to earlier TM designs, but the enormous Speed Pocket clearly says it was made in the 2020s.

Finally, I have to mention the head cover.  I can’t recall a stock cover that’s been as loudly booed on our social channels, but I have to admit that I like it.  It’s the most decidedly retro part of this club, and it flirts with that “So ugly it’s cool” vibe.  Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, don’t let the head cover drive your decision.

Sound & Feel

During almost every recent range session, I’ve been near someone hitting a SIM2 driver, and it’s been a reminder of how great that club sounds.  The 300 Mini Driver isn’t a clone, but it scores equally high on my card.

My first note on the 300 was, “Whisper quiet.”  It’s solid, low pitched, with just a hint of metallic tone.  Because it’s so quiet and solid, the ball almost doesn’t feel fast off the face, though it most certainly is.

Feedback from the 300 Mini Driver is excellent through the hands.  I had no problem locating impact from the first range session.  The audio feedback, however, is fairly minimal because this club is so quiet.

Performance

The TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver is very impressive in terms of ball speed and forgiveness.  I tested the 13.5 degree model and saw nothing but driver-like smash factors in my testing.  TaylorMade claims that the 300 is “high launch, low spin” which I second.  I was getting very nice numbers, and I don’t think I’ve gotten near optimizing it yet.  I was particularly impressed way the low CG and Thru-Slot Speed Pocket boosted launch angle and ball speed on thin strikes.

Speaking of thin strikes, most of the questions about the 300 Mini Driver centered on its playability off the turf.  Regular readers know that I don’t carry a fairway wood because hitting them off the deck is a struggle for me.  As such, my expectations with the much larger 300 were low.  I was surprised by how well it performed for me.  The main thing that stood out is that the 300 seemed incapable of producing my trademark 50-yard carry off a super thin strike.  Even on really marginal contacts, the ball carried 200 yards.  I suspect that a more skilled FW player could hit this an absolute mile.

The final thing I want to mention before getting into the questions is that it took me some time to adjust to the 300 Mini Driver.  Finding the right tee height, ball position, and swing feel required some trial and error.  The size of the head and shaft length (43.75″) didn’t find my mental model for a driver or FW, so I had to play around.  I’ll also make my obligatory note that you should get fit for the right shaft.  If you’re going to pick up a 300 Mini Driver, have some patience with the club and yourself.

Now, on to the reader questions.

“Is it easy to hit off the deck and good for a minimalist set up?”  My answer would be that it depends what you’re comparing it to.  It’s easier to hit off the turf than a driver.  However, if you plan to hit a lot of shots off the turf with it, I’d test it to make sure you can hit it as effectively as a fairway wood.  If I needed a club to hit primarily off the turf, this would not be it (but neither would a fairway wood).

“Is it stable and forgiving vs. a fairway wood?”  “Is it harder to hit than a driver?”  I’ll take these two together.  The 300 Mini Driver is much more forgiving than any fairway wood I’ve hit, which it should be given that it’s 1.5 times the size.  The same logic applies to the driver comparison: it’s not going to be as forgiving as a driver.  That said, the added loft and shorter shaft might be helpful for some players with regards to finding fairways.

“Driver or 3W shaft?”  This is where fitting comes in.  The stock shaft is 43.75″ and 65 grams, basically a shorter driver shaft.  You can play this a lot of different ways: short and heavy, long and light, etc.  There’s no wrong answer as long as it gets the club to do the job you need it to do.

“Distance lost vs. accuracy gained compared to driver.”  “Fairway finder?”  It really comes down to how you want to set it up.  In stock configuration, I lost a little club head speed and a few MPH of ball speed.  Comparing it apples to apples with my driver, it’s shorter with roughly the same accuracy because the driver is more forgiving.  However, my intention with this club isn’t to hit it as far as my driver.  With a shorter shaft and added loft, minus the intent to hit it into another zip code, I think the 300 Mini Driver is going to be meaningfully more accurate for me.

“Why?”  “Where does it fit in?”  I’m not being snide when I say this, but if you’re asking, “Why?” I think this club just isn’t for you.  And that’s totally ok because I think it’s made to hit a couple very specific niches.  First, I think it’s for the minimalists because they can use it off the tee and turf, turning two clubs (driver & 3W) into one.  For me, it’s a fit as a specialty club.  I don’t love hitting my hybrid off the tee, but there are holes where hitting driver isn’t the play.  If I can tune this club to be a consistent fairway finder at roughly 240 yards, that could really help me.  Additionally, I may enjoy having it as an alternative when my driver swing has gone AWOL.

Conclusion

The TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver may be a throwback to the turn of the century, but only in name.  The performance of this club is thoroughly modern with tremendous ball speed and forgiveness.  Whether you’re putting together a minimalist set or looking to add a specialty club for your long game, this is definitely worth a look.

Visit TaylorMade Golf HERE

TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver Price & Specs

Matt Saternus

31 Comments

  1. Best review ive seen on this Matt! Great job!! Love that you pointed out the strengths of this club, who its for, and why you should or should not avoid it

    For me it was simple. I never NEED to use a 3w. Its taken up a spot in my bag for years with little to no use. I would tee off with my 3w just bc I havent used it in a while. I’m long enough that I dont ever hit a 3w into a par 5 either… I dropped the 3w for the 13.5* Mini and I will never look back.

    I do personally find it to be more accurate than driver. Where it shines for me is its about 20 – 25 yards shorter off the tee. My home course has plenty of dog legs where if I hit driver straight, I will run through the fairway and be in trouble in the trees. The 300 mini gives me more than enough distance yet short enough to avoid trouble. Just by adding this club I hit 3 more fairways a round

    is it for everybody?? No. But those who struggle with the longer shaft of a driver I highly recommend this club

  2. I got this to replace my M2 3W, which is absolutely money for me. (Why change, right?! – maybe to reach a few more par 5s)
    While the club is beautifully designed, I believe this is more of a driver. The enormous face height (for a 3W) made it seem impossible for me to get to the sweet spot when hitting off the deck, and that’s the main use for me. Also the added distance (vs. my 3W) when using it off the tee negated the reason I was using a 3W to lay back from trouble.
    I turned it back in to Taylor Made. I will opt for a traditional 3W when the time comes.

  3. Eric Hutchens

    I like the idea of this. Mini Drivers should in theory make you hit more fairways and ultimately lead to lower scores. I would try this in a heart beat. Good review.

  4. Very nice review. I got the 13.5 when it came out to be a strong 3W and mostly tee shot club. I turned it one notch towards lower loft and put an 80g rdx black tx shaft in it and was blown away by how long it was. I’m pretty long off the tee with my driver and for some reason this was only 10-15 yards shorter carry. I guess just the combination with my swing’s delivery and the shaft, it’s really a high launch/low spin club with more feel from the shorter length. I sold the 13.5 head and just got the 11.5 head, excited to try it out today.

  5. How did you end up with the tee height/stance/swing set up? Anything to help the learning curve on my end would be helpful as an owner of one of these….I love it…just trying to get more consistent with all of the above as it is a “tweener”.

    • Matt Saternus

      Mark,

      I had the most success teeing it fairly low – the “cup” of the tee just off the turf” and playing it a couple inches inside my left heel. I don’t think this is optimizing my distance but it’s creating the best contact and accuracy for me right now.

      Best,

      Matt

  6. John Giesler

    Thanks for the great review and answering the reader questions!

    Kind of a different type of question here: I’m looking at this as primarily a driver replacement – I struggle with high/wiped across the face/spinny shots – I hit my Callaway 2-Deep significantly more consistent than I do any driver I have access to, including those with shorter shaft lengths – I think some of that might have to do with the smaller club head being more appealing to me.

    That being said, how do you think the overall forgiveness in the Mini compares to TM’s M5 Tour or M3 440 drivers from years past? I’m looking at options of putting one of those into play with a shorter shaft and trading what distance I might lose for more shots from the short grass.

    Thank you!

    • Matt Saternus

      John,

      Against any modern, larger club, the 300 Mini Driver is going to be giving up some forgiveness, it’s just a matter of how much that forgiveness is worth vs. the aesthetics or any other considerations for a particular golfer.

      Best,

      Matt

  7. Question, same adapter as the newer SIMs and SIM2 Ti?

  8. I tried the initial one and the shaft was too short for the head size. I did a special order and added 1.25 inches and love it. Goes nearly as far as my driver. To me, stock shaft is too short. I got the Diamana S Limited 60 and it works great.

  9. PS – I don’t use it off the deck, only off the tee. It’s a 3w replacement off the Tee not off the deck in my opinion.

  10. Matt, this is a really great review- thanks. Impressive ball speeds on your testing.

    I find that this club is more forgiving than driver due to the 2″-1.5″ shorter shaft. I think the standard length for drivers likely should be closer to 44″/ 44.5″ for most recreational players, and a lot of players could benefit from this club. Wish the manufacturers would build more drivers that length (I guess Cobra does and I know you can custom order).

  11. I play a Taylormade Superfast 2 driver with the shaft cut down to 43 1/2”. I have tried the Sim2, but at 5’7” tall I found the length of the shaft unworkable. Any thoughts on the merits of the Mini versus cutting down the shaft on a new 460cc driver? SM

    • Matt Saternus

      SM,

      You’re going to be giving up forgiveness and adding a good bit of loft with the Mini. As a pure driving club, I think you’re better off with a well fit 460cc driver.

      -Matt

  12. I purchased one earlier this year after playing the Original One off and on the last couple of years. I’m 70 and play a lot of forward tees and this just fits me perfectly. Keeps me in the fairway more often and that sets me up for my mid irons into the green. I use a 2 1/8” tee and I think that is the right height for me.
    Thanks for the review. Well done.

  13. Can you please help to make “Golf Minimalism” a new thing? Between the 300 Mini and Geom Moe irons, it may be healthy to get people to play a less “precise”, more creative game…. less time spent on the difference between 183 vs. 186 yards, and more time spent on the swings and path to getting the ball most efficiently in the hole.

    Oh, and I’m going to try a 300 Mini today!

    • Matt Saternus

      Matt,

      I’m certainly working on it. :)

      If you haven’t already, check out LessThan14 on Instagram. He’s the OG of minimalist golf.

      Best,

      Matt

  14. Great review. I’m interested in how a mini driver like this compares to a long 3W that’s designed for a potentially similar sort of use — something like the Cobra Radspeed Big Tour version, which is a smaller head than this but that some reviewers have found to be a bomber off the tee. Matt, I know you reviewed the regular Radspeed fairway, not the Big Tour. But I’d love to hear any observations on how they compare and contrast that anyone has.

    • Matt Saternus

      Eric,

      I have not hit the Big Tour version, but the Mini Driver is likely to be more forgiving than any substantially smaller headed fairway wood. As for distance, it’s certainly possible that a fairway wood could be as long as longer, but that comes down to fit, getting the right shaft, etc.

      Best,

      Matt

  15. Thanks for the great review Matt. In the late 90s I had a Callaway 2W and used it as a long fairway off the deck and tee…loved it. With the Mini, did you feel like off the deck you had to have a perfect lie to hit it properly or do anything funky with your delivery to elevate? I’m looking at possibly the 13.5 to purchase.

    • Matt Saternus

      Odie,

      For me, a weak FW player, I definitely wanted a premium lie to hit it off the turf. Others may be confident off a wider variety of lies. I did not do anything unusual to my swing to hit it off the turf.

      Best,

      Matt

  16. Phil Johnson

    How does it feel/compare to the original one mini driver?

    Thanks!

  17. If I get one it will be for use off a tee only.. I have trouble hitting my M,2 three wood off the fairway. If I needed distance off the fairway I would have to pull out my McGregor persimmon 😄 I kind of like the idea of a 13.5, but I’m afraid it may be too short for driving. It is somewhat new to me, but I have trouble consistently hitting my 460 driver straight. Any thoughts about 13.5 versus 11.5?

    • Matt Saternus

      Tim,

      It comes down to fit and what you’re looking for. More loft should be marginally straighter, might be longer too.

      Best,

      Matt

  18. How different will the shape be re. the mini driver 11.5 set to 13-13.5 deg as opposed to a standard 13.5 deg taylor made MDriver.
    I always hit standard 3 wood off tee just raising turf a little as a tee with resulting fade,not slice about 180 – 190 metres.

    • Matt Saternus

      Mark,

      If you set the 11.5 degree head to 13.5, the face will be substantially closed at address.

      Best,

      Matt

  19. Per Email from Taylormade, they have discontinued this driver…..

  20. Every time I’m at a Golf Galaxy and see one of those mini TM drivers I’ve tried them, but I always looked at them as a “yeah it’s nice but I wouldn’t have 1 type of people.”

    Well, I tried the new version- the 300 out the other day and dude! Talk about accurate! My carry was only about 10 or so yards short of my current driver, so I pulled the plug and ordered one!

    Now I need to find a cool looking 2 wood headcover!

  21. with REGARD to

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