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
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.
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.
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.
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.