TaylorMade M1 Driver Review

TaylorMade M1 460 Driver_0026

50 Words or Less

The TaylorMade M1 driver is the most-hyped driver of the season, but it fails to impress in terms of performance.  The adjustability is impactful at the extremes, but the middle positions are virtually meaningless.

TaylorMade M1 460 Driver_0022

Introduction

Tell me if you’ve seen this movie before:

Black screen.  You hear Tour pros “Ooh” and “Aah” over the look of a new driver.  Then you see said Tour pros hitting the new driver “farther than ever” and talking about how great it feels.

Sound familiar?  Whether it’s the new M1 or the AeroBurner, R1, R15, R11, R7, or R9, this has been TaylorMade’s recipe for hype videos.  And, say what you will about the lack of creativity, it does create hype.  We took the M1 driver out to see if the performance can live up to the hype…and the $500 price tag.

TaylorMade M1 460 Driver_0028

Looks

On TV and on the rack, the TaylorMade M1 driver is one of the most distinctive looking drivers on the market – just how TaylorMade wants it.  The combination of black carbon fiber with white nearer the ball actually makes the driver look very small because the eye can only focus on one color or the other.

The M1 driver is noticeably larger than the M1 430.  The larger front to back dimension makes the head more oval than round, and it makes the crown and face appear a bit taller.

TaylorMade M1 460 Driver_0030

Sound & Feel

Sound is always a concern with a composite driver, but the TaylorMade M1 driver sounds decent.  It is loud, one of the louder drivers we’ve tested lately, with a big hollow-sounding crack at impact.  The auditory feedback is minimal with slightly better feedback coming through the hands.

The feel of the club is different when you move the weights from one extreme to the other, but there’s virtually no difference from one setting to the next.

TaylorMade M1 Driver LM Data

Performance

The most important change from R15 to M1 is the addition of the “T-Track System.”  The R15 had a “Fade-Draw” track along the front edge, and the M1 keeps that while adding a “High-Low” track from front to back.  The amount of movable weight is the same – 25 grams – but instead of having two 12.5 gram weights on the same track, the M1 has a 10 gram weight for “High-Low” and a 15 gram weight for “Fade-Draw.”  While this creates a lot of possible settings, only a few of these settings make a meaningful difference.  Moving the weight all the way from the toe to the heel only moves the sweet spot a small fraction of an inch, so moving the weight one setting left or right does virtually nothing.

In terms of forgiveness, the TaylorMade M1 driver is decidedly average.  The ball speed drops off substantially when you move away from the center of the face.  One thing many players will like, however, is the low spin.  Regardless of setting, the M1 is one of the lower spinning drivers available.

TaylorMade M1 460 Driver_0020

Conclusion

While I’m sure it will sell reasonably well, I can find no reason to recommend spending $500 on the new TaylorMade M1 driver.   Despite its composite construction, it doesn’t represent a substantial step forward in forgiveness or consistency, and most of the settings will yield little change in ball flight.

Buy the TaylorMade M1 driver HERE

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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29 Comments

  1. Terrifically honest review and one of the only ones I’ve seen anywhere recently. With all the hype on other review sites your’s is honest and truly tells the story of this ‘new’ driver, with not so great results. Good job and look forward to reading more of your reviews.

  2. Excellent review!! Its nice to see a review team stick to the facts and present them without manipulation. I look forward to your future reviews.

  3. In my 45 years playing experience if you can get access to several different shafts, a good fitter and try them you will be pleasantly surprised at how good and further you can hit any driver !!! Good honest review of yet another Taylor Made hyped product

  4. Hi Matt,

    I appreciate the candid review and agree with you 100%. The price point on this driver is totally out of line. The performance is just not there for me. There is nothing new about composite and titanium combined. Great job.

    • Matt Saternus

      John,

      Great point. TaylorMade would have you believe they’re the first to make a composite driver. Far from it!

      Best,

      Matt

  5. Yes, I would like to add my thanks. We all want and hope for a true breakthrough in added distance and forgiveness but I am beginning to realize the improvements are minimal at best.

    Maybe the Cobra King LTD ? LOL, we can’t stop hoping! :)

    Thank you Matt

  6. Doug Collins

    Taylormade is about marketing. The quality of the product leaves lots to be desired not to mention the price. I do hope people will start relying on fitters to get them into the correct head, loft and shaft. Taylormade has glutted the market for years and the people who always want to purchase from this company have learned to wait as the price will drop.

  7. Jason Warlond

    Matt, you’ve become my favorite golf equipment reviewer. Rather that regurgitate several paragraphs of technical speak from the manufacturer you provide your own honest opinion and in your own words. And if anyone wants any more information they can simply ask you! Great recipe. Many thanks

  8. Foster Pann

    Thanks for the honest review. I applaud you for your objectivity. It makes a very refreshing change from the usual sponsored hype and bought reviews.

  9. I won’t partake in the TMAG bashing too easy. I dont care about a companies business strategy- just performance for me, thats why i use a Taylormade driver, Callaway fairway woods,Mizuno irons and wedges, and a Ping putter. I use the R15 but on feel alone the M1 was better. It is funny how what sounds/ feels pleasing to some, produces indifferent results to others (reasons why I don’t use Ping drivers). Goes to show sometimes you just have to hit the club.

    Like you I didn’t find a huge change from slight movements of the weights- did affect feel though. And just like the SLDR and R15 these aren’t challenging the forgiveness category.

    Your figures show crazy low spin, don’t think I have seen that in any other review and at that launch angle ( According to trackman) how did the ball stay in the air?! What I gathered from this review is that you hate Taylormade’s marketing strategy, this driver has low spin, and its not a huge leap in technology. On that last part, pretty much sums up how I feel about Titleist drivers, If you own a 910 there isn’t much difference between the 913 or 915- especially not warranting an upgrade at $450.

    • Matt Saternus

      Eron,

      I don’t care about anyone’s marketing strategy, just having a bit of fun at the fact that they do the same thing time after time (and it works!).

      With regard to the low spin, the ball didn’t stay in the air, that’s why the carry was so poor. My spin is always low as you can see in many other driver reviews.

      -Matt

      • Lawrence Williams

        Always enjoyed your reviews and this site! I went through the complete lineage of TM products the past 12-15 yrs and the M1 is the best of the bunch with supertri, R7 425 and R510 330cc completing the list….

        M1 composite sound is far quieter than past heads….it actually gives me a very solid sound/feel. I don’t have to “loft up” as much as with my sldr but it gets up easier than my R15…..I’ve got a kuro kage silver tini in mine head so not sure if a shaft change would make a difference in your #’s . You didn’t mention which shaft you demo’d or I just didn’t read it…….

        I haven’t played with settings but it’s setup like an M2.

        In short, this club for my old, mid 90’s speed has been a consistent godsend. ….fairway finder with above average distance, pleasing looks and sound.

        Not sure what else there to look for!

  10. Best driver out in awhile from any manufacturer imho. Considering a lot of the no up charge shafts are $300+ (retail) the price isnt super crazy. A bunch of drivers are at $500 or dame near this year with half the shaft options. Oh and every manufacturer does the “longest driver yet” deal. Your definitely in the minority on how this club worked for you so I hope you were properly fit into the m1 as it is vital to maximizing distance and forgiveness.

    • Matt Saternus

      Mr. Guanto,

      Your original comment was not posted immediately because all comments on this site are moderated before they are posted. This is the only fool proof way to keep PluggedInGolf free of spam and trolling. In light of the fact that your comment is now posted, I will delete your subsequent post. Feel free to attack this site’s “extreme bias” for other reasons, if you’d like.

      With regard to your above comment:
      The only other mainstream $500 driver that I’m aware of is the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 which offers 16 shaft options at no upcharge. 16 > 3.
      I’d be interested to know what metrics or data you’re using to judge that I’m “definitely in the minority” when I say this club was less than impressive. Are you comparing my review to those of other review sites, many of which were flown to a fancy launch party for this driver? Are you basing this on fitting data? The fitters that I speak to regularly still cite the PING G30 as the performance king, which is backed up by the sales data.
      As far as fitting, this driver was tested in stock configuration, as are almost all of the clubs we review. We are huge advocates of fitting – we talk about this in virtually every review, lesson, and feature – but a proper fitting will not improve the forgiveness of this head.
      If the M1 performs well for you, I’m happy to hear it. I hope you play well.

      Best,

      Matt

  11. Jerry Noble

    I tried the M1 with one shaft and it felt terrible and did not like it at all. Then the fitter put in a lighter shaft (I forget the brand) but it changed the feel completely and I began to hit it 30 yards farther according to the track man. I was set on purchasing the new ping until he plugged this shaft in. He said it was a $300 plus shaft and I could not believe the difference it made in my spin rate, club head speed and launch angle. I ordered the M1 and can’t wait to get it.

  12. Bryan Simpson

    A honest review The M1 was given to me as a Christmas gift have not had a chance to try it out yet nice to read an unbiased opinion .

  13. I currently play off a handicap of 1 and I have just returned from a 2 hour trackman testing session and I have to admit the M1 was the best performing driver that I tried by far.

    I am currently using all Titleist clubs and really wanted the 915 D3 or D2 to come out on top however compared to the 913 D3 I have been using for a while the 915 D2 and D3 span far too much and as a result didn’t go as far and the dispersion increased compared to the old model.

    I went to the trackman session knowing the prices of the drivers being used and also the good reputation of the Ping G series drivers. I tried Ping, Titleist, Nike, Cobra and Taylormade options and although the Ping stats were not far away from Taylormade, I did not like the feel of the Ping G series at impact, in my opinion it never gave me much feedback from the face. However the G and M1 out performed the others for me personally. I was looking for low spin and distance as my launch angle is usually quite high and the M1 was around 25 yards further than the Titleist and 15 yards further than Ping G LS.

    I have to admit as soon as I picked it up I really liked the feel of the M1 so I think that you have to go and try all drivers, what is good for one person isn’t necessarily going to be good for everyone.

    Now I face the problem of whether I spend £400 for a new driver for the sake of it being a bit straighter and 15 yards further than my 913 D3.

  14. Just picked up an M1 430 and did a weekend at Pinehurst. Turned the 8.5 lift up to 10 and added 35 yards to my drives straight don the middle. Slight draw bias and almost all the way to rear with front/back weight.

    Been taken in before by the hype but not this time – worth every penny. Solid results.

  15. Went from the R-11 to the M1. Major difference, easily a 20+ yard gain. Well worth the $350 eBay price.

  16. I was just wondering is it normal for my head not to have a plug hole near the heal ?

    • Matt Saternus

      Jake,

      I’m not sure what’s normal. If you’re concerned that yours is not authentic, I would suggest you contact TaylorMade.

      Best,

      Matt

  17. I agree with you about the marketing hype that TM uses but everyone seems to: 3 letter acronyms for pseudo scienctific tech used, a weights moved lower and further back or the other way around (they must have come full circle by now I reckon). Ping not immune either, chech their video of the G400. Best one in that is “colour shifting” technology! Anyway, am off now to try the M2 and a Ping driver

  18. John Krawiecki

    Purchased an M1-460, yellow and white trim, 10.5 loft, Fujikura graphite, reg flex shaft. It was a certified pre-owned from Taylor Made. I hit the exact same club a friend has and it it very well. I then purchased my own and can’t hit it! Friends have tried it and they can’t hit it. It just feels different in the head as if it’s not solid.I always feel that if someone bought that club new and returned it in very short order, that they also felt something wasn’t right with it. Anyone ever hear of a problemwithsomethingbeing not right?

    • Matt Saternus

      John,

      It sounds like you’re experiencing the drawbacks of inconsistencies in the manufacturing of the shaft and head. This is a major reason why we stress the importance of not only being fit but also getting your clubs from a quality builder. Given the volume of product that companies like TaylorMade produce, the tolerances can’t be that tight. The shaft might be significantly softer or stiffer, the loft on the head might be off, the head weight or swing weight could be different. When you buy from someone like Club Champion, they make sure all those details match the club you were fit to.

      Best,

      Matt

  19. John Krawiecki

    Thank you Matt.
    I live on a golf course. Hit it this afternoon on the driving range then played 4 holes at end of the day. I hit it a lot better. I’ll keep trying it and then may get it re shafted.

  20. Interesting to look back and see how history has played out. M1 is pretty much still a revered driver. If you look at the reviews and videos on the web. I believe alot of it has to do with swing speed the higher the better driver seems to work. I still prefer the M2, I had them both at the range today with a launch monitor. I also had some newer drivers. 2017 M2 was still superior to them all for me. Great website thanks…

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