TaylorMade M5 Tour Driver Review

50 Words or Less

The TaylorMade M5 Tour driver is a more compact version of the hyper-adjustable M5.  At 435cc, it is substantially smaller than the standard version.  Some drop in forgiveness, but not as much as you might expect.

Introduction

Outside of blade irons, there is no clearer way to announce that you’re a player (or at least that you think you are) than pulling out a sub-460 cc driver.  TaylorMade makes that a possibility with the introduction of their M5 Tour driver.  At “only” 435 cc, it’s noticeably smaller than the standard M5.  I was eager to test it to see if the beauty came at the cost of performance.

Looks

In terms of the design, the M5 Tour driver is identical to the standard M5 (review HERE).  Matte black carbon fiber is the dominant element in the crown, and it’s abutted by a ribbon of silver at the front edge.

Just like on the standard M5, my favorite aesthetic piece is the pair of Speed Injection ports on the face.  These red screws identify the locations where TaylorMade inserts the “tuning resin” to bring the face down to the USGA limits for COR.

The big difference between the M5 Tour and the M5 is the size.  As you can see above, the M5 Tour is smaller in every dimension but primarily from front to back.  There’s also a subtle shape difference, with the M5 Tour having a very slight pear shape instead of being symmetrical.

Sound & Feel

The sound and feel of the M5 Tour driver are identical to the standard M5.  Impact sounds solid and low pitched, and centered shots give you a great feeling of connection to the ball.  For players that like a more traditional sound, the M5 Tour hits the spot.

One difference between the M5 and the M5 Tour is the feedback.  With the smaller head, it seemed I was able to feel the misses more acutely.  That could be all in my head, but I felt that the M5 Tour didn’t cover up misses quite as well.

Performance

The M5 and M5 Tour drivers make use of all the same technologies.  Both have Speed Injected Twist Face for maximum ball speed and improved accuracy.  The Hammerhead 2.0 slot in the sole makes shot low on the face faster.  Finally, the Inverse T-Track and two 10 gram weights make the M5 Tour as adjustable as any driver on the market.

For me, the big story with this driver is that it’s many clubs in one.  There are so many possible weight settings that this driver can go from optimal to dismal with a few turns of a wrench.  Overall, spin is lower with the M5 Tour, and the lower MOI means that the draw and fade bias can be even more extreme.

Last season, we put smaller drivers to the test against their larger counterparts (read more HERE).  Much of what we saw in that test was mirrored in my testing for this review.  With the smaller M5 Tour, there was less forgiveness.  It’s not an enormous difference, but it’s measurable.  For someone who wants all the help available off the tee, downsizing to the M5 Tour doesn’t make sense.

Conclusion

Do you need to be a plus handicap to game the TaylorMade M5 Tour?  Certainly not, but be aware that you are trading some forgiveness for your preferred aesthetics.

As with the standard M5 driver, the level of adjustability is impressive, but that puts a greater importance on being fit.  Within one club, there are many options – some optimal, some that will leave you playing from the trees.

TaylorMade M5 Tour Driver Price & Specs

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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7 Comments

  1. Once again solid review. I think this line in your conclusion speaks volumes as always : “level of adjustability is impressive, but that puts a greater importance on being fit”

    I was fit last winter and my fitter at club champion put me into an M3 440. I am by no means a great golfer sporting an index of 11 but as someone that fights high spin the smaller head and different CG was best for me. He also fit me to both weights into the fade bias as I fight right to left. My final set up: 9 degree with the upright hozzle adjustment, double fade bias, D8 swing weight, and AD IZ shaft is something I’d never have gotten too on my own without a fitting.

    I’d love to hit the M5 tour as a comparison to my M3 440 but just not in the budget at this time. Thanks again for the reviews.

    • Matt Saternus

      Seth,

      That’s a wild setting! How much distance did you gain with that compared to your gamer or other drivers?

      -Matt

      • Matt,

        Yeah it sure is. I also forgot to say its only 43.5″ too (I’m 6’2″). I’d say I am 25-30 yards further but I’m hitting the center of the face far more often so my misses are significantly better. I have more distance in there as my spin is still not optimal (too high) but we made some concessions on optimizing spin to gain some more control. Some of the distance gains are from super speed training over the winter and not only the driver but this is the first time in my 30yrs playing golf I’m not worried when I pull driver from the bag.

        • Matt Saternus

          Seth,

          That’s all great to hear. Golf is a lot more fun when you can pull driver confidently.

          Best,

          Matt

  2. I would think that the average golfer would need the full size driver head just to improve the area of contact. We just don’t hit the exact center like the tour guys do. Nothing less than 460cc for me.

    • At these sizes it barely makes a differnce imo. I have both sizes (910D3 & M2) and hit them equally well. At 25hc it’s not it my talent I can assure you.. I sometimes think the large size head makes one think you can swing harder than you really should

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