TaylorMade Original One Mini Driver Review

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The TaylorMade Original One Mini Driver is an interesting choice off the tee, but only strong fairway wood players should consider using it off the turf.  Surprisingly large.

Introduction

Not too long ago, mini drivers were the hottest thing in golf equipment.  It seemed that every OEM was releasing one, and they seemed to be poised to be the next permanent category in clubs.  In reality it was a short-lived trend.

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the original metal wood, TaylorMade is bringing back the mini driver in the form of the Original One.  Packed with the latest TM technology, will it making a lasting impression or will it just be the latest fad?

Looks

From a color perspective, I wish all TaylorMade woods looked like the all-black Original One Mini Driver.  To me, it looks so much sharper than the white, silver, or grey of their recent drivers.

With regard to the size, the Original One is quite large.  To the best of my recollection, it’s larger than the previous generation of mini drivers, which, for me, makes it very hard to hit off the turf.  The face is quite tall, which makes it visually a much better choice off the tee.

Sound & Feel

Striking the ball well with the Original One Mini Driver creates a moderately loud “crack” with a mid-pitch.  As you move away from the center of the face, impact becomes quieter and slightly more hollow.

For such a large, stable club, there’s reasonable feedback on strike quality.  I never felt the club twist on mishits, but I was able to tell how I struck the ball with good accuracy.

Performance

The Original One Mini Driver utilizes many of the technologies that TaylorMade has been putting into their drivers in the last few generations.  In addition to the Speed Pocket in the sole, the Original One has Twist Face and an adjustable hosel – you can add or subtract 2 degrees of loft.  Finally, the Original One features three materials: titanium, a carbon crown, and a 50-gram steel sole plate to lower the CG.

Off the tee, the Original One was a decent performer for me (the chart above is based on shots hit from a tee).  The spin is very low, so my distance was well short of optimal.  The positive in that is that the ball barely ever curved.  I was moderately surprised by how low the ball launched – I tend to be fairly high launching – but I chalk that up to the effect of the smaller head on my swing.

Regular readers will not be surprised to learn that the Original One Mini Driver was a total non-starter for me off the turf.  As someone who is not a strong fairway wood player, having less loft and a larger head was a disaster.  With low spin and very low launch, my shots were straight but very short.  I suspect results would have been better with the 13.5 degree head, but not enough so to merit serious consideration for my bag.

Conclusion

The concept of the mini driver is very appealing – a straighter option off the tee that you can also bomb off the turf.  In reality, this is a club that really needs to fit your swing to work well.  For the high spinner or the strong fairway wood player, this can be a great tool.  For everyone else, I’d recommend sticking to conventional drivers and fairway woods.

TaylorMade Original One Mini 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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5 Comments

  1. Steve Rhodes

    The mini driver is great i enjoy hitting mine all the time wish i had a new one.

  2. Tom Duckworth

    Man I agree with you on the looks I’m kind of tired of looking down on my 2016 TM M2 but it performs well.
    From the top it reminds me of my Titleist 810 D3 from years ago. I really liked that driver.
    Your spin numbers are very low with it do you attribute most of that to the head or is your delivery much of a factor.
    Lastly how big is the head I was surprised you found it larger than you thought it would be. Good review once again,

    • Matt Saternus

      Tom,

      The low spin is a combination of the club and me.
      The measurement of the head is 275 cc.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. I have bought this club on May 25th. No regrets whatsoever and enjoy every minute playing with it. In comparison with their white mini-driver, the Original One gives me much more distance. Super club!

  4. Played only a round or two w/ it so far but I’m hitting it better overall than my driver. My misses are much more manageable & don’t feel I’m losing distance hitting it from the tee. I’ve always had a moderate (at best) swing speed w/ high spin. All I know is that a 460cc driver (& yes, I’ve been “fitted”…several times) wasn’t working well for me. This seemed like a good option (I bought the 13.5 version). So far, so good!

    BTW, w/ all the great 3-woods out there I have absolutely no idea why you’d want to hit this off the fairway.

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