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The TaylorMade R15 fairway wood is a good, highly adjustable club geared towards average to better players.
If you had to guess which club had a sliding weight, the R15 or the SLDR, you’d guess the SLDR, right? Well, you’d be wrong. Last year’s SLDR fairway wood had no moveable weights, but the new TaylorMade R15 fairway wood does – hooray for planed obsolescence!
Snark aside, I wanted to find out if the sliding weight could help the R15 to eclipse the performance of the SLDR.
At address, the TaylorMade R15 fairway wood is average in terms of size and shape. It’s just the slightest bit pear-shaped, and, at 150 cc, the footprint is not notably large or small. Like the rest of the R15 metalwoods, the crown is white which I could learn to live with…if it didn’t make the alignment aid look off-center. To its credit, with the hosel set at its stated loft, the club sets up square and frames the ball nicely.
Sound & Feel
One thing that I’ve applauded TaylorMade for in 2015 is the differentiation of their two product lines. This is on full display when it comes to the sound and feel of the R15 fairway wood versus the AeroBurner. Where the AeroBurner was loud, the R15 has a quiet, more traditional sound. The feedback is also excellent. This club feels great on pure strikes – you get a solid “thwack” – but is very clear in communicating if you’ve mishit a shot.
Let’s start with the most noticeable new feature: the sliding weight. The R15 fairway wood has a 25 gram weight which can be placed anywhere from the heel to the toe to change the center of gravity and the ball flight. This adjustment isn’t going to be a cure-all for slicers or hookers, but it does make a noticeable difference when you slide the weight from the toe to the heel. It could also be very important for players who tend to always strike the toe or heel – you can adjust the CoG to make those shots behave more like pure strikes.
Like last year’s SLDR, the R15 has 4 degrees of loft adjustability at the hosel. Changing the loft will also affect the face angle, so, combined with the sliding weight, this club can counteract some pretty extreme rights and lefts.
In terms of distance and forgiveness, the R15 is a solid, but not spectacular, fairway wood. It’s plenty long, but not the longest that we’ve tested. It has enough forgiveness for the average to good player, but it wouldn’t be my choice for the high handicapper.
While the sliding weight alone will not turn slices into draws, it is a strong addition to a good fairway wood. If you love to tinker with adjustments to get your ball flight just right, the TaylorMade R15 fairway wood is a strong choice.