TaylorMade SIM Driver Review

50 Words or Less

The TaylorMade SIM Driver is a solid performer with more forgiveness than previous TM Tour drivers.  Less adjustability than M5.

Introduction

After several generations of M drivers, TaylorMade has changed to SIM – Shape In Motion.  What hasn’t changed is that their Tour model features a weight in a sliding track, though the level of adjustability has been dialed down significantly from last year’s M5 (review HERE).  I tested the SIM driver to see if there’s anything new to be excited about or if it’s another recycled product.

Looks

It’s amazing how much difference accent colors makes.  While the SIM driver is instantly recognizable as a TaylorMade thanks to the carbon fiber crown with the white leading edge, the touches of blue offer a stark difference from the orange/red of the M5.

At address, the SIM driver looks pretty typical for a modern driver, just a shade on the compact side.  In comparing the SIM to the SIM Max and SIM Max D, the standard model is the shortest from front to back and it has the shortest face.

When you flip the club over, the asymmetrical sole design grabs your attention.  Is the long, angular weight visually jarring?  Absolutely.  But we’ve been through square drivers, white crowns, and all other kinds of bizarre looking drivers; an asymmetrical sole weight can easily be overlooked if the club performs.

Sound & Feel

While I’ve had mixed feelings about some of the recent TaylorMade drivers, the sound and feel of their Tour models has been consistently excellent.  The SIM driver is quiet, even indoors, with a solid, mid-pitched sound.

Mishits are hard to hear but fairly easy to feel.  The impact sound does become slightly more hollow on misses, but it doesn’t change pitch or volume dramatically.

Performance

The main talking point for the new SIM driver family is that it makes no compromise between aerodynamics, forgiveness, and optimal launch conditions.  TaylorMade claims that this is made possible by the latest generation of carbon composite material which saves weight which is placed in the “Inertia Generator” at the back of the sole.

In my testing, I found the TaylorMade SIM driver to be more forgiving than the M5 with good ball speed on center and on misses.  I wouldn’t rate the forgiveness as elite, but it’s a solid upgrade over previous TM Tour drivers.

When it comes to launch and spin, the SIM is low launching and spinning.  I tested a 10.5 degree model – I normally game a 9 degree – but was seeing most drivers launch around 10 or 11 degrees.  Similarly, despite the additional loft, my spin was consistently under 2000 RPM.

As mentioned earlier, the SIM driver has one sliding weight in a channel near the face.  This is less adjustability than the M5 which had two weights that traveled through a channel that went front-to-back and heel-to-toe.  TaylorMade states that this 10 gram sliding weight allows for 20 yards of draw or fade bias.  I found that sliding the weight to the extremes made a difference on centered strikes but wasn’t enough to save a slice or hook.

One feature that is new to the SIM driver family is Progressive Face Heights.  TaylorMade has studied the correlation between handicaps and impact locations and designed each of the three drivers with appropriately sized faces.  The SIM driver is the smallest, meant for the best players.  The SIM Max has a face which is 8% larger, the SIM Max D is 18% larger.  Putting these drivers next to each other, the difference is obvious, and players should consider their visual preference when deciding between these clubs.

Conclusion

The TaylorMade SIM driver indicates a change in direction away from Tour drivers that are Swiss army knives of adjustability towards ones that are more playable.  If the low launching, low spinning profile fits your swing, I think you’ll enjoy the improved forgiveness and likely won’t miss the extra sliding weight.

TaylorMade SIM 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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13 Comments

  1. I hit this yesterday with the project x green in 6.5. On my best strikes I was launching in the 17 degree window with like 1600 spin. Wasn’t expecting that at all. Hitting it next to the SZ and the Maverik, it was launching like 5 degrees higher. Total distance on good strikes was similar with all of them, but sim was carrying like 25 yards further. Not entirely sure what to make of it.

    • Matt Saternus

      Brandon,

      Same total distance with all the drivers, but 25 yards more carry with SIM? So, 25 yards less roll with SIM? That sounds bizarre. Did the 5 degree launch angle difference match what you were seeing in the ball flight, or were you indoors?

      Best,

      Matt

      • I was indoors. Carry of about 300 with sim, as opposed to about 275 with the other 2. Total distance was right around 310 with all 3 on good strikes. I never fully trust the numbers at PGA superstore.

  2. I typically play a 9° driver and my clubhead speed with driver hovers around 110.-112. No matter what shaft I tried I couldn’t get my spin with the 9° SIM above 1300 rpm. (a few swings it was below 1000 rpm). I couldn’t go to a 10.5° because my launch angle was already 15.5° avg with the 9. Not a chance in the world this driver fits me. Max was barely better.

  3. Hi Matt –
    Your test of SIM is reveling – and it seems that the product is truly geared to high launch and low spin, so is a distance driven machine. Commenter Bradon’s results are not possible if the launch, spin and ball flight (apex) of the 3 drivers he tested are similar. It defies what are the accepted physical properties of ball flight as we know them in todays golf. He doesn’t really give full details but something, as you suggest doesn’t add up.
    Looking at commenter Joe’s results again reveled that SIM is extremely low spinning, and even though Joe might not want to go to a higher loft to try and create more launch and spin, he certainly could and it might give him some optimal numbers.
    Is this not reminiscent of the SLDR where even strong swinging players (pros included) had to loft up?
    I wonder where the COG is placed in the SIM – my guess is that it’s very forward and scrubbing off spin like crazy.

  4. I have played 10.5 the last few years (Ping and Cobra), and my ball flight has gotten progressively higher. I am currently in F9 with a tour spec 2.0 7X. I went and hit mine compared to Epic flash, Sim, Sim Max, Speed Zone and Mavrik. My F9 ended up being second best numbers except for the 9 degree Sim. I was getting 8 more yards of carry and 10 of roll than my F9 10.5. It had the PX 6.5 Green 70 gram in it. Needless to say I ordered one haha. Mavrik was not good for me at all, the flash was longer than it. Sim max was great on mishits, but not nearly as long as Sim for me, I think bc it was so light. Speed Zone is worse than F9, not sure why but my numbers were not good with it, ball speed down and spin was up, even using my current gamer shaft.

  5. Nice review! I’m probably more interested in the SIM Max. Any plans to review that version?

  6. Does’t seem much better than the M5, if at all.

  7. Matt always look forward to your reviews. Thanks so Much….Judd

  8. Chad Calvert

    Found that PXG Gen 2 Drivers are much better all around to me.

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