Cigar Aficionado

RocketBallz Fairway Woods and Hybrids

Every few years, a product rocks the golf world. Ping irons. Callaway metal drivers. Adams rescue clubs. Titleist Pro-V1s. This year, the buzz has centered on the new TaylorMade fairway woods and rescue clubs dubbed the RocketBallz. The hype might have seemed like clever marketing at first; the new clubs surfaced on the PGA Tour when pros who endorse them appeared at tournaments with the numeral 17 emblazoned on their hats. (The 17 stood for the 17 extra yards the company claims the club will add to the distance the golf ball travels.) But pretty soon, the word began to filter out to amateur driving ranges and golf clubs with comments like, “You wouldn’t believe how much farther the ball goes with this club,” or “I’m going to put away my driver because the RocketBallz 3-wood drives just as far.”

The company says that the extra distance comes from something called the “speed pocket,” which is a slot about half an inch deep and a quarter-inch wide that cuts across the bottom of the club behind the clubface. The design supposedly adds spring to the clubface, thus increaseing distance, while still adhering to USGA rules for club performance. TaylorMade isn’t the first company to use the design, but they are putting a huge marketing effort behind the club.

RocketBallz clubs also share the white clubface top that TaylorMade instituted with their successful R11 driver in 2001.  In my personal experience, the white top makes clubface alignment at address much easier.

In my tests, the RocketBallz 3-wood lived up to company advertising, producing a high penetrating ball flight with more distance than I’m accustomed to from the club. The 5-wood produced the same results, as did the 4-rescue club. I’ve replaced my regular 3- and 4-irons with the rescue club, and added a gap wedge to my bag.

The fairway wood line comes in a regular and tour designation, the latter having a more open clubface than the slightly closed face of the regular RocketBallz. The RocketBallz line has a 3-wood in two lofts (13 degree and 17 degree, with a 13 and 14.5 degree in the tour line) and 5, 7 and 9 woods. The rescue club line includes lofts equivalent to a 3, 4, 5, 6 iron in the regular line, and a 2, 3, 4  in the tour line.

The suggested retail prices of the fairway woods start at $229. The rescue clubs start at $179.