Cigar Aficionado

TaylorMade r7 425

In these days of ever-larger drivers in the world of golf, the message is typically the same: bigger is better and more forgiving, and results in straighter, longer tee shots. But the TaylorMade r7 425 hasn't set out to improve your game by being the biggest driver on the market, nor even the biggest allowed under the United States Golf Association's rules (its clubhead volume is 425 cubic centimeters out of a legal 460). Instead, this latest incarnation of the r7 series uses adjustable weights to fine-tune the direction and shape of your drives.

In 10 years of playing, I've used only three different drivers consistently. The first wooed me with a large clubhead. The second offered a hotter clubface, and the third a stiffer shaft. Others tried to seduce their way into the bag, but after a test drive I would inevitably go back to the tried-and-true version from last year, unconvinced that the new one was better. The TaylorMade driver, however, won me over in the first round.

For the first time in a decade, my tee ball is shaping right to left, and the mishits, instead of carrying like huge sliced banana balls, are tending toward the left side of the fairway. And my average distance has increased by 10 to 15 yards.

The TaylorMade r7 425 uses its movable weight technology, which in this club consists of four "cartridges," totaling 28 grams, that can be shifted between the four TaylorMade Launch Control (TLC) ports to promote more or less draw or fade, and more or less spin to create different tee shot heights. The company says the weights can alter the center of gravity by up to five millimeters and produce lateral trajectory shifts of up to 13 yards.

The driver also uses a proprietary technology that creates a clubhead face only .06 millimeters thick, which TaylorMade says is up to 40 percent thinner than most other drivers. This creates a lighter clubhead frame, which allows for more of the weight to be placed in the movable cartridges.

So go for it. Play the same driver that such pros as Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Tom Lehman, Fred Funk, Kenny Perry and Justin Rose have slipped into their bags—all for the suggested retail price of $499.