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TaylorMade RocketBallz Driver Review
By mustang6560 on 6/20/12
By Nathan Trifone, Handicap Index 12.1









Ratings Key
10.0 - 9.5   Would Help Tiger
9.4 - 8.5     Awesome
8.4 - 7.5     Very good
7.4 - 6.5     Above Average
6.4 - 4.5     Solid
4.4 - 3.5     Below Average
3.4 - 2.5     Save Your Money
2.4 - 0.0     Pay NOT to own







Introduction

Do you remember the old saying, You can’t judge a book by its cover? Well, it applies to my experience with the new TaylorMade RocketBallz driver.

I received an email late last fall from the PR firm that represents TaylorMade letting me know that the Company was getting ready to launch a new family of clubs to replace the successful Burner family. I was excited to see what TaylorMade was planning to do next because it is a trendsetter and trendsetters know how to turn heads.

My excitement for the next great product from TaylorMade was met with instant disgust when I read the name - RocketBallz. Really? RocketBallz? You can’t be serious? TaylorMade was dead serious. I decided right then and there to establish a personal boycott of everything RocketBallz. I know it seems petty, but I wanted nothing to do with anything with the name RocketBallz. From the RocketBallz driver, to the RocketBallz irons, to the RocketBallz balls, just say no!

From TaylorMade:
The TaylorMade RocketBallz Driver uses Flight Control Technology (FCT), which easily allows you to adjust the loft (±1.5º) and face angle (±3°) on your shots. A thick-thin crown design creates a lower center of gravity, which promotes higher launch for more distance.

A lightweight shaft and grip promotes faster swing speed for more distance and the speed-enhancing head aerodynamics promotes faster head speed for more distance. Inverted Cone Clubface Technology promotes more speed and distance on off-center hits and the white crown and black face makes alignment easy and eliminates glare on top.
For this review, I tested a 10.5* stiff shaft RocketBallz driver. You can learn more about the new TaylorMade RocketBallz driver.
Initial Impression

My first experience of the RocketBallz driver was at the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show earlier this year. Even though my personal disdain for the name was strong, I decided I would at least try it at Demo Day so the people who were tuning in for our live blog would be able to virtually experience the latest and the greatest from TaylorMade. I didn’t get a chance to hit it because the line was too long, but I did get to hold one in my hand and I remember thinking “I don’t hate the way it looks”. I quickly reminded myself of my personal boycott and put the RocketBallz driver down and proceeded to the next tent. Despite my dislike of the name, RocketBallz was the talk of the PGA Show.

My curiosity intensified following the expo as more and more golf enthusiasts heard about the newest white driver from TaylorMade. RocketBallz debuted in February and in the weeks following the release, a contact I have at my local Edwin Watts said it was outselling every other driver on the market five to one - combined. Still, I had a personal boycott so I couldn’t get caught up in the hype.

I held on strong for the majority of the winter, but as spring rolled around, it became harder and harder to avoid the mass appeal of RocketBallz. But, by early April, around the time of the Masters, I could not resist the temptation anymore. I noticed that well over 100 oobgolf users had added the RocketBallz driver to their bag so I decided to end my personal boycott and give it a try. After all, the most intelligent golf users on the Internet frequent oobgolf, and if that many oobers could get past the name, so could I. Within five minutes of my realization, I had ordered my demo from TaylorMade.
Experience

The first thing I noticed about the RocketBallz driver was its length. And I’m not talking about distance. I’m talking about the length of the stock shaft. The stock shaft of the RocketBallz driver is 46” long. To add distance to drivers, companies like TaylorMade are increasing the length of the shaft, which if controlled will certainly add extra yards. However, the possibility of extra distance off of the tee comes at a pretty hefty cost - control. Most amateur golfers already struggle with controlling their driver so I’m not sure adding extra inches to one’s driver is a good idea. My point about the length of the RocketBallz shaft is less of a criticism and more of an observation. Golfers come in all shapes and sizes. What works for one golfer may or may not work for another.

As I do with all demo clubs, I played a few rounds of golf with it and I beat a lot of balls on the driving with it. During the testing process, there were two characteristics that stood out to me about the RocketBallz driver. First, I really liked the way the ball felt at impact. I know it plays right into the name of the club, but the ball really does feel like it jumps off of the face (I just couldn’t bring myself to say rocket!). The RocketBallz driver does not have the Speed Pocket like the RocketBallz fairway to create the full ‘trampoline’ effect, but I could definitely tell that the face was hotter than previous TaylorMade drivers. I average 225 yards of carry off of the tee with my current driver and with the RocketBallz I was averaging 235 yards.

The second characteristic that I observed was the ball flight. The RocketBallz driver launched my balls in the air, much higher than my current driver. Since TaylorMade is the king of tuning, it should not surprise you that the RocketBallz driver features the Company’s Flight Control Technology. With FCT, as it’s also known, you can tune the loft to increase or decrease your launch angle and spin-rate to match your swing. The hosel-based adjustment system allows you to add up to 1.5* of loft (or 750 RPM) or lower up to 1.5* of loft (750 RPM). So to get a more penetrating ball flight, I could decrease the loft to as low as 9*. Had my ball flight been too low, I could have added the additional loft.
Summary

The RocketBallz driver, like the R11 and the Burner Superfast that preceded it and the new R11S, is white. The white matte finish is scientifically designed to eliminate hot spots or glare on a sunny day and it’s also supposed to provide a contrast between the crown and the clubface to help with alignment. I do not have inside knowledge, but in my expert opinion, I think the RocketBallz driver will be the last white driver we see from TaylorMade for a while (excluding the R11S). As innovative and trendy as the white driver is, everything must come to an end at some point.

Despite my shallow reason for not liking the RocketBallz driver, I would recommend it to golfers who are looking to upgrade their current TaylorMade driver or to golfers who are looking to replace their non-TaylorMade driver. On the patented oobgolf Rating Key, I would give the RocketBallz driver a 9.0 because it's pretty Awesome. If you are like I used to be and you can't get over the name, I have a solution for you - refer to it as RBZ (RBZ is a much better name than RocketBallz anyway). TaylorMade was smart and used the RBZ logo on the sole of the driver instead of RocketBallz - partly I'm sure because three characters was easier to stamp on the bottom of the club head than 11 but also because I think they knew some people would not like the name.

The RocketBallz driver is available in 9.5*, 10.5* and HL (12.5*) lofts and the shaft options include senior, regular, stiff and x-stiff flexes. You can pick up your own RocketBallz driver for $299.99 on Golfsmith or at your local golf retailer.

Learn More About the RocketBallz Driver


[ comments ]
bducharm says:
I have been told by an industry insider that the stock shafts that are put in the RocketBallz drivers and fairway clubs are VERY cheap shafts ($4 per shaft)....

I hit a driver at a demo day we had at our club a couple of months ago and I was snap hooking the hell out of it. It was a stiff shaft and I do not normally hook the ball.
6/20/12
 
bkuehn1952 says:
Presumably the Mizuno MP-630 would get a 10 rating from you since you did not switch.
6/20/12
 
mustang6560 says:
@bkuehn1952- I *would* buy the RBZ driver, however, I'm not in the market for a driver. I added a little incentive to my personal goal of breaking 80 - I can't buy any new golf clubs until I do finally break 80.
6/20/12
 
CeeBee says:
I swung the RBZ driver in Feb. just to say I did. Was impressed but didn't buy. On my return from Jamaica in April the shaft on my Superfast had been cracked near the head( I assume from the handling of my bag at the airport. I went back to Dick's and got on the monitor with several drivers and walked out with the RBZ. Couldn't resist. Feels great at impact and sounds strong. Consistantly 20-25 yds longer than anything else I hit. Wouldn't matter to me what color it is.
6/20/12
 
birdieXris says:
i didn't like the way the driver felt in my hands and the way it came around to the ball. The impact felt very "cheap" to me. Don't really know why, could be the sound coupled with a cheap shaft, but it felt very "balloon on the end of a twig". Didn't like it. Or the R11s for that matter. I'll stick with my R11.
6/20/12
 
mustang6560 says:
@birdieXris- I've always been amazed how two people can have such different opinions about the same driver. I guess that's why there are a lot of equipment manufacturers.
6/20/12
 
GolfSmith7 says:
I played with a guy who had one and he let me hit it on a hole, went straight and far but would not buy bc I can't do the white color.
6/20/12
 
ppinkert says:
I hit the RBZ Rescue club at the local Golf HQ on the simulator. Felt good and I have been thinking of getting one. I liked how it felt, for me and I am kind of sold on the white.
6/20/12
 
CeeBee says:
Go for it mustang.
6/20/12
 
legitimatebeef says:
If someone sent me one in the mail free of charge I'm sure I could like it too.
6/20/12
 
hughesj says:
Would love to win that RBZ however, may put it aside until I get better at hitting my current driver straight.
6/20/12
 
Matt F says:
"The stock shaft of the RocketBallz driver is 46” long. To add distance to drivers, companies like TaylorMade are increasing the length of the shaft, which if controlled will certainly add extra yards. However, the possibility of extra distance off of the tee comes at a pretty hefty cost - control. Most amateur golfers already struggle with controlling their driver so I’m not sure adding extra inches to one’s driver is a good idea."

Exactly the reason why you should get a proper fitting and probably change the shaft for a shorter one when you buy a new driver.
6/21/12
 
biglou11 says:
Have any of you tried this driver with a different shaft? There are several available on ebay with the adaptor, and I'm considering trying one.
7/21/12
 
[ post comment ]
 
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