Trying to decide whether buying the new TaylorMade R1 driver is worth the price over last year's R11s model? We've got the low down on how the R1 matches up with the R11s from one of our 0 handicap golfers on staff. We did the testing, now here are the results. 

Golfer: Hurricane Golf Sales Manager Jeff Bushnell  |  Handicap: 0  |  Age: 36


The Set Ups:

TaylorMade R11s Driver


TaylorMade R11s

Loft: 10.5

Face Angle: Neutral

Length: 45.5 inches

Shaft: Stock Aldila RIP Phenom 60 gram in stiff flex

Weights: 10 gram weight in the heel and 1 gram weight in the toe

Swing Weight: D4.5

Frequency: 248 CPM’s


TaylorMade R1 Driver

TaylorMade R1

Loft: 10.5

Face angle: Neutral

Length: 45.5 inches

Shaft: Stock Aldila RIP Phenom 55 gram in stiff flex

Weights: 10 gram weight in the heel and 1 gram weight in the toe

Swing Weight: D4.5

Frequency: 239 CPM’s


The Testing: Both drivers were hit 15 times and the 10 best shots from each were taken and averaged.


The Numbers:

2012 TaylorMade R11S

Average swing speed: 106 mph 

Average Ball Speed: 156 mph 

% Increase of ball speed versus club speed: 32% 

Average Carry Distance: 259 yards 

Average Roll: 23 yards 

Average total drive: 282


2013 TaylorMade R1

Average swing speed: 107 mph 

Average Ball Speed: 155 mph 

% Increase of ball speed versus club speed: 31% 

Average Carry Distance: 257 yards 

Average Roll: 28 yards 

Total drive: 285 yards


The Analysis:

The new TaylorMade R1 driver offers more adjustability than any other driver to date.  It has 7 face angle options vs it’s predecessor the R11S with 5. It also has 12 different loft options vs the 8 on the R11S.  The heel and toe weights remain the same and come stock with a 10 gram and a 1 gram.  Why don’t they have equal heel and toe weights that come factory with the drivers? The reason is that all mass production drivers have been slightly heel weighted ever since titanium has been used in the construction of 360cc+ drivers.  This is an attempt to make a 460cc driver release (or square up at impact) with the same ease of a 320cc driver.

As far as the design on top of the R1, I did find the graphic to be distracting at first, however after about 10 swings, I didn’t even notice it was there.  I had this same feeling the first time I swung a white driver from Taylormade after only ever using a black painted driver.  Although the numbers were not drastically different, I did prefer the TaylorMade R1 driver over the R11S.  The added adjustability might not be needed by all but having the options to further fine tune your driver is always a plus, especially for the more accomplished golfers.  Although the R1 has more options to fine tune the driver, TaylorMade has also made the process simpler  with the use of actual lofts in place of “higher” and “lower” indications.  

As you can see by the numbers, the R1 did hit the ball a little further than the R11S (total distance), but I don’t believe that had much to do with the head or shaft.  The shaft on the R1 (even though both clubs were marked “Stiff” flex) was noticeably softer which in return resulted in a longer “total drive.”  This is also why you can see the swing speed went up on the R1, the carry distance down, and the roll up.  This is because the softer shaft was kicking harder and creating more club head speed.  In return, it was also coming through slightly more closed at impact creating a harder left to right ball flight.   


The Final Verdict:

I have praise for the R11S as well as the R1 driver, from a performance, feel and aesthetics level. They both did excellent. Overall, I would recommend both drivers and between the two you should be able to find one that will make sense for your price range as well as your ability.  However; I can’t say I would recommend the R1 driver if you were thinking that the head or shaft technology (material)  would hit the ball further.  The main reason I feel that R1 is going to hit the ball further than the R11S would be the ability to fine tune it more than optimize your launch angle and spin rates resulting in longer drives.

**You can purchase the R11s driver on here.**