TAYLORMADE M4 - A WORTH UPGRADE
The M4 driver is the brand’s latest non-adjustable and more forgiving driver. It still features the adjustable hosel sleeve that allows loft and lie angle changes as well as the ability to change shafts more easily, but that is where the adjustability ends. And this has allowed for improvements in other design features, including the addition of TwistFace technology that make the M4 much more stable and forgiving for a wider range of golfers.
Even the likes of tour professional John Rahm prefers the simplicity of the M4 over the more complicated M3. And for those golfers who battle with a slice you can even opt for the M4 D-Type driver that is designed to eliminate slices and produce a consistent and forgiving draw through subtle changes to the design and look of the clubhead.
The M4 offers all golfers everything you essentially need in a driver. It launches the ball high with relatively low spin, produces a consistently straight ballflight and is incredibly forgiving. The fact that there is no moveable weight in the clubhead simplifies this driver tremendously and allows it to have a higher MOI and an improved sound and feel. And while the previous 2016 and 2017 M2 drivers were immensely popular for their ability to deliver plenty of distance and forgiveness, the M4 driver replacing the M2 brings even better levels of performance overall making it a very worthwhile upgrade for TaylorMade fans.
Coming off the great popularity and success of the M2 driver, with both the 2016 and 2017 models, TaylorMade has done incredibly well to produce an even better performing M4 driver in the brand’s more forgiving category.
Much like with the M3 driver the M4 features a lighter carbon fibre crown piece than before thanks to it only having five layers instead of six.
The speed slot in the sole has once again been replaced by the Hammerhead Slot. This improved version is longer than before (22 millimetres to be exact) and adds more rigidity to the lower part of the face to reduce spin in this area while the reinforced outer slots near the heel and toe allow these areas on the face to be thinner and more flexible increasing ballspeed at impact on these mishits.
The combined saved weight from the lighter crown and thinner face due to the Hammerhead Slot has been added to the weight plug in the sole near the back of the clubhead. This means the CG of the M4 is lower and deeper than previous models and results in a higher launch and more forgiveness through an increase MOI.
The most notable design feature however, is the new TwistFace technology. TaylorMade has taken the regular driver face with its curve that is designed to create a gearing effect on mishits and enhanced the curve angle in certain areas even more.Essentially the loft has been increased in the high toe area and decreased in the low heel section where mishits most commonly occur.
By adjusting the curve angle in these areas the gear effect is further enhanced to reduce sidespin and deliver a consistently straighter and more accurate flight with less loss in distance.
Having so little adjustability, which seems to be a strange concept in today’s drivers, means you get a very consistent level of control. And as such the M4 driver provides this in the form of a high and straight ballflight with very little workability and room for error. It makes you wonder why all drivers aren’t made this way. But as always drivers that are more forgiving tend to spin slightly more and this is due to the higher levels of backspin ensuring the ball stays on a consistently straighter path to reduce dispersion.
One thing is for certain, and that is that the TwistFace technology makes a considerable difference on mishits. As a golfer who tends to hit the odd shot off the low heel area of the face the added curve in this section really did help to produce a stronger trajectory with less fade. And even though there was a loss in distance it definitely wasn’t as much as normal. The opposite occurs on high toe mishits where the ball now launches higher with more spin to reduce the low draw that often occurs.
The feel and sound of the M4 is surprisingly tinny, high pitched and loud, which is strange considering TaylorMade has actually used certain design elements to improve this area. The brand refers to it as Geocoustic technology and this involves the actual shape and curves of the sole in certain areas that produces a more pleasing sound. Compared to the many other drivers on the market with carbon material in their construction the M4 is louder with a sharper feel, but this has always been the case with TaylorMade drivers so it doesn’t raise any alarm bells.
Again much like the M3 driver, the M4 features the same cosmetic changes to the crown over the previous TaylorMade drivers. The front titanium section of the crown is now thinner and is painted in a matte silver compared to the shiny white previously.
This is more subtle and offers better alignment to the ball and target, and also won’t show skymarks as easily should you suffer the unfortunate fate of one of these ugly shots.
The carbon part of the crown is slightly recessed, which can be distracting for some. More lines have been added around the edge of the crown and the M4 logo is situated closer to the hosel to hide it away more effectively, but not enough to make it entirely hidden at address.
In terms of whether the different curvature in the face due to TwistFace technology is noticeable, it really isn’t so there is no distraction from that point of view.While the M4 is most certainly an improvement in performance over the M2 driver it still carries quite a high price tag for a driver without any moveable weights and only a single stock shaft option.
To be honest the D-Type version makes more sense from a value perspective, as it offers a specific performance attribute that will definitely help certain golfers, whereas the regular M4 feels like another forgiving driver on the market of which there are plenty these days.