By Jeffrey A. Rendall, Images courtesy of TaylorMade Golf
CARLSBAD, CA – A few extra yards, that’s what it’s all about.
There’s no doubt, a few extra yards in golf can make all the difference, especially with the long clubs in your bag. In the case of the TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2 fairway woods, the distance gained is actually more than just a few yards – they’re 10 yards longer than the original Rocketballz metal woods and 17 yards for better players with higher swing speeds.
Golf manufacturers always claim their latest offerings trump the old, but in the case of the RBZ Stage 2, it was verified by a robotic hitting machine. You won’t find the robot testifying in one of TaylorMade’s catchy commercials, but the end result is the same.
I personally can’t stop saying “Rocketballz-ier” without an Australian accent after Jason Day said it with such enthusiasm in the ads.
So what’s new with the RBZ Stage 2? Todd Beach, TaylorMade’s vice president of metalwood R&D, explains. “Our team continues to push the innovation envelope in the fairway wood category. RocketBallz represented a distance breakthrough, but we knew we could make improvements.”
“The improved Speed Pocket, re-configured CG location and shallower profile make the Rocketballz Stage 2 the best-performing metalwoods we have ever developed.”
That’s a lofty claim from a manufacturer that owns 52% market share of metalwoods sales (based on stats from 2012). TaylorMade keeps introducing new products and players keep buying ‘em.
Most of it has to do with innovation, and the RBZ Stage 2 fairway woods are no exception. According to the company, the key to the performance gains is high-strength TaylorMade RocketSteel supplied by Carpenter™, which creates a thinner and faster-flexing face. The face then delivers higher COR to promote faster ball speed.
The RBZ Stage 2 also incorporates an improved version of the company’s now-famous Speed Pocket design, which flexes to promote faster ball speed for more distance.
Yet another feature of the RBZ Stage 2 is Thick-thin Crown Technology. By varying the thickness of the crown, TaylorMade engineers were able to save critical weight that’s strategically repositioned to move the CG lower and farther forward. Lowering the CG promotes a higher launch angle, while moving it forward promotes faster ball speed.
Those are the technical details, but what sets the RBZ Stage 2 lineup apart from previous lines is its playability and ease of launch, which is engineered to do so thanks to the club head’s lower profile, shallow face and low CG.
“At address, players can easily see how the trailing edge sits low and close to the turf, making these fairways look exceptionally easy to launch,” Beach added.
Finally, the non-glare white crown includes a new and compelling graphic that is both eye-catching and useful as an alignment aid to promote accurate aiming of the clubface at address.
For our part, we certainly enjoyed playing the Rocketballz Stage 2 fairway woods. Like all TaylorMade products, the quality is evident from the moment you pick up the club – and once you take it to the golf course, it’s like you’ve been playing it for years.
The Tour model also includes some adjustability, but the “standard” version does not. The 15 degree 3-wood we tried delivered more than solid distance on both tee shots and from the fairway – with plenty of carry and roll-out. It was a particularly useful tool on those days where the driver wasn’t working so well.
That never happens, right?
The white color (like with the R11 and R1 drivers, etc…) did take a slight period of adjustment, but was hardly a hindrance. It will be interesting to see if TaylorMade comes out with a black version of RBZ, as it has with the R1 driver.
The clubs also come with an “ultra-light” RocketFuel 60 shaft, which does indeed feel light.
As always, the only way to tell if the RBZ Stage 2 is for you is to try it at the pro shop with a launch monitor, and if possible, on the course.
The TaylorMade company is obviously confident in its products, with good reason. With a highly successful Tour staff that includes U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, they’ve earned the right to brag a little bit. Worth a try, if you’re looking for those few extra yards.
Available at your higher-end golf retailers and club pro shops.
Check out more information about TaylorMade products at: www.taylormadegolf.com.
The RBZ Stage 2 fairways are also available in a tunable “Tour” version. Featuring the company’s Loft Sleeve technology, golfers can easily adjust the loft +/- 1.5° to find their optimal launch conditions.
RocketBallz Stage 2 fairways are equipped with an ultra-light RocketFuel 60 graphite (43.5”) shaft and are available in the following heads/lofts: 3 (15.0), 3HL (17.0), 5 (19.0), 5HL (21.0) and 7 (22.0). The TP fairway offering is equipped with a Matrix RocketFuel 70 graphite (43.5”) shaft and the following heads/loft options: Tour Spoon (13.0), T3 (14.5), T3HL (16.5) and T5 (18.5).
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