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Gear Review: TaylorMade's Burner Driver

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Gear Review: TaylorMade Burner Driver

Price: $399

What They Say:

-SuperFast Technology reduces total club weight to 299 grams from average of 320 and promotes faster swing speed for added drive-crushing distance

-Advanced bullet-shaped clubhead incorporates far-back CG location to launch the ball high and super-deep

-Massive 460 cc clubhead combined with TaylorMade’s Inverted Cone Technology produces an extremely-high eMOI* that exceeds 5800 (USGA conforming)

-SuperFast RE*AX 50g shaft by Fujikura is exceptionally lightweight and stable to promote greater distance and accuracy

[photopress:burner1.jpg,full,alignleft]What We Say: The Burner offers a great launch angle with the ball moving a little less side-to-side. For the average player, that’s exactly what they want.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve hit pretty much all of the woods TaylorMade has issued to the public. I tried the original moveable weight drivers, and last year hit the TP model of the R7. I had moderate success with each, though pros and strong drivers of the ball seemed to love the clubs with their weights that could be switched to promote a draw or fade.

So it was with some cynicism that I began hitting TM’s new “Burner” driver. It appeared part of the latest fad — MOI or “moment of inertia.” This year MOI was the buzz, with Callaway (FT-i), Nike (Sumo2) and several others unleashing their version of the new type of driver. The goal was the same — MOI was designed to keep the ball straighter, promoting less of a draw and less of a fade.

I’ve had the good fortune to play more than a dozen rounds with the Burner and have found the club delivers on its promise. It promotes a strong high ball flight and there is something to the MOI concept. That said, if you have a swing that is different every time and the ball flight is unique to every swing, the Burner will take out some of the extremes. But it can’t make you hit the ball straight — only you can do that. It is something I know first hand.

Sound:

The sound a driver makes is always an important factor for those chosing a new driver. Not that it should matter — after all, the sound a driver makes has no impact on the way a ball flies. That said, unlike Callaway’s FT-i, which sounds a bit like hitting a golf ball with a pop can on the end of a stick, the Burner has a consistent, bright tone off the clubface that is not unlike what one would traditionally expect from TM’s drivers.

Feel: The feel off the face of the Burner is firm — this is no forged driver — but it didn’t take long to get used to it. The clubhead is large, which will take some time to get accustomed to.

Overall: The TM Burner pleasantly surprised me. I wasn’t expecting much. Instead I found a club I’ve put in my bag and have been hitting almost all year so far. The club is consistent and relatively long off the tee. In many ways the response to the club has also surprised TM who expected their new Quad driver to be the hit of the summer. Instead more tour pros have gravitated to the Burner. Surprising, the Burner is a club that should actually translate well to amateurs. The Burner may not be a huge step forward, but it won’t disappoint either.

Our Gear Head Rating: ****

Gear Head Rating System:

* Dont bother
** If you really need this, go ahead but we warned you
*** You will neither be disappointed or thrilled
**** Money well wasted. This should be one of your final choices
***** Buy this now!

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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