When it comes to advancements in technology, particularly golf clubs, there tends to be two main types: Step (incremental change), and Leap (monumental change). The TaylorMade Stealth driver, and the emergence as they so ‘eloquently’ put it of the Carbonwood Age, is definitely the latter.
This will be a driver, similar to the Original TaylorMade metalwood, and the r7 Quad, that you will not only be proud to own, but be the envy of friends in years to come: “Oh, did you own a Stealth?” It seems then performance improvements are both given and bonus. But that doesn’t mean it’s for everyone.
WHAT WE LIKE
+ Shape: this sits beautifully
+ Larger face is a safety blanket
+ Sound is a crack vs a twang. Surprising.
WHAT WE DON’T LIKE
× Technology comes at a price × Face colour will divide opinion
The Inertia Generator, as part of overall shape, remain as a key component of Stealth and Stealth Plus, as does the overall aerodynamics. If it works, why make drastic changes?
Carbon. The time spent developing the carbon face is quite extraordinary, in fact 20+ years. Such was the belief that it was the way forward, TaylorMade maintained the pursuit, and discovered many barriers along the way. What does it do? Delivers faster and more consistent ball speeds across a larger area of the face. A safety blanket for mishit shots.
At address the Stealth drivers all look very sharp. The matte carbon crown is not distracting in any way and allows your focus to be where it needs to be. The subtle addition of the word “STEALTH” towards the heel is pretty smart.
The face is the big thing that will probably have people judging the driver. Red on Black is traditionally a very aggressive combination and has been used by TaylorMade in the past (see main image for face closeup).
You never know what to expect when you hit a new material for the first time, something a lot of old-timers probably know a bit more about, with the transition from wood to metal to Ti. The way we’d describe the feel is firm, and the sound a solid crack. It doesn’t sound exactly like your old driver, nor should it.
We tested the Stealth and Stealth Plus. The Plus needed speed to get it going, and the difference between the two for poor old me was noticeable. Just as I needed the help of the Stealth, Kippa could immediately notice why the Plus suits faster speeds, and nothing to do with adjustability. Yes, this can be sorted with a fitting for shaft but it was something we picked up straight away (as with the Stealth fairway woods).
But the flight was strong, and you got a sense of speed. Will we guarantee 5 yards? No. But is it likely? Yep. And best of all, the mishits across the 10% larger face area were noticeably improved.
We golfers upgrade our drivers for a variety of reasons. Often we’ll convince ourselves it’s because of the distance gains, or dispersion improvements. Sure this will deliver performance improvements, but we think you’ll buy Stealth for one other major reason. In years to come it will be nice to say you owned a piece of equipment that really was a benchmark piece of technology. Bragging rights are a thing.