Here’s the latest driver from Taylormade, the M5. The M in the name stands for “Mixer.” This driver’s inspiration comes from the audio mixing console, like you see at big concerts and stuff.
Golfers will be able to adjust the usual driver properties like loft, face angle, lie, and so on. New adjustments will include parametric filters on several different bands, balanced and unbalanced inputs, high and low pass filtering, inline compression with hard and soft knee adjustments, effects inserts (adding a plugin type architecture for 3rd parties to develop their own “driver APPS”), noise gating, tube pre amplification, dynamic range expanders, and a bypass button for when the adjustments get so crazy you need to turn them all off.
Perhaps this is the the peak of the adjustable driver era? I’m not sure there are many more ways we can adjust these things. Statistically all these club adjustments over the years have had NO effect on amateur golf scores, which have not improved in decades.
For the last couple of months I’ve been testing out the Grenade Driver by Bombtech Golf. I really enjoy working with some of the smaller golf companies who have a great entrepreneurial spirit, love of the game, and a passion for the gear. Sometimes those basic qualities can be lost lost in the mega-marketing campaigns and big-corporate worlds of the large players in golf equipment.
Below we will look at an overview of the Grenade and how it is built, the specs, aesthetics, and how it performs on a real golf course in real conditions. I base my reviews off of real on-course results, unlike lame golf blogs or review sites who simply regurgitate press releases and PR speak and if you are lucky, base their reviews off of hitting 10 balls on the driving range.
The Bombtech Grenade driver is a 460cc driver, the max cubic centimeters allowed by the governing bodies of golf. The unit was codesigned with the University of Vermont’s Engineering Department.
Two cavities in the back of the head provide a couple of benefits. First, air flow interaction with the cavities promotes square and straight club head path. Second, more weighting is distributed to the center of gravity as well as the outside edges of the head.
The driver face is plasma welded to the head, a process common in modern driver construction.
The max allowable COR (coefficient of restitution) in legal drivers is .83, exactly what the Grenade has. This is essentially a measurement of how much spring there is in the face.
The drivers are assembled in Vermont, not China.
Face Material: Ti-1188 hardened titanium
Hosel Depth: 38mm
Weight: 199 grams
Face Angle: 0*
Shaft lengths available: 44.5 to 47 inches.
Loft: 10.5 degrees
Shaft flexes: senior, regular, ladies, stiff, extra-stiff
Available grips: Pure Pro Standard, Pure Pro Midsize
The Grenade features a very cool matte black finish. It reminds me of some great looking Harley Davidsons with badass flat black paint. The head is not decorated with busy and distracting artwork, lines, or designs. Its black, mean, and classy.
The green/black color scheme of the shaft and head is clean and sharp looking.
Feedback from the club to the player comes in a few forms, most commonly audibly and through the feel. Through this feedback players will know if they’re hitting the sweet spot, or if there are adjustments needed due to toe or heel contact.
The sound this driver makes is very “sweet.” One knows that sweet pinging sound when a well struck shot is executed. The sound is slightly less pingy for off-center hits.
The feel of the club is great. Sweet spot shots feel buttery and solid, while toe and hosel shots are easy to detect.
Another small visible feedback is due to the black face of the driver. Golf balls will leave visible fingerprints on the face, allowing the player to see precisely where the contact is occurring.
I’d have to say the one thing missing from the Grenade as compared to many offerings from the bigger companies is adjustability. The Grenade is not adjustable. That being said, most players, including myself, adjust the driver once and leave it set for their swing. For example, once I adjusted a driver I acquired in 2012, I’ve never changed the setting since.
One other critique is the lack of multiple lofts, especially in lieu of not being adjustable. The unit is only available in 10.5 degrees, which works great for me. But for those who need more or less launch angle, they’re out of luck for now. Perhaps more lofts will be available down the road.
The head cover for the Grenade is as solid as the driver itself. The cover is easy to put on and take off, and not too bulky.
On The Course
Over the last couple of months I’ve played the Grenade, and compared to popular drivers from bigger name companies. In my opinion this driver is equally as long as any driver I’ve recently played, yet as easy or easier to hit than most.
The feedback, especially the sound, is tremendous. I can tell immediately if I’m off-center, and make corrections quickly during a round.
The 10.5 degree model I tested launched at a solid and pleasing angle for my normally low ball flight. I had plenty of carry and roll and the ball did not baloon in the wind. One highlight drive includes being inside the 150 marker on the 470 yard par-4 18th at my home course.
Yesterday on the range a stranger inquired about the driver when he saw me hitting it. I told him about it and asked if he wanted to try it. He only hit one ball, perhaps not wanting to inconvenience me. His one ball hit the fence at the end of the driving range, ¾ of the way up! Wow. Not to be outdone, I teed one up and flew it OVER the fence.
The Grenade is a solid driver which competes with or exceeds the performance, aesthetics, distance, and feel of the big name drivers on the market. And if one is not sure about spending the $299, Bombtech offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.