TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver Review
In this TaylorMade BRNR Mini driver review, Neil Tappin puts it through its paces to find out who this 304cc driver is aimed at
By shrinking the size of this driver, reducing the length of the shaft and adding loft, TaylorMade is offering something genuinely worth considering for confident ball strikers in search of control.
Aspirational, retro aesthetics
Powerful sound and feel
Limited appeal among regular golfers
TaylorMade is billing its new BRNR Mini Driver as ‘a modern interpretation of a classic design’. By shrinking the size of the head (in comparison to the brand’s 460cc Stealth 2 driver), and injecting some retro styling, TaylorMade is hoping to use this model to engage with a specific group of golfers.
As mentioned, the stand-out feature of this driver is the size. At just 304cc, it is noticeably more compact than any of the best golf drivers on the market. There are two moveable weights in the sole of the club that can be switched to dial in the spin profile and overall flight on offer. In addition to that there is also a ‘K Sole’ design which should help with turf interaction for those looking to use this from the deck.
We wanted to see what the TaylorMade BRNR Mini driver had to offer so I tested it over two recent rounds and have used my Arccos data to compare the performance with the Titleist TSR2 driver that is currently in my bag.
The first thing to talk about are the aesthetics. The black and bronze colour scheme works well here and to my eye at least, evoked memories of the TaylorMade Bubble Burner. I tested the 13.5˚ version (there is a lower lofted option too), with the heavier weight at the back of the sole. The loft set-up (as well as the length of the shaft) made this feel like a pumped-up 2-wood. Given that I’d been struggling for control off the tee, I liked this visual and despite the more compact look, I felt more confident standing over the BRNR Mini.
I also loved the retro TaylorMade headcover (scroll through the images above to see for yourself!).
Looking at my Arccos data below, one thing jumped out - how many more fairways I hit. In fact, during the second of the two rounds, I only missed one fairway using the BRNR Mini. This is highly unusual for me! The flight was possibly a fraction higher than I’d usually expect but the difference wasn’t huge and I could have used the loft sleeve or moveable weights to bring down that flight (and potentially add a little more distance).
Of course, the trade-off came with the overall distance. The three drives shown above were some of my best hits. With my current 460cc driver (with its 45-inch shaft), I’d expect more distance from my best hit. And likewise, I’d also expect a little more from my mishits.
It is worth saying here that I’d expect some of the draw-backs highlighted here to be mitigated by the effect of the shorter driver shaft (43.5-inches). I’m confident this would help me find the centre of the clubface more often so whilst the sweetspot is more compact, I’d expect my own strike pattern to be tighter.
By doing something different with the BRNR Mini, TaylorMade is offering certain golfers a choice well worth considering. While the appeal might be narrower than with, for instance the most forgiving drivers on the market, it will be compelling for some. Confident ball strikers and longer hitters who are searching for control off the tee above all else and are happy to look down on something more compact at address, are the target. It has an aspirational aesthetic, feels superb and offers the sort of modern, performance-enhancing tech inside the head you’d expect from TaylorMade.
Throw in the fact that this can be used off the fairway and you have a product, that whilst it won’t suit a vast spectrum of golfers, has worthy space on the market in 2023.
In his current role, Neil is responsible for testing drivers and golf balls. Having been a part of the Golf Monthly team for over 15 years and playing off a handicap of 3, he has the experience to compare performance between models, brands and generations. For 2022 he thinks the main trend in drivers is: "In a word, consistency. Whilst all the brands are talking about ball speed (and the new drivers are certainly long), my biggest finding has been how much more consistent the ball flights are. Mishits don't seem to be causing the same level of drop-off or increase in the spin numbers. This means that more shots seem to be flying the way you want them to!" As far as golf balls are concerned the biggest development is in the, "three piece, non-Tour, urethane-covered section. For regular golfers, these models offer superb performance at both ends of the bag without denting your wallet quite as much as the premium Tour-played options."
Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he is now the brand's Digital Editor and covers everything from Tour player interviews to gear reviews. In his time at Golf Monthly, he has covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points.
Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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