Neil Tappin delivers his verdict on the new TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max drivers having tested them against the outgoing M5 and M6 models.
You will have seen social media abuzz with images of the new TaylorMade SIM drivers in action in Hawaii this week. They replace the impressive M5 and M6 drivers and we’ve been testing them over the last month or so to see if there are performance gains to be had. You can read about the technology on the new SIM metalwoods here.
The sole view is where you are going to notice the biggest difference in terms of looks. The asymmetric Inertia Generator is immediately obvious and on SIM you will notice TaylorMade have done away with this central weight track. Ultimately this was because that most players put the central weight all the way back in the head for forgiveness, which meant that the weight track was becoming slightly redundant. You still have the front track to add draw or fade bias.
When looking down on the ball, gone is that duller, more matte finish that was on the M-Series of drivers. In its place the crown of the drivers is a little bit brighter and the drivers also have a new chalk white finish, which we like. Not drastically different, still easy to align, but definitely more modern and the SIM and the SIM Max do appear slightly bigger to look down on. The SIM Max in particular is a lot bigger and more generous looking behind the ball than last year’s M6.
When we talk about feel what we are really talking about is the sound. Last year I used the M6 and one of the things I loved was the feel. The sound was powerful and dull but not excessively so.
The SIM Max may be a touch louder than last years M6. When comparing the M5 and SIM, it is hard to tell any difference in sound or feel and that is a good thing because last year’s TaylorMade drivers sounded fantastic. I don’t think that is any different with the two new SIM drivers.
We tested all the drivers, the SIM and M models, in 9° in the same Diamana X-Flex shaft which is one of the stock options for 2020. For the M6 I was delivering club head speed of 113.3 mph, that was delivering ball speed of 159 mph. All of this created a carry distance of 278 yards, which is really strong performance.
In the SIM Max, the clubhead speed took an immediate jump up to 114.7. That gave me a ball speed of 163.2mph, four mph faster. So with the Max I was creating a little bit more spin but in terms of total carry distance there was a clear jump.
In the M5 I was creating a clubhead speed of 115.6 mph, that was delivering me a ball-speed of 161.6 mph. This delivered me a total carry distance of 282 yards. Moving into the SIM, the club head speed was 115.8 mph, so a tiny fraction up. Ball speed of 164 mph, again up slightly. The total carry distance was 287 so a little bit longer with the SIM compared to the M5 and a little bit longer with the SIM Max than I was with the M6.
You can make of that data what you will but all drivers were set up in the same way but it does seem as if the work TaylorMade have done to the aerodynamics has delivered a little bit more clubhead speed and a little bit more ball speed which meant overall, more distance.
I used the M6 last year because I felt like I could control it. I’ve not had a chance to fully test the accuracy of the SIM models on the course but hitting on the range, if there was one driver I would be most comfortable with in keeping the ball on the golf course it would be SIM. It just clicked with me and I was able to hit a series of good shots with it, like I was in complete control of it.
If you are tempted to get the SIM or SIM Max, think about your own game. If you are someone with a consistent miss, lets say you miss right, then the ability in the SIM to move the sole weight and put it into a draw-bias will help you hit more fairways for sure.
Alternatively if your strike pattern is out of the heel or out of the toe then that extra forgiveness, that higher MOI that you get from the SIM Max might well be the way to go.
These drivers come with a premium price tag but with that you do get premium performance. It’s not a massive leap forward from M5 or M6 but we did see gains in club and ball speed without sacrificing accuracy, and the looks also continue to impress. The Max version is straighter and positioned at a more affordable price plus there’s the option of a D version for serial slicers. In total, three very appealing products for 2020 that will suit every style and ability of player.