The original TaylorMade Stealth made an impressive debut in 2022. The 2023 version has been subtly improved, making this an impressive all-rounder, one that will appeal to a wide range of golfers.
More user-friendly looks compared to previous generation
Improved ball flight consistency
Minimal distance gains over the previous generation
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Any golfer in the market for a driver that offers a consistent blend of distance and forgiveness will be interested in what TaylorMade has to offer. The driver that likely has the broadest appeal in the second-generation Stealth line-up for 2023 is the standard TaylorMade Stealth 2 model, that has been included in our Editor's Choice 2023.
WATCH: Gear Of The Week show discusses the new TaylorMade Stealth 2, Cobra Aerojet and Ping G430
When the original TaylorMade Stealth driver was launched in January 2022, it came with some major new technology, including, for the first time in the brand’s history, a carbon face. Looking at the three new models, which include the TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver and TaylorMade Stealth 2 HD driver, there are some refinements to the original technology that promise to move the performance on.
Before touching on this new technology, it’s important to say that I really liked the original Stealth driver family. For me, they were up there with the most aspirational of all the drivers I tested last year. Long and forgiving, they also had stand-out looks and powerful impact sounds which provided an all-important ‘X factor’. In terms of performance, they were right up there with the best drivers we tested. In the end, it was the TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver that I ended up putting in my bag.
Building on the original 60X Carbon Twist Face that optimized energy transfer for fast ball speeds, the new face design features an advanced version of Inverted Cone Technology (ICT) to help maintain ball speed on off-center strikes and increase forgiveness. It’s 2g lighter than the original Stealth face and is designed to have an expanded COR area for a larger sweet spot and boosted performance across the whole face. One of other major stories is the Carbon Reinforced Composite Ring, which unites the driver head into a singular force that, TaylorMade says, frees up additional mass which has been strategically placed to deliver more forgiveness.
For testing, I hit the new Stealth 2 up against last year’s version, as well as the TaylorMade SIM 2 Max from 2021 – so the last three corresponding generations. I hit the drivers on a GC Quad launch monitor at Foresight Sports HQ, and used Titleist Pro V1x golf balls.
As you can see, all three drivers performed well with the same shaft - Mitsubishi Tensei 65X and 9˚ loft set up. However, the new Stealth 2 was the fastest, both in terms of clubhead speed and ball speed, and it also offered the most carry distance. What I did notice was that the Stealth 2 spun a little more than the original, which is something I also picked up on when comparing the Stealth Plus models. This extra spin from the new Stealth generation is by no means drastic. However, to optimize my set up with the new driver, I could potentially make a shaft or loft change to help dial that spin down a fraction to maximize my distance.
One thing that came across clearly during my testing was the consistency of the ball flight I gained from the Stealth 2. I’m a three-handicapper, and ball striking is probably the strength of my game, but I don’t always hit the ball in the same place in the face. However, what I found with the Stealth 2 was that my flight remained impressively consistent throughout the test. This is a very good sign. Looking at the data, the spin rates for all the shots I hit only fluctuated in the Stealth 2 by about 700rpm. In both the SIM 2 Max and the Stealth they fluctuated by around 1,000rp.
One of criticisms I had with the original Stealth family, particularly in the standard and Stealth HD versions, was the combination of the matte black crown and dark red face that created a compact look down behind the ball. I could see how this aesthetic would border on intimidating for some golfers. Having said that, it’s a trade off, because they also looked aspirational, modern and premium – you could say, Stealth-like.
For me, TaylorMade has done a good job of making the Stealth 2 a bit more user-friendly behind the ball. The red on the face is brighter, which is a smart move, as it makes the loft on the club a little clearer to see. The glossy black crown, meanwhile, also helps it look a bit more generous at address. Then there’s the red ring round the back of the head, which highlights the Carbon Reinforced Composite Ring technology. I loved this. It looks really smart, and adds something different to the driver without making it look at all fussy. Sadly, it’s not something you see on the Stealth 2 Plus, which I think is a shame.
When comparing generations, the new Stealth 2 is more evolutionary than revolutionary. The distance was good but it was the added consistency in testing that impressed me most. Combined with the refined aesthetics, I think this is a driver that’s builds on what’s gone before and will have a broad appeal among golfers of different handicaps.
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In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf.
Throughout his time with the brand he has also 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: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X
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