TaylorMade launch the new Tour Burner line of equipment earlier this Spring with a spirited marketing campaign. The Burner Bloodline website provides great detail and insight into this tour like line of equipment. Unlike the Tour Authentic line from Callaway, the Tour Burner series is not about bringing extremely high priced actual Tour equipment to the hands of the weekend golfer, but about bringing Tour like performance to the rest of us. Can a piece of equipment give us a ball flight like TaylorMade Staffer Sergio Garcia?
Engineered To Be A Bully
The new Taylor Made Tour Burner Driver features a dynamic combination of advanced physics and power. The Tour Burners top crown boasts a bigger more powerful base which has been deemed Dual Crown Technology. Take advantage of a deeper and lower center of gravity for unmatched forgiveness, control and Tour Power.
Engineered To Bomb Away
The new Taylor Made Tour Burner Driver gives the golfer the highest confidence thanks to an advanced physics design. Dual Crown Technology, Inverted Cone Technology and SuperFast Technology combine to give you the longest straightest shots you can hit with a driver. The Taylor Made Tour Burner is the very essence of power.
- Dual crown and weighted power-base promote increased carry and distance
- Modern head shape promotes lower, deeper and precision-placed CG for higher launch angle and lower spin
- SuperFast Technology promotes increased swing speed, faster ball speed and added distance
- Inverted Cone Technology dramatically expands the portion of the clubface that delivers high COR for consistently longer drives on off-center hits
- SuperFast 60-gram shaft is exceptionally lightweight and stable to promote greater distance and accuracy
Look and Feel
The Tour Burner features a triangular head shape, similar to that of the R7 CGB Max driver. Those of you who are married to the idea of playing a traditional shaped driver head, this triangular shape may be more appealing to you than the square heads on say the FT-i or Sumo 5900. The corners of the triangle are quite rounded, and at address it sets up very nice. I had no trouble with alignment and felt quite comfortable with the look. At address the dual crown is not very visible, as you can see in the address picture. So kudos to TaylorMade for adding even more technology to a driver, without creating a strange look at address. The dark color of the club itself is quite subdued and the sole of the club looks very classy. I really like the new big ‘B’ burner logo. Very understated.
The retail, non TP model, does sit a couple degrees closed, so if you are afraid of the left side of the course, this may be an issue for you. However, just about every retail driver these days sits closed to try and combat the dreaded slice that plagues so many weekend golfers. If your regular ball is a bit of a slice, the closed face may help you square the club up at impact a bit. If you freely release the club head, expect the occasional hook or look at the TP version of this club, which sits more square to open.
One other item of note, look wise, is the head cover for this club. I think it’s one of the coolest looking head covers I have seen for a driver in a while. These guys really know how to market a golf club. Of course, a head cover will do absolutely nothing for your golf game, but hey it looks pretty sweet in your golf bag!
Feel off the club face is very explosive. The last TaylorMade driver I played was the R7 425, which, while being smaller volume wise, had a similar explosive feel to it off the center of the face. The Tour Burner carries that feel further out from the center, so even hits slightly toward the toe or heel still feel like you have just launched a 300 yard bomb. TaylorMade always seems to get it right in this department. So it is not surprising that they continue to be the leader in number of drivers in play on the PGA Tour.
I never played last year’s TaylorMade Burner driver, so I cannot compare the two drivers personally. However, when I first took this club out to the driving range, the guy at the stall next to me was hitting last year’s model quite well, bouncing balls off the net. So, I had him take a few swings with the Tour Burner. He was pleasantly surprised with the result. The ball seemed to launch at a good angle, and ball spin seemed to be quite low, as the ball had that nice mid height, penetrating trajectory. The ball seemed to hang in the air forever. The 07 Burner hits launched a little lower, but seemed to have more of a rise/fall to them. Even with the slightly lower flight, the ball bounced higher off the net. I would have to assume he gained at least 10 yards over last year’s model. Was it the new technology or just a better fit for him? I could not tell you. He did say he liked the feel, that the face felt a little more ‘explosive’ than the 2007 Burner. Unfortunately for him, he had just bought the 07 Burner a few weeks prior.
Given the low spin and mid-high launch of this club, you may want to look at a higher loft than you generally play. That is to say, if you’re playing a 9.5 degree driver now, take a few swings with the 10.5 version of this club on a launch monitor. The added loft will make the club a little more forgiving and still put the ball out there a mile. Just make sure you hit it somewhere first. The biggest mistake people make with a driver is walking into a store and plunking down $500 on a club they have hit once or twice into a net. Find a store where you can demo the club on the course or on a legit launch monitor…or better yet find a qualified club fitter to help match up the right loft, head and shaft combo for your swing.
Now, back to the actual performance. So far this season I have played the Nike Sumo 5900, Cleveland HiBore XL and XLS and the Nickent 4DX. Now this certainly would not be an apples to apples comparison, however where I found the 5900 to be the most forgiving of these, it also is the shortest hitter. The HiBore XLS seems to perform similar to the XL (though perhaps a little more spin, expect a review in the coming weeks). The Nickent 4DX is the longest of the bunch when I hit it on the screws, though also the least forgiving, ball speed wise. The Tour Burner is definitely up there with the 4DX in terms of distance. Hit it on the screws and it gets way out there. What I like about it is the distance on off center hits, it still gets way out there, definitely a lot less lost distance over the 4DX. The Tour Burner’s draw bias helps keeps the ball on the left side of the fairway, and when I took it to the range, I would say at least 75% of my hits were nice high draws that carried forever. Forgiveness, as I have mentioned is very good. Not as forgiving as the Sumo 5900, but you’re also not sacrificing as much distance. For the average person, what would probably help improve forgiveness more than a radical club shape would be to have your driver shaft fit in the 43-44″ range, rather than the stock 46″ range most clubs are sold at today. Those two inches will help make sure you smack the ball on the center of the face more often.
My review club was fit with the stock SuperFast 60 gram shaft in a stiff flex. As with most stock shafts, it felt a little on the weaker side of stiff. This is probably fine for the majority of players, as most people seem to want to ‘man up’ and go with the stiffest flex they can find. The shaft felt nice and smooth and obviously contributes well to the high launch/low spin characteristics of this club.
The Tour Burner is a club I could definitely see myself playing on a full time basis if I wanted to eliminate the right side of the course and bomb it all day long. It is not quite as long or as workable as the 4DX T-Spec driver I have been playing lately, but it is also far more forgiving. My average hit with the Tour Burner is definitely further than the average on the 4DX. If you are a mid handicapper, with a relatively fast swing speed (you hit your drives 250+), but are not satisfied with the consistency or trajectory of your current driver, you should add this club to your short list. The low handicappers out there may want to have a look at the TP version of this club, as there would be less of a draw bias built into the club head. It’s a sharp looking club, with a more traditional shape, wonderful off center ball speed performance and very good distance. At just under $400, it certainly is not a bargain, however you are paying for the latest technology, and resale/trade-in value of TaylorMade products is generally acceptable….in case you decide you must have 2009′s latest and greatest!