No golf club created more of a sensation in 2012 than the RocketBallz driver from TaylorMade, so the 2013 introduction of its successor – called the RocketBallz Stage 2 – is a noteworthy event.
This new edition has a lower and more forward Center of Gravity, a more aerodynamic head shape and an expanded face that, TaylorMade says, all combine to generate up to nine more yards of distance for better players compared to the first-generation RBZ driver.
''It's hard to imagine bringing a driver to market that outperforms the original RocketBallz driver,'' said Todd Beach, TaylorMade's vice president of metalwoods research and development. ''Making the head of the RBZ Stage 2 driver more aerodynamic while also making the clubface larger was a tremendous challenge.''
Though not as adjustable as TaylorMade's flagship R1 driver, the RBZ Stage 2 has been updated to offer 12 different lofts, lie angles and face angles within the window of a 1.5-degree loft adjustment. It also includes a Thick-thin Crown design in which various portions of the crown range from 0.6 to 0.4 millimeter thick, saving three grams of weight as compared to the crowns of the 2012 R11S and RocketBallz Tour drivers.
When creating the R11 driver a few years ago, TaylorMade engineers discovered that a low-and-forward Center of Gravity location helps promote faster ball speed and a higher launch angle, both of which promote more distance. The RBZ Stage 2 Tour driver incorporates a CG location that's lower and more forward than the first-generation RBZ, and it also includes TaylorMade's Inverted Cone Technology in which an inverted cone is milled into the inner side of the clubface to expand the sweet spot and help improve the result of off-center hits.
One of the primary characteristics of the original RocketBallz driver was what TaylorMade calls its ''large address footprint,'' and that footprint is even bigger this time around. The new clubface is even larger and deeper, encompassing 4,100 square millimeters. This, the company says, makes the Stage 2 even easier to hit for golfers of every skill level.
The Stage 2 driver comes standard with a 50-gram Fujikura RocketFuel shaft and a light grip that keeps the club under 300 grams of total weight. That, along with balancing the club to a slightly higher swing weight, allows the RBZ Stage 2 driver to promote faster swing speed for most golfers. And the lightweight characteristics of the shaft coupled with the head's mass properties work together to create a moderate draw bias.
One other interesting thing to note about the Stage 2 is its crown graphics. The head is white with a black face, like several other modern TaylorMade models, but the crown has black, gold and gray graphics even more complex than the gray and orange graphics on the R1 driver. To create these graphics, TaylorMade used its MAT-T (Motion Analysis Technology by TaylorMade) System to study how most golfers look down at their drivers and fairway clubs, and used a computer program to design the graphics to serve as an alignment aid.
There is also a Stage 2 Tour model, which has an even lower and more forward Center of Gravity and a stock Matrix 6Q3 shaft to promote a more penetrating ball flight. The standard Stage 2 carries a suggested retail price of $299, while the Tour version retails for $349.