We had an opportunity to put the new TaylorMade M1 460 and 430 to the test last week. When I first heard that the M1 had a composite top I was a little leery about the sound and durability but at least the sound factor was addressed with the first swing. Sound is like the R15 or Aeroburner. I was afraid it would have a clunky, mushy sound, but the sound is crisp and clear. As for durability, I think this driver will hold up to higher swing speeds as the metal part of the crown has moved back on the clubhead. Most OEM drivers that failed in the past had roughly 1/4″ of metal material wrapping over onto the top of the composite head. I liked the feel of the M1, especially on slight mishits. Good feedback that I did not hit the ball on the sweet spot but not as harsh as the R15.
As with all of our testing, we used the same shaft for all three heads, M1 460, M1 430 and R15. We also used a TaylorMade Preferred X ball. The shaft used in all three tests was the ACCRA LS 55 M4. We used Trackman II in an indoor setting.
As advertised, with the weight set in the high launch position, launch angle was about 1 degree higher than the low launch position. Interestingly, the spin only went up a little over 100 rpm in the higher launch position. The smash factor was consistently in the 1.48-1.50 range for the M1 while the R15 was 1.45-1.46. Not a big difference but still 5-7 yards total. Launch angle was about 1 degree higher for the M1 than the equivalent setting on the R15. Spin was almost identical on the M1 versus the R15 at 2950 for our testers.
Bottom line: We saw a big improvement last year in the R15 over the SLDR in consistency of smash factor, launch and spin. This ultimately gives more distance. If you did not upgrade to the R15 last year, you should really consider the M1 for an overall improvement in distance and control. Official release date is October 8, 2015 but demos are available now!