- The TaylorMade SIM2 driver family includes three models (SIM2, SIM2 MAX, SIM2 MAX D).
- Each of the models has a single-piece face cup and a forged aluminum ring to support the crown and sole.
- Retail price is $529.99. Availability starts Feb. 19.
With the release of the TaylorMade SIM2, SIM2 MAX and SIM2 MAX D, the company reaffirms its commitment to the shape (and, I suppose, the in motion) portions of the story behind last season’s SIM drivers. With SIM2, the shape carries on because speed is still important (you don’t say?) and so aerodynamics remain important, too.
So, much of what we first saw with SIM carries over with SIM2 drivers. A ubiquitous TaylorMade technology has been chopped, however, and the materials and construction used to create the signature SIM (and now SIM2) shape have been replaced with different and potentially compelling materials.
In some ways, SIM2 is pretty much the same as the original. In other meaningful ways, it’s significantly different.
Deconstructing and Reinventing SIM2
In my story on the G425 drivers, I wrote about PING’s pursuit of small improvements with the hope that chaining enough of them together will lead to a quantifiable improvement for most golfers.
Just as with the larger story, TaylorMade’s approach is the same … but different. The company describes its methods as rethinking how drivers are built from ground up. In simple terms, it means an examination of each of the various pieces of the SIM2 driver as truly individual components. In designing the SIM2 driver, TaylorMade considered the face, sole, crown and skirt and looked for ways to improve each part individually.
TaylorMade believes it has succeeded and has Voltroned the parts of the SIM2 driver into a singular better whole that provides quantifiable performance improvements over the first iteration of SIM.
You might even say it’s SIM-IER. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)
With a unique combination of titanium, carbon fiber, aluminum and, if you want to count the rear-mounted weights, tungsten or steel depending on the model, the TaylorMade SIM2 driver is serving up a new level of multi-material construction.
Here’s how it all comes together.
So much build up. Here’s your letdown.
Not much has changed on top of the TaylorMade SIM2 driver. TaylorMade is using same carbon fiber material as in the original SIM. The most noticeable change is a move from the SIM’s gray crown to more of a true black in the SIM2. I’m probably in the minority but I prefer the gray. Either way, there’s nothing off-putting here (unless you really hate the chalk white on the leading edge).
The small improvement is a subtly reshaped crown on the SIM2 driver. The carbon fiber has been pulled a bit more into the heel side. The redesign smooths things out a bit and makes SIM2’s crown more symmetrical at address.
Full Carbon Sole
With the exception of the bits of shelving extending from TaylorMade’s new facepiece to support it, the entirety of the sole of the TaylorMade SIM2 driver is comprised of three-ply carbon fiber. Above and beyond the requisite bits about saving weight, the design objective was to ensure the sole material is durable enough to survive whatever golfers put it through.
Short story: it’s designed to take a beating.
Whether said beating is the accumulation of everyday wear and tear or a full-on exhibition of anger management issues, the TaylorMade SIM2 driver’s carbon sole is designed to withstand as much as golfers can reasonably throw at it … and then some.
While it’s ultimately not a thing that matters, TaylorMade’s centrally placed T-bug logo is large (it’s for guys who REALLY love TaylorMade), though still reasonably subtle. The full TaylorMade script logo is positioned outside of the wear zone where it has a better chance of staying clean and scratch free.
Single-Piece Face Cup Design
A quick refresher: the majority of driver designs feature an elliptically shaped face insert that’s, well, inserted into an opening in the chassis and then welded into place. The weld marks are then polished (ground) and, yeah, that’s pretty much it.
Polishing isn’t entirely precise and can impact things like loft, bulge and roll as well as general consistency from one driver head to the next. As you may know, the imprecision of the polishing process is the reason why COBRA CNC mills the exterior of its driver faces.
With the TaylorMade SIM2 Driver, the company is taking a different, perhaps more aggressive, approach. The entire front portion of its driver — face, ledges for the crown and sole, cut-through slot, front swingweight port, hosel — basically all the business at the face end is made from a single piece of titanium.
If you look closely enough at the inside (you shouldn’t because you’ll have to destroy your driver to do it), you can see the critical detail that drives this story — a CNC-milled face design. COBRA does it on the outside, TaylorMade does its milling on the inside.
Kinda the same but different.
The milling allows for what TaylorMade calls an “intelligently optimized sweet spot.” By the numbers, the sweet area (the part of the face where COR is at least .800) on the SIM2 driver is 43-percent larger than on SIM.
That’s the feature. The benefit is more speed over a larger portion of the face.
Ultimately, the speed story boils down to using CNC milling to precisely control face thickness with an eye for maximizing speed in the areas where golfers most commonly make contact. A bit like COBRA’s e9 face, the idea is an elliptical pattern where speed is boosted in high-probability impact zones like the high toe and low heel areas.
That intelligent optimization stuff allows TaylorMade to reduce the number of Speed Injection ports from two on the face to a single port in the toe.
Sorry, guys, no more screw face.
Based on the count alone, that would seem to limit TaylorMade’s ability to precisely position its speed-reducing goo (the idea of Speed Injection is to manufacture faces faster than they’re allowed to be and then add the amount of material necessary to slow them down to levels the USGA finds acceptable). TaylorMade, however, says the added precision provided by CNC milling allows for tighter controls which, in turn, give it the ability to manage speed (technically CT) from a single toe port.
While all of this sounds great so far, sacrifices had to be made to the driver design gods. To allow the CNC machines to reach the bottom of its faces, TaylorMade had to give up its weight track.
A Long History of Movable Mass
By my recollection, every flagship TaylorMade driver going back to R5 TP has featured some sort of movable weight technology. That streak ends here but don’t read much into it. Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade’s Senior Director for Metalwoods, is adamant that the weight-less design of the SIM2 driver shouldn’t be taken as a signal that TaylorMade has moved on from movable weight technology.
Let’s call it a pause.
Adding a weight track to SIM2 would have meant a performance sacrifice. Specifically, it wouldn’t have been able to mill the lower portion of the SIM2 face. That wasn’t something TaylorMade was willing to consider and, so, no movable weights this year.
As a consequence, fitters lose a bit of flexibility and golfers lose a favored tinker toy but, as I’ve said countless times before, there is a design penalty inherent to movable weights. By eliminating them, TaylorMade has potentially created a better driver.
The other upside is that TaylorMade hopes eliminating the track will remove perceptions some golfers have that the driver with movable weights is universally better than the one without. That kind of thinking sometimes leads golfers to pay more and get less (from a performance standpoint). Kinda like a Jeep.
With SIM2, SIM2 MAX, and SIM2 MAX D essentially all having the same standard set of features, golfers can focus entirely on the benefits offered by each model.
TaylorMade SIM2 Driver – Forged Aluminum Ring
The most intriguing, and the flashiest, element of the TaylorMade SIM2 driver design is the forged aluminum ring that surrounds the crown and makes up a good portion of the back end of the driver.
The anodized aluminum ring has pins on either side that allow it to interlock with the face piece. The crown and sole are bonded to the top and bottom respectively.
While something as basic as a cool, perhaps futuristic, look isn’t without value on a retail shelf, the functional purpose of the ring is to save weight over the titanium that would normally be used in that section.
TaylorMade says its aluminum is 40 percent lighter and is better suited to its particular application than carbon fiber. The latter works really well in a variety of what are largely sheet applications. With more complex geometries like TaylorMade’s ring, carbon fiber isn’t ideal … especially given the durability considerations we discussed earlier.
SIM2 Driver Sound (and Feel)?
Just thinking out loud here but the one concern I have with the SIM2’s fresh take on multi-material driver construction is sound.
Non-standard materials typically result in non-standard acoustics. If you remember the early days of composite, you know it wasn’t always easy on the ears. The Carbon Track in COBRA’s F6+ is another example of innovative design being lost to bad sound.
A ton of carbon fiber, aluminum and not much for acoustic tuning ribs and, well, things could get interesting.
For what it’s worth, Most Wanted Testing, which includes all three TaylorMade SIM2 driver models, started a few weeks ago. Reports on the sound of the SIM2 coming out of the test facility thus far have wavered between pretty good and best in class.
Youe mileage may vary but early indications are sound won’t be a problem.
With the commonalities covered, let’s take a quick look at the differentiation between the three TaylorMade SIM2 models.
TaylorMade SIM2 Driver
Plain old SIM2 (no suffix and no weights) is the lowest spinning of TaylorMade’s SIM2 drivers. Based on how things are shaking out in the market this year, short of a company dramatically understating loft (there’s always one or two who run that particular scam), I’d wager SIM2 and Titleist TSi4 will be the lowest-spinning options on the market this year.
That’s not to say TaylorMade has pushed SIM2 driver spin lower than SIM’s. Reasonably, SIM was as low spin as a retail driver would ever need to be. TaylorMade’s objective was to keep SIM2 spin rates on par with SIM.
That doesn’t mean nothing has changed beyond the chassis and some paint. With a 16-gram steel weight anchored at the back, TaylorMade has increased MOI in the SIM2 driver by nine percent. By no means is that going to insert SIM2 into the “most forgiving driver” conversation. I’m guessing front to back MOI will shake out somewhere in the 4600-4700 range. It’s a long way from a G425 MAX but it’s more than reasonable for a driver on the low-spin end of the conversation.
It should also be said that whether we’re talking SIM2 or SIM2 MAX, TaylorMade has never been a super-high MOI company and it really hasn’t ever wanted to be. Every brand has a design philosophy. In this particular area, TaylorMade is more similar to Callaway.
Speed first. Find forgiveness in ways that extend beyond MOI.
To that end, the SIM2 driver face is 12 percent larger. That typically affords a bit a of extra mishit protection. Even with the larger face, the aerodynamics are the same as the previous generation.
The SIM2 driver is available in eight, nine and 10.5 degrees of loft. Stock shafts include the Mitsubishi Tensei AV RAW Blue 60 and Project X HZRDUS Smoke RDX Black 70.
The stock grip is Golf Pride’s Z-Grip.
Additional shaft and grip options are available at no upcharge.
TaylorMade SIM2 MAX Driver
The progression here is straightforward. The SIM2 MAX has a larger address profile than SIM2. Loft-for-loft, it can be expected to launch higher and spin a bit more – about 300 rpm. It features a 24-gram tungsten weight at the back that boosts MOI about seven percent above SIM MAX.
No one driver is right for everybody but if you’re simply playing the probability game, the SIM2 MAX is your best bet.
As with the standard SIM, we’re not talking about ground-breaking MOI with the SIM MAX2 driver. I wouldn’t say it’s low, either. Again, TaylorMade’s MAX isn’t PING’s MAX. It’s not trying to be. Different philosophies yield entirely different designs which ultimately gives golfers more options.
For the sake of consistency, I’ll also mention the SIM2 MAX driver face is five percent larger than SIM.
The SIM2 MAX is available in nine, 10.5 and 12 degrees. Stock shaft offerings include the Fujikura Ventus* Blue 5 (made-for, no VeloCore) and Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver.
The stock grip is Golf Pride’s Z-Grip.
Additional shaft and grip options are available at no upcharge.
TaylorMade SIM2 MAX D Driver
Let’s keep our theme rolling and get the numbers out of the way first. With SIM2 MAX D, TaylorMade has increased both MOI and face size by nine percent. Just one number. That was easy.
The bigger story for the intended audience (slicers) is that TaylorMade has redesigned the inertia generator (the protrusion running the length of the sole) such that the back weight has been shifted towards the heel. Coupled with the internal weighting, that should make the driver a bit easier to turn over and should ultimately produce a more pronounced draw effect.
How much more?
In 2020 Most Wanted Testing, SIM2 MAX D was a bit of an enigma. We didn’t find much that would suggest a significant draw bias. What we did see was a slight draw bias coupled with exceptional playability (long and straight) that put MAX D among the very best in the test.
At the time, I described it as an awesome choice for golfers with a little bit of or occasional slice. I suspect the TaylorMade SIM MAX D will be a bit more aggressive with slice correction than the previous model but as with other aspects of the SIM2 lineup, I’d wager it will shake out at a level that aligns with the TaylorMade identity.
The SIM2 MAX D is available in nine, 10.5 and 12 degrees. The stock shaft offerings include the Fujikura Air Speeder.
The stock grip is Golf Pride’s Z-Grip.
Retail price for all three TaylorMade SIM2 driver models is $529.99
TaylorMade MySim2 Custom Driver Plan
Over the past couple of seasons, TaylorMade has launched MySpider, MyMD2 and MyTP (putter) custom programs. Right out of the gate, it’s adding the MySIM2 custom driver program.
And, yes, it’s like Callaway’s UDesign but different (if only because of what you can customize). Frankly, I don’t care who did it first. What shocks me is that not everyone does it.
By now, the ground rules for custom programs are pretty well defined so a good bit of the options should be familiar. The difference maker, in my opinion, is the aluminum ring which makes things a bit more interesting.
Billed as a complete customization, here are your options:
Aluminum Ring – Color options include red, blue, gold, orange, green, silver, black and light blue.
- Topline Paint Color – Chalk or matte black.
- Crown Decals – Color options include red, blue, gold, orange, green, silver, black and light blue.
- Sole Decals – Color options include red, blue, gold, orange, green, silver, black and light blue.
- Face Pin – Color options include red, blue, gold, orange, green, silver, black and light blue.
Shaft and grip will be customizable as well. Pre-orders start Jan. 19.
MySim2 prices start at $629.99
TaylorMade SIM2 Drivers – Final Thoughts
On its face, the TaylorMade SIM2 driver isn’t much different than SIM. Actually, the face itself is quite a bit different. What I meant to say is that while the SIM2 drivers are visually similar to SIM, significant changes have been made both around and under the hood.
The design itself pops so there’s little doubt in my mind that SIM2 will be among the top-selling models in 2021. (I’m again picking TaylorMade as the No. 1 driver at retail.)
That’s all well and good but I’m more interested in where TaylorMade goes from here. I get the sense that with SIM2, TaylorMade is building towards something bigger.
Is TaylorMade’s SIM-iest driver yet to come?
TaylorMade SIM2 Pricing and Availability
For more information, visit TaylorMadeGolf.com.