- TaylorMade is releasing three fairway models and two hybrid models.
- The SIM2 rescue is a new iron-like hybrid.
- SIM2 fairway woods ($299-$399 MSRP)
- SIM2 hybrids ($249-$279)
We are in the throes of “release SZN.” If you’re not down with the lingo, it’s basically the post-holiday period in which many of the major manufacturers debut their new equipment. In this instance, it is the TaylorMade SIM2 fairway woods and hybrids.
Before COVID knee-capped retail sales in 2020, TaylorMade seemed poised to claim its status as the No. 1 selling metalwood brand. No doubt, this was due to the early success of its SIM driver. However, driver sales tend to be a pretty solid indicator of sell-though on fairway woods and hybrids.
As a result, some brands held off on scheduled 2020 equipment updates. Others tried the “early discount” approach to grab some sales while big box stores remained closed. Then the industry went bananas and here we are, more or less back on schedule.
TaylorMade SIM2 Fairway Woods
TaylorMade is, once again, going with three models in its fairway wood stable: SIM2 Ti, SIM2 Max and SIM2 Max D. By name alone, it appears to be roughly the same setup as the outgoing SIM line. And to some degree, it is, though TaylorMade is quick to point out that it’s worked to create more separation between models. The objective of “increased model differentiation” (my term) is becoming a theme in 2021 and it’s reasonable to expect that to continue.
Essentially what this means is that if each model were represented as a circle on a Venn diagram, the amount of overlap between each circle is decreasing.
The TaylorMade SIM2 Ti still occupies the high-launch/low-spin slot in the line. It retains the carbon crown, titanium face and 80-gram steel soleplate. But it wouldn’t be SIM2 unless something was SIM-ier. (I really hate myself for that.)
As expected, the changes are slight, yet important. TaylorMade decreased the total volume of the SIM2 Ti (1.80cc to 1.70cc) yet increased base MOI (forgiveness) by five percent. The marginally smaller footprint and reduced bulge help it present a squarer face angle at address. Additionally, TaylorMade reworked the V-Steel sole to improve turf interaction and dropped the CG by 0.3 mm to ever-so-slightly increase launch angle. Also, the SIM2 Ti is the only model of the three with an adjustable loft sleeve and the 13.5-degree “Rocket” loft option. The stock shaft for the SIM2 Ti is the Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw Blue 65/75.
SIM2 MAX/MAX D
The TaylorMade SIM2 MAX and MAX D are the two up-the-gut models that will likely fit the majority of golfers. Beyond the somewhat larger footprint, the primary talking point is the two-level V-Steel sole. TaylorMade states that the modified sole helps reduce unnecessarily turf interaction by 25%. Better contact should, theoretically, lead to more consistent ball speeds and a bit less of a distance penalty if you catch a shot a bit heavy.
As the name suggests, the SIM2 MAX D offers draw-biased weighting whereas the SIM2 MAX is more neutral. The ardent TaylorMade metalwood follower will notice the return of the 3HL (16.5°) option in the SIM2 MAX model. See, what had happened was… Previously, TaylorMade the 3HL loft best-suited players who needed additional draw bias. But, TaylorMade heard from enough golfers that wanted a 4-wood option without the draw bias and so, voilà, there ya have it.
The stock shaft on the SIM2 Max is the Fujikura Ventus Blue (non-Velocore) 5/6. The Fujikura AirSpeeder 45 comes standard on the SIM2 MAX D.
TaylorMade SIM2 Rescues
Hybrids. Rescue clubs. Utility irons. Call them whatever you like. Historically, they’ve been a weapon primarily for less accomplished players. With few exceptions, the constant criticism of this segment is that it lacked options for higher swing-speed players who wanted the versatility of a rescue club without the standard draw bias. So, while companies could engineer hybrid-style clubs for the masses, the category lacked any real presence on professional tours.
The tide might be turning. Last year, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy dabbled with the TaylorMade SIM Max rescue. They weren’t alone. In 2020, more SIM MAX rescue clubs showed up in the bags of professional golfers than anyone inside TaylorMade reasonably expected. This time around, TaylorMade has two rescue models, one of which is likely to pique a great deal of interest, particularly from better players.
The SIM2 MAX rescue is a continuation of the SIM2 MAX fairway woods. It maintains the V-Steel sole, Speed Pocket and Twist Face bulge and roll present in the fairway woods. The SIM2 MAX rescue is a fixed-loft model that largely fits the standard definition of a hybrid. It’s more forgiving than a traditional long iron and should prove to be the more popular of the two models with recreational players. TaylorMade seems inclined to agree as it’s offering both a 6/28° and 7 /31° rescue this time around. Those lofts will be available in addition to a 3/19°, 4/22° and 5/25° rescue models.
Dark Ray of Sun
The dark horse of the entire SIM2 lineup might well be the SIM2 rescue. It’s a smaller, iron-like offering that, at least on paper, achieves what many hoped that GAPR would.
What TaylorMade learned through the GAPR creation process is that it might have over-cooked the “low-launch, low-spin” recipe. So, with the SIM2 rescue, TaylorMade bumped up the spin a bit while increasing ball speed by one to two mph. Keep in mind that a sufficient amount of spin is what allows players to manipulate ball flight and trajectory. So while it’s easy for companies to toss around blanket terms such as “high launch, low spin,” the better approach is always to find the right amount of spin. The SIM2 rescue does use an adjustable sleeve so golfers can modify the loft +/- 1.5°. In general, going up in loft also increases the spin rate.
At address, the shaping of both models is familiar and relatively similar. That said, the more apparent difference is the color scheme. The SIM2 MAX rescue looks like the SIM2 MAX fairway. In contrast, the SIM2 rescue features a tonal black aesthetic with a gloss-black topline next to a textured crown decal. I have no idea how the SIM2 rescue will perform but I can’t give it any less than an “A” for curb appeal.
But when looking face-on, it becomes clear these are two entirely separate pieces of the equipment. The SIM2 MAX looks like most other hybrids in that the U-shaped soleline and wider topline face resemble that of a fairway wood. Conversely, the SIM2 rescue has a wider sole than topline and a squared-off toe that is certain to spark some serious Adams (Boxer, Proto, Peanut) nostalgia. The sharper angles make the face appear more blunted. That’s probably a good thing for golfers who want a hybrid that presents as much like a long iron as possible but with the added benefits of better ball speed, launch and forgiveness. As expected, TaylorMade will have 3/19.5° and 4/22° models available. It will also offer a 2/17° option.
TaylorMade SIM2 Pricing and Availability
Full retail availability begins Feb. 19.
For more information, visit TaylorMadeGolf.com.