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|TaylorMade's Burner may be the best driver on the market for $300. (Courtesy taylormadegolf.com)|
A lightweight and affordable golf club, TaylorMade's Burner driver is the class of its price range, offering good length and great accuracy.
TaylorMade's new Burner driver uses "SuperFast technology," which sounds suspiciously like what Superman uses when he wants to travel back in time by making the earth rotate backward on its axis.
TaylorMade likes to name its technology "super." Witness the r7 Super Quad and Super Quad TP, the company's two marquee drivers. Both promise "phenomenal" distance.
Both Super Quads employ movable weights, a technique that took the golf world by storm three years ago. With the Burner, put away your tool box - you ain't got to fool with no stinking weights.
I tested the club for several weeks on a variety of courses and driving ranges, and here's the short verdict before we get into the technology: I love this driver.
When you hit it sweet it sounds like a .38 going off - not a cheap Saturday Night Special .38, but a police-issue .38 that also fires .357 rounds. Not one of those fancy, showy bazooka sounds, just a good, solid pow!
It will get you down the road. The Burner isn't the longest driver I've ever hit, but it is long enough for anyone this side of the PGA Tour, especially in its price range (around $300, about $200 less than the Super Quad).
And here's something I didn't expect: It's one of the most accurate drivers I've ever used. I hit many more fairways than usual.
This is strange, because the "SuperFast technology," it seems to me, is essentially a reduction of club weight - from an average driver weight of 320 grams to 299, according to TaylorMade.
Normally I like to use a heavier club and let it do most of the work. But the lightweight Burner did almost everything I asked of it.
The head is 460cc and bullet-shaped. It uses "far-back" technology, which may or may not be similar to the "Way Back" machine time-traveling dog Peabody and his boy Sherman used in the 1960s cartoon. (The tech boys at TaylorMade obviously grew up in front of Saturday-morning television in the 1950s and '60s, like me.)
According to the company, the "far-back" center of gravity helps launch the ball high and super deep. This is the one quibble I had: I could not keep from hitting it too high. I tested a model with a 10.5 degree of loft and hit it higher than I do with similar clubs.
The shaft, a 50-gram Reax by Fujikura, is also lightweight, but I never found it to be "whippy." Due to the lightness of the club and shaft, you might want to consider getting a more rigid flex than you normally like. It always helps here to know your swing speed.
The Burner is a fairly forgiving club too, for off-center hits. TaylorMade says this is because of the combination of the big clubhead and its "inverted cone technology." MacGregor has something similar with its "cup face" technology and both work well, especially for high and mid-handicappers.
I seriously doubt you will find a better driver than the Burner for $300.
May 9, 2007
Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.
The Nike Vapor Pro incorporates every major driver innovation introduced over the past five years. Taking it out for a test run, I caught a drive directly on the sweetspot. The feedback was so exquisite, so sublime, so pure that I literally stood there laughing to myself like a lunatic as the golf ball sailed well out of sight.
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