TaylorMade SIM2 Max D review: a driver to keep you on the straight and narrow

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TaylorMade SIM2 Max D review: a driver to keep you on the straight and narrow

Attention slicers of the golfball! What if I told you there was a driver that can help you hit more fairways without you having to change your swing? The Sim2 Max D from TaylorMade is designed specifically to aid golfers square the club face at impact and minimise those horrible left to right misses that have ruined countless rounds of golf. And it works, to some extent.

We are all searching for the best drivers to suit our own game. So when the opportunity arose to test and review any of the Sim2 range, I chose the Max D without any hesitation, even though it is the most unheralded of the three. I’m not good enough to get the most out of the standard Sim2 and although the Sim2 Max would be an excellent fit for someone of my limited skill level, the notion of a driver that could help me avoid trouble on the right was intriguing. Could it actually work? 

The answer to that is yes… kind of.

A slice is a score killer and is the scourge of many amateur golfers. You can be going along nicely and then BOOM – you carve your drive into the trees, can’t find your ball and before you know it you have an eight on your scorecard and your round is in tatters. 

While the best fix for a slice is undoubtedly lessons and practice, there are other measures you can take to limit the damage of an errant right miss. The TaylorMade Sim2 Max D is not a miracle cure but it will give a helping hand to golfers who find it difficult to keep the ball in play due to missing shots wide right.

 Be warned; a draw bias driver is not a magic wand to rid you of your slice but it can reduce it to some degree and even if that is only by ten yards that can often be the difference between fairway and rough, or land and water.

These type of drivers are often referred to by golfers as “anti slice” but that is very misleading. There isn’t a club in existence that can ‘stop’ a slice and if there was it wouldn’t be legal anyway. A sliced shot will still slice even with a draw biased driver. In fact, a heavy slice will still go so far right you will wonder if the “draw bias” actually works at all –I speak from experience! It does work but you have to temper your expectations or you will be disappointed. Even if you have the best putter and the best golf balls, they won’t get you around the course without a bit of effort from yourself.

But before delving into my experiences with it and how it performed on the range as well as the golf course, let’s take a brief look at some of the basic features and specs of the Sim2 Range of Drivers, and specifically the Max D.

The TaylorMade SIM2 Range

TaylorMade SIM2

(Image credit: TaylorMade Golf)

Most of you will have seen the Sim2 driver, either in your local golf retailer or when watching the pros on TV. You may have seen the Sim2 Max too, but chances are you have not seen the Max D variant of it though, as it is the least marketed of the Sim2 variations and won’t be as widely available. You certainly won’t see it in the bag of any tour professional.

The standard Sim2 on the other hand is aimed at the higher level of player and you will regularly see the likes of Rory McIlroy and Dustin Johnson booming 350 yard drives with it. 

The Sim2 Max is more forgiving and aimed at the mid-high handicap golfer who doesn’t always catch his drive right in the sweet spot

Both are top quality drivers in their own right but we are here to talk about the Sim2 Max D, which provides that level of forgiveness as the Sim2 Max but has a configuration designed to promote more of a right to left shape.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D

(Image credit: Future)

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D: price and availability

The SIM2 Max D is not as widely available as the standard SIM2 or SIM2 Max but you shouldn’t have too many problems locating one in any of the major high street or online golf retailers. 

You won’t get too much change out of four hundred pound (in the US you can expect to pay around $530 and in Australia you’re looking at $869) but if you shop around online you may save yourself a bit of cash. The downside to that is you won’t be getting custom fit and may not have the shaft or lie angle that suits your swing.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D: Looks, Sound & Feel

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but most golfers will find the Sim2 design very appealing. Over the ball they look fantastic with the black carbon crown contrasting with the white trim. While the white, blue and yellow accents on the underside provide an equally striking look. 

The grip and shaft are visually appealing and even the head cover is stylish. There is very little difference between the SIM2 Max and the Max D but the latter has a slightly raised face which helps on those shots when you get a little bit too underneath the ball.

The noise when you flush one with any SIM2 club is extremely satisfying. It makes a solid ‘crack’ sound rather than the more tinny noise you get from some other drivers.

The feel is solid and powerful even on slightly off centre strikes, yet there’s also a softness to it and you can feel the contact as the ball comes off the face. It’s a very nice club to hit.

TaylorMade Sim2 Max D

(Image credit: TaylorMade Golf)

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D – The Technology

The Sim2 Max D has much of the same tech you will find in the other Sim2 models and indeed in the original SIM which was the predecessor to this latest model. This tech includes Speed Injected Twist Face which, in layman’s terms, means the face of the driver is produced right to the very edge of legality. The ball comes off the face as quickly as allowed by the current rules of golf.

The main enhancement in the SIM2 Max D is Forged Ring Construction, which is a large blue ring that circumnavigates the back part of the head. It’s made from a lightweight and strong aluminium that unites a large rear weight with a full carbon crown and sole. This helps with stability as well as distance.

The big difference with the Max D is obviously the draw bias which is achieved by an internal weight that is placed in the heel of the golf club. This slows the heel down in the downswing which in turn allows the toe of the club to work a fraction faster, causing the club to be more square at impact. An open face will result in a shot that leaks to the right, so by preventing that and squaring it up, it will promote straighter shots.

Historically this heel weighting has been problematic in draw bias drivers and there has been a trade off with forgiveness, but TaylorMade claim to have resolved that issue by completely redesigning the head to position the asymmetric inertia generator closer to the heel than it is on the standard SIM2 and SIM2 Max. This moves the centre of gravity back and to the rear of the club, encouraging the toe of the club to come through quicker and thus reducing that nasty slice whilst still promoting forgiveness without sacrificing distance.

The net result of this is that the Max D performs just as well as the other variations of SIM2 while also promoting the draw bias.

The Sim2 Max D launches high, is very forgiving and if you get your shot up into the air that’s when the draw bias is able to kick in and do its thing. It can straighten out those baby fades, turn a strong fade into a soft one and your straight shots may even become little draws. And you won’t be losing any distance as Sim2 drivers are as long as anything else out there.

The driver features an adjustable loft sleeve which allows the golfer to change the loft and face angle to suit their swing or course conditions. If you need a lower ball flight with more run you can drop down a degree and a half, or if you need that bit of help getting the ball airborne you can adjust upwards.

When you hit a good shot with the Max D it feels and sounds fantastic, but then all good shots feel and sound great, it’s the not so good ones that are the problem. No driver will turn a terrible shot into a good one but forgiveness has become a primary focus for golf manufacturers and you will get far more from off-centre strikes now than you would ten years ago.

So even putting aside for a second whether it will ‘straighten out’ your shots or not, it needs stressing that this is an excellent driver that compares favourably with anything else on the market regardless. Even if the draw bias was merely a placebo and didn’t work at all this would still be a great driver. But you don’t want to hear that; you want to know if it does what it claims to. 

Yes, it does, just don’t expect too much because there are limitations. To understand those limitations and keep your expectations realistic, you need to know how this works. Without getting bogged down too much on the technology of it, I’ll explain.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D

(Image credit: Future)

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D – How it works

Some golfers hit the ball to the right due to an in to out swing path. When this is coupled with an open club face at impact this will result in an extreme slice. The Sim Max D can’t really help much (if at all) in that situation. Other golfers, however, may have a relatively normal swing path but struggle to square the face at impact. A draw biased driver helps with that due to how the club head is weighted in the heel, but we’re talking very small gains here. 

A ball struck on the heel side of the club will usually fade or slice, whereas balls hit more on the toe side will most likely draw or hook. By adding extra weight in the heel the SIM2 Max D helps to square things at impact and hopefully promote more strikes from the toe side of the club face.

These are very small margins of improvement though. Your club face isn’t going to be 10 degrees more square because of a small weight in the heel. But if it is one degree, or even two or three then this will translate into shots flying several yards further left than they otherwise would.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D

(Image credit: Future)

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D – Performance

I first used this driver when the ranges opened up after lockdown. I went it into fairly blind and avoided doing any initial research as I wanted to judge it for myself with an open mind. I don’t know what exactly I was expecting but there was probably a part of me secretly hoping I’d suddenly be blasting 260 yard draws. That isn’t the case! 

Having not swung a club in anger for several months I was a tad rusty and the first few shots I hit with it went miles to the right. We’re talking wild, out of control slices. So I quickly learned that this was not a magic wand and a big slice is still going to get me in trouble.

As the cobwebs were blown away and my swing settled down I did notice I was hitting it straighter, but it’s nigh on impossible to tell just how much influence the club had over that. Any time I hit a good shot I was wondering if I’d have had the same result with a standard driver. Similarly, when it leaked to the right I’d wonder how much worse it may have been had I not been using the draw bias driver. Under those conditions there was no way of knowing for sure.

To help get more of a feel for whether it was working or not, I took my standard Cobra Speedzone driver along to the range and hit shots with both. While more shots were going to the right with the Cobra there wasn’t a great deal of difference. The problem is that I am not a machine and therefore can’t reproduce the exact same swing for shots with both clubs, meaning there is no exact direct comparison.

So to get more information I also hit a dozen shots with both using a launch monitor at my local range. The dispersion from the two sets of results showed that the draw biased driver did indeed produce more shots to the left. Not by a massive margin but there was a trend there, albeit with a limited sample size.

I spoke to a couple of teaching professionals about the benefits of a draw biased driver and perhaps unsurprisingly they were quite dismissive, claiming they just paper over the cracks and that golfers should be more focused on fixing their swing to prevent the need for “gimmicks” like this. Of course they would say that as they’re in the business of giving lessons to fix slices and if there was a club that did that they would lose half of their students!

One of them mentioned that it only makes a difference of around seven yards – which did tally up with my own experience – but surely that’s quite significant and reason enough to switch from a standard driver to a draw biased one?

If you think about the number of times you’ve missed a fairway by a few yards and ended up in the rough, or you missed the rough by a few yards and crashed into the trees, it makes a compelling argument to make that change just to give yourself that bit more wiggle room. Seven yards can be an awful lot in golf.

That being said, they are right in that if you have a big slice then you should address your technique before concerning yourself with buying a new driver. 

Yet there are many amateur golfers who do not always slice the ball heavily but do frequently hit more of a left to right flight than they’d ideally like, not specifically because of their swing path but due to a tendency to leave the face open.

Those are the golfers the Sim2 Max D driver can help. It won’t move your ball thirty yards to the left but it’s a matter of percentages. If you frequently miss fairways to the right and there is a club that will ensure some of those misses just about stay on the fairway, then you’re going to shoot lower scores.

I’m not consistent enough to be able to produce any data to back this up but I definitely believe I’ve been hitting it straighter with the SIM2 Max D. I still have the occasional right miss but I’m hitting the ball down the middle much more frequently than normal. That could just be a result of many hours of practice finally paying off, but my gut feeling is that the driver is playing a part too. 

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D

(Image credit: Future)

TaylorMade SIM2 Max D Verdict

This is not a club aimed at the lower handicap golfer as the better players won’t need the extra help drawing the ball and you could perhaps make a case that shaping shots (especially a fade) is a tad more difficult with the Sim2 Max D than it is with a standard driver. 

If, however, you are a mid-high handicapper who struggles with a right miss then this is definitely a club you should try. It could knock shots off your score without you even realising it.

You won’t suddenly start hitting power draws every time but even if you are only six or seven yards more left than usual, that can be the difference between fairway and trees – so why wouldn’t you want to give yourself that helping hand? Golf is so much easier when you’re playing from the fairway and the Sim2 Max D will help golfers find more fairways because that’s what it is designed to do.

You aren’t sacrificing anything in terms of distance or forgiveness if you choose the SIM2 Max D over any other standard driver, but you are gaining that little bit of help keeping the ball in play so it is well worth considering. 

So if you are frustrated by repeatedly missing fairways to the right, why not arrange a fitting with your local pro and see if the Sim2 Max D suits you. As with any driver it’s vital that you get the right shaft and loft settings to suit your individual swing, but a good fitter will be able to advise you on all of that.

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