The 300 Series drivers from TaylorMade impressed the crew just as they have so many other golfers around the globe. Because of our success with the drivers, we had great expectations for the matching 300 Ti fairway woods.
The TaylorMade 300 Ti’s are very attractive woods. No one has disliked them and most have agreed that they are some of the very best looking woods made. They are appealingly sophisticated looking clubs that have a high state of fit and finish. If you are going to overpay for a club, it is nice to have it look good. At 185cc, the volume of the 3-wood is actually medium-large, though compared to a TaylorMade 360cc driver head, it appears to very conventional in size. With a mid-low profile and wide head, it sits nicely behind the ball.
Our overall reactions to the playing characteristics of the 300 Ti’s have been quite positive in most regards. There have been few complaints. However, there has been little unbridled enthusiasm either. Each performance aspect of the TaylorMades has been satisfactory, but no specific aspect has risen noticeably above those of rival woods. Trajectories have been good – slightly on the strong side of their number designations. Balls launch well with a relatively flat trajectory. The 3-wood produces ball flights that are just a touch lower than average with good penetration and roll. Distances have been average to better than average. The 3-wood is the same lie as is the 5-wood. This makes it 1-degree upright and gives it a mild tendency to pull left. The 5-wood flies like a 5-wood, but slightly on the 4-wood side of the equation. It does not have the soft, looping trajectory that some prefer for weaker, 5-wood, approach shots.
Stronger players who hit for ample height may prefer the 300 Tour versions of the 300 Ti fairway woods. Their deeper faces and higher centers of gravity produce a more penetrating ball flight. Average to mid/low-handicappers should find that the regular 300 Ti’s hit low enough for their needs. The pro versions have smaller heads and shorter shafts. Most players will pay an unnecessary performance price in terms of lost forgiveability, distance and trajectory height if they opt for the 300 Tour’s in lieu of the standard 300 Ti’s.
The TaylorMade Lite graphite shafts have thick, .350″ tips for added stability. (A Bubble shaft is available as an option) Accuracy and consistency has been good with these woods, but unfortunately, they had the disadvantage of being tested side-by-side with the new Cleveland Launcher 4-wood and its steel-tipped BiMatrx shaft. The Cleveland demonstrated some truly exceptional stability (not to mention, rock-solid feel). The revamped Fox Uno 2k woods also gave us superior consistency. The 300 Ti’s did well, however. Their patterns were comparable to those of the Titleist 975F, Cleveland Quadpro and Golfsmith Tour Steels – all of which are very fine woods.
The feel of the 300 Ti woods is pleasant and crisp. They feel pretty much as they look – smooth and classy. For vibrancy and pronounced crispness, the Ping i3, Steelhead Plus and Golfsmith Tour Steels were all preferred. For solidity and punch, the Titleist, Fox, Cleveland Quadpro and Launcher woods were favored. For sweetness and smoothness, the Butler and older Callaway woods were preferred. This may seem to be a substantial put-down of the TaylorMades, but it is not. They fared well and all have liked them. It was mainly when being hit from tees that 300’s well short. They just seemed to lack the solid oomph and/or zing of a number of rival woods. Smooth and neutral with no pronounced personality is the general opinion here. It seems as though these woods are just a bit too mature and stately for most. The tester who liked them best was a semi-elderly, English gentleman who normally plays Callaway Warbirds in ‘R’ flex. Those players who prefer some assertiveness and zest in their woods will probably be happier elsewhere.
The 300 Ti’s were preferred more by those who hit the ball thin. This was especially the case off of tight lies. These TaylorMades have moderated rails gently sculpted into their soles. The rails are not very pronounced, but coupled to rounded leading edges, they still cause the head to ride up (bounce) a bit when hit on firm ground with little grass cover. They work better off of fluffier lies. From light to moderate rough, the 300 Ti’s work well. The internal weight pads help give the low-profile heads a respectably low center of gravity. Balls launch nicely.
One of the best-looking woods available, the TaylorMade 300 Ti Series has no real weaknesses other than price. They did not enthrall us, but feel, performance and consistency were all more than satisfying. If money is no object, the 300’s are a safe choice for most low-mid to higher handicap players. They are classy woods. Those who are looking for big, long and easy fairway woods to go with the lovable 320 or 360 TaylorMade drivers may be a touch disappointed, however.