Is it a 3-Wood or Driver?

Does TaylorMade’s AeroBurner take the guesswork out of club selection?

It seems a bit of a contradiction.  

The smaller head (253cc) suggests it was designed for better players who have no trouble finding the sweetspot and like to work the ball. However, the extra loft (12, 14, 16 degrees) and shorter shaft (43.5 inches), however, suggest it’s for the game improver. So who was the TaylorMade AeroBurner Mini driver designed for? What is it exactly?

It’s a good question that may best be answered by saying the AeroBurner Mini is a super-charged 3-wood.

Because today’s 460cc drivers propel the ball so far— in many cases generating excess yardage the better player might not actually need – it is becoming increasingly common for professionals and top amateurs to hit their 3-wood off the tee. Control is the keyword here. Better golfers hit the ball plenty far enough already, but want to ensure their tee bombs have a greater chance of finding the short grass.

I asked a TaylorMade technician named Travis P. to clear up any confusion.

“The reason the Mini was designed is because of the number of players that don’t use the driver on certain holes—or don’t even have one in their bag at all—because they are able to control the 3-wood so much better,” he said. “So we designed a club that gives the control and accuracy of a 3-wood, but also built it to play as close to a driver as possible.”

Some amateurs, Travis P. added, just don’t get on with a 460cc club, as they are unable to square up so large a head. “The Mini is 100cc larger than a typical 3-wood, making it more forgiving,” he says.

But with a deeper face than a typical 3-wood, can the AeroBurner Mini driver—which the company believes will match the success of last year’s SLDR Mini driver—be used as a fairway wood?

Our admittedly brief testing and consensus across the internet confirm what you yourself would surely think were you to put it up behind a ball: It is considerably easier to get off the ground than a large-headed driver, but there is slightly less margin for error than when hitting a traditional fairway-wood as the deeper face means a slightly higher center of gravity.  

Some might argue the AeroBurner Mini is neither one thing nor the other, a club unsure of its place in the world. Others might counter that it’s actually both a powerful fairway wood and sufficiently long driver they are able to keep in the fairway.

The clubhead is shaped to help you generate more speed, and the Speed Pocket, also present on the original AeroBurner driver that debuted in January, increases the size of the sweetspot and reduces spin, says TaylorMade.

Wonderful, but back to the original question; who is the AeroBurner Mini for?

If you love your 460cc driver because it helps you keep up with your buddies, then you should probably stick with it, because you will gain little or no advantage from changing to a Mini.

If, on the other hand, you already send it out there a ways, but miss multiple fairways, and if you actually prefer hitting your 3-wood off the tee to help keep it in the fairway, then a test drive with a Mini should definitely be in your future.

The AeroBurner Mini retails at $279.99 and comes standard with the Matrix Speed RUL-Z 60 shaft. The TP model ($349.99) has a longer hosel, flatter lie and more open face angle. It also comes standard with the Matrix Ozik White Tie 70X4 shaft. Numerous custom shaft and grip options are also available.


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