Lamkin Grips

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Sometimes a piece of a equipment comes out and we find ourselves asking why? When we first got word a few months back that Taylormade Golf was releasing a new hybrid/utility club called the Raylor, that is exactly the reaction that we had. THP had recently reviewed the Taylormade Rescue TP Hybrid featuring FCT and we came away extremely impressed, so the launch of this specialized club had us all a little baffled. However rumors were swirling that this new hybrid was coming out and despite us wondering why, we were looking forward to trying it out.
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First Impressions
THP was lucky enough to get their hands on the Raylor Hybrid before just about any other place and give it a good testing. When the club arrived at our offices our first thoughts were all over the place. A couple of things immediately jumped out at us as we were looking over the newest piece of equipment.
1. The club head seemed more compact than the other hybrids we had been testing as of late.
2. The “V Sole” on the Raylor had us wondering if this club could truly be played from any lie and not just from the rough.
3. The shaft seemed to be a full inch longer than the other hybrids in the office we were comparing them to.
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The Raylor History
Mention the name “Raylor” to golfers of a certain age and you’ll receive a smile and a nod of the head in return. Introduced in 1988, the TaylorMade Raylor was one of the most popular and useful utility woods of all time, and especially proficient at getting wayward tee shots out of rough and close to, if not onto, the green. The Raylor boasted a small, rounded steel head with an extremely low center of gravity (far lower than any persimmon utility wood) and two distinct rails on its sole, which were designed to help the head glide smoothly through tall grass while resisting twisting or stalling.
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The Update
Over 20 years after the original, the R&D at Taylormade is launching another utility/hybrid/wood called Raylor, and this one is both superior and different to the first. The new Raylor comes in two lofts, 19° and 22° and has a slightly sharp, slightly pointed leading edge that allows you to slide the face down through the grass and onto the back of the ball. The “Raylor Sole” is shaped similar to a ship’s hull sloping upwards at the sides. In theory it will separate the grass you are hitting from and allow the clubhead to glide through, rather than slowing down or getting stuck.
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First Range Session
The following day we gathered up 3 of our local testers and went to the local range. We each took turns hitting the Raylor from various lies around the practice facility. We started out in the rough and did notice how easily the club glides through the thick spinach. We alternated between this and our regular hybrids hitting out of the thick stuff and each time the Raylor won out. Then we moved to a flat surface to simulate fairway lies and each tester alternated hitting the Raylor and their normal hybrid that they have in their bag. Going into this testing I was nervous about the Raylor’s ability to hit from a clean lie because of the V Sole, however after an hour or so of testing on the range, I did not have the same thoughts. Each time we made a pass at the ball the Raylor came up with the clean shot. However one of the testers was having trouble hitting shots with it out of the clean lies. He found himself hitting each one a little “fat”. After one day of testing all four of us were eager to take this one to the course for more.
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On Course Testing
As a foursome we set out later that day for the first 18 holes with the Taylormade Raylor. All four of us decided to play a little differently today. The rules were that we had to tee off with this club and each one of us would play it instead of our normal 3 hybrid. It took a few holes to get used to teeing off with this club, but once dialed in we were getting great distance out of it. On the course through the round the ability to play this club from any lie was extremely useful. One of the players kept finding side hill lies and remarked at how much easier the Raylor is to hit from these than his normal hybrid. We all believe that this is because of the shape of the head makes it so much more versatile. All four of us also found that the compact shape from heel to toe made us concentrate slightly more and the results were apparent. Throughout the round all four players kept talking about the ease of hitting out of the rough with this club. One of the golfers involved in this testing continued to have trouble with the fairway lies. It could be because of the V Sole on the Raylor, but another reason that could cause this is because the Raylor is 1 inch longer than your traditional hybrid. The Raylor is equipped with a RE*AX 65-gram shaft that’s one inch longer than typical for TaylorMade utility clubs of equal lofts, to promote the added clubhead speed and leverage to help get the ball out of thick lies. However that can lead to some problems on a clean lie if you do not choke up.
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Final Thoughts
Combine the Raylor’s pointed leading edge, V sole, exceptionally low CG, compact size from heel to toe and longer shaft and you’ve got a utility wood/hybrid born to get the ball out of the rough with extreme ease. Add to that the tour validation that this club has already received with players like Kenny Perry playing this at the US Open because of the treacherous rough and our thoughts are that they might have a winner on their hands. While this club may not be used by everybody in every situation, the statistics for amateur golfers hitting their second shot out of the rough are pretty high. For those tight courses (such as the one used for this review), the Taylormade Raylor may be just what the doctor ordered. In our testing of this club over a three week period, more than 18 golfers were able to try this club out. Every single golfer that tried out the Raylor with us found it easier to hit out of the rough than their current hybrid. While the club may be slightly specialized, if you are in the market for a new hybrid or having trouble when you miss the fairway, you should definitely check out the Taylormade Raylor.

Lofts: 19° and 22°
Models: men’s right-handed and left-handed
MSRP graphite: $230 per club
Street price graphite: $179 per club
www.taylormadegolf.com

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Category: Equipment, Hybrids

About the Author ()

Josh is the Publisher of The Hackers Paradise and co-founder of THP Media with his wife Morgan Babbitt. Together they share a passion for golf, and they travel the country along with their two dogs in the THP Tour Van bringing their love and knowledge of the game to golfers everywhere.

Comments (37)

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  1. Scooter says:

    Nice and informative review. Appreciate the honesty about the one player.
    I look forward to giving these a serious look when they become available to the public!

    Thanks

  2. Bobby P says:

    Great info. I have been looking forward to reading about this since the US Open and Perry on 10.

  3. Skip says:

    I have the new #3 a7 hybrid, and I can say that I can not imagine ANYTHING being easier to hit from just about any turf condition. The a7′s a winner.

  4. Martha Burke Hater says:

    Very interesting. I have not heard a lot about this club and it kind of reminds me of the Niblick. Made for one shot really, but people are finding out it is so much more than a one trick pony. Good review.

  5. Osahar says:

    Good review, and sounds like the club would be worth looking at. Especially for those that have a tough time hitting the fairway off the tee (like me!).

  6. Blake says:

    I personally think that Taylormade’s decision to put longer shafts in almost all of its clubs is a bad one. If you hit it on the screws, yes, you will get a bit more distance. But, with the longer length, your average golfer, or even your better golfer will not be hitting it on the screws as often. A shot hit on the sweetspot of a club with a shorter shaft will always be longer than a shot by a longer club that is not hit on the sweetspot. Accuracy and consistency suffer as well with a longer shaft. If the average driver length on the PGA is 44.5″, that should tell the world of golfers all they need to know about Taylormade’s misguided, marketing-driven decision to use longer shafts. “Hey, our clubs are 10% longer than the competition!” Really?! who cares?

  7. Administrator says:

    Blake,
    I think you are confusing this review with a driver review. Their Rescue hybrid line was not lengthened at all in shafts. The added inch in the shaft here is for a specific reason.

    We will have an article next week about shaft lengths in drivers with amateurs testing both 44 and 45″ models. You will want to check out the results.

  8. scratch says:

    Very cool stuff. I agree with the other commenter that occasional use clubs are definitely needed now and like the Niblick which I own because of this very site, this one could help me a lot.

  9. Marcus says:

    Solid info. thanks.

  10. AvionicsMan says:

    Great info It is on my wish list with the R9 driver and R9 3 wood.

  11. Great Info I really like this site.

  12. texasaggie says:

    great review,don’t know if I will get the club, although I got the Niblick after reading JB’s review which I truly love.

  13. Smallville says:

    I’m glad I’m set on hybrids because otherwise I might want to try this thing out.

  14. bonknhead says:

    Great review JB. This is one hybrid I’d like to try out. I appreciate the honesty of the review in that it seems to be a specialty club that may not be for everyone.

  15. Tim says:

    What is the difference between msrp graphite and other?

  16. Admin says:

    Tim,
    MSRP – Is the price set by manufacturer
    The other price is what you will see it priced for in stores.

  17. Roger Mattison says:

    The new TM Raylor hybrid is nothing more than a reincarnation of the Stan Thompson Ginty. I just order the 19* and 22*. Can’t wait!

  18. Alex says:

    Still not sure what the difference is between the TP Rescue hybrid and Raylor hybrid… and I read your reviews on both clubs. Is TP Rescue more versatile and can replace 3/4 irons where Raylor is more useful hitting out of the rough?

  19. Admin says:

    Alex,
    The Rescue TP is your standard hybrid type of club. (not standard due to FCT obviously) while the Raylor is a situational club. It is geared towards hitting from the rough and not necessarily tight lies. There are quite a few differences between the two but the 1st three that come to mind in our reviews are:

    1. Raylor has a V type of sole rather than standard on the Rescue
    2. The head size of the Raylor appears to be more compact.
    3. The FCT gives the Rescue TP the ability to move the face angle to what you are comfortable playing.

    Both are great clubs and both are great additions to every bag. The Rescue TP would be considered more versatile in our minds.

  20. Rickyb says:

    This may be the best of breed hybrid on the market; and I have tried them all. Kudos to taylormade for combining old with new technology. I put this in my bag three weeks ago.Easily saved four shots from my normal round of slight fairway misses and tight pin placements. Very versatile and workable club for anyone looking for a 170-200 yard solution from the rough, deck or the tee.

  21. Khalid says:

    Just got the Raylor yesterday, took it out for the first round today. I was hitting it much more consistent compared to the Burner 3h. Gets the ball very smooth out of the rough. Great club!

  22. Craig says:

    I still have my old beloved raylor in the closet. I loved that club! I found it to be effective from the tee, fairway, and rough. I cannot wait to get my hands on the new and improved :-) Thanks for the Great review !!!

  23. Aaron says:

    I’ve had the 19 degree and the 22 degree for about a month and a half, and absolutely love them. They will get you out of the rough, are great in the fairway and are excellent off the tee.

  24. Don says:

    Do you think the 19 degree would work as a replacement for a 5 wood? Or would the distance be too much shorter?

  25. John B says:

    Don, I used to bag a Cleveland Launcher 5 wood (19*) and replaced it with the Raylor (3/19*)…haven’t noticed that huge of a difference in distance. 5 wood was about 210-215, Raylor “roughly” the same 205-210. Distance disparity in my experience may also be attributed to the fact that I use two different balls, a Pro V1 or Srixon Z-StarX. These distances were measured using the uPro Go.

  26. Dino Africa says:

    Did you try hitting the Raylor out of a fairway bunker? I have an older hybrid called MIDDLECLUB made by Imagine and I can hit it out of the bunker easily (except of course if it has a high lip). But out of a shallow lipped bunker, I was able to hit it out between 180-190 yards out. I wonder if the Raylor 22* can provide the same performance.

  27. The Brief says:

    The thought of side hill lies wether away or closer is an added feature. Thanks TM

  28. The Bro says:

    I like the honesty about the one player and the thing about choking up is good. I probably going to buy this club now. Thanks.

  29. Rocco says:

    I have been on the fence about this club for some time now. After a lot of consideration and testing, I’ll be adding this (replacing my old nickent 3dx) and adding one of the new Burner Superfast 5 woods to my bag for the tighter lies.

  30. Joshua Kwak says:

    I found similar one.
    Its name is No-limits Rough Cutter. (Very cheap. Maybe.. made by some small company in IL.)
    Its shape is also strange. :D
    I don’t know it is useful or not.
    However, It is very interesting. – There are so many extraordinary clubs~!

    If you know other similar shape clubs from other companies, plz tell me~~!!

  31. Ryan says:

    Just got one and took it to the course. My first shot in the rough was sky-ed – my mistake. The club really glides through the thick stuff there is no need to muscle it through. My next shots in the rough were high, long and straight. Also very useful for green-side chipping.

  32. Justin says:

    Golf Galaxy has the TM Raylor for $89 right now. Got it last night and cannot wait to use it my next round. I am already playing a 22 degree TP Rescue Hybrid, so I am excited to haver the Raylotr as well.

    Winston-Salem, NC

  33. Brad says:

    A few months back I was looking through my bag of old clubs in the garage and pulled out my old Raylor from 1993. I took it to the local golf shop and had them switch out the steel shaft with the graphite one from the 2 iron/hybrid that was in my bag. What a great move. The classic still has it. 225 to 230 straight as an arrow from anywhere on the course. Forget buying the new one, go get an old one for $10 to $20 bucks, throw a decent modern day shaft in it and enjoy. Nothing but pure pleasure!

  34. Jerry says:

    I put this in my bag over the summer to fill the void of a 3 iron that was not included in my new set. After testing out a few other hybrids at the range this one seem to hit the best for me: even off the matt with its pointed sole. This fall has been pretty wet and I have been inaccurate as usual so its been getting me out of the wet rough allot better then any iron ever had. It cuts through the heavy stuff real well and makes good contact lifting the ball out quickly. On those rare occasions when I am on the fairway it really does pay to choke-up a bit as mentioned in the review. Only negative is that the paint above the face chips pretty easy. Might just be me getting a little under the ball but should be a tougher for being a utility club. Overall, A great golf club.

    Seattle, WA.

  35. Little John says:

    Bought the 19* as a lark – carry driver, 5 to SW and needed a gap “fairway” wood/hybrid. After reading here how the new one relates closely to the Old Raylor, had to try. Love it – just ordered the 22* as well – TGW has ‘em for $100. Can’t wait for the weekend……

  36. Ron says:

    I’m new to golf. I took some lessons in 2009, got fitted and purchased a set of Cleveland CG7 Black Perl Irons. I spent some time on the range practicing the rest of the year. I had an old K-mart Driver that I purchased in the 1990′s and struggled with it until recently. I purchased a new Taylormade Burner Surperfast Driver and my hiting percentage went up 100%. I got out to the course 6 times in 2010 (I work a lot and I wanted a friend to take me out the first time to learn the rules of the course), 3 times I’ve played 18 holes. I was hitting 180 to 220 yards with a nasty slice. I could clear the Driving range fence 180 yard out. I watched the Golf Channel with Hank Haney teaching Ray Ramano and took what I saw to the range. I’m now hitting my Driver straight (most of the time) and around 280 yards and further. I need a club I can hit off the Tee, the Fairway and out of the rough; something that hits about 225 yards would be great as I hit my 3 Iron 175 yards. I went to the local golf shop today and tried some rescue cllubs and fairway woods but did not hit them very well. I picked up a Raylor 19 degree and hit it very well off the Tee and off the matt. I haven’t made the purchase yet but Monday I’m headed to the Driving Range where they sell the clubs and let you try before you buy on the range. If that club hits as well there as inside it’s in my bag. I don’t own any woods and this might just be the perfect club for me. Tacoma, Washington.

  37. mathew smith says:

    I just bought a raylor number 3. Will this replace a 3 iron. I have the first hybrid that taylormade came out with years ago and thought it was time for an upgrade. Also did i make a mistake buying this club because I would like to hit it out of the fairway and off short par four tees also?

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