History of TaylorMade Drivers Through the Years

By Savannah Richardson

TaylorMade Stealth 2 lineup of drivers, released in 2023

Gary Adams started TaylorMade in the late 1970s out of his home in Illinois with an idea that the two-piece golf ball wasn't a fad. Adams recognized the way irons interacted with the new balls and believed steel drivers would outperform the persimmon drivers of the day.

Founding TaylorMade

Adams approached PGA touring pro Ron Streck in 1978 with three metal woods. Adams' metal woods out-drove some of the longest hitters on tour, and at that year's PGA Merchandise Show he received close to $50,000 in orders.

Pittsburgh Persimmon

Ron Streck won the 1981 Houston Open using the first TaylorMade driver. The company's drivers earned the nickname "Pittsburgh Persimmon" as TaylorMade used steel rather than persimmon to construct their drivers. Adams and Streck started stamping it on the toe of all their drivers, and it developed into one of their strongest lines throughout the 1980s. In the process, golf adapted to the popular “metal-woods" seen today.

TaylorMade Burner Drivers

In 1983, the Burner and Tour Burner were introduced and the company boasted 147 tour pros as product ambassadors. By 1986, the Burner became the No. 1 driver.

Curtis Strange won the 1988 U.S. Open with a Burner driver, giving TaylorMade its first major championship. The company claimed its first Master's in 1994 with a prototype of the Bubble Shaft.

TaylorMade’s 300 and 500 Series

In 2000, the 300 series became the number one driver on tour. The 300, 320 and 360 were developed for the three most prevalent swing types. The R500 series was introduced in 2002, featuring the inverted cone technology.

The r Series

In 2004, r7 quad came along with its movable-weight technology and won 24 of 48 tour events. The following year TaylorMade introduced the r5 and became the second-most used driver on tour, behind the r7. TaylorMade continued to develop the r7 by introducing draw models, 460cc models and introduced the Burner series with a bullet shaped head for increased swing speeds. TaylorMade used the r-series until 2013 as they wrapped the series with the R1 Driver.

TaylorMade Recent Drivers: From RocketBallz to SIM MAX

Taylor Made branched away from the r-series in 2012, and since then the company has released several different models, pushing the golf technology limits.

From the Rocketballz, SLDR, Jetspeed, Aeroburner, M-series, SIM series, and now the Stealth series, TaylorMade continues to produce some the best drivers in golf.

TaylorMade’s Speed Injected technology, implemented in its SIM and SIM Max, have elevated the golf equipment game. The technology improves ball speed across the face by calibrating each head to the threshold of the legal speed limit.

These drivers also feature Twist Face technology, which uses corrective face angles designed to overcome those tendencies golfers have on mis-hits, which ultimately helps produce straighter shots.

In 2022, TaylorMade introduced Carbonwood with the Stealth lineup of drivers, which evolved with the Stealth 2 line in 2023.

TaylorMade Drivers by the Year

TaylorMade has come a long way from their original Pittsburgh Persimmon driver. Here are the drivers by year the company released.

Year Release
1980s Persimmon Drivers
1983 Burner and Tour Burner Driver
1988-93 Burner Plus Driver
1995-96 Titanium Bubble Driver
1997 Titanium Bubble 2 Driver
2000 300 Series
2002 500 Series/Burner 420
2003 R510 TP Driver/R360 XD Driver
2004 r5 Dual Type W,N,D Driver
2005 r7 Driver, r7 quad/quad TP Driver, r7 460/425/425 TP Driver, r5 dual TP Driver
2006 r7 Draw Driver, r7 460/460 TP Driver, r5 XL N Driver, r5 XL D Driver
2007 r7 CGB MAX Driver, Burner '07 Driver, Burner TP Driver, Burner Draw Driver, Burner Women's
2008 r7 Limited Driver, r7 Limited TP Driver, Tour Burner Driver, Tour Burner TP Driver, r7 CGB MAX Limited Driver
2009 R9 Driver and R9 460 Driver
2010 R9 SuperDeep TP Driver, Burner SuperFast TP Driver, R9 Supertri Driver, Burner SuperFast
2011 R11 Driver and Burner Superfast 2.0 Driver
2012 R11 S Driver, RocketBallz Bonded Driver, RocketBallz Driver, Burner SF 2.0 Driver
2013 R1 Driver and RBZ Stage 2 Driver
2014 SLDR 460/430/White Driver and Jetspeed Driver
2015 Aeroburner Driver
2016 M1 Driver
2017 M2 Driver and M2 D-Type Driver
2018 M3 Driver, M4 Driver, M4-D Driver
2019 M5 Driver, M5 Tour Driver, M6 Driver, M6-D Driver, Original One Mini Drivers, M-Gloire Driver
2020 SIM Driver, SIM MAX Driver, SIM MAX-D Driver
2021 SIM2 Driver, SIM2 Max Driver, SIM2 Max D
2022 Stealth Driver, Stealth HD Driver (High Draw), Stealth Plus+ Driver
2023 Stealth 2 Driver, Stealth 2 HD Driver, Stealth 2 Plus Driver

Image: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images Sport via Getty Images

About the Author

Savannah Richardson is a staff writer for GolfLink. She’s a daily golfer and has worked for two years covering amateur and professional golf events with Amateurgolf.com and The Brunswick News. She has a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia.