TaylorMade Stealth 2 Fairway Woods and Hybrids



The Stealth driver franchise centers around an unmistakable red carbon face. It’s a material change to how TaylorMade believes it can advance the driver category. (Pun intended.)

But for all the Carbonwood talk, you won’t see a carbon face on a fairway wood or hybrid any time soon. Simply, the faces don’t have the requisite surface area to warrant a different material.

Stealth 2 Fairway Woods

If we excuse Aeroburner from the conversation, it’s hard to think of many TaylorMade fairway woods that haven’t done reasonably well in testing, on the PGA TOUR or at retail. In fact, the converse is substantially more accurate.

With that, the most impressive bit of engineering in the entire Stealth 2 line belongs to the Stealth 2 Plus fairway wood. More on that in a bit.

Citing our 2022 WITB survey, TaylorMade has the second-most purchased fairway wood and the third-most purchased hybrid by MyGolfSpy readers.

The guiding principle of the Stealth 2 launch is three discrete models with increased versatility and playability without giving up any ball speed.

How did TaylorMade accomplish that?

Stealth 2 Plus 

As with the previous Stealth Plus, the Stealth 2 Plus is TaylorMade’s titanium fairway wood. It’s also the most changed model from last year and for my money, it’s the most intriguing club in the entire Stealth 2 launch. Yep, you can quote me on that.

If we go back to the M5, which is TaylorMade’s first “real” titanium fairway, it’s clear TaylorMade is still in the process of learning how to best use the material in a fairway wood application. Yes, TaylorMade did come to market with an R11 Ti model in 2011 but I think we’d all rather just forget about that one. In that regard, the Sim Ti fairway is really the first of TaylorMade’s modern titanium fairway efforts. The objective with that model as well as subsequent models including Stealth Plus was to create a low-spin, distance-first cannon. Based on our testing, mission accomplished.

SIDEBAR

Quick Note: What makes a titanium fairway wood longer than a steel version? It would seem reasonable to think that it’s because titanium is lighter and stronger and therefore can be used to make thinner faces which increase ball speed. That’s more or less the story with drivers. But that doesn’t necessarily hold true for fairway woods where the faces are much smaller. The chief benefit of titanium is that because it’s lighter, engineers can use that saved weight to move mass around to alter performance. Manufacturers use carbon (in place of steel or aluminum) for the same reason. And with Stealth 2 Plus, TaylorMade allocated a majority of that discretionary weight to the 50-gram moveable sole weight.

Stealth 2 Plus Tech

The 2020 Stealth Plus was long. Borderline too long for some players. But it was a bit of a one-trick pony. With Stealth 2 Plus, TaylorMade wanted to create a more versatile titanium fairway. Keep the horsepower but improve the handling. To do so,  it’s the only one of the three models that includes a titanium head, carbon crown, adjustable loft sleeve, moveable weights and an AI-generated inverted cone face topology. The other two models (Stealth 2 and Stealth 2 HD) are bonded (glued) hosels and do not use moveable weights or an adjustable loft sleeve but both include the inverted cone face design.

Let’s start with the most obvious update, the massive 50-gram weight on the sole. Ultimately, TaylorMade achieved what it wanted to but not before working through some significant design challenges. To make the weight easy to adjust, engineers affixed the weight to a single stationary screw. Then the weight is free to slide from front to back, under (or along, depending on how you’re looking at it) a housing that TaylorMade terms the “garage.” Moveable weights are fun because they can quickly change how a club performs. But the primary downside is that moveable weights require additional structures which can take up valuable weight and generally don’t help the acoustics. Though the roof of the garage does carry a bit of a CG penalty (meaning the structure moves the center of gravity slightly away from an optimal location), it’s largely mitigated through the use of light materials (carbon, titanium). Beyond protecting the weight, the garage also supports desired turf interaction and because it isn’t a slot, power hole or any sort of porous structure, it shouldn’t collect dirt or chunks of turf.

Setting Selection

There are seven discrete settings and three primary settings (front, middle, back) along the road leading into the garage, to continue the analogy.

With the weight pushed all the way forward, (TaylorMade calls this the “Rocket” setting), spin drops by roughly 200 to 300 rpm. This setting is equivalent to the current Stealth Plus in terms of launch and spin. Moving the weight to the extreme rear setting will increase spin and forgiveness. According to TaylorMade, the initial launch is roughly the same regardless of weight position. The combination of the FCT loft sleeve (+/- 2°) and 50-gram sliding weight provides approximately 550 rpm of spin adjustability.

If you’re like Tommy Fleetwood and like to hit your 3-wood low with a lot of spin, put the weight all the way back and turn the loft sleeve down two degrees. Conversely, if you need a 5-wood with a higher trajectory and very little spin, you can do the opposite. Again, the objective is increased versatility and improved fitting options.

Updated Face Design

Nope, we’re still not talking about carbon. But this is still a first for TaylorMade. To date, TaylorMade used a uniform-thickness face in fairway woods and hybrids. Part of the reason is that the existing ZA titanium material was only available in a sheet format which didn’t allow for variable thickness designs.

Now TaylorMade is leveraging AI (artificial intelligence) to incorporate a variable thickness Inverted Cone topology in fairway woods and hybrids. In addition, each face is unique and varies by loft and model. Compared to the 2022 Stealth Plus, Stealth 2 Plus is marginally shorter from front to back with a slightly flatter crown. It’s also five cubic centimeters smaller but that’s virtually indiscernible to the naked eye.

We talk routinely about incremental advancements in equipment, most of which come in the form of new materials or production processes. As such, the Stealth 2 Plus serves as a prime example of what year-over-year evolution looks like in the modern equipment industry.

STEALTH 2 Fairway

 

There’s a temptation to look at the model with fewer bells and whistles and assume that it’s somehow lesser. That’s a mistake. In fact, while the numbers are close, TaylorMade still has more steel fairway woods in play than titanium on the PGA TOUR. Also, and if my math is close to correct, TaylorMade didn’t win a single driver count on the Tour in 2022 but did spend roughly 80 percent of the season as the top fairway model in play. My, how times have changed.

With that, TaylorMade focused on several important shaping refinements but nothing cataclysmic. This model is the most balanced of the three in that it needs to be forgiving and playable without compromising on ball speed. The Stealth 2 Steel fairway sits slightly lower to the ground, particularly in the heel/toe regions. The crown is a bit flatter and, in addition, it leverages the AI-generated Inverted Cone face design. Beyond that, it maintains the V Steel sole which helps improve turf interaction and maintain a low and forgiving CG location.

STEALTH 2 HD Fairway

This one is a wild card. On paper, TaylorMade set out to push the boundaries of forgiveness and let aesthetics take a bit of a back seat. But what it accomplished might find a way into the bags of an unintended segment of golfers. Say, for example, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, Scottie Scheffler. 

Yes, the HD is the designated draw-biased model. But it’s also 27 percent more forgiving than the existing Stealth fairway. And while it’s mostly a story about mass properties, the shaping is, how do I say it?, different. It’s not horrendous but it is distinct. Apparently, early versions had better performance but the look wasn’t something TaylorMade felt comfortable bringing to market.

No one likes to be told your baby’s ugly.

 

At roughly 200cc of volume, the Stealth 2 HD has a larger, flatter footprint. The crown is two millimeters lower than the Stealth 2 Steel which is already two millimeters lower than the current Stealth fairway. Also, TaylorMade stretched the rear section making it four millimeters longer from front to back. If you’re picturing a pancake topped with carbon, I’m with you.

At address, it’s clearly bigger than the other models. But it’s not at all obnoxious. Also, TaylorMade made several small adjustments with visual cues at address to allow it to set up relatively square. In toying around with it at The Kingdom, TaylorMade’s Tour-level fitting facility in California, it felt a little like a cheat code.

This leads to the Scottie Scheffler situation. During a commercial shoot, TaylorMade built up the Stealth 2 HD for its Tour staff, not with the intention that any of them would likely play it. But, if not for a bit too much spin, Scheffler wasn’t opposed to it at all. And that’s not something a little hot-melt can’t fix.

After all, who can’t find a place in the bag for a super-forgiving, easy-to-elevate fairway wood that is easy to turn over, but still sets up square?

Ultimately, the Stealth 2 HD is a game-improvement fairway wood that doesn’t necessarily have to be.

STEALTH 2 Rescue

TaylorMade is also releasing three Stealth 2 Rescue models with three different face heights: deep (Plus), mid (Standard) and shallow (HD).

Notably, the Stealth 2 Plus is the only model in the Stealth 2 line without any carbon in the construction. It’s the requsite “better player” model featuring a compact, Tour-inspired shape.  Compared to the original Stealth Rescue, the Stealth 2 Rescue features a slightly lower but more centered CG projection, which leads to optimal launch and spin, according to TaylorMade. Finally, the Stealth 2 HD Rescue is a new addition which, like other “HD” models, is draw-biased and the most forgiving of the three models.

Apart from that, TaylorMade altered the shape of all three models while keeping the face size the same. Specifically, the head is marginally shorter from heel to toe. According to TaylorMade, this allows the club to move through the rough more efficiently. The other changes include a more squared-off toe section and a straighter leading edge with a tighter radius.

If you’re sensing some Adams hybrid influence (pre-Adams Blue, of course), then give yourself one bonus point.

Put differently, TaylorMade took the existing Stealth line, added new face technology and returned several desirable iron-like features. It also changed several loft arrangements to help golfers create more ideal distance gaps between clubs. Perhaps as an added bonus, TaylorMade didn’t increase prices on any hybrid models.

TaylorMade Stealth  – Stock shafts

Stock shafts for the TaylorMade Stealth 2 fairway woods are the:

  • Mitsubishi Kai’li Red FW (65R, 75S, 75X)
  • Fujikura Ventus Red TR (5A, 5R, 6S)
  • Fujikura Speeder NX Red

Stock shafts for the TaylorMade Stealth 2 Rescues are the:

  • Mitsubishi Kai’li Red HY (75R, 85S, 95X)
  • Fujikura Ventus Red TR HB (5A, 6R, 7S)
  • Fujikura Speeder NX Red (50A, 50R, 60S)

Pre-sale for the TaylorMade Stealth 2 family of drivers begins Jan. 10.  Full retail availability starts Feb. 17.

For more information, visit TaylorMadeGolf.com.

*We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.



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