The TaylorMade Stealth Plus Driver and Why Carbonwoods Are the Future

Posted by Dallas Golf on 16 Nov 2023

                 TaylorMade Stealth Plus Driver

From the company that ushered in the Metalwood age now comes the visionary leap forward that will bring about the new era: the Carbonwood age.

Clubs like TaylorMade’s Stealth Plus driver definitely ply the waters of innovation, and it hasn’t been an easy journey. For many years, manufacturers shied from the use of carbon fiber in the heads and club faces, because the forces generated on impact would have destroyed even the stoutest carbon fiber composite construction.

Until now.

For the past 20 years or so, metal driver heads, primarily made of strong yet lightweight titanium, have been the staple. But the curtain is closing on that period and the dawn of the carbonwood is here.

Metal vs. Carbon

                  TaylorMade Stealth Plus Driver

While the traditional material for constructing golf drivers is wood, it’s easy to see how and why manufacturers were hot to jump ship with the introduction of the first metal woods 40 or so years ago.

Metal alloys like titanium are extremely strong and lightweight. In fact, titanium itself has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of all metals.

Moreover, titanium alloys are ductile, meaning they flex under a load and spring back to their original shape, of course within a given range. This makes them not only highly durable under stress, but also enables them to produce optimal energy transfer characteristics.

This attribute also makes metals like titanium a prime choice for resistance to impact. At the moment of impact, a driver head may be subjected to tens of thousands of Gs of force. When it comes to durability, metal simply cannot be topped.

For the longest time, this was one of the main deterrents of producing a carbon fiber club head. Although carbon fiber is very strong (and has many other beneficial attributes) the nature of its construction presents a very difficult challenge.

Carbon fiber composite materials are made of many very thin strands of carbon fiber bound by a synthetic epoxy resin. These are arranged in many layers. While carbon fiber can be both light and strong, repeated stress cycles - specifically impulse, which is very high at impact - can cause a phenomenon called delamination, in which the layers separate.

Given enough stress cycles (club-ball strikes) delamination can become severe enough that the head will crack or even shatter. Another issue is the tendency of carbon fiber composite to produce voids - small holes in the matrix that, while not discernible to the naked eye, substantially compromise the integrity of carbon fiber materials.

This was one of the hurdles TaylorMade had to overcome in the design and production of its Stealth Plus Drivers.

One of the first things they had to do was develop a process that would detect minuscule imperfections and voids in the carbon fiber matrix.

The next step was to produce a club face that was not only thick enough but composed with enough layers that it could withstand the repeated stresses of striking a golf ball.

The 60x Carbon Twist Face of the TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver is the poster child for this refinement. It is 4mm thick - that’s nearly half a centimeter - and as the name suggests is composed of 60 thin sheets of carbon fiber with additional resin added during production to eliminate the chance of void formation.

The end result is a club face that offers the same strength and durability as titanium, but at a substantial reduction in weight - up to 40% compared to a titanium driver head of comparable size.

On top of the weight savings (which results in an overall lighter swing weight) the technologically advanced 60x Carbon Twist Face offers excellent flexion and energy transfer characteristics, resulting in a more powerful, yet more forgiving driver - with a sweet spot covering a larger surface area of the face.

                     TaylorMade Stealth Plus Driver

Since carbon fiber is less dense than titanium, TaylorMade’s engineers have been able to create a matrix with superior face “flexure,” resulting in optimal smash factor, resulting in higher, more consistent, more easily replicable ball speeds off the tee. Overall, these club heads deliver higher MOI and optimal launch characteristics.

Despite all this, the TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver doesn’t turn its back entirely on the advantages of titanium. Rather, this carbonwood represents the fusion of the best attributes of both.

The interior of the clubhead still boasts internal stiffening ribs of titanium that add strength and rigidity, and the engineers at TaylorMade have also tweaked the use of titanium in the clubhead to drive acoustic performance, which, though it might not influence the actual performance of the club, is still a feature that sells. The “ping” is such an integral part of the sport that it has lent its name to another entire (and well-respected) golf company.

The TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver takes all this a step further. The carbon fiber face features a polyurethane nanotexture cover that produces the ideal amount of friction at impact regardless of playing conditions. This nanotexture covering produces consistent launch and trajectory, whether the conditions are bright, dry, and sunny, or gray and wet.

Though not related to TaylorMade’s groundbreaking use of carbon fiber, Stealth drivers are also optimized for personal customization. The Stealth Plus features a sliding weight track with a 10g weight that can be positioned to custom tailor the performance of the club with respect to shot shape. Shot biases can easily be corrected thanks to this feature, with no extra effort on behalf of the golfer.

Taking all of these factors and features in sum, it’s clear to see that just as TaylorMade altered the sport of golf forever with the introduction of the first Metalwood all those years ago, they stand to revolutionize the sport of golf once more, at this, the dawn of the Carbonwood age.

Not Sure If the TaylorMade Stealth Plus Driver Is for You?

If you’re still looking at the TaylorMade Stealth Plus and wondering if it’s for you, don’t try to figure it out on your own. Contact one of our fitters today at 800-955-9550 and let us know what you’re looking for and why. If the Stealth Plus is for you we’ll recommend it, and if not, we’ll find you a better alternative, plus a shaft to go with it.