Every year Golf Club manufacturers seem to come up with new and better ways to help players hit the ball longer and straighter. However, it’s not every day that someone comes up with an entirely new type of club.
This year it looks that TaylorMade has managed to do just that with the release of a new family of hybrids called the GAPR.
Not to be confused with a gap wedge, TaylorMade created the GAPR line to fill the distance gap that many players encounter at the other end of the spectrum, between their shortest fairway wood and the longest iron they’re comfortable hitting.
TaylorMade research suggests that this gap occurs for most players between the 3-wood and five-iron.
The GAPR family consists of three new offerings – the GAPR HI, the GAPR MID, and the GAPR LOW – each designed to fill that gap for a different level of player.
Though they share a name and many of the same features, each GAPR has their own distinct shape, a unique center of gravity, and are targeted at a different range of handicappers.
- The GAPR HI looks the most like a traditional hybrid with a small round wood-like head,
- The GAPR MID, and GAPR LOW, look more like irons but, with wider soles and top lines, sort of an M4 iron on steroids but, not quite as bulked-up as the Cleveland Launcher HBs.
While the three are decidedly different in most respects, they do share a number of key technologies.
- Each has an exceptionally thin and durable C300 stainless-steel face and 450 stainless-steel body.
- A hollow body design coupled with TaylorMade’s “Speed Pocket” in the sole provide lots of face flex which in turn more ball speed with a good combination of distance and forgiveness.
- A new and improved “Speed Foam,” which enhances both the sound and the feel on impact, fills the hollow body of each GAPR as well.
- A nonadjustable weight in the sole places the center-of-gravity specifically for each GAPR version.
- Lastly, an adjustable hosel which allows an increase or decrease of loft by up to one-and-a-half degrees should also help players find optimal carry distance and hit their “gap.”
Here’s a look at each.
The GAPR HI Review
The GAPR high looks quite similar to the TaylorMade M3 hybrid when it comes to head size and shape.
Just like the M3, the GAPR HI has an adjustable Loft Sleeve that lets players tweak lie and loft settings to their liking. It also appears to feature an identical “Speed Pocket” to that of the M3.
For better distance and higher trajectory, designers placed a non-interchangeable center-of-gravity weight low and towards the back on the sole of the club head. A square toe and a wide “V” shaped crown cutout give the GAPR HI the look of a club that begs to be hit.
As the name suggests, high-handicappers are the target players for the GAPR HI. It comes in four right-handed lofts of nineteen, twenty-two, twenty-five, and twenty-eight degrees meant to replace the three, four, five, and six irons respectively. Lefties will have to settle for the three and four lofts only.
Overall, the GAPR HI looks more like a variation of a typical hybrid than a new type of club. They can be used as direct replacements for their iron or hybrid equivalent, or individually as TaylorMade suggests – to fill the gap between a player’s shortest wood and longest iron.
The GAPR MID Review
The GAPR MID brings a newly shaped club head to the golf world. It looks more like an iron than a hybrid. A sole wide enough to fit the non-removable CG weight and TaylorMade’s Speed Pocket tapers into a wide topline.
With its center-of-gravity low and in the center of the sole, the GAPR MID provides lower ball flight and lower spin than the GAPR HI. Instead of a cavity in the back, the back of the GAPR MID is closed and filled with TaylorMade’s proprietary Speed Foam.
Mid-handicappers are the target audience for the GAPR MID which comes in three-iron and four-iron lofts for both right and left-handers, and a five-iron loft only for righties. TaylorMade is promoting the GAPR MID as a rescue/utility type club that closes the distance gap that some players have but, it’s easy to envision mid-handicappers swapping out their long irons for the three, four, and five versions of the GAPR.
While the GAPR HI looks much like a standard hybrid, the GAPR MID looks nothing like a standard iron. While it uses some features usually reserved for game-improvement irons TaylorMade promises the GAPR MID will shape the ball as well as any iron out there but, with some added distance and forgiveness.
The GAPR LO Review
At first glance, the GAPR LO looks almost identical to the MID version. On closer inspection, however, the GAPR LO has some noticeable differences.
- Its center-of-gravity weight, for example, has been moved from the bottom of the club to a low-forward position (the weight is actually located in the back of the club head). This position provides a more penetrating trajectory and better distance.
- Side by side, it’s also apparent that the GAPR LO has a narrower front-to-back footprint and an overall smaller profile more in line with what elite golfers require for shot-shaping and workability.
TaylorMade created the GAPR LO for low handicappers and professionals. The GAPR LO comes in two-iron, three-iron, and four-iron lofts for right-handers, and two-iron and three-iron lofts for lefthanders.
Players at this level rarely suffer from gap issues because they do not struggle with long irons. But, even the world’s best golfers appreciate a little forgiveness from time to time. If the GAPR LO plays as well as promised, it may well become the long iron of choice on short par fours, out of thick rough, and off the short grass on narrow fairways. Tiger Woods swapped out his driving iron for a GAPR LO #2 at Carnoustie in the 2018 British Open, for example.
All three GAPR models come with stock KBS Hybrid Shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips, with plenty of other options available for both.
No one can say for sure yet how the GAPRs will play as they don’t hit the market until August 24. But if first impressions mean anything, it looks like TaylorMade is onto something with the GAPR, we’ll know soon enough.