TaylorMade Introduces Raylor Hybrid

TaylorMade RaylorMention 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 club 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 club 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. Twenty-one years after the original was introduced, TaylorMade has launched a hybrid called Raylor, and this one is far superior to the first. 

"Twenty-one years of making metalwoods has allowed us to engineer the new Raylor to hit the ball higher, longer and straighter from tall grass," said Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade senior director of metalwood creation. "It's the ultimate weapon for getting out of the rough."

The new Raylor comes in two lofts, 19° and 22°, and incorporates two key features that work in conjunction to make the new Raylor so effective from the rough.

1) 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.

2) A "Raylor sole" shaped like ship's hull, sloping upward at the sides. The Raylor sole separates the blades of grass to allow the clubhead to glide cleanly through instead of slowing down or getting stuck. The Raylor sole and pointed leading edge together reduce by 23 percent the amount of area in the bottom part of the clubhead that would normally impede the head's progress as it moves through the rough.

The Raylor sole also helps you hit the ball solidly from sidehill lies because of its sole radius. Whereas the sole radius of a Burner Rescue hybrid presents an angle of about 10 degrees up from horizontal, the Raylor's angle is 17 degrees. That means that the Raylor hybrid boasts 70 percent more sole relief on the heel and toe side compared to a typical Rescue club, which makes it dramatically easier to make solid contact with the ball when the ball is above or below your feet.

The Raylor is equipped with a RE*AX® 65-gram shaft that's one inch longer than typical for TaylorMade Rescue clubs of equal lofts, to promote the added clubhead speed and leverage to help get the ball out of thick lies.

Combine the Raylor's pointed leading edge, Raylor sole, exceptionally low CG, compact size from heel to toe and longer shaft and you've got a hybrid born to get the ball out of the rough with extreme ease. Raylor also works nicely from good lies in the fairway as well, and is a great choice to play low, running chips from certain greenside lies, and is especially good for when the ball comes to rest awkwardly against the collar.

Tour-Tested and Tour-Proven

The new Raylor hybrid is tour-tested and tour-proven. Kenny Perry replaced his 3-iron with a 19-degree prototype Raylor to get out of the US Open rough this year at Bethpage Black. During one round, on the 10th hole, he put the ball on the green from deep rough, 220 yards out, and then ran in the birdie putt. It's usually hard for Kenny to hit longer clubs out of heavy rough because he brings the head in on a real shallow approach angle, making it hard to get the head through the thick grass. Most times he would have wedged out in that situation, he said. Thanks to the Raylor, instead of scrambling for par, he made birdie. A big difference made possible by the Raylor.

newbuyonline.jpg Who Needs a Raylor?

Who needs a new Raylor hybrid? Everybody from high handicappers to low handicappers to tour pros.

"It's an essential part of every player's arsenal, even though you probably won't have it in your bag at all times," said Olsavsky. "It should be kept on hand to replace a long-iron, hybrid or fairway wood when you play a course with significant rough, or maybe an exceptionally undulating track where severe sidehill lies are frequent. Point being that the Raylor isn't necessarily an everyday club, but rather is a great weapon to have on hand when conditions call for it."

The Raylor hybrid becomes available starting on September 4, 2009 at a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $229 per club. 

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