If you grew up playing golf in the mid-1990s, the look gives off a serious whiff of nostalgia. The black-and-copper colorway. The classic TaylorMade logo. Even the headcover is special, especially when you turn it inside out. (If you know, you know.)
Everything about TaylorMade’s all-new BRNR Mini Driver screams retro — and that’s the goal. When Mark O’Meara won the 1998 Masters, he did so with a TaylorMade Ti Bubble 2 driver that looked eerily similar to BRNR Mini Driver. And at exactly 304cc, the club is roughly the same head size as the old Ti Bubble 2.
But don’t let the look fool you: TaylorMade isn’t turning back the clock and reintroducing classic technology. While the overall footprint of the modern driver has expanded exponentially, the fairway wood has seen increases as well with the introduction of clubs like the SLDR Mini Driver that was first introduced in 2014.
TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver
The larger 304cc footprint — to put things into perspective, Stealth 2 HD is the largest fairway wood in the current lineup at 200cc — serves a number of different benefits depending on the golfer. For someone who struggles with accuracy off the tee, the shorter shaft, deeper face and bigger head makes it easier to find the fairway without having to sweat the potential penalizing mishit a standard fairway wood might product.
“The BRNR Mini Driver is a modern interpretation of a classic driver, showcasing our long-standing heritage in the sport,” Tomo Bystedt, TaylorMade’s senior director of product creation, metalwoods and carbonwood. “While it has retro aesthetics, it’s no showpiece to hang in your office. It has the horsepower to attack golf courses and can be a major asset in the hands of the right golfer. We aimed to balance throwback elements with modern looks, technology and performance.”
While the club has mostly been touted as a secondary option off the tee, TaylorMade is reintroducing a spin on the popular K-Sole that was initially trotted out on the Ti Bubble 2. The overall sole design is supposed to help the head glide through the turf, thereby making it easier to use the Mini Driver off the deck, if a golfer so chooses.
Where BRNR Mini Driver builds upon the success of previous versions is in the adjustability it provides. The SLDR, Aeroburner, 300 and even the Original One offered little in the way of driver-esque adjustability, outside of the loft sleeve.
On BRNR, spin and launch can be adjusted via two moveable sole weight ports situated in the front and back. When the 13-gram weight is placed in the rear of the head, launch and spin increase. The reverse occurs (lower launch and spin) when the larger 13-gram weight is placed far forward, and the 1.5-gram is secured in the back. (According to TaylorMade, placing the 13-gram weight in the forward position reduced spin by approximately 200 RPMs during testing.)
The BRNR Mini Driver has only been only Tour since the Masters, but it’s already making noise. Fred Couples and Bryson DeChambeau used it at Augusta, while Tommy Fleetwood opted to put it in the bag at the RBC Heritage to handle the tight, tree-lined tee shots.
“BRNR has been very popular in testing with tour players, especially at the first major of the year as a potential fairway finder on demanding tee shots and on approach shots on par fives,” said Keith Sbarbaro, TaylorMade’s VP of Tour Operations. “Players are always looking for a club that can be versatile and reliable off the tee and BRNR checks both of those boxes. Being able to adjust the weights to match the ball flight the player is looking for allows this club to be something that provides d istance and shot shaping abili ty that can be crucial at narrower courses.”
But enough about the technology housed inside BRNR. Let’s discuss what everyone will likely be talking about with TaylorMade’s latest creation: the cosmetics. Aside from the classic copper-and-black colorway, the equipment manufacturer chose to go all out with the overall look, pairing the head with a copper-and-black UST Mamiya ProForce 65 shaft that’s meant to resemble the original Burner Bubble design. SuperStroke’s S-Tech grip (50 grams) also features the same colors.
And then there’s the retro-inspired barrel headcover. While the cover rarely gets the respect it’s due, TaylorMade spent extra time on this one — and it shows. The outside has a premium look and feel, and golfers who grew up turning their headcovers inside out (yes, this used to be a thing) will love the multi-colored look on the inside. It’s just another bit of nostalgia that completes the retro creation.
TaylorMade’s BRNR Mini Driver retails for $449.99 and will be offered in two lofts (11.5 and 13.5 degrees) with a UST Mamiya ProForce 65-Retro Burner Edition 65 (X,S,R) shaft.
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