Whilst the original M2 fairway knocked it out the park in more ways than one, if you were being picky, it could have sounded a little better. With the 2017 M2 fairway, TaylorMade has addressed this and made it more forgiving to boot.
They have done this by using what TaylorMade call Geocoustic design, where the shape of the 450 stainless steel sole is recessed in the toe area and reinforced with exterior ribs so that it is stronger.
The revised internal shape creates a different and improved sound that is richer, with less of a hollow ring. There is still an element of this that you can't get away from if you use a slot like the revised Speed Pocket, but overall it is much better.
However the benefits of this longer and more flexible 2017 Speed Pocket are worth the compromise as this is what adds extra ball speed to give the M2 fairway its power.
A little weight has been saved from the top of the club by using a thinner white steel section with the larger 6 layer carbon crown.
This is joined in the slimmers club by a lighter fluted hosel that now features a six rather than an eight sided design.
This saved weight is then moved low and down into the sole which TaylorMade claim takes inspiration from the old V-Steel fairway in the shape of the centre section.
The combination of this creates a 455 stainless steel face that TaylorMade claim is so fast in the middle that they have had to use their variable face thickness Inverted Cone technology to slow it down in order to keep it within the rules.
This is a first for TaylorMade and is a good thing as the Inverted Cone maxmises ball speed across a wider area of the face, which makes the 2017 M2 fairway more forgiving as there is less drop off on mis-hits.
This makes the M2 fairway a joy to hit as there is a bit more margin for error to combine with excellent distance performance and a better sound.
At the global launch in the USA, I watched Dustin Johnson carry a stock 3 wood just under 300 yards, only to turn around and say that he can't use this club because it goes too far - he only wants it to carry 280...a Tour player's problem!
He gets around this by going up to a higher loft and shortening the 43.25 inch shaft by an inch. I doubt you will need to do this, but mid to slow swing speed players should consider the 3HL head at 16.5° as that will give the necessary launch to get the most carry from this lower spinning head.
The M2 fairway comes with the latest Reax shaft that is OK for mid to slow speed swingers, but if it was in a classroom it would be getting a 'could do better, must try harder' on its report card.
To be fair there is a choice of 30 other shafts that you can upgrade to for free through TaylorMade's fitting service, but it would have been good to see the three main shaft options from the 2017 M2 driver carried over into the fairway as standard.
TaylorMade M2 Tour Fairway Review
For £50 extra you can get the Kuro Kage shaft as standard in the M2 Tour fairway, which is a new model for TaylorMade.
It has a 19cc smaller head than the 3 and 3HL versions of the regular M2 lofts that it comes in and as you can see, there is also a front sole weight that moves the CG forward to make this a lower spinning head.
It definitely looks more compact at address and with the same loft it did give a lower, more powerful flight.
The M2 Tour is also a bit less forgiving, but the sound is better from the smaller head. With a bit more loft in the 16.5° 3HL head and the better shaft I was really enjoying the M2 Tour and it would be a viable option for better players, especially if you want a strong driving fairway to use from a tee that is a little larger than the 2017 M1 fairway.
TaylorMade M2 2017 Fairway Verdict
However, unless you are DJ, it is hard for anyone to look past the standard 2017 M2 fairway for its looks and performance. It does everything the previous model did, but in a better sounding and more forgiving package, so this is going to be the fairway to beat again this year.