Drivers 2007 – A Great Time to Change
By: Dr. Barry Lotz
The overwhelming preponderance of new drivers in 2007 is staggering.
It’s been a long time since so many drivers have been introduced in such a short period of time by manufacturers with so many advanced technical and design components.
Manufacturers claim we can hit it further, straighter, higher, lower, and closer with every new club that emerges. Yet, after all is said and done by marketing departments, technically it’s still about MOI (Moment of Inertia) and MWT (Moveable Weight Technology). Find the optimal high launch and low spin driver. Most importantly, however, being custom fitted for launch and shaft specifications (and ball) to your swing is the bottom line.
There have been radical design changes such as with the Nike Sumo2, the Orlimar Fury, Callaway FT-i and not so radical, such as the TaylorMade Burner, Cleveland’s Hi-Bore XL and Titleist’s 907D1.
Still, the more traditional designed drivers such as the TaylorMade r7 SuperQuad, Callaway FT-5 and the Titleist 907 D2, to name just a few, blew away the competition in terms of design and performance.
The driver is without a doubt the toughest club in the bag to hit on a consistent basis, but it’s still the one piece of equipment with which we tend to measure our prowess as a golfer.
Life has become much easier in choosing and being fitted for a driver with the advent of fitting systems such as Callaway’s OptiFit and TaylorMade’s SelectFit System. Both of these systems allow fitters to connect club heads and shafts quickly and easily and provide golfers with clubs that feel exactly the same as those they’ll eventually purchase.
Of all the new drivers, these models proved to be the most exciting and performance orientated:
TaylorMade r7 SuperQuad
The most beautiful driver on the market – too beautiful to even hit!
This is not only a collector’s item, but a weapon of mass distance and forgiveness.
Featuring four moveable weights (two are 12 grams each, two are 1 gram each) in a 460 cc head and TaylorMade’s phenomenally successful Inverted Cone Technology, it is easy to see why this is the number one driver both on Tour and at retail level. It works!
The moveable weighting, inverted cone technology and the 460 cc head produce an effective MOI exceeding 5800, resulting in tremendous forgiveness for long, straight shots on off-center hits.
The driver features the new TaylorMade RE*AX shaft and an all black clubhead.
Available in lofts of 8.5 °, 9.5 °, 10.5 °, 11.5 ° with proprietary TaylorMade shaft.
Featuring a bullet-shaped 460 cc club head, Inverted Cone Technology and a lower and deeper CG (Center of Gravity), the Burner’s 5800 MOI makes this driver an ideal choice for the long hitter. Retief Goosen recently added the Burner to his bag and Sergio Garcia just loves this club, using it at this year’s Masters.
Also of note is the new 50 gram RE*AX shaft that is 15-20 grams lighter and an inch longer than average, which allows for more swing speed, which increases ball speed, resulting in more distance. Even the grip was made thinner so that more weight goes to the head. The total club weight has been reduced to 299 grams from an average of 320 which, of course, promotes faster swing speed for added driving distance.
And, to top it all off, the aesthetics are eye-catching!
Available in lofts of 9.5 °, 10.5 °, 13 ° with a Fujikura shaft.
Cleveland 460cc HiBore XL
Following their initial introduction of the HiBore, the new XL has been engineered to reestablish itself as one of the premier drivers available.
The HiBore XL’s USP continues to be the alignment of the sweet Spot and C.O.R. This “Hot Spot “ produces optimal launch conditions over a larger area of the face, allowing for efficient energy transfer that maximizes ball-speed across the entire face.
It is a solid feeling driver that performs extremely well.
One suggestion: Try the HiBore XL 2 Wood – it really works well delivering more consistent accuracy and adequate distance. The reason; 16 degrees of loft and a one inch shorter shaft (44 vs. 45). It is especially useful on tight fairways and 200 yard par threes. And wouldn’t you rather hit more fairways than scramble from the rough?
Available in lofts of 8.5°,9.5°,10.5°11.5° and 16° (2 Wood) All Manufacturer’s shafts available.
Titleist 460cc 907 D2
It’s been a while since Titleist introduced new drivers. This year they have introduced two new drivers, the bullet shaped 907 D1 and the traditional pear shaped 907 D2.
The 460 cc 907 D2, as with most of the new drivers of 2007, features an increased MOI designed to provide distance with shot workability and control.
The advanced traditional geometry increases the overall inertia, but allows the player to dictate the shot shape and work the ball with a fade or draw if desired.
In addition, the tapered face insert is thinner at the top to promote high launch and lower spin for optimum launch conditions and maximum ball speed.
The D2’s low mass crown and hosel optimize the weight distribution and lower the CG (center of gravity) for solid feel and better energy transfer.
Aesthetically, its symmetric face profile with visually improved score lines and crown shape provides great looks in the playing position as does its gloss black paint finish with textured side skirt and “foggy mirror” polished sole. An elegant production!
Available in lofts of 8.5 °, 9.5 °, 10.5 ° Aldila, Graphite Design, Proprietary, UST shafts.
Titleist 460 cc 907 D1
The Titleist 907D1 is a bullet shaped 460 cc, high moment-of-inertia driver designed to provide long distance with outstanding forgiveness.
This maximum triangular geometry driver offers increased moment-of-inertia and a tapered thickness face insert that is thinner at the top to promote a high launch and lower spin for optimum launch conditions and maximum ball speed.
As with the D2, a gloss black paint finish with textured side skirt and a “foggy mirror” polished sole provide phenomenal cosmetics for this driver.
It is a solid feeling driver that performs admirably, one that Titlist aficionados will want in their arsenal, especially the higher handicapper.
Available in lofts of 8.5 °, 9.5 °, 10.5 ° with Aldila, Graphite Design and Proprietary shafts.
Callaway 460 cc FT-5
Callaway’s new line up of drivers for 2007 include the Ft-i “Chiclets-shaped driver, the Big Bertha 460 cc and the best of the three, the FT-5.
The FT-5, successor to the FT-3, is probably one of the best drivers on the market today. It is an extremely easy club to hit.
With Callaway’s revolutionary Fusion Technology, 50 grams of discretionary weight has been created by using a Carbon Fiber Body — creating the OptiFit Weighting System that produces three center of gravity configurations: Draw, Neutral and Fade, enabling golfers to choose a combination to best suit their individual game.
The FT-5 Tour Driver has a slightly open face for a look preferred by more accomplished players. The end result is exceptional distance, performance, accuracy and added confidence.
If you are one who prefers not to tinker with movable weights and knows what is needed to both accomplish and compliment your swing tendencies (draw, straight or fade), then the FT-5 would be a good option.
Available in 9 °, 10 °, 11 °, 13 ° with Aldila, Fujikura, Graphalloy, Graphite Design shafts.
There were, of course, other drivers that were introduced that also performed well and deserve being included in this article:
Adams Insight BUL Driver
BUL = Big, Ugly and Long – this well named driver performs exceptionally well.
Adams is fast becoming one of the most popular brands, especially on the Champions Tour. Their product line, most notably their hybrid sets, is among many retailer’s favorites.
This new driver is gaining popularity weekly.
By strategically shaping and weighting the club head, the design team at Adams Golf was able to increase the stability of the club for increased forgiveness while producing a CG location for optimal launch conditions.
Available in 8.5, 9.5°, 10.5°, 12.5° and HL.
The stock shaft offering is the Aldila Speedline 65-gram graphite shaft.
A Senior™ model driver is also available in lofts of 10.5°, 12.5° and 15°
Tour Edge 460cc Bazooka GeoMax
Tour Edge continues to produce equipment that performs superbly and at a decent price. Their Exotics CB 2 Hybrids, for example, are the “hottest” and best performing rescue clubs now on the market.
Their new Bazooka GeoMax driver is no different. Featuring to-the-limit dimensions, .974, the GeoMax offers an unprecedented level of control through a revolutionary geometric design.
To-the-limit dimensions and a fixed 20-gram tungsten rear sole weight reposition the GeoMax’s center of gravity deeper and lower in the head. This position dramatically increases the MOI of the GeoMax to 5,000 g/cm2.
Available in lofts of 9°, 10.5°, 12°, 14° and 16° with proprietary Grafalloy GeoMax shafts. The higher lofted drivers offer 1° to 2° closed faces.
KZG GF 460 Driver, incorporating Gravitational Force
The titanium GF 460, a slightly larger model than the KZG GF 4 driver, is designed for golfers whose swings are consistent and who seek optimal power for their games.
KZG’s (GF) Technology features two strategically-positioned weight portals and a selection of screws in seven different weights (1.5, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 grams).
KZG’s USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is that the GF 460’s swing weight, launch angle and draw/fade bias can be adjusted in a total of 128 ways to optimize any golfer’s launch conditions and unlike other variable-weight drivers, the GF 4’s Gravitational Force Technology weight portals are positioned deep inside the head, where changes in weight and center of gravity have the greatest effect.
This driver performed excellently and was one of the longer hitting drivers tested.
Available in lofts of 9°, 10.5°, 12° and 14°
Nicklaus Dual Point 460cc Driver
Designed by Clay Long, long time Nicklaus designer for companies such as Nickent and KZG to name a few, the 460 cc Dual Point is one of the industry’s “pleasant surprises,” per a noted golf magazine.
Their USP is that their center of gravity is in the center of the most flexible point of the face making the solid part of the driver, the hottest/sweetest part where the club feels the best and transfers the most energy to the club. The Dual Point supposedly achieves this perfection.
The drivers variable face thickness also helps the Dual Point Advantage due to an elliptical thick spot in the center of the face that flexes more and creates a larger hot spot on the face as well as increasing the COR (Coefficient of Restitution).
This is a very easy to hit driver that produces great feel and distance and is well priced.
Available in lofts of 8°, 9°, 10.5° and 12° Fujikura shafts are standard. Custom available
The Bob Burns “No Bananas” 460cc Forged Driver
For those golfers who perennially slice the ball, who are tired of trying and buying drivers, this is the driver you should give a shot, literally and figuratively.
“No Bananas” is the brand name and invention of a series of anti-slice clubs developed by PGA Master Professional Bob Burns. Burns, who for many years has been found on several best-instructors-in-America lists throughout the US, owns the Bob Burns Custom Clubs & Golf Learning Center in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Made of forged Beta Titanium, this driver features a 7 degree closed face (2 degrees more than their 430cc Driver), and a half-inch offset. Two adjustable weights are located in the heel and toe to customize the desired amount of draw or fade spin and enhance flight trajectory to achieve maximum distance and carry.
The only negative emanating from our group of testers about the “No Bananas” driver, specifically, is that when the slicer on a rare occasion does make his or her rare good swing – a swing that is on or close to being on plane – a dead-pull is a distinct possibility.
This happens simply because of the way the No Bananas is constructed – its slice-fighting approach would be a pull-producing approach for golfers who don’t slice. But if you do slice … well, as the classic expression goes “yes, we have “No Bananas.”
The “No Bananas” driver accomplishes its anti-slice mission by combining a half-inch of offset with a face angle that is between 5 and 7-degrees closed, depending on which model chosen, with extra weight in the toe, thereby, helping even further to help produce a closed face at impact for good measure. FYI, Vijay’s driver is the exact opposite – 5-degrees open!
Available in lofts of 9°, 10.5° and 12° Numerous shaft options are available.
Nickent 460cc 4DX D-Spec Driver
Another one of the rising stars in the equipment domain. Best known for its rescue, irons and fairway woods, Nickent, with the addition of John Hoeflich as a designer, is making a name for itself in drivers.
Their latest driver is the 4DX D-Spec driver. As it is with all the newest drivers, MOI and CG are the buzz words.
The raw head of this 460 CC driver weighs 180 grams. This is one of the lightest of any raw 460 CC driver heads on the market. This helps increase the swing speed of the driver significantly and allows for maximum distance.
The D-Spec‘s loft, lie, CG (center of gravity), MOI (moment of inertia) and weight have all been configured to make the ball have the perfect draw.
This driver is specifically engineered for those players who prefer a flatter trajectory and a more workable ball flight. Rather than using movable weight technology, Nickent opted for a system utilizing Tungsten-Polymer XW Inserts, an innovation that allows for 16 grams of weight to be adjusted in 2-gram increments by the manufacturer for directional control and swing weight purposes and also allows for a classic design with a very high MOI and perimeter heel/toe weighting, creating a very large sweet spot on the face.
A 0.4 mm super thin titanium crown makes this one of the thinnest crowns in any driver. The ball explodes off the face of the driver.
Available in lofts of 9 °, 10.5 °, 12 °, 14 ° with UST as the primary shaft provider.
A Tour version is available with Tour Spec Lofts of 8°, 9°, 10.5°
The age old question: Is one driver better than the other? This is really a fallacy. The question should be simply – How do I get more distance and accuracy from a driver?
Answer: You need to find the right driver for YOU! The only way to accomplish this is to find a shop near you that offers a wide selection of models and demo a few. Once you narrow down your choices (movable weights, closed face, preset shot bias, deep or shallow face, composite or titanium etc.),then get fitted on a launch monitor.
Remember, as important as the clubhead is to maximizing distance and accuracy, playing with a correctly fit shaft is equally important.
Sit vis vobiscum – May the Driving Force be with you
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his current book, “How to Build Business Relationships Through Golf” is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list.