These drivers will Improve your Distance Game Substantially!
What to look for in 2011
Drivers continue to be the most discussed, most macho piece of golf equipment amongst golfers and club designers. One would assume that golf is all about distance, but as we know, distance and distance control are the real issues which can be solved technologically and by consistent instruction from your golf pro.
The latter is crucial and the equipment is a close second. With this in mind, here are some of the latest and most distance- achieving drivers and technological drivers available in 2011.
Titleist 910D2 and 910D3 Drivers
These two drivers are selling extremely well and probably are the second most popular drivers, after TaylorMade’s new white drivers.
The 910 D2 is a high performance, 460cc, pear-shaped driver that produces mid/high launch with medium/low spin, while the 910 D3 is a high performance, 445cc, classic pear-shaped driver that produces mid launch with medium/low spin.
While it took Titleist a while to embrace moveable and adjustable technology, they have achieved excellence in this realm. Tour van experience is now available to golfers to get properly fitted for a driver.
Now you can set loft and lie angle independently of one another, thanks to the versatile SureFit Tour (SFT) hosel with patented “dual angle” technology. Its two-axis system enables you to dial- in proper launch, spin and direction. Some other adjustable drivers provide excellent directional correction (right or left) through face-angle adjustment, but seem to have less effect on launch angle (trajectory) optimization.
There are 16 loft/lie combinations using the SFT hosel. Titleist’s robotic testing shows that differences in loft (1.5 degrees more loft than standard to 0.75 degrees less loft) result in an 825 rpm change in backspin and a 1.5-degree variation in launch angle. Tweaking lie angle (between 1.5 degrees upright to 0.75 degrees flat) produces six yards of dispersion change. These are serious numbers when you’re trying to optimize ball flight.
That’s not all. The “variable” face insert has a larger maximum ball-speed area than the corresponding 909 driver (15% bigger in 910 D2; 10% bigger in 910 D3). In addition, several factors contribute to enhanced stability, including a 17 percent thinner crown (lowers the club’s center of gravity); a more sloped rear crown profile (moves CG lower and deeper); and a new swing weight screw location (more rearward than in prior models).
The 910 D2 is available in 9.5°, 10.5° and 11.5° with a choice of Aldila Rip 60, Project X Tour Issue X-7C3 and Mitsubishi (four models) shafts.
The 910 D3 is available in 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° with a choice of Aldila Rip 60, Project X Tour Issue X-7C3 and Mitsubishi (two models) shafts.
MSRP: $399.00 for each model www.titleist.com
Callaway Diablo Octane
Callaway’s Diablo Octane Drivers introduce another innovative breakthrough in the form of a new material called Forged CompositeÄ -the lightest, strongest, most precise material the Company has ever used. If you are all about distance, this is the driver for you!
Callaway claims it is worth an average distance of 8 extra yards due to its lighter clubhead that retains an extremely high MOI. That number is the average total distance (at a 95 percent confidence level), versus a 2010 Callaway player testing against the Diablo Edge Driver (titanium-based).
Forged Composite, the not so secret sauce, came about as a result of a unique partnership between the R&D teams of Callaway and exotic car maker Lamborghini. It is one-third the density of titanium, yet features a greater load carrying capacity per unit mass in bending.
This purportedly, has allowed Callaway engineers to develop an advanced clubhead with a greater transfer of power at impact and more accurate trajectories versus its all-titanium counterparts.
Diablo Octane Tour models feature a slightly smaller head size than standard models, a full hosel, and the more open look at address preferred by skilled players. Diablo Octane Drivers come with a Project X™ Graphite Shaft that is 46 inches in the standard model and 45.5 inches in the Tour model.
In addition to the drivers, Callaway is releasing matching Diablo fairway woods.
Available in 9.5º, 10.5º, 11.5º, and 13.5HTº
Callaway RAZR Hawk Tour Driver
If you like to draw the ball around a corner or fade it into the short grass, the company now offers the RAZR Hawk and RAZR Hawk Tour drivers. Like the Diablo Octane, the RAZR Hawk and RAZR Hawk Tour are made with Forged Composite, a super-lightweight material Callaway developed in conjunction with Lamborghini.
Our testing group found both the RAZR Hawk and the RAZR Hawk Tour driver to be extremely responsive, and to top it all, they all gained 10 -20 yards! Needless to say, they were thrilled. Forged Composite was used in the crown of the Diablo Octane, but it’s used to make the crown and body of the RAZR Hawk drivers, although none of the material is visible at address.
Some of the saved weight has been redistributed to a nickel weight in the rear of the club. This lowers the club’s center of gravity and should help produce higher-flying drives. In the Draw version, the weight is slightly more to the toe side of the head.
Even with that weight, the RAZR Hawk drivers are still light enough for Callaway to pair them with 46-inch shafts, which should help golfers generate faster swings. Couple that with improved aerodynamics (the company says drag has been reduced by 43% compared to last season’s FT-9), and Callaway says that the 460cc RAZK Hawk driver is more than 6 yards longer off the tee than the FT-9.
As with the FT-9 Tour, the RAZR Hawk Tour has a slightly smaller head (445cc), a slightly-higher CG and comes standard with a 45.5-inch shaft.
Both RAZR Hawk Drivers have the RAZR Weighting System; Draw and Neutral configurations allows golfers to choose the model that works best with their ball flight.
The RAZR Hawk Driver is equipped with a Aldila RIP Graphite Shaft featuring optimized torque and flex characteristics for better tip stability with great predictability, smooth feel and excellent control.
Both the standard and Tour versions of the RAZR Hawk have a cast titanium cup face that is chemically milled to be slightly thicker in the center and thinner near the edges to help golfers maintain ball speed on off-center hits. Along the bottom of both drivers, Callaway has also placed an aluminum skid plate for added durability.
In addition to the drivers, Callaway is releasing matching RAZR Hawk fairway woods. Unlike the drivers, the fairway woods are made with a forged Carbon Composite crown, but a stainless steel body and face.
Callaway’s RAZR Hawk driver will be available in 9.5°, 10.5°, 11.5° and 13° versions, while the RAZR Hawk Tour will be available in 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5° models.
Both models $399.00 www.callawaygolf.com
Nike SQ MACHSPEED Black Drivers
The Nike SQ MACHSPEED Black Drivers come in two iterations: a 460cc round and a 460cc square head. Both driver models feature a sleek black profile to ensure that the air moves quickly and cleanly over the club head with each swing. Choose round for more workability, square for more forgiveness.
Through optimal aerodynamics (360° air flow across the drivers), the Nike SQ MACHSPEED Black generates faster club head speed by reducing drag. A deeper face allows for the delivery of greater ball speed across the face resulting in greater distance on off center hits. The face of the club head is tall and tapers quickly, enabling more forgiveness.
Also, differentiating from its predecessor, the SQ MACHSPEED, it has improved the performance of ball flight. The SQ MACHSPEED Black produces a lower ball flight and lower spin rates than the original SQ MACHSPEED, thus helping to create longer drives.
Available in round and square-shape, the SQ MACHSPEED Black Driver offers Nike’s STR8-FIT technology, which delivers eight face angle options – two degrees open and two degrees closed. The square version promotes forgiveness and stability. The round version is for golfers who desire more workability and shot shaping. Both drivers come with Mitsubishi Rayon lightweight Fubuki shafts which allow for maximum speed.
Nike VR Pro Driver
It’s a known fact that no one, not even the pros, hits every tee shot in the center of the face. When better players miss, they tend to hit the ball low and toward the heel. Necessity is the mother of invention, so last year Nike released the Victory Red driver with a channel that ran along the bottom of the club, just behind the face, that was designed to make those misses more playable.
The next generation of that club has just been released, the Nike Victory Red Pro, and the technology has been taken a step further. Instead of running only behind the face, Nike’s Compression Channel now goes around the entire sole of the club.
According to Nike’s research, the new VR Pro driver has a 2% higher Coefficient of Restitution (COR) across the face than its predecessor, which translates to 4-6 more yards off the tee.
At address the club has a classic teardrop shape, but Nike’s STR8-Fit system allows golfers to set the head in 32 different positions ranging from 2° open at address to 2° closed. Nike says the club has up to 45 yards of left-to-right adjustability. The STR8-Fit system also lets players adjust loft and lie angle.
According to Tom Stites, the club’s designer, this is still a club that is primarily going to help players with an inside-to-outside swing path because their misses tend to be in the heel. But he added that the technology can also help players who have an outside-to-inside swing.
The Nike VR Pro driver is available in lofts ranging from 8.5° to 11.5°. It will come standard with a Project X graphite shaft. Additional shaft options will be available through custom fitting and ordering.
MSRP: $399.00 , www.nikegolf.com
Boccieri Golf’s DFT Heavy Driver
If you liked Steve Boccieri’s Heavy Putters, this new driver is quickly going to find a place in your bag. This driver uses the same counterweight technology that is found in Boccieri’s Heavy Putters. An extra 50 grams of weight is positioned in the butt of the shaft, raising the club’s balance point and, according to Boccieri, promotes better distance control and tighter shot dispersion.
The driver features a 460cc titanium head and incorporates revolutionary “Dimple Face Technology”. The Heavy Driver was developed to maximize the coefficient of restitution (COR) without decreasing durability. This allows better weight distribution throughout the head, which has slightly more mass than traditional offerings to maximize distance.
The driver is available in 9 and 10 degree options with a variety of shaft flexes.
MSRP $399 www.boccierigolf.com
Tour Edge EXOTICS XCG-4
The XCG-4’s new sleek design and heavily-radiused sole allow for a more streamlined, fluid head shape that minimizes drag as the driver cuts through the air. Powered by the game’s most advanced lightweight shafts, the XCG-4 is a true distance weapon off the tee.
The heart of the XCG-4 is an advanced head design that features a titanium face and sole, an amorphous carbon crown, two amorphous carbon sole inserts, and two tungsten sole weights.
The ultra light weight carbon frees up 27 grams of weight that is strategically positioned in the lower rear of the club head to improve MOI by more than 15% over previous versions.
The new design increases the XCG-4’s rebound to a 243 characteristic of time (ct) – up from 232ct in the previous driver model, the XCG-3. With just one swing of the XCG-4, you’ll feel and see the difference.
The XCG-4 is available in 276- gram super-ultra-light and 310-gram ultra-light editions. Lofts of 9°,10.5° and 12°, plus either a Fujikura Motore or Graphite Design Tour AD shaft with varying gram weights is available as are various size grips.
MSRP: $ 329.00 www.exoticsgolf.com
Tiger Shark Golf’s PowerPod II Driver
The Jim Flood PowerPod II driver has been two years in the making. Its sole mission was to be the world’s first ever slice proof driver.
As a matter of interest, Flood, who has developed over 50 golf-related products in the past 35 years that have revolutionized the game of golf, is credited with inventing the graphite shaft and founded industry giants Aldila Inc. and Odyssey Golf.
The driver is billed as a “Slice-Proof”. This is the second iteration of the driver and offers a SP-700 Titanium design with a patent-pending shape. Tiger Shark claims it’s the world’s first true oversized slice-proof driver because of how it has moved weight to the heel. Point, shoot and it will go left. The driver certainly eliminates the fear of slicing for which it was designed for originally.
Right-to-left ball flight is the norm; lower-than-normal trajectory and a strong roll-out for many of our testers. Its large, closed face inspires confidence that you won’t slice it and the subtle “TS” marking on the crown is a useful and effective alignment aid.
Its patent-pending shape and 45-degree shaft angle definitely reduce spin and shift weight away from the toe, making it virtually impossible to slice the ball. The face geometry expands the sweet spot above and below the center of the face, which leads to a higher MOI, increased ball speed and more distance.
Our testers generally liked the driver, but its looks drew mixed reviews. The head shaped did however, perturb a few of the testers. They found that the heavier head is easy to sense during the swing and that center hits provided positive feedback.
Available in three lofts, 9°, 10.5° and 12°, in right-hand only. Has a 454cc clubhead and is based on the original Power Pod designs.
MSRP: $299 www. tigersharkgolf.com
TaylorMade Burner SuperFast 2.0 – TaylorMade’s Lightest Driver Ever
The Superfast has been the choice of many TaylorMade players these past two years and has been TaylorMade’s best selling driver in history.
Last year, SuperFast technology was improved to make the Burner SuperFast driver lighter, longer, and faster than any previous generation Burner. It delivered on its promise of improved aerodynamics and massive distance and by the end of 2010, achieved remarkable success on Tour and in the marketplace. More than 50 professionals put the Burner SuperFast in play on the PGA Tour alone, and the driver was used in 14 victories worldwide, most notably the FedEx Cup TOUR Championship.
The new version is, of course, white but has many new attributes:
The next-generation Burner SuperFast 2.0 and Burner SuperFast 2.0 TP, which combine SuperFast technology with an ultra-large face size and low-drag aerodynamics to promote faster swing speed, a higher launch angle and lower spin-rate, equals a dramatic boost in distance. The two best distance-producing technologies in years are combined in this high-MOI driver, helping to make Burner SuperFast 2.0 five yards longer than the original Burner SuperFast.
The Burner SuperFast 2.0 driver is newly shaped to deliver the benefit of TMAG’s Dual Crown Technology — designed to create a lower CG (center of gravity) to promote a higher launch angle and lower spin-rate, the launch conditions that promote greater distance — but with a more conventional head shape. In addition, the Burner 2.0 incorporates SuperFast Technology, including a longer shaft, lighter weight and more usable face area.
Like the R11 driver, the first thing you’ll notice about the SuperFast 2.0 is its white crown. By designing a driver with a black face and a white, matte-finished crown, TaylorMade is trying to create the most contrast possible in order to help golfers align the club more easily. The white crown also eliminates hot spots and glare that are often created with glossy-topped clubs.
The Burner SuperFast 2.0 driver boasts one of the largest faces in golf at an expansive 4,550 square millimeters, and the deepest face/largest address footprint combination. The clubhead’s Ultra-Thin Wall (UTW) construction combined with a more triangular address shape and profile shape allowed TaylorMade to stretch the geometry to improve performance and playability. The larger face is important in light of the fact that the longer club-length makes it more challenging for the average player to make square contact consistently; the larger face provides more area with which to strike the ball.
A vital upgrade to the Burner SuperFast is the new Winn Lite grip that weighs just 25 grams, yet it sacrifices nothing in terms of feel and traction. It’s a critical component in making this club, at 279 grams, the lightest driver TaylorMade ever produced.
The driver measures 46.5″, a length, that in concert with the lighter grip and improved aerodynamics, promotes five more yards than the Burner SuperFast.
Also critical to the Burner SuperFast 2.0 driver’s performance is its Matrix Ozik XCon 4.8 shaft, which is both ultra-light and tip-soft, helping the golfer generate more ball speed, a higher launch angle and more spin to promote more distance.
The Burner SuperFast 2.0 driver is available in three lofts – 9.5°, 10.5°, HT (12.5°) – and four shaft flexes – L, M, R, S. The Burner SuperFast 2.0 TP is available in three lofts – 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° –and three shaft flexes – X, S, R.
MSRP: $299 for the Burner SuperFast 2.0 and $399 for the Burner SuperFast 2.0 TP.
TaylorMade Ghost Driver aka the R 11
After the success of the r7 and R9 drivers, the release of TaylorMade’s third generation R11 adjustable driver was bound to cause a buzz in the equipment world. It has already recorded 7 wins since introduction!
The R11, like the R7 and R9 before it, features adjustable weighting. New to the R11 is a technology called ASP, or Adjustable Sole Plate.
In the r7 and R9, an aluminum sleeve attached to the shaft, screwed into the head in a variety of face angles. Not anymore. Now the R11’s sleeve has eight settings to increase or decrease the effective loft by as much as one degree.
In previous models, TaylorMade’s torque wrench was used to adjust the face angle, which automatically changed the club’s loft as well. In the R11, loft and face angle are adjusted independently.
Face angle is controlled by an adjustable aluminum sole plate. By moving the red triangular plate into the closed, neutral or open position, you can adjust the look at address. The face settings range from 4 degrees open to 4 degrees closed.
Like the r7 and R9 drivers, the R11 features weight ports—one in the heel and one in the toe—that allow for a draw or fade bias. The R11 comes with a10-gram screw and a 1-gram screw. Positioning the 10-gram weight in the heel promotes a draw, while putting it in the toe encourages a fade. According to TaylorMade, the moveable weights provide up to 25 yards of right-and-left adjustability.
This really is a big deal to find the right driver for yourself. Why? Because it allows you to change the face angle of the R11 (from two degrees closed to two degrees open) without changing the loft. In the past, face angle adjustments also affected the loft. No longer, thanks to a changeable protrusion or “bumper” in the sole. With the bumper in a raised position, the face is closed. With the bumper lowered, the face is open.
Both the R11 and R11 TP are available in 9° and 10.5°, left-handed and right-handed. The stock shaft on the R11 is the 60-gram Fujikura Blur.
The size of the R11 head is 440 CCs, smaller than the 460-CC SuperFast 2.0. Length of the R11 is 45.75 inches.
MSRP: $399 for the R11 driver, $499 for the R11 TP (same head, more expensive shaft).
Adams Golf Speedline 9064LS with DFS Driver
This past February, Adams Golf scored a rare triple win on the three major U.S. tours. Winners Aaron Baddeley, Bernhard Langer and Yani Tseng all used the company’s Speedline drivers and Idea irons.
This is a very responsive driver and was designed for players looking for lower spin. It is aesthetically the most pleasing looking driver ever from Adams and a favorite on the Champions Tour.
Adams Golf’s latest adjustable driver allows you to tweak face angle (1 degree closed or open), lie angle (1 degree upright), loft (1 degree stronger to 1 degree weaker) and club length.
The 9064LS with DFS (“distance fitting system”) comes standard at 45.5″. You can easily alter length to 45″ or 46″ by using the handy tool kit (removable spacers, sleeves and weight inserts) to affect ball flight.
The fourth generation head has a deeper clubface than Speedline 9032LS, a higher MOI, produces 15 percent less spin, and creates lower drag for increased head speed.
A standard 9064LS driver ($379 with $100 gift card at participating retailers) comes without the adjustability features.
MSRP: $379.00 Graphite
Adams Golf Speedline F11 Driver
With Adam’s addition of Velocity Slot Technology, Adams can give drivers with larger footprints better forgive¬ness attributes as well as the ability to generate faster clubhead speed making this the big story behind the new Speedline F11. Simply put, Velocity Slot Technology reduces drag while increasing speed.
This new technology comes in the form of three visible channels precisely located on the sole and crown to keep airflow attached to the clubhead longer than ever before. Based on Adams Golf’s findings, the result is 35 percent less drag on swings, resulting in six more yards of carry on average.
While the addition of those slots is the biggest technology advance in this latest iteration of Speedline, it is by no means the only one. Adams also moved the center of gravity lower and deeper to produce an even higher launch angle with a lower spin rate. It also expanded the hitting area as it enhanced the moment of inertia.
The driver sets up well at address and the feel and responsiveness is excellent. The F11 is the longest driver yet from Adams Golf.
The F11 has a choice of high-performance shafts: the high-launch Aldila Voo¬doo VS or the mid-launch Matrix Ozik XCON. A women’s version comes standard with lightweight Grafalloy graphite and is priced at $249.99.
Lofts range from 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12.5° in right-handed models, and 9.5° and 10.5° for lefties. A draw bias version is offered in 9.5° and 10.5°, right-handed only, while the women’s model is available in 12.5° and HL (High Launch) for righties, and 12.5° for southpaws.
MSRP: $299.99 www.adamsgolf.com
Wilson’s DXi Driver
The USP (Unique Selling Proposition) – Loft-specific mass dispersion controls trajectory, while two tungsten-rubber weight pad inserts in the rear of the clubhead fine-tune CG (center of gravity) location.
Aesthetically, this driver has a big, simple, clean clubhead with a shallow face which provides a wide hitting area and has a large sweet spot area allowing the golfer to get the ball in play. The face insert has five zones (or thicknesses) to bolster output on off-center hits. Wilson’s Smooth driver, by comparison, had a three-zone variable face.
Utilizing two tungsten-rubber inserts on the sole to manipulate the center of gravity, Wilson is able to fit the same model driver to low and high handicappers.
Both the 8° and 9° models have a 5-gram weight low to maximize vertical gear effect for lower spinning shots, while the 10.5° and 12°degree drivers have 7.5- and 10-gram weight low and back to maximize dynamic loft.
The driver plays surprisingly long and offers the thinnest face of any Wilson driver to date.
MSRP $299 (with graphite shaft) www.wilson.com
This is a great game improvement driver!
Ping drivers are known to promote faster ball speed across the clubface. To that end, the K15 boasts a large face profile and high moment of inertia (MOI). K15’s bread and butter, though, is to help golfers rotate the clubface to a more square impact position and, subsequently, hit straighter shots. The head tries to “square up” dynamically (as you swing) due in part to a meaty, heel-side external pad along the sole.
The elongated head design of the K15 combines with an external weight pad to position the CG for higher launching and longer carry drives. It’s Straight Flight Technology promotes natural club head rotation by concentrating approximately 10% of the head mass towards the heel.
The K15 has exceptional feel and set-up with good sound off the club face.
PING has a sister driver to the K15 – the G15. The Ping G15 Driver is engineered for golfers seeking a maximum forgiveness driver that delivers distance and accuracy. Its elongated 460 CC titanium head features an external sole weight which positions the center of gravity for a higher trajectory and reduced spin. A larger face is designed to optimize ball speed and provide consistency across the entire hitting surface.
MSRP: $299.00 for each driver www.pinggolf.com
Bridgestone E6 Balls
In 2008, Bridgestone fully launched its comprehensive, nationwide ball-fitting campaign. Since that time, according to Golf Datatech, Bridgestone Golf has experienced an increase of more than 50% in on-course and off-course (combined) golf ball dollar share – representing greater overall category-share growth than any other golf ball manufacturer during that period. Bridgestone currently boasts an impressive 11.5% combined dollar share in the on/off category. Much of the share gains can be attributed to an increase in distribution, particularly at green-grass retailers.
We tested the new e6 ball with all the drivers mentioned above.
Our group of testers found that the e6 provides a straighter, longer flight and reduces hook and slice spin. The feel and the sound of the e6 was excellent.
The e6 employs a newly enhanced Anti-Side Spin Inner Layer that kills excess spin. The Surlyn cover provides a soft feel and added greenside control, and the enhanced low compression design provides a smooth roll off the putter. It also features Bridgestone’s Seamless Cover Technology for pinpoint accuracy and consistency.
MSRP: $27.00 (street price) www.bridgestonegolf.com
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”, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf” which is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s bestseller list. His latest book,” The Right Mind for Golf”, is to be released in May, 2011.