Edited by Michael Chwasky
Every year about this time, the equipment industry unleashes a new crop of instruments designed to hit the ball farther, higher and straighter than ever before. A lofty claim, no doubt, but this year it's true. Many of the technologies you'll read about here have been in development for years or even decades.
In the driver category, technologies like TaylorMade's Twist Face, which makes its M3 and M4 drivers produce straighter shots on mis-hits, Callaway's combination of Jailbreak and VFT in the Rogue models, which was proven to boost ball speed across the face, and Ping's G400 Max, with the deepest CG the company has ever produced, are amazing products that turn heads and turn up the heat. In addition, Cobra's F8, Cleveland's Launcher HB, and XXIO's X models all offer something you've probably not seen before in a driver design.
We've organized the models covered in this year's ClubTest into three basic groups: Game Improvement, Better Player and Max Game Improvement. For reference purposes, Better Player models tend to be less forgiving, less distance-oriented and more about feel and control. Game Improvement sticks generally provide a balanced mixture of distance, forgiveness and playability, while Max Game Improvement clubs are designed to be easy to hit, very long and exceptionally forgiving. A word of caution: Because manufacturers make an effort to provide something for everyone, with many models across multiple categories, none of the designations should be taken too stringently. Hey, if a given club works, who's to say it's not for you?