ClubTest 2006

GOLF Magazine ClubTest 2006
Moshe Katvan
Few experiences rival the euphoria of unwrapping a shiny new golf club. (It's way better than a shiny new pair of socks.) We want to make sure your next new club is the absolute right one for you. So we commissioned 40 ClubTesters to poke and prod the latest sticks under all playing conditions--on the golf course, at the driving range, in good weather and bad (including wind and rain)--at the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Fla.

Our testers struck 60,000 balls over two weeks, and the process cost more that $150,000. We invited every major equipment manufacturer to participate (Cobra and Titleist declined).

The journey from opening boxes of clubs to the final ClubTest results produced some surprising winners--and losers. So use this guide to learn about what makes sense for you. If some of these sticks make your short list, demo them on the range and the course before you buy. No matter what we write, nothing replaces hands-on experience. It's also a good idea to get a custom-fitting once you've found your dream set.

Drivers | Game-Improvement Irons | Better-Player Irons | Fairway Woods | Hybrids

HOW WE DO CLUBTEST
Our testers do the work, you reap the benefits!

We received thousands of applications at GOLF.com for 40 cherished ClubTest spots. GOLF Magazine staffers reviewed each form, searching for players who demonstrated an understanding and appreciation of equipment as well as an inquisitive nature. We trimmed the field and required finalists to provide swing videos.

Ultimately, we picked 40 readers for ClubTest. Their handicaps range from 0 to 20 — one-third are single-digit handicaps, two-thirds are double-digits. Those selected fall evenly into three age brackets — 20 to 39 years old, 40 to 49 and 50 or older.

Here's a typical ClubTest day at Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando:

  • RANGE RATS Testers spend a full day with the test set. They hit balls on the range from sunrise to 11:30 a.m., using clubs with the appropriate shaft flex for their swing speed and ability. They fill out questionnaires on each model and respond to queries on the club's look, feel, accuracy/forgiveness, playability and distance. Our staffers read the surveys and return them to testers for further analysis.

  • LUNCH BREAK Testers review surveys.

  • TEE TIME Our testers evaluate clubs on the course in playing conditions. and provide more feedback.

  • POST-ROUND Testers vote on look, feel, accuracy/forgiveness, playability and distance using a 100-point scale. Our star system rewards the top picks. All categories carry the same weight when determining our "Testers' Top Picks."
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