Equipment

ClubTest 2006: Drivers

Photo: Fred Vuich
Callaway Fusion FT-3
$500, graphite; callawaygolf.com

WE TESTED: 9°, 10°, 11° with Fusion NVS from Aldila graphite shaft

THE COMPANY LINE "An incredible 44 grams of discretionary weight is repositioned to increase head stability for longer drives."

OUR TESTERS SAID
Pros
  • "Big Bertha lovers who want the latest will benefit from this high-tech but comfortable driver."—Kirk Fischer (handicap 7)
  • "The carbon-titanium combo provided superb distance."—Anthony Spikes (1)
  • "I gained 10 to 15 yards, even in rain."—C.J. Bush (19)
  • The draw bias worked as an anti-slice club."—Ken Stauffer (14)
  • "Artistic results no matter my mis-hit."—Roger Liau (17)
  • "Sound and feel were upgraded over the previous Fusion. And, FT-3 forgave even ugly toe hits."—Jim Esther (20)
  • Cons
  • "Impact is deceiving, a muffled click, then the ball explodes off the face."—Dave Lucarelli (15)
  • "Looks like a UFO, but sounds like a Louisville Slugger."—Chad Johnson (8)
  • Cleveland Launcher Ti460
    $390, graphite; clevelandgolf.com

    WE TESTED 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° with Launcher Silver graphite shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE "Fifteen percent of the crown's weight is removed and redistributed around the club's perimeter for a lower center of gravity and higher launch angle."

    OUR TESTERS SAID
    Pros
  • "No distractions to hinder aim."—Jim Esther (handicap 20)
  • "Rock-solid at impact, and the ball stayed in play even on mis-hits."—Victor DeMarco (12)
  • "It's silly long."—C.J. Bush (19)
  • "Plenty of room to find a place to cream it. Even when you slip up, you get a trajectory that returns the ball to center with few lost yards."—Stacey Fitts (17)
  • "Launcher is all about forgiveness."—Jim Hurley (9)
  • "I could hit it long with control."—Rich Bernstein (15)
  • "Way better than my current driver in balance, feel, flight and distance. The penetrating flight allowed 10 to 15 extra yards on the roll."—Ken Stauffer (14)
  • Cons
  • "It's great if you need slice correction. Otherwise, the closed face made it scary to hit."—Jeff Bones (10)
  • MacGregor MacTec NVG2
    $349 to $499, graphite; macgregorgolf.com

    WE TESTED NVG2 Tour in 9°, NVG2 in 10.5° with Fujikura Quadra Action graphite shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE "Our Cup Face 360° technology makes the entire face a sweet spot because the plasma welding is completely off the face."

    OUR TESTERS SAID
    Pros
  • "The sound is improved; it's toned down in the regular NVG2 versus last year's model."—Stacey Fitts (handicap 17)
  • "A big difference between the NVG2 Tour's dense 'crack' and the hollow, metallic standard NVG2."—Kirk Fischer (7)
  • "The Tour model is free of draw bias and much easier to fade than the regular head."—Doug Lair (10)
  • "No difference in forgiveness. Both give ample absolution."—Hoai Hoang (8)
  • "The NVG2 Tour's strength was forgiveness. Most shots made the effort to find the fairway."—Chad Johnson (8)
  • "Pleasantly surprised by how far misses went."—Dave Lucarelli (15)
  • Cons
  • "The sound detracts from, but doesn't ruin, the overall experience."—Michael Jo (14)
  • "Given its spaceship look, I expected it to fly farther."—C.J. Bush (19)
  • "Large plain head could use an alignment aid on the crown."—Don Skeahan (20)
  • Nike SasQuatch
    $359, graphite; nikegolf.com

    WE TESTED 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, 13°, 16° with Diamana by Mitsubishi Rayon graphite shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE "The club's geometry pulls the center of gravity deeper and lower to achieve a larger sweet zone and higher launch with lower spin for max distance."

    OUR TESTERS SAID
    Pros
  • "Anything hit near the center of the face flew straight."—Jim Hurley (handicap 9)
  • "It even seemed to fight my hook."—Jeff Bones (10)
  • "It hits it higher than normal. At 10.5 degrees, I thought I experienced a 20 percent increase in height."—Gary Wilson (13)
  • "A hot sweet spot produced good yardage."—Michael Jo (14)
  • "The 13-degree powers the ball on a rising trajectory that goes and goes."—Stacey Fitts (17)
  • Cons
  • "Saturn's rings on the crown are distracting at address."—Jim Perzan (9)
  • "There's a growth on top and yellow fungus on bottom but setup is a snap."—Rich Sullivan (12)
  • "Good stability at impact but I still had the feeling I was swinging a waffle iron."—Hoai Hoang (8)
  • Srixon W-506
    $425, graphite; srixon.com

    WE TESTED 9.5° and 10.5° with SV-3004 graphite shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE "The face, sole and back have varying thickness so the entire head deforms at impact. The ball stays on the face longer, to optimize launch conditions- high launch angle with low spin."

    OUR TESTERS SAID
    Pros
  • "The club had impressive get-up-and-go."—Lynn Altadonna (handicap 15)
  • "Shots sprang off the face."—Jim Perzan (9)
  • "Straight is its forte."—Lee Neisler (2)
  • "A slice-correcting machine."—Doug Lair (10)
  • "It retained workability virtually obsolete in 460 cc drivers."—Hoai Hoang (8)
  • "She's a beauty-simple alignment aid and jet-black finish make it a minimalist's club."—Jim Hurley (9)
  • Cons
  • "A dull feel, as if someone left the head cover on."—Roger Liau (17)
  • "Like a ghost. It's a wisp of sensation."—Chad Johnson (8)
  • "A struggle to control." —C.J. Bush (19)

    TourEdge Exotics
    $399, graphite; touredge.com

    WE TESTED 9°, 10.5° with Aldila NV-65, Fujikura High Launch 55 and Graphite Design graphite shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE "An ultralight, 15-gram crown allows more weight to be placed in the sole for remarkable forgiveness and a perfect launch angle."

    OUR TESTERS SAID
    Pros
  • "Exotics is capable of control plus serious distance."—Lee Neisler (handicap 2)
  • "A ball masher with workability as simple as 'point and shoot.'"—Jim Perzan (9)
  • "With the NV shaft, I got a penetrating draw and tons of roll. The High Launch produced a high, gentle draw and more carry."—Stacey Fitts (17)
  • "Forgiveness and consistent ball flight regardless of mis-hit."—Lynn Altadonna (15)
  • "Shots flew off the face very hot."—Victor DeMarco (12)
  • "Note to Tour Edge: Welcome to the big leagues."—Kirk Fischer (7)
  • Cons
  • "Visually speaking, it doesn't stand out from the crowd. Will anyone notice it?"—Kevin DiNapoli (19)
  • TaylorMade r7 425
    $500, graphite; taylormadegolf.com

    WE TESTED 9.5°, 10.5° with Fujikura RE-AX graphite shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE "It has 28 grams of moveable weight [four more than original r7]. 'Launch Control' ports are spaced more widely apart to promote a wider change in trajectory and more forgiveness."

    OUR TESTERS SAID
    Pros
  • "It's got a little bling with the yellow trim and what a sensation. Badda-bing!"—Chad Johnson (handicap 8)
  • "Improved impact feel over the original. And feel won't suffer when you shift screws around."—Lee Neisler (2)
  • "The larger head was easy to square, felt stable through impact and wouldn't twist."—Kevin DiNapoli (19)
  • "The r7 425 is an improvement in forgiveness from the first generation r7."—Roger Liau (17)
  • "Swing flaws are eliminated by proper weight adjustment."—Jim Hurley (9)
  • "Ball flight can be lowered to lessen the effect of wind or heightened for optimum distance."—Jim Perzan (9)
  • "Mis-hits were great, which is scary. This works hard so you don't have to."—C.J. Bush (19)
  • "Even with a little maneuverability, the r7 never lets the wild cat out of the bag."—Doug Lair (10)
  • Cons
  • "Its minor, but all drives sound the same. I want my misses to sound worse than my center hits."—Rich Sullivan (12)
  • Ping G5
    $350, graphite; pinggolf.com

    WE TESTED 9°, 10.5° and 12° with TFC 100D graphite shaft

    THE COMPANY LINE "We moved 8 grams from the crown and face to the sole. The lower center of gravity means lower spin rates and greater distance. Face geometry ensures high ball speed for max distance."

    OUR TESTERS SAID
    Pros
  • "On looks alone, you'd want this one in your bag.sleek, black, with gentle curves and well-proportioned head.—Gary Wilson (handicap 13)
  • "The half-moon gives a nice visual of lining up multiple balls."—Dave Lucarelli (15)
  • "As much as 20 yards longer than my current driver."—Don Skeahan (20)
  • "Balls explode off the face then fly high and hard."—Lee Neisler (2)
  • "Could be the straightest driver I've hit."—Rich Sullivan (12)
  • "If I miss with G5 then I should quit playing."—C.J. Bush (19)
  • "Misses are swallowed up by the big head. It serves up so few bananas, it would starve a monkey."—Doug Lair (10)
  • "Rocksolid stable at impact."—Jim Esther (20)
  • "I hit draws with my eyes closed and accuracy was superior."—Anthony Spikes (1)
  • Cons
  • "It's good, but it's the G2 with a new haircut."—Michael Jo (14)
  • How They Stacked Up
    Club MacGregor
    MacTec NVG2
    Nike
    SasQuatch
    Callaway
    FT-3
    Srixon
    W-506
    Cleveland
    Luncher Ti460
    Tour Edge
    Exotics
    TaylorMade
    r7 425
    Ping
    G5
    Look 3 stars 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars
    Feel 3 stars 3 stars 3 stars 3 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars
    Playability 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars 4 stars
    Forgiveness 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars 5 stars
    Distance 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 5 stars 5 stars 4 stars 5 stars
    Total Performance 3.5 stars 3.5 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4.5 stars 4.5 stars

    More From the Web

    More Equipment

    The most trusted name in sports is now the easiest way to stay informed—no matter where you are. At home, at work, or on the go, we have you covered.
    check it out
    This Way To…
    Our one-touch menu gives you easy access to your favorite writers and sports, special sections, and more.
    go deep…
    Use this strip to access scores, schedules, or to lean back and enjoy our iconic photos and videos, daily live shows, and more.
    then take a scroll…
    We have more great content than ever.