This page highlights another new development: high-lofted drivers. Changes in golf technology and a greater understanding of optimal launch conditions have seen Tour pros switching from 7.5Ã‚Âº-8.5Ã‚Âº drivers to 9.5Ã‚Âº-10.5Ã‚Âº for maximum distance. Have you upped yours? The four models--drive-size heads with 14Ã‚Âº-16Ã‚Âº lofts--target slower swingers who struggle to get sufficient lift and spin. Does the concept work? We assembled a test panel to find out.
Adams Redline RPM 430Q Titanium
You know what they say about imitation and flattery... Adams' latest driver has four adjustable weights--two 10-gram screws--that can be configured six different ways. If all that sounds a lot like TaylorMade's r7 Quad, it looks like it, too. The Redline RPM is bigger than the r7 (430cc vs. 400cc) and features a lightweight composite crown instead of titanium, which permits all that weight redistribution and higher launch that comes with it. $450 (graphite); 800-622-0609 or adamsgolf.com
Adjustable weighting has poked its head into fairway woods. Following a two-year hiatus, Orlimar is back on the scene with new ownership and new ideas. The VT-830 (for "variable trajectory" and .83 COR) features a 35-gram removablealuminum-tungsten weight cartridge in the back. Use the HL cartridge for high launch and the LL one for low launch. For maximum distance, the clubface is made from a strong, light-weight stainless steel called alpha 300. $240 (graphite); 888-502-4653 or orlimar.com
Callaway Big Bertha Titanium 454 High Trajectory
This 454cc monster has 15Ã‚Âº loft with a 4-degree closed face. Callaway recommends it for 80 mph and slower swingers. $375 (graphite); 800-588-9836 or callawaygolf.com
La Jolla Club 450cc Titanium High Launch
Sporting the second largest head among this foursome at 450cc, the 14Ã‚Âº High Launch combines a forged titanium SP700J face for plenty of pop and internal draw bias. $299; 800-468-7700 or lajollaclub.com
Tour Edge Houdini
A minimally offset 16Ã‚Âº, 420cc head attaches to a shorter-than-standard (44 inches) shaft to enhance control. $199; 800-515-3343 or touredge.com
Ping G2 EZ
The not-maxed-out 400cc head on the 15.5Ã‚Âº G2 EZ helps create a lighter swingweight for faster clubhead speed. $350; 800-474-6434 or pinggolf.com
|Ben Hogan CS3|
|benhogan.comHogan comes at the weighting game from a different angle: Build the shot shape in before you sell it. Choose from three models--Draw Bias (at left), Fade Bias and Neutral Bias. Each has three fixed weights (one 18-gram tungsten, two 2.5-gram aluminum) around the perimeter. The tungsten is heel-side on Draw Bias, toe-side on Fade Bias and centered on Neutral Bias. $399 (graphite); 866-834-6532 or|
Top 100 Teachers say...
"Almost every amateur would improve by using one of them"
--Rick Gyason, Springfield, MO
"These'll help players who don't launch it high enough and those who need a straighter ball flight with less sidespin."
--Jim Hardy, Houston, TX
"Anyone who now prefers a 3-wood off the tee will benefit."
--Jane Frost, Sandwich, MA
|Hope for driver-phobes|
|We asked Golf Labs, an independent testing facility, to see if the high-lofted driver concept flies. They used eight average golfers--five of whom tee off regularly using a 3-wood; the others swat a driver. Each swings 80 to 85 mph. |
Half the group first hit the test club--Ping's G2 EZ--then his own. Others tested in reverse order. We cross-reference player comments on the high-lofted driver with data from a launch monitor.
|Pros: Tighter dispersion due to the larger head; higher trajectory because of increased spin rate; faster clubhead speed.|
|Cons: Shorter overall distance--players who swing a 3-wood at 85 mph generate too much backspin with test club, which reduces roll.|
|Summary: Two of eight testers say they'll jump to a high-lofted driver. Others found the test shaft too soft. Our data suggests those who swing 80 mph or less could greatly benefit from higher lofts.|