Dear Gear Guy,
I'm an 18 handicap in the market for a new driver that'll keep it straight and pick up a bit of distance. I've been looking at the Titleist 907 D1 and like its look and feel. I've also been looking at the Cobra Speed LD/F and Cleveland HiBore XL. Your thoughts on these, and other options, are appreciated.
Kyle, Lincoln, NE
You can certainly save a few strokes by upgrading your driver, but you may also end up wasting hundreds of dollars if you buy a new club that's ill suited to your needs. Look and feel is important, but let's talk specs:
It is essential you find the right clubhead loft and shaft flex. Take the time to have your swing speed measured to determine the flex you need. Using a too-stiff shaft typically results in a lower launch angle, a loss of distance and poor feel at impact.
You say that you're an 18. Gear Guy guesses that your driver clubhead speed is in the 85-95 mph range and that you'd need a 10.5- or 12-degree degree driver with regular-flex shaft. But that's just a guess. It's vital that you have your swing DNA determined before laying out the cash.
After receiving your letter, Gear Guy tested the Titleist 907 D1 and was struck by its appealing aesthetics. The muffled impact sound suggested the ball doesn't soar off the face, but results didn't suffer. Poor hits were playable, too, given its high moment of inertia (the club's ability to limit twisting during off-center contact).
Earlier this summer we ran a ClubTest on the Cobra Speed LD and the Cleveland HiBore XL. Our panel found the HiBore XL to have a strange-looking head and loud impact sound. But it hit the ball a good ways. Yet, testers raved about the combination of power, feel and forgiveness in the Cobra Speed LD. The Cobra, in fact, finished a close second among eight drivers tested.