Adams Speedline F11
Les Baer | Age: 49 | Handicap: 21 | Height: 5'8" | Weight: 165 lbs. | Occupation: President, executive management firm | Residence: Harrison, N.Y. | Old driver: 460cc titanium head, 9.5°, Fujikura graphite shaft, regular flex, 45.75" shaft length | New driver: Adams Speedline F11 Draw, 10.5°, Aldila Voodoo VS6 graphite shaft, regular flex, 45.875" shaft length
FITTER: Boris Busljeta, Certified Personal Coach, GolfTEC, White Plains, N.Y.: "Les's typical miss is to the right with the old driver, but his bad miss is a pull. The Speedline F11 Draw dramatically tightens shot dispersion, virtually eliminates the pull, and produces more length. He hits the Adams Speedline 9064LS as far as the F11 Draw due to its lower-spinning head, improved launch and spin. But he's inconsistent with it because of the stout [Aldila RIP] shaft. Les tried the Adams Speedline 4G Ultra-Lite, but it doesn't match up in terms of distance, dispersion, head feel or impact sensation."
RESULT: The "Draw"-style head straightens his usual shot and he picks up 8 yards. His normal shot is now significantly straighter (more on-target), so Les swings more freely and is less likely to make a compensating move to pull the ball back to the target.
Les Baer: "I play a narrow, tree-lined course—it's difficult to make par when I'm hitting from the rough. I was hoping to find a driver that could get me more consistency. The Speedline F11 Draw eliminates my bad left miss and gets me more distance. It sets up comfortably at address, looks forgiving, and it feels like I'm making better contact."
2 of 8Schecter Lee
Callaway RAZR Hawk Tour
Tom Andersen | Age: 32 | Handicap: 7 | Height: 5'9" | Weight: 190 lbs. | Occupation: Accountant | Residence: Stamford, Conn. | OLD DRIVER: 460cc titanium head, 9°, Grafalloy graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45.75" length | NEW DRIVER: Callaway RAZR Hawk Tour, 9.5°, UST Mamiya ATTAS graphite shaft, X flex, 45.5" length
FITTER: Chris Marsh, Master Fitter, Hot Stix Golf, Doral Arrowwood Resort, Rye Brook, N.Y.: "Tom has a slightly positive attack angle (he catches the ball on the upswing). That's preferable because it produces more carry and roll. However, he fights a hook, which causes the ball to launch way too low (8°) and lose carry distance. (A closed face at impact is delofted, so the ball launches lower.) We need to get his launch in the 12° to 15° range and his spin under 3,100 to get him the most distance."
RESULT: RAZR Hawk Tour increases Tom's launch to 12°. His spin is relatively the same, but the higher launch boosts carry distance by 15 yards. The Tour head has a 1° open clubface; keeping the face angle open to his target at impact contributes to a higher launch. Tom's dispersion is much tighter because of the stable head and firm-tip, extra-stiff shaft, which fights an early release. The custom ATTAS shaft is designed to keep the face square longer through the hitting area so none of the loft is lost.
Tom Andersen: "I was hooking everything when I came here. Now, my shots feel more solid and fall within the same range [cluster]. It's the difference between hitting a fairway and missing one."
3 of 8Schecter Lee
Cleveland Launcher Ultralite SL290
Michael Holland | Age: 57 | Handicap: 13 | Height: 5'11" | Weight: 200 lbs. | Occupation: Insurance Investigator | Residence:
Mahopac, N.Y. | OLD DRIVER: 400cc titanium head, 9.5°, Fujikura graphite shaft, stiff flex, 44.5" length | NEW DRIVER: Cleveland Launcher Ultralite SL290, 9°, Miyazaki C. Kua 43 graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45.75" length
FITTER: Tom Sialiano, Director of Instruction, GolfTEC, White Plains, N.Y.: "Michael is a strong guy and would definitely benefit from the new technology [longer, lighter shafts and larger, more stable heads] in today's drivers. With his old club, he spins the ball too much for someone with his head speed and doesn't maximize carry distance. With SL290, we get launch up and spin down and significantly increase head and ball speeds. SL290 is 30 grams lighter than his club and has a longer shaft by 1.25"."
RESULT: Longer and lighter works in Michael's casehis average
clubhead speed increases by 4 mph and his ball speed by 6 mph. This leads to an 18-yard increase in total distance. Off-center hits travel much farther than they did with his previous driver due to the larger head size (460cc vs. 400cc) and bigger, more efficient hitting area.
Michael Holland: "I've lost close to 20 yards over the past 10 years. Some of the drop is due to age, some of it to not playing as much. The Cleveland SL290 feels more solid at impact and it sounds better. It's also very lightI can take a lighter grip because I'm not fighting the club, and it helps me make a bigger turn."
4 of 8Schecter Lee
Kevin Alexander | Age: 46 | Handicap: 9 | Height: 5'11" | Weight: 160 lbs. | Occupation: IT consultant | Residence: Pelham, N.Y. | OLD DRIVER: 460cc titanium head, 9.5°, Mitsubishi graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45" length | NEW DRIVER: Ping G20, 9.5°, Ping TFC 169D graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45.75" length
FITTER: Ben Hoffhine, head pro, Wykagyl C.C., New Rochelle, N.Y.: "Kevin is pretty consistent with his current driver, but given his swing speed, he launches shots too low to maximize his distance. We want to increase his launch angle and decrease spin. Kevin hit several loft/shaft combinationsthe G20 with 9.5° loft and [standard] TFC 169D shaft stood out. He hits it much longer than he did with his own club, and there's little curvature from shot to shothis misses are much more playable. Kevin tried the TFC 169D Tour shaft [stiffer tip and butt], but it's more work for him to swing it. He produces less ball speed, shots launch lower, it feels lighter and balls carry 10 yards less compared to the standard TFC 169D."
RESULT: Kevin launches the G20 4° higher with roughly 500 rpm less spin. He gains 17 yards carry distance and virtually eliminates his hook.
Kevin Alexander: "Coming here, I was hoping to keep the accuracy I have with my old driver and pick up some length. Turns out G20 is much more forgiving, and my shots seem to stay in the air forever. The face is fast and solid, and the club is balanced with the TFC 169D shaft. It's effortless to swing, and I can go after it with total confidence."
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Joe Pica | Age: 41 | Handicap: 9 | Height: 5'8" | Weight: 175 lbs. | Occupation: Golf Shop Manager | Residence: Wilton, Conn. | OLD DRIVER: 460cc titanium head, 9.5°, Fujikura graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45" shaft length | NEW DRIVER: Cobra S3, 10.5°, Neutral face setting, Fujikura Blur graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45.5" shaft length
FITTER: Chris Marsh, Master Fitter, Hot Stix Golf, Doral Arrowwood Resort, Rye Brook, N.Y.: "Joe is a good player with above-average head speed. He bought an off-the-rack 9.5° driver because that's what he thought he should be playing. The 9.5° head isn't enough loftit causes too much spin. He needs a higher launch and less spin. A softer shaft [tip section] should also help to square the face more easily and launch the ball higher."
RESULT: Combining the Fujikura Blur shaft and 1° extra loft increases launch angle by 1° and decreases spin rate by 600 rpm, which leads to 12 more yards. Joe's head speed drops 2 mph, but his "smash factor" (ratio of ball speed to head speed) increases from 1.40 to 1.46. This means he transfers more energy to the ball with the S3 driver. The "neutral" face setting produces the best results. At 1° closed (which adds loft to the face), Joe gets a higher launch (10.1°), but his spin increases to 4,822 rpm, so carry distance is equivalent to his old driver.
Joe Pica: "I tend to hit a low cut and wanted to get a little more height out of this fitting, maybe turn the ball over more. Done and done. I also seem to find more of the sweet spot with the Cobra."
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Nike VR Pro
Dom Bonvissuto | Age: 32 | Handicap: 21 | Height: | 5'6" | Weight: 150 lbs. | Occupation: Online Editor | Residence: Long Beach, Calif. | OLD DRIVER: 365cc titanium head, 9.5°, Fujikura graphite shaft, regular flex, 45" length | NEW DRIVER: Nike VR Pro, 11.5°, closed face angle by 2°, +2° loft, standard lie, Project X graphite shaft, regular flex, 45.75" length
FITTER: Josh Chervokas, Custom Shop Director, New York Golf Center, New York, N.Y.: "Dom cuts across the ball from out to in, and his attack angle is too steep. He puts a glancing blow on the ball and doesn't transfer much energy to it. If the face is square to the swing path at impact, he hits a pull; if it's open, he hits a ball that starts right and slices farther right. From a fitting standpoint, I can compensate for the out-to-in swing path by having a more shut face. I might not be able to get Dom much more distance, but I can get him to hit it straighter because of the club's adjustability."
RESULT: Closing the face angle by 2° reduces the left-to-right sidespin (spin axis) at impact, which should lead to more fairways hit. The mid-launch, low-spin Project X 6.0 shaft contributes to a slight decrease in spin, a 2° lower launch, and 10 more yards.
Dom Bonvissuto: "I hit irons pretty well and I'm okay around the greens. But I'm least comfortable off the tee the hardest thing for me is getting from shot A to shot B. With the Nike driver, I don't feel so much of a glancing blow. It's more squared up, I feel more consistent with it and I hit the ball straighter."
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Sam Greene | Age: 40 | Handicap: 16 | Height: 6'3" | Weight: 210 lbs. | Occupation: Investment Banker | Residence: New York, N.Y. | OLD DRIVER: 450cc titanium head, 10.5°, Fujikura graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45" length | NEW DRIVER: TaylorMade R11, 9°, 0.5° closed face angle, draw weighting, neutral soleplate, Mitsubishi Diamana Kai'li graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45" length
FITTER: Peter Schiller, Certified Club Fitter, Hot Stix Golf, Doral Arrowwood Resort, Rye Brook, N.Y.: "Sam has a steep, 'negative' attack angle into the ball, which causes shots to balloon and land very softly in the fairwaytoo often, he finds his ball next to its pitch mark. His launch angle is 11°, which doesn't sound so bad, but the higher the launch, the higher the spin. I would prefer him to launch the ball at 8.5° to 9° and spin it around 3,000 rpm. Closing the face by 0.5° and putting more weight toward the heel counteracts Sam's most common miss, a fade, and helps him get more roll. The lower-spinning Kai'li shaft has a higher kickpoint, which keeps launch and spin down and maximizes distance on the ground."
RESULT: Sam gets substantial distance gains due to large reductions in spin and launch. (He also sees big improvements in head speed and ball speed.) Sam's landing angle with the R11 is much flatter (33.1°), so the ball hits the ground running.
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Fred Putney | Age: 71 | Handicap 5 | Height: 5'8" | Weight: 165 lbs. | Occupation: Retired (Investment Adviser | Residence: Scarborough, N.Y. OLD DRIVER: 450cc titanium head, 8.5°, UST graphite shaft, stiff flex, 45" length | NEW DRIVER: Titleist 910 D3, 10.5°, D4 setting (+0.75° loft and standard lie), Oban Devotion 6 graphite shaft, stiff flex, 46" length
FITTER: Kevin Sprecher, Director of Instruction, Sleepy Hollow C.C., Scarborough, N.Y.: "Fred's spin rate is a little high. We want to bring it down with the shaft and use the club's loft to keep the launch [angle] up, to increase carry distance. Fred tried the 910 D2 12° [available in November], but the D3 is a better fit for him because it spins less. A slower swinger who could use more spin might benefit from 910 D2 12°. With the D3 and SureFit system, I'm able to get him 11.25° loft and increase his head speed to 94 mph."
RESULT: A higher-lofted, low-spin head and longer, low-spin shaft (custom-upgrade Oban Devotion 6) produce more head speed, ball speed and higher launch. Fred's spin rate also drops by 250 rpm. In all, he picks up 21 yards of carry distance and 23 yards of total distance. [Note: Compared to his old club, Fred gets 10 yards more carry and 15 yards overall with Titleist's stock Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana 'ahina 72 shaft.]
Fred Putney: "The D3 feels good, not bulky, and I like the shaft. D3 swings comfortably; I don't have to catch up with it. With some shafts, I feel I have to do something extra to get the head back to the ball. I never really understood the importance of the shaft until now."
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