Evan Hoffman will have an opportunity to see his ‘Cortex’ driver design in golf stores and on the PGA Tour next year. The industrial designer from San Diego, California, was selected as the winner of Wilson Golf’s Driver vs. Driver 2 competition, which aired over seven episodes on Golf Channel and gave would-be golf club designers the opportunity to have their creation inserted into the equipment manufacturer’s upcoming lineup.
Using his affinity for motorcycles and speed as the impetus behind Cortex, Hoffman created a driver featuring strategically-placed carbon fiber panels that make up 44 percent of the club’s surface area. Discretionary weight saved from the crown and other area in the head was then used to create the longest sliding weight track in the company’s history.
The track houses an 8-gram weight that can be re-positioned to alter ball flight and spin characteristics. Adjustable weight ports, located in the heel and toe, help fine-tune shot shape (draw and fade) with the help of two-gram and eight-gram weights.
Although nearly half of the club’s surface area is covered in carbon fiber, titanium was used to create the face and frame in an effort to increase the overall stability of the head by making it more rigid in certain areas.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) November 14, 2018
Wilson designers also added a Fast Fit hosel system that allows players to move the standard loft in half-degree increments across six settings. The driver, which was released on Wednesday, retails for $500 and comes in three lofts (9, 10.5 and 12 degrees) with Fujikura’s Atmos Tour Spec shaft (Red, Blue and Black) in three flexes.
“Season Two of the show yielded two amazing finalists; the Cortex and the Rozwell,” said Tim Clarke, Wilson Golf’s president. “Ultimately, the Cortex came out on top with its clean, classic shape, overall consistent performance results from a wide range of player testers, and steady sound across the entire face of the club. We are excited to get this driver into the hands of players at all levels of the game.”
Hoffman’s Cortex design netted him $250,000 and the privilege of having his creation brought to life with the help of Wilson Golf’s R&D team. But he wasn’t the only winner during the finale. Runner-up Tim Slama, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering at Oregon State University, was informed his tuition would be paid for by Wilson, after his Rozwell design came up short.
Aside from an on-air glitch during the finale that revealed the winner of the competition, the second season of Driver vs. Driver went off without a hitch. Last year’s winning design, called Triton, was initially ruled non-conforming by the USGA.
The first alteration involved reducing the rear edge of Triton’s sole plates by a few millimeters — a minor change that the USGA assured would bring the sole plates of all three lofts into conformity with its “Plain in Shape” rule.
The second alteration pertained to the optional 12-gram weight in the 10.5- and 12-degree Triton driver accessory kits. According to the company, during testing with “the maximum total of 24-grams of weight, with the optional 12-gram weight in the toe of the club, the USGA observed a CT (Characteristic Time) that was slightly above their allowable limits and testing tolerance.”
To keep viewers guessing, and likely ensure both designs were conforming, Wilson put Cortex and Rozwell on the USGA’s list of conforming driver heads in advance of the finale.