Drivers featured in GOLF Magazine Buyer’s Guide – golf driver

1 of 20 Schecter Lee
Adams Speedline $299, graphite; It's for: All skill levels Scott Burnett, Director of advanced product development: "We sorted through reams of data showing that 'large footprint' drivers create drag and slower clubhead speed. So we set out to design a superior driver that's aerodynamically shaped. We developed the Speedline through wind-tunnel testing and computational fluid dynamics. The result is 50 percent less drag and more distance because of the increased clubhead speed." How it works: Company research reveals that the crown in 460cc geometric drivers (large footprint, sloping crown, long from face to rear) creates lots of drag. The effect is that players swing these clubs 3 percent slower than standard 460cc heads. Speedline seeks to reverse this trend, and improve airflow, with a reshaped crown (peak height is much higher than topline), reduced frontal cross-sectional area (heel and toe cutouts) and "optimized" face. Adams says the Speedline delivers 2.5 to 4.2 mph higher clubhead speed and 3 to 9 yards more distance through more efficient airflow around the clubhead. The "max game-improvement" Speedline Draw driver includes design features that "optimize distance for the recreational player," says Tim Reed, VP of R&D. "We accomplish this by adjusting the center of gravity back and toward the heel to give those golfers a high trajectory and draw bias."
2 of 20 Schecter Lee
Callaway Big Bertha Diablo $299, graphite; It's for: All skill levels Dr. Alan Hocknell, VP of Innovation and Advanced Design: "Previous Big Bertha drivers target golfers who need the most help with their game. Big Bertha Diablo differs because its performance is optimized for a broad range of golfers, including those of the highest ability. Its new body shape is functional and dynamic." How it works: Big Bertha Diablo is built for speed and distance. The all-titanium head fuses a lightweight body, a lively clubface and a thin crown (Callaway's thinnest ever at 0.027"). Using a light frame allows discretionary weight (a 10-gram internal weight chip in the Neutral head and a 15-gram chip in the Draw version) to be welded into the rear for a higher moment of inertia (MOI). The head shape steers the center of gravity (CG) to 'neutral' or 'draw' locations (Unconventional shapes generally require less discretionary weight to increase MOI and lower CG.) The MOI in Diablo Neutral is 20 percent higher (the Draw version is 10 percent higher) than Big Bertha 460. A hyperbolic face combines with the ultra-stable head to generate faster ball speeds on offcenter hits (resulting in less distance loss) than previous titanium drivers.
3 of 20 Schecter Lee
Callaway FT-9 $399, graphite for Standard; $429, graphite for Tour, It's for: All skill levels Jeff Colton, Senior VP, R&D: "Performance flaws in ball speed, trajectory, sound or aesthetics are often the result of chasing one club design variable at the expense of another. Our 'Complete Inertial Design' principal factors in all design variables to produce the most balanced, highest-performing drivers possible. FT-9 is an example of this optimization." How it works: This conventional head provides more shotshaping ability than FT-iQ. Forty grams along the sole, outside the head, yields up to 5 percent more MOI (heel to toe) than in FT-5. This weight placement also creates higher vertical MOI (by 20 percent). As a result, shots that are struck high or low on the face perform similarly to dead-center contact (in terms of spin and ball speed). The hyperbolic face—the 'X' pattern behind hitting area is thickest in the center, thinnest in the perimeter— delivers consistent ball speed across the clubface. FT-9 comes in Neutral or Draw versions. Company tests indicate that Draw hits it, on average, 10 yards farther left with a 100 mph swing speed.
4 of 20 Schecter Lee
Callaway FT-iQ $499, graphite for Standard; $529, graphite for Tour, It's for: All skill levels Dr. Alan Hocknell, VP of Innovation and Advanced Design: "We set out to create our longest, straightest driver ever. We combine a titanium 'hyperbolic face cup' to increase ball speed, a sleek shape to reduce shot curvature and increase MOI, and strategic weight placement through our proprietary multi-material Fusion technology." How it works: The light, tapered composite body reduces head drag so you swing as much as 1.5 mph faster than competitive drivers (based on 100 mph swing speed). The tapered body also gets the club's center of gravity (CG) twice as low (and more rearward) than the FT-i, resulting in 300 rpm less backspin. In fact, 18 percent of the head's total mass is stored in the aluminum rear chamber. The result is an 8 percent higher moment of inertia (MOI) and 35 percent less shot curvature than the FT-i. The cast-titanium face (the "X" pattern behind the hitting area) is thickest in center and becomes rapidly thinner along the perimeter. This contributes to consistent ball speed across the face (2 mph variance between center shots and those hit 0.75-inch left or right of center and 0.5-inch above or below center). Bottom line: Misses carry five yards shorter than center strikes at 100 mph swing speed. Standard lofts (9°, 10°, 11°) have nominal draw bias and softer shaft tip while Tour (9.5°, 10.5°) has neutral CG. Lastly, FT-iQ is I-Mix (interchangeable shaft system) compatible.
5 of 20 Schecter Lee
$299, graphite It's for: All skill levels Steve Chien, VP of R&D: "'Where tradition meets technology' is our battle cry in developing this driver. Launcher keeps classic design and high performance in harmony, from the original Launcher 330 to 400 to 460 to 460 Comp. This one is our best Launchers yet." How it works: Launcher offers a conventional profile, ball flight and impact sound. Its clubface is 21 percent larger than the Launcher 460 and the Launcher Comp (for a larger effective hitting area). An exaggerated sloped crown pulls weight lower and more toward the rear for added forgiveness. The horseshoe-shaped, 17-gram weight pad helps create a higher launch, less spin and more stability on mis-hits. Launcher generally produces mid-launch shots with low spin for a flatter trajectory (HiBore delivers higher-launch, higher-flying shots). The lightweight shaft tip moves more weight closer to your hands (keeping the same swingweight) to increase head and ball speed by 2 mph. Fujikura's Flightspeed Fit-On shaft is longer (45.5" vs. 45") and lighter (by 10 grams) than the previous generation Fit-On M Gold shaft. Company testing reveals that these forces combine to boost swing speed by 1.3 mph. Buy and Compare This Driver
6 of 20 Schecter Lee
$399, graphite It's for: All skill levels Tom Morris, Principal Design Lead Engineer: "We take our signature large face and combine it with a light carbon crown and sole insert to move the center of gravity (CG) so low that 70 percent of the face is above the CG. This is significantly more than most drivers and ensures high ball speeds to optimize launch conditions over a large face area. We always design drivers to maximize distance and accuracy. With L5V, we've added versatility. It's so simple to adjust ball flight, which makes L5V even easier to hit." How it works: Single-material (say, titanium) drivers have limitations in terms of the weight that can be moved around the head. This one, however, combines titanium (body and face insert), carbon composite (crown and sole), aluminum (hosel), stainless steel (swingweight screw) and tungsten (screw). L5V has two adjustable face settings. Use a torque wrench to lock the head into the "0" position, which indicates a square face. The "1" setting is 1° closed, which translates to five extra yards of draw-bias. You can also switch shafts (there are three stock and 25 custom-order models). Buy and Compare This Driver
7 of 20 Schecter Lee
S9-1 F or S9-1 M: $299, graphite; S9-1 Pro: $399, graphite It's for: All skill levels Josh Breier, Principal Design Lead Engineer: "We developed a new outer head shape and internal geometry for 'hotter 9-point' performance. Each model has a distinct center-of-gravity location to provide optimum ball-flight conditions for all player types and ball speeds. We also adjusted face geometry to maximize efficiency and ball speed across the face. Longer length [45.5'] and lighter overall weight [by 6 grams] mean higher ball speeds for all player types." How it works: The new stick is shorter from face to rear than Speed LD, narrower from heel to toe and has a more rounded topline and leading edge. This profile (5 percent less overall surface area) delivers a bigger hitting area while freeing up more weight than in the Speed LD. As a result, the S9-1 is more stable (higher MOI) and has a hotter face (faster ball speed). A dual-rhombus pattern behind the clubface is used to shore up ball speed on off-center contact. Each S9-1 model (Pro, F, M, M Offset) has specific internal weighting and matching shaft to max-out ball speed for targeted player types. For example, the center of gravity gets more draw-biased as you graduate from S9-1 Pro to S9-1 M Offset. S9-1 Pro D and S9-1 Pro S (light composite crown and a swingweight screw in the sole) are built for guys with 150+ mph ball speeds who benefit from high launch, low spin and added workability. Most golfers, however, require the S9-1 F (125-155 mph ball speed) or S9-1 M (
8 of 20 Schecter Lee
$299, graphite It's for: All skill levels Masao Nagai, global director of R&D: "All the gameimprovement drivers out there have high MOI and COR to the [rules] limit. We take these elements to the extreme with revolutionary Ti-9 titanium that comprises the 'Hot Metal' face. You'll never hit it longer or straighter." How it works: MX-700 boasts the lowest, deepest center of gravity (CG) and highest moment of inertia (MOI) of any Mizuno driver. Company brass say the grain structure (in the titanium face) expands the high-COR area and boosts ball speed. A low, deep CG should bolster head stability on shots struck high or low on the face. The result is low-spinning shots with a high, penetrating flight. Internal reinforcements improve sound while a crown decal makes for simple alignment.
9 of 20 Schecter Lee
$199, grpahite It's for: All skill levels John B. Hoeflich, COO: "The 3DX RC takes 'oversize' clubheads to a whole new level and still looks great at the end of the shaft. This high-MOI driver has a square face and it won't break the bank. Given its untraditional size and shape, the 3DX RC driver has a traditional feel at address. Many large-headed drivers are unappealing to the eye, but 3DX RC doesn't have that problem." How it works: This weapon emphasizes forgiveness and a higher trajectory. Its triangular shape (maximum geometry limit allowed by the USGA) improves the club's ability to limit twisting (MOI is 5,000 g x cm2). A 12-gram tungsten polymer back weight helps to close the face at impact. The large titanium crown balances weight from top to bottom, which creates lower spin rates for more "run out" as shots hit the ground. Standard shaft length is 45.5 inches. Buy and Compare This Driver
10 of 20 Shcecter Lee
$299, graphite It's for: All skill levels Clay Long, Chief designer: "We developed the ML3 with the idea of making a more pleasing shape in an elongated, high-MOI envelope. The new dimensions (not as wide as the FastBack driver) allow me to deepen the face and increase the hitting area. I trim weight out of the face in the heel and toe corners, making it a three-level face design (ML3). Using a more symmetrical shape makes it more difficult to locate CG correctly, but the savings in the face and head width give me just enough to do the job." How it works: Varying the face thickness is one proven way to get faster ball speeds on misses. The high heel and toe areas are thinner than in the previous model while the center portion remains thickest. (This is done to "slow down" ball speed on center hits and keep it within USGA governed limits.) Redistributing mass also lowers the center of gravity, decreases spin, boosts launch conditions and creates a stable head that delivers reliable distance.
11 of 20 Schecter Lee
$449,, graphite It's for: All skill levels Tom Stites, Director of product creation: "Str8-Fit technology [which allows players to adjust clubface angle to eight different settings] is by far the most effective way to change ball flight that I've seen. All players can benefit from this technology and hit shots straighter and farther than ever." How it works: Dymo2 (which stands for "dynamic MOI") has a rear "PowerBow" that gets thicker as loft increases from 8.5° to 14.5°. This shifts more mass farther back and to the heel side for added draw bias. Higher lofts also have a shallower face height, a more closed face angle and more upright lie angle to help you square the face at impact. The club comes with the wide body UST AxivCore shaft. The innovative "Str8-Fit" adjustable fitting system features a specially designed shaft adapter and hosel that tilt 2 degrees off axis. The by-product is that you can choose among eight clubface and lie angles. Find your best ball flight by using the included torque wrench to alter face angle (2° closed to 2° open), lie angle (58° to 62°) or effective loft (8.5° to 12.5°). A small light and "beep" indicate when the head is locked to the shaft. Nike says the eight settings produce up to 45 yards of directional difference. The SQ Dymo Str8-Fit driver has a round head that's still plenty forgiving. But it's supposed to provide more "workability" than the SQ Dymo2. Buy and Compare This Driver
12 of 20 Schecter Lee
$299, graphite It's for: All skill levels, those who want to shape shots Rick Wahlin, product engineering manager: "Here we focus on increasing the stability of a round-shaped driver while maintaining workability for better players. We look at the increase in stability due to the far corners [extreme heel or toe] of a square design and implement a new design that has the effect of square geometry." How it works: The standard Dymo is a straightforward glued clubhead with no adjustable fitting component. Weight pockets in the rear toe and heel areas are said to reposition "square-like head mass" into this round head. The center of gravity (CG) and face angle vary by loft to optimize launch and spin. High-lofted SQ Dymo drivers have more draw bias (CG is farther back and more heel side) with a more closed face than lower-lofted SQ Dymos. The square-headed SQ Dymo2 driver has many of the same design and performance traits. However, it offers just a bit more forgiveness (higher MOI). Buy and Compare This Driver
13 of 20 Schecter Lee
$449, graphite It's for: All skill levels Tony Serrano, senior design engineer: "Rapture V2 is a prime example of the advantages of combining materials to achieve a specific result. In this case, we wanted to produce a slightly different profile while optimizing launch and spin. The elongated shape allows us to position tungsten weight pads for reduced spin and a similar launch angle to the original Rapture." How it works: Rapture V2 redirects approximately 20 grams of discretionary weight from the lightweight crown to rear external pads (made of tungsten) and internal weights along the sole. This pulls the club's center of gravity (CG) lower and more rearward than in the original Rapture. Company robot tests reveal that V2 shots, on average, launch 1 degree higher with 500 to 600 rpm less backspin for lower overall trajectory. The payoff can be up to 10 yards more distance. In addition, Ping's machined "variable thickness" face leads to longer drives while MOI measures 6 percent higher (heel-to-toe and crown-to-sole), for added head stability on slight off-center hits.
14 of 20 Schecter Lee
$399, graphite It's for: All skill levels Dr. Benoit Vincent, Chief Technical Officer: "With R9, we try to maximize the fitting possibilities for each golfer. We engineer two independent and complementary adjustability systems into the head to cover a large range of ball-launch conditions. We use movable weight technology in combination with a variety of head angles and seamlessly integrate them into a beautiful shape." How it works: The 430cc head features "flight control technology" (FCT). Simply, an adjustable head-and-shaft system (tighten the recessed titanium screw to an aluminum "sleeve" on the end of the shaft) gives you the ability to lock the head in eight different settings. The shaft (and "sleeve") go into the hosel off-axis by 1°, which allows you to tweak face angle (2° closed to 2° open), lie angle (1° upright to 1° flat) or loft (1° stronger or weaker than stated loft). Company brass says FCT produces up to 40 yards of directional flight variance. That's particularly good news for slicers or hookers. FCT combines with the firm's "movable weight" technology (three removable plugs that weigh 16 grams, 1 gram, and 1 gram) to generate as much as 75 yards of left-to-right shot bias, 3° difference in launch angle and 1,500 rpm of backspin. Fit yourself by positioning the face angle (FCT) and then move weights to dial in trajectory. Buy and Compare This Driver
15 of 20 Schecter Lee
$299. graphite It's for: All skill levels Todd Beach, Senior Director of R&D/Metalwoods: "This driver builds on the best combined attributes of original Burner and Tour Burner. It delivers our hottest trajectory without sacrificing forgiveness. We're able to maintain the accuracy and forgiveness of the original Burner while increasing shaft length [46.25' vs. 46']. As club length goes up, the head weight must go down to maintain swingweight. It's difficult to make a head lighter and larger and achieve lower, deeper CG for a hotter trajectory. But we have a way to do it." How it works: "Dual crown" technology lowers the club's CG by five percent. The result is a higher launch (by 0.5 degrees), 300 rpm less spin and a more penetrating ball flight. Burner has "inverted cone" face technology to bolster ball speed on off center hits. The head is wider from heel to toe and longer from face to rear (than the previous Burner) to help mis-hits, too. Buy and Compare This Driver
16 of 20 Schecter Lee
$399, graphite It's for: Primarily 0- to 9-handicappers, but playable to 15 Dan Stone, VP of R&D: "Our driver development research indicates a significant variation in players' swing speeds and attack angles when delivering the club to impact. We designed three distinct 909 drivers to meet the different launch requirements and maximize distance across our entire target audience. The 909 D2 delivers mid launch with low- to mid-spin." How it works: The new family includes the 909 D2, 909 DComp and 909 D3. Each stick has a CNC-milled trapezoid face insert—thickest in the middle, thinner around the perimeter—to maximize ball speed across more of the face. A blind-bore hosel combines with small, stiff ridges inside the head to promote crisp acoustics and feel. Yet the heads differ in shape, construction and, ultimately, performance. This 460cc all-titanium head falls between the other two in terms of size (face to rear), CG location and overall ball flight. It comes with the Titleist Aldila Voodoo shaft (low to mid launch with lower spin) or Titleist Diamana Blue 65 shaft (high launch with moderate spin). You can be fit for 909 drivers through the company's SureFit adjustable fitting system (includes seven driver heads and 16 shafts). Buy and Compare This Driver
17 of 20 Schecter Lee
$499, graphite It's for: Better players to 15-handicappers Dan Stone, VP of R&D: "The composite crown allows us to lower the center of gravity (CG) without increasing backspin. 909 DComp delivers high launch with low to mid spin." How it works: The 460cc, multi-material head (titanium body, composite crown) is stretched longest from face to rear among 909 drivers. It also has the deepest CG, highest MOI and belts out the highest ball flight with the most backspin. Expect more help on misses, too. A factory-installed swingweight screw (2, 7 or 12 grams) is used to match head weight with your preferred shaft. Comes with the Titleist Matrix Ozik XCon shaft. Buy and Compare This Driver
18 of 20 Schecter Lee
$399, graphite It's for: Better players Dan Stone, VP of R&D: "909D3 is designed to deliver a mid launch with low spin." How it works: At 440cc, this one is the smallest of the bunch. It has the deepest face, the lowest CG and is the narrowest from face to rear. The 909 D3 is the easiest to manipulate shots with high or low, left or right. It also produces the least backspin and lowest ball flight. Company testing shows that the 909 D3 launches shots 1° lower with 300 to 500 rpm less spin than the 909 DComp. A curved sole, blindbore hosel and internal ribs all contribute to sweet feel and sound. You'll find it with the Titleist Aldila Voodoo (low to mid launch with lower spin) or Titleist Diamana Blue 65 shaft (tour preferred high launch with moderate spin). Buy and Compare This Driver
19 of 20 Schecter Lee
$499, graphite It's for: All skill levels David Glod, President and founder: "The XCG-V is the best driver that we've produced. It hits beautifully and looks great. As we checked out the development of designs in Japan on our way to China, we were so impressed by the larger 'cup face' technology that we started tooling the entire XCG-V line the next day—the driver, fairway wood and hybrid. The XCG-V was a home run right out of the gate." How it works: Using a lightweight magnesium crown (half the weight of titanium) shifts added mass to the heavy steel soleplate. Lowering the club's center of gravity (CG) leads to low-spinning shots and, typically, more carry distance. The CG, in fact, is lower and more rearward than any previous Exotics driver. The club also boasts the firm's largest titanium "cup face" design (125 percent larger than previous versions), to create serious power across more of the face. The "v-shaped" cup face also frees up weight that's transferred to the heavy sole, for more built-in forgiveness.
20 of 20 Schecter Lee
$219, graphite It's for: All skill levels David Glod, President and founder: "We set out to create a high-performance, high-MOI driver in the mid-price point category. You know, when you develop a driver with four pieces [hosel, crown, sole/skirt and face plate] it becomes a 'hightech' driver. For a mid price-point driver, we push technology to the limit. GeoMax2 delivers exceptional forgiveness, great sound and long drives." How it works: Four internal weight cavities in the rear of the sole move the club's center of gravity (CG) lower and deeper. In fact, the CG is 22 percent farther back than the previous version. GeoMax players should see higher-flying drives with added head stability. A bigger face (by 20 percent) should result in more ball speed.