ClubTest 2007: Drivers

1 of 10 Greg Lord
ClubTest 2007: Drivers GOLF Magazine asked 40 golfers just like you to hit the newest drivers on the market. Here's what our ClubTesters had to say. Cleveland HiBore XL $299, graphite; clevelandgolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. • Find the right driver for your game with our interactive driver fitting, powered by Hot Stix. We tested: 9.5°, 10.5° in Aldila NV-65, Fujikura Fit-On CG Gold, Fujikura Fit-On CG Red, Fujikura Speeder 652, Grafalloy ProLaunch Blue and Graphite Design YS-7 graphite shaft Company line: "Our inverted crown design aligns the sweet spot and 'hot spot' to produce optimal launch conditions for more distance. Eleven percent larger face area and 'face centered' performance maximizes ball speed over the entire face." Our Test Panel says: Reliable, middle-ofthe- pack performer; indented top seems to promote a low takeaway; looks easy— and is easy—to get airborne; very loud impact sound is offensive to some; strange-looking head squares to target easily for adequate control. Hit it once and you'll forget it looks odd.—Robert Record, 13 Handicap
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HOW THE CLUBS STACK UP Bombs away! WHAT WE DID Four testers — handicaps: 13, 13, 14, 17 — hit dozens of balls with each one of the eight test models. Testers hit balls with clubs they'd been custom-fit for. Hooked up to a launch monitor, the testers hit clubs in varying order. Only well-struck shots were recorded, and we averaged the testers' totals. WHAT WE LEARNED • Trajectory: The Callaway Big Bertha 460 launches highest and spins the most, which leads to the highest overall ball flight. By contrast, the Nike SasQuatch Sumo launches lowest, with relatively low spin, for lowest ball flight. • Distance: These are so tightly bunched that the difference in carry between longest and shortest is seven yards. • Control: Again, not a tremendous variance here. Each one of the 460 cc heads has ample backweight to suppress a variety of foul balls.
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TaylorMade r7 Draw $299, graphite; taylormadegolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. • Find the right driver for your game with our interactive driver fitting, powered by Hot Stix. Video: ClubTesters talk about TaylorMade r7 Draw driver. We tested: 9°, 10.5°, HT in Fujikura ReAx 55 graphite shaft Company line: "Draw weighted technology concentrates weight in the back heel area. This encourages faster clubface rotation through impact and promotes straight shots for slicers. The 460 cc head and "inverted cone' technology provide maximum forgiveness on off-center hits." Our Test Panel says: Does exactly what it promises; draw-bias design produces penetrating, repeatable draws, but it doesn't go overboard by appearing to set up left; long and predictable; sturdy and stable from start to finish, but not for hardswinging right-to-left guys. Another great TaylorMade driver.—Brian Robbins, 18 Handicap
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Yonex Cyberstar Nanospeed $349, graphite; yonexusa.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. • Find the right driver for your game with our interactive driver fitting, powered by Hot Stix. We tested: 9°, 10.5° in Nanospeed CFS 70 graphite shaft Company line: "Titanium face and body combine with powerful, light, Fullerene (nano carbon) crown that is thinnest in the industry. Fullerene and 'elastic ti' reinforced shaft increase head speed due to greater resiliency and light weight." Our Test Panel says: Love the look— there's nothing to distract you at address; lags behind others for feel (slightly hollow), playability and forgiveness; poor swings will make you pay; acceptable distance when you catch it on the screws. Overall, nothing to write home about. —Gary Wilson, 13 Handicap
5 of 10 Greg Lord
Ping Rapture $429, graphite; pinggolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. • Find the right driver for your game with our interactive driver fitting, powered by Hot Stix. We tested: 9°, 10.5°, 12° in Aldila VS Proto 65 and Ping TFC 909D graphite shaft Company line: "We inject lightweight composite into the web-shaped titanium crown. Twenty grams of discretionary weight from this area is redistributed inside the head to position the CG for higher launch and lower spin." Our Test Panel says: Best quality is combination of forgiveness and accuracy; take a rip without fear of failure; more-than-respectable distance and feel qualities; graphics on the crown—half-moon and Spider- Man look—can be a bit too much. Super stable through impact. No discernible twisting even on off-center hits.—Courtland Whited, 19 Handicap
6 of 10 Greg Lord
Nike SasQuatch Sumo $299, graphite; nikegolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. • Find the right driver for your game with our interactive driver fitting, powered by Hot Stix. We tested: 9.5°, 10.5°, Lucky 13° and Sweet 16° in Mitsubishi Diamana graphite shaft Company line: "SUper MOment of Inertia (SUMO) has higher MOI than original SasQuatch (4,950 g/cm2 vs. 4,650). New geometry—larger and lower PowerBow—moves CG farther back and lower. Which translates to more forgiveness and greater distance. Our Test Panel says: Graded out tops in forgiveness category; flush the Sumo and you're out there with the h e avyweights; poor swings result in acceptable distance and reasonable direction; ugliest driver in the test. A master of disguise. Its sweet spot is infinitely large and covers up misses. —Marshall Schattner, 10 Handicap
7 of 10 Greg Lord
MacGregor MacTec NVG2 Draw $375. graphite, macgregorgolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. We tested: 10.5° in Fujikura Quadra Action graphite shaft • Find the right driver for your game with our interactive driver fitting, powered by Hot Stix. Company line: "A high quality beta titanium face is plasma welded onto the body using "cup face 360" technology. This produces the largest sweet spot on the market. Tungsten weights are calibrated to create a right-to-left flight. Our Test Panel says: Like a business suit, ready for work and handsomely styled; solid feel during swings with adequate stability at contact; ear-popping 55-gallon drum sound of previous MacTecs is under control; decent correction but sidespin is not eliminated; resists left-to-right flight. A good option for slicers. A dependable anti-slice driver. — Kevin DiNapoli, 17 Handicap
8 of 10 Greg Lord
Cobra Speed LD $299, graphite; cobragolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. • Find the right driver for your game with our interactive driver fitting, powered by Hot Stix. We tested: LD/F: 9°, 10.5° in Aldila NV-F; LD/M Offset: 9°, 10.5° in Aldila NVS-M; LD/M: 10.5°, 12° in Aldila NVS-M; LD/M Offset Seniors: 12° in Mitsubishi Bassara-M; Speed Pro/X Deep Face: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° in Aldila VS Proto 65; Speed Pro/X Shallow Face: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° in Fujikura Speeder Pro graphite shaft Company line: "Head dimensions (5" x 4.9") is to edge of legal regulations. LD (for "limit dimensions") has a "fast-back" crown with deep dimples to push CG lower and back. Results in high MOI (5,000+), increased launch and carry." Our Test Panel says: Excellent combination of power and feel; there's a trampoline effect without an echo; good feel runs from head up into the arms; crown aesthetic requires some getting used to; pretty good forgiveness factor. Yowza! This is a long and ferocious beast when you hit it square.—Peter Kraus, 20 Handicap
9 of 10 Greg Lord
Callaway Big Bertha 460 $299, graphite; callawaygolf.com • Go to Equipment Finder profile to tell us what you think and see what other GOLF.com readers said about this club. • Find the right driver for your game with our interactive driver fitting, powered by Hot Stix. We tested: 9°, 10°, 13° in Aldila NVS 55 graphite shaft Company line: "The stretched titanium design produces our highest MOI in an all-titanium driver. Delivers reliability through its 'consistent alignment' sole, a 'correct alignment stripe' along the crown and S2H2 TruBore design." Our Test Panel says: Love Bertha's forgiveness, ranking it tops for the category; like the "vivid" white alignment stripe across the top of face; slight mis-hits are hard to tell by feel or sound; decent distance; hits very high; closed face prevents left-to-right shots. Easy to hit? How about extra easy. As forgiving as it gets.—Doug Lair, 14 Handicap
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WHAT THEY BOUGHT Testers plunked down some hard-earned cash for their favorite drivers at ClubTest. Here's what they purchased. Cleveland HiBore XL Steve Sesko (handicap 9) Jeff Bones (10) Cobra Speed LD Walt Spitzmiller (9) MacGregor MacTec NVG2 Draw Doug Lair (14) Ping Rapture Mike Gorski (14) Courtland Whited (19) TaylorMade r7 Draw Kevin DiNapoli (17)