ClubTest 2008: Drivers — Max Game-Improvement

1 of 8 Schecter Lee
Cleveland HiBore XLS Draw $299, graphite; clevelandgolf.com We tested: 10.5° and 12° in Fujikura Fit-On M Gold; 10.5° in Fujikura Fit-On M Red graphite shaft. Shaft length: 45" Company line: "Our largest clubface ever is 3-degrees closed, to eliminate slices. The XLS Draw has an extremely high MOI of 5,300 g/cm2 and includes the Fujikura Fit-On Red/Gold shaft fitting system." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Does what it promises; it's a well-balanced club that comfortably manages your misses; offset encourages a draw, helps to prevent slicing; nice, aggressive ball flight that gets up very easily and pierces the sky; steady distance output; overall, an upgrade over last year's version; now-familiar HiBore cosmetics don't look so wacky anymore; Cleveland does a good job hiding the offset. CONS: Very little feedback across the face, a general lack of feel; loud impact noise is a distraction and turnoff. Rate and Review this club
2 of 8 Schecter Lee
Cobra L4V $399, graphite; cobragolf.com We tested: X/Speed 9°, F/Speed 9° and 10°, M/Speed 10.5° and 12° in Mitsubishi Diamana Red Board graphite shaft. Shaft length: 45" Company line: "The ultra-light carbon composite crown and sole, along with high-density tungsten back weight, shift mass low and back, to generate an MOI up to 5,900. The shafts are 'Speed-Tuned' to match specific ball speeds." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Best all-around club in the group; great trajectory, highest ball flight of those tested; a strong, stiff, smash-it feel; consistent distance no matter where you catch it on the face; large head is a confidence builder, and alignment couldn't be easier; perfect combination of feel and distance; soft on the hands but firm and stable at impact; very nice length in an attractive design. CONS: Hitting it very low on the face can leave you in trouble; clubhead may be too light for some players. Rate and Review this club
3 of 8 Schecter Lee
Hippo Hex2 $169, graphite; hippo-golf.com We tested: 9°, 10° and 12° HL in Mitsubishi CP4 graphite shaft. Shaft length: 45.5" Company line: "The club's unique hexagonal shape allows optimum weight distribution to reduce the effect of sidespin and provide more energy transfer from clubface to ball. It results in our straightest, longest driver." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Its natural ball flight is a low, penetrating shot even with a higher loft; clubhead remains steady through impact; large sweet spot is dependably forgiving for distance and direction; the Hex2 does a fine job of reducing sidespin; respectable distance, keeps up with the others; lots of straight shots, balls right down the middle. CONS: Voted least attractive club in the test; surprisingly little feel on both center and off-center contact, lacks the feedback of many high-quality metal woods; difficult to get beyond the ugly exterior.
4 of 8 Schecter Lee
Nicklaus Dual Point Drawback $299, graphite; nicklaus-golf.com We tested: 10.5° in Fujikura SG Pro 3.01 graphite shaft. Shaft length: 45" Company line: "Our offset design offers the ultimate in slice correction. It's at the USGA limit for dimension (5" x 5"), to provide incredible stability through impact with a high MOI. 'Dual point' technology aligns the CG with the optimal face flexpoint for maximum trampoline effect." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Best slice-killing driver; a dream for chronic slicers due to its big offset design; consistent feel across the face; mis-hits don't land unreasonably shorter than good strikes; strong draw bias keeps you off the right side of the course. CONS: Least directionally-forgiving driver in the test; dull, tinny impact; sort of a one-trick pony— shots go left, just depends on how far left; testers find it to be an overbearing, generally unattractive look. Rate and Review this club
5 of 8 Schecter Lee
Nike SQ Sumo2 5900 $399, graphite; nikegolf.com We tested: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, 11.5° and 13° in Mitsubishi Diamana Yellow Board graphite shaft. Shaft length: 45.75" Company line: "This updated shape increases ball speed and accuracy. A titanium cup face improves ball speed over a larger area. 'Powerbow' manages weight to optimize performance." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Directional and distance forgiveness are the goods here; no twisting or turning of the clubhead at impact, absolutely no problems with toe strikes; a very dependable, medium trajectory that moves right-to-left for extra distance; ball seems to spring off the clubface; a visual improvement over last year's model; distance and direction equally forgiven on mis-hits. CONS: Straight pushes and pulls more common than draws or fades; muted feedback can mask results; loud impact sound; head size can be a distraction. Rate and Review this club
6 of 8 Schecter Lee
Ping G10 Draw $299, graphite; pinggolf.com We tested: 9°, 10.5° and 12° in Ping TFC 129D and UST Proforce V2 graphite shaft. Shaft length: 45.75" Company line: "The hosel is farther forward than it is on the standard G10 to assist in squaring the face at impact. An internal weight pad is farther back and closer to the heel [than the G10] to promote easier head rotation." Voted Best for Distance Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Longest club in the test; eliminates the right side without putting you in too much danger of OB left; almost effortless at impact, ball jumps off the tall face; decent ballstrikers will find extra yardage in the consistent draw; classic Ping shape, very clean looking. CONS: Alignment aid is too subtle, causing some uneasiness at address; long shaft might be too much for a true high-handicapper; it overloads a natural draw. Rate and Review this club
7 of 8 Schecter Lee
TaylorMade r7 CGB Max $499, graphite; taylormadegolf.com We tested: 9.5°, 10.5°, 12° in REAX SF45 Mitsubishi graphite shaft. Shaft length: 45.5" Company line: "The triangular head incorporates an exceptionally far-back CG location. This makes it easy to launch the ball high and super-deep. 'Movable weight technology' with three weights (one 16-gram, two 1-gram) promote change in trajectory up to 35 yards from a slight fade to large draw for improved accuracy and distance." Our Test Panel Says: PROS: Right-to-left spin slows down a slice; subtle alignment marking helps at address; medium-high ball flight; adjustable weights are great for changing trajectory; slick cosmetics with triangular shape; deadly accurate on center strikes; stable at impact, head doesn't twist open on toe hits; good directional help on slight off-center shots. CONS: Would appreciate more differentiation, in terms of feel, between good hits and marginal ones; several testers expected more distance forgiveness; head shape in playing position is not as pleasing to the eye as more standard shapes. Rate and Review this club
8 of 8 Schecter Lee
Winner: Driver — Max Game-Improvement Cobra L4V $ 399, graphite; cobragolf.com You can step up and swing away with total confidence. Its large, forgiving face is there for you and the powerful impact feel lets you know good things are set to happen. The high ball flight is a pleasure to behold, particularly since shots don't tail off or rob distance. Lightweight composite along the sole and a tungsten back weight contribute to its high MOI. • ClubTest Home Page • ClubTest Index Page • Drivers: Game-Improvement • Drivers: Tour • Fairway Woods