New golf drivers for 2009 from Adams, Callaway, Cleveland, Cobra, Nike, TaylorMade, Wilson – golf equipment

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Driven to Succeed Seven hot new drivers to suit your needs. Adams Speedline $299, graphite It's for: All skill levels Key feature: Aerodynamic shape Company research reveals that, on average, players swing geometric drivers (large footprint, sloping crown, long from face to rear) 3-percent slower than standard 460cc heads. This slowdown is caused by too much head drag during the swing. (The crown, in particular, creates lots of drag.) It's a big deal because a slower swing typically translates to less ball speed and shorter shots. (A 1-mph decrease in ball speed, at 100 mph swing speed, equals 2.1 yards shorter carry.) Speedline bucks this trend, and improves air flow, with a reshaped crown (peak height is much higher than topline) and reduced frontal cross-sectional area (heel and toe cutouts). The Speedline is offered in both Neutral or Draw heads.
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Callaway FT-9 $399, graphite It's for: Players who like to shape shots, regardless of skill level Key feature: External head weighting Forty grams along the sole and outside the head in external weight pads contribute to 3- to 5-percent higher MOI (heel to toe) than in FT-5. This weight placement also creates higher vertical MOI (by 20-percent versus FT-5). In short, shots that are struck high or low on the face perform similar to dead-center contact (in terms of spin and ball speed). A hyperbolic face design—'X' pattern behind hitting area is thickest in center, thinnest in perimeter—delivers consistent ball speed across the face. 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. • Watch a video about the Callaway FT-9
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Cleveland HiBore Monster XLS $299, graphite It's for: All skill levels Key feature: Large, thin face The firm's biggest, broadest hitting area (16-percent larger than HiBore XLS) makes the Monster ultrastable and forgiving (MOI is 5,900 g/cm2). Twenty-four grams of discretionary weight spread across its rear allow off-center hits to be on par with center contact. The clubface is raised relative to where the sole touches the ground. This reduces mass (by 7 grams) low in the face and contributes to its "high launch, low spin" profile. Monster XLS comes in Tour (440cc) version with 2° open clubface, Standard (460cc) with square face or Draw (460cc; offset) with 3° closed face. You can also dial in your ball flight with Fujikura's Flightspeed Gold shaft (high trajectory) or Flightspeed Red (lower, more penetrating shape).
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Cobra S9-1 $299, graphite It's for: All skill levels Key feature: Three distinct models based on ball speed Cobra tweaked the shape and face size of its Speed LD driverin creating S9-1. 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 Speed LD. As a result, the S9-1 is more stable (higher MOI) and has a hotter face (faster ball speed). The dual rhombus pattern behind the face also helps to shore up ball speed on off-center hits. The S9-1 is also lighter (by 6 grams) with a longer (45.5-inch) shaft to help you swing it faster. Lastly, the center of gravity location is more draw-biased as you move from the F/Speed to M/Speed to M/Offset version.
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Nike SQ Dymo $299, graphite It's for: All handicap levels, those who want the ability to shape shots Key feature: Center of gravity placement and face angle vary by loft In general, players who swing high-lofted drivers tend to lose shots right more so than guys who use lower (ie. 8.5°) lofts. Nike understands this, so high-lofted SQ Dymo drivers have more draw bias (center of gravity is farther back and more heel side) with a more closed face angle than lower-lofted SQ Dymos. All Dymos have weight pockets in the rear toe and heel areas for added forgiveness. A WideBody shaft is used to maintain proper flex (some thin-walled shafts flex too much). A sister driver, Nike's SQ Dymo2, offers more forgiveness.
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TaylorMade Burner TP $399, graphite It's for: Players looking to bomb it Key feature: Dual crown Its center of gravity is 32-percent lower (relative to center face) than the previous TP due, in part, to "dual crown" technology. The effect is higher launch (up to 0.5-degrees), 200 to 300 rpm less spin and a hotter trajectory. Burner TP sets up with a 2° open face angle (in 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° lofts). The club features a 45.75-inch shaft to generate more distance. The new and old Burner TP has similar face area. Yet, the new face is 8-percent taller. New TP is also 3-percent wider (heel to toe) and 9-percent longer (front to back), to improve inertia on off-center hits.
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Wilson Staff Smooth $349, graphite It's for: All skill levels Key feature: Lower lofts designed for better players, higher lofts for high handicappers More mass farther rearward in higher lofts (such as 12°) means higher MOI and more built-in forgiveness than in lower lofts. Translation: Lower lofts are more workable, higher lofts more forgiving. Shifting a club's center of gravity back also increases [dynamic] loft as you swing. The face has varying thicknesses to pump up ball speed on offcenter hits. Fujikura's E-Fit 100 shaft (for slower swingers) has a flexible tip to increase launch and add spin. Fujikura's E-Fit 300 is for stronger, faster swingers who benefit from less spin and mid launch conditions. More Drivers: • Drivers released in 2008 • Frank Thomas: Do drivers wear out? • Equipment Finder: Drivers • The Shop Blog: The latest equipment news
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Buy A Better Drive In addition to improved attack and shaft angles, good practice habits and equipment that fits can go a long way toward helping you hit sweeter drives. Our exclusive research partner, Hot Stix Golf, recommends some driver specs to maximize the effect of your new swing.