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New on the tee: 2014 Drivers
http://www.publinksgolfer.net/articles/1100/1/New-on-the-tee:-2014-Drivers/Page1.html
Tom Landers
 
By Tom Landers
Published on 07/7/2014
 

New on the tee: 2014 Drivers

Drivers
Selecting a Driver? Take a Look in the Mirror

Whether you shoot in the 60’s or over 100, the driver is only used about fourteen times in a round. Yet it is the club that at every demo day is hit the most. There is something intriguing about hitting a golf ball far. Go to a demo day near you and you’ll witness people lined up to hit the latest and greatest the manufacturers have to offer while the wedges go untouched. Player s line up for the launch monitor as if at a county fair to see just how far they can hit it. They will ignore a plethora of duck hooks and slices and focus only on the one shot that they “pured.” It’s a no compromise, “take no prisoners testosterone fest” quest for more distance.
In reality selecting a driver should really be about understanding and accepting your own strengths and tendencies and what “compromises” work best for your game. Here is where we can all learn from the Tour players. They understand that hitting shots close to the pin means more birdies and more birdies means more money! If they are naturally long, they are seeking to hit more fairways, not just get longer. If hitting fairways is already their forte, then dialing up more distance means hitting shorter irons into greens and closer proximity to the pin. Yet the manufacturers marketing teams know the right button to push…MORE DISTANCE!
When you understand, and more importantly, accept the reality of your game, selecting the right driver can be a very rewarding process that pays off in lower scores. The laws of physics are not suggestions but cold hard facts. Less backspin and more loft equals more distance. But clubhead speed still legislates just how far. Less side spin can help you hit the ball straighter, hence find more fairways. With all the weight, loft, clubface adjustability and shaft selections there is sure to be a driver that can maximize your potential. The key is be honest with your expectations and seek to fill in your limitations.

Drivers



Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 5 star

Adams XTD
www.AdamsGolf.com • $399

The XTD employs progressive face thickness plus cut-through velocity slots in the crown, center sole, and toe of the sole. This causes the clubface to flex on average 6 percent more (like a trampoline) than the company’s Super S driver. Also, a thin, light crown saves 10 grams. The XTD can be adjusted +/- 1.5° loft. The 45-inch club comes standard with a Matrix Red Tie 6Q shaft in 9°, 10.5° or 12° lofts.

Tester Comments: Had a chance to try a few different models and I would put this club at number one … Distance and Control … The stock shaft his really great for all levels of play … Would recommend to players looking for a superior feel and all-around performing driver.




Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Bobby Jones Black Series
www.bobyjones.com • $399

Unique Features: The 460 cc pear shaped driver features a denser grained Ti material that produces a more pleasing sound and feel while keeping the hot cup-face design. The cup-face design produces lower spin but maintains a high ball velocity off the face for the highest CT allowed. Spin rates are lower and launch angles are a bit lower than most drivers. For this reason the company recommends the 10.5 or 12 degree models for most players. The sleek, aerodynamic slope of the crown is claimed to increase clubhead speed. An adjustable titanium hosel provides options of square, one degree closed or two degrees closed face angles.

Tester Comments: With the unique pear shape head design, the matte black finish with sleek red lines really allows the experience to focus on framing the golf ball … consistent and repeatable mid/high, straight flight drives … Driving distance was on par with other drivers.





Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 4 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Callaway Big Bertha

www.CallawayGolf.com • $399

Unique Features: The newest Big Bertha has a 19 percent larger sweet spot than last year’s RAZR Fit Xtreme, and it features the same eight-way adjustable hosel (four lofts, two lies) as in Callaway’s FT Optiforce drivers. An eight-gram weight slides on a five-inch track along the back edge of the club. Moving the slider can shift the club’s lateral center of gravity. A composite crown helps keep the club light despite the rear track, while added perimeter weighting boosts forgiveness. Available in 9°, 10.5°, and 13.5° lofts with a 45.5-inch Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Z shaft.

Tester Comments: Better than expected with great feel and distance … club consistently gave me the longer carry and overall driving distance … Easy to make the adjustments, even the weight.




Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 4 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha
www.CallawayGolf.com • $499

Unique Features: Big Bertha Alpha has a first-of-its-kind removable carbon tube in the head, heavy tungsten on one end and a light nylon on the other. It’s used to alter backspin up to 600 rpm without changing loft. Positioning tungsten near the sole creates a lower spin head than rear weighting while tungsten higher in the head makes it a mid-spin driver. The “Alpha” also has two moveable weights of 7 grams and 1 gram that can be switched between the driver’s heel and toe weight ports to create more draw or fade bias.

Tester Comments: Great Control Driver … Miss-hits come of the face a little dead, which helps them stay nice and low and straight, but will compromise distance. Hit it on the middle of the face, though, and the distance is fine … Great club for high spin players … this driver is a monster once the ball flies off the head: long, high, straight bombs.




Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 5 stars
Senior 4 star

Callaway X2 Hot
www.CallawayGolf.com • $299

Unique Features: The HyperSpeed face of the X2 Hot is 10 percent larger than its predecessor, leading to more consistent ball speeds across the face. It’s also Callaway’s lightest driver, with a 46-inch stock shaft and a head weight of 194 grams. That gives slower swing speed players the potential for more club head speed. The X2 Hot is available in lofts of 9, 10.5 and 13.5 degrees, and uses Callaway’s Advanced OptiFit hosel that has a 3-degree range of adjustability.

Tester Comments: This club loves to draw … 2 Test Rounds - 4 fairways missed - enough said! … I have never ever hit any driver as straight consistently as this one ... Like everything else I tested this driver goes long ... Ball jumps off the face even for slower swinger of the club ... You don’t need Tour swing speeds to realize this club’s distance..




Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 4 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4.5 star

Cleveland 588 Altitude
www.ClevelandGolf.com • $299

Unique Features: The 588 Altitude is designed to help golfers with slow-to-moderate swing speeds swing a little faster, with an ultralight 270-gram total weight that makes it one of the lightest drivers on the market. It has a low, deep center of gravity, made possible by its lack of an adjustable hosel and an extremely thin 6-4 titanium face and body and a lighter BF titanium sole. It is offered in three lofts (9, 10.5 and 12) for right-handed golfers (9 and 10 degrees for lefties) and has a 460-cubic-centimeter head. Shaft length is 45.75 inches.

Tester Comments: Exceptional distance with control. No gizmos, no gadgets, no distractions. Old school design, new world results! … I shoot in the 90’s and this driver is farther, and much straighter anything I have tried … Easy to launch and great ball flight.




Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 4 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Cleveland 588 Custom
www.ClevelandGolf.com • $349

Unique Features: The all-titanium 588 Custom is a 460 cc; 305-gram club and has an adjustable hosel with 12 distinct settings. All that, according to the company, amounts to 30 yards worth of dispersion variation. The 588 Custom also utilizes variable face thicknesses for slightly more pop and produces lower-launching, lower-spinning shots.

Tester Comments: Easily the longest Cleveland driver I have ever tried and I have tried them all ...
Adjustable hosel and Swing weight screw are easy to use and understand ... lower center of gravity helps lower spin for maximum distance. ... I like quieter click and muffled sound on center and off-center hits.




Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Cobra Bio Cell+
www.CobraGolf.com • $399

Unique Features: The club’s engineers wanted to achieve a lower center of gravity than in the AMP Cell Pro, since a lower CG equals higher ball speed, higher launch and lower spin. To do so, the team used Venollum, a lighter, stronger material than standard titanium, which saves 8 grams. The weight savings gets distributed lower in the head. The Bio Cell+ boasts a larger “sweet zone” and a more flexible face for a claimed10 percent increase in max ball speed on shots struck one inch off-center. The adjustable hosel has eight loft settings from 8° to 11°, including three draw settings. The Bio Cell+ comes in five head colors; silver, orange, red, blue or black and has a 45.25-inch Matrix Red Tie shaft.

Tester Comments: The driver is awesome. I was always looking for a driver that helped me hit the ball with a mid flight instead of high … Miss hits aren’t really misfits with this club. I stayed in play 95% of the time with this driver




Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 5 stars
Senior 5 star

Cobra Bio Cell
www.CobraGolf.com • $299

Unique Features: Cobra’s Bio Cell is the company’s most forgiving driver for 2014. It uses Cobra’s Bio Cell and E9 face technologies to push its center of gravity 50 percent lower than the AMP Cell driver for a higher launch, lower spin and more forgiveness. Like the company’s lower-spinning Bio Cell + driver, the Bio Cell uses an adjustable hosel that allows the driver to be adjusted from lofts of 9, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5 and 12 degrees, as well as three upright settings.

Tester Comments: The BiO Cell looks great and contact on the large sweet spot sounds and feels great … I’m not a big hitter -- low-to-mid 90s swing speed -- but I found that if I put a good swing on the ball, the Cobra consistently delivered great ball flight with a slight draw … Nice Big Sweet Spot





Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Nike VR_S Covert 2.0 Tour
www.NikeGolf.com • $399

Unique Features: For the second generation of its Covert Tour driver, Nike made the club 30 cc bigger, up to 460 from 430. The result is a club with a 15 percent larger face, an 11 percent larger footprint at address, and an 11 percent higher MOI. Nike testing claims that the new model beats last year’s club by 2 mph on shots struck low on the face. An adjustable hosel switches independently among five lofts, 8.5° through 12.5° and three face angles, from 1.5° open to 1.5° closed. It comes stock with a 45.5-inch Mitsubishi Rayon KuroKage TiNi Silver shaft and Nike Tour Wrap 2G grip.

Tester Comments: This driver is very forgiving and long … Combines forgiveness and distance to the max … Feel, sound , head shape, everything fit perfectly.




Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Nike VR_S Covert 2.0
www.NikeGolf.com • $299

Unique Features: Like the Covert 2.0 Tour, the Covert 2.0 measures 460cc. But it’s longer from front to back, creating a little higher launch, more spin and more forgiveness than the Covert 2.0 Tour. The Covert 2.0 comes stock with Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kuro Kage Black HBP shaft, which allowed engineers to make the driver head a little heavier and still keep a standard swing weight, between D4 and D6, at its stock length of 45.5 inches. The face angle measures about 1-degree open at address, about the same as the Covert 2.0 Tour, but its internal weighting adds a bit more draw bias to help faders straighten out their ball flight..

Tester Comments: This year’s Covert 2.0 is a big improvement, the larger face even if only 7% larger seems to have helped and the new cavity seems to work as advertised my mishits are much more accurate and forgiving, distance seems to have improved also because of it … Sounds amazing, feel like you crush it.





Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Ping I25
www.Ping.com • $399

The i25 is Ping’s lower-launching, lower-spinning counter part to its extremely popular G25 model, using a shorter profile from front to back and 15 grams of tungsten weights on the rear of its sole to lower the driver’s center of gravity. Like the G25, the i25 is adjustable and allows the stock lofts of 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees to be adjusted 0.5 degrees higher or lower from their standard lofts. The i25 comes stock with the company’s new PWR shafts in weights of 55, 65 and 75 grams, each of which has a balance point that has been tweaked to allow golfers to maintain the club’s stock swing weight of D3 at 45.25 inches regardless of shaft weight or flex..

Tester Comments: Great for More Distance … Has a great feel and sound … If you hit any 2014 driver in the middle of the face, they all produce huge distance; this club produces huge distance even on miss-hits … flies a little lower but produces nice roll out … The extra weights on the driver really makes the impact and swing feel more powerful and the low spin makes it fly straight as an arrow.




Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 5 stars
Senior 4.5 star

Ping G25
www.Ping.com • $299

Unique Features: The G25 has a CG that is the lowest and most rearward of any Ping driver. Drivers with low, rearward CG’s help golfers in two ways, according to Ping engineers. They increase perimeter weighting, which adds forgiveness to off-center hits, and work to deliver the club at impact with more dynamic loft. The G25 is available in lofts of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees, and comes stock with Ping’s counterbalanced TFC 189D shaft. Golfers who want a Ping driver yet need lower-spinning drives than the G25 can deliver should look into the company’s i25 driver, which has a lower, slightly more forward CG for a more penetrating trajectory.

Tester Comments: The G25 driver was easy to hit, and even easier to control. I’ll be thinking twice now before reaching for my 3-wood at the tee box … I hit them long and stayed in play. The club feels great to swing and is the most forgiving driver I tried … the head shape is wonderful for lining up at address and the adjustable loft is great as well.




Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 5 stars
Senior 5 star

Powerbilt DFX
www.powerbilt.com • $299

Unique Features: DFX stands for Deep Face Extreme. The clubface is now 5 mm deeper than the previous version, which catches the ball at impact slightly longer and combines with the nitrogen inside the clubhead that is claimed to create reduced spin and more distance. “We reduced the nitrogen pressure to 80 pounds, for better impact feel,” says Ross Kvinge, President of PowerBilt. “This new amount of nitrogen generates a tremendous trampoline effect for increased ball speed. In fact, now the trampoline effect is up to the USGA maximum limit.” The Air Force One DFX features a forged titanium body with titanium cup face technology, as well as aerodynamic clubhead shaping.

Tester Comments: Feels like a major brand name driver … Has a nice unique sound … The ball does trampoline well off the face. The ball goes longer than you think with a solid hit. Miss hits still carried in the 240 range … Good driver for a moderate to slow swinger, ball still jumps off face and goes.


Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 5 star

TaylorMade SLDR S
www.TaylorMadeGolf.com • $299

Unique Features: SLDR S Driver is SLDR distance for all. Its modern/classic shape with satin silver crown and black button back provide for easy alignment, while a low and forward center of gravity (CG) promotes high launch, fast ball speed, and low spin for exceptional distance. The easy and intuitive SLDR sliding weight promotes up to 30 yards of shot shape adjustment, and the Fujikura Speeder 57 shaft blends light weight with great feel and playability.

Tester Comments: At 66 years old I thought my long driving days were over. But after two rounds of with the SLDR S, longer drives are back. Unbelievable! … Adjusting for a Draw/Fade is simple … Great driver very forgiving, not to mention it’s long off the tee.





Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 5 star

TaylorMade SLDR
www.TaylorMadeGolf.com • $399

Unique Features: The SLDR features a sliding weight track located on the front of the sole that concentrates the driver’s weight low and forward in the head to lower the driver’s spin. Because of the low, forward CG, the SLDR usually requires golfers to add as much as 2 degrees more loft than they’re used to playing for optimal launch conditions. For that reason, the SLDR is available in lofts of 12 and 14 degrees, as well as the more traditional lofts of 10.5, 9.5 and 8 degrees. While the SLDR has the same 3-degree adjustable hosel as the JetSpeed driver, it’s more adjustable thanks to its sliding weight track, which houses a 20-gram weight that can create as much as 30 yards of left-to-right trajectory bias. The SLDR’s stock shaft measures 45.5 inches and it has a stock swing weight of D4. A 430cc model is also available in lofts of 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees for golfers who need even less spin.

Tester Comments: Tried the 9.5 degree and dropped my backspin by over 1100rpm and my drives were averaging 285 yds., 30 yards further than any other club I hit! … Had a steady fade on it until I adjusted the weight closer to the heel of the club and it really straightened out for me … Great driver for a better golfer and long off the tee.




Low Handicap 5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 5 stars
Senior 4.5 star

TaylorMade Mini
www.TaylorMadeGolf.com • $279

Unique Features: TaylorMade created a new golf club that incorporates their cutting edge metalwood technology, including the distance-enhancing Speed Pocket, and sized it between a 3-wood and 460cc driver. At 260cc, the SLDR Mini Driver’s footprint is larger, and face deeper, than a 160cc 3-wood. That gives you more stability and forgiveness on mis-hits and allows you to tee the ball higher, which makes the it easier to launch off the tee than a 3-wood. The SLDR Mini Driver has a low-forward CG like the rest of TaylorMade’s SLDR metalwoods, and a Speed Pocket too, which promotes more ball speed and less spin to give you more distance when you loft up

Tester Comments: SO easy to hit off the tee and almost as long as my driver … Almost as easy to hit off the turf as my 3 wood but definitely longer … Simply perfect for tight par fours. A concept that was long overdue! … I tried the mini driver, 14 degrees, regular flex. Wow!!!! I am getting the exact same distance I usually get with my driver and my shots go straight down the middle.




Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4.5 star

Tour Edge Exotics XCG7
www.touredge.com • $299

Unique Features: The adjustable Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Driver incorporates added versatility in a 460cc 6A4V titanium head. Engineers designed a Power Grid positioned directly behind the hitting area to create an accordion-like effect and increase spring-effect by flexing at impact. The Power Grid alternates in thickness from 0.5mm to 1.0mm, allowing the thinner dimple-slots to flex to produce a hotter launch. Four advanced-position hexahedron weight pads maximize moment of inertia (MOI) for greater stability in each clubhead.

Tester Comments: More distance than I had with others but more importantly it is as accurate as accurate as any driver on the market ... Even mishits sound great and travel a long ways ... Adjusting is easy and quick ... Very Forgiving.




Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta
www.WilsonStaff.com • $299

Unique Features: The adjustable Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta Driver features upgraded performance in a 6A4V titanium, 440cc deeper-faced head that produces a slightly lower, more penetrating trajectory. The driver’s advanced Beta titanium face delivers a powerful launch speed at impact for the ultimate performance for better players. Like the XGC7 Driver, the Beta also feature a Power Grid directly behind the hitting area and four advanced-position hexahedron weight pads maximize moment of inertia (MOI) for greater stability.

Tester Comments: Really has a nice penetrating ball flight ... I had an easy time drawing the ball with the Beta ... A lower ball flight than the XCG7 and not as forgiving ... Definitely for a more
accomplished player who is looking for distance and a lower ball flight.




Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 4 stars
Senior 4 star

Wilson FG Tour M3
www.WilsonStaff.com • $350

The first adjustable driver from Wilson Staff, the new FG Tour M3 driver features six separate loft settings and three sole weight options customizable for optimized trajectory and increased club head speeds. The driver head comes set at an initial loft of 9.5°. Based on the player’s preferred ball flight, lofts can be adjusted to 8.5°, 9.0°, 9.5°, 10.5°, 11.0° and 11.5°. 3-gram, 7-gram and 11-gram sole weights all come included in a pouch with an adjustability wrench and manual. Along with its adjustability features, the 460cc head contains a variable thickness face that maximizes the sweet spot. A deep face and pear shape make the head appear more compact at address.

Tester Comments: Sneaky long … good consistency in regard to overall yardage … Seems lighter than other drivers, in a good way because I swing it faster and hit it longer … Medium to High ball flight.




Low Handicap 4 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 stars
High HDCP/ Beginner 5 stars
Senior 5 star

Wilson D100
www.WilsonStaff.com • $250

Unique Features: With over 50 grams of weight reduction compared to traditional golf drivers, the D100 driver optimizes grip, shaft and head to allow you to swing faster with the same effort. The D100 driver is tailored to the player seeking power and a straighter ball flight off the tee. A hotter CT fires the ball with greater speed and distance. Variable thickness in the large, deep face creates a large sweet spot for more forgiveness on off-center drives. Relocating non-essential weight to the sole of the club head lowers and deepens its center of gravity. This heightens the launch angle and increases MOI for forgiveness.

Tester Comments: This club is really forgiving and I also gained a few yards … Ball flies off the face. I was hitting drives that had to be very long … This Driver is very light and very easy to hit straight.


Player’s Choice Awards

Low Handicap
Bobby Jones Black
Callaway Big Bertha Alpha
Ping i25
TaylorMade SLDR
TaylorMade Mini

Mid Handicap
Callaway X2 Hot
Cobra Bio Cell+
Nike Covert 2.0
Ping G25
TaylorMade SLDR S
Tour Edge XCG7

High Handicap
/ Beginner
Callaway Big Bertha
Callaway X2 Hot
Cobra Bio Cell
Ping G25
Powerbilt AFO DFX
TaylorMade Mini

Senior
Callaway Big Bertha
Cobra Bio Cell
Powerbilt AFO DFX
TaylorMade SLDR
Wilson D100