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 »  Home  »  Equipment  »  Play Testing  »  Drivers  »  New on the Tee: 2015 Drivers
New on the Tee: 2015 Drivers
By Tom Landers | Published  07/2/2015 | Drivers | Unrated
New on the Tee: 2015 Drivers

Drivers
Find the Driver Fit for Your Game

Whether it’s the pride of striping one right down the middle or the total frustration of watching the ball turn uncontrollably into the woods, the driver is the club that stirs emotions more than any other. With the incredible advances in customization and adjustability, finding the driver that works best for you is easier than you may think. Shot shape technologies, shaft matching, adjustable weighting, variable lofts and face angles all contribute to helping the average player enjoy the customization that was once exclusively reserved for players blessed with Tour level talent. A properly fit driver will go a long way towards correcting a slice, taming a hook and maximizing distance... as well as your potential!

For the past several years, engineers have been busy competing to build drivers that border right up to the USGA’s allowable limits for CT, COR and MOI. This may be ‘alphabet soup’ to the average player but rest assured pretty much all of the major players in the driver market offer drivers that touch on the allowable limits. Launch angle research has now morphed into descent angle efficiency. Spin rates, color, non-glare finishes, shot shape technologies, shaft matching, weight distribution, are all on the table for design engineers. But none of these factors alone can replace the benefits derived from a properly fit driver.

With the feedback available from launch monitors, good fitters and quality instructors, the right driver is out there for anyone to experience improvement and don’t be surprised if it means using a softer shaft and more loft! Working with the right fitter can help you find the best match for your ideal launch angle, swing speed, spin rate and a plethora of other variables. To buy a driver with the specs of your favorite Tour pro or even your weekend partner, just because they have success with it, is a recipe for certain frustration.

 

Drivers


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

Adams Blue
www.AdamsGolf.com • $300

Unique Features: The Adams Blue Driver features the Easy Launch System claimed to launch the ball easily into the air. The Easy Launch System consists of three features that work together to give golfers high-launch with a draw-bias. It has a sole slot for more flex and speed across a larger area of the face. Keeping the CG low and back provides more spin to keep the ball in the air. The Adams SlimTech shaft has a .320 tip, vs. the “standard” driver .350 tip, claimed to provide more kick and easy launch.
Tester Comments: Nice clean looking driver, just looks like a driver should … Easy to hit and as much distance as any driver on the market … launches the ball easily into the air with good straight distance.



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

Bridgestone J715 Tour 460
www.BridgestoneGolf.com • $399

Unique Features: he J715 relies on a combination of 4 technologies to maximize distance and accuracy off the tee. The Flex Action Speed Technology (F.A.S.T.) crown is extremely thin near the clubface and progressively thickens towards the club head rear to enable the crown to slightly flex at impact creating higher launch and faster ball speed. A patented face milling pattern works to reduce ball slippage at impact. Movable weights on multiple axes in the heel and center of the club head allow you to customize the center of gravity for desired spin and trajectory. The J715 is also face and Lie angle adjustable.
Tester Comments: The black gloss, titanium head is clean and doesn’t feature any logos or alignment aids and has a lovely, large 460cc head profile at address … driver sounds and feels really good at impact, with a subtle zing noise that I think will please any golf purist … great fun to use and gives you lots of lovely sound and feel feedback from a large, classic, clean head.




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

Callaway XR
www.CallawayGolf.com • $350

Unique Features: To reduce drag and maximize speed through the swing, Callaway uses a Speed Step Crown and an aerodynamic head shape. The XR boasts increased ball speeds across the face by reducing 10% of the face weight to make it thinner. Callaway also put the center of gravity 17% lower to deliver a higher moment of inertia. Their are eight different loft and lie configurations to find the right launch for your ball flight to get more distance.
Tester Comments: Callaway claim it is 2.3 mph faster than the X2 Hot driver, which would probably add another 5-10 years for most mortals, and it certainly felt pretty powerful at impact … a lovely zing at impact and really good feel … a very forgiving face that looks and sounds great.



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

Cobra Fly-Z
www.CobraGolf.com • $350

Unique Features: Back CG Zone weighting is claimed to make launching the ball easier with the Cobra Fly-Z and the MyFly8 with SmartPad technology offers eight adjustable loft settings to maximize distance and manage trajectory. The Cobra E9 forged face weighting removes weight from key areas across the face and hosel to increase the size of the “sweet spot” for more distance on off-center hits. Cobra removed weight from the crown to reposition it low and back in the head for a low, deep center of gravity to help with forgiveness on off-center hits, while a “trench” surrounds the face to help minimize face thickness and provide increased ball speeds across the face.
Tester Comments: I’ve hit pretty much every driver this season and I’ll say that this is the most forgiving driver I have ever hit. it almost seems like you can’t miss … Shot shape remained straight with the 10.5 degree factory set loft. Distance on all my swings was about plus 10 yards, possibly 15. That was on all ball strikes whether my normal strike towards the hosel hit or center hits.


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

Cobra Fly-Z +
www.CobraGolf.com • $400

Unique Features: Featuring Cobra’s “FLIPZONE” weighting technology, the Fly-Z+ Driver is Cobra’s first front and back CG adjustable driver. A low-front CG setting gives you a penetrating ball flight with more roll, and the low-back CG setting gives you a higher launch for more carry. The Fly Z+ shares Cobra’s forged E9 Zone face weighting, MyFly8/SmartPad and the Speed Channel Face technologies with the standard Fly Z, but ups the ante with a Titanium 6-4 body and carbon fiber crown and sole pieces to maximize discretionary movable weight.
Tester Comments:This driver just smashes the ball … This driver is low spin with good forgiveness and yet it still offers great balance between looks, feel and performance … the Cobra Fly-Z+ is on average longer because of the e9 face technology … excellent sound and feel because of the multi-material design
.


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

Knuth Golf High Heat
www.KnuthGolf.com • $400

Unique Features:Dean Knuth of USGA fame has developed a patent-pending process of creating dense titanium alloy face plates, by cutting them with lasers, pressing them into a die at extreme pressure to produce highly precise and dense face plates of BT-22 alloy, Russian-made titanium. Knowing that tee shots hit below the center of the face can lose up to 20 yards, Knuth has given High Heat a much deeper and lower center of gravity (CG) than any of the major brands, producing more total distance and forgiveness. The driver has a unique face—Knuth’s Fire Zone Face Technology—with a combination of seven different zones of variable thickness, including patented “parabolic” lobes at the top of the toe and heel of the face. This increases spring-like effect across the entire face while still conforming to USGA Rules and increasing the accuracy of High Heat.
Tester Comments: Has a loud and powerful sound … If you want extra distance and straight drives, then this is for you … Long and very, very forgiving not matter where I hit it on the face.



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

Ping G30
www.Ping.com • $349

Unique Features: The G30’s center of gravity position is the lowest and farthest back of any Ping model, claimed to ensure optimal launch conditions and an even higher moment of inertia in both axes for extreme forgiveness and maximum energy transfer. A new high-strength, lightweight T9S titanium face is thinner and hotter to optimize face deflection for faster ball speeds and longer drives.
Tester Comments: I’m not a big hitter -- 250 yards is long for me. That being said, I hit this consistently about 265, love the extra yardage .. WOW! What a driver. I could never hit a draw with a driver until now. With no effort the ball comes off the clubhead in a right to left draw and rolls quit a distance … If you hit the ball around the sweet spot as in a half inch off it still goes far. Compared to many brands the Club will go at least 5% farther around the sweet spot compared to many brands that lose 10% of the distance when you don’t nail them right on the sweet spot.



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

Powerbilt Air Force One DFX
www.Powerbilt.com • $250

Unique Features: The Air Force One DFX promises incredibly fast ball speed with tight dispersion and the option to fit several leading shaft models to achieve your optimum launch and spin rate. It features an aerodynamic head shape with forged titanium body and titanium cup face. This deep face profile driver has a nitrogen pressurized club head..
Tester Comments: This driver is extremely fast and forgiving … Driver isn’t afraid to go long … impressed with how consistently efficient this driver was.


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

TaylorMade R15
www.TaylorMadeGolf.com • $430

Unique Features: The pear shaped TaylorMade R15 460 Driver employs Inverted Cone Technology for an expanded sweet spot. The center of gravity is lower and more forward to promote a higher launch and lower spin, and the four-degree loft sleeve offers greater loft adjustability and the opportunity to dial in your ideal launch conditions. The new Front Track sliding split weights system reduces spin and allows you to choose heel weighting for draw shots, toe weighting for fade shots, split weighting for maximum stability, or any combination in between..

Tester Comments: This absolutely bombs it out there! … This driver is an absolute pleasure to hit and the ability to shape my shot on any given day is pretty handy … TM has got a winner here and if you liked the R series drivers you are really going to like this one.



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

TaylorMade Aeroburner
www.TaylorMadeGolf.com • $300

Unique Features: The TaylorMade AeroBurner Driver features a 460cc aerodynamic shape that comes designed with a rounder toe, a raised center crown, reduced drop from crown to skirt, and a new hosel fin to create a reduction in drag for faster swing speeds. The new Speed Pocket is claimed to increase the size of the sweet spot and reduce spin. A new matte white finish, black PVD face, and linear AeroBurner crown graphic make alignment easy.

Tester Comments: This club is made for mid to high handicap looking for forgiveness, accuracy, and distance … This club gives you the kind of help you would expect … A great club and definitely test it out... Its a fun driver … Great forgiveness, accuracy, and distance.



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

Tour Edge e8 Beta
www.touredge.com • $299

Unique Features: The adjustable Tour Edge E8 Beta Driver features a 440cc, low-spin, deeper-faced head that produces a slightly lower, more boring trajectory. The driver has a Beta Titanium face and utilizes a higher, more forward center of gravity position to produce less spin. The E8 Beta features one head with adjustable loft options from 8.5 to 12 degrees in half-degree increments. Variable face thickness technology offers multiple levels of thickness claimed to maximize the spring-like effect from more points on the face, especially in the heel and toe areas.

Tester Comments: Ball speeds seemed normal, as did distance. Got more roll out than with others … Launch was a little lower than I like but overall distance was long … I do like adjustable drivers with only one head, nice to have that many adjustments available in a single head.



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

Wilson Staff D200
www.WilsonStaff.com • $300

Unique Features: The 460cc Wilson Staff D200 Driver is designed for the distance player needing power, accuracy, and it is the lightest and adjustable driver on the market. A chemically-etched crown reduces weight and increases the thickness toward the face for structural support and durability. Wilson’s Reactive Face Technology increases the size of the face to provide more forgiveness on heel and toe impacts and increased MOI, and it decreases the thickness around the lower half of the face to increase ball velocity on miss-hits.
Tester Comments: Consistent and automatic. Both straighten and lengthen my drives ... For me this is the first one where I hit the ball and just have this “oh yea” feel as it goes sailing away. It’s hard to describe but it’s great … Arguably the best sounding driver on the market



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

Yonex eZone Tri-G
www.Yonex.com • $599

Unique Features: Featuring a Concentric Weight System the EZone Tri-G driver can be fine-tuned for desired launch. With the Tri Weight system on the sole of the club, the player is able to adjust the way the weights are stationed depending on how they would like the natural flight to be. The eZone Tri-G comes with the new lightweight Nanometric carbon shaft with a mid-low kick point and low torque claimed to deliver more power and distance.
Tester Comments: The concept of a crown that flexes made me skeptical, but the results made me a believer. I added yards and accuracy to all my drives … This club is definitely a looker and a great performer … Ball really jumps off the face. It’s a pretty simple look at address, which is a good thing, and a driver I felt comfortable with very quickly ... As excited as I was with spin and distance I loved the dispersion.



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

Yonex eZone XP
www.Yonex.com • $280

Unique Features: The EZone XP range features the Yonex Dual Tungsten Power System. The newly designed DTP System, features tungsten in both the grip and club head that works in conjunction with the Lightweight Shaft. The result is claimed to deliver “a swing that delivers an explosive power breakthrough with the same effort, adding more yards to your game.
Tester Comments: A very forgiving driver with a nice balanced feel throughout the entire swing … Very powerful feel and sound at impact … Very EASY to hit with a nice high launch and mid spin.


Low Handicap 4.5 star
Mid Handicap 4.5 star
High HDCP/ Beginner 3.5 star
Senior 4.5 star

Yonex Z-Force
www.Yonex.com • $275

Unique Features: Yonex’s new Octaforce technology reduces weight in the crown, repositioning it where it really makes a difference, lower and deeper in the club head for “optimum distance enhancing ball flight with maximum forgiveness. The Enlarged Z-FORCE clubhead appears 5% larger than previous models, further deepening CG location. The Quick Adjust System fitting adapter optimizes loft/launch through 8 settings.
Tester Comments: Easy distance, nice high launch with lots of carry distance … Lots of loft / lie adjustability options to tailor the club for my personal shape … Very consistent performance … The club exudes quality.


Low Handicap
Bridgestone J715
Callaway XR
Cobra Fly-Z+
Ping G30
TaylorMade R15
Yonez EZONE Tri-G

Mid Handicap
Bridgestone J715
Callaway XR
Cobra Fly-Z
Cobra Fly-Z+
Knuth Golf High Heat
Ping G30
TaylorMade AeroBurner
Yonex EZONE XP

High Handicap / Beginner
Adams Blue
Cobra Fly-Z
TaylorMade AeroBurner
Wilson D200

Senior
Callaway XR
Cobra Fly-Z
Powerbilt AFO DFX
TaylorMade AeroBurner
Wilson D200
Yonex EZONE XP

Best Overall
Bridgestone J715
Callaway XR
Cobra Fly-Z
Cobra Fly-Z+
TaylorMade AeroBurner
Wilson D200
Yonex EZONE XP