8 Ways to choose a new driver
What we learnt after three days and hundreds of shots with 2017’s newest big sticks
1 DON’T BUY A DRIVER ON NUMBERS
ALONE. Take an average of how far all three testers hit each club and there’s just 11m from the shortest to longest. Yes, there were bigger gains and loses for individuals, but it wasn’t necessarily the outright longest club that won our testers over. There’s no point buying a driver you don’t love the look of just because you’re carrying drives a couple metres longer than one you consider to be a nicer alternative.
2 YOU DON’T ALWAYS NEED TO BE A HARD HITTER TO HIT A LOW SPIN
DRIVER. In theory our amateur testers should have been more suited to Callaway’s Epic than the Epic Sub Zero. But the numbers don’t lie and can’t conceal how well the Sub Zero performed at both a mid and slower swing speeds.
Just remember if you don’t have sufficient speed, you need launch to help get shots airborne and maximise distance. If you launch shots high anyway you don’t necessarily need that speed.
3 THE FUJIKURA PRO IS A SERIOUSLY
HOT SHAFT. Callaway, TaylorMade and Cobra all offer the Fujikura Pro as a standard stock option in their 2017 drivers. What’s so good about it? It offers a great blend of weight, a midhigh launch profile and extra stability which suits a huge array of club golfers.
4 WITH TOP SHAFT OPTIONS AVAILABLE YOU NEED TO KNOW MORE ABOUT
WHAT’S ON OFFER. The Fujikura Pro isn’t the only premium shaft available. You get a choice of stock shafts from both Callaway and TaylorMade like never before. There’s options from lighter to heavier weights and higher to lower launching, which hasn’t always been the case. So it’s important to have an idea of which you’re being sold.
5 PRICES ARE GOING UP, BUT THERE’S
STILL GOOD VALUE TO BE HAD. There’s no way of getting around it, driver prices have been pushed skywards for 2017. The latest
Callaways and TaylorMades will set you back a little more than others because they are so technically advanced. But there’s still decent value to be had. Cobra’s F7 performed superbly, and it will set you back less than an M1 or Epic. Throw in Cobra’s Connect system (which retails separately) and it’s great value.
6 TECH JUST KEEPS GETTING BETTER.
Put aside all the marketing and these drivers are the most technically advanced golf clubs ever made. Callaway’s “Jailbreak” tech performs brilliantly and delivers a powerful sound many golfers won’t have heard before. We reckon the idea is so good other brands will already be working away on their own version. Also impressive is TaylorMade’s dedication to streamlining every single component to wring out every last drop of juice from a driver head; stats prove the new M1 and M2 are both a step up from 2016.
7 FORGIVING DRIVERS AREN’T JUST FOR CLUB GOLFERS. The most played drivers
on tour aren’t usually a brand’s most forgiving offering. But TaylorMade’s 2016 M2 changed all that. Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy all used the old M2 at some point last year.
8 THERE’S JUST NO SUBSTITUTE FOR
GETTING PROPERLY FITTED. With so many shaft options, as well as weight and hosel set-ups, the chances of finding your best driver on your own are slim. Just look at the Mizuno JPX900; the wrong set-up for your swing might cost you 18m instantly.
Fitting room We tested on a launch monitor indoors using a premium ball.