What we learned

Some key dis­cov­er­ies from the big­gest equip­ment test we’ve ever done

Today's Golfer (UK) - - Contents -

Use­ful in­sight that will help you make a bet­ter buy­ing de­ci­sion.

1 MONEY TALKS

As much as we don’t like to ad­mit it, you do usu­ally get what you pay for when it comes to golf clubs. Our top-five £380+ driv­ers (in the hands of our test pro) car­ried drives – on av­er­age – six yards fur­ther than those in the £280-£380 cat­e­gory, and eight yards fur­ther than those un­der £280. Only you can de­cide if that’s a price worth pay­ing.

2 CAR­BON EQUALS DIS­TANCE

Car­bon-fi­bre is tak­ing over the driver mar­ket, as brands use it to free up weight in their lat­est mod­els. Pit­ting car­bon-clad driv­ers against all-ti­ta­nium mod­els, there was an av­er­age of 10 yards ex­tra carry dis­tance in favour of car­bon-fi­bre.

3 MOV­ING FROM THE CEN­TRE

Last year, two cen­tre-shafted put­ters made it into our top 10s. This year we didn’t re­ceive any to even test, which has to say the cen­tre-shaft trend is de­clin­ing. It’s a real shame, as we think a cen­tre-shaft of­fers such a sim­ple way to putt.

4 WIDE BODY = BET­TER PER­FOR­MANCE

Wider bod­ies are al­most al­ways more for­giv­ing in golf clubs. But if we told you that, on av­er­age, the for­give­ness of our wide-body hy­brids helped cre­ate higher launch, more ball speed and nine more yards of carry than the nar­row bod­ies, would you re­ally want a nar­row body al­ter­na­tive in your bag?

5 16.5° LOFT SE­CRET

Faster faces mean 15° fair­way woods now de­liver al­most as much dis­tance as your driver; not ideal if you’re try­ing to lay up short of fair­way bunkers off a tee. A 16.5° loft gives bet­ter gap­ping for many of us, and they’re eas­ier to launch from the deck with a lower-spin­ning, mod­ern ball.

6 WANT TO HIT YOUR IRONS FUR­THER?

Ever won­dered why game im­prove­ment irons fly fur­ther than bet­ter-player mod­els? Part of it is down to the stronger lofts. The av­er­age 7-iron loft of the su­per game im­prove­ment irons we tested was 30°, com­pared to 31° for game im­prove­ment and 33° for bet­ter-player irons. In terms of dis­tance, that equates to 185 yards for SGI irons, 180 yards for GI irons and 171 yards for bet­ter-player irons. For most golfers that’s over a full club of dif­fer­ence.

7 COM­PAR­ING THE BIG­GEST DRIVER LAUNCHES OF 2017...

The four most talked-about driv­ers of 2017 were in­sep­a­ra­ble when their re­sults were av­er­aged across our three testers. Call­away’s GBB Epic Sub Zero was fastest and long­est at 148.6mph/266 yards; Taylormade’s M2 came in at 147.6mph/265 yards, GBB Epic 147.6mph/263; and the M1 147mph/263.

8 LAUNCH IT HIGHER, CARRY IT FUR­THER

Brands keep telling golfers that to hit it fur­ther, you need to hit it higher. We have to agree, es­pe­cially for the club golfer. And it was the same case whether it was driv­ers, fair­ways, hy­brids or irons.

9 DRAW DRIV­ERS RE­ALLY WORK

There’s never been any­thing cool or sexy about ad­mit­ting your game needs a draw driver be­fore. But Taylormade have changed all that with the M2 D-type (Ping also make a G SF-TEC). It per­forms bril­liantly not only for slicers, but also for golfers who hit shots out of the heel.

10 SLID­ING FAIR­WAY WEIGHTS HAVE A NEG­LI­GI­BLE EF­FECT ON SPIN

Move­able weights in driv­ers are the norm nowa­days and spin changes of up to 600rpm are not un­usual. Our data shows move­able weights in fair­ways though have a much smaller ef­fect on spin. We’d say fair­ways of­fer­ing shot bias weight­ing are much more use­ful to the club golfer.

11 PRICES HAVE GONE UP

Last year, the av­er­age price of a driver in our Top 10s was £311.50 – that’s jumped to £357.25 for 2017. The trend’s not just lim­ited to driv­ers either, it’s across the board.

‘NO MAT­TER IF IT’S DRIV­ERS, FAIR­WAYS, HY­BRIDS OR IRONS PRE­DOM­I­NANTLY OUR AM­A­TEUR TESTERS SAW MORE CARRY FROM HIGHER SHOTS’

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