Golf Asia



PING G430 SFT Loft: 10.5° Stock shafts: Alta CB Black, Ping Tour 2.0 Chrome, Ping Tour 2.0 Black, Alta Quick

VERDICT: Thanks to being so draw biased, and because the sole weights have been non-movable before now, the most recent Ping SFT drivers have a reputation for being one-dimensiona­l, slice-busting machines. We like how the new G430 SFT has a Draw setting, which offers 12-15 yards more draw bias than the G430 MAX, and a Draw+ set-up that adds an additional seven yards of right-to-left shot shape (for right-handers) for the severest of slicers.

As has been the case with several generation­s of SFT, the model is a really good-looking driver. There’s no massively closed face angle, and the head isn’t any less attractive­ly shaped or flattened like a pancake to up confidence and forgivenes­s over the more neutral MAX model.

In the Draw setting, our data has the model down as producing a top-three performanc­e for ball speed, left-to-right dispersion, shot area and carry distance drop-off, which of course, even though it’s a few yards back from our very longest, means it will be super playable and easy to live with on the golf course. A brilliant option for slicers.

CALLAWAY PARADYM X Lofts: 9° / 10.5° / 12° Stock shaft: Aldila Ascent, HZRDUS Silver, HZRDUS Black, Mitsubishi Kai’li White

VERDICT: Callaway’s thinking with Paradym brilliantl­y exploits the trend towards using more carbon fibre in modern-day drivers. Inside, there’s no titanium cage supporting the carbon fibre. Instead, a titanium face and backweight are connected by nothing more than lightweigh­t carbon fibre, which is seriously clever thinking in terms of optimisati­on. The idea means 11% of the head’s mass has been reposition­ed so, say Callaway, golfers can expect a 30% improvemen­t in dispersion.

The stretched wide Paradym X (which offers 15 yards of shot shape correction over the standard Paradym), sounds powerful and muted at impact, it also produced Simon’s fastest ball speed within the draw category, which should be music to the ears of average speed players. Expect a different, more confidence-boosting head shape and look compared to the standard Paradym, so make sure you choose carefully which Paradym to dial in for your own game. Being a couple of yards down on our very longest model could easily be reversed on another day’s testing. Even though the model is amongthe most expensive drivers available in 2023, Paradym has to be on the radar of golfers who don’t mind paying for ultimate performanc­e. It’s a cracking choice in 2023.

TAYLORMADE STEALTH 2 HD Lofts: 9° / 10.5° /12° Stock shaft: Fujikura Speeder NX Red

VERDICT: Many golfers think draw drivers are the most forgiving models in any brand’s line-up. Yet, in reality, moving weight forward and into the heel, to get a draw enhancing weight bias often lowers MOI and forgivenes­s. We applaud, then, Taylormade’s Stealth 2 HD, for the first time being both the brand’s most forgiving and most draw-biased set-up. We also love the attention to detail in upping the lie angle to encourage a right-to-left ball flight (right-handers), and the shortening of the shaft length by a quarter of an inch, which breeds confidence and encourages hitting the centre of the face more often.

As with our low-spin and forgiving driver samples, Taylormade cheekily sent 9° test heads rather than our specified 10.5° lofts. To ensure fairness as much as possible, we dialled the loft up to 9.75°. Last year the original Stealth HD was absolutely spot on data wise. This year results were similarly impressive. By a whisker the HD was our longest draw driver and it also produced our third-smallest left-to-right dispersion, which wasn’t the case in 2022.

All in, Stealth 2 HD is hugely impressive. It’s more tailored to slicers and those needing a forgiving driver than ever before. Drivers don’t come any better looking and with a full-on carbon fibre body, we’re struggling to see where future improvemen­ts

come from.

CLEVELAND LAUNCHER XL LITE Lofts: 10.5° / 10.5° Draw / 12° Stock shaft: Project X Cypher Forty

VERDICT: Cleveland Launcher’s XL family may well be into its second year, but we reckon the model’s bullet-shaped head is every bit as good as it was in 2022. It’s not often we come across a driver that feels so friendly and forgiving that we just want to get out and play with it on the golf course. The XL does that in spades. It’s really likeable and easy to live with, and for many it will mean not needing to focus on data or performanc­e and just allow enjoyment of the game, safe in the knowledge there’s a decent driver in your hands.

Like most modern draw drivers, the XL Lite isn’t for everyone. If you like a lightweigh­t, lively feel to complement your average-tomoderate swing speed, look no further. If you’re below-average swing needs additional help to curb a slice, there’s a further 10.5° Draw model to factor in, too. And, if lightweigh­t and lively isn’t really your thing then Cleveland’s adjustable hosel Launcher XL is a viable option, too. Our second-longest draw driver in 2023.

 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Hong Kong