MyGolfSpy's Most Wanted Driver of 2013
We've arrived at the moment you've been waiting for. After teasing you with the Longest Driver of 2013, and the Most Accurate Driver of 2013, it's time to reveal MyGolfSpy's Most Wanted Driver of 2013. Simply put, the #1 Club on this list, is the Best Driver of 2013. Period.
But before we got to that...
We've Got Your Data
As promised we've published an extensive amount of data collected during this test. We've created two interactive charts that will allow you to sort by club and by golfer. In addition to the raw distance and accuracy numbers we've published other key performance data including launch angle, spin rate, ball speed and more.
Given how frequently it appeared on other top 5 lists, it should surprise no one that Callaway's $299 XHot proved to be the best overall driver in our test. While it may not be the absolute longest driver we tested, for the guy looking for something that can give him plenty of yardage, while still keeping the ball in the short grass more often than not, the Callaway's XHot is the best of this sizeable group. The performance is particularly noteworthy given the length of XHot's shaft (46" standard, 45.75" Pro).
Rumor has it that XHot is absolutely killing the market at the $299 price point, and why the hell shouldn't it. It's MyGolfSpy's "Most Wanted Driver" of 2013.
Finishing just behind XHot is TaylorMade's RBZ Stage 2. For the majority of our testers, the Stage 2 actually proved to be longer, but almost to a man it couldn't match the accuracy of the Xhot (the longer shaft caused more of an issue for most), and that proved to be the difference maker. Nevertheless, TaylorMade's RBZ Stage 2 is an outstanding driver in it's own right, and if for some reason the Xhot doesn't work for you, TaylorMade's budget-friendly RBZ Stage 2 should be the next place you look.
TaylorMade's wrench-friendly, all-lofts-in-a-single-head R1 rounds out the Top 3. It a surprising result when you consider that the R1 failed to crack any of the 3 Top 5 lists for accuracy. Admittedly it only narrowly missed cracking the Top 5 for our higher swing speed players, but it was actually its consistently strong distance numbers (#3 overall, #3 high swing speed, #6 overall) that placed it so high on the overall list. For the guy who is willing to sacrifice a little bit of accuracy to pick up a little bit more distance, the R1 is definitely one to consider.
Another Total Driving surprise is PING's Anser driver, which claims the 4th spot on the list. How can a driver that only appeared on 1 Top 5 list (#5 Accuracy - High Swing Speed) break into the top 5 overall? In a word: consistency. While distance was average at best across the board, when it comes to accuracy, the PING Anser was never worse than 7th. In some respects the Anser is the polar opposite of the R1. For the guy looking for consistency and accuracy at the expense of a few yards, the Anser it another outstanding option from PING.
The Tileist 913 finished 5 on our Most Wanted Driver list. You already know that the 913 topped the list as our most accurate driver of 2013, and that, coupled with an outstanding distance score from our slower swing speed group, keeps the Titleist 913 near the top of the overall list. I don't think any of our testers would argue that the Titleist is one of the longer drivers we tested, but it's long enough. When you couple that with its propensity for keeping the ball in the short grass... This is the first Titleist driver we've seen that we comfortably recommend that every golfer consider.
Results by Swing Speed
As a reminder, our higher swing speed guys (>100 MPH) all tested with the Pro/Tour model heads stiff or x-stiff shafts.
As you may recall, Callaway's RAZR Fit Xtreme proved to be every bit the bomber it's advertised to be for our higher swing speed players. While our testers weren't generally as close to the centerline as they were with some other, our higher swing speed players actually hit comparatively high percentage of fairways. Simply put, while not the most accurate driver, for most in this group it didn't wander too far offline. Generally good-enough accuracy combined with generally obscene distance is why the RAZR Fit Xtreme is our #1 ranked club for higher swing speed players.
While it could easily be mistaken for the game-improvement offering, Callaway's XHot Pro is also an extremely solid choice for higher swing speed players. As you can see from the charts below it finished just ticks behind the RAZR Fit Extreme. The majority of golfers will likely find XHot the more forgiving of the two, but if you're a Callaway fan, or just a fan of drivers that perform, forcing yourself two choose between the two won't be easy, but it's not a bad problem to have either.
Not surprising, TaylorMade's RBZ Stage 2 is in the mix for higher swing speed players as well. Truthfully it's numbers were hurt mightily by one of our higher swing speed players who simply couldn't hit it straight. Take him out of the mix (we did for the overall), and the Stage 2 is right there with the top 2 on this list. While we've become cynical about TaylorMade drivers over the last few years, there's not much in either the RBZ Stage 2 or the R1 that's not to like.
...and speaking of the R1, it's distance numbers are strong enough to keep it on the Top 5 for total driving among high swing speed players. It was nearly as long as anything, and among this group, more accurate than the RBZ Stage 2.
The PING Anser finished #5 overall among faster swingers. Just as with its overall numbers, for distance alone it wasn't a standout, but it was more accurate that most. Once again, for those who are looking for a well-balanced driver where the premium is on accuracy, we've got your PING.
Our lower swing speed golfers (>100 MPH) all tested with standard model heads and regular or stiff (non-tour) shafts where applicable.
Raise your hand if you saw this coming? With the RAZR Fit Xtreme and both TaylorMade offerings not generally performing as well among slower swing speed players, Callaway's XHot stands alone at the top (though it must be pointed out that PING's Anser also appears in all 3 Top 5s). What can we possibly say about the XHot that hasn't already been said? Quite frankly I don't know, so let's go with this: Callaway's XHot is the one driver that consistently performed at wide range of swing speeds for golfers of a variety of ability levels. If you're just going to pull a driver off the rack, it might as well be XHot.
Finally...Adams gets a mention. If we gave out a sneaky bastard award it would most certainly go to the Speedline Super S. While never at the top of any list, when I was crunching the numbers it seemed like it was never far from the lead. As an on-the-record fan of the Adams LS series, it's difficult for me to admit that the Super S is likely the better of the Adams offerings for 2013.
PING fans can finally relax. The G25 has cracked a top 5, finishing 3rd overall among slower swing speed players. Like the Super S, although it hasn't shown up as frequently as many (us included) thought it would, it too was never far from the mix. We'll talk about it more when we go inside the numbers next week, but for now know that the G25 produced some of the longest drives in our test, and was one of the most popular with our testers.
Almost unbelievably two drivers finished in a dead head for the #4 spot in the low swing speed category. Wilson's D-100 is another club we're going to have a lot to say about next week, but what we can say right now (and say with conviction) is that not only is the built-for-speed D-100 among the strongest all-around performers for slower swing speed players, it's easily the best driver Wilson has produced in recent (and possibly distant) memory.
Matching the D-100 point for point is PING's Anser (which as I mentioned joins XHot as the only other club to appear on all 3 of our overall Top 5s). I hate to repeat myself for a 2nd time, so I'll just say this: PING Anser - consistent, accurate, and sneaky good.
We're Not Done Yet
Not that the results are in, be sure to Check out the Data we gathered and used to arrive at these scores. We've built 2 pretty cool little charts that contain all of the relevant information from our launch monitors.
Also be sure to check back next week when we go Beyond the Numbers to give you the inside scoop on the MyGolfSpy's 2013 Most Wanted Driver Test. You'll hear more from our testers, and get a more complete picture of what they liked, what they didn't, as well as why we think certain clubs stood out while others fizzled.
And remember, there's still plenty of time to submit a question for the upcoming Mailbag. If you've got a question, send it to us and we'll see about including it in our upcoming post.
Did We Mention the Data?
In Case you missed it the first two times...we've published an extensive amount of launch monitor data.
Be Sure to Check Out all the Posts in our 2013 Most Wanted Driver Series:
:: Presenting 2013 "Golf's Most Wanted" Driver Test
:: MyGolfSpy's Golf's Most Wanted! - Longest Driver
:: MyGolfSpy's Golf's Most Wanted! - Most Accurate Driver
:: MyGolfSpy's Golf's Most Wanted! - Best Overall Driver
:: Q&A: MyGolfSpy's 2013 Most Wanted Driver Test (Your Questions Answered)
:: MyGolfSpy's Most Wanted Driver Test - Beyond the Numbers