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2013 “Golf’s Most Wanted” – Longest Driver

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We've spent 3 years building and revising what we think is the best golf club testing procedures in the industry today.  The staff of MyGolfspy approached 2013 with the singular goal of publishing the most thorough and complete driver test of 2013.

Why? Because the consumer has been grossly under-served by the big magazines.  Nothing is ever absolute and everyone gets a trophy. How does that help the consumer?

We think you deserve better. We think you deserve a club test where results aren't tainted by the inherent conflict of interest that comes from testing clubs from the same companies whose ad dollars pay the bills. You deserve a club test where a logo, or paint, or what some guy thinks about intangibles like looks, sound and feel holds no weight, where innovation is only recognized when it performs, and where the final results are based on performance and not a damn thing more.

You deserve a test where companies of all sizes get to compete, and where the final results, whatever they may be, are supported by actual data. We call that being Datacratic.

To make it happen, we reached out to 17 different golf companies, spent well over 30 hours testing 17 different models from 13 different golf companies. As a group our testers hit over 3000 golf shots, and MyGolfSpy collected over 41,000 distinct data points .

Today we're proud to bring you the results of the largest head to head club test we've ever conducted.

Golf’s Most Wanted Driver Results (Schedule)

Monday: Distance
Tuesday: Accuracy.
Wednesday: Overall Results and crowning of - 2013 "Golf’s Most Wanted Driver"

Overall - Distance Winners

Tomorrow we will tackle accuracy, but today we're talking distance. We know that distance is, and will always be king. You show me a guy who advertises the most accurate driver on the planet, and I"ll show you a guy who doesn't sell many drivers. Show me the longest driver in golf, and I'll show you what's going to end up in a lot of golf bags this season.

With results from all of our testers taken into account, here are the MyGolfSpy rankings for the longest driver in golf.

When we crunched the numbers, we were positively shocked to find TaylorMade occupying both the #1 and #2 spots for overall distance. While we heard plenty of grumbles about paint in both cases, the performance was absolutely undeniable. While the R1 was very good, for distance alone, the new RBZ Stage 2 was the definitive standout performer. While it may not look like much of a gap between #1 and #2, it was the single biggest gap between any club and the club that finished behind it.

More surprising still, Callaway's 2 outstanding 2013 driver (RAZR Fit Xtreme, and XHot) finished 3rd and 4th respectively behind the two TaylorMade clubs.

As much as some aren't going to like to hear it, for 2013 anyway, the biggest names in golf have produced the longest drivers in golf.

2013 “Golf’s Most Wanted” - Longest Drivers

Results by Swing Speed

For those who want to drill down a bit further to get an idea how the top drivers performed for a distinct set of testers, we split players into two groups (by swing speed), and recalculated the scores for all the clubs in our test:

Our higher swing speed guys (>100 MPH) all tested with the Pro/Tour model heads stiff or x-stiff shafts.

While 2 of the 3 top finishers from the overall (TaylorMade's RBZ Stage 2 and R1) top 3 remained in the top 3 for our more aggressive swingers, Callaway's RAZR Fit XTREME proved to be the longest overall for the faster swing speed players in our test. It's joined in the top 5 by Callaway's other driver, the XHot (higher swing speed players tested with the Pro version).

Fans of smaller brands (and anything that performs) will be happy to see that the under-appreciated AirForce One DF from PowerBilt held its own against some of the industry's big dogs.

Our lower swing speed guys (low 80's to mid 90's) all hit standard heads (where applicable) and non-tour shafts. Worth noting is that the top two finishers among this group feature ultra-light shafts, which if you believe the marketing, could be enough to account for the added distance.

The standard-weight PING G25, also proved to be a serious contender for the average to below average swing speed crowd.

Perhaps the biggest surprise from these results is how well the Titleist 913 D2 performed for slower swing speeds. Titleist is generally thought of as a brand for better, higher swing speed players, but the 913's performance suggests it shouldn't be overlooked by the average golfer.

Finally, the Adams Speedline Super S that some may overlook, but never during our test was it far from the mix.



Declined to Participate

The following companies were invited, but declined to participate in the driver test:

Alpha Golf - Current model is nearly end of life. New models are not yet available.
Tour Edge - Company policy is to not participate in head to head testing until the product has been on the market for 6 months.
Hireko/Acer - New model inventory was not available in time for testing.
Krank Golf - New model inventory was not available in time for testing.

{ 144 comments… read them below or add one }

Westy April 15, 2013 at 5:51 am

Guys are the total scores on Wednesday based on same scoring for the Ping I20 driver? Just have the feeling that might still be a top 3 driver now….

Also keep hearing from people that RBZ might be a bit longer than Stage2 version – just cos things are new doesn’t make them better……

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Jason Kanis April 15, 2013 at 8:33 am

Second that thought. I’m playing i20 w/RIP Beta and killing it….

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Blade April 15, 2013 at 6:00 am

I think everyone appreciates what went into this. Certainly looking forward to the rest of the results. Thank you MGS!

There was one driver I think a LOT of people wanted to see in there, but they couldn’t get it together to deliver the clubs to you. That’s a shame, but, so it goes.

One thing I found interesting so far is the results for the AFO. It’s” technology” is supposedly to help low speed swingers get more trampoline effect and more distance than a “regular” driver. It appears it didn’t stand out for the guys it was designed for, but did fairly well for the guys that don’t need the” help” of that “technology”. Very interesting.

This is what makes your testing so different than anywhere else. No way to know that kind of stuff from the hype and fluff of other” reviews”. What a difference real, factual testing makes!

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 6:24 am

I think it’s fair to say there were plenty of surprises with respect to what performed well overall, for certain groups, and for individual testers.

We definitely didn’t expect to find ourselves with two TaylorMade drivers sitting on top of two Callaway drivers, but that’s what happened, and so that’s what we go with.

Next week we’ll be publishing more of a ‘beyond the numbers’ commentary for those who want to go…well…beyond the numbers to get a better sense of our testers impressions going into, during, and after the test, as well as a more individualized breakdown detailing why we *think* some clubs performed the way they did, and why we *think* others may not have.

Obviously the data is the thing, and our overall results are derived 100% from the numbers, but we also realize that some people may be interested in looking deeper.

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RP Jacobs II April 15, 2013 at 6:11 am

Incredible job T & all that assisted you!

Thanx for publishing the most objective, intensive & performance relevant review in golf!

The Best

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Trebuchet April 15, 2013 at 6:34 am

With *only* 10 yards separating the top and bottom averages, I’m really looking forward to seeing how the accuracy numbers impact things.

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Dave Mac April 15, 2013 at 8:04 am

Totally agree with this observation, with only 3 yards difference for the lower swing speed testers it looks like nothing much to choose between the drivers as far as distance is concerned.

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 8:09 am

Hopefully readers will find the data we’re going to publish on Wednesday very interesting. When you put all the testers together, it’s true not much pops. What you’ll see when it’s broken out individually is that there can be tremendous differences even with testing stock against stock.

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Jason Kanis April 15, 2013 at 8:35 am

Agreed 100%. Would also like to know what shafts specifically were used in each for the bigger swingers…

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golfer4life April 15, 2013 at 6:45 am

Very interesting. I always enjoy the results from the test that are performed. I’m really starting to wonder why I get different results at times from fitting and personal testing??? Have a new launch monitor coming in two weeks and feel that could have a lot to do with things. I have been including your testing results to direct my fitting options.
Can’t wait to see tomorrows results. (hoping they will include smash factor numbers)
Great Job guys!

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golfer4life April 15, 2013 at 6:48 am

Also hope customers don’t see that there is less then 10 yrs between the longest and shortest drivers tested. ;-)

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golfer4life April 15, 2013 at 6:52 am

Isn’t #4 and #5 backwards for higher swing speeds???

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mygolfspy April 15, 2013 at 6:57 am

If you look at yardage yes, but we care about overall score for distance the most.

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 7:34 am

It has to do with our point system vs. rather than simply taking the average yardage of each tester. The points based approach makes sure that each tester’s average with a given club is only compared to his own average with all the other clubs in the test.

If you go strictly by averages, the longer hitters have a greater influence in the results than the shorter hitters. In most cases the end result (Yards vs. points) is the same, but in some cases (when the numbers are very close) there can be a change in position based on the points.

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Rev Kev April 15, 2013 at 7:03 am

I really appreciate this test – the thought and work and time that went into it. I am wondering if there weren’t a way in the end to test today’s winners – say take the top 3 against some of yesterday’s oldies but goodies – say the top drivers in the ultimate testing for the past two years?

Thanks again guys.

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Drew April 15, 2013 at 7:15 am

Fantastic review…and I think it highlights the fact that the driver has maxed out its distance potential across the board. I’m willing to bet that you would find similar distances if you compared 2010 drivers to the ones you tested. All this talk about “technology” being in clubs is laughable.

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Ric April 15, 2013 at 7:42 am

Right on Drew! Golf has become a bunch of hip and gimmicks go to;Tom Wishon Golf.com
Let’s work on swing mechanics

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Walkerjames April 15, 2013 at 7:32 am

Nice job MGS I love the way you split the swing speeds for distance… Love it!

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Joe Imbrognio April 15, 2013 at 7:38 am

So where is Krank Golf?

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Trae C April 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

Thank you for including the 919THI in the mix.

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BILL henwood April 15, 2013 at 7:39 am

Did you test the new Exotics driver. I found it to be the longest for me @95mph

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Jason Kanis April 15, 2013 at 8:38 am

Declined to Participate

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Chris April 16, 2013 at 3:59 am

I also found the XCG6 driver to produce the best ball speeds/spin/distance combination for me @95mph. Given that TEE claims it is the longest driver, it’s disappointing they didn’t participate. The rationale for not participating sounds a little lame. I hope you guys follow up with a review of the XCG6 as I am curious to see how it stacks up against the competition.

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Eric Larson April 15, 2013 at 7:40 am

Nice work. With the top performers all within a percentage point on distance (carry+roll?) what I think will come through in the final numbers is the tech is not unlike the aero on a racing car, it’s the final few tents in performance. That’s what allows for optimized launch conditions, and as everyone has maxed out COR, that’s where the difference lies. Can’t wait to see what the accuracy numbers are and how they shake up the field. I expect the Nike’s to do very well on accuracy from the anecdotal evidence, but probably not enough to put them tops.

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Jo-De-France April 15, 2013 at 7:40 am

Hum hum, after being stupid in buying a “old!”RAZR FIT, i bought a Krank Element, i’m waiting for it. Tell me that i’m not soooooo stupid, and it is not a driver that you have tested…?!!!!!

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Bill April 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm

It wasn’t available to test. You won’t be disappointed.

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Yohanan April 15, 2013 at 7:45 am

Great Job guys. It helps confirm that the RZR Fit X is the best driver for me this year. SS 103. Have not picked one up yet. But probably will.

Picking up a 13 and 14.5 3 Deep first – today – then trying to figure out if I really need to spend another 400 to go as far?

X Hot Pro 13.5 was neatly as far – within 10 yards – as the RZR Fit X. And the RZR Fit X was great in the accuracy department with Trinity S.

So much so I picked up a Trinity Fairway shaft out a RZR Fit Fairway to throw in one of the 3 Deeps.

Cheers

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Bill April 15, 2013 at 4:20 pm

You and I are on the same wavelength. 3 Deep is available on the 19th. I already bought the Razr Fit X with the XS shaft (reviews saying the Trinity is a good shaft but you may need to go a notch stiffer were right on the mark. I’m normally a stiff but the XS shoots lasers.), but I’m looking at the 3 deep for the fairway. Want to hit both the 13 and 14.5 but for the fairway I may go for the 14.5…

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Jeff April 15, 2013 at 7:45 am

Bill Henwood did you read this colum or just log on and look at the results? They clearly explained why certain drivers were not in the test!!!

OUTSTANDING job guys!!! Kepp up the great work.

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 7:46 am

The following companies were invited, but declined to participate in the driver test:

Alpha Golf – Current model is nearly end of life. New models are not yet available.
Tour Edge – Company policy is to not participate in head to head testing until the product has been on the market for 6 months.
Hireko/Acer – New model inventory was not available in time for testing.
Krank Golf – New model inventory was not available in time for testing.

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JBones April 15, 2013 at 7:49 am

I’m shocked at how far down the Anser was on the list. I’m not at all surprised about TM taking the top distance spots; the R1 is the best perfoming driver I have ever gamed.

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Dave King April 15, 2013 at 7:52 am

We all know accuracy is the key but we all want, nay, we all NEEEED distance!!!!!!!!

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Tyk April 15, 2013 at 7:53 am

Less than 10 yards difference between the best and the worst in the overall. Just over one yard difference between the top 5 in both swing speed categories.

Seems to me that what you are proving is that technology as it stands is maxed out. Everyone seems to be building equivalent stuff, which means other variables have to be factored into a purchasing decision. Stuff like custom fitting options, shaft availability and even price are what are going to be the deciding factors, because based on your results, it is easy to see that any one of those clubs properly fit has the potential to outperform the best of them off the rack.

Thanks for the report, good work as always!

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18birdys April 15, 2013 at 8:18 am

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner! I would GLADLY sacrifice 1/2 of a yard in distance not to have to stare down at those hideous T/M paint jobs. They actually make the old white head look good.

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Mike B April 15, 2013 at 12:25 pm

It’s getting harder and harder to find a truly bad club now that science is used in designing them instead of some of the unproven ideas of the past. Remember toe weighting to increase the whip effect and help close the club head?

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Jack April 15, 2013 at 8:00 am

I wish that Tour Edge had participated, since their new Exotic scored the highest marks for distance in the Edwin Watts ARC testing. The Cleveland Classic XL was also one of the top three for distance in the Watts test data, but I notice it was only middle of the pack in your test results. Edwin Watts uses a robot in their test, but I haven’t been able to find any additional information that shows the swing speed that was used in the test.

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WhoaNellie April 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

Great test, well conceived and carried out. I just can’t understand why you didn’t load up with all the guys who write reviews on retail and OEM web sites detailing their “300 yard, with a slight draw” exploits… Those reviews are above reproach, right?

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Foz April 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

Great Job! I will be reviewing all the data for weeks to come.

From the results, I now think that my current driver (Powerbilt AFO 10.5 w/Project X 5.0 shaft) will stay in my bag. I was getting 220 to 240 out of it this past weekend….which put me into a shorter iron for my approach shots and my GIR’s improved. As much as I like “new stuff”, my game plan is to stay with what I have for now.

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ChrisF April 15, 2013 at 8:25 am

Don’t agree with this at all. We’ve done hundreds and hundreds of fittings at our facility this year and this isn’t even close. Covert should be much higher, did you not test the Tour model?

The Xtreme is junk, and X-Hot is consistently longer…

How much did TaylorMade pay you for this?

Your testing is so bad, and so incorrectly done this type of crap is a disservice to people wanting information.

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 9:22 am

Ladies and gentlemen we have a winner for our first troll award.

I’d love for you to explain exactly how incorrect our testing is…

While you’re at it, why not man up and list the facility you work for instead of hiding behind a fake email address?

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golfer4life April 15, 2013 at 11:01 am

This is great. Chris F is gonna give us hard data too for testing. I’m sure out of the hundreds and hundreds of testing he has done it will be easy to post some results. Now we compare the two. Especially for the “Xtreme junk”
(can I have some of the TM money) haha
Brian

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Mike B April 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Is that facility in your mind?

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Terry Ainscough April 15, 2013 at 8:34 am

Great test guys, just purchased the G25 as a treat for myself and found it to be 20 yds longer than my previous Ping K15. Not only that but I hardly miss the fairway, so will be interested to know your accuracy results on Wednesday. Keep up the good.
Terry
UK Golfer

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fleeter April 16, 2013 at 8:17 am

Seriously? I have a G10 and have been really thinking about upgrading to this year’s 25! You may have just helped me in my decision making process. thx.

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Jason Kanis April 15, 2013 at 8:47 am

Very interesting. Anyone else notice that the Callaway’s XHot was the ONLY top 5 in all categories…(spoiler* maybe..:)). I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to know more about the carry vs total distance; and the shafts used – especially for the +100MPH testers.
Thanks for putting in the time and the effort MGSpy – STILL THE BEST!! JK

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Bob Pegram April 15, 2013 at 10:44 am

Agreed! When testing shafts, two shafts with the same flex and weight had hugely different distances for me. In this case, they were UST, but that is probably true for any brand. Fitting a shaft to the swing timing and speed of the golfer makes a big difference – probably bigger than the head differences. Of course the ideal is getting a head that maximizes distance with the right shaft that does the same (as well as accuracy).

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Bob Pegram April 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I forgot to mention that the two shafts were different models from UST. One fit my swing. One didn’t.

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Judd April 15, 2013 at 8:47 am

I’m anxious to see the accuracy data, more-so than the distance data.

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Lawrence April 15, 2013 at 8:59 am

May I ask why you wouldn’t just use an Iron Byron to get exactly the same swing speed and using the same golf ball. I just can’t see how there isn’t human error when you use testers as when I golf, I like certain clubs better.

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indyvic April 15, 2013 at 10:43 am

Ditto that. Of course there is “human error” while the ‘ole Iron Bryan doesn’t seem to get tired repeating it’s swing.

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Mike B April 15, 2013 at 12:06 pm

Last I checked golf isn’t played by an Iron Byron, it’s played by humans who don’t always hit the ball perfectly without tiring. This method (human testing), is actually the most relevant way of doing it. I may disagree with MGS from time to time but they seem spot on this time. Good test.

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Drew April 15, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Yes, golf is played by mortals but using a robot like Iron Byron could have supplemented the review. Would have been interesting to know how far it goes when hit at the exact same speed, using the same ball type, and on the sweet spot.

Most folks enjoy these reviews so its not far fetched to think of other interesting ways to test. So dont be so quick to shoot the idea down.

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Mackey April 15, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Drew I think that the issue for most of us comparing results with the perfection of a machine is we don’t always hit the same spot on the face. I want to compare human data because every shot may not hit the exact center of the sweet spot. I know I hit my RBZ 255 on average with little or no roll. My bad misses go about 235-240 and my pure drives dead in the center of the sweet spot fly about 265-270. My previous driver had the same max numbers and minimum numbers but the average was 245. The other big difference was my old driver was about five yards tighter to my target than my RBZ. Both were with the exact same shaft. My point being that with the robot testing both clubs would be 265-270 and I would lose 10 yards on average drives. I tracked the numbers with a sky caddie.

Golfer Burnz April 15, 2013 at 9:08 am

This is very affirming. What I take away from this is, play whatever driver you gravitate towards and suits your eye and game best. What we see here is a difference of less than 10 yards for all that participated. Good to know there aren’t any laggards I the bunch.

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Raymond Birnbaum April 15, 2013 at 9:10 am

Good info.

What is really needed is an unbiased test of golf balls, which you can’t get from Golf Digest.

I am a senior golfer, play 4 days a week, with an 80 MPH swing speed. I have played golf for 50 years. Never great, but I am now a 15 handicap from the forward tees. Worst golf swing you have ever seen, but always in the middle. Drives around 190 yds.

I have tried at least 20 “soft” balls over the years. I have used Srixon AD333 balls for years,
and it is still my favorite although no longer made. But they are still available on the net.
(Angry Bird golf balls are Srixon AD333). Srixon Q Star are not as good for distance (my opinion)

Second best ball (my opinion), no longer made, is Taylor Made “Freak”

Third is Precept Lady IQ, my wifes ball. She is a former club champion and a good golfer.
Previously, she swore by Noodle Ice ball, which is no longer made, but have mysteriously now appeared and sold by Rock Bottom Golf.

We both play 4 times/wk at a private club in AL.

I am a retired Mechanical Engineer, and would like to see a definitive test of distance of soft golf balls. The accuracy differences in most golf balls for low swing speeds is miniscule, and whether their “bite” on the green is unimportant to the average senior. They just want to know which ball, for the money, gives the greatest distance. This comparison info is not available

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Bob Pegram April 15, 2013 at 11:12 am

Also, testing for center of gravity consistency of various ball brands. Golf balls float in water with epsom salts dissolved in it. It is an easy way to test whether a ball is out of balance.

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RollTheRock April 15, 2013 at 9:15 am

How can Taylormade be #1,2 when they aren’t even on the slow swing speed top 5, and are #3,4 in the high swing speed category?

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 9:27 am

The short answer is the two TaylorMade drivers finished #6 and #7 on the slow swing speed list. And actually had not one of our slow swing players hit them both comparatively poorly, they’d probably have cracked the top 5 for the low SS guys.

You’ll get a better idea of how this all came together when we publish all of the data/charts later this week.

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Tony Wright April 15, 2013 at 9:35 am

It is great that you did this. I would be very helpful, so that all could get a better undestanding of the testing, if you could provide the following information for each driver tested….(maybe a download pdf file?)….

Driver length
Driver loft (hopefully measured)
Driver shaft used (and was it stock shaft or an upgrade)
Driver swingweight if possible.

Thank you!

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Tony Wright April 15, 2013 at 10:58 am

I apologize. You put much of this information in the original post you did on the testing. Thanks.

I and I hope others hope you will provide some specific details on the methodology you used for developing the rankings.

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Brett April 15, 2013 at 9:39 am

Had a few questions on the testing
Did the testers have low, mid, or high ball flight?
What about their spin rates as well?
What golf ball was used?

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Brett

You should get a much clearer picture of launch angle and spin rates when we publish all of the supporting data on Wednesday.

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indyvic April 15, 2013 at 10:03 am

Well too bad Tour Edge wasn’t in the mix this time. You would do well to give them a test also when they are available. I got a Tour Edge 3wood over winter and my, this baby is money. I traded off my trusty Adams 3wood and glad I did. IMO Tour Edge is one fine manufacturer though on the pricey side. Even though I’m a model year behind with them I would highly reccommend trying them before you sign on the line. They really do make good clubs in Illinois! I’m 64, have nerve damage in left arm, bone spur in left shoulder and 15% disability from three damaged discs still I managed ’bout 6 scores in the mid 80′s last year playing with Tour Edge fairways and 2 hybrids. Wether you’ve lost a lot of the ‘pop’ or you’re looking for those extra yards try a Tour Edge as they seem to be very reliable over the years and models I have tried.

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Barbajo April 15, 2013 at 10:38 am

A great read, as always. I like that you use real live human beings, not robots or trolls ;-) /

Am going to (another) driver fitting Thursday. My fitter picked up Taylormade and Tour Edge this year, to go along with Nike, Ping and Titleist. Will be able to see hour TE stacks up…

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kygolfer1980 April 15, 2013 at 10:38 am

I did not demo the Razr Fit or RBZ 2 but the R1 certainly blew away everything else I hit on the launch monitor. I figured it would be near the top. Thx for putting all of this together MGS!!

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Bob Pegram April 15, 2013 at 11:18 am

It would be interesting to put the same shaft in all the heads and then see which one comes out on top. That would be a true test of the heads.
Of course, whatever shaft was used, it would fit some golfers better than others. There could be different shafts used for the two groups – one shaft for each group with appropriate flex.

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joe April 15, 2013 at 12:18 pm

That is a logical idea – Isn’t what we’re testing supposed to be the driver head?
Or is it really just the combination of stock shaft with that particular driver head…
(Where’s the ‘like’ button on here… )

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Matt April 15, 2013 at 11:40 am

As a user of Geek products I found these results to be a little surprising to say the least. I have compared the Geek No Brainer myself to a number other drivers, including tour issue models from TaylorMade (Inc the RBZ) on a TrackMan and I found the Geek gave a much more penetrating flight and additional role. After looking again at your test requirements I think I have come across the issue, the No Brainer is a slightly heavier head than most and also produces quite low spin therefore you really need to be fitted by a club builder and have the correct shaft matched to the head. With it being a lower spinning head you will probably find that the loft plays a little lower than you would presume and therefore to compare a Geek head to a OEM head you would need the Geek to have an additional degree or two of loft. Also you have 2 groups of swing speed, high and low, what happened to average? I would consider the following ranges to be more descriptive; low 110mph. The main message I can see from your test is that custom fitting is key to gain the most from any club.

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Michael Garrard April 15, 2013 at 11:50 am

Thanks for the hard work!

Please continue to use real golfers, because I don’t have an Iron Byron swing!

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Mike B April 15, 2013 at 11:55 am

With less than 10 yards difference from best to worst, it boils down to accuracy and ease of use. If a driver is really long but you can’t hit it consistently, then what’s the point?

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Mike B April 15, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Here’s a shocker… 2 identical shafts may have differences too so when you go try a club, try a few of them with the same shaft to see which one works best! You may annoy the retailer, but you’ll end up with a more suitable club. This advice only applies to off the rack purchases, if you must do so. It’s still highly recommended to get a proper fitting from someone who knows what they are doing.

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javier vigil April 15, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Guys, outstanding and interesting results, it does change my thinking on what driver I was looking to buy, but you still have to go with what combination of shaft and head work best for you. Hence a comprehensive club fitting, if you have somewhere near you that can fit you properly.

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joel goodman April 15, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Again as with the putter testing, I feel there is no valid control as humans swing the clubs. There is no constant and no documentation of variables in human swings. I feel the only way to evaluate driver distance is to:
1. use the identical ball on each test.
2. use a machine like the Iron Byron to deliver a controlled and consistent strike to each ball with each driver at least five times to get an average.
3. If this is done outdoors, there should be at least five more strikes of each driver to rule out and average the flight variables due to wind.
As long as people swing there wil be enormous variables..Much more so than a machine strike.

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Kris April 15, 2013 at 12:42 pm

1-I can buy this. Do they mention this one way or another?
2-”lab testing = ideal results, real testers = real results” is basically the motto I believe.
3-Grading each tester only to themselves would mostly cancel out any wind bias (grade as opposed to pure distance numbers)

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Mike B April 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Mr. Goodman, are you a robot?

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 1:48 pm

The same model of golf ball was used for every shot in the test.

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dr.bloor April 15, 2013 at 6:36 pm

“As long as people swing there wil be enormous variables..Much more so than a machine strike.”

…which, if you are a regular here, you will understand is precisely the point.

Look, these are pretty intelligent guys running the show here. As far as I can tell, they have an understanding of the scientific method, controlling variables and the like, and I doubt any of them would claim that their testing is a strict application of that method. Their basic interest is “What happens when we put these things in the hands of people who actually play the game, flaws and all?” It’s a guide for people to start thinking about what might be useful for them, nothing more, nothing less.

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Tony Wright April 15, 2013 at 7:03 pm

I love that the MyGolfSpy folks are doing these tests. But will personally have to reserve judgement on if they are controlling variables and performing scientific testing. I believe that if you did a real scientific analysis of the variables in the testing, that 10 yards of difference between drivers would fall well within the uncertainty of the data. Still, interesting results.

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joel goodman April 16, 2013 at 6:22 am

I think this is the most insightful comment in the entire group., Thanks for clear thinking.

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Kris April 15, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Great read, real curious to see the accuracy numbers (I’m actually one of the rare people that value accuracy WAY over distance-I’d rather be hitting an extra club or 2 from fairway than worrying about rough/hazards/trees). I’m assuming the complete rankings (like you did for overall), will be in the final article for the 2 groupings of SS.
Also, not to be an ass (‘thanks for this great info, but how about doing this? now now now!’), but I’m with RB that I’d love to see a comparison of balls, though I recognize it would be much harder b/c of how many different balls there are (every company has 2 premium balls, plus at least 1 ‘distance’ ball, plus each tester would likely have to hit 3-6 of each with D/7i/Wedge)
P.S. I’m surprised how many posts it took before somebody wanted an iron byron lol.
P.P.S.Not surprised 1st troll came before 1st IB request :(

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Mike B April 15, 2013 at 12:43 pm

It would be interesting to know how effective the adjustments on adjustable drivers were. Do they really work, or are they just hype? I’d love to see a test of an offset driver against an adjustable one to establish which one is better at combating a slice. I would suggest an Adams Speedline Fast 12 Draw and a Super S or a Cobra Amp Cell Max and the adjustable Amp drivers.

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Steve Almo April 15, 2013 at 12:52 pm

I took a gamble here submitting the No Brainer as this particular head weighs in the 206/7/8 gram area. This head needs to be fitted by a Professional Fitter for proper fit….more so than any other head submitted for testing. Not to make excuses here….but, it occurred to me that the testers may be tired and/or use to the lighter shafts/heads etc. And the heavier No Brainer most probably felt uncomfortable to them. I have experienced this with Pro LDers as well as extensive prototype testing with high handicappers, average and low index players. The transition from lite, Std to the heavier No Brainer takes an adjustment period. With the design charateristics as they are creates a boring tracjectory, low spin head. I probably should have submitted a degree higher than MyGolfSpy requested for all testers. Had I tought about it a bit more I would have submitted the Dot Com This Driver rather than the No Brainer. This is no transition period with the DCT. Both the No Brainer and the DCT hold multiple Long Drive records and titles at RE/MAX. I do thank the MyGolfSpy Team and their readership/followers for inviting Geeks participation. Next time I do my homework a bit better.

Sincerely

Steve Almo
Geek Golf

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Kris April 15, 2013 at 2:40 pm

The distance results may not have been what you were looking for, but at the very least you gained some visibility. I know I’d never heard of your company until this test. I’m not a noob at golf, but I don’t get around to watching much other than PGA weekends nor do I get a chance to hit anything that isn’t in a box store, just from where I live and what is available. I do promise to keep and eye out though the next time shopping for a driver, especially since heavier drivers always intrigued me; I’ve never been a big fan of the lighter drivers.

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Steve Almo April 15, 2013 at 3:51 pm

Kris….Thank you. We did range testing (in conjunction with L/M) on proto samples of the No Brainer over many many sessions with all type of handicappers. What we found was the heavier No Brainer heads produced dramatically higher ball speed and lower spin rates even though swing speeds went down 2-4 MPH.

Introducing the No Brainer, late last year, at the RE/MAX World Championship Finals…this head WON 2 RE/MAX Titles and set a new RE/MAX Finals Grid record…more titles than any other golf company and most of the Majors were well represented there with their latest and greatest! We did notice that some Pro LDers did need more time to get use to the flight and weight characteristics of the No Brainer which was understandable. Like I pointed out previously…a transition period for some is needed. But, once that transition period is realized…it becomes……..A NO BRAINER! There will be a switch to heavier heads…they just work better!

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Kris April 15, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Looking at the physics, it never made sense to me that people were constantly going lighter; you can gain force equally through adding mass or velocity, but I’d think higher mass with a lower SS would result in more accuracy (to a point). I think gone past the point of diminishing returns on increasing swing speeds for the average golfer. Too many people swing too fast and it gets them off the proper plane (for me, when I try to kill one I tend to come over the top). I’ll have to look up if anywhere near Ottawa carries your equipment before I next get a driver.

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Drew April 15, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Fatigue and warm up do play a role in distance. Would be interesting to know how they came up with the order of drivers to test and what type of warm up sessions was used. Care to share MGS?

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Testers were given adequate time to get warmed up. Since warm up times vary by individual, we left it up to the tester to tell us when he was ready.

Drivers for each session were drawn and random, as was the order that each club was hit in a given session. That said if a club had already been hit at or near the beginning of the order, or at the end or near th end of the order we made adjustments to keep things balanced.

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dr.bloor April 15, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Interesting you mention that. Im bagging one of your Failsafe 3 drivers with a 55g shaft right now and love it, and the weight factor was the one thing that kept me from trying out the No Brainer. If you ever need a testimonial from a short, slow-swinging hacker as a counterweight to your monster hitters, I’m available.

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Steve Almo April 16, 2013 at 10:52 am

I will keep that in mind Dr. Bloor. The FS3 is very EZ to hit…isn’t it Dr.?

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Martyn Wells April 15, 2013 at 1:00 pm

why don’t you use a iron Byron? or whatever you call the swing machines, consistent swing speed with perfect strike every time that will prove which is the longest driver? using say 70, 90, 100, 110 mph swing speed, I have tried RBZ stage 2 not impressed, liked the Cleveland xl, my swing 98 mph

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Steve Almo April 15, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Martyn…An Iron Byron testing procedure would be cost prohibitive. Although that would most probably be the best way to test.

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carlito April 15, 2013 at 1:13 pm

hhahaunder and over 100 mph? is that a joke? i commend the effort here. unfortunately, the simple fact that all these drivers must have shafts in them makes this test useless. theres no real way to do this properly. in an ideal world, maybe picking one shaft and installing it in every single head tested. but even then your going to have shafts that are slightly different, not too mention lofts due to a general alck of standards in this industry. On top of that, some shafts will inherently work better with certain heads. again i commend you for the effort!

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Tony Wright April 15, 2013 at 1:26 pm

One of the things I find interesting from the results is that there is only 10 yards difference in yardage between the 17 drivers tested. The question becomes – with all of the differences in shafts, shaft lengths, shaft flexes, etc. in the tests – is that small of a difference really significant? Hope some of the testers will comment thanks.

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Looks like it’s time to jump in again…

Regarding the use of robots. It’s been discussed here ad nauseum. We’ve discussed the issue (outside the scope of this test) with several OEMs. To a man they’ve all basically said the same thing; human testing is much more valuable and provides a better indication of how a golf club will actually perform. Robots show you performance characteristics, humans show you performance.

Until we get to the point where golf consists of two guys drinking at the bar while their robot machinery plays the match on the course, it’s not worth discussing…at least not any more than it already has been, which as I said, is ad nauseum.

Since Steve stopped by to weigh in on the performance of the Geek Driver, I’ll comment now (was going to save it for next week). While we can’t be certain of anything (it’s all speculative), but, I do believe there is some validity to his point about weight. Our testers moved from one club to the next, and back again. The clubs that were distinctly different in one way or another may have taken a hit. The 3 that spring to mind would be Steve’s Geek No Brainer (heavier), Wilson’s D-100 (frighteningly lighter), and Tow Wishon’s 919THI (Shoter -44″). The extent to which it influenced the results…speculative at best.

Finally, regarding the hows and what of what we decided to test. Here’s the reality: The TREMENDOUS majority of golfers still buy off the rack. Prior to requesting product for this test we sent out feelers to a handful of OEMS proposing 3 possible ways to test. 1)Best guess at fitting based on numbers (custom fitting 6 guys for 17 different drivers isn’t plausible at this point). 2) Each tester picks a shaft that is known to perform well for him, and puts that shaft in each club. 3) Stock.

We actually liked #2, but ultimately it doesn’t reflect how people buy clubs, and there’s basically zero overlap, even in upgrade options among OEMs. Essentially in some cases we’d likely be testing something the average consumer couldn’t buy. And that’s before we get into all of the “this shaft is designed to work with this head” stuff.

Ultimately we chose off the rack, stock, no measuring of precise loft or swing weight, because whether we love it, think it’s ideal, or would even recommend it, the indisputable reality is that it reflects how the majority of golf clubs are purchased.

To be the best guide this can be it’s necessary for it to find the broadest audience. The reality is that audience is the guy who buys off the rack.

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Foz April 15, 2013 at 3:57 pm

T, you are definitely spot on regarding the decision to test with “off the rack” combos.

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bobbycj April 15, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Totally agree with “stock!” All the clubs I’ve tested on monitors to buy this year are stock and that’s what I’m going to buy since I don’t have the money, knowledge or time to pick-out a custom shaft unless it’s offered (ie. Anser) to test at the store. I’m 10 hdcp, 104ss,average 245 yd drives. Nothing special. I know I get too much spin (3800) off my Cobra S9 (9.5*) with a ProLaunch red shaft (stiff) I got off ebay for $99. I’ve tested a stock xhot, stock covert and stock RBZ stage 2 that put my spin around 2800, slight increase in ss and gave me 15 more yards on average compared to the S9. I posted 72 rounds last year. I’m a “nothing special” golfer and of all the combo’s the OEM’s put together, one will work best for me. This testing will determine what I buy, glad to see the Stage 2 and xhot do well in distance and will wait to review the accuracy and the complete data then spend my money. Thank -you !

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Robert Keteltas April 15, 2013 at 1:38 pm

When you say the Callaway Razr Fit Xtreme, I was wondering if the test results include both the smaller head and the larger 460 head 10.5 loft and 11.5 loft also in these test results. The reason being I have a Callaway Razr Xtreme driver with a 10.5 loft and 460 head because my driver swing speed is about 95mph. Thanks

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Steve Almo April 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

GST….

Didn’t mean to jump the gun here…LOL! And, yes, you are correct as most do buy off the rack and IMO….60% or so certainly do fine in that purchasing aspect. Geek and Wishon, I believe were the only 2 component companies to submit product, and essentially all our units sold are thru fitters/builders. So it becomes obvious that we both are very keen on a proper fit thru qualified builders to best fit our products to match the golfers swing rather than one-size fits all. But, I do understand the off-the-rack concept of selling, etc. I did work for the Majors for 17 odd years. It’s the other 40% I am concerned with…those are the ones I concentrate on. Does everyone need custom…not necessarily. Would they be better off being fitted properly? Yes. But, the simple nature of it all is that off-the-rack golf clubs are fine for quite a few. And when most get very serious about clubs and their game…they eventually will investigate proper fitting from a qualified fitter to enhance their game and enjoyment of same. Most do just that.

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Ken April 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Love to see how the new Krank Element compares when you get it in house.

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William Beal April 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for all the effort you guys put into the testing!! That said, I’ll be the odd man out and I’m looking forward for the ACCURACY results!! – lol The marginal difference in distance I’ll gain with a lower swing speed means ACCURACY is “King for Me”!

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Augustine April 15, 2013 at 2:39 pm

3 yards difference between the top 5 drivers only? No wonder The big magazines gave almost everyone an award! While MGS testing is more comprehensive and transparent, the results isn’t too different. The reality is that many drivers performs the same on paper, so it’s really just down to pricing, market image, and personal preferences.

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marionmg April 15, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Maybe I missed it somewhere but were these all tested with similar length shafts? I know some manufacturers have pushed lengths up to 46″ and some remain 45″ or less. That 1″ can be 3-5 yards easy if not more when talking about distance. Just curious what was done to keep the specs generally the same (i.e. same shaft, same length, etc etc.) or was everybody just fitted for each driver? Regardless, interesting information and Great job!

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bullwinkle April 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Result will vary much more than the distances indicate. Both Callaways were longer for me personally and my average swing speed held up to 94.4 mph avg over 250 balls hit. Everything else I hit is Taylor Made but I can’t hit their drivers.

One other comment, someone mentioned that the Rocketballz Series 2 might not be as long as the original Rocketballz, once again just my experience, both in the store and on the course the Series 2 is at least 10 yards longer than the original, and the same is true for the Rescue club. However, I do not hit the Rocketbladz irons longer than the Rocketballz. Everyone else that hits my irons hit them farther than anything else they’ve hit, but not me. Testing and results are very subjective, but thanks MGS Testers for the information I know it was lots of work.

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David W April 15, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Bring on the important stuff that keeps my ball in the fairway!! Looking forward to the next part!

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ANDRE THAON April 15, 2013 at 6:02 pm

It seems to me that this survey only tells that those drivers that were firts were simply better fitted for the golfers who played them.

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Anthony Chapman April 15, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I just wanted to clarify as I couldn’t find the info anywhere but it seems from your last comments that you compared a stock RBZ Stage 2 at 46″ and a 50g shaft to a Wishon at 44″? If so, then I think your results are somewhat dubious.

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GolfSpy T April 15, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Anthony – If you look through the comments you’ll find a pretty detailed explanation of the parameters for this test and the reasons why we chose to go that route. The condensed version is we chose to test stock across the board. Each manufacturer has certain designs philosophies related to distance and accuracy, and what role shaft length plays in that. At the end of the day, for the overwhelming majority of consumers, shaft length isn’t really a consideration. What matters most is the perception of performance. Sometimes perception and reality intersect, sometimes they take divergent paths.

We do know that most golfers still buy off-the-rack, stock. That’s what we tested, because that’s the test that provides the most value for the highest percentage of golfers.

Is 44″ vs. 46″ a fair fight? Probably not, but two points I would make.

1 – Some manufacturers believe that there is a negligible difference in accuracy from say 44″ up to 45.75″ or so. The maintain that their longer shafts are equally as long, and just as accurate as drivers with shorter shafts.
2 – As a component manufactures, both Geek and Wishon had a bit more leeway to choose what shaft lengths to send (all the other guys were locked into published specifications). While not ideal for distance, the 44″ inch shaft in the Wishon 919THI, I believe reflect’s Tom’s philosophy that shorter is better. Ultimately it was his choice to send the length he did.

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chris April 15, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Not sure if someone has written about this yet, tried to scran the comments quickly but on the first test every single driver ranked above the 913 driver is at lest half an inch to an inch longer. That inch is going to make up the difference in the distance measured between the RBZ and the 913. I really like the detail in these review and want to applaud you guys for doing this, but i think in the future we need to just make sure that all shafts are the same length. I feel that many manufactures are just increasing the length of the shafts and then saying look its going further you need to buy it.

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Tony Wright April 15, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Well, quite a day of interest and comments in the results. Tomorrow accuracy and hopefully more interesting data!

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Peter C April 15, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Finally some honest reviews! Cant wait for tomorrow’s results. Great review MGS!

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Matt April 16, 2013 at 12:28 am

Something I’ve not seen mentioned is the variences in loft that off the rack woods can have, was the loft of each head measured before testing? If you go to a major retailer and pick up 3 drivers with the same STATED loft, say 10* ,you could actually have 3 different lofts ranging from anywhere between 8* and 12* and I woud imagine the retailer won’t be able to measure and give you the true loft. How many people take that into account when they try a new driver and say “it just balloons on me” or “I can’t get it off the ground”, just because it has the same loft as your current driver stamped on it it doesn’t mean it is. This is another reason why getting fitted is so important, you get REAL information! Call Steve or anyone of his distributors and they will pick you a head to your exact requirements, try that with an OEM! Get fitted to a club that suits you best and the next time you want to change you’ll have the exact specs you need. How about this, run the test again with custom fitted equipment and I guarentee the OEM heads are even closer in distance but the Geek will 10yds+ further down the fairway. I’m not just guessing, I’ve done it on TrackMan and that is why I have Geek in my bag.

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Martyn Wells April 16, 2013 at 1:34 am

if all heads have to meet 0.83 cor or whatever it is, how can one be longer than another? must be the shaft, or as someone has mentioned before the lofts are totally inaccurate, if you hit a driver well, buy that one, as the one ordered may be totally different!

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GolfSpy T April 16, 2013 at 5:49 am

Martyn – while there are certainly some discrepancies in loft, weight, and face angle from driver to driver (even with the same model), the reality is that for 95% (probably closer to 99%) of the golfing population these differences are of little consequence. For all but the most elite players in the world (guys who you seen on TV late Sunday afternoon) there is simply too much variation in the golf swing and the launch conditions produced from one day to the next to have an absolute to the letter (or number) ideal loft. Some days it will be 9, some days 9.2, or 9.5, or even 10. That’s the reality of being human.

As far as the statement that once you hit .83 it’s impossible to make the club go longer, that’s also incorrect. In the most simple of terms, distance results from the combination of 3 things: 1)Launch Angle 2)Ball Speed 3)Spin Rate.

COR/CT simply places a limit on the face of the driver. What manufacturer have gotten better at in the last several years is increasing the percentage of the face that can produce, or come close to producing the COR limit. The so called hotter face will, on average, produce more distance. Also keep in mind that USGA’s limits apply exclusively to the face. What many don’t realize is that the face isn’t the only part of the head that flexes at impact. Both the crown and and body flex as well. Manufacturers are manipulating both to produce higher ball speed.

Finally, as I said, ball speed is only a single piece of the equation. For many, many golfers, all other things being equal, if you can produce higher launch with less spin, you will also produce more distance, which is why in the last couple of years you’ve seen manufacturers (I’d argue PING led the way) producing higher launching, lower spinning drivers with more forgiving faces.

Contrary to what some may tell you, we haven’t reached the end of the line for distance yet.

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Steve Almo April 16, 2013 at 11:03 am

Very good MGST….Design variables play such an important role when the statement concerning USGA and R&A CT (forget COR btw…it’s all about CT now) limitation. As you said….”Contrary to what some may tell you, we haven’t reached the end of the line for distance yet.” Absolutely 100% correct! Hey, you guys are good! LOL!

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Dean April 16, 2013 at 1:35 am

That the results show only 10 yds difference is very telling and I think there are many reasons for this. Most, if not all have already been mentioned in the comments posted. I dont think one club is better than any other. We are finally starting to see the effects of the limitations that have been placed on manufacturers with regards to materials, head size etc etc. take effect. The advancement of club design is at the limit of what they can do and still market them to the public. The testing that is being done here is evidence of it so now we are going to have to go out there and practice a bit more to improve our game.

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frank April 16, 2013 at 4:56 am

Good to see the “components” holding their own. great job as always. and I would give up the 7 yards for accuracy any day ( this is based onthe titleist 7 yards less that the RBZ but WAAAAAAY straighter.

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marionmg April 16, 2013 at 6:48 am

This really should be re-titled something like “The off-the-rack Driver Shootout” It really doesn’t give any insight on the hottest heads because of all the variables of shaft length, weight of shaft, lofts, etc etc. Maybe the accuracy data will give some insight but the “longest driver” test of off-the-rack drivers is pretty useless to us golf nuts that browse these websites. But, I guess you all were going for the masses that do the occasional google search when they are in the market for a driver every 2 or 3 years? I’ll stick around for the accuracy results then I’m going back to golfwrx :) I’m guessing the longer 46″ shafted Taylormades won’t be the most accurate, not because of the head, but the fishing pole shaft attached to the off-the-rack version.

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Craig April 16, 2013 at 10:49 am

First of all….. THANK YOU!
GREAT WORK!
ok…. Now that I got that out of the way… Just one question? Was the stage 2 tour part of testing or just std model?
I have found reviews of this club frustratingly difficult to find.
With most considering the stage 2 as game improvement and r1 the more player friendly…. The stage 2 tour driver is the lost bastard son…..

Was it part?

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GolfSpy T April 16, 2013 at 11:51 am

The Tour model was hit by higher swing speed players. Our sub-100 crowd hit the standard model.

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Craig April 16, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Thanks T!

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Tont April 17, 2013 at 10:18 am

The test results refer to “overall” distance which is means carry+roll…right?

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GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 10:19 am

Correct. Total distance is carry + roll.

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Tont April 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

Thanks.

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Henry April 19, 2013 at 4:14 am

I’d like to see some of the older drivers part of this. Like the 2009 TaylorMade Burner. Still believe one of the best.

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Tim April 19, 2013 at 7:11 am

Are they testing these with stock shafts?
Seems a little off. A more accurate means of testing would to put the same shaft in each club.

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Bill April 20, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Maybe, but not much interest in the driver head comparison. Then you’d have people saying “Why didn’t use the shaft they are sold with, since about 90% or more are bought with the stock shaft?”.

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Andre April 19, 2013 at 12:31 pm

In my opinion this survey doesn’t mean much and can be misleading for those who do not got beyond the rankings. A driver is a head + a shaft, and it can have different lofts and length. In order to be meaningfull, this survey should have been made with heads of the same loft, same face angle, with same shafts and same length.

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Andre April 19, 2013 at 3:37 pm

About crown flexing, Tom Wishon wrote :

As to the crown flexing, this has been talked about since the late 1990s. Back then, golfers used to think that this was a “secret way” for the companies to get their heads to perform like they were over the COR limit. In fact, that was a myth.

Now today with some of the heads made with a groove, it is possible to get the COR up to a high level by making the head body flex. But the point still is, the USGA’s test will catch any head that is over the CT/COR limit, regardless if that COR/CT measurement is achieved by the face only flexing or by the whole front of the face and head flexing. So there is no way any of the head flexing models can exceed the COR limit. This becomes a matter of achieving the COR by one of two ways – either by the face only or by a little help from the body flexing a little bit. But in no way is a body flexing head better or worse than a face flexing head. They are just two different ways to achieve the same exact result.

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nicki April 20, 2013 at 3:25 am

I frankly don’t see what value one can give to a survey comparing drivers with different lofts, shafts, length, face angle…

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Steve Almo April 23, 2013 at 11:26 am

You can carry this out to infinity as to the rights and wrongs of this particular test. Let be honest here…it was a simple human test by a website doing the best they can under…shall we say unscientific methods. I see nothing wrong with their testing methods…as they stated, “it was an off the rack” type test and specifically geared toward that consumer audience. When your doing human type testing there is also the X factor within the testers and that would be simple ‘brand snobbery’…The minor golf companies don’t get the respect so the testers really don’t expect anywhere near as much (i.e. performance, etc.) as they do from the Majors. Since they are testers they, of course, would never admit that as they were told, most probably, not to be brand biased. But, human nature dictates otherwise. It’s as simple as doing a car test…if a tester is going to drive a Kia versus a top of the line Mercedes or BMW..the same day…they expect more from the BMW/Mercedes. Again, brand snobbery.

Truth is…no one had to submit their golf club for this test. Personally, had I been thinking ‘off the rack’ my choice of submission (i.e. pre-built golf club) would have been different. Which is why I stated earlier “next time I do my homework better”.

Just my opinion.

Steve Almo
President
Geek Golf
Winner of 17 RE/MAX LD Titles worldwide since 2005…more than any other golf company!

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Mboom April 27, 2013 at 11:23 am

I appreciate everything you guys go through to test and rate products featured here in your articles, but I still don’t understand how you can reach a comprehensive conclusion when you don’t include Tour Edge Exotics in your club evaluations. I’m not crying foul nor am I a tour edge rep. I’m simply an everyday guy that plays what I believe to be a superior product in both build and performance. I realize you cant include every club on the face of the planet but T.E.E is not exactly an unknown fly by night company. Several tour players that have big name endorsements have TEE products in their bags for a reason. I would like to see how this equipment, in the hands of an unbiased tester, compares with the “big boys” using the same criteria.

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GolfSpy T April 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm

TourEdge was invited, but declined to participate. The decision to be excluded was entirely theirs.

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Steve Almo April 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Qutie frankly, it’s not even a consideration of submitted clubs or companies. Truth is…no matter what the brand, Major or Minor..you can find plenty of people that will swear up and down, “this company makes the best Damn club on the market!!” Fitted or not!

That is just the way it is with any product…in any business!

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mboom April 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Steve, your absolutely right. People will do as you suggested. I, like most people, am not an expert in any way on the subject of clubs or testing or what have you. I read these articles to help me make decisions on products and equipment. I now understand TEE declined to participate in the evaluation. I simply wanted to see how their product compared to others in the very competitive market place. They, like other companies make some serious claims about performance and distance so I wanted to see an unbiased test to get a better idea of how they faired. Thanks for the response gentlemen.

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TheHacker June 18, 2013 at 11:24 pm

While some say that golf is played by humans, not machine, I feel there is merit in subjecting the drivers to an Iron Byron test just for reference.

With human testers, certain subjective elements like the weight and feel have different effect on the users. What’s fine for the testers might not be for the buyers and readers of this forum.

Further, there is the issue of warm up, getting in the the groove and eventually lethargy. A driver that comes up early in the tester may not perform well because the tester is not warmed up and loose enough. Likewise a driver that is lined up towards the end would also not perform well as the tester gets tired. There are just way too many variables that could work out either way. Even the colour of the driver may affect how the testers perform.

However with a machine test, every swing is the same. It is not affected by the weight, it needs no warm up, doesn’t get tired, and swings EXACTLY the same everytime. Same swing that goes into Taylor Made is used for Titleist, Callaway or any other brand.

What this at least does is set a baseline for us buyers, with almost everything being the same – swing speed, angle of attack, tempo, ball contact and so on, minus human factors that makes no swing exactly the same which could skew results, which is the longest driver.

So sorry to say, this test is still take with a huge pinch of salt simply because it is tested by humans. Yes, at the end of the day human golfers use the clubs, but we just want to take away the inconsistent element to compare.

What’s so hard about that?

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Steve Socoby July 7, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Do you test golf balls?

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Brian July 16, 2013 at 2:50 pm

The new Krank model is in stock, for sale and they have the weight kit for sale. Get onto them again and have one sent out with the weights kit. They are already stocking their long drive players and dominating the LD tour. They are the ones that make the biggest, boldest and most detailed claims in claiming they beat all other manufacturers. They categorically state that they have the highest ball speed, most ideal ball flight and most forgiveness. Let’s see if they are right or full of it. A test without the current long drive champion driver is a test that is far from complete. But I grant you if they have a decent to awesome engineering department, their customer service stinks to high heaven.

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g. brooks July 20, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I made myself a driver about 10-12 years ago. It has a SMT 5 degree loft with a stiff Harrison shaft. I issue this challenge to the manufacturers of any of the new drivers with the great technology. I will hit 10 balls on level ground with my driver & their drivers and even at best there won’t be any major difference in my driver & theirs. I am 67 years old 6.1 & about 240. Their driver would have to have total distance over 280 . To beat my by 10-20 yds Maybe 290-300. Would new tech. be worth switching?

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Brian July 28, 2013 at 8:28 am

The moral I’ve taken from this test is… Taylor made’s off the rack driver fits more people than other off the rack drivers for swingweight, loft options and shaft.

And getting youself custom fit with various drivers and shaft combos is the best way to get the best club for you, which may or may not be a taylor made or a callaway.

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mon July 29, 2013 at 2:27 am

thanks for your comprehensive review. right to the point what everybody wants to know. however, i cannot find any japanese clubs been reviewed (only Mizuno reviewed). can you initiate reviewing Yamaha, Epon, on-off, miura, majesty, etc? especially the drivers, woods, hybrids, and irons. that will be awesome to compare to american clubs.

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RP Jacobs II July 29, 2013 at 7:49 am

Sure, if you could obtain the clubs for testing. As the market for the Japanese brands is minuscule in the US, so to probably would be the Japanese interest in participating. Obviously I do not speak for MGS, other members or parties and I’ve played for 46+ years and if ya go into the forum, you’ll see that I own a few sets and I LOVE equipment however since the possibility of me obtaining Japanese clubs is minuscule, so is my interest in reading a review & comparison against those listed here.

The other thing is the Japanese market is an entirely different market, in short, the ave. driver sold in Japan cost just over $800 versus a tad under $200 in the US market. Taking away the exchange rate difference, there is a very, very small group of golfers in the US who would be able to afford a Japanese driver.

That said, I don’t think that it would be cost effective/realistic nor demographically prudent for MGS to even ATTEMPT to include the Japanese brands. Fun to read, though sorta like the average person reading a Mercedes S550 4MATIC review.

Time and resources could be better spent on other reviews & areas

Have a great season Mon :-)

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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Tom February 13, 2014 at 1:03 am

Tony, last year the R1 was almost 2 yds longer than g25. Is the SLDR longer? And how does it compare to the RBz stage 2? Would love to see this same testing applied to those three, heck, throw in the ’09 Burner TP, that beautiful thing hits it a mile!

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Ivan Sanders April 5, 2014 at 11:06 am

Although not endorsing off the shelf drivers – overall poor performance / high price, let’s put that aside and look at the test results:

Unless around twenty of each of the same model were extensively tested the results are meaningless and misleading for the following reasons:

(1) Distance and accuracy are massively influenced by whether or not each shaft is spine aligned and correctly fitted. Arguably a potentially lesser hitting driver will outhit a potentially dominant driver if it has been better set up. Were the drivers stripped down and properly assembled before testing because off the shelf drivers do not come spine aligned?

(2) Head lofts are often up to two degrees out either way from their plated loft. Were accurately measured exactly identical loft heads used?

(3) Some heads and shafts are manufactured better than others even though superficially identical. Hence competitors at the World Longdrive Champs. may have six or eight drivers ‘identical’ assembled at the Champs. and reject four of them. Only the testing of numerous drivers evens out such inconsistencies.

In amateur testing like is rarely tested against like yet as a result of such spurious tests buyers ridiculously speak of one model outhitting another by a couple of yards or so.

Unless assurances are made on the above vital points what would be a reasonable conclusion?

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Bob June 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Yes! Yes! Yes!. I’ve been saying it for years. How can golf magazines be really critical when the companies products they claim to be testing are the same companies that advertise those products on their pages. Every time I read their annual club testing results, I come away saying, “that was a waste of time”. They loved them all. These mags should stop wating our time with their reviews and just stick to everything else.
p.s. Stop telling what’s in the bag. We know what’s in their bages, just read the logos on their hats. How many pros that accept an advertising fee from Titliest play Callaway?`

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