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2013 “Golf’s Most Wanted” – Most Accurate Driver

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Yesterday we looked at distance for all 17 drivers in our test. For most guys absolute distance is the only thing matters. 300 yards into the trees is still 300 yards right?

There is, I'm told, a small (but hopefully growing) minority of golfers for whom distance isn't everything. These are the guys who are willing to leave a little bit of yardage on the table if it means they don't have to reload frequently, and more often than not, they play their second shot from the fairway.

It's for this select group of golfers (the more intelligent than I crowd) that we set out to find the Golf's Most Wanted Driver for accuracy.

How We Calculate Accuracy

As with every other aspect of this test, individual scores are determined based on how each club performs relative to each individual tester's ability. Just as we never directly compare average distance for a guy who hits it 210 yards to that of a guy that can pound the ball 300 yards; neither do we directly compare accuracy for a guy who misses the centerline by a ton with that of a guy who misses by just a few yards.

Our accuracy scoring is made up of two components:

:: TRUaccuracy - The relative point value that indicates how far up the fairway the ball traveled for every yard it deviated from the centerline.

:: Global Fairway Percentage - The percentage of the total number of fairways hit achieved by each club in the test (based on a charitable 40-yard wide fairway).

Global Fairway Percentage Example

To keep it simple, assume that in testing 17 drivers, Tester A hit a total (all clubs combined) of 100 fairways. If 7 of those were hit with the Titleist 913, and 5 of them were hit with the Wishon 919THI, the Global Fairway Percentages would be 7% and 5% respectively.

Using Global Fairway Percentage instead simple fairway percentage prevents the tester who generally hits a high percertage of fairways from influencing the results more than the tester who generally hits fewer fairways. Again, all scores are based on the performance of each club relative to the individual tester's ability.

2013 “Golf’s Most Wanted” – Most Accurate Drivers

If you're looking for perhaps the biggest shocker of this year's test, look know further than the Titleist 913. When you consider that Titliest is a brand that's basically built a reputation for being almost exclusively for elite players, it's pretty amazing that their latest driver would be prove to be the most accurate among all clubs in the test.

While the 913 lagged slightly behind Callaway's Xhot when it comes to proximity to the target line, our testers hit more fairways with the 913 than any other driver in the test.

Callaway's XHot once again inserted itself into the conversation leading the field in truaccuracy, and finishing a respectable 6th overall for fairways hit.

Our testers frequently commented that Cobra's AMP Cell driver seemed to always go straight regardless of how they hit it.  The numbers suggest they were right.

Rounding out the top 5, Cleveland's Classic XL produced the 2nd highest fairway percentage, while Tom Wishon's 919 make a strong case for the argument that shorter (in this case 44") can be better, especially when the premium is placed on accuracy.

2013 “Golf’s Most Wanted” – Most Accurate 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:

For the higher swing speed player looking for more accuracy, our test found 3 standout performers. Titleist's 913 once again led the pack producing the 3rd highest truAccuracy score, and by far the highest fairway percentage in the group (relatively speaking).  Titleist? Easy to hit straight? Yeah...that's happening people.

Securing the #2 spot, Callaway's XHot produced the #1 truAccuracy score for the group, and finished a respectable 4th for fairway percentage.

Just as it did for the entire group, Cobra's AMP Cell proved to be extremely accurate for our higher swing speed players. It's truAccuracy score of 84.73 was 2nd best among the 100 MPH and over crowd. Combined with a well above average global fairway percentage, it easily made the top 3 and nearly surpassed XHot. We should also mention it comes in blue.

Closing out the top 5 are (once again) the Cleveland Classic XL, and the PING Anser, which cracks the top 5 for the first time.

For the low swing speed player Adams Speedline Super S tops the list of most accurate drivers. It's loud as hell, but it sure flies straight. While it ranked 4th for distance from the centerline, for our slower swing players, it proved to be the easiest to keep in the fairway.

PowerBilt once again breaks into the top 5 which suggests the AirForce One DF could very well be the best driver of 2013 that no one is talking about. Among slower swing speed players it produced the highest truAccuracy score, and the 3rd best Fairway Percentage.

Not surpriginsly given the emphasis on control, the 44" Wishon 919THI finished 3rd overall for this group. It finished 3rd for truAccuracy and 2nd for fairway percentage.

Completing the slow swinger's top 5 are the Geek No Brainer (the other component brand in the test), and the Cleveland Classic XL (the only club in the top 5 for overall, as well as high and low swing speed players).

Your Questions Answered

Do you have any questions about the 2013 Golf's Most Wanted Test? We'll be answering them in an upcoming "Most Wanted Driver" mailbag post. If there's anything you'd like to know about the clubs in our test, or test test itself, send an email to [email protected].

{ 87 comments… read them below or add one }

Trebuchet April 16, 2013 at 4:58 am

Wow, Not at all what I was expecting. Thanks for doing this!

Can’t wait to see the raw data and “dig in”. :)

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Trebuchet April 16, 2013 at 5:03 am

Oh, Question. Are you going to keep the TRUaccuracy component in future driver/fairway reviews? It would be helpful to have a baseline going forward. Like many others here, I am gaming “older” clubs and while I know you’re not likely to have the time to add in legacy clubs, it would be very helpful when making decisions in the future.

thanks again!

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GolfSpy T April 16, 2013 at 5:53 am

While the idea of truAccuracy seems pretty obvious to us now, it was definitely a light-bulb moment for us as we were crunching the numbers on the fairway wood test.

I think looking at fairways hit is a nice addition (of course I do, I thought of it), but truAccuracy is the cornerstone of how we measure accuracy. Simply looking at yards offline doesn’t paint the full picture of accuracy.

Bottom line. truAccuracy isn’t going away, without it, we can’t compare one tester’s accuracy to another. And if we can’t do that, we don’t have the complete picture.

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David W April 16, 2013 at 9:12 am

Excellent!

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Jack April 16, 2013 at 5:06 am

The Titleist 913 was also the most accurate driver in the Edwin Watts test results, so I’m not surprised by it’s performance. It’s reassuring to see that with a few minor exceptions, your testing (human) and that of Watts (robot) seem to be tracking pretty closely.

I appreciate the effort it took to provide us with this information.

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golfer4life April 16, 2013 at 5:56 am

Sorry if this has been stated or asked already. Was the testing done inside or outside?
Not surprised about Titleist at all. Would be surprised if its not in the top 3 in the end (and prob #1) Very surprised about the Xtreme though. Haven’t come across accuracy problems when fitting or customer feed back.
Another informative test, and great job!

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lebronze April 16, 2013 at 6:07 am

I wonder how much effect the alignment marks on the tittylist 913 and xhot have on the accuracy test results…

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Golfer Burnz April 16, 2013 at 6:08 am

Powerbilt seems to be on to something with the AFO. They have been in the golf business for a long time and don’t get the respect they deserve, kind of like Wilson. Good to see some of these older companies coming around again adapting to the technology and competing with the forerunners.

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RP Jacobs II April 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

I had the AFO Tour(amongst others, lol) and bagged it for about a month and it was an excellent driver. Shaft snapped(it was an after market) & I just put another driver in the bag, though I still have the head & wouldn’t hesitate to reshaft it & bag it if I had to. They definitely are onto something good with their technology(gas).

The Best

Fairways & Greens 4ever

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dr. bloor April 16, 2013 at 6:14 am

Not surprising to see the Geek and Wishon doing better and the Wilson dropping back today–heavier and shorter = a bit shorter, a bit more accurate.

Having said that, like the distance scores, these are all very tightly clustered. Bottom line here seems to be they’re all horses–if you’re not going to get fitted, you can probably pull one off the rack with a blindfold or shop by “feel,” and it won’t make much difference.

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GolfSpy T April 16, 2013 at 6:17 am

Keep in mind we’re playing by averages here. When you put everything in a group, there is, as you noted, not a ton of distinction.

What you’ll see tomorrow when we publish all the data is that for most guys 1 or 2 clubs absolutely lit it up in each category.

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Kevin L April 16, 2013 at 7:38 am

T

I’m assuming this will mean that there is a right driver for me that may not be the right driver for you rather than there are 1 or 2 drivers that have seperated themselves from the pack for all players. Would that be a correct assumption?

Thanks for a great test!

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Dr. Bloor April 16, 2013 at 7:52 am

Fair enough. Contra my comment, I’m actually interested in seeing how your slowest swingers fared. I’m considering a handful of the clubs in the test, and their experiences will be helpful.

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Don Miguel April 16, 2013 at 6:35 am

Great write up! I look forward to the full data set.

Were the high swing speed guys using the 913 d3? I re-read where you stated that the high swing speed crowd were using the pro version of their respective models for the length testing, curious to know if it is the same here.

Thanks again for all the time and effort! The 913 certainly warrants another look.

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GolfSpy T April 16, 2013 at 6:54 am

The same set of shots was used to calculate all numbers, so yes, higher swing speed guys used the D3.

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Eric Larson April 16, 2013 at 6:49 am

Based on the anecdotal evidence I expected to see the Nike’s near the top on accuracy. Interesting how perception and reality don’t always go hand in hand. I foresee hours of entertainment sifting through the raw numbers when they comes out. Can’t wait to see if my guess is accurate based on parts 1&2

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Trebuchet April 16, 2013 at 7:00 am

My takeaway from this is that all the technology really has been maxed out to meet the current rules, and that much of the “advancements” over the past few years boil down to marketing, plain and simple.

But the data would also seem to indicate that certain equipment is “dialed in” to perform better for a certain type of golfer and their tenancies. (data by the way, that could not be collected by robotic testing)

I love that your testing groups cover the majority of swing speeds and ability, and with the full data set, we’ll be able to match ourselves up to one of the testers and get a great *starting point* for finding what works best for us.

As a “data guy” I can’t wait to see the year-over-year data compile.

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Kevin L April 16, 2013 at 7:41 am

This is a very insightful comment IMO. So often folks view tests as Gospel when the reality is that these test provide helpful data in getting started not an end result for the individual golfer. The test is only as good as the people doing it and the person who is interpreting the test results to suit his or her particular needs.

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Duncan Castles April 16, 2013 at 7:03 am

Thanks for such a comprehensive study.
One question: Why add TruAccuracy to Fairway Hit percentage to calculate the overall accuracy score? The variation in the TruAccuracy figures is much larger than that for Fairways Hit so the former seems to swamp the latter.

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Blade April 16, 2013 at 10:04 pm

You have to be much more accurate to hit a fairway with a 300 yd shot than with a 200 yd shot. FWs hit doesn’t tell the whole story. It would give short hitters a higher accuracy number than a long hitter with the same degree off center flight. The long hitter could miss the fairway, due to the added distance, that the short hitter stayed in.

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Duncan Castles April 16, 2013 at 11:46 pm

I understand that. I am asking why the two figures are combined in the way they are – simple addition seems arbitrary.

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GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 6:12 am

A couple of quick points here before I get into a hopefully brief explanation.

1 – Taking a golf shot, or rather a series of golf shots, from several individuals and turning that into an out of 100 score is unnatural and difficult. There are several decisions that were made along the way.
2 – Most scoring systems have an element of arbitrariness to them. Why is a touchdown worth 6 points, a field goal 3, and an extra point 1. My assumption is that when writing the rule book, the guys who created American football looked at the various ways to score, and then weighted them reasonably. That’s basically what we did.

As for the specifics of this situation…yes for simple presentation purposes, truAccuracy + Global Fairway % = Total Accuracy Score. It’s actually much more complex that that.

Every shot taken is given an accuracy value (it’s essentially a truAccuracy calculation that considers how generally accurate the tester is). The normalization (leveling the scoring between the guy who hits a high percentage of fairways and the guy who doesn’t) is baked into the initial part of the formula. If we didn’t want to consider fairways those numbers could give us the Accuracy Score. Had we done that, truAccuracy = Overall Accuracy, and that would be the end of it. What we noticed in looking at the numbers after the first round of testing was that there were a few clubs that while not as tight to the center line as others actually resulted in a higher fairway percentage.

You could make the argument that those are included in the truAccuracy score (and they are)…and we did make that argument, but as I stated earlier, including a fairway percentage not only allowed us to include what many view as a key driving stat, but it also allowed to paint what we think is a more complete picture of accuracy.

Combining truAccuracy and the Global Fairway % was another scoring hurdle…and again, there is an inherent bit of arbitrariness in deciding how to weight truAccuracy and FW% (while keeping in mind that since we’re doing this out of 100, exceeding a total score of 100 must be a mathematical impossibility). What we decided to do was leave the GF% number intact, and then weight the truAccuracy value at roughly 90% of it’s original value. Basically we set it up so that if you took the best GF% and the best truAccuracy score it would be possible to get near 100%. In most cases are testers hit the low 90s (which is what we like…good but not too good).

So while at the surface it does look like we took X and added it to Y, the X that made it to the presentation piece of this test reflects a weighted average.

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Duncan Castles April 17, 2013 at 6:43 am

Thanks for the detailed explanation, Tony.
Given the complexity of the calculations, do you feel that either of TruAccuracy or GF% give a better representation of forgiveness?
Look forward to your in-depth analysis next week.

Dave S April 16, 2013 at 7:07 am

I’m not really suprised by the 913, mainly b/c it has the shortest stock shaft of any of the other drivers (from the big OEMs at least… not sure about Wishon, Geek and Powerbilt). Shorter shaft = more likley to hit the center of the face = more likley to hit it straight. I’m not trying to downplay the testing or the results… in fact, I think Titleist shoudl be commended for having a shorter stock shaft. More players will play better with this driver.

I am kind of suprised at the mediocre performance of the Covert… I thought it might not be the longest, but really expected it to be top 3 in accuracy (based on what I’d heard in other reviews). I put a premium on accuracy and also love Nike, so I was really hoping it would do well since I like the driver and am in the market. Any specific feedback you could share on the Nike?

Why does the most accurate driver also have to be the most expensive?!?

As always great article!

My prediction for Most Wanted Driver = Callaway XHot

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Socorro April 16, 2013 at 9:22 am

I’m likewise surprised that the Covert didn’t score higher. I play a Razr Fit 8.5° in Florida and a 910 set to 10.25° in Missouri. At a recent demo night, I tried the 913 and Covert Tour both set to 9.5° without draw/fade adjustments. I’m a senior golfer with a swing speed that measured 90-95 with comparably weighted R shafts in both clubs. Since sadly I cannot hit the long ball any more, I suppose I’ve migrated to the point where accuracy is a bigger asset to me than it was 20 years ago. I found the 913 to be the longer but the Covert more consistently straight. Truthfully, I didn’t think the 913 had much to add versus my 910; but I loved the redhead!

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Kayvon April 16, 2013 at 10:00 am

When I demoed the Covert and Covert Tour I thought they felt/played extraordinarily different. The regular version felt cheap to me, like it used different materials or manufacturing process. I assume the regular version was used here but still wouldn’t be surprised if the Tour performed similarly, considering it’s a concept that will probably require a few generations before they really nail it.

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Oldplayer April 16, 2013 at 12:05 pm

The X Hot seems to really have hit the mark.
I was doing some testing with flightscope with our club pro and fitter. I was getting great numbers with the X Hot when I had expected the R 1 to suit me better and perform well. He said the X Hot performs well for a wide range of players. After fitting he has been selling them at a ratio of 15 to 1 against the R1.

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fleeter April 16, 2013 at 8:02 am

Great tests and I too am looking forward to going through the data. I am surprised that the Ping G25, and the Nike Covert scored where they did. I believe that some of the hype I’ve read about these two clubs has swayed me to expect more from them. Great stuff MGS!

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ryebread April 16, 2013 at 8:02 am

I’m sad that Tour Edge didn’t participate with the XCG6. Based on some other testing and reviews, I suspect they’d have done very well.

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foz April 16, 2013 at 8:06 am

I just may have to check out the Powerbilt DF this year. My Powerbilt AFO is only 2 years old and getting me an average of 10/14 fairways. This is the absolute most comprehensive Driver test ever!

Thanks much for all the work that went into the planning, organizing and production of the test.

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JBones April 16, 2013 at 8:10 am

Crazy. Again, the R1 is one of the longest and definitely most accurate driver I’ve ever had in the bag.

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Peter Langan April 16, 2013 at 8:12 am

This type of testing and comparison is excellent in that it reflects common sense. What I’m interested in now is the take on the Wilson D100 woods and irons. The very reduced weight in both well might be an important trend for the future. I was able to hit the irons at a golf show in Mesa, and was quite impressed. For us golfers that go back 50 years or more, the return of Wilson and Powerbilt is kind of nice to see.

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Kevin L April 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

Peter I don’t know if you are a member of the forums because we sometimes have different “names” out here than on the inside. At any rate I’m in your camp in that I can well recall Wilson and Powerbilt being heavy weights in the golfing world. Do you recall when Wilson had the “slot” type technology back in the 70′s. I’m sure it was different than what we see today but they tried it then along with “feather weight” clubs.

Actually your comment has raised an interesting question for me and I will start a thread in the forums based on it. My preference has been for a lighter weight club. Yet I’ve found that I do better with a more neutral (neither heavy nor light) shaft in my driver and fairway woods and a lighter weight shaft in my irons. I’ve found this through extensive fitting including a 3 hour session at the tour performance center at TPC Sawgrass (won that session as a part of the MGS tour staff contest last year). It was an eye opener to me to see just how much farther and straighter I hit my drives with a shaft that weighed 65 grams over and against one that weighs 47 grams.

Other MGS tests have pointed to the importance of fitting but I wanted to bring this up based upon your comments. Make sure you find that proper shaft/head combo for your swing both in the irons and the woods.

Have a great season!

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Steve Almo April 16, 2013 at 12:12 pm

Kevin…..I remember all you speak of concerning Wilson, PowerBilt and so many others that have, unfortunately, gone sideways or are history. I was with Ram Golf when the Featherlites hit the scene..around early 80′s . It jump started that trend because of Raymond Floyd. The best looking and best selling Featherlites were the Rams…incredible sell thru! For about 8/9 months…..and then you couldn’t give them away. The problem was all the Majors came out with the SW’s at B-5 or right in there. The only one that really lasted was the Roger Dunn (I should say Steve Dunn as it was his idea) to come out with an in-house store model called the PennyWeight. Steve was smart enough to bring them in at C-6/7. So the ‘feel’ was there to a certain degree. While all the Majors put them to sleep…The Roger Dunn model sold thru nicely for a few years after everyone else baIled.

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Peter L. April 23, 2013 at 7:51 am

Kevin: I normally use graphite shafts, but the first iron handed me was a steel shaft, which I accepted but explained it was not my usual choice. After a few hits, the lighter steel shaft was just fine.
My first tendency was to pull the irons, but it didn’t take long to adjust to the lighter weight.
It intriqued me enough to shop around once back north of the 49th, but not that many stores carry Wilson, at least not yet.
And speaking of memories, do you remember when Titleist came out with the first heel and toe weighted irons, with little round inserts in the back of the toe and heel? And the laminated, small headed woods?

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Tom Crisan April 16, 2013 at 8:22 am

What happened to the Ping I20 – #1 last year – no mdention this year? Distance or Accuracy!

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Jason Kanis April 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

Pretty sure this test was only open to the newest models submitted by the companies – but in that I too play the i20, it is the #1 previous model I would like to see run through this exact test as well. Maybe we could narrow down a list of 5 of the top rated previous models by MyGolfSpy, from previous testing; and run them against these to really determine if we’re ‘gaining’ from one year to the next…

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antp2008 April 16, 2013 at 8:26 am

sorry for your big headed drivers, but you see I hit a 1 hybrid 225 yards, and I like small heads, I am still looking for a low headed driver, not a giant thing that can hit 3 balls at the same time, and having 2 balls in height, I still can hit a ball with a small headed club,

have a good day

antoine

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Walkerjames April 16, 2013 at 8:28 am

Great test boys I can’t wait for the final results!

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TwoSolitudes April 16, 2013 at 8:32 am

Titleist 913 the most interesting so far for me. Not something I ever would have considered before. Where did it rank on the under 100mph swingers?

Cleveland Classic XL is looking like a great choice as well but- I had the original and it was not better than the CG Black. Can anyone comment on if the XL Custom very different than the original Classic?

Most surprising for me? Nike Covert- thought that would be much much higher.

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John Barry April 16, 2013 at 8:40 am

Go Air Force 1!!

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Tony Wright April 16, 2013 at 8:46 am

It would be interesting if you would show results for all 17 clubs for both the high and low swing speeds, thanks.

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GolfSpy T April 16, 2013 at 8:49 am

All of the data, including all the results by individual (and swing speed) will be posted tomorrow.

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Dave April 16, 2013 at 9:06 am

This is great information and the comparison of different manufacturers. I am a believer that the shaft is the key component of a golf club and in your analysis perhaps the shaft could be the most important conclusion???

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Dave S April 16, 2013 at 9:35 am

One question about the usage of the TRUaccuracy metric here… Isn’t it really just a hybrid of distance and accuracy? If that’s the case, based on the format of this testing, shouldn’t Global Fairways Hit be the only metric we’re worried about for the “Accuracy” portion and TRUaccuracy be part of the Overall score?

Seems to me that whichever scored the highest in TRUaccuracy should actually be the Overall best driver. Am I missing something here? Is there some other metric you plan on using for the Overall scores?

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GolfSpy T April 16, 2013 at 10:44 am

Global Fairway Percentage is great because well…we all care about hitting fairways, but what it doesn’t convey is the magnitude of the misses. If I hit the fairway 70% of the time with a given club, that’s pretty good. If the other 30% of the time I miss by 50 yards, well…that’s not so good.

Generally speaking the clubs with the highest truAccuracy score hit a higher number of fairways, but we wanted to look at a more complete picture of accuracy.

Regarding truAccuracy being functionally the same as a hybrid of distance and accuracy, that’s definitely not the case. Golf shots don’t exist in a vacuum. That is to say a shot can’t simply be offline, our shots must also travel up the fairway to some degree (which is why distance is always a factor in accuracy).

That said, let’s look at an extreme example that will illustrate the differences. Let’s say there was a real dud in our test. When we’re done crunching the numbers, that dud of a club produced shots that were 200 yards long and 5 yards offline.

Without getting into the formulas that turn a truAccuracy value into a percentage, we can say that shots with that club traveled and average of 40 yards up the fairway for each yard they traveled off the centerline. From an accuracy perspective, this would represent a top-top (likely #1 overall by a substantial margin) performance. truAccuracy, and by extension “accuracy” scores would be off the charts.

That’s great, but if you look at Total Driving (distance minus accuracy – the stat we use to determine best overall), the score would actually work out to 195. That’s absolutely miserable. It would be dead last, but a substantial margin.

This is, as I said, a fairly extreme example, but I use it to show that while truAccuracy may be an indicator of overall performance, it’s far from definitive, and definitely not the same as Total Driving.

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Dave S April 16, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Thanks for the in-depth explanation T… that makes sense. I have a friend, however, who has disproven on numerous occasions, your contention that a golf shot must travel up the fairway to some degree in order to be offline. ha.

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Tony Wright April 16, 2013 at 9:39 am

It is too bad that the Wishon driver in the tests was 44 inches long. If it had been 44-1/2 inches long or even 45 inches long, it would have been higher in the distance rankings, and am sure still great in the accuracy rankings. This is a Quality head, and one that you can get at the exact loft and face angle specs that you need. It is as good as any of the OEM heads in my view.

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David W April 16, 2013 at 9:41 am

Wow, in the TRUAccuracy scoring the best driver averaged 2.91 yards off center and the worst was only 3.02 on a 250 yard drive. Just goes to show you once again that you find the driver that fits your swing, no matter what the data says. This is a great starting point though, especially the high and low swing speed numbers.

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Mike B April 16, 2013 at 11:11 am

Where are you coming up with these numbers?

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Trebuchet April 17, 2013 at 5:25 am

TRUaccuracy is a ratio showing forward distance vs lateral distance. A score of 85.5 means that the ball traveled 1 yard off line for every 85.5 yards it travels forward. So, if you take the desired yardage and divide it by the score you get the *average* distance off line for that club at that distance. (250 yards divided by 85.5 = 2.92 yards off line. at 300 yards it would be 300 divided by 85.5 = 3.50 yards off line)

Now, the scores are derived using weighted and calculated averages per tester over a large sampling, and I understand that the formula to get that number is pretty scary. (And I’d love to spend some time working that formula)

It’s not a “true” number that you can bank on. I would not expect to go out and personally average 3 yards off line with a 913D, but rather it’s a way to distill performance down to a consistent metric so you can compare performance across products. That’s why the ultimate calculation weights “fairways hit” higher than the TRUaccuracy score.

See, statistical analysis CAN be fun! ;-)

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Trebuchet April 17, 2013 at 5:44 am

Ok, I’ve misspoken. Look’s like T has gone and upped the complexity of this calculations significantly. Now TruyAccuracy is presented as weighted score that takes into account the tester’s ability and not just a raw number. (as it was presented in the original Fairway test).

I suspected something was off when I actually stopped to think about it, the winner of the fairway accuracy test had a TruAccuracy score of 27.05 In retrospect, It’s obvious that no driver is going outperform a fairway by 4 times…

Now I REALLY can’t wait to dig into the raw numbers!!!!!!

T, Are you going to publish your formulas for us “statistical hobbiests” to pick-apart… I mean… Admire with awe and reverence? ;)

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GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 6:19 am

Yeah…last time around we left truAccuracy as a raw number. We didn’t love it, and lets face it, when everything else is out of 100, it’s a little confusing to say, “yeah, but for accuracy, 27 is a really good score”, so we ‘fixed’ it (which apparently broke it for some of you who were paying attention last time around).

So yeah, as I said in my response to Duncan, there’s some leveling (making sure a generally inaccurate guy’s scores carry the same weight as a generally more accurate player), and then there’s some weighting (balancing truAccuracy with the Global Fairway %).

I can appreciate that you’re interested in the formulas themselves. However, as much as we’re about transparency, the actual guts of this took a tremendous amount of work to develop. While we can’t imagine anyone else would want to get this deep into a driver test, we definitely don’t want to provide a very solid foundation for anyone who does. I’ll be happy to answer questions as I have in more general terms, but the actual math we use, even though it leverages basic statistics…we do consider it a trade secret.

Gil B. April 16, 2013 at 10:23 am

After viewing the results from today and yesterday, it appears, at least to this reader, that the Cleveland driver just might be the “overall” winner in this study. Thank goodness I’m a Cleveland loyalist who, for years, have been touting the Cleveland products in terms of performance, technology, and cost. The variables in the testing here indicate all the drivers are very close in their final recorded scores but when you feel confident with a certain club in your hands it makes a world of difference in your attitude, approach to the game, and how light in the wallet one can get. Thanks guys for the study, it was very revealing. Job well done.

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Bobbyc April 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

I was never any good at math and have read the TRUaccuracy and Global FW% explanations at least 5 times. Let me get this straight, at 85.50 yards the 913 is 1 yard off line….at 171 yards it’s 2 yards off line…at 256.5 yards it’s 3 yards off line ??? Pretty good ! If this is the case then even the least accurate Razr Fit Xtrm is only 3 yards off line at 247.58 yards. Not bad at all !! In the Truaccuracy catagory the Anser is the winner. Global FW % of 7.03 for the 913 means that 7.03 fairways were hit ? How many were missed ? How many shots were taken with the 913 ? Just don’t get this one. Not blaming MSG for my math issue just requesting someone explain it in a different way. thanks…..ps: 913 D2 for slow ss and D3 for fast ss ? If so, then the D2 (which is advertised as more forgiving) didn’t do as well as the D3…..since the D2 doesn’t show on the slow ss chart then the main (ie 1st chart) must just reflect the D3 ?

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Mike B April 16, 2013 at 11:12 am

It shows!

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GolfSpy T April 16, 2013 at 11:26 am

Yeah…that’s not it at all. I’m going to be as brief as I can, but basically we have formulas that take simple truAccuracy (ball traveled X# of yards of the fairway for every X# of yards offline) into a percentage/point value.

What you must always remember is that point values are relative to each individual tester’s actual ability. In simple terms while an average of 20 yards offline might be good for me, that same 20 yards might be horrific for another tester. The scoring system has to reflect the fact that a club that is 20 yards offline for me is (ability level to ability level) the same as a club that might be 10 yards offline for another.

Conceptually it’s not much different from the USGA’s handicapping system.

So very long mathematical story short. there’s no way that I’m aware of to look at the numbers here and say that Club X averaged Y number of yards offline.

The hard data some of you are looking for (Golfer A missed the target line by 20 yards with Club B), that’s all getting published tomorrow in what will no doubt be the biggest scariest charts we’ve ever done.

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Silloth April 16, 2013 at 12:11 pm

I was with it up to the simple truaccuracy stage as that was how you did the mgs ultimate fairway results last year at around 27. How you then apply formulas to get readings in the mid 80s is the bit I don’t understand but looking forward to the data to explain this – thanks for the the comprehensive testing.

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derek April 16, 2013 at 9:50 pm

so wait did i understand the fw% right , we are still only hitting the FW 7 % of the time with the most accurate with 100 shots? I will reread the definition.

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GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 5:58 am

The FW% (or Global Fairway Percentage as we call it) we use allows us to level the performance playing field (for scoring purposes) between guys who hit lots of fairways (on average) and guys who don’t (again) on average. Basically it’s the percentage of total fairways (between all clubs) that a given club accounts for.

Really simple…in testing 17 drivers, tester A hits 100 fairways total. If 10 of those were hit with the Callaway XHot, the GlobalFairway % for that club would be 10% (10 is 10% of 100%). The actual fairway percentage (the more common usage) could be 40, or 60, or even higher. We only care how the club performed in relation to how all other clubs performed for a specific tester.

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ExcitoGolf April 16, 2013 at 10:58 am

Looks like XHot is the clear overall winner

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derek April 16, 2013 at 9:43 pm

agree!, 2-4 yards shorter in 100 mph and 2nd place in accuracy, with TM R1 or rbz not even in top 5 of accuracy

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javier vigil April 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

When the numbers will be released, will the club length also be in those numbers?

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Mike B April 16, 2013 at 11:09 am

This is the best test I have read anywhere! It is very informative and the splitting of results between high speed and low speed swingers is genius! As a low speed swinger myself, I game an Adams Speedline Fast 12 Draw 10.5 that is by far the most accurate driver that I have ever used. I have hit a few drivers that are longer, but my lower scores ( very nearly 2 strokes per round last season) with the Fast 12 have solidified my willingness to give up some distance (10 yards at the very most compared to the longest) for accuracy. Overall distance may probably even be longer than nearly all drivers for me if I include the consistency of contact and length. By that I mean that another driver may hit the ball 10 yards longer from time to time, but I hit the Adams 220 pretty consistently. My swing speed varies between 83 to 89 m.p.h.

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Mike B April 16, 2013 at 11:18 am

My heart goes out to all the people affected by the Boston Marathon bombing.

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Eric Larson April 16, 2013 at 12:26 pm

In the final data will we have the full averages of launch angle/spin/carry/roll ?
Curious to see if comments about various drivers hold true, such as ‘runs like a scared rabbit’

Either way this provides an excellent foundation for stating the fitting process.

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Bryan April 16, 2013 at 1:47 pm

This is the same reason why I chose the 910D2 last year, I was just accurate with it.

And just like the distance in the other report suggests, it is not the longest driver either…but I would take fairways over the rough any day.

Granted, I know that this is about the 913D2 but I am just letting everyone know that I had a similar experience with last years model….

P.s. I would say my swing speed is med-fast which also matches the data above…

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Steve Almo April 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm

And just like the distance in the other report suggests, it is not the longest driver either…but I would take fairways over the rough any day.” Said Bryan.

Bryan…..But, most wouldn’t. After being 35+ years in the golf business the one thing that is a true constant is, most will take distant over accuracy…everytime. The main motivating reason in one looking to buy a new Driver is hitting further than their current set-up. Every company implies ‘longer than long’. You never see them saying….’might be shorter than your current set up…but you will hit every fairway’. The bottomline is in 95% of sales of new Drivers….IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT DISTANCE OFF THE TEE, Bryan. Always.

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bullwinkle April 16, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Steve as the manufacturer of the Geek line isn’t it a little unusual for you to be on an independent site? Not that you would ever show any favoritism or anything. It is always about the distance and the amazing thing is the name companies have finally caught up with the manufacturers of specialty drivers, never thought that would happen.

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Steve Almo April 17, 2013 at 10:12 am

Bullwinkle….. Why is that unusual? I am quite active on quite a few golf sites. I have a big mouth and utilize it at times…LOL!

Inasmuch as the Majors catching up with the specialty boutique companies, as you say…Why shouldn’t they? They have vast resources and very smart people working at the Majors. I don’t think it’s a matter of them “catching up” as much as the Minors trying to do things different to make their own mark. You want to stand on your own. I don’t have stars in my eyes…I know exactly where Geek fits in and I have a very solid, and for lack of a better word, cult audience. I have fun with it and Geek followers have fun right along with me. Bullwinkle, as long as they are happy……….I am happy! Quite frankly, I cannot really be concerned what the Majors do….they have to move ridiculously large numbers….I don’t.

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Bill April 16, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Great analysis. Doesn’t disappoint even after all the buildup.
Hit many of the clubs at length and there were some similarities with your results and a couple that worked for you guys that didn’t work at all for me and vice versa. No point, other than I agree with the thought that you find what fits you and you run with it. Distance is sexy but hitting fairways is more endearing. Which is why most of us still go for the distance.

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Drew April 16, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Not surprised at all that Cally is at the top…say hello to the champ guys. Will keep my trusty Diablo Edge for now though :) .

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Peter L. April 16, 2013 at 8:37 pm

To add to all the fun of analysis of comparing new drivers, is now “The Secret Grip,” so often advertised during the Masters.
Of course I had to order 3, and plan to see if there is a significant change in distance and accuracy.
With Jack N. endorsing it, and his having used the same concept during his playing days, maybe this can be an interesting club modification at a reasonable cost.

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mstod April 17, 2013 at 5:34 am

Dissapointing numbers for the Adams’ clubs. I didn’t see that coming for the LS. Will be interestesting to see today if some of the testers favoured it and why.

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jmiller065 April 17, 2013 at 5:41 am

You have to go through and dig out what the stock lengths are on each head and I highly doubt that true loft was measured in the head or at least I have not read anything to the contrary, my apologies if I missed it in the distance comments somewhere in response to questions.

I really can’t draw conclusions about what I think without the raw data that is supposed to get posted I think today. I do however have a few initial impressions up to this point about the clubs that are showing up in the list in terms of accuracy.

I am not shocked to see a 44.00″ driver, a couple 45.00″ drivers make the top 5. It does kind of shock me that a 45.75″ and 46.00″ lengths showed up here and there in accuracy. It makes me take guesses at what the testers were doing differently on one 46.00″ club versus another, most likely a better shaft fit or weight / feel to it to gain better contact / control over one club compared to another.

Unfortunately, most consumers want more distance and not more control / accuracy. It probably goes to show that once you have the swing speed for distance then you start to scrub 5 yards here or there to gain more control. I think last I looked the average length driver on the PGA Tour is 44.50″ including Bubba Watson at that length of a driver. Guys that can scrub 3 to 5 yards without it hurting them much I would HOPE would want more control over distance.

I think a lot of players of all skill levels sub-consciously look at things like
~ Feel at impact on pure strikes versus mishits
~ Feel of the club in the swing (swing weight will matter a lot)
~ Sound at impact on pure strikes versus mishits
~ Distance of the ball on mishits (forgiveness)
~ Looks of the head when they set it behind the ball.

The more and more I do this I start to realize how much perception of a club versus the actual results in terms of accuracy / distance of a club comes more into play then anything for a lot of golfers.

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ryebread April 17, 2013 at 6:31 am

Good post jmiller. I’d guess that people fall into two camps with respect to drivers.

There are some that just want distance. As the Geek manufacturer suggested above, that is clearly what drives sales (though I’d suggest that Tour Pros also sell the driver more than any other club).

Personally, I fall into that latter camp that you talk about. Those things that you’ve classified as subconscious are actually the thing that sells me a golf club. Looks, feel, sound and forgiveness create confidence at address, which will result in a better swing and thus more accurate results.

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RAT April 17, 2013 at 6:15 am

Many have commented about the Air Force One .Isn’t this owned by TM or Callaway?

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GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 6:27 am

Airforce One DF is made by PowerBilt, one of the most established brands in golf (they’ve been around quite a while). They completely independent; in no way associated with Callaway or TaylorMade.

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Ango April 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm

Congratulations on your survey, however I feel that for the average golfer to get a comparison with their own ability we would need to know more about the tester.Their age and handicap etc.
Could this be provided.

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Adam Huckeby April 18, 2013 at 8:02 am

Hey guys

Great review. I’ve been looking forward to this as much as anybody i think. I own a couple of the top performers so i’m very pleased with that.

I wonder. As a follow up, though Im sure it would be a lot of trouble, if you could have the testers try the top five drivers in identical shafts fitted for each player. See how much the results actually had to do with the stock shafts and how much it had to do with the heads.

Just a thought.

keep up the great work guys

Adam

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johnnythunders April 18, 2013 at 9:31 am

Great review. For the last 10 years I’ve be very passionate about reading all of the data on golf clubs on all the major forums including this one. I’ve been building clubs for 35 years and spend the last year working as a club repair tech and sales. This was a trial to see if I wanted to open my own custom fitting and repair shop. What I found is the vast majority of golfers are not interested in custom fitting. They want to try a few and pick the best one. I want it today, they don’t want to wait for that custom build. I also found that club repair consists of 70% regripping clubs, a few re-shafts with the lost cost shafts available, few lie changes and that’s it. Nothing technically interesting. Boring. Then customers can be well nice and not so nice. I’m not built to deal with the problematic ones.So this will not be my retirement business.

This research confirms my experiences with live fittings. There is no magic driver that is longer and more a accurate than any other. They are all statiscally good.

So, keep up the good work but my days of spending hours reading posts are over. What I have is good enough.

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Fighting Leprechaun April 18, 2013 at 9:50 am

Based on the MGS accuracy tests for low swing speed (78 mph avg) folks like me, I tried out the Adams Super S driver at my local golf store, and while there was no increase in distance from my Taylormade R7, the accuracy was greatly improved. This is all launch monitor stuff, but I was hitting nice draws to the center, with zero slices/pushes over 50 shots. Those results, plus what ended up as 50% off thanks to rebates, credits and discounts, made my decision to purchase pretty easy.
First range experience mirrored the launch monitor results…and the supreme test of a round at Chambers Bay awaits tomorrow!
Thanks for the test data!

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Fighting Leprechaun August 5, 2013 at 10:03 am

Here’s a follow-up to my preliminary review of the Adams Super S driver: When reality meets in-store launch monitor performance, the results can be pretty startling. That’s what occurred when I took my new driver to the practice tee for the second time, and then out on the course(s). Unlike the experience in the golf store, I could not produce a shot over 100 yards, and most of my hits traveled no more than 75 yards, at “worm-burner” altitude. I just couldn’t hit the darn thing, no matter what I tried. Several subsequent range visits produced similar results. Fortunately I buy all my golf gear from a very excellent local golf store, so I was able to return this driver for an almost full refund.
My lesson from this experience? Even though MGS tests provide some useful data to help narrow selection criteria, there is indeed no substitute for really in-depth fitting and lots of range time before buying a new driver.

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Mike graves April 19, 2013 at 11:18 am

Where did the ping I 20 end up in your tests for both accuracy and distance?

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Frank Jolliff April 22, 2013 at 5:08 am

I am so glad to see someone tout5ing something other than the R1. Good jog.

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gerryJ August 3, 2013 at 4:32 am

I hope the “simple” explanation of how fairway accuracy is measured is wrong. If it is anything like what you say, you are measuring a weighting of perserverence in using one club amongst others whatever that means.
In the example
“to keep it simple, assume that in testing 17 drivers, Tester A hit a total (all clubs combined) of 100 fairways. If 7 of those were hit with the Titleist 913, and 5 of them were hit with the Wishon 919THI, the Global Fairway Percentages would be 7% and 5% respectively.”
If A hit 7 out of 14 tries with T913, and 5 out of 5 with Wishon, i would expect the % of fairways hit to be 50% and 100% for that one tester. If A hit the same bumber of times with each club, say 10, then the % would be 70% and 50% respectively.
You don’t get fairway accuracy across clubs by adding or averaging percentages by testers.
In general adding or averaging percentages across different categories gives misleading results.

When you combine results for different testers you should NOT be using the % as you describe but rather two columns for EACH CLUB over all testers, one for fairways hit, one for shots played and sum the totals then compute a % for each CLUB.
It’s not about the tester, it’s about the clubs.

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Fighting Leprechaun August 5, 2013 at 10:05 am

@gerryJ: Useful and well-supported comment, although reading it gave me flashbacks to my grad school regression analysis course!

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