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2014 MOST WANTED – Driver (Distance Awards)

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Thorough Is What We Do

Thorough is what we believe in. Thorough is what we do. Thorough is what you, our reader and the golf consumer, deserve.  The "Most Wanted" equipment tests here on MyGolfSpy are the most thorough club testing program in the golf industry.

For 2014 we've added more clubs (23 competitors this year) and hit more shots than in any previous test. By any reasonable measure, our 2014 Most Wanted Driver test is the largest we've ever completed. While we're certainly proud of what we've accomplished, bigger isn't what this is about.

Our goal for this, and every test we do remains constant. Do right by the consumer, and always do it better than we did last time.

While no doubt our results will rub some in the industry the wrong way, it's the reader, not the golf companies that matter.

You will be the ones to tell us if we've delivered on our promise. You will be the ones who decide if we've succeeded.

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We Are #DataCratic

We don't believe in subjectivity.  We offer no scores for sound/feel, innovation, or demand. We don't believe marketing departments should be able to score points.

For MyGolfSpy, performance isn't the only thing that matters, it's quite simply the only thing. We cut through the marketing and the hype to focus on what's real. Gary Adams perhaps said it best: "clubs either perform or they don't".

The best drivers are based on the data, and not a damn thing more.  And when it comes to data, you won't find anyone that gives you more than you're going to get today.

We call that being #DataCratic.

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Declined to Participate

We know some of you will want to know, so here's the list of companies who were invited, but declined to participate in 2014's Most Wanted Driver Test

  • Titleist
  • Miura
  • Bombtech
  • KickX (did not respond to multiple emails)

Overall Distance Winner

Tomorrow we'll cover accuracy, and Thursday we'll announce 2014's Most Wanted Driver. We'll get to all of it.

Today, however, is all about the long ball. Distance is and will always be king. There's a reason why Callaway Trademarked "Kings of Distance" instead of "Lords of the Straight Ball".

How did we determine the distance winner? It's simple. We totally forgot about accuracy (yards offline, fairways hit), and total driving. Instead we focus exclusively on how far the ball travels. For the sake of distance and distance alone, 60 yards offline is every bit as good as right down the middle. We realize that for the practical and level-headed among you that might not make much sense. Today isn't for you.

Today is for the guys who are either confident in their ability to hit anything straight, or simply don't care where the ball goes, so long as it goes far.

Grippers and rippers, here is your 2014's Most Wanted - Longest Driver in Golf.

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Let the PhDs argue over whether or not low spin is right for everyone. Hell, while they're at it, they can fight over whether or not 17° and 1700 RPM are the optimal launch conditions for everyone too. Even if we agree that with current technology, those numbers simply aren't attainable for everyone, the TaylorMade SLDR is still filthy long. After over 40 hours of testing we arrived at this singular conclusion:

The TaylorMade SLDR is the longest driver of 2014.

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One year later, PING's G25 remains one of the best drivers on the market. Did you really need us to tell you that...again? If you read yesterday’s post you know that we dropped fewer shots than we did last season, and that really plays to the G25s strengths.

Our testers hit some absolute bombs with the PING G25, and even when they missed, the highest MOI driver on the mass-market today minimized the damage.

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Some of you will be absolutely amazed by the way PowerBilt performed in this year's test. Is this the driver that shocked the world? Hell no! This has been building since the first AirForce One driver. We expected great things from the Air Force One DFX, and it simply delivered.

If you’re looking for a no compromise alternative to the Big Box boys, look no further than the PowerBilt Air Force One DFX.

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After one day of testing, it looked like the latest drivers from ONOFF were going to run off with this thing. Admittedly, that was before anyone hit the SLDR or G25, but still…the initial numbers looked scary good.

Even after the big boys got their licks in, ONOFF held its spot among the longest in our test. For $700, I suppose it should.

 

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X2 Hot’s climb to towards the top mirrored last season’s. If not for its status as defending champion it probably wouldn’t have been on any of our tester’s radars. I mean let's be honest, Bertha, and Bertha Alpha are getting all the attention right now, but X2 Hot may still be the best of the bunch.

Like the original, there wasn’t a whole lot of talk about the club during our tests, but just like the original, the Callaway X2 Hot was among the longest.

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I'm not going to hide it, seeing the Nike VRS Covert 2.0 perform so well puts a huge smile on my face. Honestly, we weren't expecting much. With what looks like only slight aesthetic changes, our testers figured the 2.0 would be as much a disappointment as the original. Instead, Nike gave us the biggest year-over-year improvement in the test.

The VRS Covert 2.0 is the driver that (finally) proves Nike is ready to rumble with the big boys. #PlayInTheNow, right?

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Right behind Nike on the Most Improved list is Mizuno's JPX-EZ. Other than offering outstanding feel (and that doesn't actually count around here), the new driver is nothing like last year's...and that's a good thing. It's adjustable, it spins less, and as you can see from the numbers, it holds its own pretty well with the heavy hitters of the metalwoods world.

If you're a Mizuno guy, and even if you're not, the JPX-EZ gives you all the reason you need to consider a Mizuno driver.

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The biggest knock on the TaylorMade JetSpeed is that it' s not the TaylorMade SLDR. Shameful, right? It was my personal pick to win the entire competition. It's unquestionably long. While not quite SLDR numbers, a Top 10 finish in the distance category is nothing to be ashamed of.

If you can hit the 46" shaft consistently (and not everybody can), then the TaylorMade JetSpeed deserves a serious look.

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Yonex's more forgiving driver in the top 10 for distance? Who called that? Nobody. While not a substantial part of any conversations, our testers very quietly put up consistently good numbers with the XP.

While the counterweighted design can take some getting used to, sometimes it just feels right, and when it does, the Yonex EZONE XP is capable of covering a lot of ground with one swing.

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Rounding out the Top 10 is the smaller (440cc) and lower launching/spinning of Cobra's 2 entries. Shot for shot it's nearly as long as anything. Take notice.

If that's not reason enough to give the Cobra BiO Cell+ a try, now is probably a great time to remind you that it comes in blue (and orange, and red, and black, and silver).

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DISTANCE WINNERS – (HIGH 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:

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Once again the SLDR sits on top. TaylorMade's flagship driver was one of only two clubs with which our highest swing speed player averaged more than 300 yards. Our other higher swing speed players hit it well enough to put it at the top of the class.

Look...we get that some of you despise TaylorMade. I'm not without moments myself. The marketing has, at times, been completely ridiculous. Be that as it may, the TaylorMade SLDR is a beast, and frankly, that's all that matters.

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PING again finishes just behind the SLDR. This time it’s the i25. While PING will tell you their newest model is suitable for a range of golfers, our higher swing speed guys (who generally benefit from lower spin) saw the biggest gains.

The i20 was great...like Hall of Fame great. The PING i25 is unquestionably better.

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Tour Edge’s XCG7 Beta is quite simply a monster. The beloved CB4 Pro has its worthy successor.

We can talk about low launch and low spin, but really all we need to say is “go try the Tour Edge XCG7 driver…now”.

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Like SLDR, JetSpeed features a low/forward CG placement. While generally speaking we think the 46" shaft is too long for the average golfer (I think I hinted at that already), our higher swing speed players used the added length to their advantage.

We certainly would recommend cutting at least a half an inch of it before putting it in play, but nevertheless, the numbers say that, for higher swing speed players, TaylorMade's JetSpeed is among the longest drivers in golf.

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I’m going to interject some opinion into our data. The Adams XTD is the best driver the company has produced since the 9064LS. Yeah, I totally just said that. It’s a low spin head that produced some of the longest drives in this year’s test.

If you thought the company was done making serious drivers, the Adams XTD Driver should make you think again.

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DISTANCE WINNERS – (LOW 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:

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SLDR. Again. Apart from suggesting that the SLDR may actually be the best driver TaylorMade has ever produced, our results support TaylorMade’s assertion that this LOFT UP thing can work for everyone. As good as these results are, we’re certain they’d be better still if we'd had a 14° head at our disposal. Seriously...some distance got left on the table.

The one caveat…don’t try and guess what loft you need. With the TaylorMade SLDR there are no absolutes with with respect to how much more loft you might need. Get properly fit, and don’t let your macho prevent you from lofting up.

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PING. Again. Are you surprised the G25 is sitting right near the top again? Why doesn’t PING release new product every year like Callaway and TaylorMade? They don’t need too. One year later, the G25 holds up just fine (and then some).

If you haven't tried the outstanding PING G25 yet, I have just one question for you. What the hell are you waiting for?

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ONOFF’s Type-D was an early favorite with our slower swing speed players that help up for the duration. They loved it day1. They loved it day 2, and they loved it day 3. Why wouldn’t they?

Sure, the ONOFF Type D is expensive, but can you really put a price on performance?

 

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I seriously can’t say enough about the PowerBilt Airforce One DFX. I don’t know if all that Nitrogen they pump into the head makes a damn bit of difference, what I do know is that the driver is really good – and for the lower swing speed crowd, this is PowerBilt's best work to date.

If you can find one near you, the AFO DFX is an absolute must try.

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Callaway once again hits the board with X2 Hot. While perhaps it doesn’t have the same level of buzz behind it as the rest of Callaway’s 2014 lineup, our numbers suggest it’s every bit as good as the companies more expensive offerings.

For Callaway fans looking for distance, X2 Hot is where it's at.

Full 2014 Most Wanted Driver Coverage

:: Coming Soon - MyGolfSpy's 2014 Most Wanted Driver Test
:: 2014 Golf's Most Wanted Driver - It's Go Time
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Distance Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Accuracy Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Overall Winners
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Tester's Pick
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - Beyond the Data
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver - The Data 

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{ 249 comments… read them below or add one }

Albert Sewill February 11, 2014 at 8:44 am

Wow! There are some shockers in here! More so than ever. Not surprised with the sldr and the xtd finishing so high for high swing speeds. Really surprised by Krank, though!!!

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Dominic wai February 11, 2014 at 8:45 am

First! Suprised the new big bertha alpha isnt in the top set

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Dominic wai February 11, 2014 at 8:46 am

Doh…2nd

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fleeter February 11, 2014 at 8:56 am

It’s nice to see the PING clubs right up there. The G25 is a great club. I tried both the sldr and the g25 last fall and went with the Ping because i had better control and the shaft was better for me. The sldr was a bit longer but if I wanted to get the same control the ping was giving me it was going to involve another 150+ for a shaft upgrade. Great stuff MGS as always!

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Wes Servose February 11, 2014 at 8:59 am

Does the Covert and Covert Tour 2.0 get grouped together for the test or do they test independently?

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Kris February 11, 2014 at 9:11 am

I think they have the higher SS use the Tour, and lower ones use the performance. I think.

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 9:27 am

We treat Tour/Standard as fitting variables. There are no absolutes. During the fitting process, one of our high swing speed players preferred the standard. After reviewing the data we put in him the tour.

Conversely while all 3 of our higher SS guys wanted to hit the SLDR 430, only one of them actually did. The 9° head didn’t provide adequate loft for the other two.

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Kris February 11, 2014 at 10:01 am

Getting the guys set up during testing must have taken significantly longer than the actual testing!

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d February 11, 2014 at 9:06 am

So the distance gap between #2 and #15 is just 3 yards? I guess the USGA has effectively limited distance for drivers. Also, the distance from this year’s list of drivers is not any longer than last year — is it all about marketing?

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 9:29 am

We replaced one tester from last year’s. The new guy actually hits the ball shorter than the previous tester, so it’s difficult to compare directly from a yardage standpoint.

We do think gains are being made, but for the most part, it’s very much baby steps.

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RollTheRock February 11, 2014 at 9:49 am

That tester wouldn’t be included in the High Swing Speed group I assume? Last year the RAZR Fit Xtreme came in at 277.99 for the high swing speed players. Longer than the SLDR this year. Can you speak to the differences you noticed in those 2 clubs? Worth the extra $$ for the SLDR?

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 9:56 am

He’s actually the high end of the low swing speed guys.

Personally, I think the SLDR is the single biggest game changer we’ve seen in years. Low/Forward is the real deal, but there are some trade-offs that come with it, and it’s not a simple fit (especially if the fitter hasn’t embraced the loft up message).

If you have a driver you love (and I can see loving the RFX), then it’s up to you to quantify whether it’s worth it. Properly fit, the SLDR should launch higher, spin less, but if you’re hitting what’s in your bag well, it may not be worth chasing a few yards.

Then again, sometimes people just want new things…and that’s as good a reason to change as any.

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Ron February 11, 2014 at 2:20 pm

Curious about this loft up concept. Fitters have always struggled with me because I’ve got a negative AoA of 3-4* so they keep pushing me lower on loft just to keep the spin manageable. I even discussed it with Tom Wishon, since he’s an advocate of raising loft/launch and he thought I’d find my best fit with low loft and heavy/very tip stiff low-spin shafts. Would I be the type of person who could benefit from a low-loft SLDR or would even I need to loft up in this case?

dcorun February 11, 2014 at 10:34 pm

I totally agree with you Tony. I was fitted for the Cleveland Classic XL last year and love this driver. SS 93, ball speed 126, launch angle 13* and spin rate 2810. I got fitted for the SLDR and the numbers were a bit better but, not enough to change for now. I did like the SLDR a lot though but, will keep my money for now. Thanks for a great golf site and keep up the good work.

Brandel Stumblee February 12, 2014 at 11:09 am

The SLDR is the lowest spin driver I have ever tested. Increasing loft or lofting up will increase spin rates far more than raising launch angle. I had to loft up when I changed from a Titleist 913 d2 and ping g25 to an r1. I went from 8.5 to 10.5. I needed more loft because my spin rates were to low. The more the positive angle of attack you have the more you may need to loft up with a forward cog driver. Loft is also relative because of bulge and roll of the driver. The higher on the face you hit the more loft you are using for that driver. I fitted a guy that had a 3 degree negative attack and he played the same loft in the SLDR and just dropped his spin rates.

gunmetal February 19, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Absolutely IT’S ALL ABOUT MARKETING! For the most part. Here’s the cold hard truth. If you consistently hit the ball in the center of the face, yes you are maxed out. No baby steps. USGA says no spring like effect on center of the face past 239 CT (+/- 18 so effectively 257). Manufacturers are making baby steps with regards to distance loss on off center hits. It’s getting better. But make no mistake, if you hit the R7 on the screws, you’re not giving up any distance.

Where the SLDR makes its’ hay is with their high launch low spin design. This isn’t new to clubfitting. We’re always trying to find the “OPTIMAL” combination. TM banks on high launch low spin for everyone because by and large their tour presence sells their product and these are the 1% that need high launch low spin.

Bottom line: Get fit for OPTIMAL (remember you’re not DJ) launch and spin, shaft stiffness profile, torque, weight, and length and pick a head that you like. You’ll be golden.

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Kris February 11, 2014 at 9:08 am

Great job, and a good read. I’m usually a TM hater myself, but I’ve hit the Slider (screw you TM, put vowels in!) and really liked it a lot. Really look forward to the category I care more about tomorrow :)

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Dakota February 11, 2014 at 9:28 am

The funny thing is the reps can’t say Slider technically, because according to a post on golfwrx.com Callaway copyrighted or something along those lines slider so anyone associated with Taylormade can only say S.L.D.R. under copyright laws apparently.

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Kris February 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

Good info Dakota, thanks. I thought it might be like my union. The acronym makes a very simple and easy to say 2 syllable word, but I’ve never heard anybody in any sort of representative role say anything but the 4 letters separately. I swear it has to be part of their orientation.

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golfercraig February 11, 2014 at 11:35 am

Not true.

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Kris February 11, 2014 at 3:10 pm

That’s not a proper reply gc. If you want to rebut you have to include why you think it’s wrong.

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TwoSolitudes February 11, 2014 at 9:09 am

Krank has to be the biggest surprise there. On a pure distance competition you would expect them near the top.

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Doug N February 11, 2014 at 9:25 am

GREAT job guys!!!!! I am also Shocked about KRANK!! It shows you how much BS is in advertising!!!

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Krank Golf February 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

Doug, its not really BS adverts when in the sport of Distance we have won and taken the sport over all OEM comers who have tried to take it from us. Still when its fit right and we talk more about your swing the driver comes to life.

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Salmon February 11, 2014 at 5:15 pm

That and I can imagine needing quite a high swing speed to take full advantage of the driver

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Dave S February 12, 2014 at 12:55 am

Couldn’t every OEM in this test make the same argument about fitting? I’m not buying it, sorry. If any big OEM dedicated the resources to the long drive circuit, they could take it from you… But it’s not worth it to them. However for Krank, it’s your meal ticket.

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Krank Golf February 12, 2014 at 10:53 am

Dave they have put money into it,Three companies did and still have not beaten us. I do not see why the bashing at us for simply replying to his post. And yes they can and will argue that being fit will hold different outcomes for golfers. That is why you go to get fit and be in tuned with your driver. It is not our meal ticket, We all compete including the Owner, not many companies can say that. So we will always be in the LD scene since we love to compete in it. Though we market our wins and ball speed records, our sales are 90% Golf Clubs to regular golfers all over th world. Thank you for replying though. Krank It up!

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Dave S February 12, 2014 at 11:35 am

Thanks for your response Krank… don’t necessarily agree with the first part, but I respect your passion for the LD circuit. Probably a little misleading saying that 90% of your sales are to regular golfers, because, of course they are… only a fraction of a percent of golfers participate in LD comps. My question is why don’t you pony-up some cash for at least one PGA pro and have him play with your clubs? If they good, you would have a much better opportunity to showcase your products… and in turn, increase your sales with everyday consumers. Totally understand staying close to your LD roots, but at the end of the day, cash is king, and a business wants to optimize profit.

AWOL February 12, 2014 at 1:01 pm

Geez guys ease up on Krank. I voted for the SLDR to be the top driver and was expecting higher results than what Krank got, but I applaud them for actually sending a driver, unlike Titliest that showed no balls. I think having being fitted for a shaft would help but i could say that about all the drivers tested. Thank you Krank for sending one in and congrats to TMag for the longest driver. Now i might go see if it is worth trading in my R1.

Doug N February 12, 2014 at 1:11 am

Lance, your correct about the Krank drivers, I had 2 of them, 1- Rage and 1- Element before you changed the name and both of them were Very long ! When I say I was shocked I meant Disappointed !! I wanted Krank to run away with this test!! I talked to you on the phone a couple of times during my fitting and you were GREAT!!! BTW my SS is 75mph.

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Doug N February 12, 2014 at 9:05 pm

Lance, I did not mean you when I said BS adv. I went thru 8 drivers in 1 1/2 years before I contacted you and bought a Krank Rage, When you came out with the Element you were kind enough to take my rage in on trade and we made a few changes in loft and I picked up a easy 15 yards over everything I had ever tried before, BTW I am 62 yrs. old with a SS of 72mph, not what you would call REMAX ready!! LOL. I had tried 2-TM, 1- Nike, 1-Clevland,2- Cobras, 1- Custom made Tom Wishon W/ .900 cor, 1- Ping !!!! None of them could compare with my Krank nor would any of the Big Companys spend the time with me that you did! You could send me 2-SLDR,s and I would trade my Krank driver!! Thanks a Happy Krank Owner!!!

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Bart c February 13, 2014 at 9:11 am

Hi Doug,
When I saw Krank at the bottom of the distance list I instantly knew why.

I bought a Krank Formula last June, and i believe I can explain the low distance totals. The face of the Formula has a different shape then any other driver I have hit or even seen. It is much taller but not as wide. If there wasn’t 8 inches of snow and still counting I would grab my driver out of the car and take a picture oft he club face next to a Razr Fit’s.

I am not a long ball hitter by any means. I was hitting my Razr fit 230-250 range. When I started using the Formula I hit a lot more fairways but my distance dropped a little. I was not a happy camper. My problem was I thinking too much about the additional height of the club face, and trying to adjust for that. I could not hit it the ball on the sweet spot. Too high, too low, heal, toe, I practically made a Christmas wreath around it. I believe on my 5th round it finally clicked for me. I had a 271 and 280 yard drives with the others in the 250′s. It has never been that hard for me to transition from one driver to another. But now that I have I’m not going back.

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Mj February 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm

Isn’t about time this BS stops? As a “golfer” I could care less what club wins a long drive contest. You can’t compare Long Drive with GOLF, two different animals. The same for the clubs. Besides what’s best for me will more than likely be different for somebody else.

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 9:32 am

I will discuss more next week when we go “Beyond the Data”, but with respect to Krank, there *may* be some very specific fitting considerations. If you look at that guys who it it comparatively well (and there were a couple), the distinction is that they have positive (3° or more) angles of attack.

The average golfer is slightly to strongly negative with the driver.

It’s just a guess at this point, but it would appear that the Formula 5 may not be a good fit for neutral to negative AoA golfer. For strongly positive guys (like your long driver player), I suspect it plays entirely differently.

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TxGolfJunkie February 11, 2014 at 10:34 am

I would agree 100% with this statement about Krank. I have a -1.5 to -0.5* consistent AOA and the Krank did nothing but hit high flares (low launch, super high spin which caused the high fades). I used 4″ tees to try to flatten out the swing and hit closer to neutral/positive AOA and I could see some improvement. However, I felt that I really didn’t want to go through a swing revamp just to adjust to one club in my bag. The guys that play Krank have closer to a +4 – +6% AOA and just absolutely bomb it.

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Doug N February 12, 2014 at 1:16 am

I saw a video with Chuck Martin from Rev.Golf hit 3 different shot from 90mph SS 1-down,1- neutral,& 1-upright and there was 56 yards difference. If you want total distance you must learn to hit upright.

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blstrong (SeeRed) February 11, 2014 at 11:36 am

I imagine the same could probably be said for the Sinister club.

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MrSinister February 11, 2014 at 5:26 pm

This is where all the data collected is gonna help, the great job these guys did collecting and sharing the data will show what could be done to improve some of these clubs. Looking at the Sinister results alone. The spin was a bit high with not to many yards behind the leaders, so a quick change of the shaft and we could have taken the lead. Same could be said for all of these companies with how close the numbers are. Defenitley shows how important getting fit properly really is.

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Krank Golf February 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm

This is why I love and support MGS! You cant get better testing than this. and truth from the guys hitting them. It helps not only the golfers looking for the clubs to hit, but also helps us in design as well.

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JBones February 11, 2014 at 12:59 pm

I have to applaud your response, Krank Golf. Instead of taking the “I’m taking my toys and going home” approach, you are going to use this testing as a positive.

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Albert Sewill February 11, 2014 at 1:09 pm

That’s real class. Makes me want to go pick up a Formula 5!

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Trebuchet February 11, 2014 at 1:23 pm

I agree with JBones and Albert… Real class act!

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MCoz February 11, 2014 at 3:46 pm

Krank has been clearly a design for a different type of golfer. There is a reason that they do so well in Long Drive contests. That said, one doesn’t see them often in average players bags. But in the future maybe we’ll see Krank designs more suited for max distance made for the more average player. Also Long Drive clubs over the years have not been known for consistent accuracy which shows in this test. Kudos to Krank for being involved in this test where Titleist chose not to be overwhelmed by the SLDR (which they already knew would happen, they have tested the clubs themselves already and they are aware of the reality).

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Dwayne February 11, 2014 at 3:51 pm

You will get my Krank only after you pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

I mean the driver.

I did notice the spin rate on the Krank was much higher than the rest.

Tee it high and let it fly. And move it up a little.

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Tom February 12, 2014 at 1:06 am

I have not tried the new Callaway, but have tried them in the past along with Titlelist, Taylor Made and Bobby Jones (workshop edition), But now use the Krank Formula 5 (2nd, used the original Rage first). Granted I’m not an average golfer I carry a 9 Hdcp but I’m also 65 years young. I was fitted with the correct loft (9 Deg.), length (Firm) and with the weighted system, a draw setup….its increased my avg. distance by 12-15 yrds with better accuracy and can still get it out there 270 – 280 once or twice a round and when they talk about Spin … with NO Groves on the face I question the high rate of spin they show for the Krank… I get more roll and longer into the wind then previous drivers….Now I see more drivers are coming out with Forged Heads…….Krank has had them for years

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DB February 11, 2014 at 9:34 am

I’m not even a Nike fan, but it doesn’t really seem fair that you grouped the Covert and Covert Tour together.

You didn’t do that with other manufacturers. Ping g25 and i25, Puma Bio Cell and Bio Cell+, etc.

Any explanation for this? Am I missing something?

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 9:51 am

In the case of Nike and a few others, the Pro version is a variant of the standard. We treat the head itself as a fitting variable. With PING and Cobra, the drivers in question are unique offerings that bear little resemblance to the other driver submitted for testing.

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Dave S February 12, 2014 at 1:03 am

I get what you’re saying except for how it applies to Cobra… The Bio Cell and Cell+ are just as similar as the Covert and Covert tour.

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Adam February 11, 2014 at 10:04 am

its just like treating the head like a stiffer shaft…they just fit you in to the one that works best. If each tester posts tests using the setup that provides best results than the over all picture you get is a comparison of the best results in a “NIKE covert” driver vs best results in a “TM slider”.. Testing every person in each head and gathering data would be like testing each player in every flex offered…It makes sense when you think about it. Otherwise a player would drag down the results for a given head because of ill fitting specs when forced to use it.

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Adam February 11, 2014 at 10:06 am

woops!! didn’t refresh the page just saw Tony’s response.

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 10:11 am

Worth mentioning…we have some huge plans in the works for future club tests. If things go according to plans, we may start offering OEMs the choice of which category they would like to enter a given driver.

While me could change from low, high, overall, it would be something like Nike being given the choice to submit Tour for High SS only, while the standard model for low and overall.

Details TBD, but something like that…maybe.

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revkev February 11, 2014 at 9:34 am

Wow in regards to the gap between the SLDR and the rest of the pack. I’m one of those who is confident that he can hit anything straight. Just confirms my desire to try that club out.

As a suggestion for the future I wish there were an inbetween category to consider. Perhaps you could do over 100 MPH, 90-100 and under 90. I realize that you may need to add a couple of more testers but it would be very valuable to have that extra category – I think lots of us fit there.

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BK in Texas February 11, 2014 at 9:43 pm

Yep…or whatever swing speed range the middle 1/3 of the testers fall would be cool. In this case the results are pretty darn close, but….

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Damon February 11, 2014 at 9:35 am

Great test and interesting results. I’m surprised to see Ping at the top, even though I shouldn’t be. Ping just doesn’t market as aggressively as Taylor Made and Callaway, so Ping doesn’t immediately come to mind when I think of the highest performance drivers. I definitely need to put them on the demo list when I look to replace my Razr Fit.

Just curious – is there any way to test for the COR of each driver? I understand that each driver is built to tolerances, and that it is possible to have a driver at or over the COR limit but still be deemed legal (or at the very least sold at retail). So could some of the distance differences be attributable to random (or not…) COR tolerances for any specific driver?

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revkev February 11, 2014 at 9:39 am

I do have another comment or question. This years yardages are much shorter than last year. Are we to assume a different set of testers?

Could we get an explanation?

Thanks

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

Yes…different testers along with year to year changes in the swings.

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Golfer Burnz February 11, 2014 at 9:41 am

The PowerBilt Airforce One DFX looks to be a driver that could be in a lot of bags. Good to see PowerBilt right in there with the big boys.

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Dropking February 11, 2014 at 9:42 am

mmmmmm………..it clearly shows that 12* is the ideal loft for distance. Where does 17* come from? Really surprised at Krank and Sinister. It shows that OEM makes the best equipment!

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hckymeyer February 11, 2014 at 10:03 am

He’s talking about launch angle and spin rates, 17/1700 is what TM is marketing as the numbers that will produce the longest shots. With current technology most people are not able to achieve those launch conditions.

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golfer4life February 11, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Very few will ever come close to those numbers no matter what club is in their hands. To many other variables involved also.

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Albert Sewill February 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

I wonder if the fubuki shaft played any roll in the Alpha’s middle of the pack distance performance? The head makes such a great sound at impact it is hard to ignore.

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 10:02 am

It’s interesting to see how Callaway has adopted aspects of what was the Adams model. Offer a single high-end shaft as your retail stock option. You get lots of oohing and ahing because it’s the “real deal”, but the consequence of that is you rarely fit the meaty part of the bell curve particularly well.

Stock (even made-for stock) is often stock for a reason.

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Albert Sewill February 11, 2014 at 10:07 am

So true. The xtd’s red tie fits me ridiculously well. The fubuki on the other hand… not so much.

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flaglfr February 11, 2014 at 12:43 pm

The other thing that is surprising about the Callaway (either Bertha but particularly the alpha) is the $200+ upcharge on a $500 driver when you try to put the Matrix 7M series into the club. You would think this could be done for no upcharge in such an expensive driver. As much as I would like to try the alpha with the proper shaft (for me) in it, spending that much moolah on it is absolutely crazy.
In my mind, a high end shaft is a high end shaft. Even TM will let you upgrade in the TP model for no extra charge. Callaway used to. Wonder what happened???

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Albert Sewill February 11, 2014 at 1:08 pm

Yeah. That makes no sense. I’d rather have an Aldila Trinity as the stock shaft than fubuki.

RAT February 11, 2014 at 9:52 am

I would suggest that next year the drivers should come from retail stores that are selected at chance from across the country in an effort to keep things where the product can’t be tricked up coming directly from the manufacture. This would be done with a voucher from the manufacture that could be used at any retail store. This is the real world of you get it off the rack.

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Mike February 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Interesting idea…

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john willhoite February 11, 2014 at 9:56 am

Interesting that the G25 was 5th in distance last year.

Does that mean the older offerings would have still come ahead of the G25 this year?

R1 , xhot, rballz, etc..

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 10:08 am

As I mentioned yesterday, we culled fewer shots from the bottom (the bad shots if you will), as a result, drives that produced more bad shots dropped in the rankings, while drivers produced fewer rose higher.

The G25 produces very few bad shots.

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Adam February 11, 2014 at 10:17 am

I think that is what the reference club will be used for that they mentioned in yesterday’s post. My understanding is that club be used again for all future testing so that comparison can more or less be made in that way through the “yds gained” from this point forward…a really great idea.

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dave dawsey February 11, 2014 at 10:01 am

Great work; keep it up!

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Jack b. February 11, 2014 at 10:04 am

Tour Edge seems to always have the lowest spin. If logic and science come together it should be the most accurate?

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Bob Pegram February 11, 2014 at 1:44 pm

It would mean the ball would roll the farthest. More spin – up to a point – is more accurate, but reduces roll. Less spin is closer to a knuckleball. It can wander more.

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RoverRick February 11, 2014 at 10:06 am

I love the MGS Most Wanted emblem and the wreathe on the first place.

I am shocked that the BB Alpha did not come close to the SLDR.

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rustamtom February 11, 2014 at 10:15 am

Every manufacturer should have been included in test, regardless if they decline to provide free product to be included or not. If you want to provide a study on “the longest driver in golf, then your most important effort should be to make sure every product is included in the test. (especially if it is a company as compelling as Titleist) Its like saying the fastest car on the planet for 2014 is the chevy cruze, and not testing against porsche/Lambo/Nissan, because they decline to give you freebie test product…

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hckymeyer February 11, 2014 at 10:29 am

Can we assume you will be buying the drivers from the companies that didn’t participate and sending them over to MGS for testing then?

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MCoz February 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Titleist was in a no-win situation. They know how and where they stand due to their own in house testing especially against the SLDR. By declining they act like they didn’t “lose” (at least here in this test).
If you look at the results in detail, after the 4-5 yd advantage of the SLDR in first, you will see very differences in distances from the second place thru the next dozen in the test. That means that there are some really good clubs to choose from. I think it was very good that this test shows the top 5 in both fast swings and slow swings to more individualize one choices when looking for drivers. That said it really shows that while it seems that everyone was championing Callaway to challenge TaylorMade in the big picture, the consistent competitor was PING, kudos to them.

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MG February 11, 2014 at 10:16 am

Very cool article! Any chane we can got all the drivers listed out by swing speed instead of just the top 5?

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Adam February 11, 2014 at 10:30 am

I think that all that data will be made available at the end of the week. I

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Gil B. February 11, 2014 at 10:18 am

Well, once again I think there are a few surprises here. After all the marketing hype, it really gets down to the performance of the clubs. This is why the testing done by GolfSpy is so invaluable. You have to get down to the nuts and bolts of it all, and even when you analyze all the data it gets down to each golfer absorbing the numbers and buying the driver that fits your game. More data is needed than just the numbers above but I trust that GolfSpy will do the best analysis of the overall performance of the clubs in the tests without the bias that gets in the way of true, hard facts. Thanks GolfSpy, you’re the greatest asset we golfers have. Thanks for your honesty and clarity.

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Shane February 11, 2014 at 10:19 am

Sorry guys but I’m not buying into the fact that the Sldr is longer. Everyone these days touts their latest n greatest as the longest! Well I’m here to tell ya, my D100 is longer , straighter, and rolls forever like a rabbit running,for me anyway!! I’ve tried to replace it and NOTHING. Can knock it out of the bag so I’m done trying, although I’m gonna demo the FG Tour and them absolutely quit for another season of great drives!! Thanks for all the time you guys invested and results published!! Interesting to say the least.i feel relieved knowing my W/S D100 is longer than the #1 in the test, at least in MY hands! I’ve got a winner!!

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 10:24 am

I certainly admire your passion, and I do love the D100. There’s not a single driver out there that’s more fun to hit.

There are several issues that keep the D100 from placing higher. 1)No 8°/8.5° option. 2)No X Flex 3)46″ shaft. The combo of those first two, coupled with what is generally a higher spinning head to begin with, results in excessive spin for a few of our testers. The 46″ shaft will also make it difficult for many golfers to make consistent contact.

But as you said, “for me anyway”. We work off group averages, and hope that our results give you a great starting point.

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DUshler February 11, 2014 at 10:20 am

I was surprised to see the BB alpha so low in the standings. Was the gravity core fit to each tester or was it up for all the testers or down for all the testers. Also did the G25 lose distance with the higher swings speed because of increased spin? I have the G25 and love the feel and get good distance but think if i switch to a lower spinning shaft it would help accuracy stop some ballooning and help roll out.

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 10:44 am

Yes on G25. Comparatively higher spin, more prevalent on cut shots. As far as Alpha goes, we did some experimenting with the gravity core and ended up 4 down, and 2 up. Stepping away from the data, there’s a case to be made that Alpha is in the top handful of drivers.

The primary issue is that Alpha is currently only available in a 9°, so even with adjustability, we couldn’t get what we would classify as an ideal fit for everyone. We did make adjustments of course, but when you start adding and removing loft, you alter the face angle, and that introduces other potential issues.

Simply put, Alpha is a very good driver with a comparatively narrow range of fitting options. With a full range of lofts, and arguably another shaft option, it likely performs much better. Despite all the hype, at $499, Alpha isn’t supposed to be a driver for the masses, and I believe that’s well reflected in our results.

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Shot-a-Hunnert February 11, 2014 at 10:21 am

Again, great job MyGolfSpy! Awesome test and a tremendous read. Man, I spend WAY too much time browsing your site. Can’t wait for the rest of the results!

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Adam February 11, 2014 at 10:26 am

I’m a bit surprised to see that the i25 launched higher and spun a bit less than the slider for the high swing speed guys as a whole. Though the i20 was such a distance monster but not particularly forgiving.

Im very interested to see which was more accurate for that group.

I suppose I’ll find out soon enough

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SPY ZINGER February 11, 2014 at 10:30 am

If I’m reading the results correctly, is Callaways line-up effectively better than this years line-up?

Wonder where exactly the XHot would fit into the 2014 results.

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Bryan February 11, 2014 at 10:30 am

What I would like to see is the average ball speed to swing speed ratio included to see which drivers most efficiently transfer the energy of the swing

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Adam February 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

Bryan you may already know this but that will be provided later in the “data” and represented as smash factor.

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JM February 12, 2014 at 7:19 am

Bryan

The data will not tell you exactly which driver is more efficient bc you will not be able to determine which driver was hit closer to the sweetspot more often. Ball speed may be lower on one driver bc it was harder to hit in the center for the testers (maybe due to club length or other factors) and not bc of club design.

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golfer4life February 12, 2014 at 11:53 am

Giving smash factor numbers will indeed tell you what is more efficient.

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Marc Kilgore February 11, 2014 at 10:31 am

The SLDR clearly is longer in this test. As much as I would be embarrassed to have a Taylormade driver in my bag, I guess I should go try one. I am a bit concerned though about all of the discussion I have been hearing about how different the SLDR is to get fitted. This is one thing that they are gonig to have to solve, because the impression is sure going to spread that fitters don’t know how to fit that club. Of course if I call a fitter, they are going to say, ” oh yea, we know that club is different but we know what we are doing”… blah blah blah.

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golfer4life February 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Still works the same as any other fitting. Try to maximize what the customer is looking for. Any quality fitter will always go up and down on parameters to find the best results/fit. Its not as much of a change as what people are making it out to be. There seems to be more a tenancy with slower swing speeds to make more of a loft up adjustment do to lower spin rates. The ball still needs to spin to stay in the air.

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RoverRick February 11, 2014 at 10:40 am

OK, while I am listing likes and don’t likes, I like the control club being added. But what is the control club?

Don’t likes, include USA Men’s Speed Skating Uniforms with the ball vents, but that is not your fault. For once, haha

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 10:47 am

We’re not naming the control club primarily because we don’t want it to be part of the comparison. It needs to be there for future continuity, but we certainly don’t want it to be a focal point of any future reviews. Basically it is what it is, but what it is doesn’t matter. It only matters that it exists.

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RoverRick February 11, 2014 at 5:51 pm

But if I do not know what the control is, than I do not know what the comparison is, so this is useless information. Unless you are planning on using the same club year after year, which is useless also because it is obsolete, unless you are proving that they do not become obsolete.

If the control is a 905R Titleist than that overshadows this story because the control driver is still number 19 on the distance chart

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Blade February 11, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Nah, what the control club is, is irrelevant. They record the numbers it produced for this test. Then on the next test they hit it again and report how those numbers compare with whatever testers they’re using. It makes it more apples to apples between different tests. WHAT club it is doesn’t make a difference as long as it’s the same club each time.

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Lee February 11, 2014 at 10:43 am

Jeez, the longest is at 245 at the vast majority of the rest is at 239-240. 5-6 yards is pretty much nothing! Still hitting the same club for your next shot!

Great work on these tests (seriously), but these OEM marketers are performing some serious voodoo to get us all worked up over pretty much the same exact performance!!!!!

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 10:45 am

Small gains advertised as big gains, coupled with the fact that most of us just like new stuff.

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Juan Ayala February 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I just got my “Hot List” issue yesterday and surprise! Again, the 15+ years in a row, the top manufactures aka “top advertisers” all have gold. Even the Silver winner, pretty much have the same ratings as gold winners, they just a have a low score because of their “demand” rating. What a joke!? Again, Thank you!

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GreenDoor February 11, 2014 at 11:03 am

Great data capture and very happy to donate for the perpetuation of this kind of truth-to-power initiative. I can’t imagine these sorts of tests are cheap/easy and wish I could give more than money. I am but one of a growing segment of golfers absolutely fed up with buying hype over progress and honestly feel the work you fellas are doing is starting to impact the way OEMs do business. If we can collectively do more to help get this kind of information and mind set to grow, just say the word. Bottom line is you and this site are the ones with the greatest potential, in my humble opinion, to grow the game…with truth. Because when folks know the equipment they are buying really is the best for their game, they might be less likely to chase releases and stick to actually improving their game with equipment they already own/trust. Great job once again!

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Krizar February 11, 2014 at 11:06 am

The SLDR winning is going to ruin a few people’s days. Unreasonably so, but the data has made the other drivers call it Mr. And take no divots about it…SLDR is long.

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MrSinister February 11, 2014 at 11:06 am

First off, Thank you very much for all the hard work you guys put into this test. I’m excited to see the “beyond the data” any chance this will have AoA, Smash Factors, and club lengths? I think detail likes these will be an amazing tool to help the readers decide what would be the optimum choice for them. Thanks again guys!

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Jhonny February 11, 2014 at 11:16 am

Very disappointed for grouping of covert tour and covert performance….
The most wanted isn’t a test of one brand, (nike, taylor, callaway ecc…) but must the
test of one single drive…. If one customer have 100 mph ss what driver choose??
Some drive was tested whith two clubs in one… is not a challenge one against one…
I understand that the workload was huge, but this is the worst way to decrease …
This is my thinking without detracting my appreciation for your work….
Thank you very much..
Jhonny

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mnfats95 February 11, 2014 at 11:23 am

Great job so far. I love it when a plan comes together.

I don’t understand the negative comments about TM being on the top of the distance chart. If they built a driver that performs then kudos to them. Everyone wants the underdogs to topple the giants, but at the end of the day it makes sense to me that a company with probably infinite R&D budgets would produce something that was the real deal.

Marketing claims aside, the numbers support the fact that it’s the longest in these tests. I don’t necessarily prefer one company over another so I guess the lack of bias allows me to say well done TM.

*Full disclosure, I would hit a woman’s club every shot if it helped me score better.”

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rob February 11, 2014 at 11:41 am

Hi Tony, great work, thanks for all the work you do. Could you clarify references to swing speeds, like what is ‘HIGH” VS LOW…its my experience that all being equal, its the swing speed that yields more distance, not any characteristic of the club. Thanks Rob PS if this info is somewhere in the content I apologize for bothering you :)

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Gordon February 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Fantastic job guys!!
I am very much looking forward to that “Happy Medium”, between distance and accuracy, that may very well end up being my new money club.
Also, having a separate breakdown for high SS and lower is very intriguing. There is a part of me that really wishes I could see more than just the top 5 for High SS and Lower SS, for Distance and Accuracy.
I realize how much work you guys put into this, and there is no other ranking list anything like MGS, I appreciate the time, effort and energy you all, and the testers put into this.
Looking forward to the rest of the week, as Accuracy is my most important category.

And BTW, to anyone who wants to complain about Titleist not being involved, I have a simple solution. Pick the driver You are most intrigued by from the list… go hit it on your own, head to head with the Titleist wherever you buy your clubs… and You will get an answer for YOUR swing. Boom. Done.

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Adam February 11, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Looking at these results over and over. Top to bottom not all that much difference. A mph or 2 of ball speed and literally a few yds gained. Small changes that could easily be attributed to shaft makeup etc. (not saying thats all there is to it) I have to keep reminding myself that the most important information is the piece that we get tomorrow. With something less than 5 yds difference between the top and bottom performers it should all be about keeping it in the fairway. Standouts are going to be shown tomorrow (if there really are any).

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Lee February 11, 2014 at 2:26 pm

Exactly. Go ahead and proclaim the SLDR as the distance king as it’s the only one that appears to have any separation. But again, you’re still hitting the same club for your next shot with all of these clubs!!!!

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blstrong (SeeRed) February 11, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Pretty interesting stuff, and really well explained and presented. So who’s cross-eyed from doing all the spreadsheet work? Not surprised to see the JetSpeed in the upper tier- I hit the 3W and it was silly long. Also not particularly surprised to see the SLDR at the top after all the positive talk in the Forum. And I’ve played the i20 for two years, so it’s good to see PING near the top again. If there is one point that I take away from each MGS club test each year, it is the importance of being properly fit. AoA, SS, tempo, transition, etc., etc. Lots of variables. I’m sure the LD clubs (Krank and Sinister, for example) are long for the right person.

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Luke February 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Wonderful work on the driver test. I had been looking forward to the results for weeks now. Quick question. Was the Cleveland 588 Altitude the same as the Cleveland 588 Custom? Same club, perhaps just different aesthetically? I only see the results for the Cleveland 588 Custom driver. Thanks, and again great job!

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Tom54 February 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm

One question on the SLDR: if I already have a shaft I want to put in it, would I have to order the TP version? I noticed on the various retail sites that you can customize the shaft only with the TP version. Not quite sure how it works. Thanks.

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hckymeyer February 11, 2014 at 12:31 pm

The heads are the same between TP and non-TP versions. The only difference is the shaft and tip size of the shaft. Just make sure you buy the correct tip (either .350 or .335) for your shaft, either tip fits in the head. Typically most aftermarket shafts are the .335 tip.

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snoopy February 11, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Nice results, I’m getting closer and closer to booking a fitting appointment pulling the trigger on an SLDR.

Nice to see the YONEX XP perform so well too, it’s a good looking driver!

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JBones February 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Great work again, MGS. Can’t wait to see the rest of the results.

Just out of curiousity (and I know this is totally subjective), but were there any of the drivers that the testers thought stood out in looks? I wanted the SLDR 430 to be a good fit, because I thought it was the best looking driver (to me) I’ve seen in years. Turns out it was the BEST fit for my high speed, high spin swing, so it worked out.

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 12:26 pm

No consensus overall. Alpha and SLDR both popular. Along with i25, FT Tour M3, and VRS Covert.

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Max Parris February 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm

For some reason I did not see the golf ball you are using.
Which ball did you use and did you use the same ball for all testing?
Max

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RookieBlue7 February 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Have a theory about why Krank finished at the bottom on distance. At their core, they’re a Long Drive company. As such, they’re building clubs that hold up to the highest swing speeds in golf. And they build their clubs (LD iterations anyway) with thicker faces. If that’s the case with the F5, then there’s no way more than just the high swing speed guys flexed the face enough to get a trampoline effect.

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RookieBlue7 February 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Then couple with the face thicknesses the fact that, again, they’re building LD clubs, they’ve got more bulge and roll than typical “golf” drivers, well unless you’re catching it above the center of the face above the bulge, then you’re not maximizing it. I can see the average amateur having trouble with their design principles. Because they’re designed, at least their LD clubs, with LD swings in mind. The ascending swing, catching it in the top half of the face above the bulge and it creating a high launching knuckleball.

Just my theory though.

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Tom February 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm

How come the distances are so much shorter than last years tested models?

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Different testers, different swings among the holdovers from last year, fewer dropped shots on the low end as well. It’s very difficult to compare year to year on raw distance alone.

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Qwagmire February 11, 2014 at 1:37 pm

I bought the G25 off of last years testing. I got into the numbers and realized it might work for me. Still the longest driver for me, just never found a shaft that worked with the SLDR

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GolfWhiler February 11, 2014 at 1:49 pm

This is exciting stuff.

I’ve been reading reviews of the SLDR all over the web, so I am not surprised it won on distance. I am surprised on the spread between SLDR and No. 2 in each category. Pure dominance. I am going to guess that it does pretty well in the accuracy category, too. Whether it will beat Covert 2.0, either Ping or JPX in accuracy remains to be seen.

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hamish February 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm

I am pretty gutted about these results as I was hoping Krank would win as I wanted to buy one. looks like I will buy the sldr now since I can’t test the krank as I live in New Zealand hopefully next year krank will preform much better.

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Krank Golf February 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Hamish, You can still order and get fit for your swing with us. Golfers should still test on their own as like the reviews showed, if your AOA is ideal for a certain club than it can work out. We are always here to do what we can to make sure its right. Please email me and I can direct you to someone there. Thanks Vince

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Warwick Weedon February 13, 2014 at 4:07 am

Hi Krank, I like your style and the dignity with which you have handled all this uncalled for abuse. My theory is that most of them are jealous of your success. You guys did pretty well in the Accuracy though!! Do you have a fitment centre in South Africa?

thanks

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Scott February 11, 2014 at 2:25 pm

I’m glad to see the i25 do so well. I will stick with that over the SLDR. Taylormade speed police commercial made me never want to buy a Taylormade again.

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Scott February 11, 2014 at 2:28 pm

For those of you who haven’t:

http://taylormadegolf.com/speedpolice.html

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W.B. Neal February 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Great article. This is about the best comparison of equipment I have seen. Keep it up.

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Obee-Kay-Bee February 11, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Anyone checked out the Powerbilt site today? They have already put up their MGS 3rd place in distance award on their homepage. Check it……..

http://www.powerbilt.com/

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BK in Texas February 11, 2014 at 9:51 pm

That’s cool!

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Ray February 11, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I do not have a dog in this fight so I can remain objective. The top 20 drivers were all within 9 yards. Lesson learned. Go get fit. Find the driver you are most comfortable and accurate with and stop listening to marketing.

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Shannon February 11, 2014 at 3:24 pm

Congrats Adams! You’ve been outdone by Yonex and Powerbilt. That Taylor Made merger has never looked better. Keep up the good work. Maybe you should quit the driver work and stick to ladies and boxed sets.

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John Barry February 11, 2014 at 3:40 pm

As always Tony and the MGS Crew, great painstaking work. you guys always provide the most unbiased reviews and the reason most of us have given up the big “printed” golf magazines!

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Cobra Nut February 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm

The time you took to do this is worth a big thank you! You just saved me from buying the new Bio Cell+ driver; I hit last seasons Amp Cell with an Xcaliber 6+ shaft (better than the over priced shafts most buy into) and it appears I would lose distance. Will not even consider TM but I will look into the Ping, it is long and it looks sexy as hell lol.

Side question; will you be testing the newest woods in the future by chance? I have my eye on a few and would like the honest results and input from MGS and the members, thanks.

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Blade February 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm

Just wondering how you figure you would lose distance. There’s less than a yard difference between the Ping and the Bio Cell + in the average numbers and the Bio Cell looks like it was a bit more accurate so far. Tomorrow is what you want to see to make that call. Then look at the data that follows to see which swings of the testers are closest to yours and see which clubs they hit the best.

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MCoz February 11, 2014 at 4:12 pm

Interestingly after all of the criticizm that the HOT LIST gets, the SLDR was the first driver to get 5 stars in all four categories making it the overall highest rating among the Gold winners. Then it gets first place in distance here. Hard to imagine that it won’t get first in the “demand” area also.
Looking forward to the rest of the test.

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rob February 11, 2014 at 5:17 pm

What about guys who swing 115-120+. How do you think that would affect the results?
Same or would the krank shoot up the rankings since it’s designed for long drive guys?
I’m disappointed in the Callaway Alpha.

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

It’s almost never about swing speed alone. While that certainly plays a role in what is optimal, everything starts with angle of attack. We think the Formula 5 is better suited to players with a positive angles of attack.

As far as Alpha goes. Callaway fit-limited the driver. Currently it’s available in only a 9* head, and although we did use the R flex shaft from Bertha, it’s also available stock in only stiff and x-stiff flex. The results are less of a reflection on the driver itself as they are a reflection of the limitations of what Callaway chose to make available at retail.

You take any other driver in the top 10 and give me only 1 loft (+/- 1.5°) and I can promise you, it’s not in the Top 10 anymore.

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Kaygee February 11, 2014 at 5:22 pm

WOW!!! Great stuff, really good reading. I have had the SLDR fitted with a Matrix Ozik red tie shaft in my bag now from the day TM released the club. I have tried to replace it with Krank, Ping, Nike, and just recently Titleist, but nothing gets near the SLDR
I am 62 with a SS of 90mph and this thing bombs and now I see why!

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gdiddy February 11, 2014 at 5:28 pm

21th, 22th, 23th ? You guys must be exhausted

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Drew February 11, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Very nice review! I see that a lot of the drivers are pretty much bunched up. Even the Tommy is not too far behind given it can go for $99 when on sale.

Im looking forward to the rest of the review. I’m considering upgrading my driver and it looks like it will be the Xhot. Intrested to see how the Xhot2 will fare.

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SMRT February 11, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Nice job as always boys! Keep up the good work.

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Chal February 11, 2014 at 5:40 pm

A very cool week ahead. Nice to see the longest clubs out there. I would prefer to hit from the short stuff, not the trees. Excited for the remainder of the test.

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StrokeIt February 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm

Why are people disappointed in any of the drivers….2-18 are separated by a mere 3 yds ! If the drivers potential were optimized with a professional fitting the rankings would have been reshuffled. The takeaway here is how close the results are. The highly competitive market is creating some great drivers and that’s something we all benefit from.

The anomaly is SLDR. Especially in lieu of the buzz being “hard to hit if you aren’t fit correctly”. Congrats Taylormade RBZ is so yesterday ! Funny that the “17 yds more driver” will not have the greatest impact on the industry. Rather the 3-4 yds longer driver will send shockwaves.

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keenford February 11, 2014 at 6:21 pm

Great job guys. I am not happy to see where the BB Alpha ended up but I guess we’ll see what happens tomorrow. As others have said though being fit into the right shaft helps. I bought the Alpha this weekend after being fitted in to a different shaft. Ends up I’m hitting it further than any club I’ve ever had but I wasn’t until I tried a different shaft. One question…… how does the vs.control number work?

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Mike February 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm

I went to a golf store this week intent on hitting the Callaway Big Bertha. I hit a few of the others tested here and the one that suprised me the most at how much I loved hitting it was the Mizuno JPX EZ. What a great feel and sound it has. it came it at number 7 and got good grades but It could be the underrated star of the bunch. Highly recommend it.The Fujikura Orochni Black Eye 55 gram shaft does not work for me, too much spin at +3500. Put a slightly heavier/lower torque shaft in it and I would buy it today.
Thanks again for taking the time to test clubs.

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Lane February 11, 2014 at 7:40 pm

This study is great for showing how clubs within a given year perform against their peers on everything from distance to accuracy to spin, etc. But, I use this not only to tell how they rank amongst eachother, but maybe more importantly, how they perform against last years models – Purchase Decision!

Here’s what’s interesting to me, and why some have asked for a “control/baseline” from last year be submitted. The G25, as best I can tell, averaged 240.67 in 2014 and 236.34 in 2013; almost 5 yards. I realize this isn’t a perfect science, so given most testers are the same, the differences could simply be attributed to improved skill, slightly different launch monitor calibration, amongst other variables. I think it’ll be helpful, for example, when the data comes out, to see how a given person (Blake or Mark for example) did with the G25 in both years – which would help figure out if there was a launch monitor difference or some other thing.

Anyways, I think this test is great and look forward to the release of the filterable data set at the end. Keep up the good work. Helps us weed thru all the marketing hype.

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Lane February 11, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Actually, maybe I’m still reading it wrong. It appears G25 avg distance this year is 240 and last year 259.

So confused :)

Moderator, can you translate? This appears to be the one club in both 2013 and 2014 tests.

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 7:51 pm

Differences in the calculations (no trimming from the top, less trimming from the bottom this year). Different testers, different points in time, different swings. Hence the addition of the control club. Without it, it’s mostly impossible to compare results from different years.

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Lane February 11, 2014 at 8:03 pm

Thanks Tony. I have no idea how you’d do it, but it would be great to see how current year’s clubs perform against the previous year’s models (e.g., XHot vs Xhot2) – it truly does help with a “Purchase Decision” and would help keep the marketers honest.

Again – this study is great!!

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Drew February 11, 2014 at 7:51 pm

MGS, as someone requested already, please start putting a date on your reviews! Time to step it up if you guys want to dance with the big boys.

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Kris February 15, 2014 at 11:47 am

If the date is that important to you/others, you can always just look at the date on the first comment.

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Eric February 11, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Even if SLDR could give me 5-10 yards more, I would not trade my J40 for it. The j40 430 is the better looking and better sounding club, taken me about a year to fing the perfect shaft for it, VTS red 7 stiff tipped an inch, an accident cause it was destined for my 3 wood and did not like that so on a whim I pulled it and glued it straight in my J40. POWWW! Found my longest driver to date on my GOOD swinging days. Do your self a favor and find a J 40 to play around with at one time it got best driver here on MGS.

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Chris February 11, 2014 at 9:22 pm

Now that the results are being released,I believe that it is a good time to again emphasize the importance of not assigning too much signifigance to any but one owns test results. My primary gamer is the SLDR and my backup is the Titleist 913D2. Together with 11 other of the listed drivers I’ve had an opportunity to conduct my own mini test. SLDR #1 by less than 2yards over BB Alpha #2 and BB #3. 8 drivers were within 5 to 7 yards of my SLDR and then there were the G25 and X2. I could not hit the G25 last year and I could not hit it this year. Try as I might, my best average 10 shots cold not come within 15 yards of the SLDR. This year’s version proved slightly less unsatisfactory than last year’s version but still finished last. I love my SLDR. I will be working with my Titleist. I will be acquiring a BB in two days. I will be trying to get my hands on a JPX to test for the search for the grail never ends.

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BK in Texas February 11, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Is Titleist not playing this year because they are still selling the 913 series they submitted last year?

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Ken February 11, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Here is my 2 cents … I have tested many of these drivers and 2 of them I would like to say something about 1 Callaway Alpha and 2 Talormade SLDR .. Went through the fitting for both but could not find a shaft stiff enough (only had up to x stiff) my findings were that my numbers matched very closely but with the Callaway being more accurate … I brought my play driver to put up against them (Krank Rage 7.5 with an Accra Tour Z 95g xxx stiff) and neither Taylormade nor Callaway came anywhere near it for distance sound or feel , not to say that given the right shaft in both TM and Callaway wouldn’t narrow the gap . All in all I think all of the new stuff is great , just make sure to find the right shaft head combo as one is just as important as the other .

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FORE February 11, 2014 at 10:09 pm

Great stuff!. I’m curious about the slider. I know TM historically puts the longest shafts in their drivers. Is it still 46″ inches? I know that my ping i20 is only 45.25. Were all shafts cut to the same length, or just stock shafts used? i’m curious as to whether or not the variations shaft lengths had any major impact on distance.

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Tony Covey February 11, 2014 at 10:24 pm

Stock length on the SLDR is 45.5″. It’s 46″ on JetSpeed. One potentially interesting note about TaylorMade, they measure clubs differently than most of the rest of the industry. As a result, they’re 45.5″ will be at least 1/8″ shorter than anyone else’s.

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P.M. February 11, 2014 at 10:37 pm

Do you think the Callaway X-Hot beat the X2 in term of distance?

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MG February 12, 2014 at 1:10 am

How much did each tester have to “loft up” for the SLDR compared to their normal settings?

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markb February 12, 2014 at 1:27 am

Wow. What I take away from this is …. absolutely nothing.

Forget about the difference in testers. The same Ping G25 that placed 2nd in overall distance this year placed 8th in overall distance in 2013! That means that with the SLDR it’s the ninth longest driver.

None of us should touch a 2014 product. We should all RUN to the trade-in bin of our local big box and scrounge for just about anything one year old.

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Lee February 12, 2014 at 3:23 am

Sure great review for generating interest in the game, new products etc but to my mind if every given driver was set up for each player by a qualified fitter i.e for the right shaft whatever make, weight, flex, length plus head loft and face angle (which can take several hours per club) then I think all results would be so close that the choice would be cosmetic and of course cost.

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ComeOnSense February 12, 2014 at 7:50 am

Great Work MGS !!
1- the Krank driver maybe had a thicker face and can only be hit by Long Drive Champ to make it work.
2- The COR of each driver should have been summited since, for example, a driver with 0.89 will hit longer than a 0.82 driver. I know 0.83 its the limit, but how do we know they were all 0.83.
3- Would have been cool to include the top driver from 2011,2012,2013 in the test also .
4- If you take a look, the drivers from previous years blow the 2014 drivers in distance .
5- Great work MSG as always.

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ComeOnSense February 12, 2014 at 7:51 am

5- Great work MGS as always :)

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ComeOnSense February 12, 2014 at 7:53 am

6- Next year, get ready to ‘ Loft Down’ coz they are going to move the weight back… again.

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MJ February 12, 2014 at 11:33 am

I appreciate your work to bring all this to us average golfers. Three years ago I was fitted by the Cleveland Tech Van personnel and even today as a 70 year old hacker I could not be more happy. After going through many combinations of Cleveland and some other clubs, the club with the 39 gram stiff shaft came out with the best results. As long as I can continue to get the ball consistently in the fairway or at least the first cut and average 225 to 230 yards with the roll out, I can’t see going out and spending $300 for another 5 to 10 yards distance.

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Robert Kiefer February 12, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Okay, 6 guys are testing 23 drivers, is there a not Human tester? I think too few testers to get it objektiv, also a Robot that can do different swing patterns and Center and ofcenter hits consistenly…

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Tony Covey February 12, 2014 at 9:10 pm

We’ve covered the robot issue to death. Here’s the absolute fact of the matter. Robots are invaluable during the design process. That said, you won’t find a single reputable R&D guy anywhere in the industry who would recommend them for performance testing.

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Doug N February 12, 2014 at 9:30 pm

Tony, if it,s not to much trouble Please explain why a robot couldn,t give us better Data? We could compare shafts, lofts and heads and SS speeds. Thanks

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Tony Covey February 12, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Doug – the question has come up enough that we actually consulted with R&D guys from several golf companies as well as one of the inventors of the original swing robot. We put it all into this article: http://www.mygolfspy.com/golf-club-testing-results-you-can-trust/

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Lance Reader February 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm

As President of Krank Golf this situation requires at least one post. Obviously, we take great exception to the findings posted on our driver. It’s extremely difficult to post anything because it looks like we are just complaining. Regardless, I will post my feelings on this.

The Krank Golf Formula 5 Driver has a tremendous reputation and accomplishments for distance hitting. We do use the Sport of Long Drive to test and build our reputation. In 2013 we won 4 Divisions at the RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships with the Formula 5. (OPEN Division, 45+, 65+ and Women’s). We also won the 60+ Division with the EL Diablo Driver. That is a very wide range of swing speeds (105 MPH to 150 MPH). We set a whole new standard in smash factor with average smash factors in the final 16 of the open division at over 1.51. We also had all the highest ball speeds of the event. No other driver in the field even came close, including the Callaway X Hot. In the Final’s, the Formula 5 Driver at the same swing speed generated 10+ MPH faster ball speed then did the Callaway X Hot on multiple well struck balls . That is the difference between 405 Yards (2nd Place) and 427 Yards (Champion), simple math.

Krank Golf sells 96% of its drivers to regular golfers at regular playing setups. We have thousands of unsolicited extreme testimonials about distance gains. We test for distance at every swing speed, every loft and every shaft stiffness. Simply put, the numbers posted by My Golf Spy couldn’t be further from our testing results. We have had many Pro Golfers, including PGA tour winners, test the Formula 5 on the course with significant yardage increases over their current Major OEM Drivers. The Formula 5 is being played on most tours worldwide and soon on the PGA Tour. Hell, even Bella Dovhey a 6 year old little girl who has won 8 consecutive US Kids Golf Tournaments and 30 out of the last 35 tournaments entered, increased her distance by over 20 yards when she switched to the Formula 5 over her other 2 Major OEM Drivers. She is far from a Long Driver.

It’s easy to say that Krank Golf is for Long Drivers. Let me make it very clear, Krank Golf build drivers for every golfer and those of you out there who hit the Formula 5 know the extreme performance of this driver.

I look forward to seeing the complete details of the testing, so we can compare them to our testing. In the end, there’s not much we can do about this, but make no mistake about it, when distance matters, and you are 18 to 69 years old in October standing on the tee box in Mesquite Nevada at the RE/MAX, one Driver completely dominates for one simple reason. Distance!

Lance Reader – President
Krank Golf

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SMRT February 12, 2014 at 3:09 pm

I find it a little disturbing that you seem to be taking all of the credit for your success in the LD Finals last fall. Burke was on FIRE! The way he was swinging, he could have used any driver that day and won. If your theory was fact than you would have had 8 hitters in the final and they all would have tied.
I am not trying to knock your product, I just thought you could recognize your Team as the longest drivers in the LDA, not just the equipment.

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ComeOnSense February 12, 2014 at 4:56 pm

Well Said, Lance.
I was surprised to see Krank finish last on this list, I expect it to be first, Krank was my prediction . The Long Ball Champs have been using Krank for many years now, I watched those competitions and there ‘s no way those guys would use Krank if it were just another driver. Krank is obviously a Winner.

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golfer4life February 13, 2014 at 2:22 pm

Lance,
Gotta say that even though I haven’t had access to try your equipment I was very surprised and a bit skeptic to see where it landed in the distance test. I am a fitter for a golf company and my results can be quite different at times as what gets tested elsewhere. I think it’s mostly to do with the testers themselves. With a small group of testers, bringing in six new testers may offer completely different results. To be honest, I’m intrigued enough with the results that I’m going to try and get my hands on one of your drivers to try myself. The winner of so many LDC can’t be that far off in distance? The availability may create a problem though…

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Lance Reader February 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Thanks for the post. So you’re just going to skip over the smash factor record and 10+ MPH ball speed increase?

Also, understanding the complexity of seating, conditions and hitting position plays as big a role at times as driver performance of which you have no knowledge. I promise you there is more to winning then I can explain on here. We have won 4 years in a row against all odds.

To say we have the best hitters is a slap in the face to Joe Miller and Jaime Sadlowski. We have the best driver and no one in our Sport, not even Callaway questions that. Speed is our game and that’s why we win. Period!!!

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Lance Reader February 12, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Also, if Tim Burke would have been hitting what Joe Miller was hitting, his ball speed would have been 212 instead of 222 and 405 yards would have been a good number to beat. But 427 is what you get with 222 MPH ball speed. You choose which driver you would hit.

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Lance Reader February 12, 2014 at 4:27 pm

It’s very important for everyone to understand that we recognize the phenominal athletic capabilities of our hitters. Without them, we would not even be on the map. For you to say that Tim Burke could have hit any driver is so far from accurate, I don’t even know where to begin with that. There is a huge difference in performance from driver to driver and manufacturer to manufacturer.

I don’t expect you or any other golfer to understand what we go through to make what we make, but it is special. We spend countless hours figuring out durability, face flattening, CT Control, energy storage, accuracy, spin control and many other things at the ridicules ball speeds we have to deal with. Then, make it all work for the regular golfer in a reg golf driver setup. It is a tremendous task. We love it and are very pationate about it.

Winning 13 RE/MAX World Championships is a big deal to us. Beating every Major OEM is a big deal to us and we have done that for a long time.

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Adam February 12, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Lance

I appreciate your coming to this forum and posting your defenses in person. I also appreciate your approach compared to others who took a different route to show their displeasure as there is a big difference between whining and defending.

I think that just like the other clubs in the mix your driver is subject to the testing parameters both good and bad. Since the drivers where switched out regularly there is little time to make large adjustments to vastly different setups. I recall a MGS review of this driver saying that it had “more face” than most were used to and that let to a propensity to hit low on the face. If this difference were as drastic as it seems it might have been the testers likely didn’t tee this club up high enough. Any club with somewhat of a learning curve would not fair well here. At an rate this of course would explain the higher spin, lower launch, and balls speeds seen in the test. Which as you know are a the opposite of a recipe for distance.

Often these types of situations are explained in the beyond the numbers portion of this report that they will soon be releasing.

This site has a large pool of followers perhaps you can prove your point by grabbing up a few choice individuals out of the forum network. I believe Nike did this in another golf forum last year and if i’m not mistaken people are still buzzing about the fitting experience those individuals had on that sites “Nike Oven Experience”

Just a thought …there are a lot of poeple here that very actively test, and report on clubs on their own time and their own dime that “could be” great advocates to your product if your claims are true.

best

Adam

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SMRT February 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm

You are very defensive about something when I did not even attack your product or you. When I said that Burke could have won with anything, I did not say he would have hit it 427, I’m just saying he would have won. I did not say you have only the best hitters and everyone else sucks. I said you had the longest team in the LDA. I guess I should have said the longest team in the LDA last year.

As for your comment, “Beating every Major OEM is a big deal to us and we have done that for a long time.”, you can’t say that today. :)

Seriously, good luck to your team in the upcoming LDA season.

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Rex February 14, 2014 at 8:27 pm

Well, I can tell you what driver I won’t consider….poor form.

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Dpaul February 12, 2014 at 6:38 pm

MSG, Thank you for the test. There were a lot more negative comments than I anticipated. I for one want to thank you for what you did. I don’t know where else we can get any believable tests.

I know some people want different things tested, but at the end of the day, you have to pick the best parameters you can and go with it. You will never please everyone.

Thanks once again.

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ComeOnSense February 12, 2014 at 7:03 pm

If TM were the longest club out there, the Long Drive Champs would be using it longtime ago and that ain’t going to happen.

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Lance Reader February 12, 2014 at 8:22 pm

SMRT, glad to read you agree that Tim Burke would have hit it shorter then 427 if he used another driver. I totally agree.

And yes, we did have the longest team last year and the year before and the year before and the year before. My guess is we will again this year. The top hitters want the hit the best driver.

As for your little jab about not beating the OEM’s today, hard to consider this testing a defeat with all due respect to My Golf Spy. How many TM drivers were used out of the 400 hitters at the RE/MAX? To my knowledge, none.

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SMRT February 12, 2014 at 8:44 pm

It was a little jab that I could not pass up.

Absolutely agree with both. (Burke’s performance and that your team will continue to do well.) Good luck on continued success.

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M February 12, 2014 at 9:41 pm

Was the loft optimized for all drivers. Xcg7 goes up to 12 degrees right? Seems like it would have been #1 if the loft were optimized.

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Tony Covey February 13, 2014 at 2:30 pm

XCG7 was an interesting case. We do our best to optimize everyone, but when you’re dealing with a 4° range in loft adjustment, you get some pretty wild face angle positions, especially on the extreme ends. In some cases, compromises had to be made between ideal loft and initial trajectory. Like a few other here, it’s a bit of a fitting issue, but if the setup works for you at the specified loft, this is one of the standouts.

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Lance Reader February 12, 2014 at 9:46 pm

Doug, it’s great to hear you are hitting our driver well. We want to do all we can to get our customers set up correctly. Thanks for the post. Keep hitting it long and straight.

Krank It Up

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Rob February 13, 2014 at 2:31 am

Great work you guys but I have a couple questions.
What balls did you use? Same ball for every driver and person?
Was there much of a change in weather (temperature drop, wind, etc)?
Does swing fatigue play a factor?

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MightyLovelyMan February 13, 2014 at 11:40 am

I would love to try and/or get fitted with a Krank driver. We only have one golf store where I live and they only handle the major brands.

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Langbraten74 February 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm

OK!

I give up, and maybe I am being unusually thick in the head due to my persistent flu, but I don’t get it.

What does the number VS.CONTROL mean? I have read the article several times and I still don’t get it? Is it explained somewhere I have missed?

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Langbraten74 February 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm

Well, of course, just as I hit post my brain caught up. The VS.Control is a distance comparison to the unnamed reference club isn’t it?

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Tony Covey February 13, 2014 at 2:16 pm

Exactly.

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Steve Almo February 13, 2014 at 4:55 pm

Lance Reader…….Please don’t use the term..”Best Driver out there”…saying Winniest would be appropriate in the last 4 years. What gives you the right to make the claim…Best Driver when this testing would indicate otherwise?

Btw, Geek Golf has WON more RE/MAX titles Worldwide than ANY other company at 17.

You insult every golf company by making the statement…”BEST”.

Keep it in perspective please.

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Doug N February 13, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Steve, Quit living in the PAST!!!! KRANK is the present and Future in REMAX Long Driving!! Instead of telling Lance what to say why don’t you show up next year and try and beat him!! LOL!!!! I didn’t see any of your drivers in this test!!

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Warwick Weedon February 14, 2014 at 1:26 am

Pure semantics Steve, to me Winningest = Bestest. It will be nice to see your drivers in a test soon! Cheers

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kloyd0306 February 13, 2014 at 8:14 pm

Some of the breathless excitement offered by responders baffles me because the results are so close they really don’t have any effect on golf in general – just the same as long driving competitions are not golf.

Five to seven yards in distance plus 3% difference in accuracy between all these brands seems a long way from actually putting up a golf score.

My question concerns the shafts used. All these brands use different brands of shafts. So, all the findings are based on different shaft weights, different torsion, different bend profiles. It is entirely possible that a shaft used in the Cobra when married to the Ping G25 head might outperform everything else – but how will we know?

Differences too small to make a difference in scoring while also inconclusive because of shaft brand/model inconsistency.

The biggest differences are, and always will be, the user.

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Cantputt February 13, 2014 at 10:27 pm

If I’m not mistaken, I’m pretty sure Geek Competed last year and Ranked Higher than Krank did this year. Obviously ” Best Driver out there” seems like a false statement from Krank now!

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Lance Reader February 14, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Steve, will you please post geek’s 17 RE/MAX Would Ling Drive Championships?

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Lance Reader February 14, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Steve, will you please post geek’s 17 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships?

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Steve Almo February 14, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Lance….Just go to my website http://www.geekgolf.com and click on ‘accomplishments’. There you will find the 17 RE/MAX worldwide titles that Geek has Won starting with Jamie Sadlowski in 2005 and Sandra Carlborg and Eric Jones in 2012. They are in the books…they are official. Incidently, Geek still holds several World LD records…

Doug N. My newest design was/is not ready. I tried to submit the DCT but, it was turned down as they wanted my new design.

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Lance Reader February 14, 2014 at 2:19 pm

So geek does not have 17 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships? How many do you have?

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Steve Almo February 14, 2014 at 2:32 pm

What does that mean “Geek does not have 17 RE/MAX Titles”…YOU CANNOT COUNT TO 17? …and “how many do you have”…what does that mean?

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SMRT February 15, 2014 at 12:25 am

Wow! Almo vs Reader on the MGS comment section. This is getting better than the fighting on incepta!

Maybe I cannot count either but I came up with 18 RE/MAX titles listed. That includes the Junior Title listed. Anyway, that is pretty impressive.

Steve, you have always designed a great driver at a great price and have been extremely helpful for me anytime I call. I really appreciate your time and help. Can’t wait to see your new design when it’s ready. Can’t wait to compare it to the Sinister.

Lance, I have to agree with Steve that it is impossible for you to claim to be the “Best Driver” in any competition yet. You have had great success in recent years in the LDA. If you continue to do so you will be able to say you have the best driver in the LDA but not outside of it. Your goal can be to produce the best driver possible, and it should be, but to claim you have the “Best Driver” is just unqualified arrogance. Maybe next year you will surpass Geeks total number of wins but until then Steve has the crown.

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josh chervokas February 14, 2014 at 3:59 pm

I find it misleading to put an avrg ballspeed without listing an avrg swingspeed as higher ballspeed could just mean more swing speed and not a physical superiority. Also what percentage of shots were discarded? Really bad misses will skew the data unless the data group is in the millions.

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mackdaddy February 14, 2014 at 5:12 pm

Surprise Surprise… Last years winners were longer!!!

Can we get a comparison from last years numbers to this years new super sticks???

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Lance Reader February 14, 2014 at 11:59 pm

Steve, just for clarity, how many RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIPS DOES GEEK GOLF HAVE? There is only ONE RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship per year.

I went to your site like you suggested and this is what I found:

2013 -.None
2012
Sandra Carlborg – Women
Eric Jones – 50+
2011
Sandra Carlborg – Women
2010 None
2009 None
2008 None
2007
Mike Dobbyn – Open
2006 – None

That would be 4
Am I missing any?

You say 17 but can only see 4 on your website.
Please clarify. Thanks

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SMRT February 15, 2014 at 12:26 am

Lance, He did say worldwide RE/MAX events.

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Lance Reader February 15, 2014 at 11:51 am

The question is simple one, “how many RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships, not RE/MAX Sponsored other events like Australian, European, Regionals, International, ETC. Krank has won more RE/MAX LD Events then any company in history. There isn’t even a close second place.
By saying Geek Golf has won more RE/MAX titles worldwide is extremely miss leading. In our Sport when you say RE/MAX Championship it means only one thing. THE RE/MAX WORLD LONG DRIVE CHAMPIONSHIP. And Steve has been saying that for a long time. I’m tired of reading it.

The other events are important, but never even close to as important or as difficult as Superbowl of our Sport. The RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships.

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Tomcat golf February 15, 2014 at 2:08 pm

With cor limitations these results are more of an indication of shaft performance than head performance.

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Steve Almo February 15, 2014 at 5:15 pm

How is that misleading? It flat out states “Worldwide”. You can tell the Pro LDers that (have Won) winning a respective countries RE/MAX Championship title is not even close to the event in Mesquite/Vegas..then see what kind of response you get from them.

There is No Best…..for you to say your “club is” …that is misleading. It was your choice to submit your golf club. No one was twisting your arm. You have enjoyed tremendous success the last few years…Good for you. Had you finished high up…….this conversation wouldn’t be taking place…the only problem I have is your stating…”The Best”. Again, there is no best. Period. Even this test is titled…”Most Wanted”…Not Best.

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moggy February 17, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Tony @ MGS thankyou for the report and patience in dealing with the eclectic views on this blog. I only have a relatively small question. Would you say there is a big statistical difference between the Tour Edge Exotics XCG7 Beta 430cc you tested vs. the larger Tour Edge XCG7 460cc model? I love the low spin stats etc but would the larger head (my swing is 108mph) deliver similar numbers to the Beta in your view?. Cheers…

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Erik February 18, 2014 at 12:34 pm

Hey, what happened to the interactive what’s behind the numbers? Really looking forward to that. And thanks for a great test.

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Erik February 19, 2014 at 5:05 am

Please delete. Double post.

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Shu Arvilla March 13, 2014 at 4:57 pm

I think the shaft makes the biggest difference in distance

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SLDR March 14, 2014 at 11:05 am

Wow I am surprised to see the new powerbilt air force on driver ranked so high. They do very little marketing so you don’t hear too much about them. I will definitely have to see if this is one of the drivers that will replace my J33R 460 driver.

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Mbwa Kali Sana March 19, 2014 at 6:06 am

At âge 80,I Still Play décent golf (Handicap 7).I’m a fan of the HONMA BERES clubs ,four star or FIVE star shafts ,hugely expensive but worth the money you put in them .
They are not tested on this site ,quite a Pity!
Well ,thanks to my LD friend and champion,MIKE BAUMANN,I bought a KRANK FORMULA 1 driver ,then ,after this drivers test ,the PING G 25 .
The better One is the G25 .the KRANK FORMULA 5 is a wonderful driver ,but it’s Somewhat unforgiving ,you have to get use d to it and hit really on the sweetspot each Time .
The PING G 25 is very forgiving ,long and accurate ,just a bit shorter Off the TEE than the KRANK .

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Ron Hampel March 24, 2014 at 12:17 am

Fellas, without statistical analysis, these numbers are absolutely worthless. Publishing raw data such as averages is meaningless even if your other methodologies are sound. No one should take these numbers seriously. You might as well throw dice into the air and call those results conclusive.

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Timbok April 2, 2014 at 11:15 pm

I have a 910D3 and last years report was accurate, not a clucb for bombers but accurate with great feel, I read your 2014 report yesterday on longerst driver and went and bought me the SLDR and off to the driving range now so I can play mopnthly medal tomorrow

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Duccio April 4, 2014 at 4:52 am

I appreciated your scientific, objective method, but what do you mean with “vs control”?
What is the “control” or the reference you used to make the comparison?

Best regards

Duccio

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Timbok April 5, 2014 at 12:17 am

I have a 910d3 and one of the bigger hitters at my club. I bought the sldr and played today. Where I normally take a 5 iron as a second shot on a long par 4 (rated 1) today I took a pw and was pin high for 2. I was a devout Titlest player now the sldr is in the bag and the 910d3 is retired and going straight to the pool room. My tip is buy the sldr

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Charlie April 12, 2014 at 6:19 am

This is an interesting article, with some surprising results, especially about the Big Berta Alpha.
I am sure that getting the testing coordinated and completed was a huge task. Great job MyGolfSpy. Keep up the good work.

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Rob C April 15, 2014 at 7:44 pm

I bought Powerbilt’s nitrogen charged Air Force 1 a few years ago when MGS ranked it highly as a long driver. (Again this year too) I bought the driver because MGS said it was so long. I hated it and chalked it up to my stupidity for not at least trying to demo one. With that said, anyone in here who thinks MGS does not have that kind of influence to persuade purchases, they are sadly mistaken.

When upper brass and ownership of golf component companies come here to state their opinions as a result of this 2014 Most Wanted Driver (Distance Award) then you better believe they are acutely aware that the power of MGS to persuade purchases is HUGE.

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Moz April 25, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Ridiculous to judge these clubs with a guy that can only hit a driver 240 yds lol. I hit my 20 degree hybrid that far.

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Revkev April 27, 2014 at 6:55 pm

No doubt you are right. The average golfer hits his drive 210 or so. 240 is decidedly above average. However for those who are long look at the numbers inside the numbers and you’ll see that there were several longer hitters involved in the test. Just find the one who is closest to you and use it as a starting point. Everyone’s swing and game is different.

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AWOL April 28, 2014 at 2:30 pm

There is nothing wrong with using testers that hit in all ranges. I hit about 285 total with 105+ mph SS. I would take the results of a 240 hitter over a pro 300+ hitter or robot hitter any day. These result i feel are more accurate to how the driver will perform for average players. No site that reviews equipment are going to want to use people like Dustin Johnson or Bubba Watson to test clubs. Hitting 300 or even over 250 is well above the average player and using a 240 hitter is more than sufficient when testing clubs. Its like the putter test everyone was saying how they should have used a different ball as if one ball off a putter performs better than another. It doesn’t make sense. You don’t need to swing 115+ mph and hit over 300 yds to see how well a driver performs.

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Frank Pipolo April 27, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Be cool to see MGS take the top 3 drivers in each category and do a comparison of custom fit over off the shelf using the same head. If anything, it will show (or not) that it is worth being custom fit for your driver. Been a big fan for years on getting the irons custom fit.

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STEVE ALMO April 27, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Someone stated that testing should not include a tester that only hits it 240 yards! That surprised me. It really makes no difference in regard to ‘driving distance’ testing. It’s all relative. On any new designs, i.e. proto clubheads, I get my best feedback from higher handicappers during human range testing. A strong player can always adjust their swing to accomodate virtually any club. A higher handicapper and most average players cannot do that. So the feedback I am looking for is much better with these type golfers.. I can tell in 2 or 3 swings by the expression on their face if they really like the club. If they don’t like it…most will say “nice club” or something along those lines…because most people are kind and appreciate you letting them test your new prototype product. I have actually completely redesigned a club as this range feedback was so important to me. Give me the bad swings and high handicappers to do all my testing on prototypes….This is the feeback I want and need.

Steve Almo
President
Geek Golf

http://www.geekgolf.com

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Andy May 9, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Surely this has been asked before, but just throwing it out there. Is the COR measured for these test drivers? I mean Taylormade could say, sure would like to be on top of this long distance list, so let’s fudge a little and send a driver with a thinner face and more rebound than what is USGA allowed…

What keeps this from happening?

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Steve Almo May 9, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Andy…First off…Testing is now done using CT (i.e. characteristic time) instead of COR testing. The main reason was CT is portable and faster. The CT testing procedure is done in a pedulum style dropping on the face of the club and measured in micro seconds. (239 + 18 up to 257 ms) COR was essentially blasting a ball at the face of a clubhead with air pressure to attain the measurement. To answer your question though…Yes it is possible for any clubhead from any company to be over CT limit. Especially if used (i.e. not new) as the more ‘in play’ the CT migrates up. Should heads be tested for CT limits in a test like this concerning distance? Only as received before testing is started.

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Andy May 10, 2014 at 10:07 pm

So the drivers listed and ranked were tested for CT?

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steve almo May 11, 2014 at 6:41 pm

I don’t think so…they would have stated that if they tested.

http://www.geekgolf.com

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Andy May 12, 2014 at 8:19 am

Steve, thanks for the info. I have never seen a driverface CT tests done on any Tour. I guess assumption of OEM drivers are under COR limit is assumed on Tour?

LOL on the “Best” label, but I’ll be just like Lance in that if my putter comes in last in the upcoming blade competition, I will still be claiming it as the “Best” putter with an arguement in that it does more to actually hole putts than all other putters… Can’t wait…

Andy W
http://www.expertgreenreading.com

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STEVE ALMO May 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm

Andy you have a better chance in these competitions with a Putter and other Utility type products than with a Driver of finishing higher. I remember back in 2007 when I last submitted the DOT COM THIS Driver to the Golf Digest testing procedure. It received a slight mention in a side bar column. Yet, and I swear the following is true, I received 2 calls from 2 of the actual GD testers than wanted to purchase the DCT Driver and stated, “It was the best driver out there being tested in their opinion. Yet, Geek DCT did not win any awards and barely got a mention! I never submitted to GD again after that nonsense. I did give those 2 testers free DCT’s as they were so honest with me and really opened my eyes to the reality of most testing by most of these type competitions. There is always a risk submitting product of any type to any testing by anyone , print or Internet.

Good luck Andy.

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Andy May 13, 2014 at 7:46 am

Steve –Really, really appreciate your experiences and comments, yet not seeing any risk. As far as I can tell, my brand new offering is the only Surveying Instrument putter in the world with its own (patented) Operating System that guarantees an expert greenread EVERY putt. Bold stuff that is backed-up, and of course all USGA conforming. Any positive MGS “datacratic” testing results on its use as a conventional putter will be a bonus. Right now, exposure is an absolute positive in any form.

I am excited about this; as much as when a recent demo to Mike Shannon became an incredible affirmation. Holler anytime..
Andy

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Brent Mann May 13, 2014 at 12:32 am

Really curious why my numbers on Trackman had the Krank with highest ball speed and smash compared to 5 others. Watched several tour pros on the range at the Honda Classic hit the Krank and their ball speeds were all 2-3mph faster. Just an observation on my end.

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STEVE ALMO May 13, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Andy, when I say risk. I mean the subject of brand snobbery comes into play…especially on Drivers. Think of it in this manner…using GD as an example. The Majors spend millions upon millions of $ every year in advertising. There is no way they (GD) are going to let some small boutique golf company that spends 0 $ in advertising finish on top or near the top of list ahead of the companies that basically keep them afloat. But, I understand that, I am a realist…bills have to be paid and the small companies can’t afford to foot those bills. I will say this in Kranks defense….had a Major (i.e. Callaway whom finished 2nd) won the RE/MAX Finals late last year…that LDer sporting Callaway shirt/hat would have been plastered on every cover of every golf mag with a special extended interview on why Callaway is so wonderful! Krank beats Cally……..nary a word! But, that’s life in the big city. That’s how it really works.

http://www.geekgolf.com

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Andy May 13, 2014 at 7:29 pm

I absolutely concur. I take all the golf rags, and subscription cost is peanuts for any of them, meaning mags all exist by OEM advertising dollars… Most are one year for $10 and they will send a sleeve of balls.

To MGS’s credit in this blog, Krank tested last, and I see where Krank is advertising on the right side of the page. That gives me a warm & fuzzy that MGS means it when they claim “datacratic.”

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Russell Evans May 15, 2014 at 2:02 am

Just same across this forum. Great stuff, keep it coming.

Some real surprises here. Will have to give some on the ‘un-knows’ a try myself

See you soon.

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Gerry Teigrob June 4, 2014 at 9:53 pm

Anything new from Adams in the drivers? I guess the XTD hybrids and irons and the Tight Lies fairway woods along with the Idea hybrid irons is still a good year for Adams Golf!

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Andrew Bruce June 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I have demo’d or owned many of the drivers in the 2014 test thanks to the local golf retailer’s liberal trade in policy. I completely agree that the SLDR is stupid long – as in I gained 15 yards on a dead center sweet spot hit. I have to admit that the SLDR driver is not nearly as forgiving as the X-Hot, or 913 D2, or Nike Covert.

I also agree the Covert 2.0 is shockingly improved over the 2013 model, and it occupied my golf bag for about 3 months this year. I find the Covert 2.0 to be the most accurate and forgiving driver I have hit in 2014, mainly thanks to a free upgrade from the 50 gram Kuro Kage shaft to the 60 gram tour shaft in the 460 cc head.

The only feedback I have on the test is it would be beneficial for me to know what shaft is being used in the testing. It is my opinion the shaft actually makes more difference than the club head (maybe with the exception of the SLDR). Maybe I missed it somewhere in the article, but I think you should have a link to the ‘profile’ of each test hitter. Something along the lines of average swing speed, ball speed, launch angle, and spin, and list which shaft suits them the best in each one of the drivers tested.

Thanks, and keep up the good work! It is awesome that you tell the truth about the real numbers, instead of just pimping for the golf manufacturers.

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Craig Brown June 30, 2014 at 11:20 am

So glad i found this site, great reviews. My issue with most of the modern drivers is the shaft lengths are so long. When are the club manufacturers going to give us the option of different shaft lengths whilst maintaining swing weight.
I understand that longer,lighter shafts in theory generate more club head speed but come on, most mid to high handicappers cant control a 46 inch shaft. I believe the average driver shaft length on the tour is 44.5 inches, if the pro;s dont use a 46 inch shaft why are the consumers forced to use one. Any company that came out with a driver with optional shaft lengths with the swing weights matched to each shaft would certainly get my attention.
Could be the next big thing.

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MattW July 2, 2014 at 6:22 pm

I’ve been conducting my own testing this season and tested the Ping G25, Taylormade SLDR and the Callaway Big Bertha. I started the preseason with the Ping G25..big confidence boosting footprint, stealth fighter looks, forgiveness. Multiple range sessions and two rounds of golf. I rank it second in terms of distance and forgiveness. TM SLDR was next and I was totally sold on the hype and worked extra hard at the range to “make it work” even though it was neither as long or forgiving as the G25. That brings us to the Callaway Big Bertha. Although the head looks smallish when compared to the G25, it had the tightest shot dispersion and foregiveness of the bunch…from the first range session!! It also stood head and shoulders above the other two in terms of distance. On a driving range with a 80 foot net at the back of the range as a reference; the G25 regularly hit the net about 10 feet down from the top while on a descending arc. The TM SLDR was striking the net at 15 feet below the top the net on a descending arc. Both had towering height off the tee…attained peak height early and robbed me of distance. The BB was hitting the net 3 feet down from the top of the net and either had yet to reach or was just attaining peak trajectory as it struck the net. Using only my eyes as evidence I hypothesize that the BB is some 25-30 yards longer than the other two drivers. All three were adjusted on the monitor at the golf shop for the best fit within that model.

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Mackdaddy July 31, 2014 at 8:27 pm

I have an RBZ Stage 2 now if I switch to the SLDR 430 TP will the shaft adapter from my Stage 2 fit into the SLDR 430 TP? I love the shaft I have in the RBZ Stage 2 and don’t want to change the adapter.

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PGLD October 30, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Thanks to MGS for the testing and data crunching. It’s interesting, and a good start, but it is not valid data. Why? When performing experimental analyses, variables must be prudently selected and controlled for an “apples-to-apples” comparison. Different swing speeds, AoA, face path, centeredness of strike, shaft characteristics (many), environmental conditions, intra-variability in materials and methods, etc., etc., all play a role in determining the result. A scientist or engineer would never view this data as objective and definitive, not even close. Although the robot testing itself is not perfect, it currently as close to perfect as club testing can get (there are still variables the robot protocol cannot control). Was this “real world” testing with live golfers? Yes. Does this provide a valid methodology for determining the longest driver? Abosultely not. If you want a true “head-to-head” comparison (no pun intended), only the robot testing can provide that, despite rebuttals from so-called experts, manufacturers, players and all others “in the know”. The testing I have performed for the last 20 years must withstand the highest levels of scrutiny and defensibility, and obviously must be valid (far beyond a “longest driver” test). I am writing this not to provide my opinion, but simply to educate and to provide the facts.

Thank you,
PGLD, Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering), Ph.D. (Applied Physics)

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AWOL October 31, 2014 at 1:36 pm

I’m not one to argue with a Ph.D. but… You’re absolutely right this test has too many variables to crown any one driver the longest. You’re right that robot testing would be the most accurate way to test clubs. Even then there are variables that would affect the results. To be absolutely accurate the clubs would have to be done in controlled temperatures with same weather conditions, and they would essentially have to use the exact same shaft in each club. And i don’t mean just another of the same shaft model from the shaft manufacturer. They would have to pull the shaft for each driver tested and use the same shaft because of the variables in manufacturing the shafts themselves. Same company, same shaft model, any two could perform slightly different. What is interesting is that despite all the possible variables that can occur between the golfer, his/her swing and manufacturing differences one driver still out performed all the others across the board. I have known many Ph.D.s and when it comes to testing every one of them is the same. They want no variable and bare bone to the facts. As it should be, considering they are testing more important things like structural integrity and chemical reactions with medicine and how it affects the body. However the most important element that is always overlooked is the “human element”. In my opinion this is perhaps the best sign of how something will perform. The world is has structure and purpose but its not perfect and neither are humans. So when scientist test they try to create perfect environments to discover true results. But these results although they may be factual, its like trying to play blocks with that child’s toy trying to shove a imperfect circle into a square hole. And MGS has more human element variables than any other test. Which gives the consumer a good idea how a club will perform with their less than perfect swings.

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Stve Almo November 1, 2014 at 4:22 pm

PGLD….very impressive reume. One big variable concerning minor golf companies with human testing is brand snobbery. Most dismiss minors simply because the Majors are ingrained in their minds at the start of such testing. An Iron Byron is the only way to really test product non-biased although not necessarily absolute it certainly is a better way.

http://www.geekgolf.com.

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George November 9, 2014 at 3:07 am

Great article. Got a great deal of information from it.

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George November 9, 2014 at 3:12 am

I am trying the i25 and the Cobra at this time and from the testing results I am encouraged to look at others as well. Thanks

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