2013 “Golf’s Most Wanted” – BEST OVERALL

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MyGolfSpy's Most Wanted Driver of 2013

We've arrived at the moment you've been waiting for. After teasing you with the Longest Driver of 2013, and the Most Accurate Driver of 2013, it's time to reveal MyGolfSpy's Most Wanted Driver of 2013. Simply put, the #1 Club on this list, is the Best Driver of 2013. Period.

But before we got to that...

We've Got Your Data

As promised we've published an extensive amount of data collected during this test. We've created two interactive charts that will allow you to sort by club and by golfer. In addition to the raw distance and accuracy numbers we've published other key performance data including launch angle, spin rate, ball speed and more.


Given how frequently it appeared on other top 5 lists, it should surprise no one that Callaway's $299 XHot proved to be the best overall driver in our test. While it may not be the absolute longest driver we tested, for the guy looking for something that can give him plenty of yardage, while still keeping the ball in the short grass more often than not, the Callaway's XHot is the best of this sizeable group. The performance is particularly noteworthy given the length of XHot's shaft (46" standard, 45.75" Pro).

Rumor has it that XHot is absolutely killing the market at the $299 price point, and why the hell shouldn't it. It's MyGolfSpy's "Most Wanted Driver" of 2013.

Finishing just behind XHot is TaylorMade's RBZ Stage 2. For the majority of our testers, the Stage 2 actually proved to be longer, but almost to a man it couldn't match the accuracy of the Xhot (the longer shaft caused more of an issue for most), and that proved to be the difference maker. Nevertheless, TaylorMade's RBZ Stage 2 is an outstanding driver in it's own right, and if for some reason the Xhot doesn't work for you, TaylorMade's budget-friendly RBZ Stage 2 should be the next place you look.

TaylorMade's wrench-friendly, all-lofts-in-a-single-head R1 rounds out the Top 3. It a surprising result when you consider that the R1 failed to crack any of the 3 Top 5 lists for accuracy. Admittedly it only narrowly missed cracking the Top 5 for our higher swing speed players, but it was actually its consistently strong distance numbers (#3 overall, #3 high swing speed, #6 overall) that placed it so high on the overall list. For the guy who is willing to sacrifice a little bit of accuracy to pick up a little bit more distance, the R1 is definitely one to consider.

Another Total Driving surprise is PING's Anser driver, which claims the 4th spot on the list. How can a driver that only appeared on 1 Top 5 list (#5 Accuracy - High Swing Speed) break into the top 5 overall? In a word: consistency. While distance was average at best across the board, when it comes to accuracy, the PING Anser was never worse than 7th. In some respects the Anser is the polar opposite of the R1. For the guy looking for consistency and accuracy at the expense of a few yards, the Anser it another outstanding option from PING.

The Tileist 913 finished 5 on our Most Wanted Driver list. You already know that the 913 topped the list as our most accurate driver of 2013, and that, coupled with an outstanding distance score from our slower swing speed group, keeps the Titleist 913 near the top of the overall list. I don't think any of our testers would argue that the Titleist is one of the longer drivers we tested, but it's long enough. When you couple that with its propensity for keeping the ball in the short grass... This is the first Titleist driver we've seen that we comfortably recommend that every golfer consider.

Results by Swing Speed

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

As you may recall, Callaway's RAZR Fit Xtreme proved to be every bit the bomber it's advertised to be for our higher swing speed players. While our testers weren't generally as close to the centerline as they were with some other, our higher swing speed players actually hit  comparatively high percentage of fairways. Simply put, while not the most accurate driver, for most in this group it didn't wander too far offline. Generally good-enough accuracy combined with generally obscene distance is why the RAZR Fit Xtreme is our #1 ranked club for higher swing speed players.

While it could easily be mistaken for the game-improvement offering, Callaway's XHot Pro is also an extremely solid choice for higher swing speed players. As you can see from the charts below it finished just ticks behind the RAZR Fit Extreme. The majority of golfers will likely find XHot the more forgiving of the two, but if you're a Callaway fan, or just a fan of drivers that perform, forcing yourself two choose between the two won't be easy, but it's not a bad problem to have either.

Not surprising, TaylorMade's RBZ Stage 2 is in the mix for higher swing speed players as well. Truthfully it's numbers were hurt mightily by one of our higher swing speed players who simply couldn't hit it straight. Take him out of the mix (we did for the overall), and the Stage 2 is right there with the top 2 on this list. While we've become cynical about TaylorMade drivers over the last few years, there's not much in either the RBZ Stage 2 or the R1 that's not to like.

...and speaking of the R1, it's distance numbers are strong enough to keep it on the Top 5 for total driving among high swing speed players. It was nearly as long as anything, and among this group, more accurate than the RBZ Stage 2.

The PING Anser finished #5 overall among faster swingers. Just as with its overall numbers, for distance alone it wasn't a standout, but it was more accurate that most. Once again, for those who are looking for a well-balanced driver where the premium is on accuracy, we've got your PING.

Our lower swing speed golfers (>100 MPH) all tested with standard model heads and regular or stiff (non-tour) shafts where applicable.

Raise your hand if you saw this coming? With the RAZR Fit Xtreme and both TaylorMade offerings not generally performing as well among slower swing speed players, Callaway's XHot stands alone at the top (though it must be pointed out that PING's Anser also appears in all 3 Top 5s). What can we possibly say about the XHot that hasn't already been said? Quite frankly I don't know, so let's go with this: Callaway's XHot is the one driver that consistently performed at wide range of swing speeds for golfers of a variety of ability levels. If you're just going to pull a driver off the rack, it might as well be XHot.

Finally...Adams gets a mention. If we gave out a sneaky bastard award it would most certainly go to the Speedline Super S. While never at the top of any list, when I was crunching the numbers it seemed like it was never far from the lead. As an on-the-record fan of the Adams LS series, it's difficult for me to admit that the Super S is likely the better of the Adams offerings for 2013.

PING fans can finally relax. The G25 has cracked a top 5, finishing 3rd overall among slower swing speed players. Like the Super S, although it hasn't shown up as frequently as many (us included) thought it would, it too was never far from the mix. We'll talk about it more when we go inside the numbers next week, but for now know that the G25 produced some of the longest drives in our test, and was one of the most popular with our testers.

Almost unbelievably two drivers finished in a dead head for the #4 spot in the low swing speed category. Wilson's D-100 is another club we're going to have a lot to say about next week, but what we can say right now (and say with conviction) is that not only is the built-for-speed D-100 among the strongest all-around performers for slower swing speed players, it's easily the best driver Wilson has produced in recent (and possibly distant) memory.

Matching the D-100 point for point is PING's Anser (which as I mentioned joins XHot as the only other club to appear on all 3 of our overall Top 5s). I hate to repeat myself for a 2nd time, so I'll just say this: PING Anser - consistent, accurate, and sneaky good.

We're Not Done Yet

Not that the results are in, be sure to Check out the Data we gathered and used to arrive at these scores. We've built 2 pretty cool little charts that contain all of the relevant information from our launch monitors.

Also be sure to check back next week when we go Beyond the Numbers to give you the inside scoop on the MyGolfSpy's 2013 Most Wanted Driver Test. You'll hear more from our testers, and get a more complete picture of what they liked, what they didn't, as well as why we think certain clubs stood out while others fizzled.

And remember, there's still plenty of time to submit a question for the upcoming Mailbag. If you've got a question, send it to us and we'll see about including it in our upcoming post.

Did We Mention the Data?

In Case you missed it the first two times...we've published an extensive amount of launch monitor data.


About MyGolfSpy

As the “Consumer Reports of Golf” our mission is to educate and empower golfers. Our goal is to help you get the most out of your time, money and performance.

MyGolfSpy is the only major golf media outlet that accepts ZERO advertising dollars from the biggest golf companies.


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{ 104 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike July 17, 2014 at 11:01 am

Great piece, thanks for all the interractive charts. Any feelings on shorter shafted drivers…say like 43 – 44 inches. I play a 46″ Ping K15 and it feels too long and isn’t as accurate as advertised.


mygolfspy July 17, 2014 at 11:58 am
why not June 13, 2014 at 7:41 am

Why no Exotics XCG6? Are you implying they dont belong in the same category as these clubs or was it a simple oversight?


Chuck May 26, 2014 at 9:12 am

Thanks for the information on drivers, I have a stage2 and was wondering about its spin rate good info.


Dennis December 20, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I’m a sixty year 26 handicapper and current driver is Taylor Made R7. I just been to golf store and hit the Callaway Hotx. and was really disappointed. The best distance I got was 211 yards which is what I get with a good, not best drive with my R7. Club was 10.5deg, regular shaft which is what my R7 is.


Sluggo October 10, 2013 at 10:36 am

What about the SLDR?


Troy Vayanos September 15, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I tried the Callaway XHot and really enjoyed it. It’s got a great feel to it and the head is not overly large.

I personally use the Cobra AMP Cell at present and was a bit surprised to see it so far down the list but the competition is stiff. The AMP is a great driver and I can’t see myself changing anytime soon.


Evan July 15, 2013 at 4:58 am

This is a really funny list. It’s almost flipped from what worked best for me. I recently went to a demo day and was thoroughly disappointed in all the Callaway, Taylormade, Titleist, and Ping drivers. I found the Cobra Amp Cell (both versions) and Nike Covert (both versions) to be the best performing for me and my high school teammate. I guess maybe because the Kuro Kage Shaft fits me better because I later put that on my current driver the R9 Supertri. Not to mention that I had very low expectations with the Cobra drivers, and they turned out to be my favorite.


Juan July 12, 2013 at 11:30 am

I love MyGolfSpy and really appreciate the effort to show readers the actual data of the test they do. It really empowers us to make better decisions when it comes to getting new clubs, without relying on what´s advertised. It would be really neat if you found a way to compare your results with older clubs. As of now we only get the information of the drivers that are being launched this year, but how can we tell if those clubs are actually better than the ones we already own? Should I really believe Callaway just launched the longest driver in golf, and I should change my i20?? Recently I was toying with an old FT-5, comparing it on a launch monitor with my i20, and there is really not much of a difference…

Thanks for your help!!!


Steve June 25, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Where is the Grenade Golf Driver???


mygolfspy June 26, 2013 at 9:38 am

Sorry Steve – requests were sent before the Grenade launched. We’ve made attempts to try and get the grenade in for a standalone review, but so far they have declined to participate. They’re scared to pull the pin it looks like.


Rob Nieth June 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I tested the Callaway X-Hot Driver today and compared it to my current driver, Adam’s 9064 LS. The local golf retailer was kind enough to encourage me to test the two head to head. Let’s just say I left the store with only my Adam’s 9064 LS. I hit the Adam’s consistently longer and the accurancy was about even. Not enough for this guy to bag it.


Marc June 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm

Awesome review!

Thanks for all the data and the way you presented it, the charts are very useful. This is very timely and will make my shopping more fun :)


Troy June 3, 2013 at 7:36 am

I hit a friends brank new X Hot yesterday on 3-4 holes.
I did note excellent distance and very good accuracy.
It’s a bit longer than my Razr Hawk and felt very good throughout the swing.
Thanks for the excellent review.


mmclemore May 22, 2013 at 9:54 pm

just bought the x hot driver, based on this article alone. took it out yesterday for the maiden voyage. THE BEST DRIVER IVE OWNED AND HIT. this is the best website ive used. the articles are helpfull and most importantly, they ARE THE STONE COLD TRUTH. Bought my irons based on articles on this website, and those are the best irons ive owned as well, cobra amp cell. Thanks Golf Spy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Carolyn Ketchie May 7, 2013 at 9:13 am

All this testing is for men, why not have some testing for women and gives us a little insight for what is best for us…We always get left out. come on guys. Give us a break.


Rob Nieth June 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Excellent point Carolyn!


david newman April 29, 2013 at 11:56 am

All of the major club makers should be sued with a class action law suit or maybe criminal fraud. No driver made (at this time) can adjust for loft more than1/2* . It is physically not possible. PING knew this and stayed away from adjustable driver as long as they could. then came with a very limited adjustable driver(1/2*) which can only be done by opening or closing the face by 5 or 6 degrees and this much adjustment is not possible in their latest driver. SO they have all been lying to us. DON’T get taken in by their slick false adv.


RAT April 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm

Where might I find the test data that would reflect which shaft,head combination?


Steve Almo April 24, 2013 at 10:15 am

Very good comment Trebuchet.

Might even be more interesting to take their best hitting results club against a fitted/built club (same set up only fitted specifically to them) as well. That would be really interesting.


Trebuchet April 24, 2013 at 6:32 am

All this great discourse got me thinking, so I’m just gonna throw this out there…

I’d love to see a follow-up to this by using the data generated to prove/disprove the level of impact that individual fitting can have. Each tester could take their lowest performing club head, and be “fit” for shaft/weight/length. Then, compare the results of that test against all of their “off the rack” data. Will their worst performer become their best?

The vast majority of golfers buy off the rack, for years we’ve heard about the importance of proper fitting… here’s an opportunity to be datacratic.


Steve Almo April 23, 2013 at 11:24 am

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

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

Just my opinion.

Steve Almo
Geek Golf
Winner of 17 RE/MAX LD titles worldwide since 2005…More than any other golf club company!.


darnold April 23, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Thanks Steve. I couldn’t have said it better, as you hit on the major point that I was trying to make; which was that all of the heads aren’t the same. They can be tailored to different segments that have different needs so that real performance differences can be garnered. The smaller companies such as yourself know that you can compete on the “build a better mousetrap” front and I’m glad that we have you guys making products for us. I just gave the long winded version of “We all agree that shafts can make an important difference, but let’s not forget that the driver head can to”. To make that point I thought it would help to show that human testing shouldn’t be thrown out as it does offer some important insight that can/should be looked at. BTW, care to give any insight into what club you would have submitted for the test?


Steve Almo April 23, 2013 at 1:13 pm

Thanks D! I really enjoyed reading your post…you must be one Hell of a fitter/builder! And if your not…you should be!

If I had to do it all over again…I would have submitted the Dot Com This Driver with a RIP (red eye) 60 gram at 45″ with the Golf Pride tacky Tour Wrap grip for the better players (i.e. faster swing) at 8.5* X Flex and 9.5* S Flex.

For the Slower Swingers (i.e. higher handicappers) I would have submitted either the Dot Com This or even the FS3 (as it is so EZ to hit…essentially point and shoot) in 11* for the DCT and 10.5* for the FS3…and 12* FS3 in the 2nd club and 12.5 (or 13*) in the DCT! Both in RIP (green eyes) 60 gram also at 45″ with same grip as above.

Both would be good choices for ‘off the rack’ type testing. The No Brainer simply MUST be fitted properly to match the players swing. Even though I am a firm believer in a Professional Fitting by a qualified fitter builder for all clubs….the DCT and FS3 would have been a much better choice for this particular testing. Would have finished much higher…in all catagories. But, whatever, mistakes happen. It was my fault…not MGS…they did fine. I applaud them.

Good speaking to you D.!


darnold April 23, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Thanks for the kind words Steve and for letting us in some other offerings of yours to check out. Keep making those great drivers.


Brett April 22, 2013 at 3:22 pm

I’m like Bryan glad to see Callaway at the top of the list. They are a great company. Last couple of years have been not all they great for them. TalorMade has beat them on Drivers but, I did hit a new X-Hot at GolfSmith over the weekend had a great fill and very lightweight club. Thinking of trading in the TaylorMade RocketBallz Driver.


John April 20, 2013 at 6:58 pm

T – would you say that the shaft is more important than the club head? I ask because I have an excellent fitter in my area that only fits TM and his fittings are free wether you buy a club or not. My ss would be considered slow (95mph), but TM is nowhere on your top 5 for low swing speed players. Am I pigeon holing myself?


Bill April 20, 2013 at 5:07 pm

Very useful test. It’s not the end all and I doubt that was the intent. Those that want the “perfect club” for their swing will pay for a fitting expert and likely spend a lot more money on an upgraded shaft. My personal experience led me to the best off the rack club/shaft combo for me. This test came up with the same conclusion. What I learned was that the stock shaft for some clubs might be sub par and could undermine a decent head. I think if I wanted to spend a couple (few?) more hundred, I might end up with an even better fit. I may even do it some day.
But I found the results fairly closely mirrored mine and the additional information is even more useful.


Biv Wadden April 19, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Can I get more info on the Wishon driver used in the test? I know the shaft length was 44″. What loft and shaft was used? The spin rates were high, which makes me wonder if the loft submitted was 10.5, or the shaft was a bit soft (particularly for the longer hitters). The 9* head should not have produced those kind of spin rates.


david vickery April 19, 2013 at 3:45 pm

Great test and thanks for all of the hard work. Is there anyway to find out what loft and flex Mark used with the RBZ 2 driver? His stats are very similar to mine although I know that does not capture all of the swing dynamics that may affect club choice. It would be a good starting place though. This has become my favorite website to visit. Thanks


Drew April 19, 2013 at 8:56 am

Time for a hybrid shoot out. C’mon guys! :)


bobbycj April 19, 2013 at 6:52 am

I poured through all the data. “Blake” is the tester that has my numbers. I went to the shop yesterday thinking I was going to walk out with a Stage 2, 913d2 or Anser. I hit all OEM (stiff, 9.5 stock) except the Stage 2 had the TP shaft, the 913d2 and Aser had the whiteboard and the Rzr xtrm had the black tie. The numbers narrowed it down to the 913d2, Super LS and last years F12 LS. Hit these 3 again and the LS’s were slightly better than the 913d2 (spin, distance, accuracy, and feel) so I went with the F12 LS since it was $200 less than the Super LS.


David April 18, 2013 at 11:01 pm

THANKS!!!! guys well done………. you’ve just cost me a lot of money!!!!!!


Socorro April 18, 2013 at 9:30 am

I cannot believe that the driver head is responsible for the variations you observed. They all weigh virtually the same 198-203g, have the same general design–a hollow core surrounded by metal and composite surfaces, and the same swing weights (D0-d2). The USGA limits the tramploine effect of the face, and we can bet that each manufacturer has tweaked their production to be at the limit.

The differences are more likely to be attributable to the shafts, which either match or don’t match the swing kinetics of any given golfer. This introduces too many variables into your testing. I know it’s prohibitively expensive to use the same shaft for every club or to fit each golfer to his/her best shaft, but that’s the only way to arrive at a meaningful conclusion.


Bryan April 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I can agree with you that the shaft makes a HUGE difference. However, the weigh the face is weighted also plays a major role as you have to look at the shaft and clubhead as an overall system. Just like when looking at the performance of a car you cannot look at only the engine as the transmission is also something that is critical.

It would be a very interesting study to see what happens when you put all these heads onto the same shaft though. I don’t think I have ever seen such a study.


Socorro April 19, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Point well made, Bryan. Tom Wishon likens the golfer to the engine and the shaft to transmission. It woould seem that the trhee of us agree that we have top consider the whole picture before making a comparison of different clubs.

There may be aerodynamic considerstions that have a slight effect on the clubs’ performance. But the results are skewed by variations in the shafts as the the authors acknowledge in commenting that the Kuro Kage may have been a poor match for the testers. Maybe i’s never going to happen, but if the test were to be repeated it should either match the shafts used for each driver to the individuals hitting them or put the same shaft in each club.


darnold April 20, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Ahh, systems theory and research theory. Soccoro you bring up some very interesting points and it got me to think. So if we are going to review the “system” and its implications upon research theory and thus testing formats we should start with our base assumptions since they will affect our research parameters (I think we will see that this goes beyond simple t-Tests and is more like doing a mixed methods with the quantitative aspect containing at least an ANOVA if not a MANOVA).

So first of in reviewing the golfer system is the sub-system of head design and the assumption that all of the heads are basically the same; a second assumption would be that they (the drivers) are all pretty much tweaked to the limit; a third assumption that could be in play is that driver construction is generally the same; and a fourth assumption could be that it is the shaft that will play the most important role in how well the club performs. Now the question is how accurate are our base assumptions?

For starters, the heads can have quite a bit of variation, not just in the materials used but in WHERE those materials are placed. The idea is that weight saved in one place allows for it to be used somewhere else in order to affect spin characteristics. Spin characteristics can be honed more towards a particular golfer sect so that they experience better performance. Interesting considering that several of the manufacturer’s have adopted this type of multi-segment strategy.

Second we assume that they are all tweaked to the COR limit. Unfortunately three different issues come into play; one is that there has been data that at times has shown that differences in ball speed do exist from manufacturer to manufacturer. This can be by design. The R1 test revealed that it can produce about 1.5mph more ball speed than the R11 did, and considering that I am playing the original R9 who knows how much faster it may be than mine? LOL. The next issue is WHERE the club makes its highest ball speed on the face, which can impact different swing patterns more than others (think the “9” hotspots on the Cobra drivers in the past). The last issue regarding all drivers having their production versions tweaked to the COR limit has to do with production tolerances. Some manufacturer’s may have tighter tolerances than others, which could play a role in some drivers being “hotter” than others at times. In essence there is more to increasing ball speed than simply being at the max on COR.

Our third assumption regarding similarity of construction is a rather interesting generalization since weight placement, material technology, face technology and construction technology all represent variations within driver technology. Will it make one driver go 20 yards farther than another? Probably not, but to say that these elements of this particular sub-system can not have a significant impact for a particular section of the golfing population appears to be inaccurate as well according to a number of data points. For instance, why is does one club offer better ball speeds off of the toe than another one? Well it could be due, in part, to the fact that one driver uses a “cup” face that is plasma welded versus the other driver’s (this is an EXAMPLE and not an actual declaration that that particular technology will result in the given difference in performance characteristic). Another EXAMPLE is that one driver may have a particular pattern on the back of the face to move part of the hot spot of the face towards the toe because their market, or a market that they want to increase their presence in tends to hit shots on the toe. If a golfer that tends to hit their shots on the toe tried this club they would potentially experience more distance with that club. Even weight placement within the clubs can vary between models within the same manufacturer, let alone between different manufacturers. Weight placement can affect spin rates in either or both backspin and side spin. Get a high swing speed golfer and the last thing the tend to want is too much backspin as it starts to act as an air brake, robbing them of distance. However, more backspin can be a real blessing to a slow swing speed player. Often the manufacturers talk about MOI as another way of offering directional forgiveness to golfers but weight placement can also affect this it would seem by way of mass centroid affects of the CG; some heads may need more weight on the parameter, or even one side versus the other to offset rotational tendencies that they simply can’t save enough in other places to offset it enough and thus you get a “player’s club”. LOL! All joking aside, weight placement can affect more than just spin rates is the point.

Finally, there is the assumption that the shaft will be the most important part of the performance equation which our “system” (golfer, shaft, head) is trying to address. The interesting part about the shaft is that it’s primary performance task is most likely to allow the golfer to consistently hit the ball with the driver head. While this seems obvious the depth of what this entails should not be taken lightly. Golfers place different demands on the shaft for helping them to achieve this in a 3 dimensional environment. How the golfer tries to return the club to the ball, in spite of their swing flaws and inconsistencies, can create a cornucopia of challenges for the shaft because it needs to be consistent in how it operates (for its given parameters) AND it has to have some measure of non-sensitivity to the inconsistencies of the golfer. Add to this the fact that the different operational parameters that shafts are made to can either help or hinder the design parameters of a particular head. So when a manufacturer chooses a particular shaft as their stock offering in their base lineup they have to weight the performance needs of the head with the tendencies of the segment that they are trying to reach and the costs of the entire package versus the business model that they have set forth for profit margins. Considering that most “made for” shafts have experienced some documentation that they are lower quality replicas of the aftermarket representative that are probably “tuned” for the characteristics of the club (and golfer segment) and you can have a big mess on your hands regarding any type of testing. The key here however is that they are often “tuned” more for the driver head’s characteristics. The problem here is that the driver is probably tuned towards certain market segments and it may not hold up as well in others. So when we get fit for certain shafts we are actually trying to address two different parameters; the first being the consistency of the shaft versus its response to our inconsistencies in returning the head back to the ball, and secondly, we are trying to address the optimization of our impact. The funny thing about all of the above is that NONE of it even got close to speaking towards the optimization of our impact PERFORMANCE. We haven’t even touched upon increasing our impact efficiency (Smash factor), tailoring our backspin and side spin rates, nor our launch and decent trajectories. The importance of this is that improving our impact performance is an optimization of US, the golfer. It is possible for us to improve OUR impact performance but at a cost to the head design’s parameters. In other words, we may optimize ourselves but we may do so in such a way that it doesn’t play nice with the design parameters of the club head. Just think about how the person that tended to hit their driver on the toe gets optimized for consistency with a new shaft that allows them to consistently impact the ball in the center, or potentially even better, slightly high but center. That change can relegate that once awesome driver head to ranks of mere average because it wasn’t designed to shine in that area due to the typology of the market that they went after; one that through a lack of optimization this particular golfer once belonged to. Now, that golfer may want to get their impact performance optimized and find that with that head they need different parameters than if they use a head designed to work more optimally for where they tend to hit the ball, and the possibilities go on and on.

In the end, it would be difficult to even use one shaft and an Iron Byron to compare all heads. Why? Because we would need to know what the design parameters are for each head and make sure that for the given load that the robot is going to put on the shaft the absolute best shaft for that driver head’s design has been selected. We could even foresee having test different impact areas on the face in order to take into account differences in driver head design for differing segments. Interesting point of all of this is that different human testers actually help to simulate these variances so that the different driver head designs can be explored and possibly shown. So maybe this human testing isn’t as inaccurate as it may at first glance seem.

BTW, I think that there are more sub-systems to the “golfer system” than just the golfer, head, and shaft. What about the ball, the tee, the shoes, the weather, the type of courses that are typically played (maybe some emphasize carry more than total distance, or accuracy more than distance)?


Bryan April 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

Seems like over the past few years Callaway has had a hard time keeping up with Taylormade and a few other big brands. I could be wrong, but it just seems that way to me.

I have been playing with a old Warbird for a very long time that used to belong to my grandfather and always enjoyed that club and people used to tell me that it was the best Callaway ever was. So I am glad to see their driver at the top of the list…

It wont get my 910D2 out of my bad as I personally dont like buying tons of clubs…. my irons are 8 years old and are showing their age…then I am also in need of some hybrids


Marty April 18, 2013 at 8:01 am

Great, another review that tells me the importance of getting fitted. Ain’t nobody got cash for that! Golf is not a game for the poor.


Bill April 18, 2013 at 2:50 am

Really a great effort by MGS.
What I found really intriguing is that at the end of the day, my recent experience with getting fitted for a driver ended up with the same result. I’m a high speed driver and ended up with the Razr Fit Xtreme because it was noticeably longer for me (I didn’t have nearly the success with the X Hot). I thought going in the Titleist would do it for me because I have golfing buddies that have had great success with it and I loved the looks of it. They are average speed swingers and that was borne out in the tests.
Also, not to knock a club, but the Cobra didn’t work for me at all. The fact that the shaft is suspect makes me curious. Really liked the looks, the design and the set up but the thing was a noodle for my swing. 25-30 yards less. I now think a stiffer, lower launching shaft would have done the trick.
Anyway, if nothing else, it was validation for my 3 or 4 hours of personal testing. Didn’t get a chance to hit the Cleveland but I’m guessing that would have been in the running if I had.
Now lets get some weather and get out there (I can hear the rain pounding on my window for about the 8th day in a row, ugh!).


Martin Chuck April 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Great report guys. That is a testament to all the great gear out there. I’m a Nike Staffer and rather like the Covert driver. I have the Performance version and the Tour version and prefer the performance version. I have a Aldila RIP Alpha X 44.5″ shaft, so I can’t comment on the Kuro Kage shaft pairing. I can hit both the Tour and Performance off of a reasonable lie off the fairway. I like that on windy days.


AJ April 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm

Great work and as always detail to drool over.



mike aiello April 17, 2013 at 3:31 pm

By the way guys GREAT work done here you all deserve a pat on the back. Except now it’s going to take days for us to sort out thru all this great info.


mike aiello April 17, 2013 at 3:29 pm

The TM Stage 2 driver was it the reg. stock model or was the the Tour or possibly the Tour TP model.


aotearoabrad April 17, 2013 at 2:07 pm

Fantastic test guys! Much appreciated – think I might have to go and find a Callaway fitter and test those XHot’s out!


Drew April 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Congrats on some great work, MGS! The weather is still crappy here so I’m doing my best to get my golf fix via your reviews! Great read!


Peter L April 17, 2013 at 1:17 pm

This testing really raises the bar of interest, and from interest, buying. If I was to predict a new club of interest, it would be the Wilson D100’s. They are significantly different because of the very noticeable light weight. Sometimes “Different” takes some getting used to, but my guess is that several golf companies are now looking at emulating Wilson.
I’ve hit them, but you have to search to find a dealer that handles them.
The second point of budding interest is the grip that has a 16 gram weight at the top of the shaft……..I’d love to have that researched because it is endorsed by Mr. Nicklaus.
Full marks to GolfSpy


Steve Almo April 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

The weight will go the other way….and the component companies started that trend (lighter heads in modern times) 2/3 years ago. They came in at 175 gram head. Geek did extensive testing from 172 grams to over 220 grams. Heavier heads work much better than Super Lite heads and set ups (the key is to get fitted properly with the proper shaft to support the loading and unloading and not create head lag). The heavy butt grip creates more swing speed…but, ball speed goes down and spin rate goes up. Just the opposite on heavier heads. As I explained in one of the other threads. The industry will go in this direction…again, heavier heads just work better.


Peter L. April 18, 2013 at 7:49 am

Steve, a thoughtful and erudite reply………..all I know is that when I hit the D100 with a R metal shaft, it smoked, and I usually hit graphite.
Secondly, why would Jack N. endorse a product that actually produces negative results?
Therefore, it does seem there is a really fine line between club weight, shaft weight and flex, and swing speed.
As a kid hitting Sam Snead blades in 1950, and real wood woods, the game has gone into a new dimension, which, for me, is fascinating.


jmiller065 April 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

Your statements are not exactly accurate, I am interpreting them as “lighter swing weight works better for everyone it just takes time to get used to”. This is FAR from the truth, swing weight is completely a players FEEL preference.

I am a “big hitter” as you saw from my comments above i run 112-114 SS with a 1.47 or better smash factor on a driver. I have all custom equipment and play nothing “off the rack” literally. I’ll hit my 6 iron around a 195-200 carry without “stepping on it” I probably can get another 10 yards out of my irons if I wanted to “step on it” / crush it. My hardest hit 7iron few 198yards and had a total of 202yards on a LM before. I got a lot in the tank, that club is a 180-185 club for me normally.

On Monday (4/15/13) I went in to get my loft and lies angles adjusted (what I do regularly) The fitter ended up not only doing the loft and lies but increasing the swing weight of my clubs as well. All my irons were sitting at D0 to D1, which i was tending to get out in front of them a bit because I couldn’t feel them. We increased them to D4 and presto I was perfect positions at impact. Given I load and release so hard to generate my speed FEEL of the head in my swing is important to know when I need to hit the cast point and impact points in my downswing timing. None of my clubs have a lighter swing weight then D4 anymore. Driver is 44.50″ at D5, Fairway at 42.50″ at D5, Hybrid at 40.00″ at D4, irons are all D4, PW / GW D5, SW / Lw D6 I need to have the feel of the weight in the head to timing impact, that’s just my playing style.

Jack Might have needed to feel like the swing weight was a bit lighter, back-weighting the clubs from D2 to D0, that just doesn’t work for everyone.


Peter L. April 18, 2013 at 8:08 am

I would guess that your swing speed is much higher than many of us out in golfland. And swing speed is the great determiner of distance.
Also I admire the attention you give to the specifics you mentioned. So my comments are more of a broad brush stroke.
But I do think that Wilson might well be onto something interesting. They’ve started treading in uncharted waters, and next season will tell a great deal as to modifications they make to this years’ models.


jmiller065 April 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

You missed my point, nothing in golf works for literally everyone. If you can create that product that does work for everyone you are going to be one rich person.


Steve Almo April 18, 2013 at 9:48 am

JMiller…There was a time in the industry when backweighting (butt) was a big no-no…It was a quick fix to get the SW down. Nowadays it’s a whole new ballgame…whatever works seems to be the order of the day. Personally, SW on the untility clubs (i.e. stand alone clubs), which includes Driver, wedges, F/ws, Hybrids, Putters, etc. really means nothing IMO. SW on irons is revelant as ‘feel’ from iron to iron should essentially ‘feel’ the same. On the other clubs I mentioned above…SW is overrated…way overrated. Remember, before you go berserk, that is just MO.

Peter L. As much as I hate to say this about the greatest golfer that ever lived…Jack N. said just the opposite in the early 80’s concerning liteweight golf clubs. And with the new generation of golfers coming up….they will listen to a Tiger or any other number of present day Tour Stars…Jack, Arnie and others from the heyday of the sport…their comments just don’t sell product anymore. I hate to say that…but, that is the harsh reality of getting old and being a faded SuperStar. They can probably sell insurance and other products of that vain…because the older generation trusts them…as they should. But, the younger generation of golfers today…their just a memory of what once was. Case in point, I started and took to this sport as a golfer in 1965 because of Bobby Nichols, Gene Littler and Dave Marr…when I mention those names to younger golfers….all I get is blank stares! Go figure.


Peter L. April 18, 2013 at 10:11 am

I’m not a real fan of Jack Nicklaus, but totally respect his record in golf. What makes me think a bit more as to the validity of the butt weighting is that it is being developed by Boccieri Golf, and I do respect their innovations.
What is really interesting is having a forum to present ideas and have thoughtful replies.
An earlier comment that driver heads have gone as far as they can go with the limitations they have, and that the likely difference is in the shaft, that’s really interesting.
Thanks to Steve A. for his thoughtful insights.


Steve Almo April 18, 2013 at 10:34 am

Peter….I worked for Stan Thompson for 5 1/2 years. You may remember the Ginty? Inanycase, when the Pros were in town for the L.A. Open they all went to Stan to have their clubs tweaked in Culver City. Stan related this story to me about Jack N. Jack came in to have all his irons and woods matched for SW. Stan started laughing and told him, “Jack…SW is not all that revelant”. Jack went ballistic on Stan. Stan said is all about static dead weight. Jack said, “You have no idea what your talking about”. Stan said, “Give me 10 minutes Jack”. Stan brought out from the back 2 #6 irons and handed one to Jack at D-2. Jack said..”Yes, so what?”. Stan handed him the other 6 iron and Jacks hands dropped…Stan had filled the shaft with sand and it also SW at D-2. Stan said to Jack, “Now you tell me what is more important, Swing Weight or Dead weight?”

Stan had a way about him that not only made sense to even the Greats of the game but what a mind for equipment he had! Guy was a genius…still miss The Man, Stan!


jmiller065 April 18, 2013 at 11:21 am

” Personally, SW on the utility clubs (i.e. stand alone clubs), which includes Driver, wedges, F/ws, Hybrids, Putters, etc. really means nothing IMO.”

So what you are saying is that you believe that no one out that will see any difference in control / consistency when the swing weight alone changes on the Driver, Fairway, Hybrid clubs. You said to the other person and implied that you work as a club builder I am curious as to how you came to this conclusion.

I might agree with you if I were not a 4 or better handicap that has a repeatable swing and just this week worked with the Driver at D4, D5, D6 on the range to see which one felt the best and gave me the most consistency. I would be willing to bet that if I got on a LM and changed my clubs from D0, D2, D4, D6 I am going to get different results in terms of accuracy, distance, smash factor, etc for each weight.

If I swing 112mph at D6 and get a 1.49 smash factor (167 ball speed) I’ve got a lot more control over the shot then swinging at 118mph with a 1.42 smash factor (167 ball speed). Obviously I would be getting roughly the same amount of distance on both swings, but my control and accuracy is going to be a heck of a lot better at the 1.49 smash factor then the 1.42 smash.

To me as a 4 or better handicap swing weight in every club including even the damn putter matters a lot for my feel and tempo into impact. I wouldn’t be shocked to hear a 20 or worse handicap say something like swing weight doesn’t matter on the Driver, Fairway, Hybrid because their swing is not consistent enough to even notice a difference in weight change.


jmiller065 April 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

That is just my opinion maybe we just agree to disagree here Steve, I personally don’t think “swing weight is way over rated”.


Steve Almo April 18, 2013 at 12:16 pm

So what you are saying is that you believe that no one out that will see any difference in control / consistency when the swing weight alone changes on the Driver, Fairway, Hybrid clubs.

No, JM that is not what I am saying…What I am saying is SW in itself does not have to be the same in utility type clubs from club to club as it relates to the irons per se. Quite frankly, JM, it’s all about ‘feel’. The only difference between a 15 or higher handicapper and a low handicapper like yourself is you understand ‘feel’… a higher handicapper is searching for ‘feel’ even though they may not know that. If you remember the TM Bubble shaft Copper Head..although they never hyped this Spec…they were in the D 8/9 and some higher SW. That never hurt their sales of this club.

I also get more higher handicappers asking about SW than I do low Index players! It’s almost like it’s a requirement for them that all clubs should be in the D 1 or 2 range. Like I said JM…It’s a whole new World in equipment now…what use to be industry standards concerning specs and such…has changed dramatically. Again, whatever works….

BTW, I really don’t build anymore as I utilize a retired Engineer that is a member of several clubfitting organizations. It’s a pleasure to exchange dialog with you JM. Again…it’s just my opinion…many may disagree with me on this. It’s just the way I honestly feel. That in itself doesn’t mean I am right…


keenford December 9, 2013 at 7:36 pm

wow jmiller….. you sure have a high opinion of yourself.


moneymaker April 17, 2013 at 11:52 am

would have loved to see Tour Edge at some point, they have something good going over their. Tour Edge is the new Adams…


Mike B April 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

I agree that Tour Edge is the new Adams Golf, but keep it to yourself or Taylor Made might buy them!


Vin April 17, 2013 at 10:58 am

Well done team! Questions: are the numbers directly comparable with your ultimate club reviews, e.g. Callaway XHot at 92.61 v. Ping i20 at 94.45 or Bridgestone J455 at 94.08? Are we better to buy last year’s clubs and save some bucks?


Andy April 18, 2013 at 9:08 am

My question as well. Looks like while it may be the best of 2013 it’s still not better than older technology, assuming the scoring algorithm hasn’t changed. Someone from MGS care to weigh in?


Vin April 19, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Okay, you may not be able to answer our questions because… Can you answer this: Will these clubs scoring be added to the ultimate club reviews? Yes / No


NoJo April 17, 2013 at 10:53 am

As a clubmaker, I must say that I am both surprised and disappointed that the Wishon 919THI did not make a better showing vs the competition. I’m really glad that you included component clubs in your tests, and I am convinced [and impressed] of fair and scientific methods. Still…


GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 11:00 am

Not sure if you’ve read through the comments on the other posts, but some of the realities of testing worked against the Wishon.

To keep testing as balanced as we could, rather than have guys hit 30 balls at a time with one driver, we spread them out such that they were only hitting a few shots with each driver in a given session. We did this to ensure that no single club would benefit significantly if a tester was having a really good day, or drop significantly because a tester was having a bad day. Multiple clubs, in every session. Every club hit on 3 different days.

The unfortunate byproduct of testing like this is that clubs that are different become more difficult to get consistent performance out of. Initially guys hit the 919THI very well (especially when we look at accuracy alone), but as swings accumulated, I believe the 44″ shaft actually worked against the club because of the sizable difference between it and everything else. It became the unusual…it felt different.

The same is true of the Geek No Brainer (heavier), and the Wilson D-100 (lighter). Basically, given enough swings, that which is appreciably different becomes more difficult to swing consistently.


Joe Golfer April 17, 2013 at 8:09 pm

You bring up excellent points, @GolfSpyT.
Thank you for clarifying.
I personally have found a 45″ driver to suit me best, and switching to a different length can definitely throw things off, just as you mentioned. Once a player gets dialed in to what they are used to, something else can screw it up, even if it is a quality offering.
I always trim a driver to 45″ and a 3 wood to 43″, then put on my favorite grip (as the grip feel can be important too). My swingweight may now be around D0 or D1, but it works for me.
And thanks to MGS for not only taking the time to organize this whole shebang, but also thanks for even thinking it up and having the gumption to print it all out, warts and all, not only with this test but with other product testing as well.
I think this test goes to show what a driver in general can do for the masses, but like many folks who posted, I agree that having that right shaft is rather important. I purchased a used Mizuno JPX 800 with Mizuno’s in house brand shaft (Exsar brand), and I really got lucky. I already had three very fine drivers (Cleveland, Cobra, Titleist) that are all 460cc’s and max C.O.R., but when I found the Mizuno one where the shaft felt just right and kicked just right, I got both better distance and better accuracy.


Dr. Bloor April 17, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I wouldn’t despair too much about the performance of the Wishon offering. Looking at the individual testers, the Wishon was one of the best performers for the two slowest swingers, and a credible, if not great performer for the third slowest. It was a dog for the big hitters. I’d guess the shaft, shaft length or shaft/head pairing were the problem.

It’s certainly still on my list of like-to-trys.


William Beal April 17, 2013 at 3:10 pm

My feelings exactly, Dr. Bloor! I’ve got a slower swing speed and a Wishon 949MC fairway wood that works better for me than any other fairway wood I’ve owned. The importance of a proper fit cannot be overestimated.


Steve Almo April 17, 2013 at 1:34 pm

Nojo……….As a Professional clubfitter/builder you most probably understand the chance both Wishon and Geek took submitting prebuilt clubs. We obviously depend on the fitting aspect of our equipment. Like I said….If I had to do it over again I would have submitted the Dot Com This Driver. It would have been a better choice in my case. But, such as it is………My telephone has been ringing off the hook and e-mails have been flying toward me from potential customers of which I am directing toward fitters/builders. So, I can’t really bitch………….LOL!


CZ April 17, 2013 at 9:56 am

golf spy, how do these scores relate to the drivers that have been indiviually reivewed in the compared drivers section?


GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 11:05 am

Not an easy comparison. Certainly there are previously tested models that stand out (J40, I20 spring to mind). While the scoring procedures are slightly more advanced, the biggest difference is that golfers hit these clubs over several sessions (multiple days), where as under the one-off system, the guys more often than not have a single testing session.

This way is more robust, and helps to reduces the impact of swing variance from one day to the next.


Mike B April 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Multiple sessions are the way to go as one day a golfer might be “on” and another day a little “off”. This has been an excellent read and should narrow things down a bit for golfers in the market for a new big stick.


Mike Corcoran April 17, 2013 at 9:49 am

Great job on the review. MGS has quickly become the definitive site for club reviews. Are there any plans to test irons, fairway woods, and hybrids as you have done the drivers? Thanks again for these thorough in-depth reviews. Can’t wait to test these clubs this weekend at a local outdoor demo event.


peter mohan April 17, 2013 at 9:38 am

Thanks for all of your hard work. It looks like you did a tremendous amount of testing and number crunching to arrive at a rating system that differentiates only slightly from the top driver to the bottom driver, 3.3 points from top to bottom! Do you think this could be attributable to sampling error or variance? I appreciate your heroic effort, but I realize that gross sales are more marketing than workmanship and my decision what to buy will probably be the result of some advertising executive pressing my buttons better than some other ad exec.


John April 17, 2013 at 9:23 am

It’s surprising that the Nike Covert didn’t even get a mention


jmiller065 April 17, 2013 at 10:29 am

They didn’t test the Nike Covert VRS Tour, I have heard good things about the Tour version of that head, but it’s 430cc and from what I hear super low spin to the point some people can’t keep it in the air. It’s really targeted at the high swing speed players I think.


John April 17, 2013 at 10:37 am

Right. Nike can’t be happy that the non-tour Covert didn’t even get a sniff for low swing speed players. It was on my short list to try, but now I’m not as excited about it.


GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 10:45 am

Here’s the quick story on the Covert (and I’ll have more to say about it next week). Low SS tested the performance model, higher SS guys used the Tour model.

Speaking only for myself, the Covert was one of the 5 drivers in this test I enjoyed hitting most. But when you look at the big picture, it was mostly middle of the pack or worse. To a man our lower ss guys all said it was at or near the top of the “Can’t Wait to Try It” list, and to man, each conveyed a sense of disappointment with the club.

If we’re speculating here…and in the absence of absolute fact that’s all we can do, if I were to pick out 3 clubs that under-performed expectations they would be:

Nike VR_S Covert
Adams Speedline Super LS
Cobra AMP Cell (Pro)

What these 3 all have in common is some variation of the Kuro Kage shaft. While I won’t say that it’s a *bad* shaft, but it is the single common thread between the clubs that we’re hit as well as expected. My suspicion is that it’s generally a poor fit for our testers. But again…just speculation.


John April 17, 2013 at 10:50 am

So like anything else, it could still perform well with the right shaft combination. But even though I know this…it’s still a little disappointing. Those commercials brain washed me. “Sorry Mr. Tiger!”


jmiller065 April 17, 2013 at 9:01 am

Well now that we have the three pieces to the puzzle and the most important thing to me at least THE DATA. I can say this was a a nicely written attempt to testing stock clubs against other stock clubs in a way.

The lengths all were different I’m sure the lofts weren’t prefect and shafts probably didn’t fit some people properly that was easy to pick up on as soon as I started digging into the data for at least the high swing speed guys.

I happened to only look at the guys over 100mph, my slowest swing speed on a LM is going to be about 108, my fastest around 116, I’d really have to step on one to get up to 118 but that’s sort of pointless, I’m more after control and 112-114 swing speed with pure contact. I happen to know going through fittings for myself what launch angles and spin rates relative to that launch angle based on ball speed and swing speed results in the best distance and accuracy.

It is pretty clear that the 114.21 mph SS average guy when looking at the spin rates was not in an optimal shaft situation with any of the stock offerings. The lowest spin rate was 3016rpm, this player at a 13 to 14.5* launch angle would need to be more around the 2600rpm or less category. The more it spins the shorter the distance and most likely the more offline it can get. I think the player was Brian that I am talking about here, I do know one thing custom fit shaft and length would benefit that player a ton.

This is sort of hard for me to draw a conclusion from other then thinking to myself “okay what is the best one out of all the non-optimal choices for that player?”. Maybe we get a different winner if we have optimal shaft and length in every single head for a specific player?

Anyways, I’m not trying to bash the process here just thinking in terms of relating it back to me as a person that would NEVER play a stock off the rack club anymore. Thanks for all the hard work you guys have put into the testing and results.


Wayne April 17, 2013 at 9:00 am

Thanks guys great job. My question is after all this years testing, do I understand that known of this years Models, surpass the PING I20 as your top rated driver?


blstrong (SeeRed) April 17, 2013 at 8:48 am

Wow. Great job and a lot of fun from this reader’s side (the forum banter, the list revealed, the anticipation, etc.). Good to see that Callaway have (apparently) backed up their stated goal of getting to #1. So, did any of the MGS staffers guess who would come out on top?

Thanks again for putting in the time and energy. This is really good stuff.


Tom54 April 17, 2013 at 8:41 am

I’ll echo what others have said and say great job and it does show the need to be fit. I recently got fit for a new driver after bagging the Callaway FT-9 for 4 years. I tested at least 6 drivers on this list and ended up with the Ping Anser. It worked best for me because I’m around 100 mph swing speed with the driver and tend to put a lot of spin on the ball. The Anser is a low spin driver that took a lot of the ballooning arc out of my drives. The part where the fitting comes in is that it wasn’t even a driver I was considering because it’s labeled as being for “better” players. So get fit, you never know what you’ll end up hitting the best!


Bert Swift April 17, 2013 at 8:28 am

Best golf website on the web. Keep up the great work, I always take a look at your information before plunking down my money. One suggestion would be the addition of clubhead speed and loft for the tests. Lots of ranges above and below 100 mph. Thanks for doing all golfers this service. Bert


buckeyewalt April 17, 2013 at 8:20 am

A very informative and a great write-up! One thing looking at the various testers is that there is no hdcp. given for the testers, or I could have missed it. If we knew their respective hdcp. we could eliminate all but that tester on the graphs to give us a better look at how it would compare to our game. Again if their hhcp is listed, I didn’t see it, other wise great and test information!! Congrats!


Desertdog April 17, 2013 at 7:56 am

Although it would be easy to find fault with this test (for example I would like to see a larger number of testers) I must admit that if I had to walk into my local Golfsmith store today and plunk down cash for a new driver, I would probably walk out with an X Hot. Your conclusions seem objective and are based on sensible weighting concepts. After all, where else can I find a test that actually names its top pick. Certainly not the hot list, where every club is a winner.


GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 8:14 am

We’ve said from the very first test we did that there can ALWAYS be more golfers hitting more golf balls. In this case, the number of shots we used, I think, is solid. What we saw is that during the first round (5-10 shots) the numbers were chaotic. What I mean by that is that in most cases they showed very little correlation.

As we got to 15+ things started to shake out a bit (at least individually), and guys were repetitively hitting the same clubs well, and some of the others not so well. In some cases they loved what they hit well, while in others cases, they hit it well in spite of how they may have felt about cosmetics, or brand awareness, or any of that subjective stuff.


gaussman1 April 17, 2013 at 7:51 am

Great job guys! I’m sure the robot honks will dismiss these results but your tests tell me exactly what I wish to know-namely how real golfers perform with Product “A” vs Product “B”. I will still get a few variations of each to launch monitor test on my own but I will do so with your data having suggested my top 3 or 4 and go from there. I love the high speed breakout and the fact that those guys are normal long but not crazy long and so relevant to the consumer.


Gary L April 17, 2013 at 7:45 am

Fantastic test guys! Really appreciate the hard work put in! This is the most useful and comprehensive data I’ve ever seen. I can filter through the individuals and parameters to figure out the best club for me. Looks like I’m going to be getting an X Hot Pro or Razr Fit Xtreme!

Tony’s swing numbers seem to be the closest to mine. Do you know which loft and shaft / shaft flex he hit with the X Hot Pro and Razr Fit Xtreme? Aso, what are his swing characteristics with regards to tempo, transition and lag?

I notice he got outstanding distance and launch parameters with the Razr Fit Xtreme, but also that his accuracy seemed to suffer alot in comparison to the X Hot Pro? Any particular reason for this given that his spin was only a few hundred RPMs lower with the Razr Fit Xtreme?



GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 10:21 am

With both Callaway clubs I hit the 8.5X. Stock in the Xhot, and the Stock 7m3 in the RAZR Fit Xtreme.

Tempo and transition are both quick. Lag is…improving. Angle of attack is usually within a degree of 0 these days.

We’ll speculate as to the possible reasons for why clubs performed the way they did in a post next week.


Trebuchet April 17, 2013 at 7:44 am

Very interesting granular data.

Question- Do you have tester profiles? (or are those to be in the behind the numbers reveal next week?)

Based off of swing speed, I’m somewhere between Blake, Mark and Tony, but knowing handicap, for example, would help narrow my focus while sifting for the numbers most applicable to me.

Great job, this is a goldmine! Thanks again for all your work!


Tony Wright April 17, 2013 at 7:36 am

I know that you folks have the best intentions in your testing. But now that I have looked at some of the individual data from your tests, and variations in results, I would say buyer beware. Be fit for clubs, do not trust the results from this survey. Fitting matters, and your data may be setting golfing improvement and custom fitting back and not moving it forward to helping golfers achieve lower scores. Still though you tried, maybe you find a way to do this survey better the next time.


Dave Dawsey April 17, 2013 at 7:36 am

Great work!


JBones April 17, 2013 at 7:25 am

I would say I’m surprised at how well the X Hot did, but the last line of X Hot products were pretty solid, so it’s not that shocking. Glad to see that TM can actually stand up to all the self generated hype.

Congrats on a great test, MGS. For those that don’t visit the forums and only read the blog………the amount of work, time, and effort that went into this was ENORMOUS. A simple “thanks” to MGS isn’t enough, but thats all I have for you.


Tony Wright April 17, 2013 at 7:24 am

Have you thought of getting a good statistics guy to do an analysis of your data. Might be interesting.


ryebread April 17, 2013 at 6:57 am

Great review guys. I just loved the data based analysis.

What might be really powerful is to put “ideal” numbers up there for guys based on their swing speeds. These are the targets that they should have been going for in an ideal world. The reason that I say this is that most people don’t actually know the proper spin and launch angle for a particular swing speed (much less their own).

There were some surprises, but then some things that didn’t surprise me either. If you need more testers next year, put the feel out in the community. You might find some willing participants.


Blade April 17, 2013 at 6:11 am

Wow. Impressive job with the charts guys! I’ll be spending some time with those this evening for sure. Looking forward to next week too. That was smart not to throw everything you had out at one time. I think everyone can make sense of it as well, the way you’re doing it.


Dave Mac April 17, 2013 at 6:03 am

Congratulations of a great test! Sad to see the big names at the top again, but at least you are telling it as you found it.
Running through the data shows the launch angles for the lower swing speed players to be much lower than optimum. Was this because they did not have access to higher lofted drivers?


GolfSpy T April 17, 2013 at 6:40 am

If you look at the numbers individually, Mark’s launch numbers are solid. In some cases Joe’s could be higher (and we actually talked about higher lofted clubs), but in experimenting we found that he actually lost distance in some cases. I think he’s a classic case of a guy who could find some real distance if he went through a full fitting.

Lou is an interesting case. He hit drivers from 11.5° to 13° degrees. Like many he hits down on the ball, so he struggles to get anything really up in the air. He’s actually just started a series of lessons, and one of his goals is to get the driver closer to level.


Dave Mac April 17, 2013 at 8:00 am

Thanks reply T. Always a trade off in terms of launch angle vs spin and in this test there was no flexibility with shaft choice. The information Lou’s AoA makes sense of the data and at least you know you have one reader interested in the low speed testers data!


golfer4life April 17, 2013 at 6:01 am

Nice!!! This proves one thing if you look at the individual numbers, people need to GET FIT!
I think most realize that diver heads have been maxed out for some time now at .830. Yes they may be getting a larger hot spot across the face, but for the most part that’s it. Its all about being fit for the right combination for the individual player.
Thanks for all the hard work guys!
(was testing done inside or out?)


Golfn' Dude September 8, 2013 at 10:07 am

I definitely agree with you. If you just buy a driver off the rack you’re losing so much in terms of performance. It’s all about the correct shaft.


Golf Pro December 19, 2013 at 12:53 am

It is not just about the correct shaft. Everything has to be right, from the driver head to the grip.


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