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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