It all starts with the right questions.

Ask a group of serious golfers what’s the best new driver, and you’ll get a long list of answers. But ask those same golfers what the best new driver is for them, and the list becomes shorter.

Our list of this year’s best drivers, which we’ve renamed “Gear Trials” for 2014, started a simple question:

“How do we make it easier for golfers to choose the best driver for them?”

As a result, we’ve separated this year’s list of best drivers into three different categories. The golfers who are looking to maximize distance should pay special attention to our “Distance-First” category, while golfers who want the most forgiving drivers on the market will want to take a look at our “Forgiveness-First” category. What about the golfers who want both? We know that there’s plenty of them out there, so we created a “Balanced-Performance” category, which represents drivers that offer the best mix of distance and accuracy.

Click here to see who made our 2014 Gear Trials: Best Fairway Woods list.

Who votes?

Now for the toughest question we had to answer: How do we create such a list?

In the past, we relied on both the feedback of our equipment editors and an elite panel of custom fitters located across North America. For this year’s list, we decided we needed another component: mass player testing of every major manufacturer’s driver performed by fitters at Miles of Golf in Ypsilanti, Mich. Those fitters spent eight days with 33 different testers of various ability levels evaluating a total of 22 different driver heads. Each driver was tested with its stock s-flex shaft and set as close to the stock loft of 9.5 degrees as possible. The data was then normalized by the team at Miles of Golf in order to rank each driver’s launch, spin and smash factor.

After the data was collected, we surveyed our five other top custom fitters located across North America — Carl’s Golfland, Modern Golf, Morton Golf and two other custom fitters who chose to remain anonymous on the top performing driver heads in each category.

The scoring process

Unlike in year’s past, this year’s scores were entirely based on the performance of each driver head, removing the subjective categories of looks, sound and feel from the equation. What was left was the votes of our custom fitters (60 percent of a driver’s score), the results of our mass player test (30 percent of a driver’s score) and the votes of our staff members (10 percent of a driver’s score).

Now that we’ve added up the scores, we present to you the 10 absolute best drivers in golf. We consider each of these drivers to be a winner, which is why they’re listed in alphabetical order (Note: You can click the images of each driver to enlarge the text).

Distance

WINNERS_DISTANCE Listed in alphabetic order

A proper fitting is key to maximizing distance with any driver, but it’s particularly important in this category because of the tendency of these drivers to launch lower and with less spin than other models. Each of these drivers also has a center of gravity that is lower and more forward than their predecessors. That means they’re not forgiving as others, but when these drivers are paired with the proper launch conditions, which usually means “lofting up,” golfers can hit them noticeably farther than higher-spinning drivers.

BigBerthaAlpha

Tech Talk: Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha ($500) is the most adjustable driver in company history. Its most intriguing feature is its Gravity Core, a weighted stick that can be inserted into the center of the driver head in two different orientations. Inserting the Gravity Core with its heavy side down will lower spin, while inserting it with its light side down with raise spin. This decouples the Alpha’s spin characteristics from its launch angle, which according to Callaway engineers can lead to breakthrough distance gains for certain golfers.

The Big Bertha Alpha also has two moveable weights of 7 grams and 1 gram that can be switched between the driver’s heel and toe weight ports to create more draw or fade bias. These adjustability features were fueled by the driver’s Forged Composite crown, a lightweight construction that gave engineers more discretionary weight in the head.

Like the company’s Big Bertha driver, it measures 460cc and has the company’s Advanced OptiFit Hosel that gives golfers a 3-degree range of adjustability. That allows the Alpha’s stock lofts of 9 degrees and 10.5 degrees to be adjusted from 8 degrees to 11 degrees and 9.5 to 12.5 degrees, respectively, in 1-degree increments. Each loft can also be paired with a neutral lie setting, as well as a more upright “D” lie setting that creates more draw bias.

Read our review of the AlphaBuy the Alpha

CovertTour

Tech Talk: The Nike Team redesigned the second-generation Covert Tour, or Covert 2.0 Tour driver, with a larger, more traditional pear-shaped head that not only improves the look of the club, but vastly improves its forgiveness.

The Covert 2.0 Tour ($399) has an impressive stock shaft option, Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kuro Kage Silver TiNi 60, as well as one of the most wide-ranging adjustable hosels on the market. Golfers can set the Covert drivers to lofts of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5 and 12.5 independent of the driver’s three face angle settings: left (closed), neutral (square) and right (opened), creating 15 unique settings.

Like the standard, or Performance driver, the Tour model has Nike’s signature high-speed cavity design, a hollowed out section on the rear portion of the driver’s sole that increases the driver’s forgiveness. That technology was updated for 2014 with Nike’s new Fly-Brace technology, which adds stability and increases energy transfer to the ball.

Read our review of the Covert 2.0 TourBuy the Covert 2.0 Tour

Pingi25

Tech Talk: A lot of the discussion around the i25 has been about its eye-catching racing stripes located on the crown of the driver. What’s more important from a performance standpoint, however, is Ping’s ability to lower the spin of the i25 while still maintaining a high level of forgiveness.

The i25 is Ping’s lower-launching, lower-spinning counter part to its extremely popular G25 model, using a shorter profile from front to back and 15 grams of tungsten weights on the rear of its sole to lower the driver’s center of gravity. Like the G25, the i25 has Ping’s Trajectory Tuning Technology that allows the stock lofts of 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees to be adjusted 0.5 degrees higher or lower from their standard lofts.

The i25 comes stock with the company’s new PWR shafts in weights of 55, 65 and 75 grams, each of which has a balance point that has been tweaked to to allow golfers to maintain the club’s stock swing weight of D3 (at 45.25 inches) regardless of what shaft weight or flex they choose.

Read our story on the i25

JetSpeed

Tech Talk: TaylorMade’s JetSpeed is the first of the company’s drivers to incorporate a “Speed Pocket,” a polymer-filled slot on the front of the sole that increases ball speed and lowers spin on shots struck below the center of the face. Its center of gravity is also lower and more forward than its predecessor, the company’s RBZ Stage 2 driver, to create the high-launch, low-spin conditions that lead to more distance.

Like the company’s SLDR driver, the JetSpeed has TaylorMade’s 3-degree adjustable hosel that allows golfers to tweak loft up or down 1.5 degrees the driver’s stock lofts of 9.5, 10.5 and 13.5 degrees in 0.5-degree increments. Length-conscious golfers should note that the JetSpeed comes stock with a 46-inch shaft and a swing weight of D5.

Read our review of the JetSpeedBuy the JetSpeed

TaylorMadeSLDR

Tech Talk: Since TaylorMade released golf’s first adjustable driver, the R7 in 2004, the adjustability features of its drivers became increasingly complex with every launch. The SLDR is a step toward simplicity, however, with a sliding weight track located on the front of the sole that concentrates the driver’s weight low and forward in the head to lower the driver’s spin.

Because of the low, forward CG, the SLDR usually requires golfers to add as much as 2 degrees more loft than they’re used to playing for optimal launch conditions. For that reason, the SLDR is available in lofts of 12 and 14 degrees, as well as the more traditional lofts of 10.5, 9.5 and 8 degrees. While the SLDR has the same 3-degree adjustable hosel as the JetSpeed driver, it’s more adjustable thanks to its sliding weight track, which houses a 20-gram weight that can create as much as 30 yards of left-to-right trajectory bias.

The SLDR’s stock shaft measures 45.5 inches and it has a stock swing weight of D4. Starting May 2, the driver will also be available with a white-painted crown. A 430cc model, the SLDR 430, is also available in lofts of 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees for golfers who need even less spin than the SLDR 460 can deliver.

Read our review of the SLDRBuy the SLDR

Forgiveness

WINNERS_FORGIVENESS Listed in alphabetic order

Distance is the No. 1 concern of most golfers who decide to go through a driver fitting, but it doesn’t always lead to lower scores. These “Forgiveness-First” drivers are plenty long, but they also have extremely high levels of forgiveness to maintain ball speed on off-center hits. Their increased forgiveness also limits gear effect, or the rotation of the club head on mishits. That helps spin rates remain more consistent on shots that miss the sweet spot, limiting hook and slice spin.

X2HOT

Tech Talk: Callaway has five different drivers on the market for 2014 — the Big Bertha, Big Bertha Alpha, X2 Hot, X2 Hot Pro and FT OptiForce 460. They’re each good options for their target player, but the X2 Hot will likely be the best option for golfers across the board.

The HyperSpeed face of the X2 Hot is 10 percent larger than its predecessor, leading to more consistent ball speeds across the face. It’s also Callaway’s lightest driver, with a 46-inch stock shaft and a head weight of 194 grams. That gives slower swing speed players the potential for more club head speed.

The X2 Hot is available in lofts of 9, 10.5 and 13.5 degrees, and uses Callaway’s Advanced OptiFit hosel that has a 3-degree range of adjustability (1 degree down, 2 degrees up) in 1-degree increments. Each loft can be paired with either a standard lie angle or a more upright “D” setting that adds more draw bias.

Read our review of the X2 HotBuy the X2 Hot

BioCell

Tech Talk: Cobra’s Bio Cell is the company’s most forgiving driver for 2014. It uses Cobra’s Bio Cell and E9 face technologies to push its center of gravity 50 percent lower than the AMP Cell driver for a higher launch, lower spin and more forgiveness.

Like the company’s lower-spinning Bio Cell + driver, the Bio Cell (460cc) uses the company’s MyFly8 adjustable hosel that allows the driver to be adjusted from lofts of 9, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5 and 12 degrees, as well as three upright settings (9.5D, 10.5D and 11.5D) that add more draw bias. Adjusting the loft will do little to change the face angle of the driver thanks to Cobra’s SmartPad, a 1.5 cm strip on the front of the driver’s sole that keeps the face angle relatively square though loft and lie angle adjustments.

The driver comes stock with a 45.75-inch shaft and has a stock swing weight of D3 or D4 depending on flex.

Read our review of the Bio CellBuy the Bio Cell

Covert2.0

Tech Talk: Like the Covert 2.0 Tour, the Covert 2.0 measures 460cc. But it’s longer from front to back, creating a little higher launch, more spin and more forgiveness than the Covert 2.0 Tour.

The Covert 2.0 ($299) comes stock with Mitsubishi Rayon’s Kuro Kage Black HBP (High-Balance Point) shaft, which allowed engineers to make the driver head a little heavier and still keep a standard swing weight (between D4 and D6) at its stock length of 45.5 inches. The face angle measures about 1-degree open at address, about the same as the Covert 2.0 Tour, but its internal weighting adds a bit more draw bias to help faders straighten out their ball flight.

The Covert 2.0 has Nike’s signature high-speed cavity design, a hollowed out section on the rear portion of the driver’s sole that increases the driver’s forgiveness. That technology was updated for 2014 with Nike’s new Fly-Brace technology, which adds stability and increases energy transfer to the ball. Like the Covert 2.0 Tour, this Covert 2.o has Nike’s FlexLoft adjustable hosel that offers a 5-degree range of adjustability (8.5 to 12.5 degrees in 1-degree increments), as well as three independent face angle settings of left (closed), neutral (square) and right (opened).

Read our review of the Covert 2.0Buy the Covert 2.0

G25

Tech Talk: Drivers with low, rearward CG’s help golfers in two ways, according to Ping engineers. They increase perimeter weighting, which adds forgiveness to off-center hits, and work to deliver the club at impact with more dynamic loft, creating the high-launch, low-spin conditions that result in longer drives.

The G25 ($399) has a CG that is not just the lowest and most rearward of any Ping driver, but quite possibly the lowest and most rearward of any driver in golf. It’s available in lofts of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees, and comes stock with Ping’s counterbalanced TFC 189D shaft. That allows the G25 to be built to a stock length of 45.75 inches and carry a stock swing weight of D3.

The G25’s face is 2 percent larger than the G20, and has a 10 percent higher heel-to-toe inertia and a 17 percent higher top-to-bottom inertia than its predecessor. Golfers who need lower-spinning drives than the G25 can deliver should look into the company’s i25 driver ($399), which has a lower, slightly more forward CG for a more penetrating trajectory.

Read more about the G25

913D2

Tech Talk: Like Ping’s G25, the 913D2 driver was released more than one year ago, but it continues to hold its own in head-to-head tests against 2014 models.

The 913D2 ($399) has a low, neutral center of gravity that allows it to work for a wide variety of golfers. It come in lofts of 7.5, 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees, and Titleist’s SureFit hosel allows the driver to be tweaked up to 1.5 degrees up or down in loft and lie angle.

It’s available with a whopping six stock shafts: Aldila’s Tour Green 65 and RIP Phenom 70 and Mitsubishi Rayon’s Diamana D+ 72, Diamana S+ 62, Bassara W50 and Bassara W40 that come stock with a 45-inch length and a lie angle of 58.5 degrees.

Read our review of the 913D2

Balanced Performance

WINNERS_BALANCED Listed in alphabetic order

Want a driver that does everything well? These five drivers offer the best blend of distance and forgiveness with CG positions that are low and neutral to offer the high-launch, low-spin launch conditions that create long drives. While these models might not be quite as low spinning as others, many golfers are willing to forgo the super low-spin launch conditions for a little extra forgiveness.

X2HOT

Tech Talk: Callaway has five different drivers on the market for 2014 — the Big BerthaBig Bertha AlphaX2 HotX2 Hot Pro and FT OptiForce 460. They’re each good options for their target player, but the X2 Hot will likely be the best option for golfers across the board.

The HyperSpeed face of the X2 Hot is 10 percent larger than its predecessor, leading to more consistent ball speeds across the face. It’s also Callaway’s lightest driver, with a 46-inch stock shaft and a head weight of 194 grams. That gives slower swing speed players the potential for more club head speed.

The X2 Hot is available in lofts of 9, 10.5 and 13.5 degrees, and uses Callaway’s Advanced OptiFit hosel that has a 3-degree range of adjustability (1 degree down, 2 degrees up) in 1-degree increments. Each loft can be paired with either a standard lie angle or a more upright “D” setting that adds more draw bias.

Read our review of the X2 HotBuy the X2 Hot

BioCell

Tech Talk: Cobra’s Bio Cell is the company’s most forgiving driver for 2014. It uses Cobra’s Bio Cell and E9 face technologies to push its center of gravity 50 percent lower than the AMP Cell driver for a higher launch, lower spin and more forgiveness.

Like the company’s lower-spinning Bio Cell + driver, the Bio Cell (460cc) uses the company’s MyFly8 adjustable hosel that allows the driver to be adjusted from lofts of 9, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5 and 12 degrees, as well as three upright settings (9.5D, 10.5D and 11.5D) that add more draw bias. Adjusting the loft will do little to change the face angle of the driver thanks to Cobra’s SmartPad, a 1.5 cm strip on the front of the driver’s sole that keeps the face angle relatively square though loft and lie angle adjustments.

The driver comes stock with a 45.75-inch shaft and has a stock swing weight of D3 or D4 depending on flex.

Read our review of the Bio CellBuy the Bio Cell

G25

Tech Talk: Drivers with low, rearward CG’s help golfers in two ways, according to Ping engineers. They increase perimeter weighting, which adds forgiveness to shots off-center hits, and work to deliver the club at impact with more dynamic loft, creating the high-launch, low-spin conditions that result in longer drives.

The G25 ($399) has a CG that is not just the lowest and most rearward of any Ping driver, but quite possibly the lowest and most rearward of any driver in golf. It’s available in lofts of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees, and comes stock with Ping’s counterbalanced TFC 189D shaft. That allows the G25 to be built to a stock length of 45.75 inches and carry a stock swing weight of D3.

The G25’s face is 2 percent larger than the G20, and has a 10 percent higher heel-to-toe inertia and a 17 percent higher top-to-bottom inertia than its predecessor. Golfers who need lower-spinning drives than the G25 can deliver should look into the company’s i25 driver ($399), which has a lower, slightly more forward CG for a more penetrating trajectory.

Read more about the G25

i25

Tech Talk: A lot of the discussion around the i25 has been about its eye-catching racing stripes located on the crown of the driver. What’s more important from a performance standpoint, however, is Ping’s ability to lower the spin of the i25 while still maintaining a high level of forgiveness.

The i25 is Ping’s lower-launching, lower-spinning counter part to its extremely popular G25 model, using a shorter profile from front to back and 15 grams of tungsten weights on the rear of its sole to lower the driver’s center of gravity. Like the G25, the i25 has Ping’s Trajectory Tuning Technology that allows the stock lofts of 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees to be adjusted 0.5 degrees higher or lower from their standard lofts.

The i25 comes stock with the company’s new PWR shafts in weights of 55, 65 and 75 grams, each of which has a balance point that has been tweaked to to allow golfers to maintain the club’s stock swing weight of D3 (at 45.25 inches) regardless of what shaft weight or flex they choose.

Read our story on the i25

913D2

Tech Talk: Like Ping’s G25, the 913D2 driver was released more than one year ago, but it continues to hold its own in head-to-head tests against 2014 models.

The 913D2 ($399) has a low, neutral center of gravity that allows it to work for a wide variety of golfers. It come in lofts of 7.5, 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees, and Titleist’s SureFit hosel allows the drivers to be tweaked up to 1.5 degrees up or down in loft and lie angle.

It’s available with a whopping six stock shafts: Aldila’s Tour Green 65 and RIP Phenom 70 and Mitsubishi Rayon’s Diamana D+ 72, Diamana S+ 62, Bassara W50 and Bassara W40 that come stock with a 45-inch shaft and a lie angle of 58.5 degrees.

Read our review of the 913D2

Click here to see who made our 2014 Gear Trials: Best Fairway Woods list.

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90 COMMENTS

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  1. It’s nice to include testers and fitters input but for strictly measuring performance everything can be evaluated by using an “Iron Byron” and a launch monitor. How a club “feels” is too subjective and has no relation to how far or straight a club performs. If you want a club that goes far and straight then Ping G25…most forgiving and highest ball speed. If you have brand loyalty or like the way another club “feels” then go with that. If you really want a long forgiving driver check out the new Ping G30. It’s off the charts amazing.

  2. Thanks for the reviews — this is an innovative and equitable way of listing equipment.

    May I add another in the distance and forgiveness categories? At least for me … I had my R1 w/Oban Revenge ($650) set at 12 deg/45 in against a stock Bobby Jones Blackbird ($350) at 12.5/45 in. I was surprised to find the new Bobby Jones not only more consistent in terms of a fairway finder but longer than the R1 for me … at half the price. The only con to the Black being the louder sound. Thought I’d mention it … Opened my eyes …perhaps the weight low and back (and cup faced) still has lots of life … G30 is next, but I am liking this cup face with Jesse Ortiz’s new driver.

    • Callaway has reduced the price on the X2Hot so I test drove and purchased one. Very happy, performs as the review describes. More forgiving than the RFE I was playing, but longer too. My best driving day in years with this driver.

  3. No love for the Cleveland, Adams, etc etc etc. Typical review of the over supplied, over priced and only out for 2 months before a new is launched OEMS. The SLDR might be the biggest piece of junk that TM has ever released(for a amateur player) titleist and ping are pretty much the only ones on this list that still have a 1-2 yr rotation. Joke

  4. Head to head testing is always difficult to do when considering the human element. At least GolfWRK put together something that is close to a controlled comparison of these clubs. While this test only focused on clubs from the major OEM companies, there are a lot of hobby builders and other golfers that use component (not clone) clubs. I would really like to see how clubs from lesser known OEM’s like Golfworks, Wishon, Hireko, Geek, Krank, etc. compare to each other as well as the big name companies. Or would that hurt big company sales because people would see that they can spend $100 to get $400 worth of performance?

  5. Excellent job with an extremely difficult subject that is almost as difficult as herding cats! You’ve given anybody looking for a new driver a starting point to begin their search for perfection. Since it boils down to what “feels right” to each individual they may or may not wind up with one of your top five. I spent over 5 hours trying different drivers (including all those mentioned in your article plus a number of others) and getting feedback from the stores equipment on each swing. I ultimately wound up with one of the models in your top 5 balanced category. There were several others that I liked but none as well as the one I eventually purchased. Keep up the good work.

  6. Patrick, You are correct in that you can not have a ball spin around two spin axis at the same time. There is only ever one spin axis for a ball in flight. However, that spin axis can either be perfectly horizontal, creating backspin only, or at an angle, creating backspin and side spin at the same time. You can independently measure the side spin of a ball depending on the angle of that spin axis. The closer to horizontal the spin axis is, the less side spin there is on the ball. As the spin axis becomes more vertical, the side spin increases. The total spin of the golf ball can be separated into the contributions from the side spin and the backspin. You would have to look up some vector physics to work it out but it could be done. Cheers

  7. I’m sorry, but this article just seems like an ad for all the latest drivers guised as a contest.

    I have tested all the new ones and they either look or feel like crap. In addition, none of them give me better numbers than my Cleveland XL. I was particularly excited to try, and subsequently disappointed in, the SLDR. The pro tried several combinations, and my XL still beat it. The closest competitor was the JetSpeed, but even it fell short and also had that huge ugly head. Decent feel though.

  8. I still play the 975J. I had a 983K with legit 757 x-flex and then a 907D2 w/ Diamana Blue x-flex, and then a 910D3 with purple Oban Kiyoshi x-flex. I went back to the 975J with GD stiff… Hit the ball to all the same places. It’s not the clubs ladies and gentlemen, it’s the ball.

    This post was not a joke. Try it with one of your old clubs and see what you find.

    • Yeah somewhat true- I’d say its the player and fit of the build, but the new balls are amazing,too. The 975D/speeder 757 I had for years could probably put it out there with any new club when I pure it, but I suck now and need a little more forgiveness. The product description of these old drivers on Titleist site is epic btw.

  9. I enjoyed this article and appreciate the time and effort you expended to provide it for us. I have played the Ping G25 driver in six rounds so far this year and love it. I am sure the other clubs mentioned in each category are loved by those who are using them as well. The negative comments being offered are sad and usually reserved for those who wish to argue political views. Thanks Zak and WRX for all the info you provide.

  10. I am not a Nike fan, but how can you list the Nike Covert 2.0 as one on the best for “Distance” and one of the best for “Forgiveness”, and not list it in the “Balance-Performance” category which is suppose to be the best of the mix?

  11. Thanks guys for the effort but the way the test has been conducted and results shown makes it absolutely worthless as it does not provide any new info not previously presented in the product reviews.

  12. I’ve read this a couple of times and suspect I missed something. Your intro reads “Each driver was tested with its stock s-flex shaft and set as close to the stock loft of 9.5 degrees as possible”. Are you saying that all 33 testers were given 9.5 lofted stiff shafted clubs and then “fit” and then the results were compiled ? Forgive me but that doesn’t make sense especially with certain manufacturers advising players to “loft up” so as to achieve maximum performance

    • Regis,

      You make a good point, but the purpose of the player test was not to see what driver was the best for each player or what driver was easiest to fit. We had feedback from our panel of custom fitters for that. It was performed so that we could accurately chart the forgiveness, launch and spin of each driver in a clear and concise way.

      Looking to lower your spin? TaylorMade SLDR, Callaway Big Bertha Alpha and Ping i25 are awesome at that. Looking to raise your launch angle? Ping G25, Cobra Bio Cell, Titleist 913D2 and Callaway X2 Hot are likely the ones you’ll want to try first.

  13. This is a biased column. As an experienced custom fitter my self have found many drivers not on this list to out perform ones that are on it. Using a launch monitor and doing fittings on a daily basis with only the drivers above would be doing my customer a disservice. This column looks like you guys called up each company and asked them how much they wanted to pay for their driver to make this list. GolfWRX seems as if it is being controlled more and more by the companies you talk about. Not by the consumer as it once was.

  14. I have played the alpha, ping i25, 913, sldr and cobra bio plus this year. All these have also been fitted by one of your fitting centers listed above. The cobra bio plus is the best numbers club of 2014 by far. Cobra is never given the respect they deserve, this year especially, and I will say I have never liked cobra. The bio plus beats several drivers on the list. The fitter and I did notice ghat the shaft does play a flex down, do if you play stiff get an extra stiff. There is not one person who can be disappointed w this club, long, forgiving, extremely low spin rates

    • Roberto,

      Good point about the Bio Cell +’s shaft. We’ve noticed that trend as well.

      The Bio Cell +’s biggest weakness actually is how good the Bio Cell is. The drivers are extremely similar, except that the Bio Cell + launches just a touch lower and with about 300 rpm less spin. For golfers that can handle a 440cc head and can’t get their spin down with the Bio Cell, the Bio Cell + is a great option.

      • Thanks for the response. What people have to remember is that golf clubs are so personal to what we personally think is feel, etc that they must keep an open perspective on this. I would have never tried bio plus and one day fitter at carls said just try it and I did , solved my expensive search after sldr, alpha etc. So keep up the good work and looking forward seeing this on irons, hybrids, fairways, wedges and putters.
        Question, what difference are there in the i25 and bio plus? Shaft quality, playability, ease/forgiveness, launch and spin, performance and everything you look at and even personal opinion, etc.
        Any info greatly appreciated.

    • Charlie,

      The winning driver is the one that works best for you. If you’re looking to upgrade, hit all the drivers in the category that fits you game and see which one performs best.

      It would be even better if you could visit a reputable custom fitter with a wide variety of head and shaft options. That will help you find the head, shaft, face angle, length, swing weight and grip that’s best for you game.

  15. Where is a ranking for controlability? Not everybody who visits this site is a weekend hack that is looking for miss correction and more distance. Some of us are looking for a club that rewards good ball striking and good shots. Which drivers are the easiest to fade or draw and hit higher or lower on command? Which clubs will hold their ball flight in the wind? And which clubs are best suited for players whole want control over forgiveness and length?

    I know 95% of the golfers who visit this site fall into the GI or Max GI categories, but please stop forgetting about the other 5% who fit into the player category.

  16. I was hoping to learn something new here. “these 5 drivers are long”, is not new info. We already know that. How about showing us all the numbers some time. Us younger people are number and stats crazy… generally. If one of the 5 longest was longest for everyone as a whole, why not tell us?

    • Paul,

      The SLDR was voted the longest driver by our panel of custom fitters, and also hit some of the longest drives in our test. At this level of premium drivers (we narrowed down the top-5 drivers out of 22 different models in three different categories in this test), the longest driver for each player is usually player dependent.

      Our advice has been and will continue to be that every golfer go through a proper fitting to find out what shaft and head combination is right for them. But golfers will likely find that they won’t need to test many drivers outside of the 10 we’ve listed to find their new gamer.

  17. It would be really cool if you could show 3 different charts with all of the drivers. A launch chart from highest to lowest, a spin chart from Highest to lowest and a forgiveness chart from highest to lowest tested.

  18. Part of this makes no sense to me… how can drivers that have high spin rates maintain high forgiveness…. the more side spin a driver imparts should = less forgiveness or am I missing something?

        • There is a direct relationship, the ball only spins on one axis, but it is measured in two ways, sidespin and backspin. Think of a fastball vs a curveball. A 4 seamer will travel relatively straight as it has mostly backspin on a vertical axis. A curveball has that vertical axis shifted which causes the ball to curve.

          • Sorry Brian, but not correct. A 4 seamer will travel with mostly backspin in a horizontal axis. A ball can not have backspin with a vertical axis. If it was rotating around a vertical axis, it would have side spin on it, which ever direction it was spinning. Cheers

          • It is not possible for side spin and back spin to be measured at the same time. If a golf professional is giving you a side spin number in addition to a back spin number, you may want to consider asking your golf professional to explain. A golf ball cannot spin about two different axes at the same time. There is spin rate and spin axis.

            Due to how drivers need to be shaped, it is harder to push CG back and keep it low. It is much easier to achieve a low cg if you put it all up at the front of the head (Taylormade). With the CG slightly higher as it relates to the loft of the face, you will get slightly more vertical gear effect causing more spin. It will be more forgiving because of the CG’s location as it relates to the shaft’s axis (more squaring power) and increased MOI (ball speed on mishits). It will also be more forgiving and slightly higher spinning because a deep CG creates a longer distance for the head to deflect forward through the impact area. This will lead to more dynamic loft (increasing forgiveness) and potentially more spin loft (increasing spin).

    • What you are saying makes sense, but I think the idea of “Forgiveness” in tests like these deal more with good swings that happen to hit the ball somewhere other than the center of the face… in those cases, with many drivers you’ll lose distance or the MOI will cause the fact to twist, imparting additional “side-spin” (this is a fictional concept; it’s really just the angle of the ball while spinning backwards). If you have a bad swing and say, come over the top w/ an open face, no driver, no matter how “forgiving” is going to save you. Just my thoughts… I’d of course look to the author of this article to chime in on its validity.

      • Dave,

        You are correct. Our “forgiveness” rating is meant to represent average ball speed over a range of shots. When shots are hit off center, the head twists, which hinders ball speed. Drivers with the highest MOI, or highest levels of forgiveness, will have the least drop off in ball speed on off-center hits.

        The G25 was voted the most forgiving driver by our custom fitters, and also had the highest average ball speeds in our test.

    • The inverse relationship between spin rate and forgiveness is due to cg location. Moving the cg forward would lower the spin and the MOI which would lower forgiveness. Moving the cg back would increase spin as well as MOI.

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