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Ping G10 Driver Review

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Ping GolfPing golf clubs have become immensely popular among all skill levels of golfers.

Perhaps no other brand has had as rich a history of combining forgiveness and performance. When Karsten Soleheim introduced his innovative perimeter weighted designs, the golfing world was rocked to its core and golf club technology reached a new level. With the introduction of the Ping G2 driver in 2003, Ping made a tremendous move to improve the performance of their drivers while still satisfying players who desired a more traditional shape and feel. Now in 2007, the latest version of Ping’s all titanium driver, the G10 has been introduced to the market to sit along side its composite brother, the Rapture. Just how well does the G10 rate compared to some of the other drivers on the market?

Technology

Cosmetically there is very little separating the G10 from its predecessors, the G2 and G5 drivers. However, some major tweaks in construction and design have gone into the new G10 compared to the G5. One major area where Ping has worked to improver performance is in the club’s weight distribution. Selective areas of the club’s crown have been made with thinner material to allow Ping engineers greater discretionary weight to move down low and further back in the club. The overall effect is increased launch, lower spin, and higher moment of inertia – the trinity of golf club performance.

Additionally, Ping has also tweaked the overall geometry of the club so the face is deeper. A deeper face allows for a larger hitting area and greater ball speed on miss hits. The face of the club features variable thickness technology to maximize ball speed. But the G10 takes it one step further by combining the design of the sole, crown, and face to provide minimal energy loss. Ping also has a draw version of the G10 which features heel biased internal weighting and a hosel moved forward in relation to the face to help promote a right to left ball flight.

To complement the G10, Ping has also released an updated shaft, the TFC 129 which was designed to fit a wide variety of players and features progressively increasing weight decreasing torque to fit players from R, S, to X flex.

Aesthetics

Ping has come a long way in driver design since the old TiSI. The G10 fits in nicely alongside any other driver in the market with its perfect looks. The dark, glossy black paint is very pleasing. The deep face combined with the dark paint gives the club head a much smaller appearance than some of the other 460cc drivers on the market. The club has a short hosel and it combines with a very square face angle that better players naturally gravitate toward. The sole is a polished chrome finish with orange accents that will definitely stand out, but none of which is visible at all from address.

One aspect of the club which has divided users in the past centers around the crescent moon alignment aid that began in the G2. Many traditional players disliked the crescent alignment aid, enough so that many Ping drivers on Tour were painted without it. This has been addressed in the G10 in a very impressive way that might satisfy all players. The crescent alignment aid is still there, but Ping has made it incredibly faint. So faint that users who have avoided the G2 and G5 in the past will easily be able to ignore it, while it is still visible for those who prefer it. The orange color theme extends into the shaft which is a light copper color and has some subtle Ping graphics near the grip.

Performance

If I could only use one word to sum up the G10’s performance solid would be it. The feel, sound, and performance is simply as solid as any driver on the market. The sound at impact is a low, muted “whack” which I find very pleasing compared to the trend of high pitched sounds most drivers seem to make these days which feel more like hitting a golf ball with an aluminum can than a golf club. Also, many players will appreciate the lively feel the ball has off the face. Ask anyone who’s used a G10 and they’ll describe feeling as though the face of the club rebounds as the ball rockets off at impact. Even the most ardent traditionalists will be able to appreciate the G10’s feel. If you have the opportunity to demo a G10, I’d encourage you to do so, it is a driver that feels incredibly solid.

Fitting will be a very important consideration for anyone interested in the G10. I am not a golfer who struggles with controlling high launch spin; but even I found that the G10 launches very high for its loft.  I would strongly suggest testing this club on a launch monitor before buying because it’s likely you may move into a degree less loft than other drivers on the market due to the club’s high launch. Although the club did seem to spin a bit more for me, it definitely did not balloon in the wind, the spin rate was more than acceptable. Some of this might be due to the softer tip shaft, but with Ping’s custom fitting program, it is very worthwhile to spend the time getting fit at a Ping retailer. Also, be aware that the club comes stock at 45.75″ which is 3/4 of an inch longer than most other drivers on the market. Ping Golf’s WRX department has a fantastic selection of customizable shafts and grips so if there is a specific shaft or club spec that fits you, chances are very good you can get it through Ping’s WRX custom program.

The stock TFC-129 shaft is also worthy of mention. Stock shafts have received a reputation for being an overly soft and inconsistent. The TFC on the contrary is an excellent performing option, for people who fit into a soft tip bend profile. The shaft is smooth with a very perceptible kick, but it still retains quite a bit of control even on harder swings. It is a higher launching option and as a result should increase spin slightly as well. For those who desire a different bend profile, the stiff tip Grafalloy ProLaunch Red and UST Proforce V2 High Launch will also be available.

One of the most impressive features of the G10 is its forgiveness. Whether shots are struck towards the toe, or heel, they simply want to go straight. Even moderate miss hits do not lose much ball speed at all. However, this forgiveness means the G10 is not likely to be the best choice for players who love to shape their shots. I have found that the G10 just wants to go straight. Hit it on the heel and it’s more of a push than a cut, hit it towards the toe and it’s a slight pull rather than a draw. Common convention holds that a longer than normal club is typically much harder to control. However, due to the great ball speed and ample forgiveness, I don’t feel that the extra length hurt my game that much. Also, the increased ball speed could very well be due to the longer shaft. Either way, it all seems to combine together to work very well in the G10.

Conclusion

In the end, the question that seems to arise most often is whether the G10 is worth upgrading from their previous models. I can tell you for a fact that even though the G10 may seem to only have minor differences over previous models, the minor changes in weight distribution and construction have combined to form a driver that is a major improvement in ball speed and forgiveness. It was really tough for me to find negatives, the G10 has found a firm home in my bag. With solid performance, and feel, its biggest drawback may be the difficulty it presents to highly skilled players who love to work the ball. With a driver how much more could someone ask for?

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29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. stuart

    Aug 27, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    The club is the real deal. It’s not all about the bells and whistles, just brings that lunch bucket-type mentality into play, solid, solid. It’s take a bit to get used to (few rounds) because the launch off the face is a bit different, but once you get it, the ball bombs off the face and you get great roll. It’s just solid consistent, contact. Old reliable, love it

  2. Corby Kissler

    Aug 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Bought one about a month ago – put a good swing on it and the ball just goes . . . still working on my swing but the club is very easy to hit and get results with. Driver looks great at address as well.

  3. Steve Hansen

    Aug 4, 2009 at 10:33 am

    I bought a G 10, had the people in The Valley of The Sun cut the shaft to 44 inches and combinded with a 12 dg. loft it hits down the middle but is alittle short. I should have stuck with the longer shaft for a while, will now demo an i15 when I can, still a darn good driver!

  4. Billy Mills

    May 26, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    suitably impressed with this club have gone for 7.5 degrees with x flex v2 shaft not quite as long as my old titleist much lower ball flight though have gone frpm 9.5 to 7.5 and i have a high ball flight feel off face is solid and bit heavier than the titleist monitor had me carrying 282 on average as supposed to 294 with titleist but the lower ball flight minimises the bad shots and gives me a bit more roll, great club and the best of the g range

  5. Dave E.

    Apr 20, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I purchased a new g 10 driver about 3 weks ago. Why? It simply launched my ball further. I got rid of two other drivers I tried, namely the Touredge xld and the xcg. Tour edge has always been may brand because of the club face and the perfomance it gave me. I must say Ping G 10 wins the contest

    I drove the ball over hazzards that I could not before!

  6. Craig R.

    Feb 22, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    I was hitting Nike Ignite and had great distance but was missing to many fairways. Half way thru last season I switched to G10 10.5 draw with a Pro launch red stiff shaft and low flex point. I now expect to hit every fairway and 280 to 300 is not surprising. The G10 is awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. bob young

    Jan 21, 2009 at 10:12 am

    does ping ever run a sale?

  8. rich

    Aug 14, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    i finally decided to buy a driver after 3 yrs i was giving up on drvers and was content with teeing off with a 3 wood .then my friend starting raving about the ping driver.so i did some research and nothing but rave reviews for the ping.so i went to go test it out.i didn’t want to spend 300$ on a club,was gonna settle for the nike sumo 5000 because it was a 100$ cheaper .then i hit the ping g10 and there was no comparison.so then i said if i am gonna spend the $ might as well try the nike sumo2 5900 square same $ as ping g10).and same result not even close the feel ,sound,results pretty much everything across te board the ping g10 was better.if u are looking for a driver at least give the ping g10 a try you won’t be disappointed.

  9. Shane

    Aug 5, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    I played a rental set of these last week. Complete set of drivers and irons, they were absolutely amazing. Perfect weight, not too loght and teh weight of the driver lets you know its there so you dont feel you have to kill the ball. Currently playing Taylormad R7 driver, the G10 9Degree driver beats it hands down. Have Mizuno Irons and they also could not compare. Never owned Ping before but have just ordered the G10s. Be warned, if you ar eprepared to try be prepared to buy!

  10. Brian

    Jul 11, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    I received the Ping G10 (10.5 w/ProLaunch Red Reg) as a Christmas gift last year … the wife wanted to buy me something and I had everything. So I opted for this! I had been using the Ping Rapture (12 w/Aldila Proto ‘By You’ Reg). I had settled on the Rapture after 18 months of fiddling with drivers (about 8 of ’em). Given the weather here (Louisiana) I didn’t have to wait long to get out and try my G10. And it was great.

    I have settled in with the G10 for the past 5 months. I find it really fits me well. I get about 20 yards more with this club than the Rapture on well-struck balls. The Rapture has been more consistent (down the middle), but after I re-gripped with two wraps of tape on the G10, it’s been pretty consistent too. So the extra distance means I’m coming into greens with more-lofted irons, and thus have better chances to score.

    On a monitor, the G10 also gives me about 5MPH more speed than my Rapture — so that explains the distance gain. I also opted for the lower launch/spin shaft because my normal launch angle is kinda high — I did likewise with the Rapture and it was a big improvement over my previous driver (Cobra F-Speed 07).

    I periodically “stray” and try new drivers — most recently the Callaway HyperX … but I always come home to Mama G10. For me, it’s the best driver (irons & hybrids covered too — G10s!). So much so that now I’m mostly just spending all my spare cash playing with wedges and putters!

  11. Andy S

    Jul 9, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    will be trying it out tomorrow – i have the G10 3 & 5 wood. I have been able to hit the 3 wood about 245 yrd s and absolutely love the club. in fact I played my last round without my driver (TM r7 425cc) and was so consistent that i shaved about 7 strokes off my avg round.

  12. Dana M

    Jul 9, 2008 at 8:42 am

    I purchased the G10 with stock TFC129 stiff shaft after being fitted with a Ping launch monitor. The 12 degree head gave me the perfect launch angle with minimal spin. However, I found that occasionally I would duck-hook when I gave a little more effort. I switched out the OEM shaft for a very low torque 70 gm Aldila DVS shaft with great results. Thanx Ping!

  13. Tyler H

    May 11, 2008 at 9:57 am

    Just got on last week and it’s been great! Very forgiving and giving me a little extra distance compared to some of the other drivers on the market i’ve tried. It was intrersting in the review he mentioned the high ball flight. I’ve noticed that as well but i actually don’t mind it . I would highly recomend this club!

  14. Tony J

    Apr 14, 2008 at 1:51 am

    My son is a ping player. S59 irons, mack daddy wedges and a G10 driver, 3 wood and hybrid. He changed the shaft in the driver from the proforce high launch to a graffaloy red (stiff) to get better control on the height he was hitting driver. Made a hell of a difference as the high launch was playing havoc in a breeze/wind for him. He now has a great penetrating ball flight even into a wind. He is 40 to 50M longer off the tee with this shaft. Yeah totally agree that the shaft has to suit the players swing. He loves the G10 clubs, goes to bed with the driver. He is a 1 marker, 17 years of age and for his height (5’9) hits it a long way with slight draw on command and mainly straight when he needs to place on the fairway. He has had a G2, Mizuno and wouldn’t go past this incredible club. Me – I hit a Titty D2 and am extremely happy with that… Very jealous of my sons control and distance off the tee. His 3 wood and hybrid are just as trustworthy and he has left the prolaunch shafts in these clubs as they suit how he is currently playing. I recommend the G10’s even though I dont have them myself but due to the quality my son is getting out of them. I would love to hit his – I’m right handed he’s left. Enjoy the G10 guys, great clubs.

  15. Jeff

    Apr 11, 2008 at 8:14 pm

    Just picked one up 3 weeks ago. I must say it took a bit of geting used to because of the longer length. But after hitting balls and playing several rounds with it it is really a wonderful club. I am carrying the ball further and hitting it over all further than my old one. Very solid and mishits are forgiving. All in all I am very glad I bought it.

  16. Alex S

    Mar 26, 2008 at 2:56 am

    Fantastic review. From what I’ve heard from friend who have tried the club, seems to be right on. Will go and demo but I have been a big fan of Ping my entire life. Will not be a tough sell..

  17. B.P. Miller

    Mar 21, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    I demoed one today and it was as good as my Titleist 975and maybe better. I tried the oem TFC129 Stiff shaft and it felt great. The UST shaft turned that club into the enemy even changed the sound to a clank. Is it $300 better than my old one ? Probably not but I would buy it and sell the titleist on EBAY if i was feeling rich. I tried all the new Ping irons too. I couldnt find one that whispered to me “this is it” over the EYE 2’s I bought in ’82 and is all I used since. Before that I played blades for 20 + years because thats all there was then golf fans.
    G 10 is a great club but its makes you wonder what are they going to say next year to make you believe that this driver was last years model and not quite as good?
    To the guy above that wants to cut down his driver? Just choke down 1″ dude , Look close you’ll see the pros doing it , or buy a 13* 3 wood , goes almost as far a a driver and you see a lot less rough. Just a thought and a solid tip for all struggleing with chunk ‘o steel on the tees that just doesnt do what you want on 13 of the holes. Keep it in play and forget the rest. “Keep it in play and win that day”

  18. Chuck P

    Mar 6, 2008 at 10:37 am

    The original review is right on! I have a 9 degree with a proforce red shaft – to keep the spin down. I have a natural draw but the ball goes straight. I actually fade the ball more than I used to with it – but the distance is the best that I have ever encountered and I have tried them all. Sound and feel are excellent. I am still working on getting my draw back with this club without pulling the ball too far left. Even though it is a nine degree – the height of the ball travel is very good and even in a cold wind – it penetrates like no other driver that I have used. I play a lot in the winter and it travels like summer! I could not be more pleased. I had it fit for me at a golf show in Boston. DEFINATELY get fit – because what everyone is saying about the high launch is true. You absolutely need the right shaft combination with the lie. I truly love this club and it will be in the bag for a long time!

  19. Wolf

    Feb 28, 2008 at 7:28 am

    Hmmm, re-read my review. Seems I used draw, hook bla. You’d never know I’ve been playing golf since I was 4. The truth is…I just got back into the game after many years and bought a whole set of Ping clubs replacing a set that’s over 20 years old. I did get the ball to go straighter off the driver finally by moving the ball closer to the front of my swing. I am still not hitting this thing with any great consistency of a straight ball. The 3 wood is incredible in this regard though…long straight drives. Id say I hit the G10 driver like I want to about 50% of the time. When I do, the ball carries 270 yards and hits the back net at the driving range 40 or 50 feet up. If I can get this thing under control, I think I am going to be very happy

  20. wolf

    Feb 15, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    I just got this driver, a G10 3 and 5 with the Prolaunch stiff shaft. I can hit the 3 and 5 off the deck superbly. I love the feel and the sound of the 3 and 5. The driver though is a whole other animal. I could not hit the ball straight no matter what I tried. The ball had a wicked right hook on every hit. Yes I was getting the ball in the air… this thing launches the ball high…even though I bought the 9 degree. But every shot went right. Through intense concentration I was able to get the ball to go straighter but it still hooked just a bit. And I was only able to do this on 1 or two shots. It is so bad I wonder if this club is mismarked and is really a draw in disguise. Granted I just bought the club and only took it to the range once after work. Still, the 3 and 5 ht just fine. I am very worried at this point. I am going to hit the range tomorrow and Ill post again if I some how manage to fix this.

  21. jeremy

    Feb 14, 2008 at 1:31 am

    I just bought the G10 demoed it three straight weekends against everything out there except the new nike drivers as I’m upgradeing from the origanal SQ 460 and cant stand the looks of the 2 new models from 07 and 08 or anything square for that matter. I have to say this is my first ping club ever and I absolutley love this driver everything good that you’ve heard or read is true I recommend for high launchers like myself that you could probably stay with the ten five as I have and just try the grafalloy por launch red stiff this shaft will get your launch angle down no problem try it you’ll love it

  22. Mark Siegel

    Feb 8, 2008 at 8:13 am

    I just purchased a G10, 9 degree with Prolaunch shaft. Anyone have any experience with this combination and/or a comparison to the draw model?

  23. Mike

    Dec 29, 2007 at 12:52 pm

    I do have a G10 with the ProLaunch Red shaft (stiff). Purchased it late fall 2007 so only have hit it a few times and love it. Your review is one of the best I’ve read and right on the mark, cresent moon that is. Only making me more excited about making my G10 the go to club. A friend of mine has a G5 and is already looking for a new G10. Any Purist out there will love this club, hands down, your ahead of your buddies if the G10 is in your bag. Gone are my Titleist and Launcher— hello Ping!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Brad

    Dec 15, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Got the 9* w/ stock Ping staff and is absolutely the BOMB! Take a smooth swing and just let the club do the work no need to muscle it the ball rockets off the face with a unreal kick from the TFC stock stiif shaft.
    Loves to hit straight shots with a trajectory that really works well for my swing.
    The understated good looks and outstanding performance seal the deal. Good bye Callaway FT-5 is going on consignment.
    Even has a cool headcover—- what’s not to like?

  25. Chris

    Nov 5, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    I was at my local golf shop four weeks ago and picked up the G10 and liked the way it looked. I demoed the 10.5 degree with a regular shaft but the ball flight was too high and with too much of a draw. I ended up buying the G10 9 degree with the stiff OEM shaft two weeks ago. It is a great driver and what I like most about it is the way it sets up to the ball. I had a TM 510 driver but this Ping is the real deal. It is long and straight and one of the guys I play with asked if I am steroids. The thing is, I am 65 and hitting the ball a ton with the G10.

    This is the first Ping club I have ever owned, but it will not be the last . I am now looking at the G10i irons. If nothing else go demo the G10 on the course not on some simulator, I am sure you will not be dissapointed.

  26. Ian

    Oct 28, 2007 at 5:55 am

    Thanks for the review, the G10 sounds like a very good new driver. I am quite happy with my current TM Superquad and have stated to many of my playing partners that I cannot foresee replacing it anytime soon, perhaps I was wrong.

    I have been a Ping fan since the mid 80s, specifically their irons (Eye 2s, ISIs, I3s, I5s) but have had several other brands over the years, Ping drivers were never a real favorite of mine with the exception of the Si3 which was not the longest for me but was the straightest. The fact that the G10 has a muted sound makes me want to try it even more, the high pitched sounds of drivers like the Sumo and FT-5 are not want I want to hear.

    G10 irons are in my future for 2008, the G10 would be a nice complement to those.

  27. Gregg

    Oct 27, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Great review, I’ll definitely have to give the G10 a try.

  28. Matt

    Oct 25, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I just bought the G10 after caving in three TP Burner faces, along with one Superquad and figured I should be done with TM drivers since their faces don’t seem to like my swingspeed. Also demoed the Sumo (yuck), Cobra (like shooting a bb gun at glass on contact), Titty D2 (closest consideration to G10 but too expensive and didn’t demo as far or straight as the Ping [probably my fault not Titty’s]), and the Callaway FT-5 (no.) and liked none of them as much as the Pings. There was something to be said for the heavier feel from the Ping clubhead (and the Sumo to an extent) which made me feel like I wasn’t swinging composite toiletpaper. Since I used to crush a buddies G2 and wanted to see the differences between the G5 and G10. Hit them both in a Golf Galaxy and actually hit a few further with the G5 (325), but the G10 was going consistently straighter at about 305-312 (both these were 10.5 models). The main thing for me was the shaft- as a guy who ALWAYS dumps OEM shafts, I really liked the feel of the TFC 129 (stiff), and so far have loved it on the range. It’s going to be weird, but I’m sticking with an OEM shaft for good (or until proven very, very wrong). I’m playing a tough, long, hilly (and definitely wet) course tomorrow so I’ll post my evaluation of the club over the weekend. Also, I got the 12 degree head with a stiff shaft, so it’ll be interesting to see how much the high launch setup kills my distance (but I’m an absurdly low-launching driver b/c of a ridiculously strong grip [and probably poor mechanics]).

    I can’t wait to keep this as my gamer!!!

  29. Rich Hetzel

    Oct 24, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Just when I thought I was happy with my KZG Gemini, I’ll have to try the new G10 with a YS6+ shaft soon…great review.

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Driver Reviews

Review: Ping’s G400 and G400 LST Drivers

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I still remember the first time I hit Ping’s G30 driver. It was July 2014, and I was at Ping’s HQ in Phoenix. Super low-spin drivers were all the rage at the time. With their forward center of gravity, they were helping golfers optimize their launch conditions beyond their wildest dreams: crazy high launch, ridiculously low spin. Many in the business, including myself, had one of these drivers and spent many launch monitor sessions trying to figure out how to get more distance from these high knuckleballs. The bad news was that forward-CG drivers, by nature, were really unforgiving. Bad shots were really short and crooked.

Before I knew the G30 was a big deal, Marty Jertson, Ping’s Director of Product Development, explained to me his vision for the perfect driver inside a conference room at Ping Headquarters. In his eyes, the perfect driver didn’t have the low, forward center of gravity (CG) that was being touted at the time. Its CG was located as low and as rearward in the driver head as possible, which he said would offer the best of both worlds: optimized launch conditions on good shots, as well as the best possible forgiveness on bad shots.

Building the perfect driver was a long way off (and still is), but Jertson was excited where Ping had landed with the G30. When it was released, the driver was a powerful testament to his vision. Its rear-CG design created great distance on good and bad shots, and it was also a very straight driver. The G30 sold incredibly well and, as a result, the industry mostly shifted away from forward-CG drivers.

It’s been nearly three years since the release of the G30, and Ping has just made another counterintuitive driver release. The company shrunk the size of its new G400 drivers in a climate where full-size drivers have become the norm. Granted, it’s only 15 cubic centimeters smaller, but it’s noticeable at address. Compared to the Ping G drivers they replace (which replaced the G30), the G400’s look like they cut carbs.

Despite their slimmer frames, however, the G400 drivers are actually more forgiving than the G drivers (which were even more forgiving than the G30). That’s why Ping representatives say smaller is actually better in the G400’s case. The drivers have the lowest, most rearward CG of any Ping drivers ever, and their smaller size is said to improve their aerodynamics so golfers can swing them fractionally faster. The other big change is a new face material made of T9S+ titanium, which is thinner and more flexible to help golfers generate more ball speed.

Ping_G400_LST_2

For this review, I wanted to put the G400 and G400 LST to the test against the G and the G LST drivers that they replace, so I took them to the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. I hit five shots with each driver on Trackman IV, and to ensure as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as possible, I tested each driver head with the same shaft. Each driver head was adjusted to the same loft, or as close as possible.

Note: The G, G LST, and G400 drivers I tested were 10.5-degree heads adjusted to 9.5 degrees. The G400 LST had a loft of 10 degrees, and it was adjusted to 9.4 degrees.

The Test

PingG400_2017

In my personal driver tests, I don’t usually see a huge uptick in distance or accuracy when comparing the latest drivers to the most recent models from the same manufacturer. Improvements generally come in the form of improved head shaping, a better feel, or enhanced adjustability. That’s why I was surprised to see such a big change in my launch conditions and dispersion with the G400 drivers.

G400 Test Results: With the G400, I launched my drives an average of 1.6-degrees higher than I did with the G while dropping spin an average of 416 rpm. That led to a significant improvement in distance. With my swing speed and ball speed staying about the same, I added an average of 7.2 yards more carry distance and 8.7 yards more total distance.

G400 LST Test Results: First, a note about the G400 LST. It has a CG that’s slightly lower and more forward than the standard G400 driver to help golfers reduce spin. Like the G30 LST and G LST, it’s still very much a rear-CG driver, but its design helps high-speed golfers who can consistently find the center of the club face maximize distance without highjacking forgiveness. When I test Ping drivers, the LST is generally the model that creates the best performance, and the G400 LST was no exception. I saw an average of a 1.2-degree higher launch angle with all other things staying about the same when I compared it to the G LST. The result was an average of 6.6 yards more carry distance and 3.1 yards more total distance. It was the longest and straightest driver I hit in the test.

Note: Ping also sells a G400 SFT (Straight Flight Technology) driver, which has added draw bias. To learn more about it, click through to tech story on the G400, G400 LST and G400 SFT drivers. 

Dispersion

G400_Dispertion

One way to explain the improved launch conditions is that I hit the G400 drivers more consistently. As you can see in the Trackman dispersion chart, I hit the G400 and G400 LST drivers straighter on average than the G and G LST. Is that its slightly enhanced forgiveness shining through? Maybe, maybe not.

To me, the changes Ping made to the look and feel of the driver were just as important as the performance difference I saw on Trackman. I’ve always preferred smaller driver heads, or at least 460-cubic-centimeter drivers that appear smaller than their size. For that reason, I felt more confident with the G400 drivers in my hands. I didn’t mind that I didn’t see any added swing speed or ball speed from the smaller driver head. I was sold on the looks alone.

I also preferred the sound of the G400 drivers to the G drivers. There was definitely much more of a “thwack” than a “ping” at impact, which made the G400’s feel more powerful. Looks and feel are subjective, of course, but to me the improvement was night and day. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that my fondness for the looks and feel of the G400 was at least a contributing factor to my improved performance in the test, if not the most important factor. When I like the way a club look at address, I tend to hit it better, and I know I’m not alone.

I do want readers to keep in mind that this was a one-person test and I hit a limited amount of balls. Yes, it’s a great indication that the G400 driver can be measurably better than a G driver, but it’s not a guarantee.

I also want to address the weaknesses of the G400 drivers. While they’re few, they could push golfers into another driver model in a fitting. Unlike Callaway’s GBB EpicTaylorMade’s M1 or Titleist’s 917 drivers, the G400’s don’t have CG adjustability. That means there’s no way to fine tune ball flight outside of a shaft or loft adjustment. A bigger deal for some golfers might be the G400 crowns. Despite their smaller size, there’s still a lot to look at address, as was the case with the G drivers.

Ping_G400_LST_4

Aerodynamic features on the front of the crowns, “Turbulators,” have been thickened for the G400 release. There’s also Ping’s “DragonFly Technology,” a geometry on the back of the driver crowns that helps push CG lower and more rearward in the driver heads. I personally think the G400 crowns give the drivers an old-school, muscle car-like look, but there’s no question they won’t fly with all golfers.

Whatever your thoughts about what’s on top of the G400 drivers, there’s no question that what’s under the hood can offer something the G and G30 drivers did not. Maybe you’ll like the smaller head. Maybe you’ll prefer the quieter sound. Maybe the improved forgiveness will show up on a launch monitor or on the course. Or maybe you’ll just flat out rip a G400 farther and straighter down the middle like I did.

If that last bit happens, try not to second-guess it.

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Driver Reviews

Members Choice: The Best Driver of 2017

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What determines the best driver on the market; is it the opinion of professional club fitters, professional golfers or testing results from a group of amateurs?

At GolfWRX, we believe all three sources can lead golfers to an answer. Being a website founded by passionate golfers with a mission to serve passionate golfers, though, we place a special emphasis on the opinions of our GolfWRX Members — the most knowledgeable group of golfers on the planet. No other group of golfers in the world tests golf clubs as frequently or as extensively as GolfWRX Members. So who better to poll to get an initial indication of the best performing drivers so far in 2017?

So we asked them, “What’s the best driver of 2017?” They voted for the three drivers they felt most worthy of the title and provided feedback about their selections in our special forum thread. You can see the results below (as of the first three weeks of voting), as well as quotes we pulled from GolfWRX Members about the drivers from our forum.

Remember that our polls will remain open for voting throughout the year, and we’re going to keep an eye on the percentages as more and more golfers have an opportunity to test these drivers. We’re also working on another Best Driver list, which will evaluate clubs in another important way. Stay tuned!

Keep in mind that there’s no single driver on the market that is the absolute best option for every golfer: that’s why nearly every manufacturer makes at least two different models. As this list indicates, however, some drivers are working better than others this year. Happy Testing!

Note: Forum posts were minimally edited for grammar, style, spelling and clarity.

Cobra King LTD Black (3.00 percent of votes)

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  • The General: All-black LTD is really clean looking. I’m about to cover up the orange on my LTD with lead tape. Orange is played out
  • mh7vwLove my LTD, but wish the black finish (or even this gray) didn’t have that subtle checkering you see in some like. Prefer plain black.
  • dbleagI am a fan of the black/orange combo. The performance and sound of the LTD is very appealing to me. I also like that the standard length is 45 inches. For me, that helps it be super-accurate. With the low-spin design, I hit it longest of the current offerings and can’t remember the last time I missed a fairway. Straight, solid, low spin and nice.
Further Reading

Mizuno JPX-900 (3.20 percent)

Mizuno_JPX_900_Driver

  • johnnythundersJPX goes straight. Best real-deal shaft and is long and very adjustable.
  • KT35That blue head looks awesome sitting on the ground. I hit balls off the toe and heel and didn’t see the big drop off in distance like the previous models.
  • nmortonThe JPX-900 is definitely more forgiving compared to the JPX-850, and sounds much better. Though they did sacrifice a bit by going with a little larger profile, but it’s easy to get used to. The graphics are so so, but this driver performs. I’m really digging the Evo II (shaft).
  • jay65I can see that Mizuno is really making a decent effort with its drivers/fairways in terms of tech and aesthetics, and they compliment the new JPX-900 line of irons really well, but if they’re going to make any inroads they really have to address this issue of their custom shafts options. It’s rubbish.
  • bok006The JPX-900, after being properly adjusted by the fitter, gave me an extra 20 yards just like that. My swing speed suggested I was borderline S to X (flex), but the fitter said unless I was fighting a hook I should stick with the S.
  • bubbagump: …the JPX-900, when properly fit, is just as long on a consistent basis than all the new models I tried in real life situations. It looks great, sounds solid and just knows the way to keep the ball in play.  
  • ChazbI’m 69 years old, have a swing speed of 91 mph and played nine with the JPX-900 this morning. It was in the 40s with a brisk wind hit it around 220 to 230 yards. It was a fairway finder, has great feel and is one of the easiest to control drivers I have ever hit. I can’t wait ’til it is warmer and can dial it in more. So far I have the two weights all the way forward for a lower flight and the other set with a draw bias with 10.5 degrees of loft. This driver is the real deal; it may not be the longest or the shortest, but it is a fairway finder which IMO makes it a winner.
Further Reading

Ping G (3.80 percent)

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  • Wesquire: Ping G is the most forgiving so it wins.
  • bopper53: Ping G hands down. Great distance and the most forgiving.
  • Dannydubbbs: The Ping G series is just too forgiving. The distance is comparable between most models, but Ping always seems to win out with forgiveness.
  • Bruin BearThe Ping G is going to be overlooked because it’s looked at as “game improvement,” but this driver is a beast. I liked the LS, but it requires a faster swing to get results and in the cold outdoors I just don’t have that all the time. I think the G is the perfect blend of performance and forgiveness.
  • cmrl1986Only reason I switched from the Ping G25 was that the G felt less harsh off the face. Same distance just about.
Further Reading

Cobra King F7+ (3.90 percent)

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  • EntourageLife: Ball really flies off face. Driver head controls spin well. Not one drive “ballooned” and trajectory was high and best of all… very easy to work ball right to left for a confident draw.
  • GollieThe F7+ is another great offering from Cobra… I didn’t get the “MAN, this is gonna take my LTD out of the bag” feeling, but it has very good sound, feel and performance.
  • J13F7+ is a great offering from Cobra and IMO is in the top-3 drivers this year. Epic is the standout for me numbers wise, then M series and F7+ are right behind it. Love the Agera (shaft) in there!!! Such a great shaft; I can’t seem to get mine out of the bag.
  • Golfer from MOHit both Cobras lefty and as a lefty the LTD is the shizzle. Last year it was the LTD and Big Bertha down to the absolute wire… the F7+ is more workable than the LTD, but not longer and a little worse on mishits.
  • BoognishI took a few swings with the F7+ at Golf Galaxy yesterday. 9.5 degrees with heaviest weight forward. The stock shaft is actually the same model I play in my GBB (albeit in smoked black instead of yellow). Ball flight and distance were similar to my GBB with good consistent sub-3000 backspin. Sound was OK, feel was harder than the GBB.
  • thechief16Just from the range (no LM), I didn’t see a noticeable performance improvement with the F7+ over the original King LTD. And I like the look and sound/feel of the LTD better.
Further Reading

Ping G LS Tec (4.90 percent)

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  • drvrwdgeI played the G LS with the Ping Tour 65X (shaft) tipped an inch for about a year. Just put the HZRDUS Yellow 75 6.5 tipped an inch and never thought it was possible, but it’s longer and straighter. Best driver shaft combo I’ve ever hit. You can feel that HZRDUS throughout the entire swing. Really gives you a solid connected feel.
  • Mtngolfer1: I am not sure that I would consider this a 2017 Driver, but my vote went to the Ping G LS Tec. The fact that my G is still holding its own against the latest 2017 releases has me very excited to see what Ping will release later this year.
  • 3woodvt: Fairway finder and plenty long.
  • pitchinwedgeI’ve found the LS to be nearly as fade biased as the M family. I get pretty good results with the LS by making a conscious effort to make more of an in-to-out swing. Any lapse in concentration and everything goes right. The M’s require even more effort, which is the reason I stayed with the LS instead.
  • 3 Jack ParAfter an up and down year with the G LS, I’ve actually recently gone back to my G30 LS head. I only have a couple of rounds as a sample so far, so I can’t really draw a conclusion about whether one or the other is better, but with the same shaft it seems like my G30 head might be a little longer. Honestly, the performance differences are pretty minimal if you really compare the two generations.
Further Reading

Titleist 917D3 (5.30 percent)

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  • GavaThe 917D3 is in my bag now, and I’ve found it incredibly long with a recently purchased Graphite Design Tour AD MJ 7TX shaft. Feel and accuracy has been a real improvement as well.
  • Togatown22I find my 917D3 to be just as forgiving as my 915D2 was, and man do I prefer looking down at the head shape and color versus the 915. Very confidence inspiring.
  • NIxhex524I would definitely give the D3 a whirl. I feel like Titleist has made great strides at making the smaller head way more hittable for us ams.
  • KPH808So in conclusion, I was hitting the ball about 9 yards further on average and 3-4 mph faster ball speeds with the 917D3 vs. the 915 D4. The biggest thing for me was the forgiveness between the two; the 917D3 was more forgiving on mishits.
  • brushieThe 917D3 head feels soft like the 910 and sounds great. I never had an issue with the 915 sound; it wasn’t great, but it didn’t bother me too much. This is much better, though. The 917D3 head shape is perfect to my eye as well. The area where the 917 shines is forgiveness. 

Further Reading

TaylorMade M1 440 (5.35 percent)

TaylorMade_M1_440_Feat

  • Tigermatt31: The M1 440 is best driver I’ve had ever.
  • TollBros: The M1 440 is definitely lower spin than the M1 460 or M2 from last year. Launch angle isn’t really any lower, but spin is lower for sure.
  • specimania: This year’s 440 is more forgiving.
  • MCozYes, this 440 is more forgiving, and yet it also appears to be more workable than both of the previous M1 and M2s.
  • nitramTo save you a bunch of reading and crunching numbers, I quickly concluded there was a little more forgiveness and exactly +0.4 mph ball speed with the 440. By forgiveness I simply mean this: A 1.48 smash 440 will give you the same ball speed and distance as a 1.49/1.50 430. But if you get a 1.50 from both there is no measurable gain. Side-to-side dispersion was better by 4.7 feet with the 440. Workability was a wash between them, although the 430 seems a bit more fade biased whereas I’ll describe the 440 as a scosche more neutral.
  • tj24: I hit the M1 440 with my Aldila RIP at an 80-gram X-flex. For me, the spin numbers were around 1700 rpm which is probably to low for my swing. I did, however, like the shape of the head and I felt like I could easily work the ball both ways.
  • halfsumoI really think they nailed it with the shape of this 440 head. Nice pear shape, no weird bulges or ridges that you have to get used to.
Further Reading

Titleist 917D2 (6.65 percent)

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  • tsletten: Love the sound of the 917D2.
  • bladehunter: No doubt the 917D2 is an accurate, forgiving driver that doesn’t look as big as it is and sounds fantastic.
  • JStangMaybe it’s just me, but I find the face to be more shallow (top to bottom) with the 917D2 than other drivers that I’ve tried lately.
  • LuckyLowbrowI was actually spinning it too low with the D4. Going up to the D2 normalized my spin rate, but led to such an improvement in consistency across the face.

Further Reading

TaylorMade M1 460 2017 (11.81 percent)

TaylorMade_M1_460-Feat

  • Ereim: I ended up going with the M1 460. It gave me a slightly tighter dispersion, and I liked looking down at it slightly more.
  • jdenham15: The 2017 TaylorMade M1 is a great driver, but I tend to miss wide right and struggled to turn it over.
  • ZBigStick: The M1 460 gave me the best results. Was able to increase launch without much added spin with the (T-Track) weight. Feel is good and felt forgiving; dispersion results backing that up.
  • BillMurrayGolfingThe face is hot, receptive, thin and makes a nice sound. I like that.
  • JStangSound and feel were both fantastic. I couldn’t ask for much more in the sound and feel department than what this club offers. Plenty of feedback was provided based on impact as I would expect. I could easily tell where I missed based on feel.
  • tnordJust as another tester found, moving the weight back and forward absolutely does impact how the club sounds. I’m much more a fan of the weight back.
  • chickenpotpieMoving the slider to the draw position made the feel of the driver a little harsher. Feel was much much smoother with that weight in the middle. I didn’t see any such changes with the front/rear slider.
Further Reading

TaylorMade M2 2017 (11.86 percent)

M2_Speed_Pocket

  • ZBigStickI liked the feel of the new M2 but seemed to get better results and numbers with the new M1. Could be the extra 5 grams of head weight?
    It was dynamite with the GD TP-6 (shaft)!
  • erock9174On Trackman it didn’t put up the most ball speed, but counting all shots the M2 had the longest average distance.
  • gripandripThe M2 seems to have a little bit of a fade bias for me. And the head is HUGE. Maybe it’s a mental thing to be able to turnover a head that large.
  • Bomber_11M2 has very big shoes to fill, as the 2016 M2 was arguably one of the best drivers of the last 3-4 years.
  • LONG&STR8It’s hard to ignore the sound of the new M2. That may be TaylorMade’s biggest fail with that driver, as the sound and feel was one of the best things about the first version that I’ll have in the bag until something better comes along.
  • Z1ggy16The new M2 was terrible for me, not sure why. Unsure if it was the shaft I used but it spun up like a monster and ball speeds weren’t any better than previous M2.
  • Peanut191I don’t really think that the new M2 was much of a step backward, probably more that it doesn’t seem like a big step forward compared to last year’s model. I was hitting my 2016 M2 against a 2017 M2 indoors (which usually amplifies the louder, more obnoxious sound) and I didn’t notice that much of a difference in sound. It could have been that I might have just happened to get a hold of a head that was more muted than normal with the new one, but I just didn’t notice much difference. Performance wise, I could tell that the 2017 was slightly more forgiving than the 2016 model, but I was basically getting the same ball speed and spin numbers, so I didn’t see the need to upgrade.
  • gioguy21: Played 54 holes this weekend. The M2 was as reliable as it could get. I hit 11/12 fairways Friday, 10/12 Saturday and 5/9 or so yesterday (windy). Controllable, just wants to go straight. The sound no longer bothers me. I think it’s when hitting indoors or in range bays that it gets unbearably loud. Makes a different sound when hit on the screws I’ve found, similar to last years M2/M1 with less high-pitched ring. The forgiveness is very obvious, as I hit a couple that were close to center of the face but either high or little out toward the toe that flew similar trajectory and distance to how a well struck shot would react. I think where this driver really shines is the ability to either tee it high and hit it with higher trajectory or the ability to hit it lower with a low tee (3/4 of the ball under the crown) and hit laser beams that don’t move left or right.
  • G-BoneFrom what I’ve seen on Trackman, 2017 M1 was a big jump from 2016; however, 2016 M2 was so good, 2017 is a minor jump.
Further Reading

Callaway GBB Epic (14.91 percent)

GBB_Epic_Hero

  • HDTVMAN: I hit both the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion and Epic with a 44.5-inch UST Recoil F3 shaft and the results were very close. From customer testing, it appears the Epic is longer for those with higher (95+) swing speeds. I have also seen that 44.25-44.5-inch lengths promote tighter dispersion with customers, no loss of distance and better over-all drives.
  • mbbrewer: Tried them all and for me Epic was the one. Fastest ball speed, lowest spin and tightest dispersion.
  • Ereim: Epic felt great, looked great and the numbers were basically 99.9 percent optimized for my swing.
  • johnnylongballz72There is Epic and there is the M series… then there is everyone else. The votes here show it, the PGA Tour use shows it and launch monitors everywhere show it.
  • misplacedtexan83: GBB Epic/Sub Zero pushed the envelop in design and materials to produce increased ball speed and gains. For once a driver did what a company said it would do.
Further Reading

Callaway GBB Epic Sub Zero (16.91 percent)

GBB_Epic_Sub_Zero_Hero

  • jdenham15: I tested the Epic Sub Zero and Epic against my 2016 TaylorMade M1 and the ball speed was 5 mph higher on average, which gave me about 10 yards more carry disstance. That was great, but the part that sold me was the forgiveness. I love my Epic Sub Zero. I feel like it’s easier to turn over and I can work it both ways.
  • Z1ggy16Sub Zero was hands down the best, including my gaming M1 (yeah, not even top-3) due to the combination of lower spin, good forgiveness and feel and looks.
  • jimhaire: I had a 2016 M2 and went with the Epic Sub Zero. The look at address suited my eye and the feel off the face was better for me. And the club went straight.
  • Sef: I have tested a lot of these drivers and for me the Epic Sub Zero was so much better than everything else. I wish I could just apply all three votes to it.
Further Reading

Members Choice 2017

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Driver Reviews

GolfWRX Members Gain 7 Yards on Average with 2017 TaylorMade M1, M2 Drivers

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5 GolfWRX Members
Gamer vs. 2017 TaylorMade m1/m2 Drivers
+7.01 Yards Distance Gained on Average
-615 RPM Spin reduction on Average

What can the new 2017 TaylorMade M1 and M2 drivers do for your game?

Five GolfWRX Members found out last week when they pitted their drivers against TaylorMade’s latest models at The Kingdom, the custom-fitting facility at TaylorMade’s headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.

The event was the first of #TaylorMadeTuesdays, a series of TaylorMade-sponsored events that are exclusive to GolfWRX Members. The five members received Trackman 4 fittings for their drivers, which were built immediately afterward so that they could test the clubs the next day at Aviara Golf Club, home course of the LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic.

12_things_TaylorMade_2017_M1_M2_drivers-1021x580

Our editorial team was present to observe and document the fittings, where they saw the five GolfWRX Members add an average of +7.01 yards to their drives with a new TaylorMade driver. Key to the success of TaylorMade’s 2017 M1 and M2 drivers was their ability to remove excess spin from the drives of each GolfWRX Member (-615 rpm on average). As a result, each player was hitting longer drives on their best shots, while achieving a straighter ball flight that was less affected by wind.

Every GolfWRX Member gained yardage with a new TaylorMade driver; the largest distance gain was an impressive +10.1 yards, while the smallest was a very respectable +4.8 yards.

TMDrivers2017_groupshort

Our testers were better players, but they covered a range of handicaps (+1 to 7.1) and swing speeds (95 to 117.5 mph) within the better-player category. Learn more about the five GolfWRX Members, their new drivers and their experiences in our individual recaps below.

Andrew Harveson (drewtaylor21)

Andrew_WRX_Aviara-4864

  • Distance Gained: 4.8 yards
  • Handicap: +1
  • Swing Speed: 117.5 mph

New Driver: M2 D-Type (9.5 degrees, set to 9 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Prototype PT6F5 (65X)

Old Driver: TaylorMade SLDR (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya ProForce VTS 6X Silver

Andrew Harveson brought a TaylorMade SLDR (10.5 degrees) driver with him to his fitting, which was already optimized for his game. He fits into a group of golfers who are often hard pressed to see distance gains from new clubs. The former college golfer, now 34, has an ability to consistently contact drives in the center of the club face. He also has an upward angle of attack with his driver (+3 degrees on average) that helps him maximize the distance of his drives.

Nonetheless, TaylorMade’s fitters helped Andrew find an average of +4.8 yards with a new TaylorMade driver, but it took some experimentation and outside-the-box thinking.

TMDrivers2017_andrew

Andrew’s SLDR driver was set to a neutral loft and lie setting, but to combat his tendency to hit shots that slid to the right his SLDR’s front weight track was shifted to the max draw setting. According to TaylorMade fitter Jason Werner, the SLDR is a more draw-biased driver company’s current M1 460, M1 440 and M2 models. After seeing the ball fade too much with those drivers, Jason had Andrew try the company’s M2 D-Type driver (9.5 degrees), which is designed with more draw bias to help golfers eliminate excessive left-to-right curvature.

Andrew’s Dispersion Chart

Andrew_Harveson_Dispersion

Andrew achieved slightly more left bias with the 2017 M2 D-Type, which was what he wanted for his tee game.

The M2 D-Type gave Andrew the confidence to play his preferred cut shot off the tee without fear that it would drift into the right rough. Actually, it created a bit too much draw bias for him, which is why the loft setting was lowered 1-click to 9 degrees. The change helped him lower his spin rate -553 rpm on average, while also opening the club face slightly to take the left side out of play.

“While the averages don’t really look better with the D-Type compared to SLDR, I had a few mishits in the D-Type grouping that, if removed, would have shown a more accurate picture of the results,” Andrew wrote in the forums.

The last piece of the puzzle for Andrew’s fitting was finding the correct shaft. He tried several low-launching shafts that proved to have too little torque for his swing, exacerbating his rightward miss. He ended up seeing the best performance from his gamer shaft, UST Mamiya’s ProForce VTS Silver 6X, which has a mid-torque design. TaylorMade’s Tour Department also provided him with a similar alternative that they thought he might like, UST’s Elements Prototype PT6F5 (65X), which proved to be a winner on the course the next day.

“[TaylorMade] gave me the newer [better] UST Elements Chrome Platinum Prototype PT6F5!” he wrote. “Supposed to be a very similar profile to the [Aldila] Rogue [Silver] 125. I was a bit anxious to see if it would hold up as the right fit, but after just a couple swings on the range at Aviara, I was convinced! It’s a bomber.”

With the M2 D-Type, Andrew’s good shots got better. His peak ball speed went from 175 mph with his SLDR to 178 with the M2 D-Type, enhancing his distance potential. He was also seeing a lower ball height from the new driver — his peak height was reduced from 135 feet to 122 feet — that he “really liked.”

“It was a bit amusing though, everyone at [TaylorMade] seemed shocked that I got put into the D-Type,” he wrote.

You wouldn’t expect the fastest swinger and most accomplished player in the group to be a fit for TaylorMade’s most draw-biased driver, as the model is generally reserved for slower swingers. As a traveling +1 handicap, however, Andrew’s needs were very specific and met perfectly by the 2017 M2 D-Type.

In Their Own Words: See what Andrew said about his experience

Brian Ussery (BCULAW)

Brian_WRX_Aviara-4252

  • Distance Gained: 5.5 yards
  • Handicap: 6
  • Swing Speed: 106 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 6X

Old Driver: Titleist 915D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 60S

Brian Ussery arrived at The Kingdom with a Titleist 915D2 (9.5 degrees) driver that he knew wasn’t right for him. The 43-year-old was aware of the fact that his low-launching, high-spinning drives were costing him distance, but he wasn’t sure how to improve.

As it goes in a lot of fittings, Brian didn’t swing as well as he wanted to at The Kingdom, but his outlook on the game of golf allowed the fitting to be a success. “Golf is my therapy and my chance to find peace, quiet, time away and fun,” he wrote in the forum. Spending time with the former minor league baseball player who’s now a lawyer, his commitment to improving his game was immediately apparent. On this day, getting better required patience with his swing and an open mind to the recommendations of his fitters. He was up to the task, and in the end he was rewarded with a new solution for his tee game.

TMDrivers2017_brian

The TaylorMade fitters started Brian with an M2 D-Type (9.5 degrees) driver, but he struggled to hit it high enough to be effective. He found much more success with an M1 460 that had more loft (10.5 degrees). Excessive spin was still an issue, however, especially with the added loft, but the M1 460 had a solution. By sliding the driver’s Back Track weight all the way to the front of the driver, he achieved a lower-spinning trajectory that not only allowed him to hit straighter drives but achieve more roll-out, too. It helped negate his negative angle of attack of -4.5 degrees, which was the main culprit for his low-launching, high-spinning trajectory.

It was at this point in the fitting that Brian had to make a decision. Did he want to continue to chase more distance or did he want a driver that would help him hit more fairways? With his busy work and family schedule, he’s only able to play nine holes of golf per week. That made the choice obvious; he was going to target consistency.

The TaylorMade fitters recommended Brian try a shorter driver. His 915D2 measured 45.25 inches on TaylorMade’s ruler, and he was advised to try a driver that measured 44.75 inches. With the shorter driver his consistency was immediately improved, and it was time to dial in the right shaft.

Brian’s Dispersion Chart

Brian_Ussery_Dispersion

Brian hit most of his shots with Fujikura’s Pro Tour Spec 73X shaft, which produced good results, but in the end he made the decision to go with Graphite Design’s Tour AD-DI 6X. It provided the stiffness he needed for straighter drives, but offered a smoother feel (Note: since Brian hit limited shots with the AD-DI 6X, the data displayed in the chart above shows his performance with the Fujikura shaft). His fitter, Jason Werner, supported his shaft decision. And as Brian put it: “Based on my on-course play … it would seem he is pretty spot on.”

With the M1 460, Brian saw an additional 5.5 yards of total distance over his gamer, but more important to him was the increased accuracy. Even at a higher loft, he was able to reduce his spin rate an average of -744 rpm. So now when his drives hit the fairway, they will keep rolling. And Brian expects to be hitting a lot more fairways.

In Their Own Words: See what Brian said about his experience

Chris Scheeweiss (Schnee)

Chris_WRX_Aviara-4802

  • Distance Gained: 10.1 yards
  • Handicap: 3
  • Swing Speed: 112 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (8.5 degrees, set to 10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex)

Old Driver: TaylorMade SLDR (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Blue 75TX

Chris Scheeweiss was the biggest gainer of the five GolfWRX Members, finding +10.1 yards on average when compared to the TaylorMade SLDR (10.5 degrees) driver he brought with him to the Kingdom.

Key to Chris’ success, a 3-handicap with ample club head speed (112 mph), was reducing the spin caused by his big miss, which was high and to the right. While that isn’t Chris’ typical miss, it’s what showed up at the Kingdom. TaylorMade’s M1 460 proved that he could handle that miss, as well as any other miss he might encounter on his journey to improve his game thanks to its wide-ranging adjustability features.

TMDrivers2017_chris

During the fitting, the M1 460 scrubbed -627 rpm of spin off Chris’ drives. To do so, TaylorMade Fitter Jason Werner gave Chris a 8.5-degree M1 460, but he increased the loft of the driver to 10.5 degrees, maximizing the full range of TaylorMade’s 4-degree Loft Sleeve. Adding two degrees of loft closed the club face, which helped eliminate Chris’ slice spin.

Jason made the adjustment without telling Chris, however, and he was glad when Chris said he didn’t notice the change at address.

The reason Chris didn’t notice the more closed club face? The crowns of TaylorMade’s 2017 drivers are engineered to look as square as possible at address regardless of what setting is used due to their cleverly designed black-and-white graphics. Chris had recently been fit at a local club fitter for a 2017 M2 driver (10.5 degrees), but this setup was “much better than the combo I was previously fit for,” Chris wrote in the forum.

Finding the right shaft was a faster process that Chris expected. Project X’s HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex) offered him the lower trajectory and added stability he needed to hit his best drives.

Chris’ Dispersion Chart

Chris_Scheeweiss_Dispersion

“Jason … didn’t think we had to go much further,” Chris wrote in the forum. “I wasn’t completely sold on the combo, but I deferred to his knowledge. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust the combo itself, it’s that I wasn’t hitting ANYTHING all that well, so I didn’t know how it would perform on course when my swing was better. I’m glad I trusted him, because it was AMAZING on course.”

As Chris works to eliminate the right tendency in his swing, Jason recommended that he try lowering the loft of the driver, which will open to face to reduce left bias. They agreed that at some point in the future Chris may be able to return to the 8.5-degree loft setting, which could net him even more distance. And if he needs more spin to optimize his launch conditions at that point, he can gradually slide the Back Track’s weight rearward to achieve it.

In Their Own Words: See what Chris said about his experience

Darrin Sloan (DNice26)

Darren_WRX_Aviara-4675

  • Distance Gained: 7.1 yards
  • Handicap: 1
  • Swing Speed: 110 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M2 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 65 (6.0 flex)

Old Driver: Ping G (10.5)
Shaft: UST Mamiya ProForce AvixCore 69 Red (Tour-S flex)

Darrin Sloan, 36, knew exactly what he wanted from a new driver. He arrived at his fitting with a Ping G (10.5 degrees) that was giving him the height he wanted, but he was looking for a straighter ball flight.

The 1-handicap, former college golfer started his fitting with a TaylorMade M2 (10.5 degrees) with a Project X HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex), a combo that significantly lowered his launch angle and spin rate. While it was giving him more distance, the ball flight was too low for his needs despite his 110 mph swing speed and average angle of attack of +2 degrees.

TMDrivers2017_darrin

Darrin told TaylorMade Fitter Jason Werner he needed a higher ball flight to cut the corners of the doglegs at his home course, where he plays 95 percent of his golf. So the two starting experimenting with different heads and different shafts in search of a more familiar trajectory, as well as more distance.

He actually preferred liked the look and the feel of TaylorMade’s M1 460 driver, but there was no denying the performance of the M2. It offered him nearly +4 mph of ball speed on average over his gamer, an incredible improvement.

Once the M2 (10.5 degrees) was linked up with a Project X HZRDUS Yellow 65 (6.0 flex) shaft, it was clear Darrin had a winner. The counter-balanced shaft helped him launch his drives higher, giving him the trajectory he needed to tackle his home course. It also helped him eliminate his miss to the right and easily execute his preferred right-to-left ball flight.

In terms of distance, Darrin was also able to sightly increase his carry distance (+0.6 yards) while significantly increasing his roll out (+6.5 yards). His total yardage gain with the new driver was +7.1 yards.

Darren’s Dispersion Chart

Darren_Sloan_Dispersion

The takeaway for GolfWRXers is that TaylorMade’s new M2 driver can offer more ball speed than the company’s M1 driver for certain players. And if you’re struggling with either a ball flight that’s too low or a rightward miss, a counter-balanced shaft like Project X’s HZRDUS Yellow can help.

In Their Own Words: See what Darrin said about his experience

George Cellette (GC70)

George_WRX_Aviara-4360

  • Distance Gained: 7.6 yards
  • Handicap: 7.1
  • Swing Speed: 95 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-BB 6S

Old Driver: Callaway XR (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujkura Speeder Evolution 565 (S-Flex)

Like a diesel engine, George needed some time to warm up during his fitting. But once he did, he began pounding drives down the left center of The Kingdom’s range.

At first, it looked as though George might post a ridiculous distance gain with a TaylorMade M1 460. He increased his distance more than 30 yards over the Callaway XR ’16 he hit at the beginning of the fitting. As he and TaylorMade Fitter Jason Werner dialed in the loft, shaft and CG setting, however, Jason noticed that George’s swing speed had jumped nearly 10 mph from 85 mph to 95 mph since he first started hitting balls. He asked George to retest his Callaway to make sure that the final data would reflect a fair comparison of his old and new drivers.

TMDrivers2017_george

The result was a smaller average distance gain with his new TaylorMade, but still an impressive one.

George first tested TaylorMade’s M1 460 with 8.5 degrees of loft, but because George was fighting a slice he closed the face to 10.5 degrees to create a left bias. As George loosened up, however, his slice turned into a gentle fade. For that reason, he switched George from the 8.5-degree head to a 9.5-degree head in a neutral setting.

While George’s warmed-up swing was the biggest contributor to the improved trajectory, a new shaft and weight setting also helped. At first Jason gave George a Project X HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex) shaft, a low-launch shaft with ample stability to help him reduce spin. It would have been a good combo, but George wanted to test a few more shafts to see if there was more distance available to him. The winning shaft ended up being Graphite Design’s Tour AD-BB 6S, which gave George an even lower-spinning trajectory.

The adjustable weight settings of the M1 460 further optimized George’s ball flight. Since he already had enough height on his drives, Jason was able to slide the M1 460’s Back Track weight all the way forward to decrease spin. He also slid the driver’s Front Track weight all the way to the heel to maximize draw bias. The two changes had George hitting high-launching, low-spinning bombs that barely had any curvature.

George’s Dispersion Chart

George_Cellette_Dispersion

When all was said and done, George was able to scrub an incredible -908 rpm of spin off his drives. And along with his straighter trajectory, he walked away with +7.6 yards of added distance.

In Their Own Words: See what George said about his experience

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