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Review: Titleist 917D2 and 917D3 drivers

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Pros: Titleist adds CG adjustability, gives golfers the ability to control draw and fade bias. Sound and feel are less metallic than 915 drivers. Premium aftermarket shafts offered at no upcharge.

Cons: A forward-CG model like Titleist’s 915D4 is absent from the initial launch. Accomplished, high-spin players could struggle to lower spin rates to an optimal range.

Who they’re for: The 917 drivers target serious golfers with their expanded adjustability, but their balanced designs will suit the vast majority of golfers.

The Review

  • Models: 917D2 (8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 12), 917D3 (8.5, 9.5, 10.5)
  • Release Date: Oct. 21
  • Price: $499 (MAP)

Spend enough time with folks from Titleist — club designers, club builders, club fitters, marketers, etc. — and you get a true sense of how committed they are, as a company, to bringing the Tour experience to golfers. It shows in new initiatives such as Titleist Thursday’s, the vast amounts of grind offerings through WedgeWorks, and the new 917D2 and 917D3 drivers, too.

Related: See the results from the Ultimate Titleist Driver Fitting Experience

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With the neutral 12-gram weight, 917 head weighs have increased 1.5 grams over 915 drivers.

While there are 20 million-plus golfers in the U.S. who play at least one round in a given year; Titleist targets those who don’t just play golf, but would identify themselves as golfers, says Josh Talge, Vice President of Marketing for Titleist Golf Clubs. They’re for golfers who “really want to play better,” he says.

“More than 30 percent of Tour players were using hot melt to adjust CG 5-6 years ago,” Talge said. “And even with the 915 drivers, too.”

The biggest change to the 917 drivers is their adjustable center of gravity (CG), which is achieved through Titleist’s SureFit CG technology. It allows golfers to manipulate the draw and fade bias of the drivers. While CG adjustability is used widely in the industry, it’s something never before seen from Titleist in a full-scale release, so it’s a big deal.

The SureFit CG weights, which look like tubes, are easy to adjust and identify what setting they’re in. There’s an opening on one side of the weight housing, so you can see whether there’s a “+” or “-” sign, with the plus-sign being the heavier side (think of it like a battery). If you see the “+” sign it’s set to draw, and if you see a “-” sign it’s set to fade. If you see a solid red circle, that means you have the neutral weight installed.

You’ll notice the CG weight system is set at a slight angle on the rear portion of the driver sole. That’s to influence a lower-spinning fade and a higher-spinning draw than if the bar was parallel to the face, while also maintaining a high moment of inertia (MOI), a measure of forgiveness, regardless of what setting is used.

The 917 drivers also have the familiar 16-setting SureFit Hosel from Titleist, allowing face angle and lie angles to change independently. The combination of SureFit technologies will surely allow for more trajectory control than ever from the company.

Also new in the 917 drivers is the Active Recoil Channel 2.0 — now with variable thickness to reduce spin and increase speed where it’s needed — and Radial Speed Face 2.0, which is designed with eight regions that have different thicknesses to optimize ball speed in each location on the face.

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The 917D2 (right) measures 460 cubic centimeters, while the 917D3 measures 440 cubic centimeters and has a deeper face.

Titleist fans will also notice drastic differences in look, sound and feel from the 915 drivers — reminiscent of the company’s drivers from yesteryear. A new crown finish called “Liquid Slate” resembles fan favorites such as the 975D and 983K. Titleist also remedied the metallic sound of the 915 drivers by tuning the acoustics using ribs, structural stiffness and the curvature of the club heads.

Related: Our review of Titleist’s 915D2 and 915D3 drivers. 

The 917 drivers will be available on Oct. 21 and will sell for $499 (MAP). Stock shafts (which have a stock length of 45 inches) will include Mitsubishi Rayon’s Diamana Limited M+, S+ and D+ models, Aldila’s M-AX, and Fujikura’s Speeder Pro TS. Also with purchase, consumers get a neutral weight (options include 8, 10, 12, 14 and 16 gram weights, with 12 being stock) and a matching draw-fade weight. Additional weights can be purchased individually for $40, or golfers can purchase a full SureFit Weight Kit for $180.

According to Titleist, there is a 50/50 split between the 917D2 and 917D3 on Tour, as opposed to a more heavily favored 915D3 in the 915 models. Also 30 percent of players have the SureFit CG weight in a non-neutral position, and there’s an “almost even split” between 8, 10 and 12 gram weights on Tour.

The Numbers

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To test the 917D2 and 917D3 drivers, I took them to the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where I tested them on Trackman with premium golf balls against the company’s 915D2 and 915D3 models. All four of the drivers were set to my specifications (C2 hosel setting, neutral weight in 917 models), and I hit them all with the same 45-inch Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Limited D+ 70X shaft.

Testing Process: Shots were hit with each club — order was constantly rotated, and outliers deleted — until 10 shots with each club had been recorded.

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Observations

  • Swing speed increased by nearly 3 mph on average over both the 915D2 and 915D3.
  • Average ball speed increased over 915 models.
  • Average launch angle was lower in 917 models.
  • Average spin was lower in the 917D3, and slightly higher in the 917D2 compared to 915 equivalents.
  • Carry was lower (4-5 yards) with 917 models, while total distances were also slightly down.

The Takeaway

The 917 drivers are for golfers who place importance on fine-tuning trajectory and dialing in their ball flight. Some golfers will also find great benefit in eliminating a troublesome shot, like a slice or a hook, by using the SureFit CG system. Titleist fans who appreciate the silver, Liquid Slate finish will enjoy the look, and drastic sound and feel improvements have been made over the 915.

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If you have a 915 driver and plan on purchasing the 917 and keeping the club in neutral, do not expect any noteworthy performance benefits, although you will most likely enjoy the quieter sound and softer feel. Also, don’t purchase a 917D2 or 917D3 driver without getting fit; it would do both the club, and your game a disservice.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. Glenn kirk

    Mar 13, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Bort a 917 d3 used 2 rounds ggggggggone left all day hate the new weight system on bottom going to try m2 & ping g ls

  2. Dunn2500

    Dec 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    Love titleist, but $180 or more than 1/3 cost of the complete driver for weights?…….that’s ridiculous!!…….idk how they can even remotely justify this, people aren’t stupid just because they’re buying a new driver for maybe a few yds…..even $ 50 seems excessive for weight kit…….. just include it with driver at slight upcharge, or design it that way from beginning…….

    China will make a killing providing these kits for fraction which is where original weights are made anyway…..kind of funay when you think about that

  3. WB

    Nov 20, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    For all the brilliant R&D minds at Titleist, and with a budget to match, I cannot grasp why Titleist would not address/incorporate other variables, benefits and features, (especially in a new launch) such as:
    1. The ability to adjust the CG from rear to face
    2. More loft adjustability
    3. Enhanced aerodynamics
    If they want to better compete with Ping, TaylorMade, and Callaway, et al, it would follow that these design concepts should come to fruition on the shelves.
    Customization is king, and this new line is an improvement, but has a long way to go.

  4. Ron

    Oct 31, 2016 at 10:20 am

    Gorgeous driver, I love the look, but I still hit my Callaway XR16 further, so… maybe next year, Titleist.

  5. moses

    Sep 12, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Looking like the 917 is taking the path of the 907 line. The 915 line is awesome. Ask Jordan Spieth how he did with his 915 driver in 2015.

  6. Mad-Mex

    Sep 11, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    So after comparing the numbers against my 913 D2 this is what it came down to:

    It will cost me $499 to gain 3 yards total distance and 1 yard less dispersion,,,,,

  7. I'm Ron Burgundy???

    Sep 10, 2016 at 10:24 am

    I have hit the new driver with the same exact shaft as my Ping G LS and it performed! I hit it essentially the same distance as my Ping which is a great thing because that is fitted perfectly. If I went through a whole shaft fitting there might be a good possibility that I hit the Titleist further, but I doubt it. You are coming down to looks and feel at that point. I will say that IMO I would throw a 915 in the trash for this new one. I am not a titleist lover at all. I have hated their drivers for years, but this is the best one they have come out with.

    So IMO the fact that he got basically the same numbers with his 915 and this 917 say a lot about the club as I would imagine he was fit to the 915.

  8. LorenRobertsFan

    Sep 9, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    Congrats Titleist, you sending 2 free drivers to do this review has just hurt sales of the 917 by everyone who reads this because they don’t know how to properly fit.. I’ll probably upgrade my 915 to an M2 when their price drops next year

  9. Y Drizzle

    Sep 9, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Why not include the weight kit with the driver? If these companies are truly chasing previous profits with larger margins, then they are playing a losing game. We’ve seen it all before.

  10. Cherry Golf

    Sep 9, 2016 at 3:51 am

    You should have gone for more loft. Shocking fitting mistake

  11. Mark

    Sep 9, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Expensive, over complicated and negligible distance gains. Plus the 917D2 looks like it has been squared off a la the old Nike woods. I’ll pass.

  12. KK

    Sep 8, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    High-spin drivers are so 2012.

  13. JThunder

    Sep 8, 2016 at 5:25 pm

    Please note my “Shank” vote is for the “review”, not the clubs.

    • Brian

      Sep 8, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      My Shank vote is for the clubs, not the review.

  14. JThunder

    Sep 8, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    The impact marks on both 917 drivers look pretty low. Are the numbers based on mishits? Were the numbers from the 915 models also mishits??

  15. MP-4

    Sep 8, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Do the 917d2 & 917d3 come with the .75 degee or 1.0 degree increment Surefit hosel?
    Hope it’s the 1.0 degree.
    What are your total distance numbers with 60g X, 60g S, and 70g S shafts?
    Love the look of the face of these clubs.

  16. Bob Pegram

    Sep 8, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    How many weights are available? I remember the Adams weight kits with weights of many different sizes. You could adjust draw-fade bias as well as swingweight. Is that possible with these new Titleist heads?
    I would think getting the weight distribution right to produce straight shots would more than make up for the slight carry distance loss. Also, as others have mentioned, changing the settings so the launch angle is right should eliminate the carry distance loss as well.

  17. bogeypro

    Sep 8, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Just learned that the fairways and drivers don’t use the same weight kits. So, doing math: $40 per weight (two cylinders) or $180 for each weight kit. $360 for both weight kits fairways and drivers. So a driver and fw wood with weight kits is $1160…

    Great job Titleist…. smh

    • Rwj

      Sep 8, 2016 at 6:58 pm

      Thinking the same thing. It’s a joke to say the least. Their parent company is going public, so they need huge margins, large profits to keep stock prices going up

    • Jim

      Sep 9, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Weight kits – bite me. Only the truly stupid would buy them & then spend hrs at the range (even those with 7/10 decent swings) and try n fit themselves WITHOUT a launch monitor…

      ALEX, I’ll take “A bonded 10 neutral face Epon, Miura or Tour Edge with an Oban or M.R. shaft and a little lead tape” for 700, please…

    • Joe Pro

      Sep 12, 2016 at 11:39 am

      Why on earth would you buy all of the weights???? Get fitted, order the driver with the best weight from your fitting and you will get the alternative one too in the same weight (fitted for draw, neutral comes loose packed with the club, vice versa). The only reason you would have for getting all of the weights is to be able to change swingweight, they have no influence on the shot shape, and there are cheaper ways of increasing the swingweight should you need to….

  18. Mike Barnett

    Sep 8, 2016 at 12:37 pm

    I have a 913D3 in my bag that works great for me. I tried the 915D3 and it did not feel or sound as good to me. There was no reason for me to get that one. This one only peaks my interest due to the new adjustment capability and the sound possibly being like my 913.

  19. BL

    Sep 8, 2016 at 11:40 am

    3mph swingspeed increase, yet only 1/2 mph ball speed increase? Any ideas why?

    • Greg V

      Sep 8, 2016 at 12:07 pm

      IF you look at the pictures in the “Tour and Pre-release” section, you will see that most of strikes on the faces of the two drivers were low on the face. That would certainly decrease ball speed, and also account for the fact that the launch angles were lower, leading to no increase in overall distance.

      The head/shaft combination was not working for this tester.

  20. Greg V

    Sep 8, 2016 at 11:00 am

    Andrew,

    Apparently you need to “loft up” with the new 917 drivers.

    Come back to us when you have an apples to apples comparison.

    • Dj

      Sep 9, 2016 at 8:04 am

      One of the dumbest comments I’ve ever seen. More loft means more spin. Numbers would be even worse compared to 915

      • Mac

        Sep 9, 2016 at 11:34 am

        What a dumb reply. By loft up he meant that the CG a bit more forward than the previous driver, meaning this is going to need adjusting like the SLDR type of head.

  21. bogeypro

    Sep 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

    “While CG adjustability is used widely in the industry, it’s something never before seen from Titleist in a full-scale release, so it’s a big deal.” – Welcome to 2005 Titleist.

  22. Smizzle Buster

    Sep 8, 2016 at 10:02 am

    More intelligence from the Smizzle Troll! Remember to post your 98 when you play next.

  23. S Mizzle

    Sep 8, 2016 at 9:49 am

    “Some golfers will also find great benefit in eliminating a troublesome shot, like a slice or a draw, by using the SureFit CG system”

    This will not help a bad swing. How many times do we have to hear this?

    • Sado Mas Izzle

      Sep 8, 2016 at 10:53 am

      It’s a good marketing pitch, though.

    • JThunder

      Sep 8, 2016 at 5:22 pm

      Welcome to Captalism. Try a dictionary if that’s confusing.

      • S Mizzle

        Sep 9, 2016 at 9:58 am

        Maybe you should try a dictionary. You misspelled Capitalism……

        • Y Drizzle

          Sep 9, 2016 at 12:09 pm

          Ha! Nice one Mizzle.
          I did look up Capitalism in the dictionary, and I didn’t see anything about blatant false and misleading advertisement. Which dictionary should I be using, JThunder?

        • Y Drizzle

          Sep 9, 2016 at 12:14 pm

          I did look up Capitalism, and nothing was mentioned about blatant false and misleading advertising. Which dictionary should I be using, JThunder?

  24. Tl

    Sep 8, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Higher ball speed and swing speed yet less distance? You need to get refit into a new shaft for the new head, to get that launch up and watch your distance improve with the 917.

    • Jim

      Sep 8, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Or change the other settings! Bad job fitting it! Swing speed up – distance down? Who’s doin’ the adjustments?!?

      …better have a reeaaally good product training video on ‘Titleist U’ – or this will be a tough sell during fittings when compared to their current one. NO ONE swinging <105 wants to hit it shorter

      • joepz

        Sep 8, 2016 at 12:42 pm

        He mentioned that he set the club to the same setup he uses in his 91, using his own shaft from his 915 as well. Obviously, he’ll want get “re-fit,” maybe with new club settings, perhaps with a different shaft. Would have been nice if he fiddled with it at the Titleist center, making adjustments to try to recover the few yards he was losing, and displayed the results.

        • Jim

          Sep 8, 2016 at 1:55 pm

          Exactly – it’s a giod shaft – have to start w/ head adjustments first – if that won’t fix it – try another BRAND of head – screw it

          • Tl

            Sep 8, 2016 at 4:42 pm

            Yep, new fitting would have guaranteed more distance with those increased speeds. Can’t just do same setup and same shaft…it’s a different club!

  25. Christian

    Sep 8, 2016 at 9:31 am

    I wonder how SS could be higher with the same shaft at the same length? Is there a big difference in headweight? Aerodynamics are different? Odd

    • Jim

      Sep 8, 2016 at 10:45 am

      ….no ‘Air flow’ HAMMER holes? I asked same thing – with a 70gr X shaft, a heavier head will get the shaft to ‘kick’ more through impact zone where ‘swing speed’ is measured.

      We’ve been seeing this result for several years now. “Lighter” isn’t always better….3-10 mph ball speed between heads / shafts with avg ‘decent’ players all the time – but rare to see swing speed jump that much…

  26. BoomCannon

    Sep 8, 2016 at 9:04 am

    Why anyone would buy this over the 915 is beyond me. Less performance for more money. Sounds like a great deal!

  27. Phil

    Sep 8, 2016 at 8:13 am

    FUGLY

  28. Stephen Tye

    Sep 8, 2016 at 8:08 am

    I play a lot of Golf and hit the Pro V with a 913 set up with a draw bias. I just Love the driver results and will look into the 917 in Oct at Carl’s. I gotta say Titlelist has always been a leader with clubs and balls. Great article and I hope to get more information on the different shafts as that is where the mystery still is.

    • desmond

      Sep 8, 2016 at 9:34 am

      I think Titleist is a leader with the adjustable hosel and premium shafts, but as its clubheads, since the 983, it’s gone the conservative route. It doesn’t take risks, and look at this line – no real performance benefits in terms of yardage – don’t know about forgivness, but you’d think from its tour use, Titleist would have a handle on spin, but no for those who want less (and that’s not me).

      • Jack Nash

        Sep 8, 2016 at 11:25 am

        Not everyone likes to look down at a fluorescent green, white, white/black, blue, etc, etc driver head.

        • desmond

          Sep 8, 2016 at 11:32 am

          I wasn’t discussing Nike, TM, or any other OEM other than Titleist. You can always refinish a driver head if you don’t like the paint. I go for basic black matte.

  29. Chuck

    Sep 8, 2016 at 7:40 am

    Why is carry less? Lofts for esch club?

  30. Bigboy

    Sep 8, 2016 at 7:36 am

    I added a clear plastic shifter knob to my AMG and it now goes faster.

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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.

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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)

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  • 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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