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Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Philip

    Jan 15, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I picked up a King Cobra 440SZ (max .830 Sweet Zone version) and matching 3W (with Hyper Steel) – looking forward to gaming those decrepit 2003 bad boys this season against the newest blood. Given all of the increases over the last 15 years I should be given LOTs of strokes by my opponents in order to compensate for my meagre yardages :o)

  2. Joro

    Jan 4, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    I played my new Mizuno 180 Driver, 3 wood and CLK hybrids today. Very nice for not having hit them because I have been down with the flu for a week and had to get out. Outdrove a buddies Epic a couple of times which frustrated him. Should get better as I work with the adjustments and get stronger. Good stuff.

  3. sharker

    Jan 1, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Macho men will chuck the old impotent driver out of their WITB and pick up a new and improved driver…. so their manhood is strengthened.
    Get rid of that soggy floppy weak driver and put a strong stiff bouncy-faced new driver and your game experience will improve in 2018 …. guaranteed 😎

  4. Golfraven

    Dec 28, 2017 at 10:37 am

    The Titleist 919 is the next driver in my bag. 2018 is the year of my bag refresh and Titleist ist top of the list – 718 AP3, SM7s and hopefully the 919 D2. If they come up with some fresh Scotties I am switch back as well.

  5. bachvo

    Dec 27, 2017 at 3:22 am

    I got so tired of these “new” drivers coming out every year. I just got my new driver like 2 months ago after 2 years on the ping g30, gonna stick with my new stick for awhile.

  6. Crazy About Golf

    Dec 14, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Incremental gains with just about every new release. The jump from one product to the next isn’t going to be huge, but the difference between 3-4 year old clubs and what’s being offered today is likely pretty substantial. Went from Titleist 910 D3 to Titleist 915 D3 to Callaway GBB Epic Sub Zero….each new driver has proven to be better performing than the last.

  7. Steve S

    Dec 14, 2017 at 10:25 am

    To everyone complaining about the new drivers and marketing claims…don’t read them and don’t buy them. I would prefer all the companies have 3 month release schedules, saturate the market so I can pick up 1 year old technology for $50

  8. DoubleMochaMan

    Dec 13, 2017 at 10:38 am

    It’s like buying a new car, for the shiny new looks and design. Except in the case of golf clubs there’s nothing new under the hood… the engine has a governor.

    As soon as they reign in the golf ball they’ll probably let the club builders go wild.

  9. Tim Stanford

    Dec 12, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Hey golfers… get some lessons from your local professional. Your scores will improve than buying the marketing spin.

  10. Rich

    Dec 12, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    It’s the ” This is the Longest Ever was or Will be ” ie until next year!!!!!

    Why not take the gloves off and have a contest between drivers “NO LIMITS”!!!!

    Anything goes !!! Who can make the longest hitting driver, classified according to swing speeds
    80 Mph,90 Mph,100 Mph, and open … These would be “OutLaw ” classified…

  11. HBO

    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Who are these companies think they are fooling? The USGA has established parameters for drivers, and companies have already gone as far as allowed. Sure you can add 3-5 yards more distance, but at what cost CAVEAT EMPTOR!

  12. bill

    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Aaaah, the annual love affair blossoms with the appearance of next year’s driver models.
    The only good toy is a new toy…. and my faithful old toy is now 5 years old. Sigh…
    Oh, how much do they cost now? $650??!!!

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Equipment

Mizuno JPX 919 Tour Forged, 919 Forged, and 919 Hot Metal hit USGA’s conforming list

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As alerted by our always investigative GolfWRX Forum Members, three new Mizuno JPX irons have shown up recently on the USGA Conforming Clubs list; JPX 919 Forged (there is no image of the RH version, but there is of the LH), JPX 919 Hot Metal (and LH), and a JPX 919 Tour Forged iron.

Although still unannounced and unreleased by Mizuno, it’s likely these JPX 919 irons will be the replacements for the previous JPX 900 series. If you remember, Brooks Koepka won back-to-back U.S. Opens using JPX 900 Tour irons; now, it seems there may be a replacement for that iron on the way, judging by the USGA Conforming List.

Check out the Mizuno JPX 919 irons below, as listed on the USGA Confirming list.

Mizuno JPX 919 Forged

Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal

Mizuno JPX 919 Tour Forged

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the USGA photos.

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Equipment

SPOTTED: Srixon “Z785” and “Z585” irons

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Photos have recently popped up in our GolfWRX Forums of Srixon “Z785” and “Z585” irons. It’s been nearly two years since the company released it’s previous Z565, Z765 and Z965 irons, so it’s possible (if not likely), based on nomenclature, these could be the replacements for that series.

The photos in our forums show Z785 short irons (5-PW) and Z785 long irons (4 and 3), but it does not appear that the Z785 irons shown in the photos are driving irons, so it’s likely these photos come from a mixed set.

We do not have any official tech or release information about new irons from Srixon at this time, so we’re left to speculate for the time being. What do you think about the photos of these Srixon “Z785” and “Z585” irons?

Check out the photos of each below, and click here for more photos and discussion.

Srixon “Z785” irons

 

Srixon “Z585” irons

Click here for more photos and discussion.

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Equipment

Michael Kim on why he switched to a Titleist TS2 driver, and the change he’s making for The Open

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Michael Kim set a tournament scoring record at the John Deere Classic last week, so, needless to say, the UC Berkeley alum was firing on all cylinders.

With respect to one of those cylinders, Kim, historically not a great driver of the golf ball, was 34th in Strokes Gained off the tee and tied for second in driving accuracy with a new Titleist TS2 driver in his bag last week. For reference, he’s 192nd in Strokes Gained off the tee and 183rd in driving accuracy for the season. In other words, while Kim’s incredible putting (+13.51 strokes gained: putting) helped, the Titleist TS2 driver he began experimenting with at the FedEx St. Jude Classic also played a role.

We caught up with Kim by phone from Carnoustie and asked him about the decision to put the new TS2 in play.

“When I hit it, I liked it right away. I noticed the biggest difference on mishits. On my old driver, the ball speed would drop a little bit on a toe or heel hit, but with the new one, you barely saw any [drop in ball speed]. And it was definitely going straighter off the mishits. Straighter and longer, honestly.”

“Generally, I don’t make a switch, especially with the driver mid-year, but I put it right in play. And I’m working on some new things with my swing…I kind of turned the corner at the Quicken Loans…obviously hit it great at the Deere.”

“I tried the TS3, but it was a little too low spin for me. So we kept the same shaft [Aldila Rogue Black 60X] and I think it’s the same setting.”

Kim also mentioned he’s putting a steel-shafted driving iron in play for The Open this week–on the recommendation of a guy who knows a thing or two about playing well at the British Open.

“Zach Johnson told me on the plane ride here that I should maybe try a driving iron. So…I got out here and I asked to try a couple of different driving irons…On Tuesday, I tried out a couple of different T-MBs…2-iron, 3-iron. The 2-iron was going way too far, so I tried the 3-iron on the golf course. The way the course is set up, it’s just so firm…It’ll be great if there’s some wind. Exactly what I’m looking for. I’ll put it in play and I’ll probably use it a decent amount throughout the week.”

With respect to Kim’s wedge setup, Vokey Wedge rep, Aaron Dill, offered this comment

“Michael Kim has a really good short game that shows tremendous confidence. Michael uses a great system with his gap wedge having higher bounce, this help with flight and consistency, his 56 is high bounce for bunker and all shots needing extra bounce, and his 60 is a low bounce L for all tighter conditions and shots that need easy and fast lift. The beauty of this setup is it covers multiple shot window and types.”

We’ll see how it works out for him. Kim is competing in his first Open Championship. He tees off at 9:04 a.m. local time with Ryuko Tokimatsu and Chez Reavie.

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