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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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Accessory Reviews

Talking with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish…and a look at the insane headcover they made GolfWRX

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We last talked with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish in November of 2017 after the Nashville-based company launched a custom headcover and accessory builder on its website.

The company has been producing custom headcovers, yardage books, and other accessories since 2013 when it entered the market with its signature wool headcovers.

We wanted to see what was up, and Guess was kind enough not only to answer a few questions, but to design a pretty incredible GolfWRX driver cover using some raw assets we sent over.

BA: What’s new at Sunfish since we last talked? 

AG: 2018 was a great year for innovation at Sunfish. We worked hard to develop new design and construction techniques, and it has been really exciting combining these new creative elements into one of a kind headcovers and accessories. 2018 was our eighth year in business, but it was probably the most significant in terms of innovation. We’re excited to see where we can go from here!

BA: Looking at your websites, I know one of the new things you developed is something you call Photoflux. What exactly is Photoflux?

AG: Photoflux is our proprietary high-resolution printing process, that gives us the ability to apply to our products anything from photos to complex patterns to intricate logos. The level of resolution and detail is truly unmatched, and can’t be achieved with embroidery. We apply it to our leather and Duraleather products, even our hand-made copper ball markers and divot tools! Those are really exciting, because we can make custom copper ball markers with full color logos, on demand

BA: How the heck did you come up Photoflux?

AG: A customer ordered a scorecard holder with his family photo to be embroidered on each side. We made the piece and weren’t happy at all with the result. The embroidery process couldn’t do justice to the photographs. It was clear that there were certain limitations to embroidery, and we were motivated to overcome them. After months of trial and error, long hours and strenuous testing against sun, rain, and wear, we developed the current process.

BA: What are ways the Photoflux process can be used?

AG: Photoflux is perfect for applying photos, but can also be used for intricate logos or family crests. Really any graphic element can be expressed accurately using Photoflux, including shading. Recently we’ve had fun developing custom patterns such as tiger fur and using them as stripes on headcovers. The sky’s the limit!

Photoflux is best in concert with other design techniques, such as embroidery, laser engraving, and precision cutting and sewing. The featured piece (shown in this feature) incorporates Photoflux, precision cutting and sewing, laser engraving and embroidery. The result is as much artwork as it is a functional golf accessory.

BA: What are the limitations of the technology…what products can you apply Photoflux to?

AG: It’s great for leather and Duraleather headcovers, putter covers, scorecard and yardage book holders, alignment stick covers, cash covers, valuables pouches, wine bags, barrel style tartan headcovers…and even copper ball markers and divot tools!

BA: Tell me about this headcover you made for GolfWRX. I suggested the use of a graffiti wall, a GolfWRX logo, and skeleton hand holding up one finger to denote one club/driver, and you really went to town!

AG: So for the headcover you have, we used Photoflux to apply the graffiti wall image to the top of the cover (did you notice the ‘GolfWRX’ spraypaint in there? We threw that in there for you as an Easter egg!). On top of that, we embroidered the skeleton hand. For the stripe, we laser cut the outline of a typical urban skyline, and laser engraved the chain-link fence pattern over the top, than sewed that down. The bottom portion is a Photoflux image of GolfWRX that you sent over.

With so many new ways to decorate and manipulate the materials, we’re really excited about combining it all for our fans and customers to create really unique products. We feel the sky is the limit, and we hope this headcover illustrates that.

 

 

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Equipment

New XXIO Prime woods, hybrids, and irons aim for lightweight power

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XXIO’s latest club offerings, XXIO Prime, looks to offer easy distance and easy accuracy for the moderate swing speed golfer, according to the company.

XXIO Prime woods

xxio-prime

XXIO Prime Woods feature a new re-designed hosel structure, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the driver shaft, which is designed to help moderate swing speed golfers to close the clubface through impact.

Forged from Super-TIX PLUS Titanium, the new cup face includes a sweet spot that is noticeably larger than previous designs, which aims to increase distance performance significantly. The Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face is thinner, lighter and stronger than previous additions, creating a maximum COR across the face, which aims to increase ball speed and distance.

According to Chuck Thiry, Vice President of XXIO USA

“The speed increases, higher launch angles, and draw bias of the new Prime will show immediate results from swing one. It’s legit lightweight power for the players that absolutely need it the most.”

Featured in the XXIO prime woods is the SP-1000 shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin, which creates a strong but lightweight club. Along with the lightness in the shaft, XXIO has made weight savings in the grip and club head, which aims to produce woods that are both fast and easy to swing.

The XXIO Prime woods feature an expanded toe and narrowed heel, a tungsten-nickel inner weight that is low and deep, a lighter hosel repositioned closer to the center of the face, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the shaft, all with the aim of offering golfers with maximum forgiveness from their woods.

The XXIO Prime woods will be available from March 1 and will cost $579,99.

XXIO Prime hybrids and irons

The new XXIO Prime hybrids feature an expanded COR and a lower center of gravity, which is designed to increase distance and ball speed while delivering a straighter ball flight.

The hybrids from XXIO contain a Forged Maraging Steel Cup Face which includes a large sweet spot which aims to increase distance performance.

Just as with the woods, the XXIO irons also feature the Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face, though along with this, they also contain a CNC milled speed groove, which significantly increases the COR, creating a larger sweet spot, designed to provide greater distance, ball speed and accuracy.

Both the hybrids and irons include the SP-1000 Shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin. The hybrids and irons also feature weight savings in the grip and club head, with the aim of increasing swing speed.

With an expanded toe and narrowed heel, plus a crown step that moves weight low and deep, XXIO claim that this is their most forgiving suite of Prime hybrids. While with two high-density tungsten nickel sole weights and an overall profile that is 3mm shorter than the previous model, the company also claims to have created their most forgiving irons yet.

Speaking on the new XXIO Prime series, Chuck Thiry stated

“XXIO Prime is, quite frankly, the most unique and beneficial product ever available to moderate swing speed players. Period. People might think that is marketing hype, but they simply haven’t hit Prime yet.”

Both the XXIO Prime hybrids and irons will hit retail stores on March 1. The Prime hybrids will cost $379.99, while a single graphite iron will be available for $259.99.

 

 

 

 

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Equipment

SPOTTED: 2019 Mitsubishi shafts

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The Diamana shaft line from Mitsubishi Chemical is probably one of the most iconic in the sport. Released in 2005, Blueboard, Whiteboard, and Redboard, were the first generation of shafts.

Photos of the full fourth generation Diamana lineup, offering new materials and technology, along with new names, have surfaced in the GolfWRX forums. Like previous generations, each color shaft offers different ball flight and spin characteristics.

“RF” is the highest launching and spinning in the Diamana line, offering high launch and mid spin, while the “BF” is the mid-launch and mid/low-spin model. Finally, the “DF” is mid/low-launching and the lowest-spinning shaft in the lineup.

All of the fourth generation Diamana shafts use updated technologies and materials that you would expect from a premium lineup. DIALEAD pitch fiber is helps reduce shaft deformation, while still producing exceptional energy transfer.

Each shaft contains MR70 carbon fiber that is 20 percent stronger than conventional materials and Boron fiber for its compression strength and shaft reinforcement. ION plating has been done before in the Diamana line, in vacuum chambers — silver alloy ions are bonded to the shaft to give it a chrome-like finish that can’t be replicated by paint.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying in the forums.

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