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Fitters Choice: What’s the best driver of 2018?

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Professional club fitters have each seen thousands of different golf swings — from high-handicaps to touring professionals — and they know what driver works best for those different golfers. So why not ask them what the best drivers are of 2018?

For our 2018 Fitters Choice, however, we didn’t want to poll just any club fitters, we wanted the opinions of the club fitters who we respect the most. Here are the GolfWRX-approved club fitters who made up our 2018 Fitters Choice panel:

As part of the 2018 Fitters Choice, we asked them a number of questions, and we hope the answers will help you find the correct driver for your game, or least point you in the right direction. Obviously, we encourage each of you to seek the assistance of a professional fitter, or at least conduct product testing for yourself. Remember, just because a driver works for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you, even if you have the same tendencies or a similar swing pattern.

Also, don’t forget to check out the drivers that GolfWRX Members think are the best of 2018.

Check out the results from our Fitters Choice survey below!

Graphics by bergeycreativegroup.com

Fitter Comments on Question 2:

Ping G400 Max (25 percent)

  • “We thought the design was for the slower swinger and in all reality it has tested to be a great driver all around.”
  • “Very forgiving and surprisingly low on spin.”

Callaway Rogue (12.5 percent)

  • “Forgiving and yet out performed the high-performance, low-spin drivers.”

Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (12.5 percent)

  • “Didn’t think they could make it better than the Epic SZ, but they did in forgiveness and speed.”

Mizuno ST-180 (12.5 percent)

  • “It’s one of the fastest, straightest drivers of the year from a company not known for its woods.”

TaylorMade M3 (12.5 percent)

  • “The Twist Face, in our studies, show significant improvement in shot dispersion. M4 would be an answer too.”

TaylorMade M4 (12.5 percent)

  • “[It surprised us] because of how good it was with off center hits”

Vertical Groove Golf (12.5 percent)

  • “Small distribution, direct to consumer product which competes with the 5 Major OEMs on a consistent basis, and is well received when considering performance from elite players.”

Fitter Comments on Question 3:

Callaway Rogue Draw (62.5 percent)

  • “Because of the position of the weight and how much you can adjust the hosel on the Callaway tip. +2/D for example.”
  • “The CG location has the most extreme draw bias of all available options on the market place, while also offering a great deal of forgiveness and ballspeed.”
  • “Draw bias and forgiving.”
  • “This driver has done well reducing the curve for slice players with the help of the head design and hosel adjustability.”
  • “This is really a hard question. The HL3 is a great option, just depends on loft as well. SFT is good but 10 degrees is lowest loft. TaylorMade M4 D type is great as well.”

TaylorMade M4 D-Type (25 percent)

  • “Draw biased CG with Twist Face, which helps straighten curvature even more.”
  • “Between Twist Face, draw weighting, and ability to turn hosel setting closed, it can do the most.”

Callaway Rogue (12.5 percent)

  • “The adaptor has the best options to tweak with additional slight draw bias head already. A 12 handicap should have the ability to strike the ball consistently enough.”

Fitter Comments on Question 4:

TaylorMade M3 (62.5 percent)

  • “Same reason as with the slice, we can alter CG on the M3 to reduce left movement and twistface reduces curvature.”
  • “The new Twist Face tech does especially well for toe strikes with a closed face, thereby mitigating hooks and causing a much more fade bias flight. The weighting and face angle adjustability also can create a much more extreme fade bias. Ball speeds are exceptional and this product provides great spin control.”
  • “Can make it fade biased.”
  • “The M3 has great adjustability and does well the reduction of the hook miss.”
  • “Because of the loft options and ability to clock it open and move weight, it allows for a nice direction-biased driver.”

Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (12.5 percent)

  • “Fade-biased head and flatter lie than most with the best tweak-able adaptor.”

PXG 0811X (12.5 percent)

  • “Between the weighting and the ability to open already an open face, it’s a great anti-left club. Our fitters say it’s the toughest to turn over period.”

TaylorMade M3 440 (12.5 percent)

  • “Sleeve adjustment and the slides on the bottom.”

Fitter Comments on Question 7:

Callaway Rogue (37.5 percent)

  • “Light head, forgiving and good speed.”
  • “The Rogue driver is very forgiving and generates good ball speed across the face.”
  • “Get fitted for the best shaft combo and specs.”

Ping G400 Max (37.5 percent)

  • “Ping has been making super forgiving drivers lately that have also been really hot!”
  • “I think the G400 MAX might be slightly shorter (very little) than Rogue or M4, but the forgiveness is so great. So for that player I think it has a great package. M4 and Rogue are right there though.”
  • “G400 Max is a great all around driver, delivering good spin, ball speed and the forgiveness is on the top of the list.”

Cobra King F8 (12.5 percent)

  • “The F8 and F8+ consistently put up top 2-3 ballspeeds in all fittings, and has enough mass adjustment to match anybody’s swing”

Ping G400 LST (12.5 percent)

  • “Great offline dispersion on off-center hits with top end ball speed, good spin control and great consistency. Great overall product”

Fitter Comments on Question 8

Callaway Rogue (50 percent)

  • “Extremely forgiving, very long, fits the broadest demographic of players.”
  • “High ball speeds, forgiving, and good adjustability.”
  • “Forgiveness, speed, and adjustability makes it a pretty hard package to beat. But M3 and M4 are so good, really tough one here.”
  • “Forgiving enough and yet has the hottest face for the best ball speed.”

TaylorMade M4 (25 percent)

  • “With a neutral CG, Twist Face that just wants to make the ball go straight, lofts from 8.5-12, +-2 degrees loft adjustments, I can fit anyone into an M4. I would have voted M3 because of adjustable CG but I feel M4’s $430 price point puts it ahead of M3”
  • “All around great performance”

Ping G400 (12.5 percent)

  • “Ping is just consistent and easy to hit and gives great numbers on TrackMan.”

Ping G400 Max (12.5 percent)

  • “Most golfers need a forgiving driver. From testing this has performed really well.”

Fitter Comments on Question 9

TaylorMade M3 (62.5 percent)

  • “Degree of adjustability, lofts available, reduced curvature with Twist Face, and available shafts”
  • “Great adjustability options, tremendous ball speed, great spin control, great workabililty.”
  • “Control.”
  • “Scratch players generally generate good speed and the M3 tends to work well in this category. Ability to fine-tune the club also.”
  • “Great look, feel, and with all the adjustability couples with great forgiveness for that level player.”

Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (25 percent)

  • “Highest performance with the best forgiveness due to Jailbreak tech.”
  • “For the better player we can get the launch and spin tweaked really well and usually those types of players need something that looks clean and get that launch up with low spin.”

Ping G400 LST (12.5 percent)

  • “Lower-spinning head that sounds good and gives you room for error on mis hits.”

Graphics by bergeycreativegroup.com

Related: See what GolfWRX Members are voting as the best driver of 2018

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Sbobet88

    Jun 5, 2018 at 3:51 am

    Nice jobs brother.. We like this

  2. Jeff Martin

    May 9, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    Took my 2003 Cleveland Launcher 400 to the store to compare to all of these. Hit them all pretty much the same. Took my Launcher 400 and $400 back home with me.

    • Matty J

      May 14, 2018 at 2:28 pm

      One of the best drivers IMHO ever made… I do that very same thing every year. Debating to put a new shaft on it sometime tho

  3. sid

    May 9, 2018 at 10:29 am

    THE BEST OF THE BEST OF THE BEST…. and the winner is …………??!!!

  4. millennial82

    Apr 19, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    got fit and its MIZZY ST180 with TENSEI white 70g stiff for me 🙂

    secret’s in the shaft..

    why don’t they do a “what’s the best shaft + driver head of 2018”

  5. tim

    Apr 17, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I went to a demo day recently and hit the Rogue vs G400. Callaway only offered to put 1 shaft option in for me and the numbers we not that great. The G400 was buttery soft for me, longer and more accurate. Spin rate was too high on 3 of the 4 shafts on the G400 but the Rep went through 4 shafts. Point being Ping tried to fit me, and the numbers improved every time and outperformed the Callaway. The shaft is as important or more important than the head, imo.

  6. Jim Dwyer

    Apr 14, 2018 at 9:53 am

    I suggest you try all the available drivers and decide for yourself.

  7. Bub

    Apr 12, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    I wonder if they asked Tom wishon his thoughts/opinion?

  8. Dan Corun

    Apr 11, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    No love for the Cleveland Launcher HB. Is the problem fitters need all the sliding weights, and adjustments to fit you. They can’t fit you with just a standard driver anymore???

  9. joro

    Apr 10, 2018 at 8:40 am

    Same old, same old, just proves the Millions spend and paid for by the customer pays off. Even the Genius “fitters” get bought up by the hype. All other companies might as well close their doors.

  10. jc

    Apr 9, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    I have had pings for the last couple of drivers…before callaway…I usually find the ping is better…people who tell me that they can’t hit a ping, use mine and go 15 yards past their titleist, taylormade, etc…then tell me they can’t hit a ping..????? one guy even bought ping irons, made a hole in one on the fly, then turned them in for ‘players clubs’…ego, a terrible thing to have on a golf course.

  11. Dave Sanguinetti

    Apr 5, 2018 at 10:45 pm

    Shows that fitters are marketing suckers just like the general public- many mfrs.(Cobra&Ping for example) have been manipulating bulge and roll numbers over the face of their drivers for several years! Most all tests that I have seen show that twisty disty straightens drives very little- best straightener is center contact and correct path.

  12. joro

    Apr 2, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    The best Driver is the one that works for you, not the one that spends the most on Marketing which seems to be the normal favorite in here and by the comments. Marketing is there to be convincing and it works, jam em enough and they believe it. The whole thing is BS, I have old off brands that hit it as good as todays “Super Duper Drivers” and that one is a KZG Genesis. So buy the marketing BS, or find what works.

    • Steve S

      Apr 2, 2018 at 2:57 pm

      Agreed. For most golfers max MOI and light heads will work the best. Then you just need to tune the loft and the shaft to minimize spin. The dirty little secret about fitting is that many people get fit to compensate for swing flaws that,if fixed would allow them to hit about any driver well.

      • joro

        Apr 13, 2018 at 4:39 pm

        True, a 60 Dollar lesson would do what a 500 Dollar Driver can’t do. I have been a teacher and a club maker/fitter and seen it all and most people will but club and forget the lesson, as one guy told me, “too much work”.

  13. HDTVMAN

    Apr 2, 2018 at 11:46 am

    I fit clubs and cannot agree on Callaway Rogue as the best driver for the average golfer. The average player misses the sweet spot constantly, and the Rogue has little forgiveness. The Ping G400 MAX or Taylor-Made M are much much tighter in dispersion. I personally like the 2017 M better than the 2018, but recommend the Ping to my customers who hit straight or slight draw. The M3 is for the hook or slice. In addition, I order many drivers 1/2″ to 1″ shorter than the standard 45.5″ stock driver. This allows for better center strikes with little distance loss.

    • JP

      Apr 9, 2018 at 1:45 pm

      I went to my first fitting, after 30 years of playing. Trackman facility…I wanted to love the Rogue SZ and the M4. My results with the CHEAPER G400 LST were so much better. I hit everything on the rack with multiple shafts and tweaks to the adjustment. For ME, the LST with the Ping tour 65x upgrade shaft was $$$. Dispersion was 30′ better than the Rogue, all with a slight draw and only 4-6 yards shorter than the Rogue. So glad I didn’t just order one, and that I actually went for fitment.

    • Pat

      Apr 13, 2018 at 10:58 am

      Do you think the Rogue is better than the Epic for distance and forgiveness and worth the upgrade?

  14. PXG

    Apr 1, 2018 at 4:25 am

    I’d ask the a different question…you only have only one driver to sell… which one would you carry and why.?

  15. Patricknorm

    Mar 31, 2018 at 2:53 pm

    I’d take the opinion of a club fitter who does hundreds of fitting per season over an opinion of an individual golfer. In this article there were 8 Golf Fiiting companies, who say do a minimum of 100 fittings per season, so we are looking at a sample size of 800 individual fittings. Plus, each fitter wants the best for their clients.
    I don’t see any logical reason for cynicism. Unless you’re just plain contrarian.

    • gunmetal

      Apr 5, 2018 at 1:04 pm

      Well. They still want to sell golf clubs. The claims that the twist face makes “significant” improvements on dispersion is a joke and not backed up by any real world tests. Neither is the claim that the Rogue SZ is more forgiving and gives more ball speed than Epic SZ. Most credible reviewers online show this in their video testing. These “fitters” are just trying to get guys in their shops. Completely understandable, but c’mon – non governed meaningful tech doesn’t advance in 24 month cycles, let alone the 6-12 month cycles we’re looking at here. Get fit for the proper loft, FA, length, and weight (total and SW) with a brand you like and be on your happy way.

    • sarasube

      Apr 5, 2018 at 11:02 pm

      agree with you 100%

  16. ogo

    Mar 31, 2018 at 12:33 am

    If you pay more than $250 for a driver you’ve been suckered … :-p

  17. Mat

    Mar 30, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Your sample size is 8 – you could have written this as a per-fitter article. Surveys imply a reasonable sample size…

    • snickers

      Mar 31, 2018 at 3:26 pm

      really Mat? So Carls fitters do only one fitting per year? Seriously. sampling 8 fitters that do hundreds of fitting per month. Sample size of over 1,000 per year.

      How does that compare to the golf digest hot list. Few guys on the range for the weekend??? laughable.

      I like the fitters voting the best. Better than the members choice.

    • kevin

      Apr 10, 2018 at 9:05 am

      take 8 times the number of fittings each location has completed over the past year which helped them form their opinions.

    • Mat

      Apr 15, 2018 at 6:05 am

      I particularly enjoy how they’ve amended the results of Question 1.

      I didn’t say “Carl’s Fitters” did one fitting. You’re gaslighting this to hold up your specious argument. Having data from Carl’s, such as using more of a representative fitting level would be much more useful. If the sample size is over 1000/year, it would be VERY helpful to say what percentage is each, not just “what’s your #1” eight times.

      My goodness, a place that does 1000 fittings could just tell us what they do, and it would be 125x better than this survey. Taking their “top” in each category skews the results unnecessarily. In a simpler analogy, this is the Electoral College approach.

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Equipment

SPOTTED: New Callaway Forged irons… Apex or Legacy?

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Photos of a new Callaway Forged iron popped up in our GolfWRX Forums, and our members are trying to figure out whether they’re going to be replacements for Apex Pro irons, or whether they’re an update on the Legacy series. They could also be X-Forged irons, but since Callaway recently came out with new X-Forged irons, that would be unlikely.

Here’s what GolfWRX Members are saying:

  • elwhippy: A new Legacy iron? Looks a bit Japanese shaped. 
  • mattTHEkatt: Like an X-Forged/Legacy Black mashup. They look powerful. 
  • DTown3011: …gotta be the next Apex!
  • J13: Pics look like a newer legacy black.
  • mgholda: Pics look like a newer legacy black.
  • TheMoneyShot: I thought Cally was going to phase out the Apex name after they released the MBs?
  • john443: A larger cavity in these then the X- Forged… competitor to the 750 and AP3 maybe? …or Legacy Black finally brought to retail…hallelujah. CF16 replacement???!
  • Equipto: These look very sharp, and like thumpers. I don’t care if they are a Legacy Black or Apex replacement, call them whatever… i’ll try them 
  • mrmikeac: Next gen Callaway Apex Legacy? Hmmmm…..
  • Brizam: The Legacy Black might be the best players cavity back ever made.  If they were to become available they’d move straight to the top of the list of clubs to buy for me. 
  • Jourdan M: This is the Apex Pro 

Here are photos of the new Callaway irons we spotted

Previous Apex Pro irons

Previous Legacy irons

Which one do you think the new iron looks like? 

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Wilson’s new FG Tour V6 RAW irons (yes, they will rust)

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Wilson came out with its FG Tour V6 irons in 2016, but these new Raw versions have a different look… and with time, they’ll have a VERY different look.

The new FG Tour V6 Raw irons have an unplated finish, and they’re designed to “develop a unique patina based on age, exposure and use over time,” according to Wilson. This gives each iron a unique look, and one that’s far from the clean cut original FG Tour release that had a chrome finish (which won’t rust).

In addition to the rusting effect, the irons are different because they have a copper badge in the cavity that will eventually match the color of the golf club over time. Here’s a graphic mock-up of how the Raw irons may look overtime.

Like the original releases, the irons have tungsten weights and mass behind the impact area for a “forged feel” and “improved feedback,” according to the company.

The FG Tour V6 Raw irons are a custom option on Wilson.com, and are available through Wilson’s premium partner accounts as of today, Tuesday, June 19. According to Wilson, the Raw irons “are a very limited production run,” so only a certain amount of sets will even be built.

 

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Chief Engineer Chris Voshall on Mizuno’s approach to the Tour and some of the most insightful pros

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Mizuno’s Chief Engineer Chris Voshall chatted with Johnny Wunder on the latest episode of the Gear Dive.

Voshall offers innumerable interesting anecdotes–particularly interesting is the development of the JPX 900 iron for Brooks Koepka and Voshall’s discussion of his work with other Tour talents.

In the excerpt below, however, Voshall discusses Mizuno’s approach to Tour players and further, whose feedback has proven particularly valuable.

“We’re not making them something special. If they’re coming to us, it’s because the product is that good…They come to us instead of us having to go to them…that’s one of the really exciting things.”

Voshall indicated that players on Tour play essentially the same Mizuno products that are available at retail.

“If the Tour van is out of inventory, they can reach out to us…and we’ll get them more heads. There’s nothing unique about what they’re playing, which I think speaks to the customer…you can almost not trust marketing around the whole world these days, but for us to say ‘there’s nothing different’…that’s something we really hang our hat on.”

With respect to excellent testers on Tour, Voshall sang Luke Donald’s praises, as well as Jhonny Vegas and Brian Gay.

“I love working with Luke. Luke, especially when you’re talking irons…turf interaction, that’s the thing he’s looking for. So with Luke, you’ve really got to speak to him about how it feels, how it enter, how it exits [the turf] and how that’s causing the ball to launch. You could give him the exact same head with a slightly different sole grind, and he will love or hate one versus the other. He’s really cool to work with on that front.”

“Jhonny Vegas…he’s raw power. He goes at it. He wants to slam the club into the ground as hard as he can and see where it goes. He very much on the opposite end of the spectrum as Luke, who’s very much an artist out there, trying to work it, trying to do different things.”

“One of my favorite guys to work with, even though he’s not on staff anymore, is Brian Gay. He knows his game. He knows equipment. Speaking to the fact that he’s been out on Tour as long as he has and has the wins he has with the length he hits the ball, it shows that he does not miss a shot. And he knows everything…when he makes a comment on a club, that’s the one that I take most serious.”

For the rest of Voshall’s insights and perspective, give the full podcast a listen below.

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