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The drivers used by the top-10 longest hitters on the PGA Tour in 2017-2018

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What drivers do the PGA Tour’s longest golfers use to bomb their tee shots? Now that the 2017-2018 PGA Tour season is behind us, we can do a thorough examination.

First, here’s a tally of what the top 10 in driving distance on Tour are using by driver manufacturer. Interestingly, only two OEMs figure.

  • Ping: 4
  • TaylorMade: 6

But this is GolfWRX, so of course you want to know more. Below is a breakdown of the driving-distance leaders on the PGA Tour in 2017-2018, the specifics of their drivers, shafts and how far their average tee shots flew.

10) Keith Mitchell

Driver: TaylorMade M1 440
Loft: 10.5 degrees (10 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS T1100 7.5 (tipped 1 inch)
Length: 45.25 inches
Swing weight: D3
Grip: Golf Pride Victory Cord 58R
Average driving distance: 312.6 yards

9) Bubba Watson

Driver: Ping G400 LST
Loft: 8.5 degrees (7.6 degrees)
Shaft: Ping BiMatrix-X (tipped .50 inch)
Length: 44.5 inches
Swing weight: D4
Grip: Ping 703 Gold
Average driving distance: 312.9 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Bubba’s clubs

8) Brooks Koepka

Driver: TaylorMade M3 460
Loft: 9.5
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70TX
Average driving distance: 313.0 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Koepka’s clubs

7) Gary Woodland

Driver: TaylorMade M3 440
Loft: 9 degrees (8 degrees)
Shaft: Accra RPG 80X (tipped 2 inches)
Length: 45.25 inches
Swing weight: D5
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Cord Mid
Average driving distance: 313.4 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Woodland’s clubs

6) Dustin Johnson

Driver: TaylorMade M4
Loft: 9.5 degrees
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution 2.0 Tour Spec
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet
Average driving distance: 314.0 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Dustin’s clubs

5) Luke List

Driver: TaylorMade M4
Loft: 8.5 degrees
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana White D+ 80TX
Average driving distance: 314.7 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about List’s clubs

4) Tony Finau

Driver: Ping G400 Max
Loft: 9 degrees (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Accra Tour Z X485 M5 (tipped 1 inch)
Length: 45.25 inches
Swing weight: D5
Grip: Custom Lamkin UTX Mid
Average driving distance: 315.3 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Finau’s clubs

3) Tom Lovelady

Driver: Ping G400 Max
Loft: 9 degrees
Shaft: TPT MKP 15.5
Length: 44.75 inches
Swing weight: D3+
Grip: Golf Pride V55 Full Cord 58R
Average driving distance: 315.9 yards

2) Trey Mullinax

Driver: Ping G400 Max
Loft: 9 degrees
Shaft: Mitsubishi KuroKage XT 60-X
Length: 45 inches (tipped 1 inch)
Swing weight: D4
Grip: Golf Pride V55 Full Cord
Average driving distance: 318.7 yards

1) Rory McIlroy

Driver: TaylorMade M3 460
Loft: 8.5 degrees
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70XTS
Length: 45.625 inches
Swing weight: D8
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R
Average driving distance: 319.8 yards

See what GolfWRX members are saying about Rory’s clubs.

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28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Benny

    Nov 3, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Many great points in here. Does show me that the long ball hitters are all under 9* loft. Low loft, low spin drivers and getting that launch angle up. I saw this video with Thomas on pressure scales. At impact he is posted up on his right/rear leg around 90% and behind the ball. So add all that up amd you get some added distance boys. My 13* 430 won’t get me there lol.

  2. Chris Bunting

    Oct 17, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Woodland, lol. 80tx, tipped 2″. Id use that shaft to stake a new tree in my yard. F’n animal.

  3. Cliff

    Oct 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Ben:

    Thanks for the good stuff, but for us mortals with swing speeds of under 120, how about the drivers used by the shortest hitters on tour. That info may give us some insight into what clubheads and set ups are generating the most distance. Probably would be good to do the seniors and women, too, but for me I am going and get my x shaft tipped 2 inches so I can hit my driver under the tee markers. Lot of hot air in town (Washington DC) these days.

  4. dave

    Oct 8, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    The engineers make their big money designing shafts, all those guys can use the same heads with their “made for them shafts” and get similiar results.

  5. Billy

    Oct 6, 2018 at 6:05 am

    I have the LST. I am 65 and hitting the ball longer than I ever have. For some reason the 65g stock shaft fit me perfectly. Not surprising with Ping.

  6. CrashTestDummy

    Oct 5, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    You put any brand driver in their hands that is fitted for them with a good shaft, they would still be the longest guys on tour.

    • Just k

      Oct 5, 2018 at 9:25 pm

      Not necessarily. It’s hard to get the launch/spin combo with a Callaway or other as ping and TaylorMade atm

    • Brandon Miller

      Nov 13, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      I agree it’s great to see what the longest hitters in tour are using and there set ups but ultimately they could interchange the club heads and have similar results.

  7. big jones

    Oct 5, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    This is interesting. How about providing lists of wedges and putters. That’s a great idea about the drivers of straight hitters. Thanks.

  8. Vas

    Oct 5, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Made the move to the Ping LST this year. If I smash one with both, my Rogue SZ was probably 5 yards longer, but the LST does NOT go left… like ever. I’m a believer. Also, everyone I know who has tried the G400 Max that isn’t brainwashed into having the absolute lowest spin setup loves it. The original G400 is probably useless now, but the LST and Max are ridiculously good.

  9. dat

    Oct 5, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    PXG? Nope.

  10. Tom

    Oct 5, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    All these driver heads perform the same, rules of golf ensure that. Just depends on who is paying each guy…

    • Joe

      Oct 7, 2018 at 10:08 pm

      No they don’t. Heads are very different. They are absolutely designed to accomplish different things.

  11. John Krug

    Oct 5, 2018 at 1:03 pm

    Driver specs are personal to the individual. Is it accurate to say the information provided is as relevant as the shoe size of a player?

  12. Martin

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    The shafts interest me most. Amazing that there are two Accra’s, such a small company!

    • Brett

      Oct 25, 2018 at 10:55 pm

      Been using Accra shafts for years now! Seriously underrated!

  13. John

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:34 pm

    I doubt the list would change much if they hit a different brand driver.

  14. Aaron

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Rory’s driver is D8! Even with his Tensei Orange shaft, that’s a lot of extra head weight being added.

    • Matt

      Oct 5, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      More a result of length. Every half inch is 3 ticks on the scale. So if he was at 45″ his SW would be a shade over D4.

    • Murv

      Oct 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      His driver is almost 46 inches long. Accounting for almost all of the swing weight.

    • Dave

      Oct 9, 2018 at 2:40 pm

      The reason the SW is d8 is because of the extra length. BTW SW is an artifical number. I can build a d0 with same head weight and shaft.

    • Redundant Ray

      Oct 11, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      I think that extra swing weight is probably just the result of the extra length. He plays a longer driver, like 46″ I read somewhere.

  15. Jack Nash

    Oct 5, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    As a result of last weeks Ryder Cup, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to list the Drivers used by the Top 10 Most Accurate Drivers on the PGA?

    • Mike

      Oct 5, 2018 at 1:15 pm

      Agree with Jack Nash – accuracy far more important than distance. Ryder Cup teams as follows: Europe : 8.5 x4; 9.0 x5; 9.5 x1; 10.5×2
      USA: 7.6 x1; 8.0 x1; 8.5 x3; 9.0 x2; 9.5 x3 10.5 x2

      If Casey, Rahm, DJ & Simpson are at 10.5 deg drivers – those of us playing amateur golf should be at least 13 deg ,,, yet, we are being sold drivers to imitate the top professionals !?!?

      • Scott

        Oct 5, 2018 at 3:14 pm

        Mike, there are more factors than loft. Shaft flex, kick points weight, etc. If you were fit for your driver vs. buying one off the rack, you would understand.

      • Craig

        Oct 5, 2018 at 7:10 pm

        Sometime the lofts described may not be accurate, they will take a 10.5 degree driver and adjust the loft down which depending on driver also creates a slightly open face many pro’s prefer.

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Equipment

2 GolfWRXers put 4 Miura iron models to TrackMan test

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Equipment expert Brian Knudson and WRXer Jackson Elliott had a chance to put four Miura iron models to the test.

See their thoughts on the Miura club testing below, as well as their TrackMan data. For all heads, Knudson uused the Project X 6.0, and Jackson used the Ping AWT 2.0. Knudson is an 8.8 handicap, and Jackson is a 16.

MC-501

 

BN: I love the look of blades, but know they don’t fit my skill level. These looked great with a small footprint, topline, and squared off toe. The back “muscle” has a great look that grabs your attention. The feel of the 501 is Miura soft and very solid. Responsiveness is phenomenal, you can really tell where on the face you made contact. For some reason this was the iron I had the tightest dispersion with, we couldn’t figure out what made that happen!

JE: I thought the 501s looked pretty good, they seemed a little boxier than I’m used to, but the top-down view was by no means a turn-off. The ball exploded off the head when I managed to find center face, but I hit more bad shots than good. Definitely a far cry in terms of forgiveness compared to my game improvement irons, but the extra distance I gained almost makes me think the decreased accuracy is worth it.

IC-601

BN: This is the iron that I was not sure of its identity. It is overall a small profile but has a good amount off offset. Ball speed was great and it might have been the longest of the bunch. I was surprised that the feel was so soft as most hollow designs have a bit of clickiness to them. These were the longest for me by a slight margin and were one of the higher launching heads.

JE: The top ridge of the head looked a little too thick and boxy to me. It was a little distracting at first, but I got used to it after a few swings. I thought the club performed very well. The carry was longer than I was expecting, and I was able to put it near the middle fairway more times than not. In terms of performance, I think this would be the most likely to find its way into my bag.

CB 1008

BN: I have hit these irons previously and they are a great feeling iron. I was very impressed with how soft these irons are, maybe even softer than the MC-501. These irons are great looking as well with the sharper toe and slightly larger footprint than the MC-501. These didn’t blow me away with wild distance or ballspeed numbers, but that isn’t what they were intended for. They are just a really good players iron. The only negative thing I could say would be that they mute a little too much and you have a harder time deciphering where you made contact on the face.

JE: I thought both the 1008 and 2008 looked great, and I’d willingly put either set in my bag right now. I had a very hard time feeling any major differences between the two, but both clubs felt good in my hands. The 2008s seemed to be a bit more forgiving when it came to mishits, and the trackman numbers tended to corroborate that. My carry numbers for both clubs were nearly identical, but a few yards longer than I expected them to be.

CB 2008

BN: These are the big brother to the CB-1008 and they have a slightly more rounded shape. I actually like a slightly more rounded toe, so these fit my eye well. Upon the first impact you can tell these have way more power than the 1008, ball feels like it flies off the face. Forgiveness is far better allowing much better numbers on off center hits. Feel is a slight bit lacking, but for a club of its design really good.

JE: (See previous response)

Dispersion plots, trajectories

Knudson’s dispersion

Knudson’s trajectory

Elliot’s dispersion

Eliot’s trajectory

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Best 3-wood of the newest releases?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from Kaexo, who asks fellow GolfWRX members for their opinion on what they feel is the best 3 wood of the recent releases. Described as the “hardest spot in the bag to settle on” by one of our members, an array of different 3 woods get a mention in Kaexo’s thread.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Phil6380: “Cobra F8 is the best I’ve hit. Something about those rails when hitting it out of the turf. I have no fear of hitting down when needed. It’s also my most consistent club off the tee BY FAR! I give up a little distance, but when I need to hit a tight fairway, or I’m not hitting my best, that’s the club I’m grabbing.”
  • calfan36: “King LTD is great if you have some speed/launch. Very low spin, very forgiving, and an amazing feel. Also, I love that I can play it shorter and easily add weight via the space port.”
  • aussieb: “The two best fairways of recent releases are the G400 and Epic SZ for different reasons. G400 for forgiveness and great launch conditions from just about any lie, plus it sounds extremely solid.  Might still make my bag if I can find the right shaft combo, the Epic SZ is better for me than the Rogue for adjustability, ball speeds and head shape.  I found it worked off the short grass better than anything, and if I miss the fairway, it’s more likely to be the hybrid or a layup.”
  • ChipNRun: “Reality check: for many golfers, the best 3W is a 4W – slightly shorter shaft for better control, and extra loft to enhance launch.”

Entire Thread: “Best 3 wood of the newest releases?”

 

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Equipment

Bargain Challenge 2: Putting together a $500 set of clubs for a mid-handicapper

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Last week, I posted about what clubs you can get with $500. I built a set that I would use myself to show that even golfers with particular specs can find what they want for a decent price. Overall the feedback on the post was good, but I did want to follow up since one of the commenters put me up to a challenge. See below.

Well alright James, challenge accepted.

Challenge: A set of mid-handicap clubs with stiff shafts for less than $500.

Driver

Since I was going to be building a set of a mid-handicapper, my goal was to find a driver that got solid distance, but was also forgiving. I found this R9 460 in 10.5 degrees for $65. While the paint has seen better days, this should perform exactly how we want it to. Plus it is adjustable.

Wood

The 3-wood search stumped me for a bit. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to go with. I knew I didn’t want a strong three wood and I knew I needed something with forgiveness. After some searching I found a Ping K15 16 degree with a stiff shaft. While the loft is higher, I have found that many higher handicap amateurs can find good use out of a higher lofted 3-wood. On top of that, the K15 is an incredibly easy to hit and forgiving head.

Hybrid

I knew what most mid-handicappers would have a hard time hitting a 2 or 3-iron, so my mind immediately went to a 3-iron hybrid. After some searching, I stumbled on this Ping Rapture V2 with a stiff shaft. Historically, the Raptures have been really easy to hit which makes this a great addition to the bag.

Irons

I had the hardest time in this entire process finding irons. There were just too many to choose from. You had great player irons like the Ping S57 and you also had the super game improvement Adams irons. To find something slightly more in the middle, but still easy to hit, I went with the 2012 TaylorMade CBs. A great year for TaylorMade irons and easy to hit with the irons only going down to the 4. This is where someone can have some fun with their choices if they want.

Wedges

Wedge shopping was still hard this time around. Since the PW in the iron set was strong, I knew I needed a stronger gap wedge. I found a Callaway X-Jaws 50-degree for $24. Really, the entire point of the 50 is to have another iron and bridge the gap to the sand wedge. Speaking of the sand wedge, I went with the 56-degree Ping Gorge SS wedge. It has good grooves and will get the job done around the greens. For the lob wedge, I went with the Cleveland RTX 2.0 60 degree: A really solid wedge with good groves to give you the zip you need around the greens.

Putter

And finally, I went with another great blade putter for $55. Honestly, there were a lot of different options in the range from mallets to blades, so don’t be afraid to search around.

Total

In summary, anyone and any skill level and swing speed can find something in the used market. In fact, it was even easier to find clubs in stiff than X-stiff because most X-stiff clubs are custom and are in less demand making, them more rare and expensive than stiff clubs. Take a look, you never know what you may find.

Related: Bargain Challenge: Putting together a set of clubs for $500

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