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The hottest drivers of 2019

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More than likely, it’s the most expensive club in your bag, and the one you spend the most time researching before purchasing. OEMs direct rivers of cash into developing new driver technologies, and no shortage of resources into telling the stories of the latest and greatest in the world of the big dogs.

With respect to the new technologies and the associated stories, we present, in no particular order (OK, it’s alphabetical order), these are the most buzzworthy, hottest drivers of 2019 (so far).

Callaway Epic Flash

Callaway-Epic-Flash-Sole

The lowdown: The Carlsbad-based company follows up the Epic-complementing Rogue with a driver whose story isn’t immediately visible upon a first glance at the club. Flash Face technology is the centerpiece of Callaway’s 2019 driver offering, and with it, beyond the usual distance-boosting claims, the company has done something truly interesting: leveraged artificial intelligence to create a golf club.

Cobra King F9 Speedback

cobra-king-f9-speedback-

The lowdown: Every driver company boasts a couple of technological advances with its new driver launches; maybe a new crown to save weight, an aerodynamic crown for more club head speed, a different sole design, a way to shift CG to dial in trajectory, higher MOI, or a different face technology. Cobra has thrown the kitchen sink at its new King F9 Speedback drivers, checking off all of those boxes.

Mizuno ST190G

The lowdown: Mizuno Golf is about more than just irons; that’s the message the company is keen to drive home with its launch of the Mizuno ST190 and ST190G drivers. In announcing its lowest spinning, most technology-packed driver in company history, with the 2019 Mizuno driver, the company seeks to position itself as one that has quietly innovated in the driver space for years. With respect to the specifics of the Japanese company’s most recent weaponry, the ST190 and 190G feature a forged Sp700Ti face (10 percent stronger than 6-4 titanium) with the company’s ultra-light Cortech structure, as well as a carbon composite crown.

Ping G410 Plus

ping-g410-plus-driver

The lowdown: To put into perspective what Ping is bringing to the table with its new driver, we have to think about how a driver is modified through custom fitting. The challenge presented to the design team was: how can the company bring moveable CG fitting to every golfer while also improving MOI and add ball speed? This is where all of the previous technology advances, along with the 16g of moveable mass positioned to the furtherest reaches of the perimeter to allow for a tour level fitting experience.

TaylorMade M5

taylormade-m5-driver

The lowdown: TaylorMade’s M5 driver features a Speed Injected Twist Face, building on the Twist Face technology the company debuted with the M3 and M4 drivers last year. The M5 clubface is designed to initially exceed the USGA’s COR limit. In simple terms, TaylorMade takes all of the heads they produce, pushes them past the USGA limit in regards to COR, and works backwards to ensure they fall within the parameters — the algorithm-driven process of resin injection into the clubs via the two ports on the face brings the figure just inside the acceptable range.

Titleist TS2

titleist-ts2-driver

The lowdown: TS2 and TS3 drivers have a 20 percent thinner titanium crown than the 917 drivers, allowing weight to be placed lower and deeper for lower CG (center of gravity) and higher MOI (moment of inertia, a measure of forgiveness). The faces also use variable thickness for faster ball speeds across the face, and this year, the faces have been made 6 grams lighter. With the combination of weight savings from the face and crown, these drivers have the lowest CG ever for a Titleist driver, and MOI is 12 percent higher than the 917 drivers.

 

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37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. Steve

    Apr 3, 2019 at 1:28 pm

    Being a over 70 golfer and still getting 250 yards with a Rouge Callaway I am going to support the distance claims of all the major OEM’s. Yea, close to $500 or more is high but they are longest clubs ever….I have several older drivers in the barrel at home that will never see the tee box again to prove that.

  2. Central Oregon Golf

    Apr 1, 2019 at 5:31 am

    Is this headline considered clickbait -or- just a poor attempt to grab headlines from the same buzzwords used on other websites in the golf world? Asking for a friend…

  3. Wtf

    Mar 22, 2019 at 9:49 pm

    This website is going downhill fast. Really unfortunate. Articles are useless drivel.

    Elimination of witb from tournament sites each week.

    And an utter meltdown off the mobile app. How do you release something to the public that is full of bugs??? It’s 2019!!!

    Hopefully someone buys this site out and fixes the mess that has been made since Tursky left.

    What a shame.

  4. Scott

    Mar 18, 2019 at 6:39 pm

    I was surprised to see the PXG Gen 2 driver not on the list. I really like it. I bought mine in January this year. The price point is not much more than the Taylormade M5 and I think it is a better driver. Better feeling and better performing in my opinion.

  5. john

    Mar 18, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    What people forget is the claims made about distance are based on tests done by machines where every single swing is identical to the last. In the real world, none us make the exact same swing two shots running so any potential gains are unrealised. With drivers pushing the £500 mark on a regular basis, it’s delusional to expect the club to do what the swing isn’t capable of. In my opinion, what we should be looking for from any new equipment is greater forgiveness. Better to be hitting 240 from the fairway than 250 from the rough.

  6. Michel Van Dam

    Mar 13, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    i just bay M4 driver, about 2055 i wil bay a new driver, if i still live hi hi!

  7. Morten Buckhoj

    Mar 9, 2019 at 5:50 am

    This is just the top6 brands….where is Tour Edge Exotics, Wilson, XXIO, Srixon…..??? My best guess is that they are equally good with as much tech….

  8. Birdiemachine650

    Mar 8, 2019 at 11:03 pm

    Where’s th PXG love???

    • Joe

      Mar 12, 2019 at 9:04 pm

      Most folks ain’t gonna drop $800-1,000 on a driver… just sayin’

      • DLB

        Mar 13, 2019 at 8:51 pm

        Price point for PXG Gen2 drivers is less than what you stated.

      • JB

        Mar 15, 2019 at 8:24 am

        PXG Gen 2 driver retails at $575. The Taylormade M5 retails at $549. Just sayin’

        • Kyle

          Apr 5, 2019 at 4:29 pm

          PXG offers handcrafted Project X shafts as stock offerings. Those would be an up charge with other OEMs.

  9. Anthony

    Mar 8, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    Does anyone have any first hand experience with the Mizuno?

    • Funkaholic

      Mar 18, 2019 at 2:23 pm

      I haven’t hit this one yet but, I have bagged the JPX900 for a while now and I would put it up against any of the bigger names any day of the week.

    • Warren R

      Mar 24, 2019 at 6:27 am

      Hit ST190 during a demo day on a whim. First off, it’s a beautiful club, it instills a lot of confidence. Contact was excellent. Three things stood out 1. You know exactly where the ball struck the face 2. Flight is lower than expected (hosel is adjustable) but very consistent 3. The distance numbers far exceeded the M5 I was trying and my gamer/backup (carry distance 310 w/ gamer/backup, 305 with M5, 335 with ST190, farthest was 355). Needless to say, had to get one (currently in the mail).

      I would highly encourage you give it a try, if you can!

  10. Jacopo Ferrero

    Mar 8, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    I own a Cortex Wilson and a Cobra F9 , same performances , same shaft , how can you leave the Wilson out of this article ?

    • N D Boondocks

      Mar 8, 2019 at 2:22 pm

      As long as there’s even a smell of subjectivity to ‘hottest’, I think you can be sure that there will always be excellent products that are dissed.

  11. Mike McDonald

    Mar 8, 2019 at 12:31 pm

    I lead a sheltered life. Just curious if High Heat or GX clubs have ever had reviews. I have 2 daughters and looking to put them into a driver-woods that are easy to hit with good results They do not NEED 400-600 dollar golf clubs

  12. Russell Ziskey

    Mar 7, 2019 at 11:14 pm

    I miss the official GolfWRX Gear Trials methodology of 2016 –

    http://www.golfwrx.com/352108/2016-gear-trials-best-drivers-club-test/

    I understand that the testing and evaluations done in 2016 probably were funded from revenue streams which may not exist now for GolfWRX but I echo other comments that this article just a catalogue of all the major OEMs driver offering for 2019 – having an objective and comparative ranking of the drivers is much more helpful.

  13. Ace

    Mar 7, 2019 at 8:17 pm

    Im a Callaway guy (Rogue Draw currently) but boy does that Cobra F9 look sweet…On the other end of the spectrum how the mighty have fallen over at Titleist. IMO its the weakest entry on the list by far and even their long standing hold on balls is under assault by Big dogs like Callaway, small vendors
    like Snell (My fav) & Sams club of all places.

    • HDTVMAN

      Mar 8, 2019 at 12:22 pm

      I fit clubs and commented on how Titleist has been no where in sight in drivers for many years. However, I was just recently invited to Titleist in Oceanside to learn about the TS Drivers. All I can say is that these drivers are FOR REAL! We were asked to bring our current driver, and virtually every fitter in our group out-drove our driver with the TS. This included speed, distance, and dispersion. The TS is not your dad’s Titleist, anymore.

  14. JCGolf

    Mar 7, 2019 at 10:41 am

    How is this an article. “The hottest drivers of 2019” i.e. every single driver from the major companies.

  15. Dormie

    Mar 7, 2019 at 7:14 am

    So it’s just happens to be that the hottest drivers of 2019 are just the newest drivers from the leading manufacturers. They’re all the hottest drivers.

    Just title the article “newest drivers for 2019” if your concerned about pissing off advertisers.

  16. Danny Bentley

    Mar 6, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    How could you leave off the PXG Gen2 drivers ?

  17. Tom

    Mar 6, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    All sizzle, no steak. USGA equipment standards INSURE these clubs cannot perform better than previous models! Sellers be sellin! Save your money!!!

    • Alex

      Mar 6, 2019 at 7:08 pm

      Ball speeds and distance would indicate otherwise…is it worth 500 bucks every year? That’s for a consumer to decide. However making bold claims like that isn’t even close.

    • Brandon

      Mar 6, 2019 at 11:41 pm

      Enjoy your R7…

      • KK

        Mar 7, 2019 at 2:23 pm

        Love this comment! I was thinking 975D with the red Graffaloy shaft

    • Doug

      Mar 7, 2019 at 3:02 am

      Someone is not an engineer I hear.

    • Addison King

      Mar 7, 2019 at 11:55 pm

      Dumb, drivers are getting more aerodynamic and more forgiving every year. The COR limit is measured from a perfect hit out of the middle of the face

      • Dan

        Mar 26, 2019 at 1:00 am

        They don’t use COR anymore. They use CT, and it’s tested on 9 parts of the head. Heal, center, toe by top middle, bottom. Gotta pass all 9 to conform. Wilson Triton of driver v driver 1 fame was nonconforming on the high toe.

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Anti-hook hybrid?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from kgeisler13 who is looking to replace his current 3-iron with an anti-hook hybrid. Our members give their thoughts on the subject to kgeisler13, with Ping’s G410, as well as Callaway’s ’19 Apex proving to be popular suggestions.

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.

  • Joelsim: “Ping G410. I’ve hit about 60 shots with my new one and not a single hook. I sold the G400 as it was prone to hooking.”
  • Banker: “G410 flat setting, KBS hybrid 95x. Swing as hard as you want.”
  • Golfingguru11: “Callaway apex has the highest toe and most open face of any I’ve seen since the original idea pro.”
  • eaglestan66: “Titleist 818 H1 can be very fade biased if weight and lie angles are set correctly. This is one of the reasons I purchased the 3 and 4-hybrid version.”
  • phil75079: “The Callaway ’19 Apex hybrid. Everyone who has hit it agrees it is neutral to fade biased.”

Entire Thread: “Anti-hook hybrid?”

 

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Whats in the Bag

Shane Lowry’s winning WITB: 2019 Open Championship

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Driver: Srixon Z 585 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 70X (45.25″, tipped .75″, D3 swing weight)

3-wood: TaylorMade M4 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8X

Irons: Srixon Z U85 (2 [18 degrees], 3 [20 degrees bent to 21]), Srixon Z 585 (4 [23 degrees], 5 [26 degrees]), Srixon Z 785 (6-PW)
Shafts: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White TX Hybrid (2), KBS Tour 130X (3-PW)

Wedges: Cleveland RTX 4 (50 [bent to 51, 35.75″, D5], 58 degrees [35.25″, D7.5)
Shafts: KBS Tour Wedge X

Putter: Odyssey Stroke Lab Exo 2-Ball (Lowry’s putter has an all-black finish, and he switched into it earlier this year at the RBC; 34″)
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0 (custom shamrock)

Ball: Srixon Z-Star XV Pure White

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (logo down)

Image c/o Srixon (obviously, Lowry does not have all wedges pictured in play)

Additional Shane Lowry WITB notes, via Johnny Wunder

2019 Open Champion Shane Lowry, compared to Tommy Fleetwood, is on the other side of the spectrum in regards to brand loyalty. He is Cleveland/Srixon in 12 clubs including the ball with the only two exceptions being the TaylorMade M4 3-wood and his Odyssey Putter. In this case, that makes sense, those clubs seem to be a challenge to swap, especially the 3-wood, and Cleveland/Srixon isn’t really known for putters on the PGA Tour.

I got some interesting intel on his driver Switch from the TaylorMade M2 into the Srixon Z585.

According to Rodney McDonald, VP of Tour Operations for Cleveland/Srixon, Shane is a dedicated staff member that is always willing to get all Cleveland/Srixon in the bag.

On Lowry switching into the Z585 Driver McDonald had this to say

“The switch was very easy. Even though he had won early in the year with another driver, he was not driving it good at all. He is very loyal to our team and our products that he came to us to find a new driver. He instantly loved the look of the Z 585 and once we started testing the numbers were exactly what he was looking for. His main comment about the driver is how his misses are minimal and he can hit all the shots he wants to.”

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Equipment

Tommy Fleetwood’s bag is as awesome as he is (Tommy Fleetwood WITB)

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I’m obsessed with this guy. If there was a movie about his life, Aaron Taylor Johnson would play him…can we make that happen?

His bag has taken over for my past obsession with Charles Howell III, David Toms, and Rocco Mediate. I’m drawn to players that tweak a bit, it keeps it fun for me on Getty Images at 3 a.m.

Much like a Bernhard Langer, there is no telling what OEM sticks will land in Fleetwood’s bag. It’s awesome and a sign of the non-contract “eat what you kill” mentality shared by some of the biggest names out there (BK and Patrick Reed to name a couple).

Tommy has messed around quite a bit in the past two years with his bag and the fun part is, he’s not afraid to shake it up.

Here is a partial list of clubs that were previously in the bag since ’17 leading up to his current setup

  • TaylorMade M3 driver (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70X shaft)
  • Titleist 917 D2 driver (@ 8.5 degrees) (Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 70X shaft)
  • Nike Vapor Fly 3-wood (13 degrees) (UST Mamiya VTS ProForce Red 7X shaft)
  • Nike Vapor Fly 5-wood (Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 80TX shaft)
  • Titleist 917 3-wood (14 degrees) (UST Mamiya VTS ProForce Red 7X shaft)
  • Titleist TS3 3-wood (12.75 degrees) (UST Mamiya ProForce Black 7X shaft)
  • Nike VR Pro Blades
  • Callaway MD4 wedges
  • Ping G410 3-wood (14 degrees) (UST Mamiya ProForce Black 7X shaft)
  • Ping G410 7-wood (18 degrees) (Mitsubishi Diamana BF 80T shaft)
  • Odyssey 2-Ball (plumbers neck)

His grips are also a fun one, he goes Blue Golf Pride TVC in his woods, Iomic Sticky in his irons, and black Golf Pride TVC in his wedges. God, I love this guy!

Tommy Fleetwood WITB @The Open

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (9 degrees @7.5)
*has lofted up a bit, his driver has been down to 6.5 I’ve heard.
Shaft: Mitsubishi DF 70X (45 inches)

3-wood: TaylorMade M6 (15 degrees @14)
Shaft: Mitsubishi DF 70X (42.5 inches)
*was in a Ping G410 until the Scottish Open where he switched into the M6.

Irons: TaylorMade GAPR Lo (@18.75), Srixon Z785 (4-iron, 23 degrees), TaylorMade P7TW (5-9)
Shafts: GAPR: Project X 6.5 (39.5 inches), 4-iron: Project X 6.5 (38.5 inches), 5-9: Project X 6.5 (38 inches @ 5-iron, minus 1/2 inch from there) (26, 30, 34, 38, 42 degrees)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (47, 52, 55, 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Wedge notes: 48.10F (bent to 47) Tour chrome finish
52.08F raw
56.10 (bent 55) raw
60.08 raw

Putter: Odyssey White Hot Pro #3
Grip: Super Stroke Mid Slim 2.0


Quick thought: I do see a specific trend when it comes to free agents, and it’s mildly telling. Keep in mind I understand that it’s not 100 percent, but the trends are there.

In woods and wedges specifically, TaylorMade seems to be a popular choice in the overall woods category for non-signed players and Vokey is hands down the wedge of choice. Makes sense in my opinion, I’m not a big “best company” guy, but I do understand the choice. Both companies make and have made extremely high-performing sticks for many years. Consistency in anything is a hard opponent to beat. When Nike bounced out of clubs Rory, BK, Casey, and a few others put Vokeys straight in, and a BK and Casey put TM woods in the bag. (Just an example for context)

Anyway, Tommy Fleetwood is four back going into the final round. I have a weird feeling if it blows he could be holding a trophy.

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