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Equipment

Best driver of 2019

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In the modern game of golf, the driver is quite possibly the most important club in the bag. So what is the best driver of 2019? What is the 2019 longest driver, the 2019 most forgiving driver, and the best overall driver in the game for 2019 and 2020?

Our expert panel of 13 top-ranked club fitters will tell you all of that in three different swing speed categories to give you the best answer in your search for the best golf driver.

golfwrx best golf driver2019 has undoubtedly been one of the best years for drivers ever. OEMs now are taking the previous generation’s winning recipes and pushing the science of structure, materials, and processing to move minute grams to optimize the MOI and CG to provide the slightest improvements. Lowering spin, generating max speed over larger areas of the face while maximizing MOI has been the trick. With so many great models to choose from, selecting the best driver of 2019 is no simple task.

While a driver that is the longest during a fitting might not hold up under pressure of tournament play, a great fitter will recognize that balance between distance and forgiveness. Ultimately, the best way to get it right and find your personal best golf driver of 2019 is to work with a professional fitter and find the one that works for you. The hard part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so as GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

best driver 2020

best driver 2020

We consulted leading fitters in the industry and compiled our results anonymously. The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools to go out and find what works best for you, with recommendations for your swing speed, with feedback from the people that work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of there equipment.

Best driver of 2019: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder: Club Champion
Craig Allen: Golf Performance Manager, Sea Island Performance Center
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Brent Norton: VP Golf Shop Operations, Miles of Golf
Ken Morton Jr: Owner Dir. Retail & Marketing, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Tim Briand: SVP Customer Experience, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Joe Kwok: Owner, Joe Kwok Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Dominic Chom: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

Best driver of 2019: The categories

We have broken it down into four total categories. Three are swing speed-based and the other forgiveness.

best-driver-2019

The reason for this format is that every golfer fits into one of these categories regardless of age, handicap, or gender.

Even before starting the process of building the survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how THEY sort through the endless head combinations available to golfers. Time after time, swing speed and forgiveness were the highest-ranked choices, after that it comes down to adjustability to fit individual players and their trends. We then worked internally to craft a survey that allowed the fitters to be HONEST…we want the truth just as much as you do, and to prevent anyone from feeling they couldn’t be, we allowed all of the results and quotes to remain anonymous unless otherwise stated.

We can’t thank the fitters enough for their time, and we hope that if you are still looking for that best driver for 2019, we can help you find it!

Your GolfWRX best drivers of 2019

2019 best drivers

Below are the four categories for 2019 best drivers. In addition, we have great quotes from our fitter panel for each winner. Why was it so good? You’ll find out with specific comments from the best fitters in the industry.

Now for the winners!

Best driver for swing speed at 106 mph and above

longest driver of 2019

  1. Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero: This driver has been a hit since its initial release. Sporting a face designed with the help Artificial Intelligence, the Epic Flash offers a lot of adjustability in both CG and loft settings.
    From the fitters: “Great ball speed and low spin, it’s also anti-left which players at these speeds typically like”…”The Sub Zero Jailbreak has a very consistent ball flight while managing spin at this higher high speed. The adjustable hosel and weight track make it easy to dial players in.”
  2. TaylorMade M5: When you have one of the most adjustable drivers on the market today, it’s hard to not to get dialed in. With technologies like Speed Injected TwistFace, and multi-material head construction, the M5 is a contender for almost any player.
    From the fitters: “This driver has been good at high speeds. Also, with most high-speed players spin control is a key factor in performance—the M5 delivers that”…”TaylorMade’s ability to make the driver as close to the limit as they can has set this head up for success. We have seen great numbers in fittings with the M5”
  3. Titleist TS3: The Titleist Speed Project has ushered in a new era for performance in Titleist metal woods across the board. As part of the TS Family, the TS3 has offered big gains for players that have made the switch and our fitters tend to agree.
    From the fitters: “Fastest ball speed we have tested and spin control”…”Fairly forgiving, very low spin, and one of the fastest club heads on the market. Combo of hosel and weight settings make this driver easy to fit to most golfers.”
  4. Ping G410 LST: Launched a little while after the original G410 Plus and STF models, Ping took its time with the LST (Low Spin Technology), because from their own admission, it was difficult beating the G400 LST. For those who waited, Ping has delivered exactly what they promised with this driver.
    From the fitters: “Fast, forgiving, and very stable—what more could you want?”…”Most forgiving low-spin head on the market. Very fast. Movable weight has been a huge addition for Ping.”
  5. Cobra F9 Speedback:  Who doesn’t like a fastback? Whether it be a car or a driver. The Cobra F9 has been a huge success for the company this year. With improved aerodynamics, thanks to a redesigned head geometry, along with a multi-material constructed body and a milled face make, this club is built for speed, just as the name suggests.
    From the fitters: “Cobra has done a great job all around with the F9, from sound, aesthetics, to results, Cobra has hit a home run with this one.”…”Very versatile, accurate, and LONG!!”

Read all the chatter in the forums here.

Best drivers for swing speed from 105 mph to 95 mph

best driver of 2019

  1. Callaway Epic Flash: Just like its lower spinning brother, the Epic Flash was the highest-rated driver in the category. Utilizing the same Flash Face technology and Jailbreak, but in a more forgiving body, Callaway is proving Artificial Intelligence in club design is here to stay.
    From the fitters: “The Epic Flash produces the fastest Ball speeds in this speed category and for most players it also the straightest.”…”Awesome ball speed, sound, and forgiveness. Its speed is what makes it my number 1”
  2. Ping G410 Plus: A forgiveness monster! The G410 Plus is one of the most forgiving drivers on the market, and with an all-around-performance design, it’s no surprise to find it here.
    From the fitters: “Ping has been one of the easiest and honest drivers out that fits the most golfer in this category. The G410 Plus has several hosel positions to help face angle, loft, and lie. The weight cog helps dial in that last little bit to optimize flight.”… “One word: forgiveness!”
  3. TaylorMade M6Injected Speed, but without the additional considerations of movable weights. By saving weight from the tracks and the weights themselves, the M6 pushes more mass low to create a very stable lower-spinning head.
    From the fitters: “TaylorMade M6 has a great look at address while having great sound and feel. I have had more success with this driver over the M5. It is more forgiving and produces very reliable shots off the tee.”…”Good ball speed with mid/low spin”
  4. Titleist TS2Another driver from the Titleist Speed Project has found its way into the top 5. The TS2 is proof of what can be accomplished when a company goes back to the drawing board to re-engineer and maximize performance.
    From the fitters: “Great ball speed with great forgiveness”…”For players on the lower end of the spin spectrum, this is a great option. Best ball speed from a Titleist product in many years.”
  5. Cobra F9 Speedback: Same driver, different category. This really shows how well this product has been designed to help golfers across multiple swing speeds.
    From the fitters: “Very neutral and versatile, fast ball speeds, good stability”…”If this driver has one tiny negative, I wish forgiveness was slightly better but the speed is so great it makes up for it”

Read all the chatter in the forums here.

Best drivers for swing speed at 94 mph and below

2019 best driver

  1. Callaway Epic Flash: There is an obvious trend here. This is the third time a driver in the Epic Flash (Family) has taken the top spot in a swing speed category—there is definitely something in that Flash Face!
    From the fitters: “Again, very efficient energy transfer off the face and straight. Slightly lighter nominal head weight allows me to modify the head as needed”…”King of drivers for 2019 in my opinion, tons of speed for all levels and great forgiveness.”
  2. Ping G410 SFT: SFT stands for Straight Flight Technology. For players on the lower end of the speed spectrum, closing the clubface and creating spin to keep the ball in the air to carry further can be a bit more difficult. The G410 SFT helps with all of those fitting issues.
    From the fitters: “Great speed, not as good as Epic Flash, but the forgiveness makes it my obvious number two” …”Still a great driver that fits players of all speeds and is super easy to hit.”
  3. TaylorMade M6 D-TypeEverything from the M6, but with a twist (and not just Twist Face), the M6 D-Type has a CG located a lot closer to the heel to produce 20 additional yards of draw bias for those that tend to fade the ball.
    From the fitters: “Good club for this speed with so many struggling with right miss”…”Very forgiving and draw biased without a closed face—something a lot of players hate the look of”
  4. Titleist TS1: Titleist took the TS frame and made it even faster with the TS1. Lightening the entire club from head to grip, allowing players looking for every opportunity to gain speed to do so with the driver.
    From the fitters: “Titleist is back in the game! This driver has great speed and great forgiveness.”…”Super lightweight and easy to launch, this driver was built for players in this swing speed range”
  5. XXIO Prime Driver: SPEED: It’s what XXIO Prime woods deliver. Although one of the most expensive drivers available, the XXIO truly delivers on the promise to get more speed.
    From the fitters: “Ball speed monster… nothing produces a faster ball speed for lower clubhead speeds.”…” Really good driver; works magic for players with slower tempos”

Read all the chatter in the forums here.

Most forgiving driver/straightest driver

2020 best driver

This one has some interesting results based on the way fitters interpreted the question—some were looking at curvature reduction generally for players that slice the ball, while others were looking at overall dispersion and total MOI (Moment of Inertia), which leads to shots hit around the face to fly straighter. Either way, regardless of your miss, these drivers will help you hit more fairways.

  1. Ping G410 Plus: I feel like I’ve heard this one before—the Ping G410 Plus is a forgiveness monster! Extremely high MOI produces consistent results all over the face. Add to it the adjustability to help with player misses and you have a fairway finder.
    From the fitters: “The forgiveness on this driver all over the face is the best!”…”Ping hands down for several years now have been producing drivers that let players get away with a lot of mishits, but delivering straight shots.”
  2. Titleist TS2The Speed Project is delivering more than just speed. Its classic shape appeals to a lot of players and its lower CG also appeals to those looking to find the short grass more often.
    From the fitters: “Sleeper! Never in 20 years have I thought of Titleist as a straight driver. TS1 and TS2 are straight.”
  3. PXG 0811 XF Gen 2The Gen 2 woods from PXG are true performers across all categories. Thanks to its extremely high MOI, the XF has proven itself to be one of straightest on the market.
    From the fitters: “This driver is a sleeper, first Gen wasn’t that easy to hit and lead to more offline shots in my fits, Gen 2 XF fully hits the mark.”…”Depending on the player’s tendency—if we need to use a driver to reduce their normal shot shape the 0811 is fantastic”
  4. TaylorMade M6 D-TypeTo no surprise, the D-Type is back! Any time a driver can use a lot of discretionary mass to move CG closer to the heel and produce a draw bias, it will make its way into a lot of bags.
    From the fitters: “I’ve done a lot of fits this season and the M6 has been super forgiving and offers very repeatable dispersion shot after shot.”
  5. Callaway Epic Flash: It doesn’t have the highest MOI in this category, but thanks to a ton of adjustability, fitters can really dial this club in for almost any player—that leads to tighter shot patterns.
    From the fitters: “All the adjustability helps with control”…”The Flash Face lets players have more forgiveness across the face which really improves ball speeds on those mishit shots—Great all-around driver.”

Read all the chatter in the forums here.

Conclusion

The fitters consulted for this piece have accumulated data from thousands of fittings with golfers just like you. From beginners to tour players, their feedback and information can’t be undervalued.

golfwrx-best-drivers-2019-flightscope-

Now it’s your turn: Everybody swings the club differently and everybody has their own experience. We want to hear from you. What driver are you using? What did you switch from? What performance gains did you find in your own game? Share your experience to help others.

Read all the comments or make your own in the discussion thread in the forums here.

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Equipment

TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max driver review

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New for 2020, TaylorMade has launched the new SIM driver family. First the lower spinning SIM then a more forgiving higher spinning SIM Max and a SIM Max D head to help draw the ball for those that need it.

We have seen the tour players using all three of the SIM drivers.

Technical Details

The SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers from TaylorMade feature an asymmetric sole shape as well as a redesigned Inertia Generator. The asymmetric sole shape of the drivers is designed to reduce drag while providing faster clubhead speed, with the redesigned Inertia Generator redistributing weight at the very low-and-back portion of the club in a bid to provide improved forgiveness.

The SIM Max D clubhead contains a heel-bias internal weight with a topline masking to make the clubhead look more open at address to help golfers who struggle with a right-miss.

Other features of the SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers includes a speed injected twist face, inverted cone technology, a thru-slot speed pocket, multi-material construction and an adjustable loft sleeve.

Exclusive to the SIM driver is sliding weight technology which allows face angle and flight bias preferences of up to +/-2° loft change and up to +/-20 yards of draw-fade bias.

(Top Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM Max & 2019 TM M6, (Bottom Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM & 2019 TM M5

Reviews

Here are the individual reviews from GolfWRXers’ trip to The Kingdom.

Tester: Rob “osubuckeyes691

I’ll start by saying this. SIM is very good. It’s not a magical 30 yards like everyone is talking about here. That comes from being properly fit. But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have.

My current set up is a Callaway Epic Flash SZ Double Diamond with a Fuji Ventus Black 6x. LOW LOW LOW combo…and I still hit it high haha. I live in the low to mid 170s ball speed with spin sometimes getting up to 2700 2800. Drives I hit well, spin around 2100. My miss is a big push slice.

But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have. -Rob

I ended up being fit in to a SIM 9* with the new KBS Tour Driven 70 Category 5. This shaft is super interesting. It’s really hard for me to describe but it has feel, and a lot of it. Spin dropped to about 2400 on my miss right and really, that’s what I was hoping would happen. I wanted something that when I missed, wouldn’t lose me 30 yards. We put the weight in the heel and it really did help straighten out the miss. Huge advantage for me. I knew as someone who swings 120ish I wasn’t going to pick up 20 yards. I wanted to reduce my miss and that’s exactly what SIM was able to do for me.  Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Will “fillwelix

For my driver fitting, I was with Perry, who was a blast to get to work with. I started by hitting my gamer on Trackman, talking with Perry about what my misses usually are, and what I wanted to get out of the fitting.

I usually don’t have a problem with distance so I told him the biggest thing I was looking for was a tighter dispersion. I don’t have the trackman numbers yet but with my gamer, I was averaging about 110 club head speed, 160-something ball speed, 270-275 carry, 285-290 total. Launching a bit too high but spin was okay.

The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. -Will

We tried the 10.5 SIM in a Ventus Black 6x, and he gave me a couple tips in my setup, because my AOA was something like 4 or 5 degrees up. The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. Carrying 295-300, total of 315-320. One shot carried the fence of the driving range at The Kingdom.

Spent some time going through different shafts to see if there was an improvement, played with weights, etc. but the best numbers were with the 10.5 SIM with Ventus Black 6x and the weight all the way in the toe, because my miss is usually left. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Nick “n_rones

I started off with my fittings working with Joe. After some warmup we started with the drivers. Coming in I was playing a Srixon Z785 with a Hzrdus black 6.5 70 gram shaft at 45 inches.

I’m a really tough fit because I have an unusual swing and hit down on the ball heavily with every club. My AOA with the driver was between 5 and 7 down which is pretty nuts I always knew I hit down on it but not that much. I’m still waiting on the trackman date to be emailed to me but with my own driver I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 109 swing speed with a launch angle of 4 degrees and 4000 spin (Ridiculous I know right).

I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. -Nick

His main goal for me was to get launch up and spin down. The first club he handed me was the Sim 10.5 turned up to 11.25 with a Graphite design IZ 7x. Instantly my launch angle increased and spin dropped. We then went through a few other shafts like graphite design ad di 7x. We came back to the IZ and with a quick change in tee height we ended up where we wanted. We knew with my angle of attack we were never going to get me to super low spin and high launch we just wanted to get it to a manageable number.

By the end of the fit I was hitting the sim with the iz under 3k spin with a couple down at 2500 and 9 degree launch increasing my carry from the 244 range up to the 260-265 range on good swings and we neutralized my cut massively. I was fortunate enough to finish my fit while other guys were still busy so we went right into the build shop and he built me my driver on the spot and gave me a super cool kingdom exclusive headcover. I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. Most of that is me never being through a proper fitting before but a big factor was I was able to get into the sim head with high loft but it was a great spin killing head for me. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: “jimbonecrusher”

I am one that gained a good bit of ball speed from getting fit for the SIM driver. My gamer is a Titleist 915D3 9.5* with a Rogue Silver 70X. I wasn’t fit for the driver as I just bought the parts off of the BST. I always felt that I lost yardage due to high spin. The Trackman didn’t lie as I was getting 166mph ball speed and 3000 rpm of spin on well-struck shots. Where this posed a problem was when I was off-center, the ball would be a high right spinner that would lose a lot of distance. 

Where I saw great gains was in dispersion. TwistFace just flat out works. Toe shots came back to closer to center, and heal shots faded right back towards center. I also didn’t lose as much yardage. I did pick up about five mph in ball speed. There are a plethora of reasons for this gain and the resulting 20 yard gain in ball flight.

Some could attribute the gain to almost 30 feet of height in ball flight. It could also be because there was 300 less RPM, or over a degree increase in launch angle. Either way, it has proven to me that getting fit by a knowledgeable fitter is crucial. This is the first time that I have been fit for a driver. All the expectations of mine going into this fitting have been met.

The SIM is forgiving. The SIM is aerodynamically superior to what I have been playing. The SIM just flat out performs for me because it doesn’t balloon, it is forgiving on mishits with good direction and ball speed, and it reduced my spin rate. – 

The sounds of the SIM line is amazing. The solid “thwack” sound it makes at contact is extremely welcoming. Gone are the days of high pitched aluminum baseball bat sounds. Now, some sounds just sound perfect to me. Johnny Wunder posted a video on Instagram of me hitting a driver, and you can hear the sound. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

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Equipment

Building the perfect half set

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Beyond physically putting clubs together, one of my favorite games to play is trying to build the ideal half set, and taking it out for some testing on the course. The goal is to see how few clubs I can play with before it becomes a detriment to my game and my scoring—while still having fun trying to hit all kinds of creative shots along the way

Many golfers have, at some point, played the “three-club challenge” (three including a putter), but that often becomes an exercise in caution and course management instead of what many would consider a usual round of golf. Although from the conversations I’ve had with golfers about trying out an extremely reduced set, the consensus generally ends up at, “I shot one of my best scores in a long time.”

I’m not sure how that sentiment potentially relates to handicap or not, but one way or the other, it’s a great way to lighten the load and have some fun thinking differently about your shots.

My ideal half set consists of 7-8 clubs including a putter, but in some cases, I will take it all the way down to 5-6. I love having the option to play with a full set and most times do, but I have gone weeks playing only with my half set and don’t see a noticeable variation in my scoring.

It actually makes me question why I carry a full set and in the grand scheme of golf. I think it would be one of the most entertaining experiments to have a PGA Tour event where players are limited to seven clubs. It would have the potential to make gearheads and the general fan engage in an interesting conversation.

Whatever way you choose to build your set, this is a quick start guide to play your best half set golf.

Thinking Your way Through Building a Half Set

  • The Putter: This is the one club that probably isn’t going anywhere (unless you are a virtuoso putting with a bellied wedge). You are going to be using this club on every hole, and depending on your comfort level hitting certain shots, you might end up using it further off the green than normal—cheers to the imagination! Build out from here, because shots inside 100 yards are still going to take up the majority of strokes on your card, and your putter is going to save you shots.
  • The “Wedge”: Remember that it wasn’t until the last generation of golfers that players started using a lob wedge. Tom Watson famously never put one in the bag and only carried up to a 56-degree. The ideal loft to start your set with is 52-54 degrees, because you can still hit shots out of the sand if needed, and it’s a great club to still hit full shots with—something that many golfers struggle to do with a lob wedge.
  • Your “Go-To” Shot: I think most golfers agree that trying to get more out of a club distance-wise often ends with less than great results. This is why as you go through your set and start to pick clubs, it’s important to think about your favorite go-to shots. You want to do everything you can to avoid standing over a ball trying to manipulate a club because you don’t have “that distance” in the bag. This is hugely important when you realize that close to 90 percent of hazards are placed in front of the green or target areas and being able to get over comfortably should be priority number one.
  • Know Your Iron Lofts:  Most modern sets have 4-5 degrees between each club, but as you get to the longer irons, even towards the middle of the set (7-iron to 5-iron) loft gaps can get smaller quickly, and for some this can equal a diminishing point of return on distance gapping. Don’t just grab every other iron, take a few minutes to think about the carry distance of each club, because that’s going to be important.
  • A Driver is Still Important: We all cant be Henrik Stenson with a 12-degree 3-wood we hit 300 yards. Unless you have plans to go truly minimalist, keeping a driver in the bag is a good idea. It is the largest and most forgiving club off the tee and will help put you into places that will make second shots a lot easier.
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Equipment

What GolfWRXers are saying are the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005

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@jfp2112

GolfWRXers have been discussing the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005 after forum member ‘8620’ created a thread with a desire to “build a set that starts with a ‘retro’ blade head, that incorporates a modern shaft (Nippon Modus Pro 130)”. Our members have weighed in on the subject, with some inspired by ‘8620’ to follow suit in his project.

Here are what our members are saying on the subject, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below,

  • Gopher68: “Bridgestone J33 blades.”
  • BCULAW: “Mizuno MP67. Awesome blade that never really caught on due to the popularity of its predecessor (MP33) and its sister offering (MP32). Also, the small ‘cut muscle’ gives it a bit of an old school vibe like the old Wilson bullet backs.”
  • Golfingfanatic: “OG Nike Forged Blades.”
  • cardoustie: “Bridgestone MB’s, love my J15’s.”
  • OldTomMorris: “I’ve got a set of mp-37 irons that I am putting TT DG AMT white S300 shafts in right now. Curious to see if I can keep the short irons lower than my current set of irons.”
  • Rapidcat: “This interests me as I played Mizuno SPL blades for a decade and still have the heads in very good condition, thinking about a reshaft for them to have some fun.”

Entire Thread: “Top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005”

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