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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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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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@golfexchangeapp

In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

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.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

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.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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