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Top 5 drivers of all time: 400cc and under

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With modern driver technology, 460cc is the club head volume that reigns supreme. Even modern “tour” drivers being offered by OEMs are over 430cc, and those releases are becoming less popular as modern players are choosing total forgiveness over workability.

But there was a time not too long ago when 350cc was considered “a toaster on a stick.” As technology and manufacturing techniques improved, those 350cc toasters became 400cc “Volkswagen vans.” If you didn’t hear one of these phrases muttered when you pulled out a new driver in the early 2000s, you’re lucky!

The 400cc-and-under drivers of the early and mid-2000s shifted the way golfers now look at technology, and with let’s take a look back at the top five 400cc-and-under drivers of all time.

Taylormade R510 TP

The driver for which an entire half-decade of clubs were compared to. You couldn’t hit a driver or talk about new clubs without someone saying “is it as good as the R510 TP?”

TaylorMade’s dominance in the driver category didn’t start with the R500 series though, it was the previous 300 Series that was revolutionary in changing the way golfers looked at driver models to fit their game by offering three completely different heads (300, 320, and 360) to fit player types and preferences.

The R500 Series took the multi-release concept a step further with the 510, 540, and 580 drivers, but then came the “holy grail” R510 TP (Tour Preferred), and the rest is history; an open look from address, inverted cone clubface, a real-deal Fujikura 757 Speeder shaft (huge deal at the time)—this is a driver people still talk about, and for good reason.

Titleist 905S

With the massive popularity of the Titleist 983K and E drivers, it was going to take a LOT from the Titleist R&D team to convince both tour players and regular golfers to make another switch – but they did it with the 905 Series.

The 905 series, originally launched with the 905T (more pear-shaped ) and the 905S (deeper face) models. These were both eventually followed by Titleist’s first 460cc driver, the 905R.

The 905S was the direct replacement to the player preferred deep faced 983E and to this day is still considered one of the great designs in the 400cc era.

It had a strong titanium face insert to boost ball speed, and aluminum shaft sleeve to help push mass and COG lower into the head because they were still full bore through at the time. The shape of the 905S made it an easy adjustment for players coming from smaller drivers and was just so good looking from address. It came with a nice selection of stock shaft options and a very cool headcover.

Honorable mention to the 905T—a driver used by Steve Stricker for a long time with a ProForce V2 shaft

Cleveland Launcher 400

For Cleveland Golf, the Launcher brand was synonymous with “big” drivers and long drives. Beyond Tiger Woods, there wasn’t a hotter golfer on the planet in the mid-2000s than V.J. Singh, and he was also one of the longest on tour.

The Launcher 400 came after the original 330, and although from the outside it looked simple, from a technology standpoint, it had an extremely light crown that pushed CG as low as possible to offer forgiveness and low spin. At the time, Cleveland Golf was pushing the limits of thin-walled casting, which allowed them to push the driver to the 400cc, which also made it very forgiving.

You can’t forget it came stock with a matte gold finished Fujikura shaft that helped it stand out at retail and on the tee.

Ping ISI Tec

For a long time, the Ping Isi Tec was “THE driver,” and I have some fun facts about it.

It was the last Titanium Driver to ever be made in the United States, which also made it one of the most expensive drivers to ever hit retail shelves.

It was the number one driver on the long drive circuit, before other companies starting coming in and producing speciality heads for those competitors.

It had the first mass market adjustable hosel thanks to the plastic sleeve that could be ordered through the Ping WRX department. Each sleeve had a small code to signify the setting (RSS for example was Regular, Standard, Standard). The biggest issue was to be “adjusted,” it needed to be re-shafted, which wasn’t very economical.

Last but not least, the “loft” on the bottom wasn’t actually the loft at all, “ET” stood for effective trajectory, and like with anything Ping, there is a reason for this. The Isi Tec driver moved the CG a lot more forward that previous model. This made it lower spinning. The actual loft was about 1.5-degrees more than the ET. Ping wanted to make sure that players could keep the ball in the air with the new lower spin design—thus the birth of effective trajectory instead of loft to help players find the right head.

Mizuno MP-001

I’m sure you didn’t open this up expecting to see a Mizuno driver, but the 400cc MP-001 was a huge leap forward in driver technology, and like many things Mizuno, it slid way under the radar—just like the 460cc MP-600 that had the very first sliding weight track in a driver.

The MP-001 was the very first driver to use a carbon composite crown to help bolster mass properties and increase forgiveness. What this also did was make it sound muted and “thuddy” a sound that at the time was very different from other drivers on the market.

In traditional Mizuno style, the MP-001 was understated in its looks but had a lot of technology under the hood to earn its spot in the top five. A forged face helped reduced wasted material that could be positioned around the head to optimize flight. Unlike a lot of drivers at the time, it sat very square to the target making it a club preferred by better players.

 

What do you think GolfWRXers? Are there any 400cc-or-less drivers you think belong in the top five that aren’t included? Any that are included you don’t think should be? Have your say below!

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

75 Comments

75 Comments

  1. Caleb

    Nov 18, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    I had that ping up to 3 years ago, lots of vibs tho cause hit 300 yards now, went to g30 and that got to loud/hurt ears,. Now g400 lst matrix 82 grams shaft 1/2inch butt trim. I use to hit 275 with hat old driver straight a kid for like 20 years

  2. Carp

    Nov 7, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    975jvs

    • Bob Kendall

      Nov 10, 2019 at 10:36 am

      Ryran, I would add the Titleist 983E.

  3. Mike

    Oct 28, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    obviously someone born after 1990.
    the game changers
    – the first Taylormade burner driver-early 80’s
    – the Callaway Big Bertha Driver- early 90’s
    – the Callaway Great Big Bertha Driver- mid 90’s
    – Titleist 975 driver- mid 90’s every good player had one
    – Taylor Made R7- game changer with movable weight

  4. Josh

    Oct 28, 2019 at 6:47 am

    Gotta have the Big Bertha on there as well as the Titleist 975d, Taylormade 360, and King Cobra. I agree on the ISI but think the others are a miss.

  5. Dan

    Oct 26, 2019 at 8:48 am

    All time?
    1. List is irrelevant without Callaway big Bertha.
    2. J’s Professional Weapon for us older guys
    3. Taylor Made Burner Plus w Aldila Tour Gold

    Thanks for

    • Ygolf

      Oct 26, 2019 at 6:21 pm

      MacGregor 693 circa 1950, GOAT.
      Then BB Memphis 10 shaft and half cord grip. It left the Taylormades in the dust.

  6. Deepred

    Oct 26, 2019 at 7:31 am

    Wilson Fatshaft Metal Matrix. As long as any driver I’ve ever hit even though it looks like a 3 wood today.

  7. Fergie

    Oct 25, 2019 at 10:39 am

    Isi Tec was not a reliable fairway finder for me. Launcher 360 I liked for forgiveness, but otherwise unremarkable. Not on the list, but my favorite was Titleist 975J, as sub-400cc drivers went.

  8. Noosh

    Oct 24, 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Me no likey kooche

    • Mike T

      Oct 25, 2019 at 2:48 pm

      Kduooooooooooche, kduoooooooooooooooche, kduooooooooooooooooooche…

  9. turfrex68

    Oct 24, 2019 at 10:16 pm

    The Northwestern powerkick shaft driver was a beast!!

  10. Ryan Barath

    Oct 24, 2019 at 8:20 pm

    Hi WRXer’s

    Thanks for all the feedback and replies. Some of you have pointed out some amazing honourable mentions including the eZone, and the J33P ( I still have a J33r – 420cc model that comes out multiple times a year ) and others from cobra and callaway.

    In fact the J33 was my 6th option since all that driver makes me think about is Stuart Abbleby mashing it around Kapalua in the early 2000s.

    I realize that the title leaves something to the imagination as far as “any” driver under 400cc including persimmon but I was sticking to modern just under 400cc clubs. Appreciate all the great replies.

    RB

    • hollabachgt

      Oct 25, 2019 at 9:33 am

      Might I suggest then you change the name of the article. Something like “Greatest 380-400cc drivers made since 2000”

      Your last two “of all times” articles has greatly ignored anything made outside of the last 25 years, which is frankly ignoring a tremendous amount of all time greats.

      I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that when you make an “of all time” article about irons you’re going to include clubs like the MP-14, MP-29, and Taylor Made TP-MB but not include the originator of that design, the Hogan Precision.

    • Young Zach Morris

      Oct 25, 2019 at 2:54 pm

      Should change the title to say “last 20 years” or “recent” instead of “all time.”

    • myron miller

      Nov 27, 2019 at 5:41 pm

      Thern why the title? It says best under 400cc, not best since 1990 (“with let’s take a look back at the top five 400cc-and-under drivers of all time.”). Grossly misleading and just flat out lousy writing to mislead people like that. Like others said, Big Bertha has to be on list as did the 975d. Way more classic of both of these than the mizuno or Ping.

      In fact, the 975d was the first meetal head driver that I switched to from wood heads. And I switched because it hit the fairway more often, not for the distance. It was overall shorter by about 20-30 yards from my persimmon driver but hit the fairway about 70-80% more.

      Taylor Made with Burner shaft is another all time revolutionary driver. Probably caused more people to switch to metal woods than any other club. But again it’s pre-1990.

      And I don’t see one Persimmon head driver on your list yet some of them were as revolutionary as anything nowadays. But it seems clear that you have limited experience with any drivers prior to 1990

  11. Moses

    Oct 24, 2019 at 7:27 pm

    R510TP and TecTI drivers were used to win ALOT of money back in the day. 😀 They were the longest drivers of the day without a doubt for me.

  12. Pineapple

    Oct 24, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    RB: come on buddy!!!! you are missing here some Legendary Models
    Callaway Great Big Bertha
    Titleist 975D
    Mizuno 300S
    King Cobra DeepFace
    among others. MP001??? hehehe no way!!!!

  13. Chuck Taylor

    Oct 24, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Whaaaat!!! How’a bout the Northwestern driver from Target! That thing was bullet proof! Literally!

  14. Ben

    Oct 24, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    300 series from Taylormade.

  15. David Wusstig

    Oct 24, 2019 at 2:06 pm

    You nailed it on the Ping TiSi driver… I replaced mine just a few years ago with the Ping G20. The G20 was not longer, just more forgiving. My ‘miss’ on the TiSI was left and needed the RSL hosel (I’m short and needed a lower lie angle) but Ping (at the Phoenix HQ) could no longer source the adjustable hosels as they were end of life and no longer stocked otherwise I might still be hitting it! As a ~5 HC, I’ve yet to find a newer driver that I hit better or longer than the G20 now (G400 was the last I tested).

  16. t

    Oct 24, 2019 at 10:40 am

    This list without the Bridgestone J33P is just wrong

  17. Kale

    Oct 24, 2019 at 8:58 am

    510 TP all day baby.

  18. David

    Oct 24, 2019 at 5:58 am

    Uhhh. Callaway big Bertha! Cobra deepface!

  19. Mike Barnett

    Oct 24, 2019 at 5:56 am

    975D. Driver deserves top spot in the hall of fame.

  20. Bobby

    Oct 24, 2019 at 5:40 am

    Purespin Diamond face driver with the fat kevlar shaft

  21. jgpl001

    Oct 24, 2019 at 3:14 am

    Great Big Bertha and 983K – 2 greats in their day

    • Joe

      Oct 24, 2019 at 9:44 am

      I concur on 983K and Great Big Bertha. I picked up a mint 983K with an aftermarket 757 Speeder for $15 at a sporting goods store a few summers ago. Gamed it for a while and still scratch free. I remember dropping $400 back in the day on it. As for the GBB I had a sweet Red AJ Tech horizontally wound XFlex that used to rip.

      • George

        Oct 24, 2019 at 2:23 pm

        Dude you nailed it. The 983 clubs were so solid, especially with the Fujikura 757 Speeder shaft. I got a 983E with the speeder shaft for like $20 preowned from golf galaxy and I let my buddy borrow it when he was having his driver replaced. He was hitting it 350 and I’m just a little bit shorter than him off the tee but we were both bombing it as far or further than clubs that were made 2 years ago. Just such a solid club I think about going back to it all the time!

        • Dan

          Oct 26, 2019 at 8:54 am

          I still use my 905R w real 757
          Speeder and it’s still the longest driver I’ve ever owned. Longer than TM R1, M3, Callaways etc

  22. Matt

    Oct 23, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Kuch sucks

    • Mad-Mex

      Oct 24, 2019 at 4:18 am

      Give it a rest loooooooooser! Bet your one of the idiots who screams “mash potatoe” or other equally obnoxious drunken childish remarks during tournaments and is the only one who thinks it’s funny,,, get a life!

      • beamanandwalkthecourse

        Oct 24, 2019 at 3:16 pm

        Winners spell potato without an e! ….ps Kutcher should not have been so cheap and ungrateful. The Mexican caddy helped Kutcher get back on the winning track!!!!

    • Not Mad Mex

      Oct 24, 2019 at 4:56 am

      No man, he’s a winner. Keep it up with the Matt Kuchar insults, like on every comments board. I like reading them. Kuchar is a fake tool anyways. I come to the comments section to read the stupid stuff. Love seeing people actually get bent because someone took 2 seconds to throw some shade. Deal with it.

      • Erik Morden

        Oct 24, 2019 at 7:52 am

        Matt is the Golf WRX troll. You could write something about anything in the golf world and he would hate it. You could be God himself and he would hate you. Like a previous poster said he is a tool his last name maybe Craftsman or Kobalt or SnapOn.

        • Not Aaron Judge

          Oct 24, 2019 at 8:57 am

          World needs Trolls too.

          • Mad-Mex

            Oct 25, 2019 at 8:30 pm

            Wish their parents had used birth control,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

            • Not on my bridge

              Oct 26, 2019 at 9:44 am

              Pretty soon, the trolls will take over. They are the terminators of the future. People like you will explode and become non existent. They will be washed out by the power of the troll movement in the 2020’s…

      • Jeremy

        Nov 11, 2019 at 9:59 pm

        I totally understand thinking the internet is funny, but what you’re missing is that this is a website about golf. And you’re trolling. It is basically showing that you are not cool or smart or funny enough for 4chan, and come troll on a golf website. Gg.

  23. Rich Douglas

    Oct 23, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    Big Bertha, because it started the whole revolution towards bigger driver heads.

    Great Big Bertha–titanium.

    Any driver that was constructed contrary to good engineering–the Pod, Hammer, and whatever that hard (low-COR, it turns out) driver MacGregor came out with.

  24. Matt

    Oct 23, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    For me it was the Titleist 975J, but it might have been the after marked graphite design ys7 shaft that made it work so well for me. However I did try a golf buddies 510tp around that time and it was the first time I remember flying the bunker on my home courses 15th hole. Need less to say it left quite an impression but so did the seven hundred dollar price tag!

  25. lnholly

    Oct 23, 2019 at 7:57 pm

    Bridgestone Whopper

  26. tom

    Oct 23, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    No original Callaway Great Big Bertha Warbird???????? This is the driver that changed everything.

  27. Fhartt Dikkwater

    Oct 23, 2019 at 7:21 pm

    Today I learned golf started in 1995. There were no good drivers before this. Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer used catapults for their tee shots then used blade irons, which they were the only ones in the galaxy legally allowed to play. Also learned thats its humanly impossible to use a 56* wedge for around the greens. Have to have a 60* with a special grind on it to accomplish this task.

    • Blowfeldher

      Oct 23, 2019 at 8:30 pm

      I like your name. I could see that on a Korn Ferry leaderboard right next to Sepp Straka the Bond villian.

  28. Curt

    Oct 23, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    Nobody could out drive me and my blue nike 400. Just made others mad and out of bounds.

  29. James

    Oct 23, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    MacGregor M85, Cleveland TC15, Powerbilt Citation, Wood Brothers Texan?

    Titleist 905S? Seriously? 975D long before.

  30. Paul

    Oct 23, 2019 at 6:18 pm

    The Cobra 370 SS unlimited was phenominal in its day, still by far the longest driver I’ve ever hit

  31. Joseph Runtz

    Oct 23, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    The Tony Penna Innovator- Cobalt was longer than the great Big Bertha, the Cleveland Launcher was a close 2nd as was Titleist’s 983
    Head to Head the Innovator took all challenger at that time.

  32. Old Zach Morris

    Oct 23, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Opting for the 905S over the OG 975D is a travesty.

    And for the rando pick, they should have went with the Goldwin ADVP.

    • Patrick M.

      Oct 23, 2019 at 5:56 pm

      975D was great until 983 came out and then the 905s.

      975D was the best driver of the 1990s.

  33. TG

    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:54 pm

    Not including The Great Big Bertha is Hard to understand. So many tour pros played this in the late 90s.

  34. Bernie Mac

    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Jack Hamm, HAMMER driver. Nuff said.

  35. Ol Skool

    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    Titleist Howitzer and Starship were gamechangers. However the Jack Hamm endorsed “Hammer” brought 400 plus yard drives into our bags.

  36. Jim

    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:37 pm

    Titleist 975D – Just ask that Woods guy.

  37. Jim

    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:31 pm

    “Of all time” should be removed from the title of this article, as it really means just the last 30 years, while conveniently ignoring clubs of the classic era of golf.

  38. Mardukes

    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    Toski CZAR 270cc

  39. Jim

    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    I would take “of all time” out of the title so people will know you are focused only on metal-woods of the last 30 years or so and completely ignoring the classic persimmons of the past.

  40. Jeremy Thompson

    Oct 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    Well the GBB and BBB were all north of 400cc so can’t be included. No original Big Bertha is a serious omission, the driver that was a complete game changer and industry changer. And no 975D either???

  41. Vas

    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:49 pm

    Leaving off Callaway is just trying too hard. Also, if you’re going to go Titleist, you’d need to go 983-series instead of the 905s. The 983E with the EI-70 Tour X was a game-changer for me, but most of my friends preferred the K.

    Agree about the E Zone 380. Unreal.

    • joe

      Oct 23, 2019 at 10:39 pm

      My 983E is still the best ever for me. GD Ys stiff shaft. I could really put it out there comfortably, and I could work it nicely.

  42. Jeff E

    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    I played a Titliest 975D for years, and it was head and shoulders above the 983 and 905. Loved that driver, and hit it better than the 510TP from Taylor Made as well…. I’d put it #1 on this list.

  43. PC

    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:31 pm

    Yonex E Zone 380…. the best head ever made.

  44. Ray Bennett

    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    I am surprised that the KZG PFT 300 didn’t get a mention.

  45. Kevin kelly

    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:23 pm

    The original Bobby Jones driver was as long as any driver I hit in my lifetime. I played a long time with persimmon and was very slow to switch to metals. Their 7.5 was awesome.

  46. Jose

    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:22 pm

    Actually I liked the Mizuno MP-001 375 driver because I could hit it of the deck fairly well.

  47. Tiger Woods

    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Cmon man — no Great Big or Biggest Big?

  48. EgdewRich

    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    KZG CHII with Fujikura Vista Pro shaft. Smaller head but right there with TM 500 series!

  49. Ed LeBeau

    Oct 23, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    You left out Callaway’s Big Bertha
    That’s a serious omission

  50. drjacko

    Oct 23, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Ryan, this is a great series! There is always a temptation to build a classic set out of your lists.

  51. A. Commoner

    Oct 23, 2019 at 2:35 pm

    RB: Give it up.

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Equipment

Coming out of the haze: What to expect from the OEMs in the second half of 2020

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As we slowly come out of the lockdown haze, it’s going to be interesting to see which OEMs are primed to come out swinging. From where I sit, there are a few companies that either kept the foot on the pedal or found new ways to interact with the masses. I have been tracking the major companies for different reasons, and I am optimistic on most fronts. Now, it needs to be said that everyone has been keeping the respective momentum going in their own ways—this has been a challenge for everyone, so this analysis is simply a commentary on what may come in the second half of the year.

Many good folks were either furloughed or laid off during this lockdown—that’s where we all lost. It needs to be acknowledged that we are talking about golf here, but the underlying reality of this is still devastating. I so look forward to getting into the trenches with these folks again either back where they were or at new companies.

TaylorMade became educators…and kicked off live golf again

Big giant club company or big giant marketing machine…it doesn’t matter what you label them as. TaylorMade Golf, in my opinion, turned the heartbreak of stalling one of the biggest first quarters in company history into an opportunity to start talking…and teaching. With the help of the tour team and TM athletes, TaylorMade focused hard on talking to us all during the lockdown. With multiple initiatives through social media, the Driving Relief event, and the tour staff engaging way more than usual. I believe TM created a runway to start moving quickly once stores and pro shops open up again.

Let’s face it, with the social media presence, the most robust tour staff maybe ever, and the driver everyone seems to have reserved for the top big stick of 2020, what’s not to be confident about? On the flip side, a company that big could have really taken it on the chin hard, but how they handled the lockdown—from my chair—was fun to watch and will ultimately ensure a quick restart. There is something to be said about having guys like Trottie, Adrian, and Hause in the fold informing and keeping things fun.

Rumor has it new irons are dropping in the fall/winter, which could spell two awesome bookends to a bittersweet 2020.

PXG leaned in

Why online sales for all OEMs spiked is no mystery. Boredom, desire, and a credit card are keys to any great online buying experience, but PXG made certain that if you were not a buyer previously, you may be now.

The price tag has always been a key topic with Bob Parsons’ Scottsdale-based company. It’s no secret that the clubs aren’t cheap, but during this lockdown, they did multiple strategic initiatives to not only crank up direct-to-consumer buying but also expand the PXG conversation into different areas, namely fashion.

Price cuts across the board started early and, rumor has it, enabled PXG to achieve sales numbers unlike any other period in the company’s short history. Yes, cutting prices helps unit sales, but in the case of PXG, it brought in the club customer that ordinarily shied away from PXG for financial reasons and ultimately made them buyers. That’s where PXG seems to shine, once they finally get you in, they are very effective at keeping you in the family. Mercedes-Benz AMG is like that: once you have had a taste of the Kool-Aid, it’s hard to go back to Hawaiian Punch.

In addition to the aggressive price-cutting, PXG fashion, spearheaded by President Renee Parsons, launched a new collection that is designed and manufactured by PXG. Fashion in times like these is always a risk from a financial standpoint, but this launch has been on the calendar since the BOY and the current lockdown did not disrupt that. It speaks to the confidence that Bob and Renee have in what they are doing. Now, is it a guarantee that PXG garments will fly off the shelves? No. but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that this current climate didn’t scare them into pivoting or holding off.

Point to this pick is PXG looks healthy coming out of this and it was possible to believe that perhaps this would have taken a toll on the custom fit brand. There is even a commercial produced during lockdown to attract even more club builders to the fold. Not normal behavior in times like these, but is anything that PXG does normal? No, and that’s what makes them fun to talk about.

The company also released its Essential Facemask with 50 percent of proceeds going to Team Rubicon.

Ping was quiet…but don’t be fooled

Yes, they did some rare social media engagements with Kenton Oates and the tour staff, which were fantastic. But the real magic here was the quiet way in which Ping slipped into 2020 and the mystery they have in hand and what’s to come next.

There hasn’t been really any new Ping product in a good while, and I anticipate a big winter for the Solheim crew. Sometimes, silence is golden and from what I can gather, what Ping has coming in irons and woods will be yet again a launch that gets people talking.

Ping from a business standpoint is a company that gets one percent better every year. Never any dramatic shifts in strategy or product. It’s always good, it’s always high-performance, and it’s always in the “best of” category across the board.

Watch out for them over the next six to nine months…a storm is brewing. A good one.

Cobra introduced the “Rickie iron”

Cobra Rev 33 Irons

Compared to 2019 and the runaway success that was the F9 driver, Cobra Golf seemed to cruise along in the first quarter of 2020. The SpeedZone metal wood line was an improvement tech-wise from the F9 but seemed to get lost in the driver launch shuffle with an earlier release—and frankly everyone in the industry took a back seat to TaylorMade’s SIM.

It’s not placing one stick over the other actually, I have been very vocal about my affections for both, it’s just some years, the story around a club can generate excitement, and if the club is exceptional, boom. Cobra was that cool kid in 2019.

What Cobra decided to do in the downtime is slowly tease and taunt with a “Rickie Fowler” iron. Players blades aren’t typically the driving element of any business model, but what Cobra did was introduce to a beautiful yet completely authentic forging that will not only get the gear heads going nuts but also entice the better players to start looking at Cobra as a serious better players iron company. No small feat.

Point is, Cobra has generated buzz. It helped that Rickie’s performance at Seminole was just short of a precision clinic. Beyond the Rev 33, its rumored Cobra has a new players CB coming and some MIM wedges.

It should be an exciting last half for the Cobra crew.

The Titleist train chugged on

I mean, what else is there to say about Titleist? They are as American as apple pie, have a stranglehold on multiple tour and retail categories, and one of the best front offices in golf. The company is a well-oiled machine.

So what do I expect from them in the last half? Well pretty much what I would expect on any other year, solid player-driven equipment. A metal wood launch is coming, the SM8 was a huge hit in stores and on tour, and the ball portion is the biggest 800-pound gorilla in golf.

It was also nice to see a little more social media interaction beyond the traditional. Aaron Dill has been very active on the social media front and a good portion of the tour staff, namely Poulter, JT, and Homa were proactive in engagement. Might seem trivial to some, but specifically, Titleist and Ping are not super active in the organic interaction game, so it was nice to see both companies dive into the fold.

Cleveland/Srixon should have a lot to look forward to

Let’s be honest here, 2019 was a quiet year overall for Srixon. Shane Lowry won The Open, but in the golf mainstream it was a leap year for them in regards to any launches. The anticipation from me personally of what is to come is quite strong. I adore the irons. I have yet to meet one I didn’t love, and fitters across the country will speak to that in sales. The Srixon iron line has become a popular yet-sort-of-cult-classic among fitters and gearheads and rightly so. They are phenomenal.

The recently teased picture of the new driver on the USGA site more or less teased us of what is to come for the overall line. New Cleveland wedges are coming shortly and the golf ball has always been a solid component to the Huntington Beach company.

As much as anyone in the market, I believe Srixon could finish the year with some serious momentum going into 2021. The irons and ball have always been firestarters. My only wish for them, selfishly, is a more aggressive tour strategy in regards to landing one of the perennial top 10. It seems like a dumb thought, but I have always felt Cleveland/Srixon was always a serious hitter that at times seems to get lost in the conversation. Having a big gun on staff or a couple of them will remedy that quickly.

Callaway has an eye on big things for the golf ball

Callaway, a company that seems to do it all well, was actually a bit quiet since the lockdown started. After a solid release of the Mavrik line and some momentum in the golf ball area, I’m sure this lockdown probably felt like a kick to the shin.

However, this company is shifting in a good way. The idea that they were a golf club company that happened to make golf balls is slowly turning into a company with multiple major components that stand alone. TaylorMade is on a similar shift, and honestly it’s very interesting to watch. Do I think that anyone will ever catch Titleist in the ball category? No, I don’t. All of these mentioned golf balls are ridiculously good, but 75 years of trust and loyalty are hard to compete with. But that’s not the point, Callaway is a monster company that takes the golf ball conversation very seriously, and I believe this will serve them very well coming out of this craziness and help the momentum going into 2021.

 

 

 

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Equipment

Tour Edge EXS Pro Forged irons launched

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Tour Edge is expanding its better player targeted EXS Pro line with the addition of the all-new EXS Pro Forged irons—a tour-inspired design developed with multi-material technology, and looks to match.

Just like the limited edition EXP Pro driver, the EXS Pro Forged irons utilize the highest quality materials and processes to deliver a golf club built for the most discerning players. The goal of designer David Glod was to produce the most forgiving distance iron possible in a player-preferred package and the EXS Pro Forged live up to the lofty challenge.

 “As a club designer, I love player iron designs that are as beautiful as they are playable. These three designs were made to be irons that are drooled over by the core golfer, not only in looks and feel, but in how they perform.” David Glod – Tour Edge Lead Designer

“I believe that the milled forged iron connoisseurs out there are going to be very impressed with the playability we were able to combine with a traditional forged feel.”

Inside the Exotics EXS Pro forged irons

The EXS Pro Forged cavity iron is constructed of Japanese S25C mild carbon steel to offer an extremely soft feel to the golfer. After the forging process, the faces are CNC milled to precise tolerances and the grooves are designed to maximize performance throughout the set. The CNC milling of the EXS Pro doesn’t stop at the face either—the cavity is designed to boost MOI as much as possible in the compact clubhead, so the back of the club is also CNC milled to offer the thinnest face possible without sacrificing feel.

Speaking of feel, the term forged can be overused in the world of golf club construction with some lesser companies only stamping precast pieces once and calling them forged, but the EXS are not those clubs. The S25C club heads are triple-forged (struck 3 times at very high-pressure) to offer a thinner, stronger clubhead that allows the designer to push more mass to the toe and heel weight pads for more forgiveness and more consistent ball speeds across the face. To further improve feedback, the iron has an acoustic engineered cavity insert consisting of a polymer and a dampening gel to provide the best possible sound and feel.

Now about ball speeds and technology: The 3- 6-irons in the EXS Pro Forged cavity have a concealed 10g tungsten toe weight to push more mass away from the hosel and make the clubs more forgiving on heel and toe misses in the longer irons. This is similar technology to irons that are priced much higher in the market.

Availability, Specs & Pricing

The new Exotics EXS Pro Forged irons will be available for purchase on June 1, 2020 through select Tour Edge retailers and custom club fitting locations.

The stock shafts are: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro—available in regular and stiff flex—as well as True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 in R300, S300.

The stock grip will be the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.

$149.99 per iron.

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Equipment

New limited-edition Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges unveiled

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Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Tour Edge has unveiled its new limited-edition “Straight From the Tour Van” Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges featuring forged designs with CNC milling.

Per Tour Edge, the Exotics EXS Blade irons combine “tour-level inspired looks and feel with advanced materials and innovation to produce the most forgiveness and distance possible in a player’s iron.”

Each iron and wedge are individually milled from carbon steel and “engineered for players who look for the ultimate in control and shot shaping.”

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The new Tour Edge EXS Blade irons feature a narrow sole, a thin top line, and a beveled leading edge and square toe design. The irons also contain a shorter blade length and a cambered top line in a bid to provide golfers with a more compact scoring iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Designed with advanced CAD technology and pure milled forging, the new additions from Tour Edge feature micro-cavity face and scoring lines that are all individually CNC milled and designed to offer maximum responsiveness and control.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Fully USGA conforming, the blades are CNC milled on both sides, which aims to offer golfers a club that has extremely tight tolerance and consistency from iron to iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The clubs feature Japanese S25C carbon steel, which is chrome plated with a dual finish. The irons contain a high polish and a satin finish in all the milled areas of the clubhead.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The sole of the EXS Pro Blade iron head features a rounded radius on the leading edge of the clubhead – a design which seeks to significantly reduce drag and turf interaction through impact to provide ultimate consistency on every shot.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Specs, Availability and Pricing

  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro: R-flex, S-flex, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105: R300, S300
  • Grip: GolfPride Tour 360
  • Price: $149.99 per iron
  • Availability: June 1, 2020

Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade wedges

Designed from Japanese S25C Carbon Steel, the new blade wedges from Tour Edge are individually CNC milled on the face and grooves in design to create maximum spin from advanced groove engineering.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Milled Forged wedges utilize dual-groove construction, with the lower loft (50° – 52°) wedges designed with deeper, narrower grooves while the higher lofts (54° – 60°) have wider grooves.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The Exotics EXS Blade wedges feature a Center of Gravity (CG) that has been moved up in the clubhead with a milled-out center design. The milled-out center on the wedges leads to more weight being positioned both up and down in design for greater distance control on shots higher and lower on the face.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Pro’s sole grind on the new blade wedges seeks to reduce bounce from the heel and toe for greater versatility when hitting a variety of shots, especially from difficult lies. 

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The blade wedges contain a Flare Toe design which places the center of gravity higher in order to provide for lower launch and more spin. A chamfer was also added to the trailing top line of the wedge for a slightly thicker top line that moves weight up without affecting the aesthetics of the top line at address.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

As with the blade irons, the wedges are 100 percent conforming to the USGA rules.

Specs, Availability and Pricing

Stock Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold 115 Wedge Flex

Grip: GolfPride Tour 360

Price: $149.99 per wedge

Availability: June 1, 2020

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