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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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Whats in the Bag

Anirban Lahiri WITB 2020

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  • WITB accurate as of January 2020

Driver (two models): Titleist TS3 (9.5 degrees, D4 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 130 M.S.I. 60 TX

anirban-lahiri-witb-2020

3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash (15 degrees, DS OptiFit setting)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 70 TX

anirban-lahiri-witb-2020

5-wood: Ping G410 (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue 80 TX

anirban-lahiri-witb-2020

Hybrid: PXG 0317 X (22 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi MMT UT 105 TX

anirban-lahiri-witb-2020

Irons: Srixon Z 785 (4), Srixon Z 945 (5-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7  (50-12M)
*We were unable to photograph Lahiri’s other wedges

Putter: Toulon Design Austin Stroke Lab

Putter: OnOff Prototype

 

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Equipment

A Deep Dive: The equipment timeline of David Duval, 1993-2001

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Like Tiger, David Toms, and Fred Couples there are certain players that I have been obsessed with for years. If you go to my Instagram, you can see it in plain sight. When it comes to DD it was more than the what, it was the why, the how that sparked my curiosity. Let’s face it, in 2000 with the Mossimo gear, Oakley shades, jacked-up physique, and on Titleist staff, was there ever a cooler looking player?

No. There wasn’t or isn’t.

That’s where my interest in Larry Bobka came about. I saw David and Larry walking the fairways of Sahalee at the ’98 PGA Championship.

At the time, I was already knee-deep in David Duval fandom but that experience took me over the top. Bobka had a handful of clubs in his hands and would pass DD a 970 3-wood, Duval would give it a rip and the two would discuss while walking down the fairway. Of all my time watching live golf, I have never been so awestruck.

This is an homage to David’s equipment during his prime/healthy years on the PGA Tour. From his early days with Mizuno, into the Titleist days, and finally Nike.

1993-1995 Mizuno

*This was an interesting time for Duval from an equipment standpoint. The pattern of mixing sets to put together his bag began and it was the time he transitioned from persimmon (Wood Bros driver) into metal woods. It was also the beginning of his long relationship with Scotty Cameron, a relationship that still stands today.

What was in the bag

Driver: TaylorMade Tour Burner 8.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100 (*he also played with the Bubble XHKP Prototype)

3-wood

King Cobra @14 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

TaylorMade Tour Issue Spoon @13  w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Irons

1993: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1994: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1995: (2,3) Mizuno TC-29, (4-PW) Mizuno TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

Wedges: Mizuno Pro (53, 58) with Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport (35 inches, 71 lie, 4 degrees of loft)

Ball: Titleist Tour Balata 100

Glove: Mizuno Pro

1996-2000 Titleist

The beginning of the Titleist years started off quietly. There wasn’t any new product launched and David wasn’t quite the star he would become 12-18 months later. However, it gave Titleist the opportunity to get to know DD and his overall preferences, which aren’t dramatic but certainly unique. He didn’t win in 1996 but did qualify for the Presidents Cup Team and finished that event off at 4-0. So the buzz was going in the right direction and his peers certainly took notice.

It was 1997 that things took off on all fronts and it was the year that Titleist made David Duval the face of the DCI brand and with that decision spawned the greatest cast players cavity ever: the 962B—and also equipped David Duval to go on a 3-year run that was surpassed by only Tiger Woods.

Hence the deep dive article I wrote up earlier this month

What was in the bag

Driver

1996

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

1997

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

King Cobra Deep Face 9 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100, True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ Fujikura Prototype X

1998

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

1999: Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) @ 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

2000: Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

3-wood

1996

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1997 

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1998

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X


Callaway Steelhead 3+ @13 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Titleist 970 (Dark Grey Head) @13 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (only tested this one)

1999

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

Cobra Gravity Back 14.5T w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Irons

1996

(2-PW) Titleist DD Blank Prototype w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

(2-PW) Titleist DCI Black “B” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

*This prototype set was a blank set of the DCI Black “B” but with sole modifications. 

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000: (2,3) Titleist DCI Black (4-PW) Titleist DCI 962B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

*David liked the original prototype version of DG Sensicore X100 that had weight removed from the center of shaft to create better feel and a slightly higher trajectory

24 Feb 2000: David Duval watches the ball after hitting it during the World Match-Play Championships at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. Mandatory Credit: Harry How /Allsport

Wedges

1996: (52 @53, 58) Mizuno Pro, (56 @57) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1997: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG, (58) Titleist Bobka Grind, (57 @58) Cobra Trusty Rusty w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1998: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTGw/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1999: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

2000: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER

1996: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport 1 35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft, Scotty Cameron Long Slant Neck Laguna Custom (double welded neck)

1997: Odyssey Dual Force Rossie 2, Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

1998, 1999, 2000: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

2001: Nike Golf and The Open Championship

The relationship with Titleist Golf ended quickly and when David showed up to Kapalua with a non-Titleist stand bag the rumor mill went nuts. The story (although super speculative) was that David opted out in the middle of a $4.5 million per year deal with Acushnet, a lawsuit followed, but Davids’s stance was that he had a marquee player clause that allowed him to walk if he wasn’t “marquee” aka highest-paid.

Apparently he had a point, Acushnet had recently inked big deals with Davis Love and Phil Mickelson leading someone on the outside to do the math. However, I’m not an attorney, wasn’t there, and have no clue what the legality of any of it was. Point is, he walked and landed at Nike with a new head-to-toe contract. 

 

DRIVER:

Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975E Prototype 8.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Nike Titanium w/ True Temper EI-70 II Tour X (pictured below)

Nike Titanium Prototype 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (featured image)

3 WOOD:

Callaway Steelhead Plus 4+ @15 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Nike Prototype @14 degrees w/ True Temper EI-70 Tour X

Sonartec/Excedo (SS-03 head) Driving Cavity @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

IRONS:

(2-PW) Titleist 990B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

(2-PW) Nike Prototype “DD” Grind MB w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

(2) Titleist DCI Black w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

 

WEDGES: 

(53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

(53,58) Nike DD Grind w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

SPEC TALK

Over the years the one constant was David’s iron and wedge specs. As a shut-faced player he has always favored traditional lofts in his irons. However, a cool thing to note is his lie angles remained constant 59.5 (2-4), 60 (5-9). The running theory here was being a shallow (low hands) and shut faced player, keeping the lie angles at a constant (flatter) lie angle allowed him to feel like his angle of attack could remain the same for each iron. It’s just a feeling but that’s what he did. If the “why of it” is true, it looks like he was doing Bryson things before Bryson did.

David Duval Iron/Wedge Specs

Loft/Lie/Length/SW

  • 2-17/59.5/40.25/D5
  • 3-20.5/59.5/39 1/6/D4
  • 4-24/59.5/38 9/16/D4
  • 5-27/60/38 1/16/D4
  • 6-30.5/60/ 37 9/16/D4
  • 7-35/60/37 1/16/D4
  • 8-39/60/36 9/16/D4
  • 9-43/60/36 5/16/D4
  • P-47/61/36/ 1/16/D5
  • GW-53/62/35 5/8/D4
  • LW-58/62/35 9/16/D6

Whew…since this prolific run, David transitioned into some interesting projects with smaller companies like Scratch, B.I.G Golf (AKA Bio-engineered in Germany), back to the mainstream with Nike, and most currently Cobra Golf.

I hope you all enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me, Duval is not only fascinating from a career standpoint but digging into the equipment of DD has been quite the experience.

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Equipment

“Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?” – GolfWRXers have their say

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In our forums, our members have been discussing irons and how to hit your numbers consistently. WRXer ‘Hubb1e’, who is a 15 handicap, is having issues and says:

“I recently upgraded from 20 year old Taylor Made 360 irons to a set of custom-built Callaway Apex 19 Forged irons. Old irons were traditional cavity back. New irons are categorized as players distance irons. Both have the same fit.

My new 3 iron will go 230 yards or 130 yards and not even make it far enough to reach the fairway. My new 7 iron will typically go 160 yards but will often will fly 175 yards or drop out of the air at 120 yards. I can’t control the distances of my new irons, and I spent a fortune custom fitting them to my swing. Why is this happening? This was never an issue with my old irons. A bad hit would go 10-20% shorter, but I never had balls fly over the green or completely fall out of the air. What is going on with my new equipment?”

Our members offer up their solutions 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.

  • ThreeBoxers: “Strike quality is your answer. Tech or no tech, irons will not have 50-yard distance discrepancies. Not super familiar with the Apex irons, but they’re pretty forgiving no? You might lose 10 yards on toe or heel strikes but 40, 50? You’re probably hitting it heavy. If they have a beveled edge, it may mask the feeling of hitting it fat a bit, but not the result. My Mizunos have a pretty aggressive front edge grind which helps a ton on heavy shots. It’s the difference between landing 15 yards short and 50 yards short. +1 on using foot spray to check impact.”
  • extrastiff: “It also would not hurt to check your swing speed. Even strike being terrible that’s a large discrepancy. Maybe your last build had a weight that helped you get consistent swing speed.”
  • WristySwing: “I would say inconsistent strike is the biggest issue. Now that can mean a couple of things. It could mean you, as in the person swinging, are not hitting the ball properly because of inconsistent delivery. The other option is the fit is bad, and it is causing you to be extremely inconsistent because you cannot feel the head. It might be a little bit of column A and column B. However, I would lean more towards column A in this scenario because even a horrifically misfit set someone could get used to it eventually and not have 100 yards of discrepancy in carry shot to shot. I’ve seen people who are playing 50g ladies flex irons with fat wide soles who are very shallow and swing a 6i 92mph still not have 100 yards of carry flux with their sets. If your miss is toe-side 9/10x that is because you are coming too far from the inside. When you get too stuck on the inside you typically stall and throw your arms at it. When you break your wrists (flip)/throw your arms at it you get a very inconsistent low point average that often manifests in extremely fat or thin strikes….typically fat since your squat and rotate is out of sync with your release. As others have said, get some impact tape/foot powder spray and see where you are actually making contact. Then if you can get on a video lesson and see what the issue is. As of right now, we can all only assume what is going on. If your low point control is good, you don’t get stuck, and you are hitting it in the middle of the head — then fit comes into question.”
  • larryd3: “I”d be on the phone to my fitter and setting up a time to go back in and see what’s going on with the irons. You shouldn’t be getting those types of results with a properly fit set of irons. When I got my fitting earlier this year at TrueSpec, the fitter, after watching me hit a bunch with my current irons, focused on increasing the spin on my irons, not on distance but on consistency. So far, they seem to be working well when I put a decent swing on them.”
  • fastnhappy: “One possibility that wouldn’t necessarily show up indoors is sole design and turf interaction. You may have a real problem with the newer clubs because of a sole design that doesn’t work for your swing. That’s hard to tell when hitting inside off a mat. If so, you’d see major distance inconsistency because of strike. The feedback I’ve seen on the players distance irons is exactly what you’re describing… difficult to control distance.”

Entire Thread: “Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?”

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