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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.

74 Comments

74 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

Today from the Forums: “Favorite Miura iron of all time?”

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Today from the Forums, we take a look at a discussion on Miura irons. Asked by moorebaseball which Miura irons are their favorite, our members go into detail on just why they love the model they do, with a variety of the brand’s irons receiving some love.

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.

  • bvanlieu: “CB57 was a good looker when I hit them, but I like the CB1008 a tad more in the looks department and felt a smidge more forgiving to me. Never got to hit them but MC501’s seem to blend with the MBs nicely, great top line. I can’t stop hitting my CB’s this winter on range/sim just yummy. Baby Blades tend to get the vote for best looking from the many commenters I have seen. I agree they are good to look at and feel well, Miura like. I just like me some forgiveness for my low/mid cap game.”
  • speeder757: “Tournament Blade All Day Every Day.”
  • pearls24: “I don’t know about best ever, but the MB101 is awesome. Way better for me than the 501’s due to less offset. I loved everything about the 501’s except couldn’t get past the offset in the shorter irons. 101’s setup perfect behind the ball.”
  • EaglesGolf99: Baby Blades, CB•57s, CB•1008s, and CB•301s.That’s my personal Top 4. Interested to see what the TB Zero turns into in the Global Line!”
  • vmann: “I’ve played baby blades 5-p for the last year and a half. I absolutely love the look and feel. Just got the 3 and 4 iron to match. Can’t wait for the snow to clear to check them out. I haven’t played any other Miuras, so obviously, bb’s are my favorite. I highly recommend.”

Entire Thread: “Favorite Miura iron of all time?”

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Equipment

Confessions of a gear junkie in Korea: My new Ballistic Golf irons

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As an avid golfer and a self-professed equipment junkie, few things in life are better than discovering a piece of shiny new golf gear that brings a smile to my face and a dent to my wallet. And in Korea, where outpacing the Joneses is a national pastime, one has to be vigilant to stay ahead of the crowd.

To onlookers, most Korean golfers might come across as posers who seem more interested in looking good than playing well. It is not unusual for a set of clubs and golf bag to exceed $10K, and the 500-plus custom golf fitting studios across the country are our playground.

The colorful world of Korean golf.

Searching for the latest and greatest

The equipment and fashion we use and wear here will probably make most golfers in the Western hemisphere question our masculinity. But as the saying goes, “When in Gangnam…”

Koreans have a word to describe this expensive affliction, called “Jang-bi-byung.: It translates into “equipment-itis.”

I’m sure that such an insatiable desire for the latest and greatest gear isn’t limited only to Koreans, but I’d wager it affects a lot more of us than in most golfing countries.

And our scope of search isn’t limited only to this side of the world either.

Ballistic Golf MB proto iron heads – bullets and ball not included.

Meet Ballistic Golf, a fledgling golf brand hailing out of Iowa. And if the initial reactions from my friends are any indication, it may well be the next “it” brand for many Korean golfers.

Love at first sight

Back in mid-December, I was scouring the internet, as usual, looking for that special something when I first came across the Ballistic Forged MB irons.

I was immediately won over by the universal language of the classic muscleback—the name and logo instantly resonated with me.

I’d like to say I did the due diligence and carefully weighed the pros and cons of owning these beauties. But the truth is, I didn’t.

Luckily, the price of the clubs was lower than initially expected, thanks to the DTC (direct-to-consumer) model, and I soon became a proud owner of a set of MB irons (5-PW) and two bad-ass looking Covert wedges (52, 56).

After arranging for the clubheads to be delivered to Korea, I reached out to chat with Kyle Carpenter, founder and CEO of Ballistic.

Here’s what he had to say about the brand

“Ballistic Golf launched in July 2019, but I’ve been focused on the idea of starting the company for quite a while. The name was chosen because one definition of ballistic is ‘of or relating to the science of the motion of projectiles in flight.’ And that fits golf so perfectly. My main goal was to design clubs that golfers could perform with, while also keeping a classic look and feel to them.

“Confidence is a major key to good play on the golf course. At Ballistic Golf, we feel that our clubs radiate that feeling right from when you open the package to when you take your first swings. Players irons require confidence and consistency to play well with them, and having irons with a sleek minimalist design and surprisingly good feel on slight mishits, gives you that confidence.

“Wage War on Par’ is our mantra. We really wanted people to have the feeling that they can go out and kick par’s ass. So we made a club that looks and feels great and build on the confidence it gives you to execute the shots you know in your mind that you can hit.”

The hard pelican case and the Ballistic Golf dog tag were a great touch!

A match made in fitting heaven

Long before they arrived, I was snooping around various fitting shops in anticipation, looking through the many options of shafts. My goal was to find shafts that would best suit my game, while at the same time, elicit oohs and aahs from those who have yet to discover the brand.

After an in-depth fitting session with Jay Chung, a master club fitter with over 20 years’ experience, I had decided on Fujikura MCI graphite shafts. I was looking to try something lighter than my usual True Temper Dynamic Gold steel shafts, as I have struggled with elbow pain over the summer.

Jay Chung, master fitter at Fujikura center in Gangnam, Seoul.

During the club-making process, the first thing I noticed was how meticulous he was in preparation. After measuring every component from clubhead, to shaft, and grip, he proceeded to walk me through various factors and that can affect a club from performing at its optimum. He left nothing to chance and wrote everything down on a spec sheet that would be saved on file for my future fittings.

In the end, I was holding one of the finest-looking set of clubs I have ever owned.

The first Ballistic Golf irons in Korea—mission accomplished!

Ballistic performance

My efforts were rewarded with the appropriate amount of praise from friends and begrudging envy from the Joneses. But now it was time to put these beauties to the test.

The clean club head looks great at address, checking all the requisite boxes for a traditional muscle-back blade. Made from forged 1020 carbon steel, the heads are compact with a thin top line and sole. The progressive blade length is optimized throughout the set, and the reduced offset and classic loft make these clubs a true player’s iron.

I am by no means a superb ballstriker, but it wasn’t difficult to find the sweet spot with the new irons. Even for off-center strikes, the ball traveled farther than expected with immediate feedback. The MCI 80 stiff graphite shaft complimented the head and helped to absorb the vibrations from off-center hits.

7-irons comparison on indoor screen golf simulator

The numbers from the first simulator trials were quite comparable to my current gamer (Yonex N1MB with Matrix Ozik 70R graphite shaft), which is fitted with regular flex shafts a 1/2 inch longer.

The look and feel of any club are subjective, but the Ballistic irons felt great in my hands. At impact, it felt as if the ball stayed a fraction longer on the face, then rocket off with a soft yet firm feel and a pleasing sound.

I later compared both clubs on a TrackMan, and although I don’t have the pictures, the launch numbers and overall distance were much closer to my gamer. I attributed the improved performance to becoming more familiar with the new irons and shafts.

The Covert wedges performed as well as they looked. The cast head is made from 8620 carbon steel and framed the ball squarely at address. The sole design is designed for a variety of shot-making options around the green, and the laser-etched micro-grooves reminded me of Cleveland’s RTX-4 wedge.

The Patriot wedge has the same specs as the black Covert wedge and features a satin finish with an American flag etched on the back of the head.

Specs and price

So far, the design and presentation of the clubs were more than enough to draw the attention of everyone who saw them. The pairing of the club heads with the graphite MCI shafts continue to produce good numbers, and I can see them being in my bag for the start of the season.

The best feature aside from the eye-catching design was the price. A set of MB proto irons (4-PW) with KBS Tour steel shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips is priced at $749, and each wedge is available at $109.

When I inquired about his plans to add new club models, Kyle said he will focus only on the MB irons and the two types of wedges (RH only) for the time being; to keep things simple and traditional.

For more information, visit Ballistic.golf

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Today from the Forums: “Best sand-specific wedge?”

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Today from the Forums, we take a look at a discussion on sand-specific wedges. Alpha3 is on the hunt for a forgiving wedge for bunker play, and our members have been talking about what they have found to be the most effective wedges from the sand.

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.

  • harricli: “I play mostly desert golf with terrible sand; however, I have an old 64 degree sm5 Vokey that is about as automatic as possible out of a bunker. It goes in the bag if I’m playing anywhere that has real bunkers.”
  • nphillips0613: “Hi-Toe is great out of sand. I haven’t tried it but look into the Bigfoot hi Toe. 15° of bounce has to make it easier to get out of sand.”
  • Lepatrique: “The best place to start is a high bounce wedge. They tend to be much more forgiving from most bunkers, for most players. Low bounce wedges are great if you’re trying to nip a high shot off of a firm lie in the fairway, but tend to dig a bit in bunkers. I would recommend finding a couple high bounce wedges and seeing what you like the look/feel of best.”
  • uglande: “Depends on conditions. I like a low bounce, high loft club for firm sand (mostly what I play) and have a Vokey 62 in an M grind (8 bounce) for that. But for versatility, I would say take more bounce and keep loft high — like a 56-58 degree D grind Vokey (12 degrees bounce). That’s a great club from bunkers and plenty of bounce for full shots as well.”
  • BCULAW: “K Grind was easiest for me out of the sand. I used a little different technique with it, where, instead of splashing the ball out, I would turn the leading edge down a little almost like a chip. Ball came out fluffy and soft. Easy as pie.”

Entire Thread: “Best sand-specific wedge?”

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