Best Drivers 2013: Editors’ Choice

by   |   August 3, 2013

600 best driver

‘This year’s crop of drivers seem to have more buzz than we’re used to. Even though golf’s ruling bodies capped the COR (coefficient of restitution) limit on drivers to 0.83 and clubhead size to 460cc more than a decade ago, manufactures have still found new ways to improve on their designs every year. This year is no exception — crazy graphics, cavity back sole designs and small tweaks to the center of gravity have made this year’s drivers better than ever before.

EditorsChoice_132Click here to read the specifics on the voting committee and how we picked the best.

Late-season releases from Callaway and TaylorMade forced us to revise our original 2013 list. The TaylorMade SLDR is not only performing well in the hands of tour players, but amateurs as well. Our panel of elite club fitters have been complimentary of the driver’s looks, sound, feel and performance, enough that it bumped TaylorMade’s R1 off the list.

Callaway’s FT OptiForce drivers are the same story. They’re an improvement on Callaway’s Razr Fit Xtreme and X Hot drivers, offering a more adjustable hosel, a more pleasing head shape and improved performance for many golfers, both in the 440 and 460 heads.

The mainstays of the list: Cobra’s AMP Cell, Nike’s Covert and Covert Tour, Ping’s G25 and Titleist’s 913 D2 and D3 continue to get top marks from our club fitting panel, and offer a range of launch conditions, head shapes and adjustability options that work for a wide range of golfers.

Take a look through our updated list of the best drivers of 2013. If you’re in the market for a new driver, one of these six big sticks will probably get you some extra yards, confidence, or both.

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2Y9G0087-600x400TaylorMade SLDR

Our testing showed that the SLDR is one of the special drivers that comes around every few years that has the potential to win over an enormous amount of golfers. The combination of the SLDR’s faster ball speed, lower spin and foolproof adjustability makes it arguably the best driver that TaylorMade has ever produced.

See Review

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nike covert driver reviewNike Covert Drivers

Nike’s new VR_S Covert Performance Driver comes in two models — a 4600cc head and a Tour model that is 430cc. The eye popping red crown and white Nike Swoosh will be the first thing golfers see, but the cavity on the bottom of the head is even more significant. Like the R1, the Covert only comes in one loft and you adjust the loft and face angle independently.

See Review

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callaway optiforceCallaway FT Optiforce

With two premium stock shafts to choose from, both drivers are lighter and offer more adjustability than previous Callaway models. Most golfers will find the 460 launches higher with more forgiveness and has more consistent ball speeds across the face. Better players will favor the lower, more penetrating trajectory offered by the 440.

See Review

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titleist 2013 driversTitleist 913 D2/D3

The new 913 driver adds more length over the older 910 Driver. That had to be hard for them to do, because the performance of the 910 D2 and D3 were so good. Titleist says the additional distance is as a result better speed, launch and spin. Winner of the GolfWRX community choice awards says that these drivers work and was the peoples choice.

See Review

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ping g25 driver reviewPING G25 Driver

Ping’s new G25 Driver incorporates the beautiful matte black crown that debuted on the company’s i20 and Anser drivers. Ping moved the center of gravity (COG) substantially lower and further back from its previous model, the G20, to help golfers lower their spin and launch the ball higher.

See Review

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cobra ampCobra AMP Cell Driver

The AMP Cell (pictured to the right) and AMP Cell Pro Drivers feature Cobra’s new MyFly technology, allowing golfers to select from six different loft/trajectory settings. Cobra is offering the AMP Cell driver in a choice of four different colors —  silver, blue, red and orange, and the AMP Cell Pro in a choice of two colors, silver and orange.

See Review

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Click here to see the “Best of” winners for other club categories.

About

GolfWRX is a leading source for news, information and resources for the connected golfer. It's staff, featured writers and members report on the latest golf news and how it inspires golfers around the world. GolfWRX’s 3.1 million monthly visits is the world's largest and best online golf community. It surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process with original photographic and video content, peer-to-peer advice, camaraderie, technical how-tos and more.


69 Comments

  1. whatisthis

    May 22, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    It’s funny how each year, a company claims that the new model will ad 20 yeards. We should all be hitting 400 yard drives by now with that math. I’m not surprised that you have so much variation in quality with off the shelf equipment. It’s corporate greed that’s the cause, and it’s not just in golf equipment. I’m pretty happy with my 3 year old driver, but I wouldn’t mind trying all the new equipment every year. Unfortunately, I have to pay for equipment…

  2. free credit advice

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  3. paulchai

    October 17, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I tried the Covert tour with Kurokage X flex yesterday. The shaft does not feel too stiff to me. Overall, it is a very beautiful club (my opinion). However, the head is not to most forgiving head to date. I also own a few more drivers. I say TM drivers, R9 supertri, R11S (both tour issue) are a lot more forgiving. Some may argue that because I chose tour head version and the X flex shaft.
    I say it is more comparable to Titleist 910D3 in term of flight and foregiveness. It requires very good swing. I may have to do more experiment with the flexloft system then.
    Just my 2 cents.

  4. leftright

    May 19, 2013 at 10:34 am

    I use a 2y/o F11 Adams with Voodoo and have tried all the new stuff and hit nothing longer but I do hit a couple straighter. I got driver fitted and the guy wanted to put me in a $375 shaft. I asked him would he buy it back if I didn’t hit it any further. I liked the Adams stuff but TM will ruin the company with their over the top marketing and what I consider poorly made products compared to especially PING of which I do not own one club of theirs. This “game” is boring me and costing people lots of money for nothing gained. The stock shafts are crap, the lofts are mostly wrong and the equipment varies from piece to piece. When what you can measure suffers then what kind of product is in what you can’t measure. Is it really titanium or some exotic alloy or 17-4 or 431 or 303SS? It’s a shame when you buy some irons the first thing you have to do is have them checked for loft and lie corrections. I have “never” seen a set that was 100% accurate but PINGS are the closest by far. There is also no comparison to PING and say Wishon or TM, cut one open and you will never own another TM product…crap. What the pros get and the regular folks get is no comparison. There was an article from WRX itself that verified this statement. Titleist pays union labor in Mass and gets $1000 for a set of irons and $399 for a driver that is 15yds shorter than the rest and puts “made for” shafts in their products. DG shafts cost manufactures about $2 apiece and they weigh in like neutron stars, why would anyone play that shaft. I play golf because I love it but the equipment end of golf sucks bigtime.

    • Fred

      August 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm

      Leftright: a very interesting comment. It seems today (according to the Golf Channel) that the sport of golf is suffering greatly due to continued lack of interest by the general public. I think you’ve hit on a few of the reasons why this is so true. I started playing golf in the mid-60s when Karsten Solhiem, a close friend of my father’s, and founder of PING, gave me a set of PING 69s for my birthday. To this day, I still see the same quality and pride PING puts in its clubs that Karsten did when he was working out of his garage in Phoenix so many years ago. I feel the same about Titleist, Mizuno and a (very) few others. As you were alluding to, it’s sad that those of us who genuinely love the game have to pay so much to enjoy it.

  5. EJ

    May 8, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    It seems that you need to have colour and a good marketing strategy to make this list. The Titleist 913D3 and Ping Anser would be my top picks.

    • GolfWRX

      May 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      G25 is a standard black just like the Anser you say. There is no marketing or color bias. There is a real world objective process. The 6 clubfitters that fit over 500 players a month each have weighed in and formed an opinion that lead to the “Best of”. You can see how and who voted… http://www.golfwrx.com/reviews/best-of-awards-and-the-inside-scoop/

      Also as new models come into the picture or a revelation/shift in votes occurs we always acknowledge. We ask the fitters to cast their votes for all categories once a quarter.

      • John spur

        March 20, 2014 at 12:45 pm

        Just lost all cred.
        SLDR is worst garbage ever produced.
        You put it as best ever.
        How do you sleep at night?

  6. Rob Smith

    May 8, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I`m 60 with a bad back. Have always fought the slice and poor distance. Bought the Amp Cell all stock and immediately my drives started to straighten out and my distance improving. Now three months later I hit consistently straight or slight draws, and I average 250-260 off the tee. Would`nt trade it for any club.

  7. Todd Keasey

    May 8, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    What happened to the Adams Golf super s and super ls? Awsome drivers.

  8. evanm

    May 8, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    Seriously? no Anser? Covert and razr fit xtreme are garbage. x hot fairways are much better than the driver.

  9. Paul

    May 7, 2013 at 12:56 am

    i think its funny that people whine cause there club didn’t make the list when half the clubs in our Canadian market are on the list for “best driver”

  10. JBro

    May 6, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Do you care that your grammar is lousy? There are two errors in the introduction alone. I know that some people may not care, but if you are working towards being a legitimate publication (which I honestly think you are) you should look into these corrections.

  11. David Mc

    May 6, 2013 at 9:53 am

    Nothing on here beats my Titleist 910D2, keep trying though.

    • Fred

      August 12, 2013 at 9:48 pm

      David: just curious – what shaft did you decide to use with your D2? I see that three are offered at Golfsmith. Thanks.

    • JCorona

      January 3, 2014 at 3:34 pm

      I abhor my 910 D3…. way too light with the RIP….. but for a price of free it stayed in my bag for the year…. wedding gift. Selling it along with the 910F my buddy gave me with it.
      Wifey wasn’t happy since she didn’t get anything but, hey, she ‘got’ everything else!

  12. Kj

    May 3, 2013 at 10:40 pm

    Sorry to see theTour Edge XCG6 got snubbed. I have hit em all on a launch monitor and I was sold on the TE. Although the R1 performed well also I preferred the softer feel and much better looking XCG6.

  13. Corey Kasif

    May 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I have hit all these and out of them, the Super LS is the biggest surprise to me. VST in a RBZ driver. But, one that is not on here that should be noteworthy is the Wilson D100 SuperLight. A Beast!

    Snapped the shaft of the G25 twice – Garbage IMO

    Cobra Amp Cell I was least impressed with

    The Covert was much better that the Covert Tour as far as feel and performance.

    With TM and Callaway, every year you get what you get. A cool name and some color.

    • Cg

      May 9, 2013 at 3:06 am

      There is no way that the Adams driver is a better then the cobra amp cell? The cobra is the most accurate driver that I have ever hit. I hit all but one fairway playing it today. Average drive about 270 with one at 320.

      I have hit all of the new callaways ( the fit extreme is very good). I did not like the x hot at all. All the new taylormades ( not much performance differences from last years drivers). None of these drivers perform on the range like the cobra amp cell. The key word is the range. Not a mat at dick’s sporting goods.

      The titleist d13 is the only other club that I hit that performed like the cobra amp cell. It is a joke that the d13 did not make this list. In my first three rounds I have played the cobra amp cell I have averaged four to 6 less strokes then my handie cap. I am currently a 13.

      • leftright

        May 19, 2013 at 10:53 am

        It’s all about the one “you got.” You were lucky to get a decent Cobra piece with a shaft that fit you. I bet I could give you 5 Cobra drivers, same shaft, loft and you would hit all of them different. You hit a demo good, buy the demo because you won’t hit the one you order the same 9 out of 10 times. This crap is made in Chinese factories by people making $2 a day, what would you expect.

    • Cg

      May 9, 2013 at 3:48 am

      I am guessing you are about a thirty handicap.

      • Corey Kasif

        May 9, 2013 at 10:42 am

        Are you referring to me being a 30 handicap because I was not impressed with the Amp Cell. The club felt dead to me and I am not a fan of the look at address. I have no affiliation with this website, just giving my opinion since I do reviews for other sites and I have hit all the new clubs for 2013. I play to a 6, have an average swing speed of 108 and my ball speed is 160. My daily is the 913 D3. And yes, the Adams Super LS is much better IMO than the Amp Cell.

        • Cg

          May 9, 2013 at 2:06 pm

          Cobra amp cell has out performed la in every robot test. Ball speeds and forgiveness. I made my comment because every driver you liked was designed for a higher handiecap. I will agree to disagree.

          It is surprising that you think the x hot is a better driver the. The fit extreme. It is not. Much better feel with better adjustable options.

          My swing speed is faster then yours and the cobra has more pop then the ls. Not even close.

          I am glad you play the d13. It is awesome

          • Corey Kasif

            May 9, 2013 at 2:46 pm

            When I test clubs, I also compare them. I make observations based on feel and performance. The Adams LS is the “tour” version of the Super S. The LS is a great club IMO. The Wilson D100 is a club nobody really cares about, but was a sleeper in my comparisons. I mention this to give people different options. I don’t care what did better with a robot hitting it. Based on feel, I don’t like the Amp. Did I hit it well? Yes, I have hit all these new drivers 300+. I will give the Amp props and tell you it is better than the ZL Encore, but still not a club I will use on a daily basis. I don’t know where you got the info about my opinion with the Callaway drivers though, I didn’t think I mentioned it yet, but I prefer the feel and performance of the Razr Fit Extreme over the XHot Pro. Again, this is my opinion.

      • leftright

        May 19, 2013 at 10:54 am

        Even 30 handicappers should expect decent quality, it does not exist although.

  14. joe

    May 1, 2013 at 4:32 pm

    NO titleist 913 D2? ……why not?

  15. Matt

    April 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    Super Ls looks so so good.

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  17. tlmck

    January 12, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Tried the G25, but did not get any better numbers over my old Cleveland. It is a very, very nice driver though. Well done Ping!

    And hell will freeze over before I hit a white driver. They clash with my yellow golf balls.

  18. Troy Vayanos

    January 12, 2013 at 2:40 am

    I agree with the early comments made here about the omission of the Cobra AMP Cell.

    I bought one about 2 months ago and absolutely love it. It’s easily one of the best ‘feeling’ drivers on the market today.

    I’m getting extra carry off the tee as well as distance.

    Try this driver at the very least and you won’t be disappointed.

  19. Troy Vayanos

    January 12, 2013 at 2:33 am

    Some great new drivers out for 2012. I particularly love the look of the new Callaway XHot driver.

    This is a great new addition to the Callaway line. I was really disappointed with the previous RAZR fit model and I have heard similar feedback. Hopefully this newer model will be a huge success because on looks alone this appears to be a great driver.

    Look forward to testing one in the coming months.

    Cheers

  20. chuck watson

    January 11, 2013 at 8:19 am

    i guess you’re right, Puma doesn’t have any money……..

  21. George

    January 11, 2013 at 5:52 am

    The Pings coming home!!!

    • leftright

      May 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

      I don’t own one PING club but their quality is by far the best off the shelf.

  22. Lee

    January 11, 2013 at 5:27 am

    Guys are we really gonna be fooled that new paint jobs (which you either like or don’t) plus the latest marketing spin is going to give us more yardage and accuracy?
    Answer very likely, even though in reality those of us who have a correctly fitted driver from the past 2-3 years know deep down they won’t!
    Now where’s my credit card….

  23. Mike

    January 10, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    It’s all about advertising dollars. Guess who will get gold awards on Golf Digest’s Hot List? These guys are so in the biggies pockets, they can’t even see it anymore!

    • Garry

      January 11, 2013 at 7:51 am

      So true. I remember reading an article by the great Tom Wishon on this subject. Money buys reviews !

      • Jack

        April 22, 2013 at 3:26 am

        Whats the point of the medals. Most of the drivers are gold medals anyway.

        • leftright

          May 19, 2013 at 10:48 am

          PC in golf, everyone gets a trophy. When someone gives you lots of money you don’t dare write a bad review. When Golf Digest does their hot clubs it’s a circus and a political fiasco. They write what they want and if a tester says it is bad it will never make the magazine. I currently have a TM R11 that says 9 on the head. It is 10.3, off 1.3 degrees, it weights 207 grams and TM says 202 and the lie is off 2 degrees. The shaft is about as much like a regular Blur as a $10 Chinese graphite you get in K-Mart with very little carbon fiber, mostly glue or resin if you like that term. I have the facilities and know how to check this stuff and I tell you most all of the stock stuff…sucks in quality. Most golfer don’t care and couldn’t tell but I don’t care if you are a 25 handicap, you should expect the equipment to not hinder you.

  24. Adam

    January 10, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Oh wow, that Covert is huge… 4600 cc? how can you swing that?

    • CJ

      January 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm

      Nice Adam….. Finally someone that pays attention to detail.

  25. golfforlife

    January 10, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    what about 913?

  26. David

    January 10, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Shame the Cobra AMP Cell was omitted. Cobra drivers are every bit a big dog as these featured. Always depressing to see how much publicity the ones with deep pockets can buy. Callaway, Ping, Nike, and TaylorMade/Adams…seriously?

    • Alex

      January 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm

      Exactly what I thought. The Cobra AMP driver was amazing when I hit it at my local store, but held off the purchase simply because the AMP Cell line was coming out in February.

    • Cobra nut

      January 10, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      Funny that this is also the second post wondering why this review left out Cobra and no reply?!! Time to dump this sight and move to one that is not bought with money from the so called big boys. Cobra for me feels the best, hits the best and I can control it and it was actually unveiled before Tm, Adams, and Callaway so why not cover it?

    • leftright

      May 3, 2013 at 7:50 am

      I hate to say it but WRX like all the golf magazines are in the pockets of the golf manufacturers. Taylormade could make a driver that totally sucked and they would get Gold in Golf Digest. I’ve been hitting Adams for years and found the new LS no longer than the old LS so I will be waiting another year. I don’t care for Taylormade stuff and really hated it when they bought Adams.

      • GolfWRX

        May 4, 2013 at 10:43 pm

        there you go. Glass half full huh? Only 2 of the winners out of 6 are sponsors. Hummmm. Now what was that about advertising $$$?
        Not on WRX my man.

        • leftright

          May 19, 2013 at 10:40 am

          You have lied, I have no way of verifying your statement is true. It’s the same crap year end and year out. I appreciate the WRX forums, input and pictures of clubs “us regular Joe’s) cannot get. I would love a driver that I know is accurate in loft, lie and weight but I can’t get that except form Boutique shops. I have a serious peeve about this and know the standard stuff is of poor quality. Quality must be better because many of us expect it and for the prices they are charging we should get that quality.

  27. JEFF

    January 10, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    Too bad these drivers are going overboard with too much busy crap on them. Ping used to be the ugliest things going and now the most conservative……. and thats not saying much!

  28. reddevilwheezy

    January 10, 2013 at 10:40 am

    I will have a Speedline LS sooner than later. Love it.

  29. reddevilwheezly

    January 10, 2013 at 10:39 am

    “The X Hot Pro is available is lofts of 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 for $299, while the standard version is available in 9.5, 10.5 and 13 for $399.”

    Shouldn’t the Pro be $399 and the standard be $299?

    • GolfWRX

      January 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      yes… nice catch.

    • ryan

      January 10, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      That isn’t correct. The X HOT line (both Pro and standard) are $299 while the Fit XTREME is $399.

  30. Casey

    January 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

    No Cobra? That’s sad.

  31. seb

    January 10, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Ping is nice

  32. Hula_Rock

    January 10, 2013 at 8:17 am

    Already ordered the Covert, BUT man that PING is SEXY…..

    • Lazza

      October 13, 2013 at 12:26 pm

      Not so much looking from the top imho.

  33. Square

    January 10, 2013 at 4:24 am

    For some reason, I think I’ll eventually give the Adams a try.

  34. Jason

    January 10, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Am I the only one who sorta hates the looks of all of these?

    • Andrew

      January 10, 2013 at 3:46 am

      Jason – You’re not the only one!

    • kpg

      January 10, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Agreed! I will stick with old equiptment when new stuff look likes this. They are stating to like cars from the 90′s.

    • G

      January 11, 2013 at 10:05 am

      I agree except for the Ping

    • Yo!

      January 11, 2013 at 10:28 am

      We have to admit that we are getting older.

    • Jason

      January 12, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      The shape of the adams looks nice to me, but I would honestly paint the crown if I try it and like it enough put in the bag.

    • Ryan Jacobs

      March 14, 2013 at 3:18 am

      No Taylormade is a disgrace to the game of golf with their hipster crown designs on their clubs!

  35. Sean

    January 10, 2013 at 12:55 am

    Really nice job! Thanks for the side-by-side photos. :-)

  36. Alex

    January 9, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    What about Cobra’s AMP Cell Drivers?!

    • Darren

      January 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm

      Cobra Amp Cell Pro driver in the bag here in Australia. Long time Cobra devotee, but still surprised how awesome the new driver is. I use the words, Long, Control and altogether to describe it.

      • Chris

        May 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm

        What shaft?

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