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Cleveland TL310 Driver Review


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#1 3 Jack Par

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 09:36 AM

I was recently given the opportunity to choose a Cleveland product to test and review (Thanks, Sakman!), with the options of a driver, irons, or wedges.  I love my current driver and irons, and I've played Cleveland wedges on and off throughout the years, and if there's one segment of my bag that I sometimes question if there is a better option, it's the wedges.  Initially, I asked to try the wedges, but after giving it a little thought, I realized that I wouldn't really be able to tell anyone anything they didn't already know about Cleveland's wedge line, but I could test out the conventional wisdom that people with faster clubhead speeds are better off with a heavier driver -- for stability and control, or just for feel.  I knew that Cleveland was touting their line of lighter drivers this year with the heaviest at 310 grams, and with a real deal Miyazaki C.Kua shaft as the stock offering.  I've heard very good things about the Miyazaki offerings, so that was intriguing.  So, I decided to test the Cleveland Launcher TL310 against my TaylorMade Superdeep TP to see how the lighter driver performed compared to my current gamer.  The timing proved to be somewhat fortunate, because I recently did a Trackman session that seemed to indicate that my swing speed is not as fast as at used to be -- I have a launch monitor report from '06 where I was swinging 125mph consistently.  Now, I've dialed that back somewhat in the name of control, but the ball speed numbers from the Trackman fro a couple of weeks ago seem to indicate that I'm only swinging at around 110 or so (Trackman the Game doesn't measure swing speed).  So, maybe a lighter driver is something I should start thinking about.

A little bit about me:

Age:  34
Driver SS:  110-115 MPH
Current Handicap:  1.8
Ballflight:  Low/Mid with a slight draw.  Misses are usually hooks and blocks.


TaylorMade Superdeep TP specs:  9.5*, Fujikura Motore F1 75X, 44.5" long, FCT set to Neutral (no loft adjustment), 12g and 14g weights in the head.  Total weight 340 grams (weighed on a kitchen scale, converted from ounces to grams -- it's all I have on hand :secret:)

Cleveland Launcher TL310 specs:  8.5*, Miyazaki C. Kua 59x, 45.25" long.  310 grams (checked weight on scale, and it checked in right at 310)
I went with lower loft on this driver because the Superdeep is a very low spin head, and I have played 8.5 degrees in previous club that I've used.  I thought a 9.5 head might balloon on me a bit.

Look:
The TL310 is a traditional looking pear shaped head with no distractions at address.  There is also no alignment aid on the crown, which is something that I'm not used to, since probably my last half dozen drivers have been TaylorMade.  However, it really doesn't matter, because it's easy to align the center of the clubface to the ball.  When the club sits on the ground (sorry the picture doesn't really capture this), it appears to sit slightly open.  The clubhead is 440cc, but as you can see from the comparison to the 460cc Superdeep (which is known for having a compact look), it does not appear to be smaller than any of today's large drivers.
CIMG1559.JPG

Obviously, the Superdeep has one of the deepest faces you'll see on a driver, so it's no surprise that the TL310 is shallower.  
The lines toward the middle of the face are not actual grooves, but I think they're done through a similar "laser milling" process that Cleveland uses to create the small grooves in their irons and wedges. It's kind of a cool look and helps a little with alignment.
CIMG1552.JPG
CIMG1558.JPG

Feel & Sound:
The first thing I wanted to know is whether Cleveland's claims that "Weight has been removed from the club without sacrificing swingweight or flex profile" were accurate.  When I picked up the TL310 and compared the weight to the SD, I could tell that it was a lighter club -- no question about it.  But, as Cleveland claims, when you swing the TL310, you don't lose the feel of the clubhead and the shaft feels like it can handle the speed.  It's pretty cool how they achieved this, and I can see how especially their 270 and 290 models could help people who need help generating clubhead speed.
As I said, I've played TaylorMade drivers for a long time, and I'm used to how they feel.  When you hit a TM driver well, it feels kind of like the ball is springing off a trampoline.  I've tried drivers from other manufacturers, and they don't have that same feeling -- you know that you caught it well, but it's just different.  The same can be said about the TL310.  When you smack it, you can tell you hit it well, but it's a harder feeling.  Not an unpleasant one, but again, it's different.  
Probably my least favorite thing about the TL310 is the sound.  My Superdeep is metallic and loud, but it's more of a "thwack", which the Cleveland produces a higher-pitched "plink" kind of sound, and it seems louder than what I'm used to.  

Performance:
Obviously, the most important thing is, how did the TL310 perform?   I had a chance to take it out while I was playing a practice round for a tournament I'm playing next week.  It was just my dad and me, and the course was pretty deserted (it rained in the morning, which must have scared people off), so on each hole that called for Driver, I first hit my Superdeep, and then hit a second ball with the Cleveland.  Both balls were the new Titleist Pro V1x's, and I marked the balls differently to make sure that I could identify which was which.  I did this head-to-head test on 10 holes, and fortunately, I was hitting it well off the tee that day, so on probably half of those holes, I hit very similar shots, which allowed for a pretty good comparison.  We've gotten a lot of rain this spring, so there was little or no roll on any shot.  Here are the notes from each shot:

Driver comp.jpg

The holes where the shots I hit provided the best comparison are 2, 4, 11, 14, and 16.  From these comparison shots, I can say pretty conclusively that when I hit either club well, there's not much difference in carry distance, though the Superdeep does have a little bit in reserve if I absolutely nut it.  The big difference between the two clubs that I saw it in the trajectory.  The TL310 achieved these carry numbers with a lower, more boring trajectory, compared with the high flat trajectory that I get with my Superdeep.  I'm anxious to see how the total distance stacks up when the ground dries up and the ball actually starts rolling a bit.
The TL310 was also surprisingly anti-left.  The usual ballflight was actually straight or a slight fade, unless I consciously manipulated it to draw the ball.  This wasn't an anomaly with my swing, either, as I was hitting my usual shot shape with my gamer.
I didn't notice a tremendous difference in forgiveness between either club, but it was a pretty limited sample, and I made solid contact on most of the swings with both clubs.  The worst swing of the day was with the TL310 on #9, but that was a technology-proof swing that the most SGI driver on the planet wouldn't have helped.
I plan to do a comparison on "Trackman the Game" in the next few weeks  when I have a chance to go to the place near me that has it to get some  hard numbers on ball speed and spin (I also want to see if they have  anything to allow me to measure clubhead speed, as I think that is a key  element to compare in this test).  


Overall:
I like this driver a lot, and I'm seriously considering keeping it in the bag, at least part-time.  The lower trajectory seems like it would be great for windy days, and this club is long.  I haven't hit everything on the market or anything, but I'm very surprised how well it kept up with my Superdeep.  With the possibility that my clubhead speed isn't what it once was, I may also need to think about moving to a lighter setup permanently -- especially one like this where the clubhead doesn't get lost during the swing.  I want to get on the Trackman for a more detailed analysis, but my initial impression is very positive.  I'll post the Trackman results and further impressions once I'm able to do that.

I'm happy to try to answer any questions, if there's anything I didn't cover in this novel.:hi:
A few more pics:
CIMG1542.JPG
CIMG1555.JPG
CIMG1549.JPG

Edited by Tiger Jr., 03 May 2011 - 09:39 AM.

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#2 highergr0und

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 09:54 AM

Great review and congrats on the free gear!!!  I want to try one of these out pretty bad.  Missed a few on ebay then went to vegas last week and blew all my golf money without even gambling a dime, although seeing Santana was worth it.  Maybe in a month or two when I build it back up :)

#3 3 Jack Par

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 08:05 PM

No interest in the Cleveland drivers?  I did think they lacked the buzz of the TMs/Titleists/Callaways of the world, but I'm a little surprised at the lack of replies.  Did I bore everyone to sleep before they got the the end?:busted2:
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#4 Tee1Up

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 08:47 PM

View PostTiger Jr., on 03 May 2011 - 08:05 PM, said:

No interest in the Cleveland drivers?  I did think they lacked the buzz of the TMs/Titleists/Callaways of the world, but I'm a little surprised at the lack of replies.  Did I bore everyone to sleep before they got the the end?:busted2:

There have already been several multiple page topics on these drivers.  Use the search function and you can find them.

#5 Doc420

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 09:10 PM

I am considering these drivers. I think I made a mistake with my 910, at least with the shaft anyway. I have tried the other offerings from titleist and don't like the mix with the other shafts. I intend to give these a try next week. I have played the Hibore in the past and didn't have any problems with it.


#6 dntrs4

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 09:21 PM

Terrific review Tiger Jr!  Great timing as I have a bid going on the Bay for a 310.

Moving from a 75 gram shaft to a 59 gram shaft, did you lose a "feel" for the where the clubhead was during your swing?

I am thinking about the 59x, but I've seen some 72x shafts out there as well.  I would like to know if you liked the 59x.

#7 Shankopottamus

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:30 AM

Great review of the clubs. I demo'd the SL290 in 9 degree, stiff flex this week as well.

Like you, I found this club is anti-left and very low boring. I typically hit a 10 to 10.5 degree but this is what I was offered to demo. It is a long, piercing flight off the club face. Lots of roll out. The sound is incredibly loud and feel is very sharp and distinct. Misses felt softer and went high and right. Once dialed in I was able to go after the club with swings I typically reserve for wide open driving holes or when I have to produce some short approach birdie attempts to reclaim my score. In summary, these are very nice clubs that I would say are due to an improved club head and a great shaft. For $299 they are a good deal for those willing to go 'off brand' (for lack of a better term) from the main three/four clubs.

FYI - I also purchased an Adams 9064LS yesterday and took it out to the range. I hit ball after ball high, straight, with good distance. The RIP 60 Alpha felt perfect for my swing. I can relax and swing smooth or I can go after it without penalty. Nice feel off the face, workable if I need to work the ball, and sound isn't overpowering leaving me with tinnitus. I also paid $199 for it so I think given the hype of two other $399 drivers I tested I'm very pleased. I can play five or six additional rounds!

#8 3 Jack Par

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 08:44 AM

View Postdntrs4, on 03 May 2011 - 09:21 PM, said:

Moving from a 75 gram shaft to a 59 gram shaft, did you lose a "feel" for the where the clubhead was during your swing?
Not at all.  I was really skeptical initially about Cleveland's claims that they had been able to remove weight from the club while still retaining the swingweight.  I can definitely tell that I'm swinging a lighter club, but it still feels like I know where the head is throughout the swing.  Also, every shot I hit with the TL310 came immediately after hitting my drive with my heavier Superdeep -- usually without an additional practice swing.   I think a lot of it is the Miyazaki shaft.  I'm really impressed that such a light shaft can be so low-launching.
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#9 itw419

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 03:06 PM

Great review. I haven't hit this driver yet so I really can't comment on it. I have however hit the  Miyazaki shaft in the Taylor Made Superfast 2.0 head and I was really impressed. I play a 70 gram RIP shaft and I thought the 59 gram  Miyazaki was awesome. I am considering putting one in my Superfast TP.
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#10 knickerbocker

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Posted 06 May 2011 - 08:32 PM

Great write up TJ.  It is an impressive driver and the shaft is great.  You can find these for $250 or under on the bay which is a great value.

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#11 3 Jack Par

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 02:21 PM

So, I finally managed to get the two drivers head to head on the Trackman this weekend.  I hit 12 balls (rotating four balls at a time with each driver) with each club and threw out the two worst ones with each club -- the two worst with the Superdeep were the first ball hit after hitting the TL310, which may have something to do with the weight difference, or could just be coincidence.  Here are the averages with each club:

TL 310
Ball Speed: 166.2
Launch Angle:  10.4
Spin:  3097
Carry:  264.3
Total:  289.2

Superdeep
Ball Speed: 165.1
Launch Angle:  11.0
Spin:  3209
Carry:  269.4
Total:  289.3

So, really, it appears that a lot of the differences between the performance of the two clubs is related to the loft difference.  The difference in spin, launch angle and carry seem to be mostly attributable to loft -- the heads themselves seem to have pretty similar characteristics.  The ball speed numbers seem to indicate that I am getting a bit more clubhead speed with the TL310.  Probably only about 1-2MPH, but a bit of a difference.  

I'm going to do more of an apples to apples comparison next with a 8.5 degree Superdeep head that I have on the way (found a cheapish one and had been looking for a backup).  After that, I'll be able to make a final call on whether the TL310 will make the bag full-time or possibly for windier days.
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#12 UnderPar18

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 02:51 PM

This was an awesome review that I really liked reading. I have an Adams 9015d 10.5 and have been wanting to hit the Cleveland TL310, but can't find one to demo in lefty! Your review on this club covered all aspects that I think is important in a review and it was nice having data to back that up. Thank you for sharing what you have found with these two drivers!

#13 JD3

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 06:38 AM

Anyone know the lie angle on the TL310? Cleveland doesn't provide this information.

#14 3 Jack Par

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 07:23 AM

I believe it's 60*, but I think it can be adjusted by a couple of degrees either way by the manufacturer or a clubmaker.
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#15 JD3

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 09:48 AM

View PostTiger Jr., on 17 May 2011 - 07:23 AM, said:

I believe it's 60*, but I think it can be adjusted by a couple of degrees either way by the manufacturer or a clubmaker.
wow, that's scary upright


#16 3 Jack Par

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 11:49 AM

View PostJD3, on 17 May 2011 - 09:48 AM, said:

View PostTiger Jr., on 17 May 2011 - 07:23 AM, said:

I believe it's 60*, but I think it can be adjusted by a couple of degrees either way by the manufacturer or a clubmaker.
wow, that's scary upright

It's within the range of normal for drivers -- Callaway has drivers ranging from 56.5 - 60 degrees, and TM ranges from 57 (R11) to 61 (Superfast 2.0), for example.
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#17 JD3

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 12:28 PM

It's the relationship between lie angle and length. A club that's 45.25 with 59 lie is pretty upright. Titleist for example are 45 / 58.5. Nikes at 45.75 / 60 are unplayable for me. So the closet one gets to that the more I shy away.

#18 VTHOKIES

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Posted 19 May 2011 - 02:17 PM

Great review and my results with the TL310 almost mirror yours.  I have owned about every driver on the market over the last year due to the fact my driving has been horrible.  I have owned the following:

Two Callaway FT Tours one with a Rombax 6w06 shaft and one with a V2 shaft
Taylor Made Super Tri
Taylor Made R11
Titleist 910 D2 and D3 with multiple shafts

Finally after searching I went into my local golf shop and saw the TL310 and loved the look and I have been wanting to try the Miyazaki shaft and decided to pull the trigger.  I purchased it last Friday and immediately put it into play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during a three day tournament.  I first hit it on the range and was really surprised by the feel of the lighter driver.  You can definitely tell throughout the swing where the club face is and for me that is important.  I was a little worried about the weight due to the fact I have a pretty quick transition from the top but the Miyazaki holds up really well.  

I have not put this on the monitor yet nor do I think I need to.  I am by far hitting it straighter, more penetrating without any ballooning at all, and with less spin the my other drivers.  Like I said I played my home course over the weekend and could readily see the difference in distance.  When I nutted the FT Tours they were pretty long and the TL310 kept up but the biggest difference is the shot dispersion and the forgiveness.  I am more than 20 yards longer with the Cleveland over the FT Tour on mis hits and it is not even close.  

All in all a pretty amazing club and pretty cheap in my opinion.  I have a feeling I have finally found the perfect driver for my game.   Another thing is it is the first Cleveland club I have ever owned and after playing I went out and bought the CG16 wedges which are great as well.  :clapping:

Edited by VTHOKIES, 19 May 2011 - 02:19 PM.

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#19 Sakman

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 10:31 AM

GREAT review Rich! Thanks for taking the time and putting this together.

#20 FargoRC

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 10:47 PM

I traded in my R9 460 and picked up the TL310 yesterday and after playing it today all I can say is wow. I've always played a bit of a fade but with the R9 every drive would go really high and just drift right, now with TL310 I have nice subtle fade with a much more manageable trajectory.

I really like the shaft, it is very solid and overall the driver is very workable. Can't wait to get back on the course and dial it in a bit more.


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#21 ballmark

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 02:06 AM

Best driver I have ever owned. Have to agree with the OP it doesn't move left. I can't explain because my usual miss is a hook. I am happy to leave it alone, the results are great. I like straight or a little fade ;)

#22 FargoRC

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Posted 30 June 2011 - 10:50 PM

View PostFargoRC, on 23 June 2011 - 10:47 PM, said:

I traded in my R9 460 and picked up the TL310 yesterday and after playing it today all I can say is wow. I've always played a bit of a fade but with the R9 every drive would go really high and just drift right, now with TL310 I have nice subtle fade with a much more manageable trajectory.

I really like the shaft, it is very solid and overall the driver is very workable. Can't wait to get back on the course and dial it in a bit more.

An update after playing a few rounds and getting some range time in and all I can say is that this is the best driver I've ever hit. The ball flight is about perfect, it is forgiving enough and best of all it is long. I hit four drives over 305 yards today, it has been a few years since I've been that long off the tee. Amazing what can happen when you find that driver that just clicks with you.

#23 Lobber

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 07:19 PM

I am gaming the 310 and absolutely loving it.  It is kicking my R11 TP MotoreSpeeder out of the bag.  Distance is as good or better, feel is superior and forgiveness is better for me with the Cleveland.  I was very skeptical at first about the light shaft but no longer.  It handles anything I can throw at it with my 107 ss.

#24 dpb5031

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Posted 01 July 2011 - 07:36 PM

This is a great driver.  It is low spin and the face is hot.   We had a demo day at our club and all of our good players were getting the best numbers out of this club versus the other manufacturer's.  In some cases, guys were picking up 20 yards of carry and reducing their spin by 600 rpms.   I think the shop sold over a dozen drivers on the spot.

#25 msr

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 02:33 PM

Really interested in the TL 310 and R11.  Bought a Razr Hawk and disappointed with the shaft.  Tipically draw the ball and with this straight to a fade.  Misses are high right.  Feel is good but even when I crush I don't seem to get much distance.  Tried the TL310 an R11 at a demo day and really was surprised at how great the TL310 felt with godd distance.  Actually felt the Cleveland was a bit longer.  Any comments would be appreciated.


#26 knickerbocker

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 03:18 PM

View Postmsr, on 05 July 2011 - 02:33 PM, said:

Really interested in the TL 310 and R11.  Bought a Razr Hawk and disappointed with the shaft.  Tipically draw the ball and with this straight to a fade.  Misses are high right.  Feel is good but even when I crush I don't seem to get much distance.  Tried the TL310 an R11 at a demo day and really was surprised at how great the TL310 felt with godd distance.  Actually felt the Cleveland was a bit longer.  Any comments would be appreciated.

Best value in the 2011 drivers by far considering the stock shaft in this club is the real deal.  I have hit it three times during demos days all with the same result - straight as hell with penetrating ball flight and solid length.  I kept holding off on buying because I have bought enough new clubs this year, but I finally ordered one yesterday off eBay.  The stock shaft in the R11 is ok at best - I personally like the SF 2.0 more the R11.
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#27 thedillz

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 03:33 PM

Great writeup on a less known beast. Might have to give it another look.

#28 msr

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 03:49 PM

View Postknickerbocker, on 05 July 2011 - 03:18 PM, said:

View Postmsr, on 05 July 2011 - 02:33 PM, said:

Really interested in the TL 310 and R11.  Bought a Razr Hawk and disappointed with the shaft.  Tipically draw the ball and with this straight to a fade.  Misses are high right.  Feel is good but even when I crush I don't seem to get much distance.  Tried the TL310 an R11 at a demo day and really was surprised at how great the TL310 felt with godd distance.  Actually felt the Cleveland was a bit longer.  Any comments would be appreciated.

Best value in the 2011 drivers by far considering the stock shaft in this club is the real deal.  I have hit it three times during demos days all with the same result - straight as hell with penetrating ball flight and solid length.  I kept holding off on buying because I have bought enough new clubs this year, but I finally ordered one yesterday off eBay.  The stock shaft in the R11 is ok at best - I personally like the SF 2.0 more the R11.


What are your thoughts on the R11 TP shaft.  That what I was looking at.  Thanks for the info.

#29 msr

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 03:50 PM

Whats the opinion on the R11 TP shafts.

#30 knickerbocker

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Posted 05 July 2011 - 03:52 PM

View Postmsr, on 05 July 2011 - 03:49 PM, said:

View Postknickerbocker, on 05 July 2011 - 03:18 PM, said:

View Postmsr, on 05 July 2011 - 02:33 PM, said:

Really interested in the TL 310 and R11.  Bought a Razr Hawk and disappointed with the shaft.  Tipically draw the ball and with this straight to a fade.  Misses are high right.  Feel is good but even when I crush I don't seem to get much distance.  Tried the TL310 an R11 at a demo day and really was surprised at how great the TL310 felt with godd distance.  Actually felt the Cleveland was a bit longer.  Any comments would be appreciated.

Best value in the 2011 drivers by far considering the stock shaft in this club is the real deal.  I have hit it three times during demos days all with the same result - straight as hell with penetrating ball flight and solid length.  I kept holding off on buying because I have bought enough new clubs this year, but I finally ordered one yesterday off eBay.  The stock shaft in the R11 is ok at best - I personally like the SF 2.0 more the R11.


What are your thoughts on the R11 TP shaft.  That what I was looking at.  Thanks for the info.

The TP Shaft is the real deal, but the TL310 is $200 cheaper retail.  Best option is to hit both and see if the R11 is worth the extra cash.  

BTW...TL310 is 2* open face.  I naturally hit a draw, so I like that - and it allows me to hit a fade easier.  But if your miss is right, that could be a concern.

SLDR TP 10.5 with Oban Devo 6
Callaway Xhot Pro 14.5 and 19
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