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Callaway FT Optiforce Drivers: Editor Review



Pros: Two different head options, a 440cc version and 460cc version, allow golfers to choose between a lower-launching, more penetrating flight, and a higher-launching, more forgiving option respectively. New aerodynamically efficient heads and light premium shaft offerings create the lightest drivers Callaway has ever released. The Advanced OptiFit hosel allows golfers to adjust the loft and lie of the driver.

Cons: Similar to Callaway’s X Hot line, neither OptiForce driver contains adjustable weights. While both drivers have subtle graphics, the 440 doesn’t have any marks on the crown. That could bother some golfers who prefer an alignment mark.

Bottom line: Both drivers live up to the marketing promise. 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.


Mid-season product launches seem to be all the rage right now, and Callaway became part of it with the OptiForce. The current strategy at Callaway is to focus on new innovation, not just iterative products, and the company has been willing to release new clubs more often this year. Even though the X Hot line is still dominating commercials during tournaments, Callaway is moving full-steam ahead to bring golfers more speed (and hopefully more distance) with its lightest drivers yet, the OptiForce.


Callaway engineers understand that trying to be everything to everyone in one driver head is almost impossible. With that in mind, the FT OptiForce driver comes in two different head sizes — a 440 cubic centimeter head designed for better players interested in a more penetrating ball flight and a 460 cubic centimter head for players looking for more forgiveness and a higher launch. This allowed Callaway to modify everything from the head size, moment of inertia, center of gravity position, weight and even bulge radius to produce optimal conditions across the loft options in each head.

EditorsChoice_131Both drivers feature Callaway’s Speed Optimized Technology, which is a combination of a lightweight aerodynamic head, light shaft and grip, designed to produce more ball speed and distance.

Speed Optimized Technology is combined with Callaway’s Speed Frame Face technology that creates a larger sweet spot and maximizes ball speeds across the face, even on mishits.

The stock shaft offerings should be considered premium shafts. The extremely light Project X PXV shaft only weighs 43 grams at the stock length of 46 inches. A more standard shaft, usually paired with the 440 head, is the Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+, and weighs just 64 grams. Both shafts are available as stock options with either head in several flexes — 5.0, 5.5, 6.0 and 6.5 in the PXV 43, and R, S and X in the Diamana S+.


With the OptiForce drivers, Callaway also introduced a new Advanced OptiFit hosel that expands the ability of golfers to adjust loft and lie. All a golfer has to do is line up the desired setting with the white tick marks on the hosel and they’re set.

When I was looking for a new driver last year, I was disappointed that Callaway didn’t offer more adjustable loft and lie modifications. The company’s Razr Fit Extreme and X Hot drivers, which were released in early 2013, came in several different lofts and had a three-way adjustable hosel: neutral (N), opened (O) or closed (C). Those settings corresponded to a driver’s face angle — opening the face lowered loft, while closing the face added loft.

Each OptiForce head comes in one loft — the 460 is stamped at 10.5 degrees and can be adjusted down 1 degree or up 2 degrees in one degree increments. The 440 head is stamped at 9.5 degrees and also can be adjusted down one degree or up two degrees in one degree increments. The driver can also be set to neutral or draw, which makes the lie angle of the driver more upright and encourages a more leftward starting trajectory (for right-handed golfers).

Changing the driver’s loft will change the face angle slightly (more loft closes the face, less loft opens the face), but the Advanced OptiFit hosel was designed to minimize those changes, which to many golfers may not even be noticeable at address.

Both FT OptiForce drivers are available now for $399.


Optiforce testingSince we all have different current drivers, different swing speeds and different needs, I wanted to test the performance of the stock options you’ll find sitting on the rack at your local golf store. The 440 head with the Diamana S+ and the 460 head with the Project X PXV.

I tested the clubs over multiple sessions outdoor at a driving range during calm conditions. My playing swing speed averages around 105 mph and I can max out at around 110 mph, but for the testing I was swinging with my normal playing speed. My first test was at the range without a launch monitor. My goal was to simply see if the ball flight matched Callaway’s claims.

I started with the 460 head in the stock 10.5 degree loft and neutral position. After just the first swing — and over the course of about 20 swings — it was evident that the 460 was launching higher, and although it had a tendency to balloon up, still traveled a bit further on average than my gamer. The dispersion of the shots was pretty tight, even when hit off the heel or toe.

When I started hitting the 440, it was instantly apparent that even though these clubs are made of the same material, they are not the same. The ball flight was noticeably more penetrating, and unfortunately for me, the mishits weren’t quite as forgiving. Not bad, but I could tell we’re dealing with a smaller, better players head. Based simply on my own eyes, these clubs are doing exactly what Callaway claims.

I wanted to get on a FlightScope launch monitor and run a series of tests with multiple different settings. The Nike Golf 360 Fitting Center at Bentwater Golf Course in Acworth, Ga., was the closest option, and the teaching pro Justin Tackett was nice enough to let me take over the center for a few hours.

Most golfers know that so much goes into a proper fitting and the shaft plays a very large role. Since we’re all different, I decided to test four different configurations in each of the two clubs, throwing out mishits or misreads and looking at the averages. I also dialed in my launch conditions, but wanted to be able to report on results in multiple configurations. I tested both heads in the Neutral and Draw positions with 9.5 degree and 10.5 degree lofts.

Performance: FT OptiForce 460


I wasn’t surprised by what I found. FlightScope confirmed that the 460 head (which is 3 grams lighter than the 440 head) launched 1 degree higher on average, generated 1.5 mph more club-head speed and 1.1 mph more ball speed. Mishits off the toe and heel still resulted in really good ball speed. Hits off the toe only lost 1-to-2 mph of ball speed and the heel averaged a drop of 1 mph.

That sounds great, until we factor in spin and carry numbers. For my swing, the 460 was generating a whopping 600 rpm more spin on average, which resulted in some serious balloons, less roll and 2 yards less carry. Those don’t sound like big numbers, but it was a completely calm day. Put this driver in my hands with any wind, and I’m in trouble. Sure, the shaft plays a role, but the head is playing its part, too. To get closer to optimized launch conditions with the 460, I needed to adjust the loft down 1 degree to 9.5 and keep the lie adjustment in the neutral setting.

Performance: FT OptiForce 440


Unlike the 460, the 440 head performed very well across a wider range of settings. The launch angle was more consistent and the spin numbers were much more acceptable. Although the 460 head and shaft combo generated more speed, I was actually generating a more consistent and higher smash factor throughout the test. While that number isn’t always the best indicator, it is a good data point to reference. Mishits with the 440 resulted in slightly worse shots than the 460, which was expected, but it still generated good speeds. The 440 head will perform better for me in any condition and the optimal configuration is the stock setting of 9.5 degrees and neutral lie setting.

Both clubs, once I dialed in the launch conditions, outperform my current gamer in total carry. Golfers of all skill levels can find something good in both options, especially golfers looking for a higher launching more forgiving club. The 440, with its more penetrating flight, will be going straight into my bag.

Looks and Feel

Looks are subjective, but the FT OptiForce drivers are sexy.

On the 460 head, the black and red graphics on the crown, primary and secondary surfaces all tie together to create a sense of motion even when the driver is just sitting in your bag. The large, aerodynamic head shape sits nicely behind the ball and gives you a confident feeling that you’re not going to miss the sweet spot. The subtle graphics on the perimeter of the crown aren’t a distraction and the alignment mark creates symmetry as a clever representation of the design on the bottom of the club.

The 440 head is more traditional in shape and markings and should appeal to the purists. At address, the solid black head has a more traditional shape and although it is smaller than the 460, doesn’t look like a tiny driver.

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In fact, the shape and size gave me the feeling that I would actually have more control over my shots and be able to launch my drives down the fairway and get them to roll for days. The stock blue Diamana S+ shaft caught my attention immediately as well the attention of a few other golfers on the range. Personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing the alignment mark on the top of the 440 head, too. But if you’re used to having an alignment mark, not having it there isn’t a reason to write this club off. The club sits nice at address and still inspires a lot of confidence.

Looks aside, the first thing you’ll feel when picking up both clubs is the weight. Especially with the 460, the driver almost felt too light until I actually took my first swing. If speed is what you are after, you’ll start to believe this club will produce. The lighter weight on the 440 is still noticeable, but it wasn’t as stark as the 460.

It took me one hit to get excited about the OptiForce. The ball seems to jump off the face and the sound at impact is among the best out there right now. I recorded audio at the range of the OptiForce and a couple other drivers around me, and the sound of the OptiForce, even on mishits, was crisp and powerful. While the sound was consistent even on mishits, you can still feel exactly where you’re making contact, especially with the 440 head. The sweet spot feels like butter, but you know when you’ve mishit a ball, which is what I would want and expect in a good driver.

Bottom Line


Callaway set out to create faster swing speeds and transfer that speed into faster ball speeds and more distance. We can debate whether lighter truly equals faster – and there are good debates on both sides – but there is no denying that the stock OptiForce offerings live up to the claims.

Instead of trying to offer a one-size-fits-all approach, golfers have two heads to choose from, both with different MOI and CG to optimize performance. Combined with the advanced OptiFit hosel, golfers of all skill levels can fine-tune their trajectory and maximize their distance off the tee. I suggest adding the FT OptiForce to the test list the next time you get fit for a new driver.

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When he is not obsessing about his golf game, Kane heads up an innovation lab responsible for driving innovative digital product development for Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of RoundShout and creator of Ranger GPS, the free iOS GPS app for the driving range. On a quest to become a scratch golfer, Kane writes about his progress (for better or worse) at and contributes golf technology-focused articles on



  1. Vic Karter

    Mar 15, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I have the OptiForce 10.5 degree 460 with the stock Project X PLV x43 5.0 shaft. I set it to +2 degrees and draw. I have hit many drivers in the past few years, Taylor Made Burner, Tour Burner, SLDR, Callaway X2Hot, Cleveland Classic 270, and many more. Nothing comes close to the OptiForce 460 in distance, accuracy, ball flight and sound. Simply love it!

  2. K Miller

    Mar 30, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    My 11 year old son purchased the FT Optiforce 460 driver using his birthday money. After using it 4 times on the driving range the golf ball struck the top of the club and a golf ball sized hole formed at the top side of the head of the club. We called Callaway and your representative told us this constitutes miss use of the golf club and it will not be covered under warranty. We showed it to the golf club pro and he said this should not have happened and that the club must be defective. My son is so upset he no longer wants to play golf. I am very disappointed at Callaway Golf customer service and that they do not stand behind their product.

  3. Mike B.

    Apr 22, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Very good review. I just trialed a bunch of Callaway drivers, and finally chose the Opti-Fit 460. Longer and consistently straighter than the rest. Only balloons if I tee to high, and could set it to 9.5* if needed. It worked best for me with the Mitsubishi Diamana S+ 62 shaft, less spin, lower ball flight. Great sounding club, easy to groove into the sweet spot. Also seem to hit it better later in the round than other clubs, maybe it’s the lighter weight. RFE in 10.5* was second, Opti-Fit 440 3rd, RFE 460 last. I liked the sound of the Opti-Fit 440 best, but it was much worse on mis-hits off the toe due to the smaller face.

  4. Tamat Hawea

    Feb 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    awesome and great review mate, I actually just picked me up the 440 so am really excited about what I am reading. Now I just need to fit the thing 🙂

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  6. Vic Karter

    Dec 2, 2013 at 9:04 pm

    Does anyone know if a Razr Fit shaft wil fit in an Optiforce head?

  7. larrymcj

    Sep 28, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    After reading all the varying comments here, I had to chime in, since my tests with the OptiForce 460 and 440 were completely different, and just to make sure, I ran the test twice to make sure. Our local Edwin Watts has recently installed a new simulator that actually provides some good data, and in the end, it’s all relative anyway when hitting into a simulator.

    I’m 67, play to a 6.7 index, have a driver swing speed of around 93-95 M.P.H and I currently play a Titleist 910 D2 9.5 degree set at 10.25 degrees, with two notches of draw bias to help compensate for a slight over-the-top move I’m not going to get rid of at my age.

    Hitting my own Titleist in the same simulator, and then the 460 followed by the 440 and taking the average of 10 (good) drives…threw out the bad ones. Then the same test with the 460 and 440. The 440 was significantly longer (10-12 yards with my measly swing speed). And it had tighter dispersion!

    I did not like the feel of the 460, I had worse dispersion and overall I preferred the 440. I finally configured the 440 at 10.5 degrees with draw bias and achieved the best performance (for me)…about 14 degrees launch angle with minimum spin. I’m happy!

    So no matter what the two drivers are “supposed” to do…there will always be some exception cases. Try them both…you might be surprised. The ONLY thing I don’t like about the 440 (the author mentioned this) is no top mark for alignment. Hey, you can’t have everything 🙂

    FWIW, I also tried the SLDR and for my swing speed, it was a dog. I think for someone around 105-115 M.P.H. it would be a lot better.

    • mark b

      Nov 2, 2013 at 12:24 am

      I heard at my Edwin Watts shop today that the Optiforce is already a DEAD product, (production supposedly ceased, soon to be replaced by Callaway’s 2014 Slider). That’s too bad because after a year-long comprehensive test in which I put the SAME SHAFT cut to the SAME LENGTH in all the 2013 adjustable head drivers and tested them on the range and course over many buckets and rounds, the Callaway Optiforce 460 proved to be the longest and straightest driver for me.

      I’m 55, a 3 handicap, with a low ball flight and a swing speed between 95 and 100 mph. Last year I found that the old low-torque Fujikura Zcom TW74 regular had just the right kick and was super straight so I put it in my Cally Razr Fit, which I cut long to 47 3/4 inches. (I’m 6’3″ and play 1″ long irons.) Then I bought a bunch more of these same shafts and put them in the Razr Xtreme, the RBZ stage 1, the R1, the RBZ 2 Tour, the SLDR, the 913d2, the G25, the Amp Cell, the Covert Vr S Tour, and finally the Opti 440 and 460. Lest you think me a spendthrift, I bought them all one at a time on Ebay, sold off their stock shafts, played each contender against the reigning champion for about 2 weeks, then sold off the loser (usually at a profit).

      Took me all year to get through all the clubs but at the end of the year the Cally Opti 460 is my undefeated champion. It’s just unquestionably longer and straighter than the others for me , adding a good 15 yards over last year’s average.

      I agree, the 10.5 degree stock setting is probably too high for most folks and it will balloon a ball if you’re not careful. But the 460 has so much more spring to its face than the 440 that I prefer to deal with the loft. I set the 460 as low as it will go and tee the ball up about 1/2 inch lower than I did with my deep face RBZ Tour. Now I’m dialed in and have no fear of a face wind. Low tee stingers with this club are still better than with the other sticks.

      I read that some of you guys are skeered of the stock Optiforce’s 46″ length. I don’t know why. Since the Opti’s hosel sticks so far out of the neck of the club, any shaft that goes in it will have to be cut about 1/2″ SHORTER to achieve the same overall length of club. I noticed this when the cut points for my Taylormades and my Opti were radically different, yet all clubs measured 47 3/4 overall.

      And I also don’t know what the quibble about “liteweight” is all about. I weighed all these competing clubs and except for the superlite Clevelands, the heads all clock in at about 200 grams. Add a fairly standard 60 gram shaft, 50 gram grip and adapter and you’ll tip the scales around 320. My Zcom adds 10 to that, so most of you would call my set-up heavy. So it’s long and heavy and a regular shaft, that still averages 285-290 for a slow swinging senior citizen. How could that be?

      The reason is the TW74 has 2.9 degrees of torque to go with its regular flex. I think the reason most of you think superlite = uncontrollable is the fact that most 40 gram shafts huge torque. No one can control a lite shaft with a measured 7.5 degrees of torque! That’s a out-of-your-control variance of 50 yards at a distance of 275 yards. The answer to control is to add 10 grams of weight and cut your torque in half.

      In summary, I don’t think the Opti is so good because of its light weight or its faster swing speed. For me its the face. This face simply trampolines the ball on good hits. It makes me doubt if its COR is conforming. The 440 and Razr Xtreme do this somewhat too, but they punish you more on the mishits. The 460 does not.

  8. Sean

    Sep 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    440 Optiforce with Di7 stiff 45″……it’s the bomb! There’s a reason that this driver is cally’s #1 on tour in less than a month. Stronger players will need the Diamana S+ in X or some other aftermarket shaft to really get the performance out of this club.

  9. glenn kirk

    Sep 1, 2013 at 2:18 am

    tried a calllway x hot tour with oban black whew wat a driver awesome straight and long used to hit callaway been off them for a while ,but am keen to hit optiforce,had r1 but don’t like at all titleist 910 is great, butits all about after market shafts

  10. jgpl001

    Aug 21, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    I just can;t hack all the new super lite drivers with ultra light shafts

    I know its all about the correct fitting, but in gereral these thing balloon, dispersion is all over the place and you just can;t feel where the head is in the swing

    On the counter I can’t hack some macho tour wannabe’s scattered throughout threads on this site with 7.5 deg ultra low spin tour heads fitted wtih x flex Black Ties tipped ………..that carry it 300 yds with 50 yds roll out…………

  11. J Duf

    Aug 14, 2013 at 11:51 am

    Im glad to read that the shafts are 46. I thought I was crazy when holding the 440 in the store. I was choking up on it just to get a feel for the club. I get that the bigger game improvement head of the 460 would have a longer shaft but why would someone who would typically play a smaller head, penetrating ball flight, better golfer, etc…want a 46 shaft? Its stupid. We dont want a club that goes an extra 7 yds if we cant keep it within 40 yds of the fairway.

    • Nick

      Aug 16, 2013 at 5:52 pm

      Congrats on your win at the PGA.

      p.s. Show some more emotion though, I know you got it in you big boy.

  12. David Belcher

    Aug 13, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    I had been looking for a new driver this season to replace a 3-year old G15, and I had found the Cally x-hot was performing best of the bunch earlier this year until the Optiforce which I have demoed twice in the last month. In the review above it mentions the PLVx43 is available from 5.0-6.5. However, 5.5 was the only version I have seen in outlets and I believe is considered the regular flex, but feels more comparable to the stiff from the x-hot. It performs superbly and is not at all whippy as a few commentators seem to have had concerns with. Additionally, although the 460 is obviously the same volume head as the x-hot, the face is noticeably smaller if you hold them up to each other, but at the same time I have found the Optiforce inspires great confidence of a center strike. My usual fault had been considerable heel hits, whereas for some (unknown) reason, pure centre or slight toe mishits are all I can get with this. Really superb sound as has been said, and certainly 10+ yards gain given 46-inch. But, and of course critically, this is straight and forgiving for me, and no ballooning from the 10.5 degree set at neutral. So, I would recommend people concerned that light and fast means out of control, should give it a demo first. At least if they are a mid-handicapper with 90mph-ish swings like me. That said, it needs to fall about £150 in price before I can justify it.

  13. Shawn

    Aug 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm

    I tried both the Optiforce Drivers and had similar results with the 460CC driver, It ballooned like crazy since it was fairly windy. I tried the 440CC and I kept hitting it poorly since I have a tendency to hit closer to the heel of the driver, the feel was good, but I was just not consistent with it. The callaway guys doing the fittings had me hit the XHOT Driver set to 8.5 and I was hitting it great, except that when we compared the numbers on trackman device it was no better than my old beat up Taylor Made Burner Tour that I bought on the bay for 60$. No mention of the 3Wood? It was okay, it sounded like a bell when you struck it though which was strange. It was also no better than my razr hawk 3wood.

  14. Gil Leonard

    Aug 13, 2013 at 11:05 am

    I have the OptiForce 460 driver and find it to be a great driver. It is by far very long and forgiving. Callaways latest offerings are much better than the TaylorMade offerings. I have tried both and will stick with my Optiforce driver. I rate it a solid 5 star driver.

  15. Roger

    Aug 13, 2013 at 3:38 am

    Sold the 290 Cleveland classic..REALLLLY wanted it to work 4 me!
    Added 4 grams lead, big difference with 43 gram shaft.
    Bought Razr Hawk Tour for a punt! 10.5 RIP 60 regular.
    Love it. Cut 3/4 inches so 44.75 and 48 gram grip, D 1.5 for now.
    Now at 313 grams. Smooth ezy to launch, Acccccurate, lite draw!
    Happy Callaway Owner

  16. Andy (Uk)

    Aug 12, 2013 at 8:25 am

    Did I read correctly that the shaft is 46″ long ? Surely that’s very long and it must make this one the harder clubs out there to keep straight.?

    I’m also in agreement that 43g sounds incredibly light for a shaft (let alone a 46″ one). Again I wonder how this effects consistancy.

    Get one right though and it must go a mile.

  17. Joe Golfer

    Aug 11, 2013 at 2:17 am

    It’s a shame that this “lightweight” fad is coming around again.
    It requires longer length clubs again. Just ask Cobra how successful the “Long Tom” driver was.
    Cleveland had the same lightweight fad a couple of years back, introducing the same model but with different overall weights of 270, 290, and 310 grams.
    This may turn out to be a great driver, but I really don’t think I need a shaft that weighs 43 grams. Whenever I play a shaft that is below 60 grams, it seems like the flex is much whippier than it should be.

  18. Desmond

    Aug 10, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    Nice looking drivers but the stock R1 beat both the 440 and 460 on the same LM by 25 yards. My guess is the liteweight doesn’t work for me or it was the lite shaft.

  19. Martin

    Aug 10, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    All this releases of new clubs every other month is a little bit confusing to me and its even more confusing that every reviewer “loves” the new driver. I sometimes post a question on the forum about a club that might be a year old. I think that now a lot of players have tested the club over a longer period and that might bring some interesting information that I can use. Its not that I am looking for cheap equipment its more that I want something thats really good and not good just because its new and it felt good the first time i hit it or that it looks good. I mean that the Callaway FT-9 Tour is a brilliant club (even if it feels like it was released ten years ago…)but it takes time to find out which drivers are really great and which is just good or ok. One fitting doesnt give all the answers. Its a long process that involves finding the right loft, lie and shaft. Smash factor, launch angles and ballspeed can not replace the “Feelfactor”.

    • Nick

      Aug 16, 2013 at 5:50 pm

      Very true Martin, couldn’t have said it better myself. Feel> Everything else.

    • Chris

      Aug 20, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      I love last year’s clearance or even used clubs! I get the luxury of more info to make a more informed purchase, with the benefit of lower prices. This year’s technology isn’t often that much more compelling. It’s not like buying a used computer.

  20. Golfwrxnut

    Aug 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

    Funny thing is that when I checked the Callaway website, the 440 is advertised / marketed as the “lady” version… Also, various posts about the release of the driver seems like Callaway really messed up on this launch. I’d like to see and try for myself. Hope Callaway gets things fixed with the image and message they’re trying to communicate.

    • Golfwrxnut

      Aug 10, 2013 at 4:25 pm

      I should pay more attention! My post above is misinformed & wrong, just revisited the website. It was early morning and not enough coffee!

      My apologies.

  21. Lawrence Williams

    Aug 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    The 440 has just the perfect look and with the right amount of technology to provide carry it will also be in my pro-Callaway bag asap! Not to mention that SOUND!!!

  22. Marr

    Aug 10, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Figures it only gets the rating it did, Taylor Made is not stamped on it so it is only a so so driver. And the new driver TM has coming out already garnished a 5 star rating from this sight and the public has not even seen it yet. Guess we all know who is paying who to say what.

    • John

      Aug 10, 2013 at 9:21 pm

      If you we’re actually a golfer and not an Internet troll, you would know that then opti force is about impossible to hit straight, unless cut shorter with weight added to the head, and the sldr actually does perform.
      But then again, that is if you we’re an actual golfer rather than an Internet junky and not not being to evaluate the performance of a club off your own experience.
      And I like callaway and not so much taylormade, but I don’t give a [email protected] who makes the club when it impacts my game.

      • Ola Scholander

        Aug 12, 2013 at 8:01 am

        Just a note, for me its the oppossite, optiforce is straight like an arrow, sldr had the hights sound ever but not much of it resulted in distance

        • Nick

          Aug 16, 2013 at 5:48 pm

          +1 on your statement Ola, very conssitent for me, but length was bad factor. I had to cut to 45 and add lead taope to head to keep at my swingweight. Overall though, great driver, but for same price as Titleist with this shaft, that 440 gets beat in every way to me. Just my input. I own a SLDR, Tlist 913 D2, and this club all with same shaft. Performance order goes:
          Distance: Opti 440, SLDR, Tlist
          Shot Shape: Opti 440, Tlist, SLDR
          Forgivehness: SLDR/Tlist, Opti 440
          Dispersion: Tlist, SLDR, Opti 440

      • BcavWecllh

        Oct 1, 2013 at 10:01 pm

        I have no problem hitting the Optiforce straight right off the shelf.

      • J.T. Parker

        Nov 13, 2013 at 1:02 pm

        I hit the slider and it had no punch at all for me. The most solid club out there is the Callaway Octane. Yet, I see very few using it, the xhot and all the Taylor Made drivers just do not go as far or as straight. (at least for me)

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Driver Reviews

Review: Ping’s G400 and G400 LST Drivers



I still remember the first time I hit Ping’s G30 driver. It was July 2014, and I was at Ping’s HQ in Phoenix. Super low-spin drivers were all the rage at the time. With their forward center of gravity, they were helping golfers optimize their launch conditions beyond their wildest dreams: crazy high launch, ridiculously low spin. Many in the business, including myself, had one of these drivers and spent many launch monitor sessions trying to figure out how to get more distance from these high knuckleballs. The bad news was that forward-CG drivers, by nature, were really unforgiving. Bad shots were really short and crooked.

Before I knew the G30 was a big deal, Marty Jertson, Ping’s Director of Product Development, explained to me his vision for the perfect driver inside a conference room at Ping Headquarters. In his eyes, the perfect driver didn’t have the low, forward center of gravity (CG) that was being touted at the time. Its CG was located as low and as rearward in the driver head as possible, which he said would offer the best of both worlds: optimized launch conditions on good shots, as well as the best possible forgiveness on bad shots.

Building the perfect driver was a long way off (and still is), but Jertson was excited where Ping had landed with the G30. When it was released, the driver was a powerful testament to his vision. Its rear-CG design created great distance on good and bad shots, and it was also a very straight driver. The G30 sold incredibly well and, as a result, the industry mostly shifted away from forward-CG drivers.

It’s been nearly three years since the release of the G30, and Ping has just made another counterintuitive driver release. The company shrunk the size of its new G400 drivers in a climate where full-size drivers have become the norm. Granted, it’s only 15 cubic centimeters smaller, but it’s noticeable at address. Compared to the Ping G drivers they replace (which replaced the G30), the G400’s look like they cut carbs.

Despite their slimmer frames, however, the G400 drivers are actually more forgiving than the G drivers (which were even more forgiving than the G30). That’s why Ping representatives say smaller is actually better in the G400’s case. The drivers have the lowest, most rearward CG of any Ping drivers ever, and their smaller size is said to improve their aerodynamics so golfers can swing them fractionally faster. The other big change is a new face material made of T9S+ titanium, which is thinner and more flexible to help golfers generate more ball speed.


For this review, I wanted to put the G400 and G400 LST to the test against the G and the G LST drivers that they replace, so I took them to the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. I hit five shots with each driver on Trackman IV, and to ensure as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as possible, I tested each driver head with the same shaft. Each driver head was adjusted to the same loft, or as close as possible.

Note: The G, G LST, and G400 drivers I tested were 10.5-degree heads adjusted to 9.5 degrees. The G400 LST had a loft of 10 degrees, and it was adjusted to 9.4 degrees.

The Test


In my personal driver tests, I don’t usually see a huge uptick in distance or accuracy when comparing the latest drivers to the most recent models from the same manufacturer. Improvements generally come in the form of improved head shaping, a better feel, or enhanced adjustability. That’s why I was surprised to see such a big change in my launch conditions and dispersion with the G400 drivers.

G400 Test Results: With the G400, I launched my drives an average of 1.6-degrees higher than I did with the G while dropping spin an average of 416 rpm. That led to a significant improvement in distance. With my swing speed and ball speed staying about the same, I added an average of 7.2 yards more carry distance and 8.7 yards more total distance.

G400 LST Test Results: First, a note about the G400 LST. It has a CG that’s slightly lower and more forward than the standard G400 driver to help golfers reduce spin. Like the G30 LST and G LST, it’s still very much a rear-CG driver, but its design helps high-speed golfers who can consistently find the center of the club face maximize distance without highjacking forgiveness. When I test Ping drivers, the LST is generally the model that creates the best performance, and the G400 LST was no exception. I saw an average of a 1.2-degree higher launch angle with all other things staying about the same when I compared it to the G LST. The result was an average of 6.6 yards more carry distance and 3.1 yards more total distance. It was the longest and straightest driver I hit in the test.

Note: Ping also sells a G400 SFT (Straight Flight Technology) driver, which has added draw bias. To learn more about it, click through to tech story on the G400, G400 LST and G400 SFT drivers. 



One way to explain the improved launch conditions is that I hit the G400 drivers more consistently. As you can see in the Trackman dispersion chart, I hit the G400 and G400 LST drivers straighter on average than the G and G LST. Is that its slightly enhanced forgiveness shining through? Maybe, maybe not.

To me, the changes Ping made to the look and feel of the driver were just as important as the performance difference I saw on Trackman. I’ve always preferred smaller driver heads, or at least 460-cubic-centimeter drivers that appear smaller than their size. For that reason, I felt more confident with the G400 drivers in my hands. I didn’t mind that I didn’t see any added swing speed or ball speed from the smaller driver head. I was sold on the looks alone.

I also preferred the sound of the G400 drivers to the G drivers. There was definitely much more of a “thwack” than a “ping” at impact, which made the G400’s feel more powerful. Looks and feel are subjective, of course, but to me the improvement was night and day. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that my fondness for the looks and feel of the G400 was at least a contributing factor to my improved performance in the test, if not the most important factor. When I like the way a club look at address, I tend to hit it better, and I know I’m not alone.

I do want readers to keep in mind that this was a one-person test and I hit a limited amount of balls. Yes, it’s a great indication that the G400 driver can be measurably better than a G driver, but it’s not a guarantee.

I also want to address the weaknesses of the G400 drivers. While they’re few, they could push golfers into another driver model in a fitting. Unlike Callaway’s GBB EpicTaylorMade’s M1 or Titleist’s 917 drivers, the G400’s don’t have CG adjustability. That means there’s no way to fine tune ball flight outside of a shaft or loft adjustment. A bigger deal for some golfers might be the G400 crowns. Despite their smaller size, there’s still a lot to look at address, as was the case with the G drivers.


Aerodynamic features on the front of the crowns, “Turbulators,” have been thickened for the G400 release. There’s also Ping’s “DragonFly Technology,” a geometry on the back of the driver crowns that helps push CG lower and more rearward in the driver heads. I personally think the G400 crowns give the drivers an old-school, muscle car-like look, but there’s no question they won’t fly with all golfers.

Whatever your thoughts about what’s on top of the G400 drivers, there’s no question that what’s under the hood can offer something the G and G30 drivers did not. Maybe you’ll like the smaller head. Maybe you’ll prefer the quieter sound. Maybe the improved forgiveness will show up on a launch monitor or on the course. Or maybe you’ll just flat out rip a G400 farther and straighter down the middle like I did.

If that last bit happens, try not to second-guess it.

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Driver Reviews

Members Choice: The Best Driver of 2017



What determines the best driver on the market; is it the opinion of professional club fitters, professional golfers or testing results from a group of amateurs?

At GolfWRX, we believe all three sources can lead golfers to an answer. Being a website founded by passionate golfers with a mission to serve passionate golfers, though, we place a special emphasis on the opinions of our GolfWRX Members — the most knowledgeable group of golfers on the planet. No other group of golfers in the world tests golf clubs as frequently or as extensively as GolfWRX Members. So who better to poll to get an initial indication of the best performing drivers so far in 2017?

So we asked them, “What’s the best driver of 2017?” They voted for the three drivers they felt most worthy of the title and provided feedback about their selections in our special forum thread. You can see the results below (as of the first three weeks of voting), as well as quotes we pulled from GolfWRX Members about the drivers from our forum.

Remember that our polls will remain open for voting throughout the year, and we’re going to keep an eye on the percentages as more and more golfers have an opportunity to test these drivers. We’re also working on another Best Driver list, which will evaluate clubs in another important way. Stay tuned!

Keep in mind that there’s no single driver on the market that is the absolute best option for every golfer: that’s why nearly every manufacturer makes at least two different models. As this list indicates, however, some drivers are working better than others this year. Happy Testing!

Note: Forum posts were minimally edited for grammar, style, spelling and clarity.

Cobra King LTD Black (3.00 percent of votes)


  • The General: All-black LTD is really clean looking. I’m about to cover up the orange on my LTD with lead tape. Orange is played out
  • mh7vwLove my LTD, but wish the black finish (or even this gray) didn’t have that subtle checkering you see in some like. Prefer plain black.
  • dbleagI am a fan of the black/orange combo. The performance and sound of the LTD is very appealing to me. I also like that the standard length is 45 inches. For me, that helps it be super-accurate. With the low-spin design, I hit it longest of the current offerings and can’t remember the last time I missed a fairway. Straight, solid, low spin and nice.
Further Reading

Mizuno JPX-900 (3.20 percent)


  • johnnythundersJPX goes straight. Best real-deal shaft and is long and very adjustable.
  • KT35That blue head looks awesome sitting on the ground. I hit balls off the toe and heel and didn’t see the big drop off in distance like the previous models.
  • nmortonThe JPX-900 is definitely more forgiving compared to the JPX-850, and sounds much better. Though they did sacrifice a bit by going with a little larger profile, but it’s easy to get used to. The graphics are so so, but this driver performs. I’m really digging the Evo II (shaft).
  • jay65I can see that Mizuno is really making a decent effort with its drivers/fairways in terms of tech and aesthetics, and they compliment the new JPX-900 line of irons really well, but if they’re going to make any inroads they really have to address this issue of their custom shafts options. It’s rubbish.
  • bok006The JPX-900, after being properly adjusted by the fitter, gave me an extra 20 yards just like that. My swing speed suggested I was borderline S to X (flex), but the fitter said unless I was fighting a hook I should stick with the S.
  • bubbagump: …the JPX-900, when properly fit, is just as long on a consistent basis than all the new models I tried in real life situations. It looks great, sounds solid and just knows the way to keep the ball in play.  
  • ChazbI’m 69 years old, have a swing speed of 91 mph and played nine with the JPX-900 this morning. It was in the 40s with a brisk wind hit it around 220 to 230 yards. It was a fairway finder, has great feel and is one of the easiest to control drivers I have ever hit. I can’t wait ’til it is warmer and can dial it in more. So far I have the two weights all the way forward for a lower flight and the other set with a draw bias with 10.5 degrees of loft. This driver is the real deal; it may not be the longest or the shortest, but it is a fairway finder which IMO makes it a winner.
Further Reading

Ping G (3.80 percent)


  • Wesquire: Ping G is the most forgiving so it wins.
  • bopper53: Ping G hands down. Great distance and the most forgiving.
  • Dannydubbbs: The Ping G series is just too forgiving. The distance is comparable between most models, but Ping always seems to win out with forgiveness.
  • Bruin BearThe Ping G is going to be overlooked because it’s looked at as “game improvement,” but this driver is a beast. I liked the LS, but it requires a faster swing to get results and in the cold outdoors I just don’t have that all the time. I think the G is the perfect blend of performance and forgiveness.
  • cmrl1986Only reason I switched from the Ping G25 was that the G felt less harsh off the face. Same distance just about.
Further Reading

Cobra King F7+ (3.90 percent)


  • EntourageLife: Ball really flies off face. Driver head controls spin well. Not one drive “ballooned” and trajectory was high and best of all… very easy to work ball right to left for a confident draw.
  • GollieThe F7+ is another great offering from Cobra… I didn’t get the “MAN, this is gonna take my LTD out of the bag” feeling, but it has very good sound, feel and performance.
  • J13F7+ is a great offering from Cobra and IMO is in the top-3 drivers this year. Epic is the standout for me numbers wise, then M series and F7+ are right behind it. Love the Agera (shaft) in there!!! Such a great shaft; I can’t seem to get mine out of the bag.
  • Golfer from MOHit both Cobras lefty and as a lefty the LTD is the shizzle. Last year it was the LTD and Big Bertha down to the absolute wire… the F7+ is more workable than the LTD, but not longer and a little worse on mishits.
  • BoognishI took a few swings with the F7+ at Golf Galaxy yesterday. 9.5 degrees with heaviest weight forward. The stock shaft is actually the same model I play in my GBB (albeit in smoked black instead of yellow). Ball flight and distance were similar to my GBB with good consistent sub-3000 backspin. Sound was OK, feel was harder than the GBB.
  • thechief16Just from the range (no LM), I didn’t see a noticeable performance improvement with the F7+ over the original King LTD. And I like the look and sound/feel of the LTD better.
Further Reading

Ping G LS Tec (4.90 percent)


  • drvrwdgeI played the G LS with the Ping Tour 65X (shaft) tipped an inch for about a year. Just put the HZRDUS Yellow 75 6.5 tipped an inch and never thought it was possible, but it’s longer and straighter. Best driver shaft combo I’ve ever hit. You can feel that HZRDUS throughout the entire swing. Really gives you a solid connected feel.
  • Mtngolfer1: I am not sure that I would consider this a 2017 Driver, but my vote went to the Ping G LS Tec. The fact that my G is still holding its own against the latest 2017 releases has me very excited to see what Ping will release later this year.
  • 3woodvt: Fairway finder and plenty long.
  • pitchinwedgeI’ve found the LS to be nearly as fade biased as the M family. I get pretty good results with the LS by making a conscious effort to make more of an in-to-out swing. Any lapse in concentration and everything goes right. The M’s require even more effort, which is the reason I stayed with the LS instead.
  • 3 Jack ParAfter an up and down year with the G LS, I’ve actually recently gone back to my G30 LS head. I only have a couple of rounds as a sample so far, so I can’t really draw a conclusion about whether one or the other is better, but with the same shaft it seems like my G30 head might be a little longer. Honestly, the performance differences are pretty minimal if you really compare the two generations.
Further Reading

Titleist 917D3 (5.30 percent)


  • GavaThe 917D3 is in my bag now, and I’ve found it incredibly long with a recently purchased Graphite Design Tour AD MJ 7TX shaft. Feel and accuracy has been a real improvement as well.
  • Togatown22I find my 917D3 to be just as forgiving as my 915D2 was, and man do I prefer looking down at the head shape and color versus the 915. Very confidence inspiring.
  • NIxhex524I would definitely give the D3 a whirl. I feel like Titleist has made great strides at making the smaller head way more hittable for us ams.
  • KPH808So in conclusion, I was hitting the ball about 9 yards further on average and 3-4 mph faster ball speeds with the 917D3 vs. the 915 D4. The biggest thing for me was the forgiveness between the two; the 917D3 was more forgiving on mishits.
  • brushieThe 917D3 head feels soft like the 910 and sounds great. I never had an issue with the 915 sound; it wasn’t great, but it didn’t bother me too much. This is much better, though. The 917D3 head shape is perfect to my eye as well. The area where the 917 shines is forgiveness. 

Further Reading

TaylorMade M1 440 (5.35 percent)


  • Tigermatt31: The M1 440 is best driver I’ve had ever.
  • TollBros: The M1 440 is definitely lower spin than the M1 460 or M2 from last year. Launch angle isn’t really any lower, but spin is lower for sure.
  • specimania: This year’s 440 is more forgiving.
  • MCozYes, this 440 is more forgiving, and yet it also appears to be more workable than both of the previous M1 and M2s.
  • nitramTo save you a bunch of reading and crunching numbers, I quickly concluded there was a little more forgiveness and exactly +0.4 mph ball speed with the 440. By forgiveness I simply mean this: A 1.48 smash 440 will give you the same ball speed and distance as a 1.49/1.50 430. But if you get a 1.50 from both there is no measurable gain. Side-to-side dispersion was better by 4.7 feet with the 440. Workability was a wash between them, although the 430 seems a bit more fade biased whereas I’ll describe the 440 as a scosche more neutral.
  • tj24: I hit the M1 440 with my Aldila RIP at an 80-gram X-flex. For me, the spin numbers were around 1700 rpm which is probably to low for my swing. I did, however, like the shape of the head and I felt like I could easily work the ball both ways.
  • halfsumoI really think they nailed it with the shape of this 440 head. Nice pear shape, no weird bulges or ridges that you have to get used to.
Further Reading

Titleist 917D2 (6.65 percent)


  • tsletten: Love the sound of the 917D2.
  • bladehunter: No doubt the 917D2 is an accurate, forgiving driver that doesn’t look as big as it is and sounds fantastic.
  • JStangMaybe it’s just me, but I find the face to be more shallow (top to bottom) with the 917D2 than other drivers that I’ve tried lately.
  • LuckyLowbrowI was actually spinning it too low with the D4. Going up to the D2 normalized my spin rate, but led to such an improvement in consistency across the face.

Further Reading

TaylorMade M1 460 2017 (11.81 percent)


  • Ereim: I ended up going with the M1 460. It gave me a slightly tighter dispersion, and I liked looking down at it slightly more.
  • jdenham15: The 2017 TaylorMade M1 is a great driver, but I tend to miss wide right and struggled to turn it over.
  • ZBigStick: The M1 460 gave me the best results. Was able to increase launch without much added spin with the (T-Track) weight. Feel is good and felt forgiving; dispersion results backing that up.
  • BillMurrayGolfingThe face is hot, receptive, thin and makes a nice sound. I like that.
  • JStangSound and feel were both fantastic. I couldn’t ask for much more in the sound and feel department than what this club offers. Plenty of feedback was provided based on impact as I would expect. I could easily tell where I missed based on feel.
  • tnordJust as another tester found, moving the weight back and forward absolutely does impact how the club sounds. I’m much more a fan of the weight back.
  • chickenpotpieMoving the slider to the draw position made the feel of the driver a little harsher. Feel was much much smoother with that weight in the middle. I didn’t see any such changes with the front/rear slider.
Further Reading

TaylorMade M2 2017 (11.86 percent)


  • ZBigStickI liked the feel of the new M2 but seemed to get better results and numbers with the new M1. Could be the extra 5 grams of head weight?
    It was dynamite with the GD TP-6 (shaft)!
  • erock9174On Trackman it didn’t put up the most ball speed, but counting all shots the M2 had the longest average distance.
  • gripandripThe M2 seems to have a little bit of a fade bias for me. And the head is HUGE. Maybe it’s a mental thing to be able to turnover a head that large.
  • Bomber_11M2 has very big shoes to fill, as the 2016 M2 was arguably one of the best drivers of the last 3-4 years.
  • LONG&STR8It’s hard to ignore the sound of the new M2. That may be TaylorMade’s biggest fail with that driver, as the sound and feel was one of the best things about the first version that I’ll have in the bag until something better comes along.
  • Z1ggy16The new M2 was terrible for me, not sure why. Unsure if it was the shaft I used but it spun up like a monster and ball speeds weren’t any better than previous M2.
  • Peanut191I don’t really think that the new M2 was much of a step backward, probably more that it doesn’t seem like a big step forward compared to last year’s model. I was hitting my 2016 M2 against a 2017 M2 indoors (which usually amplifies the louder, more obnoxious sound) and I didn’t notice that much of a difference in sound. It could have been that I might have just happened to get a hold of a head that was more muted than normal with the new one, but I just didn’t notice much difference. Performance wise, I could tell that the 2017 was slightly more forgiving than the 2016 model, but I was basically getting the same ball speed and spin numbers, so I didn’t see the need to upgrade.
  • gioguy21: Played 54 holes this weekend. The M2 was as reliable as it could get. I hit 11/12 fairways Friday, 10/12 Saturday and 5/9 or so yesterday (windy). Controllable, just wants to go straight. The sound no longer bothers me. I think it’s when hitting indoors or in range bays that it gets unbearably loud. Makes a different sound when hit on the screws I’ve found, similar to last years M2/M1 with less high-pitched ring. The forgiveness is very obvious, as I hit a couple that were close to center of the face but either high or little out toward the toe that flew similar trajectory and distance to how a well struck shot would react. I think where this driver really shines is the ability to either tee it high and hit it with higher trajectory or the ability to hit it lower with a low tee (3/4 of the ball under the crown) and hit laser beams that don’t move left or right.
  • G-BoneFrom what I’ve seen on Trackman, 2017 M1 was a big jump from 2016; however, 2016 M2 was so good, 2017 is a minor jump.
Further Reading

Callaway GBB Epic (14.91 percent)


  • HDTVMAN: I hit both the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion and Epic with a 44.5-inch UST Recoil F3 shaft and the results were very close. From customer testing, it appears the Epic is longer for those with higher (95+) swing speeds. I have also seen that 44.25-44.5-inch lengths promote tighter dispersion with customers, no loss of distance and better over-all drives.
  • mbbrewer: Tried them all and for me Epic was the one. Fastest ball speed, lowest spin and tightest dispersion.
  • Ereim: Epic felt great, looked great and the numbers were basically 99.9 percent optimized for my swing.
  • johnnylongballz72There is Epic and there is the M series… then there is everyone else. The votes here show it, the PGA Tour use shows it and launch monitors everywhere show it.
  • misplacedtexan83: GBB Epic/Sub Zero pushed the envelop in design and materials to produce increased ball speed and gains. For once a driver did what a company said it would do.
Further Reading

Callaway GBB Epic Sub Zero (16.91 percent)


  • jdenham15: I tested the Epic Sub Zero and Epic against my 2016 TaylorMade M1 and the ball speed was 5 mph higher on average, which gave me about 10 yards more carry disstance. That was great, but the part that sold me was the forgiveness. I love my Epic Sub Zero. I feel like it’s easier to turn over and I can work it both ways.
  • Z1ggy16Sub Zero was hands down the best, including my gaming M1 (yeah, not even top-3) due to the combination of lower spin, good forgiveness and feel and looks.
  • jimhaire: I had a 2016 M2 and went with the Epic Sub Zero. The look at address suited my eye and the feel off the face was better for me. And the club went straight.
  • Sef: I have tested a lot of these drivers and for me the Epic Sub Zero was so much better than everything else. I wish I could just apply all three votes to it.
Further Reading

Members Choice 2017

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Driver Reviews

GolfWRX Members Gain 7 Yards on Average with 2017 TaylorMade M1, M2 Drivers



5 GolfWRX Members
Gamer vs. 2017 TaylorMade m1/m2 Drivers
+7.01 Yards Distance Gained on Average
-615 RPM Spin reduction on Average

What can the new 2017 TaylorMade M1 and M2 drivers do for your game?

Five GolfWRX Members found out last week when they pitted their drivers against TaylorMade’s latest models at The Kingdom, the custom-fitting facility at TaylorMade’s headquarters in Carlsbad, Calif.

The event was the first of #TaylorMadeTuesdays, a series of TaylorMade-sponsored events that are exclusive to GolfWRX Members. The five members received Trackman 4 fittings for their drivers, which were built immediately afterward so that they could test the clubs the next day at Aviara Golf Club, home course of the LPGA Tour’s Kia Classic.


Our editorial team was present to observe and document the fittings, where they saw the five GolfWRX Members add an average of +7.01 yards to their drives with a new TaylorMade driver. Key to the success of TaylorMade’s 2017 M1 and M2 drivers was their ability to remove excess spin from the drives of each GolfWRX Member (-615 rpm on average). As a result, each player was hitting longer drives on their best shots, while achieving a straighter ball flight that was less affected by wind.

Every GolfWRX Member gained yardage with a new TaylorMade driver; the largest distance gain was an impressive +10.1 yards, while the smallest was a very respectable +4.8 yards.


Our testers were better players, but they covered a range of handicaps (+1 to 7.1) and swing speeds (95 to 117.5 mph) within the better-player category. Learn more about the five GolfWRX Members, their new drivers and their experiences in our individual recaps below.

Andrew Harveson (drewtaylor21)


  • Distance Gained: 4.8 yards
  • Handicap: +1
  • Swing Speed: 117.5 mph

New Driver: M2 D-Type (9.5 degrees, set to 9 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Prototype PT6F5 (65X)

Old Driver: TaylorMade SLDR (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya ProForce VTS 6X Silver

Andrew Harveson brought a TaylorMade SLDR (10.5 degrees) driver with him to his fitting, which was already optimized for his game. He fits into a group of golfers who are often hard pressed to see distance gains from new clubs. The former college golfer, now 34, has an ability to consistently contact drives in the center of the club face. He also has an upward angle of attack with his driver (+3 degrees on average) that helps him maximize the distance of his drives.

Nonetheless, TaylorMade’s fitters helped Andrew find an average of +4.8 yards with a new TaylorMade driver, but it took some experimentation and outside-the-box thinking.


Andrew’s SLDR driver was set to a neutral loft and lie setting, but to combat his tendency to hit shots that slid to the right his SLDR’s front weight track was shifted to the max draw setting. According to TaylorMade fitter Jason Werner, the SLDR is a more draw-biased driver company’s current M1 460, M1 440 and M2 models. After seeing the ball fade too much with those drivers, Jason had Andrew try the company’s M2 D-Type driver (9.5 degrees), which is designed with more draw bias to help golfers eliminate excessive left-to-right curvature.

Andrew’s Dispersion Chart


Andrew achieved slightly more left bias with the 2017 M2 D-Type, which was what he wanted for his tee game.

The M2 D-Type gave Andrew the confidence to play his preferred cut shot off the tee without fear that it would drift into the right rough. Actually, it created a bit too much draw bias for him, which is why the loft setting was lowered 1-click to 9 degrees. The change helped him lower his spin rate -553 rpm on average, while also opening the club face slightly to take the left side out of play.

“While the averages don’t really look better with the D-Type compared to SLDR, I had a few mishits in the D-Type grouping that, if removed, would have shown a more accurate picture of the results,” Andrew wrote in the forums.

The last piece of the puzzle for Andrew’s fitting was finding the correct shaft. He tried several low-launching shafts that proved to have too little torque for his swing, exacerbating his rightward miss. He ended up seeing the best performance from his gamer shaft, UST Mamiya’s ProForce VTS Silver 6X, which has a mid-torque design. TaylorMade’s Tour Department also provided him with a similar alternative that they thought he might like, UST’s Elements Prototype PT6F5 (65X), which proved to be a winner on the course the next day.

“[TaylorMade] gave me the newer [better] UST Elements Chrome Platinum Prototype PT6F5!” he wrote. “Supposed to be a very similar profile to the [Aldila] Rogue [Silver] 125. I was a bit anxious to see if it would hold up as the right fit, but after just a couple swings on the range at Aviara, I was convinced! It’s a bomber.”

With the M2 D-Type, Andrew’s good shots got better. His peak ball speed went from 175 mph with his SLDR to 178 with the M2 D-Type, enhancing his distance potential. He was also seeing a lower ball height from the new driver — his peak height was reduced from 135 feet to 122 feet — that he “really liked.”

“It was a bit amusing though, everyone at [TaylorMade] seemed shocked that I got put into the D-Type,” he wrote.

You wouldn’t expect the fastest swinger and most accomplished player in the group to be a fit for TaylorMade’s most draw-biased driver, as the model is generally reserved for slower swingers. As a traveling +1 handicap, however, Andrew’s needs were very specific and met perfectly by the 2017 M2 D-Type.

In Their Own Words: See what Andrew said about his experience

Brian Ussery (BCULAW)


  • Distance Gained: 5.5 yards
  • Handicap: 6
  • Swing Speed: 106 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 6X

Old Driver: Titleist 915D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 60S

Brian Ussery arrived at The Kingdom with a Titleist 915D2 (9.5 degrees) driver that he knew wasn’t right for him. The 43-year-old was aware of the fact that his low-launching, high-spinning drives were costing him distance, but he wasn’t sure how to improve.

As it goes in a lot of fittings, Brian didn’t swing as well as he wanted to at The Kingdom, but his outlook on the game of golf allowed the fitting to be a success. “Golf is my therapy and my chance to find peace, quiet, time away and fun,” he wrote in the forum. Spending time with the former minor league baseball player who’s now a lawyer, his commitment to improving his game was immediately apparent. On this day, getting better required patience with his swing and an open mind to the recommendations of his fitters. He was up to the task, and in the end he was rewarded with a new solution for his tee game.


The TaylorMade fitters started Brian with an M2 D-Type (9.5 degrees) driver, but he struggled to hit it high enough to be effective. He found much more success with an M1 460 that had more loft (10.5 degrees). Excessive spin was still an issue, however, especially with the added loft, but the M1 460 had a solution. By sliding the driver’s Back Track weight all the way to the front of the driver, he achieved a lower-spinning trajectory that not only allowed him to hit straighter drives but achieve more roll-out, too. It helped negate his negative angle of attack of -4.5 degrees, which was the main culprit for his low-launching, high-spinning trajectory.

It was at this point in the fitting that Brian had to make a decision. Did he want to continue to chase more distance or did he want a driver that would help him hit more fairways? With his busy work and family schedule, he’s only able to play nine holes of golf per week. That made the choice obvious; he was going to target consistency.

The TaylorMade fitters recommended Brian try a shorter driver. His 915D2 measured 45.25 inches on TaylorMade’s ruler, and he was advised to try a driver that measured 44.75 inches. With the shorter driver his consistency was immediately improved, and it was time to dial in the right shaft.

Brian’s Dispersion Chart


Brian hit most of his shots with Fujikura’s Pro Tour Spec 73X shaft, which produced good results, but in the end he made the decision to go with Graphite Design’s Tour AD-DI 6X. It provided the stiffness he needed for straighter drives, but offered a smoother feel (Note: since Brian hit limited shots with the AD-DI 6X, the data displayed in the chart above shows his performance with the Fujikura shaft). His fitter, Jason Werner, supported his shaft decision. And as Brian put it: “Based on my on-course play … it would seem he is pretty spot on.”

With the M1 460, Brian saw an additional 5.5 yards of total distance over his gamer, but more important to him was the increased accuracy. Even at a higher loft, he was able to reduce his spin rate an average of -744 rpm. So now when his drives hit the fairway, they will keep rolling. And Brian expects to be hitting a lot more fairways.

In Their Own Words: See what Brian said about his experience

Chris Scheeweiss (Schnee)


  • Distance Gained: 10.1 yards
  • Handicap: 3
  • Swing Speed: 112 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (8.5 degrees, set to 10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex)

Old Driver: TaylorMade SLDR (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Blue 75TX

Chris Scheeweiss was the biggest gainer of the five GolfWRX Members, finding +10.1 yards on average when compared to the TaylorMade SLDR (10.5 degrees) driver he brought with him to the Kingdom.

Key to Chris’ success, a 3-handicap with ample club head speed (112 mph), was reducing the spin caused by his big miss, which was high and to the right. While that isn’t Chris’ typical miss, it’s what showed up at the Kingdom. TaylorMade’s M1 460 proved that he could handle that miss, as well as any other miss he might encounter on his journey to improve his game thanks to its wide-ranging adjustability features.


During the fitting, the M1 460 scrubbed -627 rpm of spin off Chris’ drives. To do so, TaylorMade Fitter Jason Werner gave Chris a 8.5-degree M1 460, but he increased the loft of the driver to 10.5 degrees, maximizing the full range of TaylorMade’s 4-degree Loft Sleeve. Adding two degrees of loft closed the club face, which helped eliminate Chris’ slice spin.

Jason made the adjustment without telling Chris, however, and he was glad when Chris said he didn’t notice the change at address.

The reason Chris didn’t notice the more closed club face? The crowns of TaylorMade’s 2017 drivers are engineered to look as square as possible at address regardless of what setting is used due to their cleverly designed black-and-white graphics. Chris had recently been fit at a local club fitter for a 2017 M2 driver (10.5 degrees), but this setup was “much better than the combo I was previously fit for,” Chris wrote in the forum.

Finding the right shaft was a faster process that Chris expected. Project X’s HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex) offered him the lower trajectory and added stability he needed to hit his best drives.

Chris’ Dispersion Chart


“Jason … didn’t think we had to go much further,” Chris wrote in the forum. “I wasn’t completely sold on the combo, but I deferred to his knowledge. It wasn’t that I didn’t trust the combo itself, it’s that I wasn’t hitting ANYTHING all that well, so I didn’t know how it would perform on course when my swing was better. I’m glad I trusted him, because it was AMAZING on course.”

As Chris works to eliminate the right tendency in his swing, Jason recommended that he try lowering the loft of the driver, which will open to face to reduce left bias. They agreed that at some point in the future Chris may be able to return to the 8.5-degree loft setting, which could net him even more distance. And if he needs more spin to optimize his launch conditions at that point, he can gradually slide the Back Track’s weight rearward to achieve it.

In Their Own Words: See what Chris said about his experience

Darrin Sloan (DNice26)


  • Distance Gained: 7.1 yards
  • Handicap: 1
  • Swing Speed: 110 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M2 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Yellow 65 (6.0 flex)

Old Driver: Ping G (10.5)
Shaft: UST Mamiya ProForce AvixCore 69 Red (Tour-S flex)

Darrin Sloan, 36, knew exactly what he wanted from a new driver. He arrived at his fitting with a Ping G (10.5 degrees) that was giving him the height he wanted, but he was looking for a straighter ball flight.

The 1-handicap, former college golfer started his fitting with a TaylorMade M2 (10.5 degrees) with a Project X HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex), a combo that significantly lowered his launch angle and spin rate. While it was giving him more distance, the ball flight was too low for his needs despite his 110 mph swing speed and average angle of attack of +2 degrees.


Darrin told TaylorMade Fitter Jason Werner he needed a higher ball flight to cut the corners of the doglegs at his home course, where he plays 95 percent of his golf. So the two starting experimenting with different heads and different shafts in search of a more familiar trajectory, as well as more distance.

He actually preferred liked the look and the feel of TaylorMade’s M1 460 driver, but there was no denying the performance of the M2. It offered him nearly +4 mph of ball speed on average over his gamer, an incredible improvement.

Once the M2 (10.5 degrees) was linked up with a Project X HZRDUS Yellow 65 (6.0 flex) shaft, it was clear Darrin had a winner. The counter-balanced shaft helped him launch his drives higher, giving him the trajectory he needed to tackle his home course. It also helped him eliminate his miss to the right and easily execute his preferred right-to-left ball flight.

In terms of distance, Darrin was also able to sightly increase his carry distance (+0.6 yards) while significantly increasing his roll out (+6.5 yards). His total yardage gain with the new driver was +7.1 yards.

Darren’s Dispersion Chart


The takeaway for GolfWRXers is that TaylorMade’s new M2 driver can offer more ball speed than the company’s M1 driver for certain players. And if you’re struggling with either a ball flight that’s too low or a rightward miss, a counter-balanced shaft like Project X’s HZRDUS Yellow can help.

In Their Own Words: See what Darrin said about his experience

George Cellette (GC70)


  • Distance Gained: 7.6 yards
  • Handicap: 7.1
  • Swing Speed: 95 mph

New Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-BB 6S

Old Driver: Callaway XR (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujkura Speeder Evolution 565 (S-Flex)

Like a diesel engine, George needed some time to warm up during his fitting. But once he did, he began pounding drives down the left center of The Kingdom’s range.

At first, it looked as though George might post a ridiculous distance gain with a TaylorMade M1 460. He increased his distance more than 30 yards over the Callaway XR ’16 he hit at the beginning of the fitting. As he and TaylorMade Fitter Jason Werner dialed in the loft, shaft and CG setting, however, Jason noticed that George’s swing speed had jumped nearly 10 mph from 85 mph to 95 mph since he first started hitting balls. He asked George to retest his Callaway to make sure that the final data would reflect a fair comparison of his old and new drivers.


The result was a smaller average distance gain with his new TaylorMade, but still an impressive one.

George first tested TaylorMade’s M1 460 with 8.5 degrees of loft, but because George was fighting a slice he closed the face to 10.5 degrees to create a left bias. As George loosened up, however, his slice turned into a gentle fade. For that reason, he switched George from the 8.5-degree head to a 9.5-degree head in a neutral setting.

While George’s warmed-up swing was the biggest contributor to the improved trajectory, a new shaft and weight setting also helped. At first Jason gave George a Project X HZRDUS Black 65 (6.0 flex) shaft, a low-launch shaft with ample stability to help him reduce spin. It would have been a good combo, but George wanted to test a few more shafts to see if there was more distance available to him. The winning shaft ended up being Graphite Design’s Tour AD-BB 6S, which gave George an even lower-spinning trajectory.

The adjustable weight settings of the M1 460 further optimized George’s ball flight. Since he already had enough height on his drives, Jason was able to slide the M1 460’s Back Track weight all the way forward to decrease spin. He also slid the driver’s Front Track weight all the way to the heel to maximize draw bias. The two changes had George hitting high-launching, low-spinning bombs that barely had any curvature.

George’s Dispersion Chart


When all was said and done, George was able to scrub an incredible -908 rpm of spin off his drives. And along with his straighter trajectory, he walked away with +7.6 yards of added distance.

In Their Own Words: See what George said about his experience

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