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Opinion & Analysis

Gear Trials Feedback: A letter from the editor



First of all, thank you so much to all of you who took the time to read 2015 Gear Trials: Best Drivers and comment on the story. In the 24+ hours since it’s been published, we’ve set records in views and comments. I’m grateful that Gear Trials has gained the traction it has across the golf world, because I know it will support many golfers’ desire to buy the best driver for them, and play the best golf they can.

A few questions continue to pop up about Gear Trials, however, and I want to take the opportunity to address them. Those who read this will better understand why we did what we did with Gear Trials, and why we’re going to continue to do it.

The two questions I am addressing are:

  • Why don’t we rank clubs in terms of launch, spin and ball speed?
  • Why don’t we name a “best” club?

The short answer? It’s a disservice, and a practice that I believe is more harmful than it is helpful.

With our Gear Trials lists, we hope to empower more golfers to make decisions based on what clubs are best for them. Don’t buy a club because it’s good for a group of testers, or voted “best” by an organization. The only reason golfers should make the purchase of a new club is if it brings them the joy of better performance, more confidence, or both.

Golfers should be excited by the process of discovering what clubs performs best for them! Test different heads, preferably with a top-rated professional fitter, and see which one gives you the ball flight you need. Spend some time looking at different models at address to learn what shape inspires confidence in you, and what sound and feel makes your next shot more exciting. That’s how it’s done on the PGA Tour, and that’s how we hope our readers will learn to buy new clubs.

We understand that our readers want to make the most informed decision they possibly can, and we have great respect for the passion they have to play better golf. That’s why we went to the most reputable club fitters we know and asked them to offer our readers the safety of their expertise. With their votes, you can buy any of the seven drivers (or their low-spin equivalents) on our 2015 Gear Trials: Best Drivers List and you cannot make a bad choice!

Differences do exist between the seven models on the list, of course, and we did our best to highlight them fairly in Gear Trials and our individual reviews. But some of you have requested more, so here’s a few anecdotes of what we would face if we were to name “bests.”

  • TaylorMade’s R15 (460) is the lowest-spinning driver we’ve tested when it’s used by a golfer who consistently hits tee shots on the center of the face. When properly fit to that kind of player, it creates the highest-launching, lowest-spinning drives that tend to go farther than just about everything else. But if a golfer is more inconsistent, the R15 could actually be the highest-spinning driver on our list with the slowest ball speeds and it could fly the shortest — especially if it’s fit improperly.
  • Ping’s G30 is the highest-spinning driver on this list when it’s hit on the screws. Give it to a high-spin golfer, and it could be the shortest driver on this list. But if it’s used by a golfer who misses the center of the face consistently, or a low-spin golfer, it will probably be the longest driver on this list.

How do we know which driver will work best for you? We don’t, and I’m not ashamed to say so. But you can find out.

We’ve given you the best starting point we know how, and how it goes from here is up to you. Are you up to the challenge? Everything I know about GolfWRX readers tells me that you are.

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  1. Eugene Marchetti

    Mar 29, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I just finished attending a Demo day at my club with all the major brands available. I used the test results to start my search. Knowing that I wanted forgiveness over distance, I had already eliminated some models. I got down to my favorite three based on feel, looks, set up, and ball flight. I then went on the computer and made my choice. The numbers said Nike Speed. It gave me the best smash rate(1.47),spin 2580, and launch 12. I realize the launch was a little low but I was getting great flight and carry. Swing speed was 94 and my overall distance was 232. I went to the Demo Day wanting to buy a mizuno 850 because of its beautiful blue color but my smash factor was inconsistent. Ping G30 was the closest to Nike but the head shape was to elongated and a little light. I appreciate your article and hope you keep up the good work. Bottom line:GET FIT!!!!!’

  2. Lindsay Morrison

    Mar 27, 2015 at 10:19 am

    “We’ve given you the best starting point we know how, and how it goes from here is up to you. Are you up to the challenge? Everything I know about GolfWRX readers tells me that you are.”

    I guess I’ll just go to the store next time without this. If I’m in the market for a new driver this article wouldn’t help. It’s a waste of time puff piece.

    That’s a shame, but that’s what it is. There was not much trial in this 2015 gear trial.

    • Alex

      Mar 29, 2015 at 5:09 pm

      Ideally it would help you start from a position of knowledge. You’d still need to test, but if you know your trends in terms of hit pattern and spin, then you’d know which driver to start with, and which other ones to look at.

      It’s pretty obvious. Of course, if you were just going to test everything anyway to figure out which one is best, then by all means, go for it. But it’s getting old when people expect to find the best driver out. They’re all different. Best is relative. Reviews are relative too. In fact, a review is pointless. But people want to see them anyway.

  3. Lindsay Morrison

    Mar 27, 2015 at 9:50 am

    “We’ve given you the best starting point we know how, and how it goes from here is up to you. Are you up to the challenge? Everything I know about GolfWRX readers tells me that you are.”

    I guess I’ll just go to the store next time without this. If I’m in the market for a new driver this article wouldn’t help. It’s a waste of time puff piece.

    That’s a shame, but that’s what it is.

  4. Stickburn

    Mar 27, 2015 at 6:29 am

    These comments reviews reads like what I have seen as a millennial mindset. 1. I want what I want and I want it now. 2. If the product/info I seek is not what I want then somebody has done something wrong. 3. You have waisted my time by not giving me what I want. 4. My way is the right way and let me tell YOU how to do it right. Bonus characteristics: I am special and will not support you because you have sold out. I will now take my business/time elsewhere.

  5. Dave N

    Mar 26, 2015 at 9:40 pm

    Thank you for what you do. The Gear Trial piece and this response letter were very well done, and I actually like the approach. The message is obvious, and made me want to try out some new drivers. Too many people tend to look to someone else for the answers for 10 more yards and 3-4 more fairways hit. What they get from analyzing a bunch of trackman from someone else is beyond me. Worse yet is a purely data-based analysis of “averages” of many golfers who aren’t me. It may be interesting for about 30 seconds, but mostly useless. The answer is on the course. Pick any or all of the drivers on the list, try it out, ask a fitter for help if you want, and then hit the range.

  6. Gorden

    Mar 26, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    If your over a 15 handicap and have played golf for more then 10 years your have a greater chance of being a 16 long before you are a 12.. So play what ever clubs you want, a simple fitting is going to work for you and playing what you want to play is really one of the best thrills in golf. If you love Ping , play Ping, if you like how Adams look and feel play Adams….playing what you like as a middle to high handicap can make the game just as fun as if you spent thousands on lessons and fittings and lowerd your handicap 2 points….Sometimes loading your bag on a cart with those shinny new Callaway irons looking at you is the best part of anyones golf day.

    • Rich

      Mar 27, 2015 at 9:05 am

      This is so right. I’ve just done that with my irons and while they might not be as forgiving as my last set, they look sick and when I’m swinging well, they are awesome performers as well. Good comment!

  7. Jason

    Mar 26, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    I can appreciate this response from Golfwrx. While it’s true no head/shaft combo is going to play the same for everyone, it would be beneficial to hit them all with an iron byron – put the exact same shaft with each head and hit the ball off 9 areas on the face – heel/center/toe and high/mid/low on the face. Then just post the trackman numbers. At least then readers would have some data to go by to figure out what they need. All we get from this is a regurgitation of the most popular drivers that everyone already knew about anyway.

    • CatFoodFace

      Mar 26, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      Actually, a great idea! I can make my own decision based on numbers.

  8. Rich

    Mar 26, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    I can appreciate that Golfwrx doesn’t want to say “this is the best driver” period, but I think what people are saying, ithe gear trial doesn’t give you much more info than what you find on the manufacturers websites really. At least last year there was the little sliding table to give an indication of the numbers you might see from certain clubs compared to the others on the list. There’s nothing wrong with that and if anyone got upset with those indications and ended up with the wrong club I dare say, they would be in the minority. It’s just a guess, but I bet one of the manufacturers got a little upset at Golfwrx for publishing that one of their clubs wasn’t as low spinning or forgiving as the next and they had to change their method. But they are hardly going to admit that are they.

  9. Tom

    Mar 26, 2015 at 6:18 pm

    No good deed goes unpunished.

    • JillC

      Mar 27, 2015 at 11:21 am

      It’s easy! Don’t call it a “Trial” unless you actually test the products against each other. For me? I want the best possible driver for my swing. That’s impossible because nobody swings like me. Have the Iron Byron test, hit it in the 9 areas of the club face, vary the shafts (high and low launch), and perhaps do the AOA differently i.e. good golfer have positive AOA while bad once tend to have negative AOA. Then this would be a trial. Agree the intent was great, but if the effort is too compare and test, then do it the right way and it will be better than anyone else! I can foresee: “Go to Golfwrx for the best tests and comparisons!”

  10. M Crossfizzle

    Mar 26, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    I hope everyone feels ashamed of their self…
    You want the truth about the best driver
    come to yt and get stuck in

  11. The dude

    Mar 26, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Great article Zak……remember, some people will never get it….

  12. johnnyb

    Mar 26, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Wow, you mean to tell me that the PING, Taylormade, Callaway, Titleist, ETC. all make good drivers if properly fit! Wow, this is groundbreaking news that we must push out to the public immediately! Let’s call our study “Gear trials” and it will sound awesome, and everyone will know how cool it is, and then they will know that the big golf companies all make awesome drivers that are all tied for awesomeness if fitted properly! Because all the drivers are so awesome and equally tied for awesomeness it would be a “disservice” to pick one, because all of them are tied for most awesome if fitted for equal players at equal levels of awesomeness!

  13. Adam B.

    Mar 26, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    I don’t get this at all. I am a scratch golfer, high swing speed, and high spin. I got fitted yesterday and the G30 was 400 rpm less spin for me than the R15 430. How can you say G30 would only be best for inconsistent or low spin players. You just added to the ambiguity of your entire study by giving such odd anecdotes. If you include the data, then you don’t have to try to justify it with confusing statements like this.

    • TR1PTIK

      Mar 26, 2015 at 5:10 pm

      Perhaps the reason you got better numbers with the G30 is because it was easier for you to find the center of the face or the fact that it is a far more forgiving club…

      • other paul

        Mar 27, 2015 at 2:01 am

        More then likely you hit a tiny bit high on the g30 and a tiny bit low on the r15. Studies have shown a half inch vertically can be 1000rpm different in spin.

  14. Geoff

    Mar 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm

    Golfwrx has influence on the industry. Its many articles on the benefits of club fitting are one of its stronger attributes. To me, Gear Trials was promoted as an extension of the benefits of club fitting. Yet, I haven’t read anything that convinces me it is any different than a hot list or other generic review piece. As a matter of fact, it reads very similar. Just because club fitters made the decisions means nothing if the insight and opinions of those club fitters, along with their hard data, is generalized or omitted in print. It simply makes it look like Golfwrx does not want to take a chance at rattling the cage of a major manufacturer. It certainly doesn’t help that you encourage golfers not to be influenced by what a group of testers say, to go out and try different clubs, and to seek out a professional fitter, while including direct links to ‘buy now’ from manufacturer’s store fronts and

  15. Toms1090

    Mar 26, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    i get what you were trying to accomplish. But I think the gear trials would be better if you included those anecdotes. Knowing a driver is a spin monster when not hit pure is useful. Also, if your prasing getting fit don’t include a link to amizon to buy it.

  16. Robert

    Mar 26, 2015 at 2:04 pm

    That’s the most ridiculous argument I’ve ever heard of in my life to not report specifics. You can’t be worried about what people do when they mis hit the club. You report on what happens when you hit the club in the center of the face. That’s what the clubs are designed to do. You really wasted a lot of time and money on this because this list does nothing for any one trying to look for a new club. I want the best ball speeds and from your article I have no idea what to look for. So I’m in the same boat I was before I read your article. I just feel bad that you asked for the time of so many fitters when so little came about this. It’s not about you telling us what you think is the best driver for us. It’s about providing all of the information and letting us digest it and letting us decide for ourselves what to do with that information. You can’t just not provide it because some people will not interpret the results correctly. That’s leaving so many people in the dark that could really use this information. The ones that don’t have good fitters in our area’s and have to either go to sites like this to get information or go spends hundreds or thousands of dollars trying out different equipment until we find the right one. You could easily provide the info and make no claims about what you think is the best. What a waste…sad.

    • KnifeCut

      Mar 26, 2015 at 2:11 pm

      This reads a little terse, but I agree with the what was was said.

    • Incredulistic

      Mar 26, 2015 at 2:14 pm

      Robert you could always start your own golf equipment site and do reviews like you seem to think they should be done.

      • KnifeCut

        Mar 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm

        Kind of passive aggressive. Let’s be real… the members of WRX are why this place it is what is now.

        Why start your own site? This place is great because most (and often the best) of the content is user-generated.

        The majority of the reviews here (both formal and informal) are user reviews. In this instance, they’re infinitely more valuable than the gear trial. We were fed the line that the Gear Trials were going to be the bee’s knees and it’s not exactly the case.

      • Robert

        Mar 26, 2015 at 2:49 pm

        Fair enough, but why even spend the time doing all of this if you are just going say, “These 7 drivers were the best!”. Without any type of numbers or data about them? It just seems like a waste of time. When this site does reviews of clubs or balls, they actually have launch number data with them, but when doing a gear trial for all of the drivers in which they tout it as better than any other test because they get club fitters to do the testing…they provide no stats. No numbers. It just seems incredibly odd. And I find the excuse to be pretty ridiculous.

    • Chris Nickel

      Mar 26, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      You honestly can’t read through the list and understand that of all the drivers on the market, there are 7 which are generally much better? You can’t read the literature to see that if your #1 criteria is ball speed, then all you have to do is pick a couple heads to hit yourself and see what gives you the best results? I understand people being critical. That’s fine. However, I don’t see why WRX should be responsible for people who are too lazy to do anything constructive with the information they’ve provided. I’ll save you hundreds of dollars. Everything is at .830 COR…I’m sure you already know this. Ball speed will come as a function of which club allows you to make the most consistent center-face contact. That’s impossible for anyone to figure out for you. Why would you want to buy a driver based solely on what works best for someone else?

      • Robert

        Mar 26, 2015 at 2:55 pm

        But there is no quantifiable measurement in why those 7 drivers are the best and how they are ranked the best. And they don’t have them broken up into the 3 factors in which they tested. They could have at least done that. That couldn’t have been that hard to do. The drivers are all close to each other, that’s why having testing done like this is important. It’s good to see what a large variety of testing shows between a large group of people. Where I live I can’t go anywhere and just get fitted for a driver and grab a couple of heads. I have to go buy a couple of heads and shafts to try it out. So this list does nothing for me in the current state. I knew these 7 drivers were considered the best before this article. That’s nothing new.

        • Chris Nickel

          Mar 26, 2015 at 3:38 pm

          There is quantifiable measurement. It’s just doesn’t appear for public consumption. I would think you could easily narrow the list down to a couple heads to try and go from there. If you live that far away from a place to get fit, I get that’s more difficult – but what happens if WRX release a bunch of the data and anecdotes and based on this you select driver xxx. You buy this driver, but b/c you never corroborated their data with your experience, you don’t actually know if that driver is the absolute best for you. You might as well select lower spin or higher spin and then pick the head you like the best…that would be just as reasonable as basing your purchase entirely off someone else’s experiences…Or start a thread in the forum and get more feedback that way…

    • TR1PTIK

      Mar 26, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      Do you hit the ball in the center of the club face? If so, which club face? If not, which club face do you most often approach center? Spitting out a bunch of numbers that come from perfect strikes that you will never achieve with significant repetition is pointless. You should be looking for the a club that provides the best numbers for you. The 2015 Gear Trials gives you a good starting point to assess which driver(s) you should be testing to determine which is best for YOU. Why do you want numbers provided by robots that you’ll never be able to achieve?

  17. ca1879

    Mar 26, 2015 at 1:54 pm

    The article was very well done and did not attempt to prove anything from the data that couldn’t be supported. You showed excellent restraint in your recommendations and the results were presented clearly and with appropriate suggestions for using them. It’s hard to understand what significant fault could be found, but cynicism is a popular substitute for insight these days. The internet is full of those who think that pointing out the obvious about the economics of web publishing makes an argument to support whatever view they take of the content.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Mar 26, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      Thank you for your very kind words, and we’re glad to have your support.

    • TR1PTIK

      Mar 26, 2015 at 4:58 pm


  18. KnifeCut

    Mar 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    The approach didn’t work because it literally says it’s a starting point… it’s not even finished. Reminds me of a virtual demo day.

    I’m sure most would agree it’s far better for people to critique your data and method of collection than be criticized for not including it at all.

    There are plenty of people who agree it’s lots of puff with little substance.


  19. Geoff

    Mar 26, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    This was promoted as having a few tricks up its sleeve but, after all the hype, there isn’t anything in the results that hasn’t already been provided by a manufacturer’s marketing team or a publication’s puff piece. It provides about as much useful information as a list on BuzzFeed. This plays out like an obvious attempt by Golfwrx to do what other golf magazines have done in the past with their so called reviews: get manufacturer’s to link their web sites to that of the reviewer, generating more web traffic and ad revenue for said reviewer. And…it appears they are on their way to achieving exactly that. The second sentence of this letter states: “In the 24+ hours since it’s been published, we’ve set records in views and comments.”

    Mission accomplished.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Mar 26, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Have you been fit for a driver recently, Geoff?

      • Geoff

        Mar 26, 2015 at 1:42 pm


        • Zak Kozuchowski

          Mar 26, 2015 at 1:44 pm

          What worked best for you?

          • Geoff

            Mar 26, 2015 at 1:48 pm

            How is my decision relevant to my opinion?

            • Zak Kozuchowski

              Mar 26, 2015 at 1:57 pm

              I don’t know that it is, but I’m curious to know what driver worked best for you.

  20. Chris Nickel

    Mar 26, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    Marginally better? Just b/c some of the results look similar, doesn’t mean the process was at all the same – What I don’t understand is why critics can’t accept that maybe this year had what a lot of us have experienced to be true: There are a lot of great drivers from OEM’s in 2015. The approach did work. Trackman data confirmed what some of the best fitters in the country have seen. Unless I don’t understand how the Hotlist etc. is created, I believe this process was much different. If WRX said the R15 was the driver of the year, not only would it be a disservice (as one driver can’t be the best for everyone) but critics would jump at the opportunity to dissect and pick apart how WRX came to this conclusion and people would be arguing whether or not it was really 1.2 yards longer than driver XXX.

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Club Junkie

Club Junkie: Reviewing TaylorMade’s P770 Irons and SuperStroke’s Wrist Lock Putter Grip!



Finally, I have had a full set of TaylorMade P770 irons out on the course for the last few weeks. The P770 takes a bunch of DNA from the larger P790 and packs it into a smaller size. Don’t be fooled, the smaller size still gives you a bunch of distance and forgiveness! SuperStroke’s Wrist Lock putter grip is designed to help add stability and consistency to your putting stroke. It really does give you the feeling that the putter is locked into your stroke and won’t go anywhere.

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: My thoughts on single-length irons



One of the bigger stories in golf equipment the past few years – thanks to Mr. De Chambeau – is the development of single-length irons. So, are they right for you or not? That’s a question only a fair trial can answer, but let me offer some thoughts on how your set make-up might look if you do take that direction.

First of all, the concept is not about single-length clubs — the conversation is about single-length irons. No one is playing a driver or fairway woods at the same length as their irons. Probably not even the hybrids. The putter is typically not either. So, the question is where in the set does the “single-length” begin and end?

I’ve long espoused the concept that your set of clubs (excluding the very specialized putter) should be divided into three sub-sets: Distance Clubs, Positioning Clubs, and Scoring Clubs. And generally speaking, these subsets each cover a specific range of lofts.

The Distance Clubs are those up to 20-25 degrees or so. This subset begins with your driver and encompasses your fairway woods and maybe your lowest loft hybrid or two. Your goal with these clubs is to move the ball “on out there” and put you in a place for your “positioning shot.”

The Positioning Clubs then begin after that highest loft Distance Club and take you up to 38 to 40 degrees of loft. Generally speaking, this subset would begin with your 3 or 4-iron or hybrid and go up to through your 7- or 8-iron. The goal with these clubs is to set up a reasonable putt or chip so you can get down in no more than 2-3 shots. My opinion is that it is only within this subset that “single-length” might serve you.

The Scoring Clubs – those over 38-40 degrees of loft — are the ones with which your scores will likely be determined. Long ago, I wrote several posts about the “round club mindset” when 8-irons had a more curved topline than the seven – a distinctly different look, and those 8-irons were 38 to 40 degrees. These are the clubs designed for putting the ball close enough for a makeable putt, hopefully, more often than not.

So, most conversations about single-length irons should be limited to that subset of “Positioning Clubs,” from your longest iron through that iron of 38-40 degrees. While many golfers may not see the distance separation between clubs that you would ideally like to have in that subset, others might. I’ve long observed that the distance a club can be hit is a combination of loft AND club shaft length. I just don’t see how you can get the range of distances from the longest to shortest in the set by changing loft only. I have tried several of these sets and just do not experience the distance differentials I want from that subset in my bag.

But I can certainly assure you that you simply cannot be as accurate with wedges that are 37 or 38 inches in length as you can with those clubs being 35 to 36 inches. It’s simple golf club physics. With very few exceptions, the shorter the club, the narrower your distance dispersion is going to be.

Consider that a “wide” shot with a 45-inch driver might be 30-40 yards off-line, while even the worst “wide” shot with your 35-and-three-quarter-inch pitching wedge is not likely to be more than 15 yards offline. In between, your lateral dispersion is progressively narrower as the shaft length is reduced.

So, I just cannot see why anyone would want to make their wedges the same length as their 5- or 6-iron, 37.5 to 38 inches, and give up the naturally more accurate dispersion that the shorter shaft delivers.

I am looking forward to hearing from those of you who have tried single-length irons and longer wedges to share your experiences.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Sharing some time with one of the best PGA Professionals in America



Meet Jimmy Stewart. From his early childhood junior days in Singapore and Thailand, to golf course and driving range operator in California. We talk Turkey, where the game was, where it is and to where it’s going.


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