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Given the excitement around this year’s Masters, I wanted to do a head-to-head test of the drivers being used by two of the longest golfers at Augusta National this week, Jason Day and Rory McIlroy.

Jason Day, who currently occupies the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings, uses a TaylorMade M1 460, while Rory McIlroy (No. 3 in the OWGR) uses Nike’s Vapor Fly Pro driver. I was fit for each driver, and tested them on my Foresight GC2 launch monitor with HMT.

In the video above, I offer in-depth analysis of the two different clubs, and the results are very interesting.

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Rick Shiels has been a PGA Golf Professional for more than 10 years and started making YouTube videos on his channel four years ago. He loves creating golf-related content on his YouTube channel that is factual, informative, fun and entertaining. His videos includes golf tips, equipment reviews, on-course videos, news shows and golf lessons. Rick absolutely loves coaching golf, and he has setup his first golf academy in Lytham (UK). Quest Golf Studio is where he calls home, and it has the latest equipment that can help any golfer improve and better understand their golf games. You can book a lesson with Rick here. Rick is also very active on the social media account below, including SnapChat (rickshielspga).

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. MikePatron

    Aug 6, 2016 at 7:00 am

    He is comparing two different drivers in their stock set up. It’s not a club head review, it’s a driver review. Go work on your mulligans. Bunch of keyboard PGA Pro’s

  2. Branden

    Apr 12, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    I’ve never seen 164 ball speed fly 303 in the air…

    • Robert

      May 4, 2016 at 5:18 pm

      I was thinking the same thing. Gotta love juicing up the GC2 numbers to make him look longer than he really is!

  3. Joseph Dreitler

    Apr 11, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Interesting. Thanks

  4. fancy

    Apr 10, 2016 at 8:33 am

    What about testing both heads with the same shaft……..then we can get real result

  5. Sreve

    Apr 9, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    Those spin rates are a problem when you are out side in the wind???? If you have a weak fad or weak draw which one of those is going to become more a weak slice or a weak hook off the fairways???? Higher spin rate right? I do not know how most of you feel but myself I can spend 30 minutes at Golf Smith hitting drivers and more often then not inside off a launch monitor I hit really straight and as much as 20 yards longer the outside with trees and houses in view???

    • Joe

      Apr 9, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Sounds familiar, I would agree with some others who have posted, Pay and Play what you like, maybe try different flex shafts or lofts for you driver and maybe if your way beyond standard some lie adjustments for your irons other wise pick what appeals to you because if you want to play Ping and the fitter finds Adams are a better fit (inside on monitor) two months down the road your going to be ready to sell the Adams because they are not what you wanted to play….

  6. Sam

    Apr 9, 2016 at 4:33 am

    Rick, now that there are shaft adapters that fit multiple brands of clubs, why not install one on your favourite shaft and then use the same shaft for all heads in the test?

  7. Oskars

    Apr 8, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    All drivers in the same category really perform the same to each other now, I think it really just comes down to what shaft works for your swing, club head is irrelevant.

    • Pat

      Apr 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      Wrong. Certain club heads launch higher and spin more. Dispersion is also somewhat related to club head although it’s mostly the shaft.

  8. Gibb Pete Ahchance

    Apr 8, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    It’s all about the same stuff these days.

  9. Chris

    Apr 8, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    When you do an experiment you have to control your variables. In this case you are testing driver heads therefore you should not use different shafts. Why not isolate the shaft and see what head is better?

  10. Brian

    Apr 8, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    Great stuff again Rick, proves again how much every manufacturer is pretty much maxed out within regulations and it’s really all about getting a shaft to fit your swing.

    Would love it if you would do a comparison between older vs newer drivers i.e. TM R7 v M1, Ping G5 v G35, etc. That would really show what progress has been made in past 10 years.

    • Don

      Apr 8, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Ditto What Brian said. It would be interesting to see the progress or lack there of. One thing is for sure the OEM’s have their advertising on point. Again, as many have mentioned though, if it were true, I would be having monster 460 yard drives right now. Ha. Ha. Ha.

    • mhendon

      Apr 9, 2016 at 11:14 pm

      I can answer that question. My club head speed hasn’t changed in 15 years the prov1 has been out that long and my driving distance is still the same. 15 years ago I was using a Titleist 975J and now I’m using a Nike vr pro limited. Not the latest and greatest driver but still about 12 years of supposed technology between the two.

  11. Matt Heister

    Apr 8, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    I thought Nike ‘sucked’….

    Goes to show that everyone is making quality products…

    If you get fit , everyone can benefit from
    Any ‘big 5 or 6’ OEM driver.

  12. Tom

    Apr 8, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Interesting comparison and data. Next time lets see all out swing.

  13. RosePalmer

    Apr 8, 2016 at 8:27 am

    Well done! Thank you!

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Opinion & Analysis

The Wedge Guy: Why wedge mastery is so elusive

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I have conducted numerous surveys of golfers over my 40-year golf industry career, because I have always believed that if you want to know what people are thinking, you simply have to ask them.

As a gearhead for wedges and a wedge designer over the past 30 years, most of my research and analysis is focused on these short-range scoring clubs and how golfers use them. What this research continually tells me is that most golfers—regardless of handicap–consider the wedges the hardest clubs in the bag to master. That’s because they are. I would even go so far as to say that the difficulty of attaining mastery even extends to the best players in the world.

Watching the Genesis Open this past weekend, for example, it seemed like these guys were hitting wedge approaches on nearly every hole. And while there were certainly many shots that covered the flag—like Max Homa’s approach on 18–there were also a great number that came up woefully short. Not what you would expect when a top-tier tour professional has a sand or gap wedge in their hands.

The simple fact is that wedges are the most difficult clubs in our bags with which to attain consistent shotmaking mastery, and that is because of the sheer design of the clubhead itself. For clarity of this article, I’m talking about those full- or near full-swing wedge shots, not the vast variety of short greenside shots we all face every round. To get mastery of those shots (like the tour pros exhibit every week), you simply have to spend lots of time hitting lots of shots, experimenting and exploring different techniques. There are no shortcuts to a deadly short game.

But today I’m talking about those prime opportunities to score, when you have a full- or near-full swing wedge into a par-five or short par four. We should live for those moments, but all too often we find ourselves disappointed in the outcome.

The good news is that’s not always all your fault.

First of all, you must understand that every wedge shot is, in effect, a glancing blow to the ball because of the loft involved. With 50 to 60 degrees of loft—or even 45 to 48 degrees with a pitching wedge—the loft of the club is such that the ball is given somewhat of a glancing blow. That demands a golf swing with a much higher degree of precision in the strike than say, an 8-iron shot.

I have always believed that most golfers can improve their wedge play by making a slower-paced swing than you might with a longer iron. This allows you to be more precise in making sure that your hands lead the clubhead through impact, which is a must when you have a wedge in your hands. Without getting into too much detail, the heavier, stiffer shaft in most wedges does not allow this club to load and unload in the downswing, so the most common error is for the clubhead to get ahead of the hands before impact, thereby adding loft and aggravating this glancing blow. I hope that makes sense.
The other aspect of wedge design that makes consistent wedge distance so elusive is the distribution of the mass around the clubhead. This illustration of a typical tour design wedge allows me to show you something I have seen time and again in robotic testing of various wedges.

Because all the mass is along the bottom of the clubhead, the ideal impact point is low in the face (A), so that most of the mass is behind the ball. Tour players are good at this, but most recreational golfers whose wedges I’ve examined have a wear pattern at least 2-4 grooves higher on the club than I see on tour players’ wedges.

So, why is this so important?

Understand that every golf club has a single “sweet spot”–that pinpoint place where the smash factor is optimized—where clubhead speed translates to ball speed at the highest efficiency. On almost all wedges, that spot is very low on the clubhead, as indicated by the “A” arrow here, and robotic testing reveals that smash factor to be in the range of 1.16-1.18, meaning the ball speed is 16-18% higher than the clubhead speed.

To put that in perspective, smash factor on drivers can be as high as 1.55 or even a bit more, and it’s barely below that in your modern game improvement 7-iron. The fact is—wedges are just not as efficient in this measure, primarily because of the glancing blow I mentioned earlier.

But–and here’s the kicker–if you move impact up the face of a wedge just half to five-eights of an inch from the typical recreational golfer’s impact point, as indicated by the “B” arrow, smash factor on ‘tour design’ wedges can be reduced to as low as 0.92 to 0.95. That costs you 40 to 60 feet on a 90-yard wedge shot . . . because you missed “perfect” by a half-inch or less!

So, that shot you know all too well—the ball sitting up and caught a bit high in the face—is going fall in the front bunker or worse. That result is not all your fault. The reduced distance is a function of the diminished smash factor of the wedge head itself.

That same half-inch miss with your driver or even your game-improvement 7-iron is hardly noticeable.

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Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: Breakthrough mental tools to play the golf of your dreams

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Incredibly important talk! A must listen to the words of Dr. Karl Morris, ham-and-egging with the golf imperfections trio. Like listening to top athletes around a campfire. This talk will helps all ages and skills in any sport.

 

 

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On Spec

On Spec: Homa Wins! And how to avoid “paralysis by analysis”!

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This week’s episode covers a wide array of topics from the world of golf including Max Homa’s win on the PGA Tour, golf course architecture, and how to avoid “paralysis by analysis” when it comes to your golf game.

This week’s show also covers the important topic of mental health, with the catalyst for the conversation being a recent interview published by PGA Tour with Bubba Watson and his struggles.

 

 

 

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