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Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Philip

    Jan 15, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    I picked up a King Cobra 440SZ (max .830 Sweet Zone version) and matching 3W (with Hyper Steel) – looking forward to gaming those decrepit 2003 bad boys this season against the newest blood. Given all of the increases over the last 15 years I should be given LOTs of strokes by my opponents in order to compensate for my meagre yardages :o)

  2. Joro

    Jan 4, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    I played my new Mizuno 180 Driver, 3 wood and CLK hybrids today. Very nice for not having hit them because I have been down with the flu for a week and had to get out. Outdrove a buddies Epic a couple of times which frustrated him. Should get better as I work with the adjustments and get stronger. Good stuff.

  3. sharker

    Jan 1, 2018 at 12:08 pm

    Macho men will chuck the old impotent driver out of their WITB and pick up a new and improved driver…. so their manhood is strengthened.
    Get rid of that soggy floppy weak driver and put a strong stiff bouncy-faced new driver and your game experience will improve in 2018 …. guaranteed 😎

  4. Golfraven

    Dec 28, 2017 at 10:37 am

    The Titleist 919 is the next driver in my bag. 2018 is the year of my bag refresh and Titleist ist top of the list – 718 AP3, SM7s and hopefully the 919 D2. If they come up with some fresh Scotties I am switch back as well.

  5. bachvo

    Dec 27, 2017 at 3:22 am

    I got so tired of these “new” drivers coming out every year. I just got my new driver like 2 months ago after 2 years on the ping g30, gonna stick with my new stick for awhile.

  6. Crazy About Golf

    Dec 14, 2017 at 10:18 pm

    Incremental gains with just about every new release. The jump from one product to the next isn’t going to be huge, but the difference between 3-4 year old clubs and what’s being offered today is likely pretty substantial. Went from Titleist 910 D3 to Titleist 915 D3 to Callaway GBB Epic Sub Zero….each new driver has proven to be better performing than the last.

  7. Steve S

    Dec 14, 2017 at 10:25 am

    To everyone complaining about the new drivers and marketing claims…don’t read them and don’t buy them. I would prefer all the companies have 3 month release schedules, saturate the market so I can pick up 1 year old technology for $50

  8. DoubleMochaMan

    Dec 13, 2017 at 10:38 am

    It’s like buying a new car, for the shiny new looks and design. Except in the case of golf clubs there’s nothing new under the hood… the engine has a governor.

    As soon as they reign in the golf ball they’ll probably let the club builders go wild.

  9. Tim Stanford

    Dec 12, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Hey golfers… get some lessons from your local professional. Your scores will improve than buying the marketing spin.

  10. Rich

    Dec 12, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    It’s the ” This is the Longest Ever was or Will be ” ie until next year!!!!!

    Why not take the gloves off and have a contest between drivers “NO LIMITS”!!!!

    Anything goes !!! Who can make the longest hitting driver, classified according to swing speeds
    80 Mph,90 Mph,100 Mph, and open … These would be “OutLaw ” classified…

  11. HBO

    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Who are these companies think they are fooling? The USGA has established parameters for drivers, and companies have already gone as far as allowed. Sure you can add 3-5 yards more distance, but at what cost CAVEAT EMPTOR!

  12. bill

    Dec 12, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Aaaah, the annual love affair blossoms with the appearance of next year’s driver models.
    The only good toy is a new toy…. and my faithful old toy is now 5 years old. Sigh…
    Oh, how much do they cost now? $650??!!!

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Equipment

2021 Virtual PGA Show: Things we loved, Day 1

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As promised, we’re checking out all the digital booths at the 2021 Virtual PGA Show for items of intrigue and note, and we’ve found no shortage of interesting items.

Here are a few of our favorites from our first day of browsing.

(More on the 2021 Virtual PGA Show here)

Altaz rangefinder

That’s not a flip screen video camera—it’s an alternative to playing pirate with a telescope to acquire distances. 

Product description: Our rangefinder adds an external 3″ LCD screen which makes it much easier to search the target. No more twitching eye, sunglass in the way, or shakey hand, our rangefinder eliminates all the problems that many golfers experience. It is simple as using similar to digital camcorders, just point, and press. Golf will get the right distance to help them select the right club to improve their scores.

Website: www.altaz.golf

Sik Component Bag

We like this presentation of the buffet of options for Sik putters both for the fitting capabilities and the minimal use of shop square footage for retailers…and of course, if you’re a real gearhead, you just buy the thing for personal use. 

Product description: Become a SIK Golf retailer with SIK Golf’s Component Bag, a complete matrix of interchangeable heads, hosels, and gripped shafts that are ready to assemble into every possible SIK putter combination. The Component Bag also includes multiple standard shaft lengths and Armlock setups for your customers to test drive. Displayed and stored in a classic SIK Golf Staff Bag, featuring organized and compartmentalized drawers.

Website: www.sikgolf.com

Custom Golf Bag Hoods

We’ve seen specialty bag hoods before, but nothing on the level that Custom Golf Bag Hoods is doing.

Company info: Custom Golf Bag Hoods was created so that golfers around the world could dress their bag up from the ugly black rain hood you get when you buy the golf bag which eventually you’ll end up losing or miss placing it. CGBH are made of water-resistant nylon fabric with a 24-inch zipper and vinyl leather piping to keep the hood upright and sturdy, velcro straps to secure it to the bag, and DIY button snaps to make your own buttons in the position of your existing snaps on your bag.

Website: customgolfbaghoods.com

Areso Golf: RW Design Wedge

While we can’t speak to the feel or performance, the materials story is compelling and the aesthetics would definitely earn these wedges a test at a traditional PGA Show Demo Day!

Product info: RW Design Wedges are made from forging carbon steel and milled face for maximum spin around the greens. Grooves and face are machined for spin and face variable thickness controlled for performance.

Ecco: Biom H4 shoe

An enhanced, improved, and even more stylish version of one of the most popular designs on the market. What’s not to love?

Product description: The ECCO BIOM H4 is made in durable ECCO leather with a slick, micro-perforated embossing and GORE-TEX waterproof technology to keep your feet dry even in wet conditions. The new ECCO MTN GRIP outsole features our signature FLUIDFORM™ Technology, as well as an eye-catching PU midsole with TPU inserts on either side that securely hug your foot and offer added stability and support while you’re on the green.

Website: www.us.ecco.com

Puttist Putting Meter 

We may be biased, as our James Chang covered the Puttist back in November, but this is one of the most unique training aids on the market. 

Product description: Puttist Inc. was established in 2009 for “PUTTIST”, the first putting meter in the world. Don’t practice, just have fun with distance-metering game up to 50ft. Your score will go up so naturally and no more suffering from 3-putt. That is why people call “PUTTIST” 3-putt Killer! Rechargeable and Plug-in model available for meter and feet. Just Putt & Win!

Website: www.puttist.com

PuttView: The Book

There are plenty of green book vendors, but Puttview’s stylish presentation of the maximum amount of information allowed under USGA rules definitely caught our eye. 

Product description: PuttView’s “The Book” is the component that brings your indoor and outdoor experience together. Every detail of “The Book” was designed to help you save a shot under the most critical tournament situations. PuttView’s technology and attention to detail results in the most accurate book allowable under the Rules of Golf.

Website: www.puttview.com

Stay tuned tomorrow for more products from the 2021 Virtual PGA Merchandise Show!

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Whats in the Bag

Jimmy Walker WITB 2021 (January)

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Driver: Titleist TSI3 (8 degrees @7.25, D1 SureFit setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 7 X

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM (15 degrees @13.5) 
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 8 X

5-wood: Titleist TSi2 (18 degrees) 
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 9 X

Irons: Titleist T100 (4) Titleist 620 MB (5-9)
Shafts: True Temper AMT Tour White X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 WedgeWorks (48-10F, 54-M, 60-04L), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (64 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue  X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron GSS Newport 2 Custom

Ball: ’21 Titleist Pro V1x

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Whats in the Bag

Akshay Bhatia WITB 2021 (January)

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Akshay Bhatia what’s in the bag accurate as of The American Express.

Driver: Callaway Epic Speed LS  (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Smoke Green 65 6.5 TX

3-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (15 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Smoke Green 75 6.5 TX

Irons: Callaway X Forged UT Proto (3), Callaway Apex MB ’21 (4-PW)
Shafts: KBS TG Hybrid Proto 105 X (3), KBS $-Taper Black 125 S+ (4-PW)

Wedges: Callaway MD5 Jaws Raw (50-S, 54-S, 60-C)
Shafts: KBS $-Taper 125S+

Putter: Odyssey Stroke Lab Black Armlock 7

Grips: Iomic Sticky 2.3 Black

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X

 

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