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Best driver 2021: By club fitters for you!

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Your driver is one of the most important clubs in your bag. At GolfWRX, to determine the 2021 best driver, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of the 2021 drivers is best for your game.

In 2021, OEMs have continued to impress us with their ability to utilize new technology and manufacturing methods to create drivers that offer forgiveness and faster more consistent club faces, along with better adjustability and fitting options. These fitting options are key elements because with more drivers being offered, it’s now easier than ever to find the right one for you.

That being said, ultimately the best way to find your personal best golf driver is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you—offering recommendations for your swing speed with feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best driver of 2021: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter,
Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs 
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, 
Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

Best driver of 2021: The categories

We have broken our 2021 best drivers list into four total categories. Three are swing speed-based and the other forgiveness.

  1. Best driver for faster swing speeds 106+ mph
  2. Best driver for swing speeds 95-105 mph
  3. Best driver for slower swing speeds <94 mph
  4. Best driver most forgiving 

We select this format because every golfer fits into one of these categories regardless of age, handicap, or gender, and for a lot of golfers, forgiveness is the number one factor when selecting a driver.

Before we started building the survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the endless head combinations available to golfers. Time after time, swing speed and forgiveness were the highest-ranked choices, after that it comes down to adjustability to fit individual players and their trends.

We then worked internally to craft a survey that allowed the fitters to be honest—we want the truth just as much as you do, and to prevent anyone from feeling they couldn’t be, we allowed all of the results and quotes to remain anonymous unless otherwise stated.

We can’t thank the fitters enough for their time, and we hope that in your search for your best driver for 2021, we can help you find it!

BEST DRIVER FOR 106 MPH AND ABOVE

TaylorMade SIM2

The standard model is the lowest spinning of the three new SIM2 drivers and has the most forward CG to offer on average 250 rpm less spin than the Max, while still maintaining stability. The stock rear weight is 16 grams and it has a larger face than its predecessor to increase confidence and make the club more forgiving overall.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • For golfers who need to lower spin but still need added trajectory, the SIM2 is fantastic. The best advice I can give to any golfers looking at the SIM2 is to try different lofts and work with the adjustable hosel to fine-tune face angle and shot shape, because it’s extremely rare to have a golfer leave a fitting with a SIM2 in a standard-setting.
  • The deeper face compared to last year’s SIM is a real confidence booster for a lot of the players I have worked with and fit into this driver. If you are a golfer with a more negative angle of attack and need some spin control based on your swing dynamics this is a great driver to try.
  • The aluminum ring really does add stability to the head and from a stability and MOI standpoint, it’s an upgrade from last year’s driver.

Titleist TSi3

The new Titleist SureFit weight system makes adjusting the TSi3’s center of gravity a snap, and beyond the stock eight-gram weight, additional weights are available in two-gram increments up to 12 grams and down to four. This makes dialing in head weight and ball flight tendencies much easier than before and improves the overall fitting process.

What makes the entire TSi series drivers unique is the ATI-425 titanium face insert, allowing engineers to once again make the faces thinner to reduce weight while also increasing the overall elasticity for better ball speed retainment.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Titleist TSi3 driver launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • The TSi3 is a high-performance machine, and when you bring together the acoustics, the shaping, and the adjustability built into the head, it’s by far my driver of the year.
  • From our testing and fitting feedback, this new face material is a real-deal performance upgrade, and for those golfers who need some final tweaking to dial in flight, the new SureFit weighting system is foolproof.
  • Although this is still considered a better players-centric driver, if you are looking to nail down a shot shape, you can rely on the forgiveness and adjustability of this driver to make that happen.
  • Mid-handicap players with a higher swing speed need to try this driver because of its ability to retain speed around the face—and the forgiveness up and down helps a lot.
  • The 11-degree head is a must-try for players who create low launch and low spin dynamics and need extra height and to increase their flight apex.

Ping G425 LST

Coming in at 445 cc, 15 cc’s smaller than its big brother, the G425 Max, the LST offers a pear-shaped profile to appeal to players looking for a more traditional look. Those 15 cc’s were mostly removed from the rear of the head to shorten the driver’s front-to-back length and move the center of gravity closer to the face to lower spin without sacrificing overall MOI as much as possible.

The LST spins 500-700 rpm less than the G425, according to Ping’s internal player testing, and 200 rpm less than the previous G410 LST. The 500-700 rpm represents a much greater separation between models versus the G410 Plus driver line, which means it is easier for golfers to find their ideal fit.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Ping G425 driver launch piece

Fitter notes

  • The LST performs exactly as advertised—by offering a very forgiving low spin head.
  • If you are a faster player but tend to struggle with centered face contact, the G425 LST is a must-try, and for those golfers with speed who have a tendency to miss left, the “flat” hosel setting sets all of the Ping drivers apart.
  • If you are a golfer who has a negative attack angle, the deeper face of the G425 LST combined with the lower spin performance can add some serious ball speed because the head is stable all over the face. To take that point even further, if you are a golfer who tends to miss higher on the face, this driver is going to help.
  • This is a tour-level driver with game-improvement-level forgiveness—plain and simple.
  • The added stability comes from the new weighting system and overall heavier head. The Alta CB (counterbalance shafts) is a must-try that pairs really well with what this driver is designed to do.

Callaway Epic Max LS

With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the most fade biased of the Callaway family, the new Max LS maintains a high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. In addition, the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and the new look Jailbreak Speed Frame create stiffness vertically and horizontally across the face. The result? Speed, stability, and a ton of forgiveness.
The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG, and like Epic Max, the Max LS also has a sliding weight to tune in adjustability.
For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Callaway Epic Max launch piece.
Fitter notes
  • This, to me, is Callaway’s best head shape ever—it inspires confidence by being slightly bigger from address yet still offers lower spin performance. This is a great evolution from the “Sub Zero” because misses stay in play with the Max LS, whereas you could miss big with some of the previous Sub Zero models.
  • The Epic Max LS is what I like to call a “classic dependable.” It really helps on shots missed around the face, and it works for players with all kinds of swing types thanks to the adjustability—you can open it up, close it down, add loft, and use the sliding track to help with both ball flight tweaks and improve shot dispersion.
  • For players who have an upward angle of attack, this driver produces the perfect amount of spin to hit trajectory windows and provide a very stable ball flight. For players on the opposite end that have a more negative (down) angle of attack, you can do a lot with the head to keep spin in check to control trajectory—it is unbelievably adaptable.

Cobra RadSpeed 

At 460cc’s, the new 2021 Cobra RadSpeed driver incorporates 28 grams of front weighting (16 grams fixed, 12 grams adjustable), and an additional 10 grams in the back (8 grams fixed, 2 grams adjustable). This balance, in combination with Radial Weighting technology, gives golfers a fast, stable head to ensure distance and accuracy. The other highlight of the RadSpeed is the CNC milled Infinity Face, which ensures that each face is exactly the same which allows Cobra’s quality control to be some of the best in the business.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Cobra RadSpeed launch piece.

Fitter notes 

  • The RadSpeed is the low spin driver this year for golfers that struggle with the excess spin that robs them of distance—it’s a perfect driver for the player that also tended to miss to the left (a hook for a right-handed golfer).
  • Not only does this driver perform, but it also looks awesome, comes in a number of color options, and is equipped with great stock shafts. It also happens to come in at a lower price point than most of the big players—it’s a win-win all around.
  • The heavy weight in the front configuration makes this driver one of the lowest spinning and lower launching drivers on the market but without losing stability. When you pair the proper weight configuration with the loft setting you would be shocked to see some of the gains that are possible for the faster golfer.

BEST DRIVERS FOR 95-105 MPH

TaylorMade SIM2 Max

The SIM2 Max features a massive 24-gram back weight to deepen the center of gravity and boost stability. This back weight makes up almost 12 percent of the total mass, which is what helps create stability resulting in more ball speed on shots missed around the face. And when you do miss it, TaylorMade’s Twist Face is also there to help keep shots flying straighter.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • This is my pick for the best all-around driver in this category, because it’s fast, forgiving, and the best part is TaylorMade expanded the loft options this year, meaning it’s easier for me as a fitter and for a golfer that is buying one off the rack to dial it in.
  • The ball flight window for this driver is higher than the standard SIM2 model when comparing loft to loft, but it still manages to keep spin in a very controllable window which helps those golfers that need some extra carry. I can’t stress enough to many of the golfers I fit that the proper height with a driver is key to unlocking more distance, and you shouldn’t be afraid to hit it more up in the air—you get that with the SIM2 Max.
  • If you need to maximize your carry distance based on your usual course conditions, this driver is a bomber. Be sure to use the adjustable hosel to your advantage—it can narrow dispersion in a hurry.

Ping G425 Max

The G425 Max has the highest MOI (a measurement of forgiveness) on the market, and its 460 cc head features a 26-gram moveable tungsten weight in the rear to help golfers dial in ball flight bias. This extra mass is also how the weight track can offer less movement on the exterior of the head while still creating the same level of movement inside the head to create a draw and fade bias compared to previous generations.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Ping G425 driver launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • If you are a golfer who struggles with face contact and needs some directional control, this is by far the most forgiving driver I can put in your hands—it feels like point and shoot.
  • Honestly, I don’t know what else to say about the G425 Max beyond it just wants to go long and straight.
  • The big adjustable weight in the rear offers a massive amount of ball flight adjustability so make sure that you test all the settings to find out which one helps you reduces your misses. A great off-menu tip if you are going to custom order one of these drivers—you can get lighter CG shifter weights to help find just the right “feel,” and if you want to play it over length, it helps to keep the driver from feeling too heavy.

Titleist TSi2

The TSi2 has an improved high/low inertia of 13 percent over the previous generation and in the world of engineering, single-percent advancements are considered a big step.

What really makes the TSi2 along with the rest of the TSi series drivers unique is the ATI-425 titanium face insert, allowing engineers to once again make the faces thinner to reduce weight while also increasing the overall elasticity for better ball speed retainment.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Titleist TSi3 driver launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • For the golfers who want a larger confidence-inspiring look, this driver is awesome. It’s almost as stable as the G425 LST—which is saying a lot—while still offering a very traditional sound, and feel.
  • The new titanium in the face insert has allowed Titleist to be at the top in every fitting I do, and beyond the head, they offer a full spectrum of loft and shaft options to fit almost any player. To be able to go as low as 7 degreesand as high as 12.5 using the SureFit hosel and keep it in the same (model) head with the same center of gravity is a big fitting advantage.
  • As a fitter that works with a lot of golfers in this speed range, I don’t feel there is any driver out there right now that is straighter on both good hits and mishits, plus it has that great “Titleist look.”

Callaway Epic Max

After combining all the technology from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. The 17-gram rear sliding weight allows fine-tuning of launch and spin while the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Callaway Epic Max launch piece.

Fitter notes
  • Forgiving, adjustable, and fast—the Epic Max for me is a driver that is often a starting point in my fitting because of the options it creates.
  • Whether you’re a higher handicap player who struggles with contact consistency or you are just looking for a driver that is going to help maximize carry and reduce dispersion, this driver checks all the boxes. It launches high, and you can create some serious draw bias. This might sound like an oversimplification, but if you are looking for “airborn and forward,” this is a no brainer.
  • If you want maximum forgiveness and need a lower spin profile, this is a driver that you need to try. The adjustability of this club can help you lower spin with just a few clicks and makes dialing in a flight window a lot easier.

Cobra RadSpeed XB

With 28 grams of discretionary weight, the XB features 20 grams positioned in the back (14 grams of fixed weight; six interchangeable weight) and eight grams of fixed weight close to the face. This recipe is popular in high MOI drivers, but with Radial Weighting technology, it’s fine-tuned to push forgiveness to the limit.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Cobra RadSpeed launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • Cobra has separated its drivers perfectly this year, and it’s really helping golfers get into the correct configuration. The XB is up there as being one of the easier-to-hit drivers thanks to how much weight has been moved away from the face and if you put a heavier weight in the back port, it’s mega forgiving!
  • I still feel that Cobra doesn’t get the credit they deserve for building a super forgiving driver that looks and sounds really good. The adjustability is straight-forward and easy to understand, and even when it’s adjusted, it still sits neutral behind the ball.
  • If you are a neutral ball flight player who wants to get as much as you can out of your driver with some subtle draw bias, the XB is a fantastic option because you can bring it more upright with the hosel, and it’s going to help move your start line (initial launch direction) to the left without causing a big hook.
  • If you are testing this driver, 100 percent make sure to use the adjustability to your advantage, the upright setting can be a big help if you are a golfer that struggles with the occasional right miss but doesn’t want to use a “draw” type driver.

BEST DRIVERS FOR SWING SPEEDS OF 94 MPH AND BELOW

Ping G425 Max

The G425 Max has the highest MOI (a measurement of forgiveness) on the market, and its 460 cc head features a 26-gram moveable tungsten weight in the rear to help golfers dial in ball flight bias. This extra mass is also how the weight track can offer less movement on the exterior of the head while still creating the same level of movement inside the head to create a draw and fade bias compared to previous generations. It also comes in a multitude of lofts that can be further adjusted with the trajectory tuning hosel.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Ping G425 driver launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • The big fitting and consumer benefit of the Ping G425 Max is how much you can get out of this head depending on the player. It used to be that drivers geared for moderate clubhead speeds sat really closed and generally only came in higher lofts. With the Max, you get all kinds of loft options and it sits really square-to-open depending on the adapter setting.
  • The one thing to keep in mind is the G425 Max has one of the heaviest driver heads on the market, so it can start to feel a bit heavy for certain players depending on the shaft that’s being tested—but all of the Ping stock shafts are counterbalanced to help with this. With that in mind, you can custom order the CG shifter in various weights to make sure you are dialed in.
  • This driver is the undefeated king of stability. If you aren’t a range rat and want to just enjoy your time on the golf course, this one is for you.
  • For any golfer on the lowest end of the swing speed spectrum, you HAVE to try this driver with the stock Ping Alta. It’s only 40 grams and just wants to launch the ball up as fast as possible.
  • If you want a draw-biased driver now and a neutral or fade-biased driver later, the functionality engineered into this head will give you just that thanks to the CG shifter and adjustable hosel. If you arent working with the adjustment features of the G425 Max you are 100 percent missing out.

Titleist TSi1

When I say lightweight, I mean lightweight! The TSi1, in a standard configuration with its featured shaft, comes in at just over 40 grams lighter than most standard drivers. This lighter package makes it easier to control and also helps the target player gain just under 2 mph on average based on Titleist’s extensive testing.

The TSi1 driver has been optimized for moderate swing speed players—to increase club speed, resulting in faster ball speeds, more distance, and greater control, thanks to an overall lightweight design.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Titleist TSi1 driver launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • This driver works exactly as advertised and helps any golfer looking for extra speed, height, and distance. For the golfer in this speed category, the stock shafts are a perfect match to the head and keep the whole driver package as light as possible.
  • The great thing about the TSi1 from a fitting and options perspective is that it comes in a 9° loft, which helps the player that already creates an effective dynamic loft but needs help to get some extra speed. On top of that, the sure-fit hosel is key to reducing dispersion and create better start lines which result in more fairways hit.
  • If you are a golfer that has lost distance and wants to get some of it back, the lightweight package of the TSi1 is going to give you one of the best opportunities. – from the head to the featured shaft options this driver has been engineered to create speed.

Callaway Epic Max

After combining all the technology from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. The 17-gram rear sliding weight allows fine-tuning of launch and spin while the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Callaway Epic Max launch piece.

Fitter notes
  • This is another one of those drivers that excels in offering mega forgiveness alongside adjustability, and it’s fast. Our testing leads me to believe that the lighter toe panel and more heel side internal weighting helps increase the closure rate leading to impact, and that helps increase clubhead speed 1-3 mph.
  • Callaway tends to engineer their driver heads just slightly lighter than others in the market which for many players is a big advantage for adding speed, while the shaping of the head maintains forgiveness. Also for those golfers that are looking to get absolutely everything they can when it comes to distance, you can get the Epic Max in an “LD” (long drive) configuration with a 47″ shaft!

Ping G425 SFT

The G425 SFT is officially Ping’s greatest slice killer to date. Thanks to the fixed heel-biased 23-gram tungsten weight and adjusted head shaping, it offers 10 yards more left bias than the previous G410 SFT and a whopping 25-plus yards more fade correction than the G425 Max.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Ping G425 driver launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • If you slice the golf ball, the G425 SFT is going to help you have more fun on the course—it’s really just that easy to hit.
  • Don’t sleep on the stock Alta CB Slate shaft. Ping has taken its “whole club” design approach to the next level with their most recent stock shafts, and they pair very well with this head.
  • The SFT is a great driver for golfers at slower speeds even if you don’t always need “slice correction” because many golfers in this category have difficulty closing the face square at impact. This driver really helps with that.
  • When it comes to draw-bias, the design team at Ping didn’t mess around with this one, and when you add in the trajectory tuning hosel, you can bump the loft up an extra 1.5 degrees to really close it.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max

The SIM2 Max features a massive 24-gram back weight to deepen the center of gravity and boost stability. This back weight makes up almost 12 percent of the total mass, which is what helps create stability resulting in more ball speed on shots missed around the face. And when you do miss it, TaylorMade’s Twist-Face is also there to help keep shots flying straighter.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 Launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • If you need to maximize carry distance based on your usual course conditions, this driver is a bomber. Be sure to use the adjustable hosel to your advantage—it will narrow dispersion in a hurry.
  • The heavier inertia generator in the rear of the head really helps make this driver stable, and if you are looking to try out a slightly lighter platform, the weight in the sole can be ordered light to potentially help add some speed.
  • The important thing to note for golfers in this speed range is that TaylorMade has a lot of lighter-weight stock shaft options—including the Fujikura AirSpeeder—that can bring this club to life and help you swing it faster.
  • It’s amazing to me how well this driver works for so many golfers. The head in the stock setting is just ever so slightly draw-biased, but once you open the face and lower the loft, it becomes neutral to offer more workability.
  • Join the best driver of 2021 discussion in the forums!

MOST FORGIVING/STRAIGHTEST

Ping G425 Max

The G425 Max has the highest MOI (a measurement of forgiveness) on the market, and its 460 cc head features a 26-gram moveable tungsten weight in the rear to help golfers dial in ball flight bias. This extra mass is also how the weight track can offer less movement on the exterior of the head while still creating the same level of movement inside the head to create a draw and fade bias compared to previous generations. It also comes in a multitude of lofts that can be further adjusted with the trajectory tuning hosel.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Ping G425 driver launch piece.

Fitter Notes

  • If you want a big, stable, forgiving driver that’s going to allow you to quickly and easily reduce dispersion, the G425 Max is going to make golf feel a lot easier.

Callaway Epic Max

After combining all the technology from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. The 17-gram rear sliding weight allows fine-tuning of launch and spin while the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Callaway Epic Max launch piece

Fitter notes
  • If carry distance is your issue, buckle up, because the Epic Max can really help add carry and help you significantly reduce dispersion thanks to all of the adjustable features and head shape.
  • Off the rack, the driver is slightly draw-biased, but thanks to the OptiFit hosel you can fine-tune the head by going upright or flat to improve start line and then use the sliding weight to further tighten dispersion.
  • Absoutely top-notch. Even though adjustability has been around for a long time now, golfers need to get a better understanding of how the settings can have a huge impact on making a driver more forgiving for them as an individual. The Max starts off as an already forgiving head, but once you start to tweak those settings, you would be shocked with how much you can control direction and dispersion.

TaylorMade SIM2 Max

The SIM2 Max features a massive 24-gram back weight to deepen the center of gravity and boost stability. This back weight makes up almost 12 percent of the total mass, which is what helps create stability resulting in more ball speed on shots missed around the face. And when you do miss it, TaylorMade’s Twist-Face is also there to help keep shots flying straighter.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 TaylorMade SIM2 launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • If you are looking for a technology pushing driver that offers a higher ball flight, mid to lower spin and forgiveness, the SIM2 Max is a must-try.
  • I don’t want to make it sound like I keep saying the same thing but golfers need to use the hosel to help dial in ball flight. The SIM2 has a lot of loft options so you can pick a loft and then work with the adapter to move into your desired safe shot and miss. An example of this is to loft up the head and then use the sleeve to bring the loft back down – you want a 9.5° head that helps with your left miss, go 10.5° and open the face. Boom you’re dialed in!

Titleist TSi2

The TSi2 has an improved high/low inertia of 13 percent over the previous generation and in the world of engineering, single-percent advancements are considered a big step.

What really makes the TSi2 along with the rest of the TSi series drivers unique is the ATI-425 titanium face insert, allowing engineers to once again make the faces thinner to reduce weight while also increasing the overall elasticity for better ball speed retainment.

For the full technology break down check out our 2021 Titleist TSi3 driver launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • The TSi2 is the perfect blend of forgiveness, ball speed, and spin control in a traditionally shaped head.
  • Golfers need to take advantage of this driver’s adjustability – finding the right hosel setting can make all the difference and you can go the extra mile by fine-tuning the back sure-fit weight. Go heavier and you will gain stability and some potential extra launch or go lighter to add some speed.
  • Make sure you test all the shaft options that are available for this driver because its adds to the versatility – Titleist has one of the largest selections of no up-charge feature shafts of the major OEMs and you can build anything from a heavier fairway finder to ultralightweight club to suit your exact needs.

Cobra RadSpeed XB

With 28 grams of discretionary weight, the XB features 20 grams positioned in the back (14 grams of fixed weight; six interchangeable weight) and eight grams of fixed weight close to the face. This recipe is popular in high MOI drivers, but with Radial Weighting technology, it’s fine-tuned to push forgiveness to the limit.

For the full technology breakdown, check out our 2021 Cobra RadSpeed launch piece.

Fitter notes

  • The greatest performance element of the RadSpeed XB is its ability to launch the ball higher while keeping spin down when comparing loft to loft with the standard RadSpeed. This works perfectly for golfers who tend to hit the ball through a lower launch window and lose out on potential carry distance.
  • The XB is the perfect driver for a golfer that is looking for “around the face” stability, and lower spin performance in a distance driven head/model. One thing I highly recommend players try is lofting down an extra half-degree than they are used to because that extra will help lower spin and increase ball speed without creating a big change in the overall flight window.
  • If you are looking to straighten out ball flight caused by misses around the face, playing the XB with a slightly heavier weight in the back creates one very stable head. Or you can go the other way and make it lighter allowing for a longer length and some additional speed with next to no effect on total MOI.

Conclusion

The fitters consulted for this piece have accumulated data from thousands of fittings with golfers just like you. From beginners to tour players, their feedback and information can’t be undervalued.

Now it’s your turn: Everybody swings the club differently, and everybody has their own experience. We want to hear from you. What driver are you using? What did you switch from? What performance gains did you find in your own game? Share your experience to help others!

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Equipment

Korea’s FreeFlex shaft proves that lightning strikes twice

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The biggest obstacle to success is said to be a closed mind. If past innovators had not been bold in trying new things and testing conventions, we may still be playing with featheries and hickory shafts. Thanks to their pioneering ways, the game was able to evolve into the wonder that it is today and I am grateful for all the advantages I have enjoyed.

According to a recent YouTube video uploaded on TXG, one such innovative product they have tested in recent years is the Autoflex shaft. Despite the shocking pink color and a high price tag, the whippy shaft from a relatively unknown Korean manufacturer has won over a significant number of golfers with its promise of distance and accuracy while going easy on the body. The shaft opened up a whole new shaft category by itself, and after almost three years it is still pretty much the only fighter in the ring.

So why haven’t more companies been entering this niche pioneered by Dumina? The market is clearly there. Surely, there must be other manufacturers capable of putting out their own versions? Is KHT really something that no one else can figure out? Whatever the reason, there hasn’t been any serious contenders making a run at the champ. Until now, that is.

The premium ultralight shaft category has a new entrant in FreeFlex shaft… from South Korea, where else?

Ottophlex?

In the absence of established shaft makers, I did see a lot of individuals on various online forums trying to find their own version of a cheaper Autoflex. Affectionately dubbed as OttoPhlex, I have come across several impassioned posts where golfers have detailed their endeavors to find an effective replacement. To their delight, many have said their bargain shafts also produced noticeable distance gains while retaining accuracy.

That’s just awesome. I think it’s great that Autoflex generated such an interest in golfers to turn over every stone in our search for all the advantages we can get. One caveat, however, seems that an OttoFlex shaft that worked wonders for one guy sprayed the ball all over the place for another. Of the various OttoPhlex shafts I have seen online, I have yet to see a true contender that worked for a wider group of golfers like Autoflex.

In a way, Autoflex reminds me of Floyd Mayweather, Jr., the unbeaten boxing champ. Love him or hate him, one can’t deny that his boxing skills are effective. Similarly, whatever Korea Hidden Technology may be, it simply works and deserves its just dues.

One unique attribute to FF’s water color shaft is that no two shafts are the same.

A Korean Lightning Strikes Again

Now a promising new challenger has entered the ring to contend for the title of the ultra-light premium shaft. The contender, also hailing from South Korea, goes by the name of FreeFLexx (OttoPhlex was taken, obviously) and comes with an extraordinary spec sheet. And to save you readers some time, the shaft is nothing short of amazing.

Dr Seung-jin Choi, founder and CEO of SJ (Special Joy) Golf Engineering Lab, is a lifelong golfer/entrepreneur with an impressive resume and some pretty unconventional ways of thinking. With a PhD in materials engineering, he has over 30 patents in various fields, including materials engineering, architecture, and industrial design and 12 patents (and growing) in golf clubs and shaft design. His appetite for knowledge is only rivaled by his keen ability to adapt and apply them effectively to his research and inventions.

Ever since AF came on the scene, I’ve been waiting for other OEMs to offer similar tech and performance to the AF at a lower price tag so that it can be more accessible to a wider audience. Err… let me return to that idea later. 

When I first met Dr Choi, I thought I’d stepped into a golfer’s version of Dr Frankenstein’s laboratory. I’d love to mention some of the jaw-dropping golf innovations he is working on, but an embargo dictates otherwise. But I guarantee you will hear more of his mind-blowing creations soon. Just remember I said it here first.

Care for some ultra-light carbon putter shafts that can make any putter stand upright on its own? Then RolyPoly is for you. Just one of many zany things in the works at SJ Golf Lab.

Opening the box, I half-expected to see the color pink and breathed a sigh of relief at the sleek matte black carbon weave design. But aesthetics aside, the shaft had to first check all the requisite boxes for me to even consider it a true contender to the AF. After all, this weight class is not for just any AF wannabes or conventional senior-flex shafts.

To be clear, I am a big fan and user of AutoFlex shafts. But seeing the FreeFlex shaft check all the same WOW factor boxes gave me goosebumps. “Has AF finally found a match in the FF?

From Theory To Reality

According to Dr. Choi, FF technology is a totally different animal from KHT in concept and manufacturing method and is solidly rooted in measurable and verifiable science. It all began over two years ago with a single question, “Which part of the swing most determines the performance of a golf shot?”

After consulting hundreds of top amateurs and pros along with top professors in sports sciences, he determined that an effective downswing transition was key to long and accurate shots. This led to his next question, Can a shaft be made to provide golfers with a repeatable and effective downswing transition for better impact and ball control?”  With this specific goal in mind, Dr Choi embarked on his research, drawing on his 30+ years of golf experience and scientific background. To many people’s surprise, he was able to prove some pretty eye-opening facts along the way.

I’ve often said that some of golf’s commonly-held conventions should be re-examined lest we may have overlooked anything. With new materials and applications for its use being discovered each year, I definitely think new ‘breakthrough’ discoveries are possible. AF and FF are just the tip of the iceberg.

Before I begin, let me also state that I am an absolute novice when it comes to shaft engineering and manufacturing. I still don’t know what KHT is about, and I am just as ignorant about FreeFlex technology (FFT) as it, too, is veiled in secret and awaiting a patent. So bear with me as I try to explain the idea and innovation of FFT, as translated from speaking with the inventor.

The waggle test that put AF on the map can be seen in the FF as well

FreeFlex Tech – The New Secret Sauce?

Prototypes of the FreeFlex shafts were first launched in April 2022 exclusively in Korea and were tested extensively among the pros and the club fitting community. Soon, word of mouth began to spread among the pros, who were taken aback by the performance benefits of FF. More interestingly, the FF also came under scrutiny from the sports academia as well as the club fitters, most of whom were absolutely skeptical that the shaft can do what it claimed. And Dr Choi was more than happy to show the science and the research to back up his work with FreeFlex.

Having listened to the inventor, however, I can’t really fault them for being doubtful. After all, Dr Choi’s questions and unconventional thinking challenged many of the established notions that I also thought were rock solid. For example, can a single shaft exhibit two different flexes? That is, can one side can be stiff to promote accuracy while the other side is flexible to add an extra kick for more distance?

When everyone said that’s impossible, Dr Choi said “I’ll show you. Let me boot up my computer.”

“We have developed a unique shaft to which the pronate and supinate principles have been applied by considering not only the swing toque acting upon the shaft; but also in considering the warping moment and bending torsional moment to optimize Impact and MOI.” – Dr. Seung-jin Choi, inventor of FreeFlex Technology

Before all this, I thought I knew the relationship between a shaft’s flex and torque. Namely, a low torque corresponds to a stiff flex and vice-versa, and more flex may lend itself to more distance, but at the risk of less accuracy. Despite what I thought I knew, Dr. Choi informed me that this was not always the case. In fact, he found that torque and flex (CPM) can be independent of each other and that a 35g shaft with 170cpm can have a torque as low as 2.0. That’s even lower (and firmer feeling) than an extra stiff tour shaft!

In explaining how he can manipulate torque and flex in any combination desired, the actual math and science went straight over my head but I was offered a simpler explanation. Imagine that one side of the shaft has a limiter on it, while the other side has an accelerator. The limiter prevents the shaft from twisting and bending past a certain threshold to increase the chances of the shaft returning back to its original position for accuracy. In turn, the accelerator would activate on the downswing to increase club speed for added distance. As improbable as it sounds, this is the basis for FreeFlex.

But hey, we all know that anyone can talk the talk and all is for naught if it can’t perform. So can FF really put its money where its flex is?

Battle Of The Flexes

Over the past three years, many golfers have given testimony to the effectiveness of AF and I have also enjoyed my own AF to mostly good ends. While I’m not the foremost expert by any means, below is my own assessment of the similarities and differences that I have observed between AF and FF.

Overall, I found that FF not only was comparable to AF in both distance and accuracy, but it also offered three key differences which may be welcomed by golfers hesitating to pull the trigger on the pink bomber.

Observations

The first difference was the swing weight recommendation for both shafts. The AF 405 and FF 405 had similar weights (45g raw) and flex (190cpm), but the swing weight was totally different at C8 and D1.5, respectively.

From the beginning, AF shafts have frustrated many a golfer trying to get the swing weight down, since the average driver heads were too heavy. As a result, it required switching to lighter head weights or removing them altogether. In addition, certain brand club heads were not suitable for AF, and sometimes the overall driver build length had to become shorter as well. Needless to say, this irked a lot of players and golf fitters who had never encountered such hurdles in their drivers. It is a testament to AF’s performance that so many golfers have put up with it at all.

In comparison, the FF shafts seem more accommodating in this department. The recommended SW for the 38-series is at D2~D5, which should make club fitting all that much easier for a wider variety of driver heads.

FF shafts feature the weight, CPM, and torque. The bow and arrow symbolizes the idea of FreeFlex Tech, as the shaft reacts to even a small amount of energyacted upon it, much like a bow.

The second key differentiator between the two is swing mechanics. By nature, I am more of a swinger than a hitter, and AF suits my swing super well. With a slow and measured backswing and a smooth downswing transition, I have gained nearly 20 yards over my past conventional shaft. As such, many golfers have testified to benefit from slowing down and smoothing their transitions to unlock AF’s performance. However, for golfers with an aggressive or quick transition, the AF proved difficult to tame, which has led many to believe that AF is only suitable for smooth swingers.

FreeFlex, on the other hand, claims that its shafts can be swung effectively regardless of the type of downswing transitions. From my own limited testing with three friends in this regard, I can say that FF did fare better than AF for hitters with a more aggressive swing. More specifically, FF shafts were noticeably more resistant to the left side and kept hard hooks to manageable draws to keep the ball in play more often. Dr. Choi also added that the shaft is less prone to break, as it uses higher grade carbon content over its counterpart.The third big difference noted by most testers is that the FF shaft feels more stable throughout the swing. Keep in mind that feel is subjective, and “stable” here is only referring to the feel and not the actual shot result. From my experience, the AF shaft is soft and malleable on both the backswing and the downswing, which took me a few weeks to get used to and trust that the head will return to square.

In contrast, FF has the same low CPM but the shaft is noticeably firmer especially on the downswing, giving a feeling of stability. I was better able to feel where the club head was at all points of the swing, and that gave me a slight edge in confidence on the money shots. 

The three aspects were the biggest differences that were reported by FF users, and I can also agree on the observations. On a Trackman, my current AF was on average longer by 2m with a 4% smaller dispersion, while the longest single drive by each shaft favored the FF at 239m to 231m.

What gave me pause was that while AF has been my trusted gamer for the past 2+ years, I only hit the FF a couple of times since receiving it. And despite the short duration and novelty, FF performed just as well for me as AF, with the alluring promise of further fine-tuning and additional improvements to be had. Welcome to the weight division, FF.

Measurements on the butt end makes it convenient to trim the shaft to desired length.

Price And Availability

Unfortunately, FreeFlex tech shafts are currently available in Korea for the time being, though an English website is in the works at www.freeflexshaft.com for February. According to the company, offline retailers and custom fitters will soon be available to offer FreeFlex in three color options; matte carbon black, glossy carbon blue, and a one-of-a-kind custom watercolor design. 

All these ultralight and performance-enhancing factors do not lend themselves to low pricing either. The retail price of the FF driver shaft is set at $650, and while it is much higher than most premium shaft offerings on the market, it is nearly 20-percent less in comparison to the Autoflex at $790.

Aside from multi watercolor, FF comes in matte and glossy carbon weave tinged in blue color that looks amazing outdoors

For a limited time starting in February, SJ Golf is also taking applications from professional golfers and reviewers to test the FreeFlex demo shafts. Applications and inquiries can be sent to [email protected] and the company will notify the results individually. 

And there you have it. The FreeFlex shafts have arrived to join the party and I can’t wait to see who else joins this exclusive club. It would be great to see who rules this ultra-lightweight division, but no matter who is crowned champion, it will be us golfers who will be the ultimate winners.

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (1/31/23): Bettinardi Hive BB0 putter

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At GolfWRX, we are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways.

It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buying and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Bettinardi Hive BB0 putter

From the seller (@Tyrick24): “Bettinardi Hive BB0 – $1500 or trade. Indoor rolled only. Bettinardi SS Pistol GT 1.0. 35″. Lie 68*. Loft 2*.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Bettinardi Hive BB0 putter

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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Modern Classics (Ep. 3): Testing the TaylorMade Rocketballz RBZ Tour from 2012

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GolfWRX recently launched a new 8-part video series, called “The Modern Classics,” in partnership with 2nd Swing Golf. Throughout this video series, GolfWRX’s Head of Tour Content, Andrew Tursky, tests out 8 legendary used golf clubs that are still being played on Tour today. How do the older, less expensive products compare to modern technologies?

In the first two episode’s Tursky tested out TaylorMade’s Tour Preferred MC 2011 irons, and Adams Idea Pro hybrids from 2006.

For episode 3, we highlight the TaylorMade Rocketballz RBZ Tour 3-wood, which first hit the market in 2012. The fairway woods are currently available for $84.99 on 2nd Swing’s website.

Check out the video at the top of the page for more on the product, design, and how it stands up in testing against a modern 3-wood.

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