The Performance You Deserve.
THE LARGEST, UNBIASED, DATA-BASED DRIVER TEST EVER PERFORMED IN THE GOLF INDUSTRY.
We spent the past 365 days flying around the country, making conference calls, consulting with engineers, industry experts, statisticians, mathematicians. The end result of that collaboration is what we believe to be the largest, fully-independent, 100% #Datacratic driver test ever conducted.
This year’s Most Wanted Driver Test took months to complete. Our testing procedures were significantly expanded. Our test included more golfers, more drivers, and more data than ever before. 28 drivers have been put to the ultimate test. An industry standard 20 golfers just like you spent over 150 hours in testing.
Our goal is to empower the consumer with truthful and reliable information that will help you identify the best driver for your game. We celebrate all of you who love golf equipment.
This guide is for you.
How We Consider Overall Performance
To determine our Most Wanted Driver we considered four things.
- Average Yards (total distance)
- Peak Distance
While many golfers lump those last two things together, they’re not the same. We look at accuracy strictly as a measurement of how far offline a given shot is when it settles. It’s a reflection of design considerations like bulge and roll and the rate at which the face closes during the swing.
Forgiveness considers things like how well a driver maintains ball speed on off-center hits. Really what we’re looking at is whether or not launch conditions are similar from shot to shot, so in simplest terms, forgiveness is reflection of consistency, and we use those terms interchangeably. The most forgiving drivers are the ones that produce repeatable distance and don’t have huge gaps between the good shots and bad shots.
You can think of accuracy as left/right and forgiveness as front/back.
2015 Most Wanted Driver
The dust has settled, the numbers have been crunched. We’ve found our Most Wanted Driver of 2015. We’ve given you our absolute top pick of 2015. It should be at the top of your demo list. For those who might be more focused on distance, or accuracy, or forgiveness, the rest of our list highlights some of the best performers in those categories as well.
You’re wondering where to start the search for your next diver? Start right here.
- The #1 Driver in 2015
- Produced the longest average carry distance (242.6)
- Top 3 for total yards (258.3)
The Last Word: FLY-Z brings nearly everything to the table. It’s a well-balanced performer that doesn’t ask you to give up much in the way of accuracy or forgiveness to gain a bit extra on the long end.
FLY-Z is the most complete driver on this list. It’s our Most Wanted Driver of 2015.
- #1 overall for total yards
- #1 overall for distance on best shots average.
The Last Word: Not just the longest name in golf, our test results suggest Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond is also the longest driver in golf for 2015. The most intriguing thing about Double black diamond is that all of that distance comes without excessively penalty where forgiveness and accuracy are concerned. For all but the lowest spin players, it doesn’t’ get any longer than BBA815DBD.
- #2 for total yards (259)
- #3 for distance on best shots (266.1)
The Last Word: With its FlipZone weight system, Cobra’s FLY-Z+ is the most versatile driver in the test. Weight forward it’s Double Black Diamond long. With the weight back it’s the most forgiving distance-centric driver on the list. If you’re stuck between Fly-Z and Double Black Diamond, Z+ is the perfect no compromise-compromise.
- Extremely consistent across several key metrics
The Last Word: When we looked at our standard deviations across several key metrics…ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, and of course, distance, the Titleist 915 D2 was at or near the top for each. If freakishly repeatable results from one swing to the next are your thing, the D2 may just be your driver.
- #2 overall Carry Yards
The Last Word: The X7 is on this list because it proved to be the best at generating distance through clubhead speed (104.4 MPH on average – the best in the test). There are more accurate and more forgiving choices, but If you’re playing a 46” driver, we suspect the SFD X7 will deliver exactly what you’re looking for.
- #1 in forgiveness
- Top 5 for Total Yards (57.8)
The Last Word: We’d be remiss not to include the G30. It belongs on this list of our top drivers. Best ball to best ball it may not be as long as some of the others, but it’s longer than most (257.8 – #4 overall), it’s accurate-enough, and it’s the most forgiving driver we tested.
- Highest Carry Yard Average (274.4)
- Highest total yard average (291)
The Last Word: While it should be abundantly clear by now, we’ll say it one last time; The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 DBD was the longest driver we tested in 2015. Nowhere was this more apparent than with our higher swing speed players.
- Top 5 for Carry yards across all drivers in the test
- 2nd only to DBD in Total Yards
The Last Word: Nearly as long as double black diamond, FLY-Z+ tested as slightly more accurate and slightly more forgiving for our 100+ MPH testers. The group found strong performance similarities and the decision between the two may very well come down to your preference for either Gravity Core or Flip Zone weighting.
- Produced highest average ball speed (160.4) of any club on this list
- Top 5 for total yards (287.5) among higher swing speed golfers
The Last Word: Inarguably the most distance-focused entry on our list, the X7 is best suited for higher swing speed players who can consistently control the 46” shaft. While it wasn’t universal, several testers showed remarkably tight dispersion, which is doubly-impressive considering the extra length.
- The most forgiving driver for high swing speed players
The Last Word: Bubba Watson notwithstanding, PING’s G-series is too often regarded as an option for higher handicap or slower swings. Our test showed that not only can higher swing speed players produce great numbers with the G30, where forgiveness is concerned, there’s simply no better option.
- Top 5 for carry yards among higher swing speed golfers
The Last Word: Our Most Wanted Overall, the FLY-Z proved it’s not just for slower swingers. Once again it produced above average distance while holding its own for accuracy and forgiveness.
- #1 for Carry Yards (204.6)
- #2 for Total Yards (221.4)
The Last Word: As under the radar as category winner can fly, Nike’s Vapor Speed produced some of the best numbers across the board for our sub-100 set. The Vapor Speed produced more carry yards, was the most accurate, and was among the most forgiving for this group. What’s not to like?
- #1 for Total Yards (221.9)
- Most consistent driver in the Top 5 (for sub-100 swing speeds)
The higher launching, higher spinning of the two Cobra offerings in this test, FLY-Z once again showed its class as an extremely well-rounded driver.
- Top 5 for total yards (220.2)
- Top 5 for accuracy (14.9 yards offline)
The more time we spend with the data, the more we grow to appreciate the 915 D2. Like FLY-Z, D2 is an exceptionally well-rounded driver. It offers up outstanding off-the-rack performance and enough true stock shaft offerings to fit nearly anyone. The 915 D2 is exactly what we hoped it would be.
- Top 5 for accuracy
Probably not on too many sub-100 MPH guy’s lists, the Tour Edge E8 Beta made our list based on its accuracy and its peak distance (average of best shots). The fact of the matter is that some guys who don’t swing 100MPH will benefit from lower launch and lower spin. The E8 Beta proves that.
- #1 Carry Yards (204.6)
As you would expect, PING’s flagship G-series drivers has once again found itself among the best for what is inarguably the sweet spot in its target market. While our sub-100 guys did well-enough with the standard model, the SF Tec version is an option for those who fight a slice.
- The most consistent driver we tested for sub-100 MPH golfers
Much more forgiving than the SLDR, the R15 is arguably the best driver we haven’t talked about yet. While our sub-100 MPH crowd produced the best comparative results, the R15 is a driver that was seldom out of the Top 10 in any category. Our data suggest it’s the most balanced driver TaylorMade has produced in years.
- #3 in accuracy for lower swing speed players
In the Top 5 largely off the strength of it’s accuracy score, the Z745 put up solid performance across the board. Players considering a smaller head and traditional aesthetic will want to put Z745 on the demo list.
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