The Most Requested Test in MyGolfSpy History

Is newer really better? Every release cycle, golf companies claim that new equipment will outperform the metrics on past models. “Distance any way you swing it!”  “Speed with no limits!”  “The longest, straightest, best looking and best sounding drivers we’ve ever made!” You’ve heard it all. Those golf companies want you to think that if you want to improve your game you should be investing in their new technology.

But is technology developing as fast as the marketing slogans say it is? Our job is to find out. We convened a special and unprecedented test.

Every Most Wanted driver winner from 2016-2020, pitted head to head to crown the ultimate champion.

The MyGolfSpy Way

35 testers were tabbed to take 2500 combined shots with each of our previous titleholders using our Foresight GCQuad Launch Monitors .

This is the most requested test in MyGolfSpy history and the results are worth all of your inquiries and each of the 2500 swings. We calculated strokes gained values, distance, and forgiveness to determine the best performing driver of the Most Wanted Era.

5 drivers, one Best of the Best. Data doesn’t lie.

One of the best 2020 drivers golf next to other clubs

Before we reveal the results, let’s refresh our memories and take a look at the 5 past winners competing to win the Best of the Best Challenge beginning with the most senior and finishing with the freshman. And without giving it all away just yet, take note of a few performance metrics and tester remarks collected from this test.

THE CONTENDERS

TAYLORMADE M1 460 (2016 Winner)

In the 2016 test, the TaylorMade M1 posted the highest carry and total distance numbers in the field. 75% of our testers posted strokes gained values above their averages with the other drivers in the test.

Best of the Best Challenge Performance Notes

  • The consensus from testers, “This club performs!”
  • Testers also liked the feel of the TaylorMade M1 460, but as was the case in 2016, opinions on the crown design were mixed.

 SRIXON Z565 (2017 Winner)

2017 Most Wanted Recap

In our 2017 test, the Srixon Z565 outperformed Callaway’s famed Big Bertha Epic and in doing so became the only driver from a brand outside the big 5 to win a Most Wanted Test since our test pool expanded.

Test of the Best Challenge Performance Notes

  • Though testers felt the Srixon Z565 was a solid performance, many said it looked closed at address.
  • Not a favorite for sound and feel.
  • One of two drivers in the test without movable weights.

PING G400 LST (2018 Winner)

2018 Most Wanted Recap

The PING G400 LST outperformed a strong field to win the 2018 Most Wanted title while also finishing 3rd in distance.

Best of the Best Challenge Performance Notes

  • Testers were pleased with the setup and design of the PING G400 LST. Most testers enjoyed the feel
  • Offers low, but still playable spin and was an absolute fairway finder.

CALLAWAY EPIC FLASH SUB ZERO (2019 Winner)

2019 Most Wanted Recap

The Epic Flash Sub Zero beat out the Taylormade M6 and PXG 0811XF to win the 2019 Most Wanted title while finishing 2nd in Carry yards.

Best of the Best Challenge Performance Notes

  • A tester favorite with many believing the Epic Flash Sub Zero will be the winner.
  • Ball Speed is a strength of Callaway drivers, so it’s not surprising that the Epic Flash Sub Zero generated the highest ball speeds in the test.

PING G410 LST (2020 Winner)

2020 Most Wanted Recap

The G410 LST beat both the Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero and Cobra KING Speedzone Xtreme to win the 2020 Most Wanted test. It finished the test #1 in strokes gained and #3 in driving distance.

Best of the Best Challenge Performance Notes

  • One of the best feeling drivers, if not the best, based on tester feedback.
  • Over the years, PING has continually made an effort to create an identifiable, acoustic sound. The PING G410 LST continues that dedication.
  • Testers found fairways at a high rate than with other drivers. Long enough and as straight as they come.

THE RESULTS

This is what you came for, smash the play button and find out if newer really is better.

You could leave now, but we’re just getting started. Let’s dig in to the results.

A LOOK AT THE PODIUM

THE DATA

IN-DEPTH WITH THE CHAMP

Best Drivers for 2020 - PING G410 LST

While newer isn’t always better, this time around it was. Two generations of the LST family made it into our pool of 5 winners. The G400 LST was a top performer and it took significant effort at PING to improve upon the award-winning design. Frankly, we were skeptical that it was possible to improve upon G400 LST.

With the G410 LST (and the 410 Plus), PING added a moveable weight, which expanded its fitting capabilities. The flat setting at the hosel made it much more appealing to players looking to take the left side out of play or fade the ball just a bit.

The Best of the Best Winner is a result of PING’s approach to create a well-rounded driver that suits a variety of players. It’s rarely the absolute longest driver for any tester, but its seldom far off. Besides, the forgiveness, consistency, and propensity for finding fairways more than make up for an extremely small distance sacrifice.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Newer Is Not Necessarily Better

Yes, the newest driver won, but a five-year-old driver finished second overall in this test. In fact, the top 3 drivers in this test were separated by less than a yard and the top 4 were less than 2 yards apart.

The reality is that the USGA has manufacturers more or less on lockdown. Real advancement typically takes 3-5 years to materialize and even then breakthrough technology stories are largely cover for tighter tolerances made possible by new materials and improved manufacturing processes.

Year to year most of the rest comes by way of paint, subtle refinements to center of gravity positions, and of course, one hell of a good story.

Sometimes newer will work better for you. Very often newer will be the same and sometimes it will be worse.

Callaway Drivers are Fast

Best Distance - Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero

Best Distance - Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero

What do you expect from a product with the word "flash" in it? Distance, fueled by ball speed is the name of the game for Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero. It took the coveted crown for distance in the Head to Head Test.

It’s not the least bit surprising to see the Epic Flash Sub Zero on the top of the table for both distance and ball speed.

Since 2016 Callaway drivers have produced the fastest speeds in three of our five driver tests. For what it’s worth, while Callaway wasn’t #1 in 2019, its drivers ranked 2nd and 3rd for the metric.

While 2015 was a bit of an off-year for the brand, Callaway drivers also produced the highest average distance in three of four tests since 2017. As with ball speed, TaylorMade finished on top in 2019, with Epic Flash and Epic Flash Sub Zero finishing a close second and third.

It’s a remarkable run that should cement Callaway’s position as the kings of both distance and ball speed.

Consistency is the Name of the Game for PING

Best Forgiveness - PING G400 LST

Best Forgiveness - PING G400 LST

It shouldn't be a surprise a PING topped the forgiveness chart in this Head to Head Test. The PING G400 LST was a standout in 2018. Its production was on full display in this test as well.

Never the absolute fastest or the absolute longest, PING seems to have figured out balanced performance in a way many of its competitors haven’t. No matter how we crunch it, PING drivers continue to be at or near the top of the table for forgiveness, our testers hit fairways with them, and they do it without struggling for distance.

That last bit is especially true for the LST model which has won Most Wanted tests across consecutive generations. It’s the only model in the history of Most Wanted test to achieve that feat and with the G425 LST slated for the 2021 test, we’re as anxious as anyone to see if the LST can go 3 for 3.

The bottom line is that we’re always going to get professionally fit for every club in your bag, but if, for whatever reason, you choose to roll the dice on an off the rack driver…hey, no judgment, but we’d recommend taking your chances with PING.

THE RESULTS AND YOUR GAME

Death, taxes, and the annual flood of new drivers. These are inevitable. While nothing good comes from the first two, the latter brings with it a fresh new round of promises and optimism for longer drives and lower scores.

Real or otherwise, the advancement of technology will continue and performance will improve…albeit by incrementally smaller margins with each passing year. With that, it’s important to note that while the newest driver in this test was the best driver, there are no guarantees it means better performance for you.

Our advice is to disregard logos, get fit, and find the driver that works best for your game. That’s what Power to the Player is all about.

What do you think of the results? Is your favorite sitting on the throne? Let us know.