2014 MOST WANTED – DRIVER (Overall Awards)
Drivers

2014 MOST WANTED – DRIVER (Overall Awards)

2014 MOST WANTED – DRIVER (Overall Awards)

The Moment of Truth

Before we reveal our Most Wanted Driver of 2014, I want to take a moment to thank all of the companies who participated in this year’s test. Each did so knowing how we test, and fully aware that their driver (or drivers) might not win, or might not even finish in the top 10. While other bowed out, these guys all had the stones to go head to head with the competition.

Seriously guys, a round of applause for everyone.

We work off averages. If you look at our numbers (and we definitely recommend you do), there is very little difference between top and bottom. As they almost always have, on a year to year basis, results chart along a predictable bell curve. The middle is thick, and performance is very similar. The numbers reflect that. There are occasional standouts, and we believe we’ve identified them accordingly.

We also believe there isn’t a bad driver in this bunch. Even at the bottom, below average performance more often not reflects either limited or unique fitting variables. It really is that simple.

We Will Get Better

As I said at the beginning of this thing, our goal is to do the best test we possibly can, learn from it, and continue to get better each and every season. The response to this year’s test and our results has not been universally positive, and we couldn’t be happier about that. Without constructive criticism there is absolutely no reason nor incentive to improve.

It is absolutely humbling to have a reached a place where our tests receive the level of scrutiny that they do. At the same time, we’re immensely proud of the position we’ve carved for ourselves within this industry. We could not have achieved anything without your support.

As a result of this test we have already received a tremendous amount of feedback (some of it more constructive than others) from our readers, and the golf companies who participated in this test. Based on discussions we’ve already have, and discussions I anticipate having down the road, I will reiterate my promise to all of you:

We will continue to get better.

And now, without any further delay, allow me to present MyGolfSpy’s 2014 Most Wanted Driver.

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You’ve already seen the numbers, so let’s keep it really simple here.

The TaylorMade SLDR is MyGolfSpy’s 2014 Most Wanted Driver.

overall-driver-2
We rely on the data, and more specifically our total driving averages to determine MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Driver of 2014, and based on the PING G25 finishes a very close 2nd.

For those who place a premium on accuracy, you can make a damn strong case for the PING G25. It finished #2 overall for distance, and #1 overall for accuracy in this year’s test. If you insist on buying off the rack, the G25 is a better place to start than most.

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With strong showings for both distance and accuracy, Nike’s VRS Covert 2.0 the biggest disappointment of 2013 is the most pleasant surprise of 2014. What a difference a year makes, right?

Since this is the last day of data, I’m going to make a tremendously bold prediction. Next year, I’m betting Nike wins this thing. That’s right. I said that.

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We’ve been hearing amazing things about ONOFF drivers for years. Given the suspect performance of other JDM designs we’ve had in for review, we were admittedly skeptical.

We suspect that prior to this test most of you had never heard of on ONOFF and their 1-2 punch of the Type-D and Type-S drivers. Given what we saw in our test, the ONOFF name is probably one you’re going to want to remember.
overall-driver-5

Surprise, surprise, surprise (I’m not actually surprised), here’s the PowerBilt Air Force One rounds out our top 5. The numbers were excellent among our lower swing speed players, and we think we probably could have done better at the higher swing speeds too.

You won’t find many companies who offer a better selection of stock shafts, and you won’t find many heads that perform better either. Joke all you want about the Nitrogen, this one is legit.

overall-driver-5-1

The Yonex I-EZONE TX sits in a tie for the #5 spot, Top 5 is pretty damn good. While it proved to be a solid all-round performer, realistically we think it’s better suited for guys who benefit from a little less spin.

Also worth mentioning, while some will love the smaller head and deep face, it probably won’t appeal to everyone.

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Not to get all sappy on you, but the presence of Cleveland Golf near the top of this list is almost heartwarming.

Despite my personal affection for the Classic Driver, their recent wood lines have fallen off the radar a bit. The 588 series should put them back on it. Higher swing speed players will appreciate the versatility (and accuracy) of the custom, while slower swing speed players should benefit from the lightweight, but controllable Altitude model.

overall-driver-7

Tour Edge falls into the top 10 based largely on the strength of the Beta head. While gearheads will bemoan the “made for” shafts, the reality is that the Tour Edge variants play similarly enough to their aftermarket counterparts that most won’t notice the difference.

The standard model is good, but for high speed, high spin players we can’t say enough about the XCG7 Beta.  It’s an absolute must-try that probably won’t get the attention it deserves.

overall-driver-8

In a test with more than a few surprises, the Mizuno JPX-EZ was arguably among the biggest.

Last season’s model was heavily skewed lower swing speed players and guys who don’t need any sort of help controlling spin. This year’s model is much more balanced, and should prove a much better fit for a larger population of golfers.

overall-driver-9

Without question the source of 98% of the backlash directed at this test has centered on Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha. While some will point to its #10 finish as some sort of proof that everything we’ve done here is invalid, I would argue that no driver in this test more clearly validates our methodology.

With only 1 loft and 1.5° degrees of adjustability, the Big Bertha Alpha is the single most limited entry in our test, and despite those fitting limitations it still finished 10th overall, while producing some of the longest drives in our test. That’s actually exceeding expectations. Big Bertha Alpha almost unquestionably one of the top drivers of 2014, but c’mon, where would you realistically think it would finish given the limited options?

overall-driver-10
We go by the data here, and the data says that Cobra’s BiO Cell+ is a solid, performer. If you look at the numbers, like most of the drivers anywhere in the mix, the BiO Cell+ wasn’t that far off. There’s no good reason not to give this one a try.

I’m personally a big fan of Cobra drivers (I played one most of last season), and properly fit (and that’s almost always the key) BiO Cell+ is a compelling offering for higher spin players..

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TaylorMade’s SLDR once again finishes on top, this time for our high swing speed guys.

There’s really not much left to say at this point, but we think it’s worth mentioning that despite cries of low MOI by some of its competitors, shot for shot, the SLDR was among the most consistent clubs our testers hit.

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As we’ve been saying from nearly the onset of this thing, the Tour Edge XCG7 Beta deserves a serious look from guys looking for a low-spinning beast of a driver.

If you fit that description and you’re looking for a serious alternative to the industry noise makers, there’s a good chance we may have found your next driver.

overall-hss-3
Can anybody really be surprised to see the PING i25 near the top for higher swing speed players?

The i20 was one of the best drivers we’ve ever tested, and quite frankly, we think the i25 is better still. While it won’t offer the best fit for everyone (what will?), and some may prefer the added forgiveness of the G25, the i25 is certainly worth a look for those who want the look of what’s generally regarded as a better player’s driver, but would prefer not to sacrifice much in the way of playability.

overall-hss-4
We’ve talked about the forgiveness of the G25, what’s perhaps more impressive is its versatility.

Despite being the highest spinning driver in the PING lineup, the company provides enough variety in loft and shaft options that some higher spin players will be able to take advantage of the forgiveness and won’t lose distance while doing it.

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Rounding out the top 5 is Sinister Golf’s Agent Orange.

The Agent Orange produced some of the longest drives in our test (and not just among higher swing speed players). Reports from our testers suggest it’s probably not among the most forgiving drivers on the market, but for guys who looking for more yards, without too much loss in accuracy, Orange may be your color (I’m not proud of that line).

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overall-lss-1
We’ve said everything that can possibly be said about the TaylorMade SLDR, so let’s just take a moment to reflect on the results.

Although it didn’t rank among the leaders for accuracy, it’s reasonable to say it finished within the margin of error for the average range. For both Distance and Total Driving (Most Wanted – Best Overall) the SLDR finished at the top overall, and for both higher and lower swing speeds. That’s a clean sweep for everything and anything involving distance.

I’d never suggest anyone buy any driver blindly, but do you need any more reason to find a qualified fitter and find out if SLDR is right for you?

overall-lss-2
The ONOFF (Type D specifically) has consistently put itself near the top of our ranking for lower swing speed players.

It’s reasonable to assume that the $800 price tag is going to raise some eyebrows, but we know there’s a few of you willing to pay a little extra for something a bit outside of the every day.
overall-lss-3
As we did with the SLDR, let’s just take a moment to reflect on where PING’s G25 finished in this year’s test.

#2 Distance overall. # 2 Distance – Low Swing Speed. #1 Accuracy Overall. #1 Accuracy – High Swing Speed. #2 Most Wanted Driver – Overall. #4 Most Wanted Driver – High Swing Speed. #3 Overall Most Wanted Driver – Low Swing Speed. Impressive, right?

overall-lss-4
If you want to step outside golf’s mainstream and don’t want to dig deep in your wallet to do it, we don’t think there are many better options than PowerBilt’s Air Force One.

You may have to endure a few Nitrogen jokes along the way, but when you’re consistently hitting your second shot last, you’ll be the one doing the laughing.

overall-lss-5
It won’t get the attention of Callaway’s Big Bertha, or TaylorMade’s SLDR or JetSpeed, but we can’t think of a good reason why slower swing speed players shouldn’t look at the Cleveland 588 Altitude.

While many of the other drivers in this test are designed for a wide audience (and some do an excellent job serving the masses), like Wilson’s D-100 the Altitude series is designed for guys looking for a speed boost for the club – and it works.

Full 2014 Most Wanted Driver Coverage

:: Coming Soon – MyGolfSpy’s 2014 Most Wanted Driver Test
:: 2014 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver – It’s Go Time
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Distance Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Accuracy Awards
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Overall Winners
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Tester’s Pick
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – Beyond the Data
:: 2014 Most Wanted Driver – The Data 

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      Golfangel

      9 years ago

      I love your site MGS ! I love your reviews ’cause I love golf, technic and beautiful woods and irons!
      I’m scratch (in fact pro PGA teacher) and I am always happy to discover new clubs or fresh golf articles or news.
      But…when golfers will undestand that,since approximatively 10 years at least, no matter the golf driver head you play (at the same quality level, of course), the only thing who really matters is…THE SHAFT.
      For example : I’ve tried the G30 or the 915 D3 who both are excellent clubs. So I’ve tried them with a fujikura motore speeder 7.2 stiff on each club (set to 9.5°). Results : amazing average distance ! 274, 2 yards carry average for the G30 (on 50 balls/115 mph) total distance 296,1 average with roll and 274,8 yars carry average for the 915 D3 (50 balls, 115 mph) total distance 296,8 . Wow ! Trackman numbers with real pro V1x and outside range.
      Wow ! ? Wait a minute…
      The same day after a short rest I took my old Cleveland Launcher Ti 460 upgraded with the same shaft. Results : the same ! 274,4 yards carry average for the old (2006) Ti 460 with a little bit of roll more 297,3 (maybe the 8.5° loft ?)
      So, let’s be serious, I don’t want to ruin any reputation but the truth (my truth ?) is:
      No matter the (good) driver head you play, play a good shaft fit to your physical abilities and enjoy golf. And if you like a new driver buy it…and throw the stock shaft in the garbage can to exchange it for…your shaft.
      So, I will continue to read all of you my golf friends…and to dream with you.
      Eric

      Reply

      Michael D

      9 years ago

      Totally agree GolfAngel. I play (and really like) my Nike Covert tour 2.0 driver. I recently upgraded the Mitsubishi Rayon Kuro Kage silver shaft to a Fujikura Motore Speeder stiff 661 and reached unheard of performance for my low/mid 100+ driver speed. The shaft took away any harshness on off center strikes, and just feels like “stored power unleashed” when I get it right. Its amazing. I hit my personal best drives (several holes by a wide margin) on my home course in Spokane WA with this combination during the first 2 weeks of using it! My wish is that all gofers could personally experience what it feels like to have a high quality aftermarket shaft in their current driver. My opinion is the hype about drivers is very overblown. We golfers ought to be looking at the amazing shafts coming out all the time. The shaft is where the performance gains can now be realized. The game is much more fun when the shaft fits and performs.

      Reply

      Bruce N

      10 years ago

      Since I don’t have (or make) the time to practice enough, I was looking for a way to get more distance off the tee, because hitting a driver is just not as easy for me as it might be for others,,rather than continuing to hit the longest hybrid I could,, I recently purchased a 12 degree, SLDR Mini-Driver,, and based on the stats that are shown, (with my Avg swing speed of 92-95mph), I am surpassing what is shown for -100mph swing speeds,,,,,,
      I would reccomend for the player who does have trouble controlling the ball flight with a full length driver, to look at the SLDR Mini driver,,,,

      Reply

      mike e

      10 years ago

      I appreciate all the effort put in to these tests…but I believe that distance is the function
      of where each individual swing has the greatest club speed at the moment of impact with
      the golf ball…therefore even though the SDLR came out on top it doesn’t necessarily mean
      that it will be the top driver for you. In may case, for example, I play senior bassara shaft
      titliest woods. It is the shaft and kickpoint that give me the distance I have. I have tried the SLDR in a senior flex and it was not as far, in fact it was substantially shorter. So for older golfers
      don’t jump at the stats…get fitted

      Reply

      Mbwa Kali Sana

      10 years ago

      I bought the PING G 25 after this review ,though it was theoretically topped “by the TAYLOR MADE SLDR .But the SLDR is far too difficult to play with ,while the G 25 is easy and fun .
      I now have the new G 30 ,which is even better than the G 25 .A pure joy of wielding it !

      Reply

      Mackdaddy

      10 years ago

      Can you please compare the top 5 for this year to last year?

      Reply

      Robert

      10 years ago

      Guys,
      You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t!
      Your results give info for thought.
      The only way to buy is to go to a recognised fitting centre and get custom fit.
      I was fit for Calloway Razr Fit Extreme 9.0 with Project X Black 7.0.
      Thanks for the review.

      Reply

      froneputt

      10 years ago

      More confused, which is good … and bad.

      It just tells me that drivers are different for everyone.

      Bottom Line is try a bunch, and see what your numbers say, not someone else’s numbers.

      Reply

      Neil

      10 years ago

      Awesome testing by you guys. I put the SLDR in the bag back during its original release. This was well before the loft up campaign by TMAG and it took about a week and a loft up swap out to maximize the driver’s potential for my swing. Not only is this driver longer than anything I have gamed, but it is also very accurate after I found the right shaft for it. Being a complete golf equipment nut, I have tried several drivers in many combinations since, but none has beaten the SLDR. So, from my personal experience, I agree with your testing. The SLDR is No. 1 for 2014.

      Reply

      JAMR

      10 years ago

      This is why I have always been a fan of MGS you guys put in a tremendous effort and time testing equipment as fairly and accurately as possible. I know I can trust that the results are honest and not skewed by advertising $$$. However I do take it with a grain of salt as what may work for some may not work for me. Based on this years Most Wanted I decided to test out the Taylormade SLDR (10.5 neutral /stock stiff shaft)and Nike Convert 2.0 Tour (10.5 neutral/stock stiff shaft) and pit it against my old faithful or not so faithful Cally RAZR X Black gamer(9.5 stock stiff shaft). I picked the Nike Convert just because the cavity back looked interesting to try out and I have never ever tried a Nike club in my life. Here’s my results averaged out with 5 swings per club:

      Head Speed Ball Speed Spin Offline Carry Total Dist Longest Dist

      RAZR X Black 101 145.3 3822 -44 244 265.9 282.8
      NikeCover 2.0Tour 102.25 149.7 2837 -31 252.5 276.6 296.4
      Taylormade SLDR 104 151.1 2707 5.4 261.7 286.6 302.2

      Gonna have to bag the SLDR. Wow thought I was bombing my current driver as I am usually the longest in my group by at least 5yds. Wait till they get a load of me.

      Reply

      raduray

      10 years ago

      What would have been really useful in the data section is the actual driver configuration for each tester/club combo (e.g. loft, shaft, customizable setting, etc).

      Or did I miss it?

      Reply

      bobbycj

      10 years ago

      In 2013 I took the data from the test, went to a shop, hit the top 5 “most wanted” and ended up walking out with an Adams Fast 12 LS because my numbers were better with it than the others. I bombed it all year and am very satisfied with the purchase. The 2013 G25 hasn’t changed, in 2013 it was rated 5th in distance, 13th in accuracy and 6th overall. In 2014 it was rated 2nd (1st in accuracy). I read the explanation above that the testers are different….same analogy as to why the LS was best for me. However, I was a single sample of one person testing. Given the large sample of testers for 2014 (and 2013) I would think the “trend” would be for one club to outperform others. In 2013 the G25 trended far below the 2014 test. If I was in the market for a new driver I’d pick-up a discounted 2013 model and start my testing at the shop with all the drivers that beat the G25 in 2013.

      Reply

      Warwick Weedon

      10 years ago

      Went to the LGS yesterday to see what all the hype was about. My SS is 90 and I play off a 7 h/c.

      SLIDER – worst driver I hit. Poor launch angle 10* launch angle. Spin rate was below 2000!!

      CALLAWAY ALPHA – best feel, straight as an arrow on good swings, best figures all round but it only came in a stiff shaft and was the most expensive by a long way. What decided me against it was I had a couple of bad swings and the ball went nowhere!!

      PING I25 – the best overall driver for me with the best feel/sound and decent figures. A bit on the pricey side though.

      They did not have the Covert 2.0 or Adams XTD and will make up my mind after that and speak to my bank manager.

      Reply

      Erik

      10 years ago

      Hi. Thanks for a great test. Still waiting for the data behind the numbers though. When will that be coming?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      With a little luck, some time next week. Creating the charts takes quite a bit of time.

      Reply

      Erik

      10 years ago

      Thanks. Will be interesting indeed.

      Langbraten74

      10 years ago

      Even if it has been discussed above several times, I would like to make a case for evaluating the way the Overall Winner is calculated.

      The current model, as I understand it takes Average distance – Yards off-line if all shots were the same lenght. But fairway % is not in the mix.

      Even if I don’t necessarily think it would be better to only use Fairway% I think it should be used in some fashion. As I see it the first 5-15 yards off line might be a fully acceptable trade-off to get a little extra distance, until the point when I leave the fairway and start getting into trouble. So 15 might be OK but 17 is hurtful as those 2 yards are “into the rough/bunker/out-of-bound” and all other misery.

      For this reason I think fariway% should be included into the equation somehow. One example that could be user is to calculate overall with the following formula “Distance – 3 x (Yards offline x (1-Fairway%))” With this formula a small premium is placed on drivers that stay on the fairway without changing the concept of TrueAccuracy. The factor 3 is just to make sure the deduction stays in the same range as Yards Offline. As the average fairway% is 67% or 2/3, a times 3 multiplier will give a small premium to high fairway% and a disadvantage to a dirver with a low number. I think this makes sense.

      By the way, using this formula the top 5 drivers overall would be;

      1) Ping G25
      2) OnOff Type D&S
      3) Nike Covert 2
      4) Cobra BioCell+
      5) Cleveland 588

      Slider would be found at 10th place and Callaway BB would be last…I wonder what that would do to the Twitter flow :-)

      Reply

      Warwick Weedon

      10 years ago

      I really enjoy these tests, the results and the debate that surrounds them (excepting for MikeB). I marvel at Tony’s patience and politeness in answering the same questions over and over again!! We all realise that golf is not an exact science and that these tests are just a guideline and not the bible and we still have to make decisions based on our own abilities and limitations. Thank you.

      Reply

      C-Mac

      10 years ago

      I’m not buying into all the hype on the TM SLDR. I hit one at my local golf store and couldn’t hit it straight to save my life. And it was not long for me. All swings were right, majorly right. One was 95 yrds. right almost off the grid. Couldn’t get it much over 250. I was hitting the stock speeder 57 stiff 9.5 deg. Picked up a Ping i25 8.5 tour stiff and I was hitting it 285-300 down the center line. Best was 307 just 6 yds. right of center. Maybe with a different shaft the TM might have hit better but the stock Speeder 57 didn’t do it for me.

      Reply

      Patrick Lee

      9 years ago

      @C-Mac, There are 2 things in life, at this time, that are certain, 1. Taylormade and 2. Titleist Pro V1 and V1x, kinda like death and taxes. Your story about the Taylormade compared to a Ping driver is unbelievable. Here’s the specifications on my Taylormade SLDR; 430cc head, 77gram Motore Speeder stiff shaft and tour spec. 7.3–I am turning age 61, in about 3 weeks. I hit drives consistently over 250-260 with roll out to 280 and sometimes farther. The bottom line is that Taylormade is longer and more accurate but as with any club the shaft is the difference. As well you did not mentiion the the specs of that Ping driver. Your story about the comparison is not only unbelievable but it’s a flat assed untruth. No way is a stock Talormade SLDR going to be 50 yards shorter than your Ping, period!!

      Reply

      Joe Hawkins

      9 years ago

      Its possible that C-Mac didnt have the Talormade properly adjusted and didn’t give it a fair chance BUT your assertion that Taylormade is longer AND more accurate than the ping doesn’t reflect the data from this test.

      I got fitted for a 12deg G25 with x-stiff shaft last year and love it…tested the new turbulator and the new TM Adjustomatic in a booth the other day and these test results pretty much proved themselves. I could hit the TM 5-10 yards further on occasion but hit the ping straight more consistently.

      somecalmetim

      10 years ago

      Of course TM is longer, everybody knows that TM fudges with the loft on all their clubs so they seem to get a couple extra yards…What good does SLDR’s extra 5 yards give you, even IF (<= Big IF) its on every shot, that hitting out of the rough or the woods doesn't take away on the next shot? Chuckled and winced as two of my friends wasted last year hitting unfitted distance clubs that weren't right for them/got them way further into trouble (TM R1 and Cobra Long Tom)…Got fitted for a 12deg X-Stiff G25 and love it…Spent all year hitting my second shot 1st from the fairway (When they could keep it straight) and my third shot last…

      Started out golfing with a set of TM R7's and loved them but since then TM has continued to put out gimick club after gimick club…all these adjustment weights, knobs, sliders and buttons are expensively marketed but its more about TaylorMade making more money by only having to manufacture 1 club "to rule them all" than it is about actually fitting your unique little snowflake of a swing…

      Reply

      Regis

      10 years ago

      I think you’ve nailed it right on the head. The SLDR comes in 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 ,12 degree and now 14 degree lofts. All adjustable plus or minus 1.5 degrees. The reason TM is so successful is that they “fudge with the loft” on their clubs as “everyone knows”. I think I’ll join you in a “chuckle” and “wince” at all those poor clowns who might go out and demo the SLDR and maybe even buy one

      Reply

      somecalmetim

      10 years ago

      I assume you are “attempting” to be “sarcastic” or do some brand damage control, but I have played R7 and Burner Irons and R7 and Burner Drivers…With the burners irons especially I found they were indeed longer per club but also a lower ball flight with more roll, less grab and more problems clearing obstacles. If you do some research you will find that most clubs actually are not the loft that is stamped on the head when measured. This is usually explained away with +/- 1deg manufacturing tolerances but the difference is commonly more than that when measured. It would be costly to ensure that each club is “exactly” the right loft, but its sells a lot of clubs if you widen your tolerances to allow clubs through that are even 1/2 degree strong compared to the stamp because you get clubs that go further in a booth than other clubs of the “same” degree. You don’t have to ask “everyone” just an experienced pro/club fitter.

      somecalmetim

      10 years ago

      I assume you are attempting to be “sarcastic” or do some brand damage control, but I have played R7 and Burner Irons and R7 and Burner Drivers…With the burners irons especially I found they were indeed longer per club but also a lower ball flight with more roll, less grab and more problems clearing obstacles. If you do some research you will find that most clubs actually are not the loft that is stamped on the head when measured. This is usually explained away with +/- 1deg manufacturing tolerances or but the difference is commonly more than that when measured. While it is true that it would be costly to ensure that each club is “exactly” the right loft, but it is also true that it sells a lot of clubs if you widen your tolerances to allow clubs through that are even 1/2 degree strong compared to the stamp because you get clubs that go further in a booth than other clubs of the “same” degree. You don’t have to ask “everyone” about TM lofts just an experienced pro/club fitter.

      It doesn’t matter if you like TM or not, unless you have your club professionally measured before you buy, you are most likely not buying the club you think you are.

      Jason

      10 years ago

      I love the test read every word as you guys slow dripped the info over days (understadable it’s a big test I am sure you want to get as many page views as possible). Thanks to MGS for conducting it.

      Real loser seems to be Callaway and Titleist. I wonder if the Titleist people are wondering if they could have won with last years model. Callaway complaining about the results is not a good look for them. If I was Callaway I would announce very soon that they will participate next year and send MGS every variation they have.

      The real winner here is the G25 since it is a year old model. A previous commentor mentioned that PING does not drop their prices and that is true. I was looking to purchase a driver last year it was between the G25 and the RBZ2 I waited a few months and was able to find a new RBZ2 for 175 while the G25 price proint never moved from 300+. I really wanted the G25 because I hit it a tad bit better but not $125+ better so I now I own the RBZ2.

      I would like to see more testers next year 6 is acceptable but imagine the data with 24. The test would take signifigantly longer to complete but it would be worth it. Maybe even take some volunteers from the community. Even if you don’t think its necessary it would remove a major complaint from the haters.

      Reply

      TwoSolitudes

      10 years ago

      There was some debate on the initial contest thread about what impact this event actually has, and if its is worth it for brands to take part.

      So today – based on the results of this test- I went and tried out both the G25 and the SLDR against my XL Classic Custom. Now the G25 I would have tried out anyway, but I never would have gone near a SLDR without the results of this test.

      The G25 performed as I expected. Straight high shots, but just way way too much spin for me. The design just does not agree with my swing. It was the same with the G20 and G15. The Rapture V2 was the last Ping driver that really worked for me. I have a big spin issue though- if you don’t, then straight high long shots would be a pretty nice combination. The G25 is also pretty loud. Maybe the i25 would be better even with my 85-90 swing speed.

      The SLDR frankly stunk at 9* and 10.5*. But once i jacked it up to 12* I started to see some really nice balls. Almost as good as my Classic. If I could have tried out a 14* I bet I would have seen performance equal to the Classic. Really impressive. I still don’t think it is as forgiving as the Cleveland (but at 14* it might be), and it all looks a little cheap and fragile- but it is a great club.

      So did the test make a sale? No. But because of this I will put TM back on the radar. Given the release pace of TM I am expecting a sharper looking SLDR model soon. When that comes I will get take the 14* out for a run and who knows- I might bag my first TM driver since the Supersteel.

      Reply

      Christian

      10 years ago

      This discussion is so silly!

      The one important result of this test: Get fit ! Don’t be a company ho, any driver could be the best for you and your swing!

      Nice work @mygolfspy team!

      Reply

      Tom T

      10 years ago

      I still don’t understand how Taylormade basically took a Mizuno idea (the fast track) and didn’t get called out on it. Maybe Mizuno didn’t patent it?

      Reply

      Jon D

      10 years ago

      There is a difference between the Mizuno and the SLDR. By the way both got patents, turns out Taylormade actually got theirs before Mizuno, it just took them a lot longer to develop the concept and bring it to market.

      Reply

      John Barry

      10 years ago

      As always, impressed by the amount of work our Spies put in. I am sure there is even more than on the surface and what I think is behinds the scenes, to that, I want to thank the My Golf Spy Crew.

      As mentioned several times, getting fit for your driver will be the best solutions, but this list is a great starting point to begin your quest for a Big Dog!

      Reply

      Bill

      10 years ago

      Been following this testing long enough now that the responses are fairly predictable.
      All have validity but with the advent of adjustable drivers and the PGA limits on design, you’d think it would be more a matter of desired aesthetics and brand loyalty once you’ve been fitted accurately. Many if not most on here are longtime enthusiasts and could probably find a workable solution from all the head makers with the right shaft. High handicappers that buy off the rack probably gain the most from this but there’s great info for every golfer.
      The funny part is that in the end, it amazes me how differently drivers perform, especially high end ones. Spin rates and launch angles and drivers bodies and swing mechanics make for huge differences. That Powerbilt consistently makes a competitive driver for so much less tells you what marketing costs. I’m just spewing thoughts here but I love the numbers based tests versus gold and silver assigned by advertising dollars. I also love that there’s arguments for half a dozen clubs that could be defined as “best off the rack”. Makes winter go by much easier. Thanks, guys.

      Reply

      Peter

      10 years ago

      Surprised x2hot did not stand out too much this year

      Reply

      Chris(He who can't hit the G25)

      10 years ago

      Yesterday, I picked up BBs(1,3&5) and took the opportunity to once again confront the PingG25.Alas, I was once again spurned. I then had an epiphany. Last year I banished my I20s to the basement and opted to game a set of MP54s. This year I traded the I20s and am awaiting the delivery of my Apex with Recoils. It’ OBVIOUS! I have been cursed by the ghost of Karsten.

      Reply

      kakashi54

      10 years ago

      Great work MGS I have been eagerly awaiting the results of the tests. I bought the Xhot because of last years test and love it. I am really disappointed that the Bomtech didn’t send a driver in it would have been interesting too see how it would have preformed.

      Reply

      Shark

      10 years ago

      A few questions?
      #1 can u use robots next year?
      #2 can u use 1 std shaft next yr?
      #3 can u ignore length next yr?
      #4 can u use robots to compute results next yr?
      #5 can u explain why the longest driver of entire group won?
      #6 can u answer why u don’t like short drivers?
      #7 can u tell me where to buy a robot?

      ….. #8 can u tell I’m joking? :)

      I love your little site. Big fun, big info in small package. Keep up the good work…. Please don’t give into the robots…. as long as my swing does not resemble a iron Byron… I need real life experiences.

      Reply

      Bart

      10 years ago

      I’m MikeB’s sponsor. Sorry, he hasn’t been coming to meetings for a while. MikeB, please, go to bed. Everything will be better in the morning, I promise.

      #troll #enjoyyourpersimmonwoods #bye

      Reply

      Johnnythunders

      10 years ago

      I thought last years test was interesting but this confirms that your test confirms drivers in particular and golf clubs in general have reached a commodity status, they are pretty much all the same. There is no more magic to be found in reading this site or any other site tests. Go hit them yourself on a course, pick what looks good and buy whats on sale. All the fanboys can endlessly debate whats the best drivers, your test concludes it doesn’t really matter anymore. Good luck, you just put yourself out of business.

      Reply

      Hubijerk

      10 years ago

      Frankly, I think MGS does as good a job as can be expected, is it perfect, no, but they readily admit that. Without the ability to spare no expense, and use 10x more testers this is about as good as you can do. As far as the results, I am a bit surprised by Callaways poor showing, however I understand the circumstances that lead to it, the lack of fitting options combined with the limited tester pool equates to difficulty maximizing equipment potential.

      I have hit the SLDR, and it is without question a solid driver, for me, mainly because of how different it is from everything else Taylormade makes in look and feel. But I ended up sticking with my Razr Extreme because while I was getting 15 degrees of launch with 17-1800 rpm with teh SLDR on the course, in wind, temperature, elevation changes… The “optimal” launch conditions on the monitor didn’t translate to performance on course. For me, being able to set my driver to 7.5 degrees 3 degrees open and adjust my setup to alter shot height and flight was more important. In a vaccum, SLDR wins all day, on course, in varying conditions, my callaway is currently the best set up I can find, for me on the conditions I play.

      I must say that MGS has pretty much singled out the best drivers I have ever hit, the 9064ls, i20, Razr Extreme, the older Nike’s and the J40 from Bridgestone, and now teh SLDR… MGS seems to get more right then wrong and it’s undoubtedly a great place to start when narrowing down you’re options.

      -J

      Reply

      Phil

      10 years ago

      Good test as always and fair play in answering your critics in the comments.
      Understand why SLDR came out as number 1 using the numbers and to be honest it accurately reflects how a “typical” golfer prioritises distance over accuracy – give me a choice between 1 extra fairway and 4 more yards and i’ll take the 4 yards… Sad but true!

      Reply

      JoeR

      10 years ago

      Bold prediction for next year’s test…..

      Callaway declines to participate.

      Keep up the good work MSG. Love the articles and ratings.

      Reply

      David W

      10 years ago

      Pings have always fit my swing, I have a 10.5 G15 and a 9.5 G20 (for when I’m swinging well). May have to give the 25 a try.

      Reply

      David

      10 years ago

      Tom Wishon is one of the best in the business if not the best. If you really want to learn all things clubs and shaft go to his web site you will be amazed.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Mr. McDude,

      The idea that you HAVE to, or MUST, or even MAYBE SHOULD use robots for golf club performance testing is incorrect. This is not my opinion…well it is, but it the opinion I came to while researching this article: http://mygolfspy.com/golf-club-testing-results-you-can-trust/.

      As I’ve already said here…having discussed the subject with some of the R&D guys at Callaway, we solicited further input from the R&D teams at TaylorMade, Wilson, and Nike. We also asked for input from Tom Wishon, and Dick De La Cruz. As you may or or may not know, De La Cruz is actually one of the inventors of the modern swing robot.

      Across the board, I’m talking 100% in agreement, these guys all told us that, when it comes to performance testing, robots, for multiple reasons, do not provide data that’s representative of how a golf club will perform in human hands. They are not a good way to test golf club performance. They are design tools. Period.

      Reply

      David W

      10 years ago

      You don’t know, maybe McDude has a perfect swing that never changes and needs a robot to replicate it since no other human is capable.

      Reply

      Dude McDude

      10 years ago

      While things like personal appeal or cosmetics can be done with a survey type test, I will never take data from every day (even pro) golfers at face value. For me if you want accurate data on ball speed and even more so the average distance for a driver+accuracy, you HAVE to use a hitting robot that can replicate the same swing at the same amount of force and speed every time. I do not know who you were using for these tests and if they got tired or didn’t do as well with one driver compared to another or if their preconceived notions about one brand affected how they preformed with another driver. To me all the data you presented in regards to the average distance and accuracy are garbage. I understand that hitting robots could be quite expensive but these tests are not accurate.

      Reply

      Chicagogolfer

      10 years ago

      What is robot testing going to prove? Other than distance, there is very little robot testing can provide. Humans do not have a 100% repetitive swing so even those distance numbers are worthless. I would much rather have a feel for a driver based on human results with swing flaws that can generally tell me how far and accurate a club is than a machine telling me which driver goes the farthest based on a perfect repetitive swing. I think everyone in an uproar about these tests should take it for what it’s worth. Just because mygolfspy ranked the sldr #1 doesn’t mean it’s the driver that everyone should go out and buy. What I’m thankful for is that these tests have opened up my eyes to try out several drivers that I wasn’t even considering before like the cleveland 588 custom.

      Reply

      Marcus

      10 years ago

      2013 PGA Tour: No player led the field in driving distance and went on to win the tournament.

      Reply

      Scott

      10 years ago

      That’s a silly comment. You’ve got guys on the tour who can hit it a mile but can’t do anything else (I’m talking to you Luke List). Nobody will argue with you about accuracy being SOMEWHAT part of the equation. For guys like Zach Johnson or Jason Dufner, who don’t hit it long, accuracy is a TOP PRIORITY. For guys like Dustin and Phil, they’ll take their chances by hitting it long knowing that they’ll have a shorter club into the green. If Zach misses a fairway, he’s hitting 2 clubs more than Dustin when he misses a fairway.

      Reply

      Dave S

      10 years ago

      Any plans in the works for a Most Wanted Irons test? Would really benefit from that. I get that Drivers and Putters are the easiest to day – and probably the one most people want to see as those are the most commonly replaced clubs, but I would realllllly like to see TM’s Speedblades go up against your testing to see if they really do what they claim.

      Reply

      Marcus

      10 years ago

      I agree with Duncan and G4L…fairways hit should count more than yards of deflection. Total Driving on the PGA Tour is also calculated using fwy %, a miss is a miss, no matter HOW far off line.

      Factor “total driving” this way, and the G25 soundly trounces the SLDR.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      You can calculate and weight things any number of ways and alter the outcome. This is the system we chose, however; We give you the numbers so that you can weight according to your own priorities.

      Reply

      ribread

      10 years ago

      And we appreciate that, despite the fact that that seems lost on some vocal minority. The data is there. People can pick through and find the pieces that are important for them.

      Dave S

      10 years ago

      Yes, but fairways have different widths. Just b/c the one MGS used was – say 50yds wide – doesn’t mean you might not play on one that’s 75yds. If they did not count a drive that missed a 50 yd fairway (so 25 yds offline either way), then you wouldn’t have the right data for determining if you would have hit a 75 yd fairway. Using yards offline allows you to translate the data onto any golf course. This article should help explain why hitting a fairway isn’t always the most important stat: http://www.golfwrx.com/87333/do-fairways-hit-equal-low-scores/

      Reply

      jeff

      10 years ago

      Real results come from club fitters. Not this site. These numbers couldn’t be farther from the real deal. Weak!!

      Reply

      David W

      10 years ago

      Why do you even visit this site if you feel this way about their data? These test are a starting point to help you weed through the maze of clubs available as you start looking for new clubs. No matter how well a club is fit to you there could still be a better club available that if fit to you would help. That is the info you should be taking from a test like this.

      Reply

      golfer4life

      10 years ago

      Weak comment with no substance. Just shows your lack of knowledge on the subject. And yes, I am a club fitter.

      Reply

      RP Jacobs II

      10 years ago

      Thank You G4L, no one more qualified or could say it better

      Have a Great Season :)

      Fairways & Greens My Friend,
      Richard

      Foz

      10 years ago

      Great Test…….I might have to consider upgrading my Powerbilt AFO for AFO DFX. Though it is only my backup as my most accurate is the Nike Covert.

      Thanks for all the thought and work that was put into this test. For the second year running, this test totally outperforms the Hot List.

      Reply

      Ravi

      10 years ago

      Really? I tried all taylormades,pings from last years models and Callaway xhot gen1 was the best.i have found accuracy in my driving…hard to believe that Callaway is ranked so low!

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      With Alpha it’s 100% a fitting issue. If our testing pool consisted of only guys who fit into 9° heads (+/- 1.5°) and could handle the impact loft adjustment has on face angle, than my OPINION is that Alpha would have finished at or near the top.

      Regular Bertha…tricker to quantify. A couple of guys hit it poorly, nobody hit it exceptionally well. Callaway would likely say that if we had what they feel is an adequate testing pool, it would have placed much higher. Our counter is that it’s equally as likely that proportionally it would have been hit exactly as it was.

      So with all of that out there, it is once again my OPINION that Big Bertha is a good driver, but one that does not differentiate itself in any substantive way from the rest of the pack.

      Reply

      David W

      10 years ago

      Best for your swing. Which is why they almost always reiterate that these tests are a starting point to help you find the club(s) that fit you.

      Reply

      fleeter

      10 years ago

      Thanks Tony for the taking all of the time to run this test and then compile all the results – which I’m sure did take you a great deal of time!
      Last Sept I got fitted for a driver. In my mind I was going to walk out of the shop with the SLDR or the R1. At the shop I hit 6 or 7 different clubs and after a good 90 minutes I walked out with the G25. I did hit some drivers 10 – 15 , sometimes even over 20 yards longer but the ping on the worst hits was only 5-6 yards off center. I love it, can’t wait to swing it again. Again, great stuff as always!

      Reply

      Richie

      10 years ago

      Love the test, so thanks MGS. Bit confused by the results though. I thought last year the G25 was 6th, now the same driver is 2nd one year later? Did they improve it somehow?

      Reply

      Drew

      10 years ago

      Great question…I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting on a response though. LOL

      Reply

      Tony

      10 years ago

      Been answered a few times already. Check the rest of the comments.

      JoeR

      10 years ago

      Go look at the distance numbers from last year compared to this year. RBZ 2 last year lead the way with avg. drive of 262. This year’s longest driver, the SLDR, came in at 245.
      The G25 rated 259.05 average drive last year, and 240 this year.
      So should we assume that this year’s clubs are actually shorter than last year’s? Possibly, but then how do you justify the G25 losing almost 20 in distance from last year?

      It’s gotta be something to do with how the numbers are analyzed and determined. The only way to legitimately compare last year’s numbers to this year would have been to re-use all the same factors from 2013. That would include same formula’s, same testers, same test balls, same testing bays….etc.

      so if we really wanted to know, let’s line up the top 5 from last year and this year’s top 5 and have all-star death match.

      Phil

      10 years ago

      Somewhere in the text or even comments you will find the explanation – fewer “bad” shots removed meaning consistency is better rewarded.

      Reply

      barry

      10 years ago

      Tony or can anyone tell me why the big bertha did not do as well as the winning drivers as i was going to buy this driver!,not the alpha model-is it because of the shaft or relative small custom options as you said for alpha?love the website and check it daily!!

      Reply

      Mike

      10 years ago

      Highly entertaining read and good effort MGS. Thank you. I love technology in golf equipment. The idea of unbiased methodical equipment testing is a dream though. There are too many variables swing to swing and player to player. I would guess that the higher ranked drivers also had a tighter dispersion impact pattern closer to the sweet spot. No big surprise that drivers struck closer to the sweet spot will produce better results, straighter and longer. Slight misses would not be felt even by single digit-ers, especially with an unfamiliar club in hand. Missing the center of the face slightly could due to a tired tester (how many balls did the testers bash for this experiment again?) or a tester not used to the timing of a particular shaft (what were the lengths, flexes and kick points of each shaft?) or the driver settings not adjusted properly or a brand bias or any other factor that affects a human’s ability to hit a little golf ball with the center of a driver face that is attached to a 3.5 ft long stick at 100 mph. I guess it comes down to: were all the clubs were struck identically? Impossible. Let’s all use our brains for a second and take this experiment for what it is… Fun and interesting.

      Before I run out and buy the AFO :), a few questions…What settings were all the heads set to? Were all the testers fitted properly before each sampling? What about the drivers that weren’t adjustable? Shouldn’t all non-adjustable drivers have come in last if optimization and fitting are so important? What were the flexes and lengths of the shafts? Don’t shafts play a huge role in launch angle and spin? How did the G25 improve against the field since last year? Are drivers getting worse?

      Can’t wait for your next article!

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Short answer is we did our best to fit each tester to each club based on the samples available. Generally that means multiple lofts, flexes, and where applicable, shafts. Essentially we test off-the-rack. Shafts are stock for model as well as length. Basically what the average consumer buys when he walks into a golf shop. Most of our results are well within what a properly fit shaft would change, but I wouldn’t describe the impact of the shaft as huge. Average impact on spin rates are negligible, and if you’ve read much of what Tom Wishon has written on the subject you know that for a segment of golfers (early release), other than increasing weight, a shaft change will have almost no impact on initial launch characteristics.

      As for G25’s improvements. It’s been asked and answered. Short version is we made several tweaks to the way we calculated numbers, and while none of them was specifically put into place to help the G25, no driver benefitted more from having more shots count.

      Reply

      Mike

      10 years ago

      Thanks for the reply. One can tell by all of reader comments that people are really passionate about this subject!

      golfer4life

      10 years ago

      Tony
      I believe I understand the numbers and how you chose to use them. My question is, while accuracy was only roughly 4 yards different from #1 to #2, fairway percentage would have #1 missing about 1 1/2 fairways a round more. Am I correct on this? I’m not trying to question what numbers you used but, just a way for me to look at the test differently.
      Thanks
      G4L

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      I’d have have to do the math, but I think that’s probably right. With data from all testers in the mix, the difference in missed fairways between worst was 5 fairways total, I believe.

      Reply

      Hank

      10 years ago

      I don’t get it–so are the drivers that ranked above the G25 last year better than the SLDR too?

      Reply

      Bill

      10 years ago

      Bought the RazrXtreme last year based on results that started here. Took a couple hours over a couple days so fatigue wouldn’t bias results. It’s results in the real world were very much like the SLDR. Extremely long on good hits and mishits still carried but the accuracy was middle of the road. I got a general fitting so perhaps a better suited shaft could have helped. I liked the Ping, but as another poster claimed, it was far shorter than the Callaway (Last years Cobra had the same issue, but was even shorter. Enough people I talked to that hit/owned that one that it convinced me it was a poor shaft choice).
      Sorry for the long intro but I came away last year feeling that this year I WILL give up yards for CONSISTANT accuracy. I added a stroke to my handicap last year that I really felt strongly was due to inconsistency off the tee. Too many rough second shots.
      Conclusion- This spring I will get a proper fitting and match the proper shaft for my swing for hitting fairways. Tom Wishon has a fitter locally which I will likely utilize. I will try the Wishon heads but will also try the heads of the lower launching, lower spin heads from this test.
      Great starting point!!

      Reply

      Sky

      10 years ago

      Hi love reading your stuff, always look forward to reading stuff from MGS.

      I really don’t understand why someone would not want the G25 if it’s #1 in accuracy and #2 in distance but want the SLDR which is awful in accuracy if this list is about the most Wanted Driver?

      My guess is because the SLDR is bombing it further which also gives it more leniency in it’s yards offline? Isn’t that like saying bombing it 250yds but in the rough or trees is just as good or better than hitting 200yrds and less but on the fairway?

      I could be missing something maybe hmmm but your data has gotten me definitely interested in the G25. Wished Titleist had participated because I’ve been interested in the 913 and see how these two go head to head.

      Reply

      Mike Shivley

      10 years ago

      Hi and thanks for all the hard work. Great food for thought. As others have said I will use this as a starting point to see what works best for me. I have TM clubs in my bag right now. (Driver and 5 – 9 iron) Use Adams new fairway metals and love them and Renegar wedges and love those as well. But if I as a slow swing speed golfer can hit a G25 to within 5 yards of the SLDR with greater accuracy well then I’d need to take a very close look at putting the in the bag. for me accuracy is MUCH more important than a half club of distance. (I’d still be hitting the same club for my second shot most times and in a lot of instance where I had to club up one it would be better for me in that I wouldn’t be trying to get every yard out of it by hitting a “career shot.” I’ll also take a look at Powerbilt if I can find them in my area just because they have the guts to step up and contribute positively to this thread and as others said take “ownership” of their numbers.
      Again thanks for all the hard work guys. I know its not easy both in actually doing the testing and in dealing with the resulting comments. “You can’t please everyone.”

      Mike

      Reply

      Don Blouin

      10 years ago

      Thanks! for the Great indepth survey for Driver’s of 2014.
      But with the data shown and tell me I’m not going crazy! but the driver’s of last year 2013
      1.Callaway X Hot total driving 246.02 and 2.Taylormade RBZ stage 245.35 are roughly 20 yards longer than this year’s crop of Drivers!
      I guess I’ll stay with my RBZ stage 2 driver for another year.
      From Your Northern Neighbor
      Montreal Canada
      Big Don

      Reply

      Scott

      10 years ago

      Don…if I read the testing information correctly, the testers this year are different than the testers from last year. So, with different testers, you can’t compare last year’s numbers -vs- this year’s numbers. It’s NOT Apples-to-Apples.

      MGS…two ideas that maybe you have thought about. One, have the same testers swing LAST years clubs to that readers can see the differences, if any. Two, and it’s sort of related to One, it would be great to see the same testers test last years model vs this years model (i.e. Covert Tour -vs- Covert Tour 2.0). The only way this could be a “valid” test would to have the same testers test both drivers.

      Reply

      Drew

      10 years ago

      That’s why I just picked up a gently used Xhot for $99 today. Some poor fool probably shelled out $299 for it new. :)

      Reply

      Blade

      10 years ago

      Thanks for all the work that went into this guys. I’m looking forward to seeing the data behind it all.

      I don’t know if this will be included, but it would be great to see the swing data for the testers…club head speed, AoA, path, face angle etc. An average for each, plus maybe what they did for their best and worst shots if not each shot.

      I know, I want it all! But it would be nice to determine which tester has a similar swing and see how each club performed for that tester.

      Reply

      Tom54

      10 years ago

      A few comments:

      1) Thanks for all the hard work and all the details that go into these tests. It’s great to know what’s out there and how the site cares about telling us about it.
      2) We can make fun of Hot Lists and such all we want, but I can’t help but notice they gave 1 driver 5 stars across the board, and well, look at the top of this list. Must be a really good driver.
      3) The company that had 98% of the complaints and made snide comments about not worrying about “your six man test” sure didn’t have any problem posting their 2013 victory on their website last year.
      4) I love how Powerbilt totally owned their rankings had them posted on their website within minutes of them appearing here. That’s what I’m talking about.
      5) Again, thanks for all the hard work.

      Reply

      Ryan

      10 years ago

      Tom54 well said..
      When you look at a company like ours (Powerbilt Golf) we have to live and die by testing like this one. We know that My Golf Spy is not influenced by money or sponsors (we know for a fact). So it’s tests like this, we feel confident that the #’s are not manipulated. Though the list from top to bottom isn’t a big difference, we need stages like this to compete with the “big dogs.” We aren’t scared, we embrace the challenge. We don’t have commercials, we don’t have tour players…People will say what they want, one things is true, Pressurized gas inside a club head makes sense.. Phone’s have been ringing, website is being used and orders are being placed.
      Success!!

      Reply

      RP Jacobs II

      10 years ago

      Ryan, that’s Great that you all did so well!!

      Hat’s Off for a tremendous job!

      I bought the Tour in ’11 and Ryan was a tremendous help in getting me the correct shaft and following up post-purchase to see that I was satisfied.

      Class company and Class employees!

      The Very Best to you all this season :)

      Fairways & Greens My Friend,
      Richard

      BHogan

      10 years ago

      Thanks for the test, great job! I’ve got a few nits to pick with some of it but its by far the best thing out there. Question: when I look at the X2 Hot accuracy data I see it hit 73% fairways(one of the best) but was 19yds offline(one of the worst). What does this tell me? It had a wide dispersion but mostly on the fairway or small dispersion on the fairway but when it missed it missed big?

      Reply

      StrokeIt

      10 years ago

      Thanks for collecting the data MGS !

      Id like to give props to Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping, Sinister and Exotics for creating low spin drivers that allow me to approach optimal launch conditions.

      Finding the right driver is like finding the perfect pair of blue jeans. Never quite sure until you try them on.

      Offtopic: MGS, Can you please redesign your user interface for your website. There are some great reviews of previous years equipment that are virtually impossible to find.

      Reply

      Dave S

      10 years ago

      I hate to even say this, but these results seem to legitimize GDgiving the SLDR 5 stars across the board in this year’s Hot List. I guess the SLDR was so good that even those guys couldn’t screw it up!

      jk :)

      …sorta.

      Reply

      Cruz

      10 years ago

      Can you compare the numbers on last year winner (Callaway Xhot) vs this year winner?
      Thanks!

      Reply

      markb

      10 years ago

      And Kudo’s to Ping for having the balls to know that their old G25 was as good as anything just released! I foresee a wave of retro entrants next year. Maybe Titleist will submit their 983K!

      Reply

      Gerald Fairley

      10 years ago

      Last year I bought a Tour Edge CG-6. The club paid for itself after 3 rounds with the money I won off my buddies. I can’t tell you how accurate this club is for a 67 year old man.
      For those of you considering a new driver, you may want to consider hitting a Tour product.
      Thanks for the test , time and info.
      I love this site.

      Reply

      David

      10 years ago

      I agree, I have owned 4 of tour edge drivers and they keep getting better. If you like their drivers you will absolutely love tour edge exotics HYBRIDS. Best I have ever used and long, I don’t even carry a fairway wood, no need.

      Reply

      Chris

      10 years ago

      I agree! I bought the G25 a year ago, being a Ping driver fan for years and thought it was fine. But I couldn’t get it out of my mind that in my pre purchase testing I had hit the little known Tour Edge XCG6 so well. I went back to the sims and tested the two drivers head to head on 4 occasions. No significant difference in accuracy, but the Tour Edge was for me consistently ~15+ yards longer. I exchanged the G25 for the XCG6 and never looked back. The Edwin Watts robotic test results for drivers last year confirmed for me the XCG6 is the real deal. For this 60 year old, the XCG6 has proven to be a winner and I would certainly encourage others to give Tour Edge a test spin.
      BTW, after reading the MGS longest driver results, out of curiosity I went to Golf Town and tried the SLDR head to head with the G25 (no Tour Edge available) and found the SLDR to be consistently 15+ yards longer for my swing. But I like my XCG6 better.

      Reply

      David

      10 years ago

      Chris if you haven’t tried exotics hybrids yet I would encourage you to do so, it will change your game, especially if you like playing from the fairway.

      Damon

      10 years ago

      What I think is most interesting is the # of comments per post these last couple of days. Distance – 190. Accuracy – 1/2 as many at 90. Today – 60 and slowing down. Distance sells – no two ways about it!

      I don’t think we’ll ever see an ad tagline stating “17 yards more accurate than your current driver!”.

      Reply

      markb

      10 years ago

      Or readers (as represented by commenters) started tuning out when they began to question the usefulness of the test.

      Reply

      mark

      10 years ago

      You are correct and that is a sad reality… That is also why the average golfer still barely breaks 100.

      Reply

      markb

      10 years ago

      While I really applaud the attempt an objective numbers testing, this years resulted combined with last years have left me thinking that COR limits have made driver performance all basically the same.

      It seems impossible to identify one or two clear stars. The same club that finished 8th and 6th overall last year, finishes 2nd, 1st, and 2nd overall this year. This either tells us that no performance progress is being made, or that the numbers are nearly meaningless when using a small pool of human testers.

      Looks like I’ll have to go back to my old method of hunting for better clubs — find golfers who are about like me and ask what they hit and what they like.

      Reply

      Matt

      10 years ago

      I love ping. Not a big fan of taylormade, but I agree with TM winning this one. It showed a clear advantage in distance over everything else and was average or good enough in accuracy. I’m shocked a TM driver is finally living up to the hype. I don’t plan on buying, but I may go through the fitting cart just for fun.

      Reply

      Sam

      10 years ago

      I’d rather have a 4% better chance for a good lie than to be 2 yards deeper in the woods!

      Reply

      Ties

      10 years ago

      Great work on the testing…Although I’m curious about the standings. Normally when two things tie there is a gap when the next one down is listed. The AFO and Yonex tied for 5th, shouldn’t the Cleveland be 7th. There are 6 drivers that finished higher. If you have 23 drivers, last place shouldn’t be 22nd place.

      Reply

      Kenny B

      10 years ago

      Well, someone has to say it. To quote Mark Twain: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.” I like the test. It shows that there is really very little difference between drivers these days, and it comes down to personal preference for whatever reason; i.e., more distance, in the fairway more often, sound, color, what feels good to you, price. People complain about the how the test was/wasn’t conducted, but the bottom line is that we get some data instead of a medal. The data is what it is, and it is up to you to use it as you see fit. However, I would be willing to bet that if the test were rerun again using the same testers, the results would be a random shuffle of most of the drivers. The differences are that small. A couple yards in distance or accuracy and you have a different “Most Wanted Driver”.

      Reply

      ribread

      10 years ago

      Good comment. Tony mentioned something similar above in his comments about 1-2 that stand out and everything sort of being in the middle.

      That’s what struck me most about this test. There were a couple that were a bit longer for certain player types. There were a couple that were pretty accurate. The rest were all pretty much in the middle.

      Even the “bad” ones weren’t all that bad. Take the Krank. I suspect it is suffering from shaft. Get fitted properly, and I’m guessing there’s more to “unlock” here than with almost any other club.

      My take away (and this year showed more “huddling” than ever), is to find a head that looks, sounds and feels appealing and then dial in the shaft (and particularly the length).

      Reply

      Kris

      10 years ago

      Great testing guys! I understand the numbers and why the Slider got the #1 spot, but IMO, from your test the G25 would be the 1st I’d look at. I’m not a Ping homer (looking at my bag-and I’m shocked at this-I’m actually a Nike homer), nor a TM hater (especially now that white is gone), but to compare 1st and 2nd in Accuracy and Distance vs. 1st and 15th? I’d say one is more impressive. As always though, I love seeing real numbers that I can use as a guide! Thanks

      Reply

      Eric

      10 years ago

      Great test. I will keep my J40 430.

      Reply

      Chris

      10 years ago

      I concur with Mr. Trautman’s assessment regarding MGS’s endeavor. Their efforts in the gathering of this wonderful collection of equipment combined with their evolving testing protocols must be complimented. That said, I am more than a bit disappointed in the hype regarding #1 and Most Wanted. Historically, MGS has been great about emphasizing the limits of applying any reviews or test results to any individual’s game. This particular test , with it’s much discussed datacratic format, appears to ignore those oft repeated cautionary caveats. My own testing suggests that the SLDR(which I have gamed since last year) and both the regular and alpha versions of the BB are best suited for MY game. I really, really want to fall in love with the Ping25 but, while accurate, I can not get within 20 yards of the SLDR or either BBs. While better than last year’s X-Hot( which I tried and failed to game last year based upon a plethora of glowing reviews), this year’s X-2 version continues to be woefully short and ridiculously inaccurate in MY hands. In short, everyone needs to bring their own date to the dance.

      Reply

      hckymeyer

      10 years ago

      Did you actually read the articles and comments from T? He must have said 15 times that the best thing to do is get fit and this test is just a great starting point. Nowhere did he said everyone needs to go out and buy a SLDR because it finished #1.

      Reply

      MikeB

      10 years ago

      How the hell can you call the SLDR the best driver? Sure it’s long but your accuracy numbers should have made it a fourth or fifth position club. What did you do, completely ignore accuracy? The G25 should have been first based on your own results! I don’t own any of the clubs tested nor am I a fanboy of any particular one. Now, of course you are going to justify the SLDR by your so called data on Monday. Yes, the SLDR is a new concept and seems to provide the best distance but its middling accuracy definitely doesn’t justify the ranking. What a farce!

      Reply

      adam

      10 years ago

      …Mike are you reading any of this or just looking at pictures

      Reply

      MikeB

      10 years ago

      Are you Adam?

      dsik

      10 years ago

      Can’t you add and subtract? He explained this a couple of times, maybe you math skills are the farce

      Tony Covey February 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      I answered this in a previous comment. Over simplified short story (rounded for further simplicity), SLDR was +5 yards longer than G25, and -4 yards offline. Using the Total Driving stat as the basis for our rankings, that’s a net gain of +1 for SLDR.

      Reply

      MikeB

      10 years ago

      Love being attacked by small minded idiots!

      MikeB

      10 years ago

      Your site is a farce and very self serving! Continue posting useless crap and sheeple will continue to buy the crap yoou and the industry sells! It’s all about having hands in your pocket and sudo-science passing off as the real thing. You want to know what’s wrong with golf? This site is one of the reasons! No brain people having all the answers and not having a clue what they are saying or doing. When someone brings up an objection, they are attacked by mindless idiots who troll the internet with nothing better to do but to shit on people! Get a life!

      Krizar

      10 years ago

      MikeB, if you’ve taken a few minutes to look at the site’s blog on the drivers – take a few more and look through the forums. You’ll see that it’s a group of guys that are what’s right with golf. They help each other out on a variety of topics, and there’s a thread specifically about the etiquette of golf. I’m not a big poster here by any means, but have found everyone here to be very helpful and respectful – and they don’t “shit on people”. If you’re worried about the “pseudoscience”, don’t listen to it. (sudo is a unix program) – also they never claimed it was a scientific study, ever.

      What’s wrong with golf is people like you. Feeling though you’re getting attacked for rising above with your own super intelligence – believing you’re smarter than all the people here or anywhere, is your problem. If you have a better way to test – do it. Or put constructive criticism, instead of spewing useless verbal diarrhea without reading the criteria of the scoring.

      RP Jacobs II

      10 years ago

      Mike, to attack the site, Colt & T and all involved personally is just wrong.

      Forget teh numbers, the results or whether you agree or disagree.

      Dude, We’re talking about a frickin golf club here-

      A golf club!!

      Not one of these guys “attacked” you and Tony even explained AGAIN in a gentlrmanly manner how the results were arrived at.

      And with your tone and language, you speak of “mindless idiots who troll the internet with nothing better to do than $hit on people!”

      No Mike, it’s only because X, T and MGS are the class individuals and site that they are that your posts are still here, and you are able to post again.

      Go try this childish tirade at the other sites and see how long your simple @ss or your posts are around lol.

      Have a great season

      Fairways & Greens My Friend,
      Richard

      Marcus Harmon

      10 years ago

      When I read yesterday’s results, combined with the previous days distance results, it was clear to me that the G25 was and is the clear winner, and the “best overall driver”. #2 in distance and #1 in accuracy/control screams “winner” in my book.

      I’d rather be in the fairway than 5 yards up in the rough. Accuracy IS slightly more important than distance. “Tie goes to the runner”? No, tie goes to the guy in the fairway, or on the correct SIDE of the fairway.

      Driving is all about confidence. Standing on the tee believing that I can swing away AND hit the ball where I want to is more important than a ‘few more yards’.

      If you aren’t confident in your driver, you won’t be able to get the most out of your game.

      P.S. Love the “bang for the buck” when it come to that “Air Force” driver. Well done!

      Reply

      Gil B.

      10 years ago

      I can’t thank you enough for the testing methodology and final results for the specific, and overall results. In terms of dollars spent for performance, I’d say that the Cleveland driver is the most cost effective. I’d probably say this anyway because I’m a diehard Cleveland fan who has been very upset with the drivers they’ve introduced after the SL290 line. They were, to be honest, clunky, and provided no sense of feel or confidence or feedback which led me to believe they were nearly out as a reputable club maker but these results indicate to me that maybe, just maybe, they’re back in the game. Thanks again for an honest, unbiased test.

      Reply

      ribread

      10 years ago

      I’d agree with the comments about Cleveland. I like their wedges, have had good luck with their hybrids and fairways, but haven’t liked their recent drivers at all. They’ve all just felt dead and haven’t worked well for my swing.

      I was glad to see this year’s models performing well.

      Reply

      wayne

      10 years ago

      It all means I’ll still be playing my 913. Nothing new better than what I’m getting from it. And I will never buy a Nike product, as long as 1 cent might find it’s way into TW’s pocket.

      Reply

      MikeG

      10 years ago

      My problem with the Swoosh is the money that goes into Michael Vick’s pocket. Childish, maybe, but I have a BIG PROBLEM with him and can’t get over it. Will never try a Nike product.

      Reply

      Joe Young

      10 years ago

      Really great test, interesting read, job well done all around.

      Question, though—the Ping G25 finished 1st / 2nd in accuracy / distance, while SLDR was 15th / 1st. How again is SLDR the best?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      I answered this in a previous comment. Over simplified short story (rounded for further simplicity), SLDR was +5 yards longer than G25, and -4 yards offline. Using the Total Driving stat as the basis for our rankings, that’s a net gain of +1 for SLDR.

      Reply

      Craig

      10 years ago

      This doesn’t really touch upon the truth of any performance, you have tested all with their standard stock shafts which are wayyyy to long to start. Then there are the actual profile in shafts you have tested, where one may have suited better than others. All the dynamic specs the same, most probably not! I think it’s a good article but flaws in the numbers, when are people going to realise that EVERYONE should have their clubs properly custom fitted and not by places like American Golf and more like independent fitters. I know some great places where I can guarantee better performance results!

      Reply

      golfer4life

      10 years ago

      So to get a proper fitting one has to seek an independent club fitter? Not sure I understand the benefit difference. I think most would agree that while this information can be very useful, having a personal fitting would be advantageous to most everyone. These were based on two groups and, where someone would fall into this group alone can have a big difference. Its still nice to have this test done to use this information in ones search for a driver. At least MGS had no ties to a company to make sure their product got a star for the day ;) I applaud their efforts.

      Reply

      Robert Warner

      10 years ago

      Ping $349.00
      Taylor Made $400.00
      For the one yard difference, I’ll save the $50.00 and take the Ping.

      Reply

      Mike Trautman

      10 years ago

      I think these results are valid for the small sample of golfers that tested the drivers nothing more. We don’t know the miss patterns of these particular golfers, their expertise in driving the golf ball and their own particular biases when it comes to golf clubs. Golf handicaps have very little to do with such criteria, there are some golfers who drive the ball quite well but do not score well because of other areas of their games. It is a near impossibility to have a large enough sample of golfers to say anything of real merit concerning the various drivers involved in the tests. I have seen enough fitting of real golfers to know that there are deep biases when it comes to brand name, aesthetics of the golf club ,etc. that play into their ability to hit a golf club accurately. I guess my beef with this is the claim of Most Wanted Driver. wanted by whom is the question that is left unanswered
      I have no qualms about the methodology, it has a certain validity but its value is for the vast majority of golfers is limited. What I will commend this site for doing is to getting a wide variety of drivers in the hands of real golfers, using a specific methodology and publishing the results adding to the pool of available information, which is a good thing.

      Reply

      John

      10 years ago

      Guys, your test results are top notch. V surprised with the big Bertha due to all the raving phil the thrill was doing about it. One question I have though is, would you consider using a robot and eliminate all human factors. As in use it for perfect strikes, off centre, out to in & in to out paths etc. would this way not give a true reflection of a clubs capabilities and level of forgiveness? Throw strike tape on a low handicappers driver face & u’ll be surprised at the strike variations from shot to shot. Even when you are getting fitted it’s hard to try all brands & also tiredness creeps in through the session from pounding balls. Just an idea cause manufacturers will keep filling us with what they want us to hear. Keep up the good work. Class site!!!!!!

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      John – here’s an article we wrote (with plenty of input from R&D guys) which addresses why we don’t (and why basically nobody else does either) use robots for performance testing: http://mygolfspy.com/golf-club-testing-results-you-can-trust/

      As far as Phil goes…a couple of points. Firstly, Phil is 100% custom fit by some of the best fitters in the world. Custom fitting always changes the equation. Tour fitting (we’re talking about loft adjustments to 10ths of degrees) is a whole other animal.

      Alpha is a great driver, with only 1 loft, it simply didn’t provide the best fit for all of our testers.

      Also worth a mention, the head Phil is using is not the one you can buy at retail today. There is a “Pro” model in play on tour (likely smaller volume), which I suspect Callaway will release to the public at a later date.

      Reply

      Mark

      10 years ago

      My previouse post comes off snotty, I in no way think the SLDR is an awful driver, I guess I, as a club fitter, am sick of people coming in and caring only about distance.. Why would someone want to buy a driver that is 5 yards longer and miss 12% more fairways… Lauding a driver that has the better combined stat to me perpetuates the same kind of belief that has caused golfers to still be awful yet supposedly buy better and better equipment.. How about a test that shows what the scores the players would have in a round using said drivers.. I know I cut my driver down to 44.5 inches last year and lost a bit of distance but my fairways hit were up 15% last year, yes I am a nerd and keep stats, and my handicap dropped 1.5 last year… So I ask, what is more important, picking up half a club going into the green or hitting your shot from the fairway? The average player is not on tour and can’t hit greens with great consistency from the rough… So I guess my old school mentality shows when it kills me to see a 25 handicap come in and ask me what is the longest driver out there as opposed to asking, what driver will help bring my score down… End of soap box rant.. haha

      Reply

      Dru_

      10 years ago

      I’ll give you an interesting anecdotal note about the SLDR. I have been playing a SLDR for about a month now, and what I have found with it is simply this.

      The SLDR is *far* less forgiving with balls high or far heel/toe that produce excessive spin. On the course, those shots are simply long, but well offline. That said, when you make consistent contact in the sweet spot, the SLDR is not only long, but deadly accurate. The G25, is more forgiving, and going into the season, it was the club at the top of my list to purchase. I love my SLDR, but it has forced me to be more disciplined in my swing. My last 4 rounds have been my highest Fairway %’s ever.

      Reply

      Mark

      10 years ago

      There was a great picture on golfwrx of ball impacts on the driver based on handicap level, I think the SLDR is wonderful for 10 and under handicaps, or just really good ball strikers that have higher handicaps, but that is by far the minority in golf, so the fact that this is one of the best selling drivers according to golf datatech, its a bit disheartening as a long time club fitter…. I can’t tell you how many people I talk into shorter shafts and higher lofts and softer shafts, but I must be in the minority in the industry.. The one variable I left out when I talked about how my handicap went down is that I also switched to a two piece ball. But that is for another discussion.. 18 years in the golf industry and handicaps are flat, that is sad.

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Some of this I plan to discuss next week. I don’t love handicap as an absolute reflection of how well someone hits their driver. Handicaps are what they are for a number of reasons. You’ll find plenty of 15 handicappers who are excellent drivers of the golf ball with garbage short games and putting that’s worse. I can also find you plenty of 15s who can’t hit a fairway to save their lives, but are solid-enough the rest of the way.

      All of that said, I’ve seen very few golfers who wouldn’t benefit from a shorter shaft. For some in this test there was a 1 to 1 correspondence between shaft length and performance. Shorter shaft better numbers (including distance) it’s really that simple. I don’t have to tell you that even with better face technology, there’s no substitute for the sweet spot.

      As far as SLDR goes, it’s a loft question for sure, and I think TaylorMade is doing a brilliant job of addressing that by getting the 14° heads into the market. By next year, as this low/forward progresses, I think we’ll see 15 and 16 degree heads hit shelves. As well as it performed for us, 1, possibly 2 of our guys would have benefitted from more loft.

      As far as mishits…where I do see some distance loss (and on comparison it’s only slight) is out on the toe. The issue is two fold. Obviously there is some ball speed loss (with a higher starting point than most drivers, that is mitigated to a degree), but the lower spin means the ball doesn’t come back to the fairway like it might with another driver, and in some instances, spin rates can drop beyond what’s functional to keep the ball in the air.

      My miss tends to be low and towards the heel. On those misses SLDR seems to do exceptionally well…it looks ugly, but distance loss has never been an issue.

      Kris

      10 years ago

      To your point about cap vs skill with a driver, I’ve been oscillating b/w a 6 and 9 all the last year and a half, and I bet I could lower it 3-5 more strokes if I never hit driver. Most courses in my area are under 6600 yards, and I never really need to hit the ball 250+ to be able to hit a GIR. Of course, if I don’t hit driver I’ll never get to scratch likely, so I’m still banging away on it hoping I’ll have a swingpyphany at some point.

      jeff

      10 years ago

      I sure disagree with your assessment. Ping G25 finishes #2 in distance and #1 in accuracy vs SLDR #1 in distance and #15 in accuracy and beats the G25?! Ping was 72.9% fairways hit versus 60.1% for SLDR. That’s huge. I’d rather be playing from the short grass any day.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      And this is why we give you the numbers like fairway% and yards offline. We use total driving to determine our Most Wanted Overall, but everyone weighs the balance between distance and accuracy differently.

      Reply

      Mark

      10 years ago

      Great job Tony!

      I guess the main thing I take away from this test is to never disregard clubs from companies outside the big boys when you are looking for new equipment. Today’s standards and technology have brought a lot of parity to equipment manufacturing and you never know which club might be the perfect fit for your game. your list is a great place to start but … TRY EVERYTHING!!

      Reply

      Mark

      10 years ago

      Hmmmmm.. I know numbers supposedly don’t lie, but…. How does the SLDR finish so far down in the accuracy test and still beat the G25 overall… For most golfers, in my store, the SLDR is so offline, that even though it tests longer, only because we put people in much much higher lofts, it is our #5 selling driver.. and we do not work on commission, our store doesn’t care what driver you buy as long as it is the best one…. So it just reeks of the club test stuff form Golf magazine and Golf digest… I personally have not sold one SLDR since Christmas… The low MOI is fine for your single digit handicap, but since that is about 10-15% of all golfers, too many golfers are obviously getting fit based on Distance only.. IN my humble club fitting opinion. I have already sold more Big Bertha and Alphas than I have SLDR… But I guess numbers don’t lie.

      Reply

      golfer4life

      10 years ago

      Though I appreciate all the work and love reading about tests my fittings also see some different results. As I don’t have access to all the equipment that was tested here I would say some of it is right in line. I too have found the sldr to not help slower swing speed players as much as higher. As a matter of fact I don’t remember fitting anyone under about 90mph into one. I have found much better results with the new Big Bertha compared to what has been shown here. I totally agree with the success of the G25. There down point seems to be the price point and unwillingness to participate in any discounts offered. That alone cost them a lot of sales. Because my personal results have differed at times I’ve wondered how much different the results would be with a completely new set of testers? Without a doubt this is the best test available for comparison without trying the clubs yourself. Gives people a good starting point and something to look at. Thanks for all the hard work guys.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Fair observation. We work in averages here, but it is fair to say that the biggest gains we saw with SLDR were above 90MPH. In that range, I think G25 makes a lot of sense, as does the Altitude, and Big Bertha.

      Kent

      10 years ago

      I was surprised to see the #1 Sldr overtake the Ping G25. It sure seems like new math to me. I am not sure we understand the overall calculations. we all assume your not a TM guy but sort of confusing end result. I play TM and will have to test the SLDR and G25 for myself.

      Rob

      10 years ago

      A single digit handicapper represents 3% of all golfers !

      Reply

      Marcus Harmon

      10 years ago

      To me, reading the overall results screams “G25 is the very best overall driver”. Sacrifice one yard for more accuracy??? DONE.

      Even five yards back, from the fairway, is a great trade-off for me. Driving is, more than anything, about CONFIDENCE. If I’m confident that I can put the ball where I want to, that means a lot more than an extra 4-5 yards would.

      Reply

      Regis

      10 years ago

      Thanks once again. For me ( SS less than 100) the testing pretty much confirmed my pre-season leanings towards trying the SLDR and getting fitted. Would love to try the Power Built with their shaft offerings but lack of availability means I won’t be able to hit it before buying and that is goint to be a non-starter, Too Bad I love their philosophy

      Reply

      Ryan

      10 years ago

      Call me at 760.772.7300
      We understand we are not in all corners of the US. I have some options for you to try the AFO DFX driver before buying it.
      If you love our “philosphy” , give us a shot.

      Reply

      Dru_

      10 years ago

      It is this kind of participation by the guys like Sinister, Krank and PowerBilt that is helping them build such great reputations among the golf gear heads. Ryan, thanks for being here and engaging directly this way. Shows a lot about who you are.

      Scott

      10 years ago

      What struck me is that it wasnt so much the SLDR’s launch and spin (high swing speed category) that made a difference, but rather how much it seperated itself from the others in terms of ball speed.

      For instance, the i25 launched higher with less spin but that could not overcome the almost 1 mph of ball speed advantage that the SLDR has.

      Does the forward weighting do that much for bal speed? shaft length differences?

      Thanks- great stuff guys

      Reply

      TwoSolitudes

      10 years ago

      Well based on this, I will be looking at a TM product for the first time in over 10 years. Not convinced it will beat my Classic XL, but I would be silly not to try it.

      Wow. Never thought I would say that.

      Reply

      Peachlarson

      10 years ago

      Nice job on the test. I had just gotten my GD with the 2014 Hot List yesterday…I can’t even look at that test. I’m sure they spend lots of money to have all the testers out to get data. I just don’t like how every big OEM gets a Gold rating. You just cannot trust the Hot List.

      Reply

      Greg

      10 years ago

      Unclear how the g25 can finish #1 and #2 but still not be #1 overall to club who’s combined rankings are significantly lower. Please explain.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Basically we’re talking about 3 completely different calculations.

      Distance is easy – how far does it go. SLDR was ~5 yards longer.
      Accuracy – we have a formula that attempts to roll fairway% and distance from the centerline together into an “out of 100” score that people can understand. If you look at the data, you’ll see that depending on whether you personally rank by yards offline or fairway %, the order shifts rather substantially.

      Overall is also a very simple stat – Total Driving (Total distance minus yards offline), simply put, this number was higher for SLDR than for G25.

      Perhaps an oversimplified way to look at it, but: On day 1, SLDR was 5 yards longer (rounding off here) than than G25. On day 2, SLDR was 4 yards more offline. In the context of a total driving equation, that’s +1 yard for SLDR.

      Reply

      Duncan Castles

      10 years ago

      I know you have to cut the numbers in one way or another, but your formula for deciding the best overall driver seems to overvalue distance over accuracy. The G25 was the second longest driver, and the most accurate driver of all. SLDR was the longest driver, but 15th on accuracy!
      You have SLDR as around four yards more offline than the G25, but tellingly fairways hit drop from the G25’s 72.95% to SLDR’s 60.11%. On your data, only three drivers had a lower fairway hit %age than SLDR, and even those were only marginally lower…
      If I’m buying a driver and I have the choice between 4.5 extra yards, but 2 to 3 more shots out of the rough, out of a hazard, or out of bounds a round, I’ll take the slightly shorter, considerably more accurate club every time.
      Great test, but you really need to reconsider your ‘Total Driving’ formula!

      Bob

      10 years ago

      I have to agree with Greg and Duncan here. If 1st + 15th > 2nd + 1st, you have some explaining to do. People are going to question your logic — the least you could have done is to explain the concept of Total Driving to give some credibility to your claim. You make it look like distance > accuracy, while for many golfers the exact opposite would be true.

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Bob, we have explained it. Total yards minus yards offline. Very simple. Exactly how we did it last year.

      It does raise some interesting possibilities for down the road. Should we base that only off shots in the fairway? Other issues there though…what if one club’s 5 fairway shots produce a better average than a club that hits 10 fairways? There are nearly an infinite number of ways to look at the data, and each time you answer a question it creates 5 more. And with each of the questions the complexity of presenting the data in a way that is easy to understand (which I know isn’t the same as ‘what everybody will agree with’) increases exponentially.

      Ultimately you…maybe even most will trade the distance for accuracy. That’s perfectly valid. Accuracy as a concept is difficult to represent. What’s more important fairways or yards from the target line on average. We thought there would be a 1 to 1 correspondence, but there’s not.

      Difficult choices were made every step of the way, and as we always do, we’ll reevaluate and figure out what makes sense from an improvement standpoint.

      Duncan Castles

      10 years ago

      Might be worth looking at Rich Hunt’s analyses of PGA Tour players’ ShotLink statistics. He precisely quantifies the penalty of placing a drive in the rough in terms of distance left to the hole following the subsequent shot.
      He has also constructed a formula for ‘Driving Effectiveness’ that could educate your tests.
      http://3jack.blogspot.com/ has details of his Pro Golf Synopsis ebook.

      Bob

      10 years ago

      Maybe you have explained your Total Driving concept somewhere, but not in this article. Which was my point. A reader loads the article, reads the blurb at the top, takes one look at your ratings and goes “something ain’t right”.

      It’s great that you have a more scientific (well, at least statistical) approach to reviewing golf equipment, but with that you need to do a better job explaining your methodology.

      Adam Fonseca

      10 years ago

      Great stuff guys, thanks for putting this data together.

      You know I’m a huge fan of your work and would love to help out with any further data tests in the future. One thing I’ve personally thought over the years, at least when it comes to golf club testing, is that as technologies continue to progress and patent laws continuously update, the gap between club brands will continue to shrink. This is a trend that will benefit the player more than manufacturers.

      Reply

      Ron

      10 years ago

      Like I said before WAY TO GO NIKE!

      Reply

      SMRT

      10 years ago

      Great job guys. Thanks for putting in all the time.

      Reply

      jondagcl

      10 years ago

      This has been an excellent review of the driver offerings for 2014. Even though everyone has brand loyalties and favorites, this is a lot like a C******* R*****s for golf clubs. Without a horse in the race, you are able to point out a lot of features some favorable, some perhaps not as favorable. In the end, once all of the data is in you still need to go and drive the thing and see how it works for you. It’s not like you should log in to MGS, see who won, then hop online and place it in your cart. There are a lot of folks driving around perfectly good cars that didn’t take #1 in a magazine review and love it, and I’m sure there will be tons of folks who buy a driver that didn’t take #1 and love it. That doesn’t mean that the data is invalid though. Well done MGS.

      Reply

      Jim

      10 years ago

      Thanks so much for doing a robust data driven test ! I’m left with the following impressions….

      1. The test has opened my eyes to a few products I might have never gotten on a launch monitor to test for my swing. ( Powerbilt and Exotics being 2 of them).

      2. It is hypocritical to laud and promote test results one year then bash the testing protocol and results the following year

      3. Ranking the drivers numerically with respect to distance when the differences between 2 and 20 are so minute is probably not appropriate. That small of a gap could easily been explained by the randomness of tester selection regardless how careful you were to select people with a wide variety of swings. I never thought I would say this but, maybe giving SLDR a gold medal and then the next 20 a silver medal would be more appropriate.

      4. Perhaps there is more merit in numerical rankings of a driver with respect to distance and accuracy.

      5. So many great drivers and so little time. When is the greenhouse effect going to kick in. Its freezing out !!

      Thanks Again for the test.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Jim – Your point #3 is something I’ve personally put a lot of thought into. It’s tough, because we believe that in any season there are 2 or 3 standout products, a whole lot where the numbers are within any reasonable margin of error, and a few that underperform. That middle ground is vast…most of what we test falls into that, and while we do put a number on it, we hope readers will recognize how minute the differences are. We certainly don’t try to hide that.

      It’s a double-edged sword with the data being the thing. We base everything on it to an absolute level, but having been through the test, and looked at everything shot by shot, I’d tell you that I’m very comfortable with where we are as far as #1 and #2 go. After that, there’s a handful I’d make a solid case for…but that’s throwing opinion into what is otherwise 100% data-driven.

      Reply

      flaglfr

      10 years ago

      Tony,
      Great set of articles with good analysis. To me one factor that belies any study is the fact that all clubs are being hit with different shafts. Has there been any thought to shafting all clubs with the same shaft? I know this would be a royal pain, but it may be more fair in the long run if you standardized the “engine” of the club.
      I know that the different manufacturers don’t offer the same shafts, but to do a true analysis of the new heads, it would (to me) make sense. Otherwise, we could be looking a lot at shaft advances and not advances in the club head itself.

      hckymeyer

      10 years ago

      flaglfr, That would be a great way to test the heads, but even the same shaft can perform differently in different heads.

      You have to look at what this test is based towards. It’s trying to figure out which stock driver performs the best for the majority of people out there. Think of it as a good place to look to find a starting point in a search for a driver. Ideally everyone would go get fit and find the best results they can with the swing they currently have.

      The fact is though the vast majority of golfers don’t go get fit. They play off the rack clubs and never give it a 2nd thought. Swapping out the shafts of all the clubs to the same one would not give an accurate portrayal of how the driver they bought from the store would actually perform.

      flaglfr

      10 years ago

      Hckmeyer,
      I agree with you sort of. The whole idea for me is what are we truly paying for when we go out and get a driver. Is it a better head? is it a better shaft? Is it a better combination? It is a REAL shame that more people don’t get fitted for clubs. But those who have, typically will have a shaft that feels best to them and that fits their swing. That leaves the (arguably) biggest variable as the club head.
      I agree it is probably another test (hint hint) but to me it would be very interesting to see how these heads performed with a given shaft. With all respect to Iron Byron I believe it would be best in the hands of real golfers. While it may not give golfers an accurate portrayal of the off the rack clubs, it should more accurately track changes in club head technology.

      David

      10 years ago

      IRON BIRON is the the only true and accurate way to test.

      golfercraig

      10 years ago

      Nope. Not a single manufacturer agrees with you. None. Zero. Zilch. Not even the Iron BYron is the correct way..

      Kris

      10 years ago

      Tony, I like the rankings being numbered, but I would definitely be interested in your personal opinions as well. I’d love to see a comment from you in each of distance, accuracy, and overall which drivers you think stuck out above and below the pack.

      MG

      10 years ago

      How did the top 2 drivers in >100mph lose distance compared to the control (especially when the sldr is the longest driver in the competition) and the next 3 gain distance? And is the control driver the lucky number 13 and was it the same for everyone?

      Reply

      Adam

      10 years ago

      ” Control ” by definition is unchanging that the “test” values are measured against. So yes everyone had the same control.

      If i understand it correctly the overall data above is the combination of the distance gained over the control combined with accuracy gained or lost over the control . Obviously it was longer than the control ( as seen in day one) but much less accurate ( shown today) by yds gained overall.
      The slider length vs inaccuracy was stronger than the PING was more accurate than long. Or the adding all the pluses up on the slider resulted in a more positive number when the same was done with the ping.

      Im sure that makes sense…at least I think i’m sure….probably.

      Reply

      Adam

      10 years ago

      Actually reading this back to myself i’m sure I shouldn’t have tried to explain it. Little help!

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Typo…should be “+” in the graphics. We’re fixing it ASAP.

      Reply

      Rob

      10 years ago

      Believe this is a clerical error, but for the >100 swing speeds both the SLDR and the TourEdge are currently showing negative numbers versus the control club. Assume that should be positive to rank #1 & #2 respectively, and would then fall in line with the remaining three.

      Reply

      RC GOLFER

      10 years ago

      Like I said yesterday, no one should assume the results until all data has been crunched. I play the Slider, and it definitely is longer, just like the original RBZ 3 wood. I don’t bag any other TM clubs, but I swear by those two. Great test, great suspense…the only downer is to sift through all of the crybaby snobs comments – hey, this is golf. What works for you is what you should be playing…don’t hate because someone wants to point out different options than your tried and true brand!

      Reply

      Adam

      10 years ago

      Thanks again guys.

      I’m not sure anyone pointed this out over the last three days but for those of you who are distance junkies. I notice that the top two in the + 100mph range drivers lost yds when compared to the control. Just thought it was worth mentioning. Whether through loss real raw distance or adjusted for distance offline I don’t know.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Sorry Adam. Typo (“-” where “+” should be). We’re fixing it now.

      Reply

      Thom Bendtsen

      10 years ago

      I bought the Callaway Razr fit extreme last year before I saw the results of last years test and I love it still. I’ve tried the Sldr and for me it doesn’t come close. So the point is if you are in the market for a driver this is a good place to start gathering information, but getting fit by a competent professional is a must in my book.
      ” If you want it to die, you SHOULD try to kill it!”

      Reply

      Damon

      10 years ago

      Great test, results, and write up. So much useful information. For the top handful of drivers, was there any difference in the number of out of no where off the chart misses from each? In other words, maybe a driver is a little lower rated, but there is less chance of a huge miss. For some players , this might be something to consider.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      Damon – that’s not something that we originally considered, but as I started to look at the data, I thought there might be some meaning behind that. I’ll give you an example, as I looked over the data I noticed that while Callaway’s Big Bertha wasn’t among the longest for our testers, we actually threw out a lower percentage of shots than with many other clubs.

      What that means, and certainly how to translate that meaning into something we can present is something I’m only just starting to look at, but it’s definitely interesting.

      Reply

      damon

      10 years ago

      Thanks Tony. I do think this is useful info – just another piece of the puzzle for someone to use to make a decision. For example, I know for me I can absolutely hit my furthest drives with a “light” driver (i.e. the Cleveland line from a couple years back). But I also know from taking it out on the course, that when I have a hard time feeling the club due to the light overall heft, I will hit the (more than) occasional push slice about 80 yards right and off the course. Therefore this type of driver is a no go for me regardless of how “long” it is.

      I think there is a marketing catchphrase opportunity here. Something like “MGS Least Likely to Scare Your Playing Partners” driver.

      Thanks!

      Fredz Golf

      10 years ago

      Brilliant :D

      Will

      10 years ago

      What exactly do you mean when you say you threw out a lower percentage of the shots? Does that mean Bertha had less atrocious shots and could have scored higher? What’s the methodology behind dismissing a shot? Wouldn’t you throw out the same number of shots per club…similar to a handicap?

      Tony Covey

      10 years ago

      We drop any shots where there’s a clear error with the launch monitor. After that we look at statistical outliers for several pieces of ball flight data for each individual tester. The idea is to try and find the line between a horrible swing and those swings where the club can make a difference (save the shot as you will). To get viable results, you have to toss out garbage, and last year we were more aggressive about it.

      golfer4life

      10 years ago

      I think having a smash factor included should be a big influence in ones decision of what club someone is trying to purchase. Doesn’t do anyone any good to hit one good shot out of 20. Although way two many people will make a purchase based on that.

      hckymeyer

      10 years ago

      Thanks for another great test T, you guys did not disappoint!

      Very interesting to go back and check the preview vote blog and see what the big surprises where. I’d have to say my biggest disappointments were the X2 Hot and Adams offerings and the big surprises have to be ONOFF and Powerbuilt.

      Reply

      Cjpino74

      10 years ago

      Thanks for the test! Keep up the great work.

      Reply

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