2019 Driver Center of Gravity and MOI Report
Drivers

2019 Driver Center of Gravity and MOI Report

2019 Driver Center of Gravity and MOI Report

The center of gravity location of your driver matters, and not just because the golf equipment makers say so. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about low and forward, low and back, deeeeeep, or somewhere in-between, golfers would benefit from an understanding of how center of gravity positions influences real-world performance.

The basics are simple. Forward CG positions often produce higher ball speeds, lower launch, and less spin. Back positions bring higher ball flight, more spin, and increased MOI. That last one usually leads to more forgiveness, which is nice. Extremely high CG positions are generally less than ideal, but they can benefit golfers who consistently hit the ball high on the face, while low CG designs typically work for high spin players and golfers who hit the ball low on the face.

Finding the perfect driver is rare. As you’d expect, every design brings with it a trade-off or two. Forward CG positions often lack the forgiveness many golfers need, and there are instances where too much MOI can cause both swing speed and ball speed to drop. There’s balance in the middle, though sometimes playing it safe leads to unremarkable performance.

All of the above bring one unfortunate caveat; the designs that produce the performance attributes you desire may not be what works best for your swing. Simply put, what you want may not be what you need.

If you’re just stumbling on this data the for the first time, don’t expect easy answers, but as you become familiar with the information and the implications it has for your game, you should start to gain a better understanding of why some drivers work for you, why some don’t, and where to focus the search for your next driver.

If you’re not familiar with the concepts like center of gravity, MOI, and the neutral axis, before digging into the charts I encourage you to read some of our previous posts on the subject. At a minimum, you should read the Golf Geeks article below.

THE FINE PRINT

Before we get to our charts, it’s important to understand that although heads were measured according to USGA standards, tolerances (both in measurement and in manufacturing) come into play. Here are some things you should keep in the back of your mind as you tackle the data.

  • The tolerance for our measurements is approximately .7mm. To account for this, we represent CG using large dots rather than a smaller fixed point.
  • We should also note that companies that publicly state driver CG locations mostly do so based on measurements from CAD drawings. Between manufacturing, assembling, welding, and polishing, CAD projections don’t always align with the finished product. There is also an expected variance from one finished part to another.
  • Where the dots on our charts are touching or are close to one another, CT differences notwithstanding, it’s reasonable to assume the heads have similar performance mass properties.
  • While the majority of samples measured qualify as standard retail parts, the PXG 0811X GEN2 measured is heavier than standard (custom build), and so it’s reasonable to consider our measurements approximations.
  • We do not yet have measurements for the Titleist TS1 and Titleist TS4. We will add those at a later date.
  • Finally, although we’ve blown these charts up to make them a bit easier to read, every last one of the CG locations represented is within that tiny little 14mm x 12mm box previously described in our CG Primer.

Interacting with the Charts

We’ve done what we can to make these charts readable on mobile devices, however; when possible, we suggest viewing on a larger screen.

For each of the charts displayed below, the default view includes mostly new (2019 season) drivers. You can view previous years by using the YEAR dropdown menu under each chart. Note that the observations made below are specific to our 2019 models.

We have provided filters that will allow you to add or remove clubs based on any combination of Year, Manufacturer, and Model. We recommend that, for additional context, you view the charts with previous year’s models selected. Additionally, you can:

  • Click on any model name at the top of the chart and then click the highlight icon on the extreme top right to isolate that club or clubs
  • Hold down Ctrl while clicking to isolate multiple clubs
  • Hover over any dot to reveal additional information, including the relevant weight setting and the actual measurements

With all of that out of the way, let’s get to our 2019 center of gravity and MOI data:

CG YZ (CG RELATIVE TO FACE CENTER)

The chart below shows the YZ (top to bottom/front to back) CG location relative to the center of the face for the drivers measured. Conceptually, it’s a cross-section of the driver, with the left side of the chart representing the face of the driver and the right side, the trailing edge. These measurements depict CG locations without consideration for their relationship to the neutral axis. As such, they are not loft dependent. Basically, the chart shows the actual CG location in space for each driver measured.

Observations

  • Once again, a TaylorMade offering (this time M5) offers the greatest amount of true adjustability with 6.6mm worth of front to back CG movement.
  • With roughly 5.5mm worth of change, the 0811X GEN2 offers significantly more front to back CG movement than PXG’s previous models.
  • Cobra offers ~4mm of front to back movement, while others who move mass front to back don’t do so by any significant amount.
  • The 9° Cobra F9 Speedback is the lowest CG driver of 2019, followed closely by the PXG 0811X GEN2.
  • The Sub70 839D has the highest CG of any 2019 driver, followed, perhaps surprisingly by the TaylorMade M5 in the FADE settings. It’s worth mentioning that Sub70 is a high forward design, while TaylorMade offers a more forgiving, high back location.
  • The PING G410 Plus offers the most rearward CG, while the Sub70 839D provides the most forward CG.
  • Top/bottom CG movement across all models tested is again minimal.

CG Relative to the NEUTRAL AXIS & MOI

As illustrated by the image above, the neutral axis is an imaginary line running perpendicular to the center of a lofted driver face. Before you ask, let me tell you why that matters. As the center of gravity moves closer to the neutral axis, you get less gearing (twisting), and a more efficient transfer of energy between the club and ball. As with everything else in our CG discussion, the distance from the center of gravity to the neutral axis (or CG NA as it’s called for short) is measured in millimeters and those millimeters matter.

Many golf companies advertise some variation of fast and forgiving, and while you might not realize it, that has everything to do with the center of gravity relative to the neutral axis. If we assume reasonably centered contact, to be fast – to reduce gearing at impact, and to maximize the efficiency of the strike – the center of gravity needs to be near the neutral axis. To be forgiving, MOI (also shown below) needs to be high. Despite what various marketing claims may lead you to believe, truly fast and genuinely forgiving is perhaps the most difficult combination to achieve.

Note: because both the data and the scale is fundamentally different, this chart cannot be directly compared to the Front to Back CG YZ chart above.

CGNA & MOI Chart

Observations

  • In 2016 and 2017, several manufacturers had driven CGs below the neutral axis. Last year there was one. This year, none of the heads we measured offer a CG location below the neutral axis.
  • The PXG 0811X GEN2 and the 9° Cobra F9 Speedback are the lowest; both measured .1mm above neutral.
  • Of the new drivers measured, the PXG 0811XF GEN2 is easily the highest MOI model for the 2019 season, offering slightly higher MOI than the PING G400 MAX.
  • As you’d expect, the PING G410 Plus is among the most forgiving, followed by the Tommy Armour Atomic (surprise), and the Titleist TS2 (which some may also find surprising).
  • The highest CG (relative to the neutral axis) of the drivers measured belongs to the Sub70 839D, followed by the TaylorMade M5, though it is worth noting that the M5 is mid-CGNA in its more forward positions.
  • Once again, note that draw biased drivers are invariably lower MOI than the standard model equivalent. For example, compare the MOI of PING G410 SFT and TaylorMade M6 D-Type to that of the G410 Plus and the standard M6 respectively. Also note that in the draw positions, MOI for the Callaway Epic Flash/Epic Flash Sub Zero, Wilson Cortex, and Mizuno ST190 is lower than both the neutral and fade settings.

CG XY (Heel/Toe CG)

While the data provided in this chart is certainly interesting, it also comes with a disclaimer of sorts. CG XY is not a straightforward measurement. For example, we might find drivers with similar XY CG locations, yet very different face heights, face shapes, crown curvatures, bulge and roll radii, etc.. XY CG similarities aside, those other design factors will likely cause the clubs to play quite differently from one another. So while this chart will give you some indication of CG movement along the club’s x-axis, as well as any inherent draw or fade bias, the CG NA and MOI chart will offer a much better performance comparison.

Note, the toe side is depicted on the left. CG locations left of center suggest varying degrees of fade bias, while locations depicted right of center suggest a draw bias.

Observations

  • While prior to last season, fade biased drivers were relatively rare, the number of toe-weighted models on the market has increased significantly.
  • The most draw-biased model we measured this year is the Mizuno ST190G. Other drivers capable of achieving a significant draw bias are the Srixon Z585, Bridgestone Tour B JGR, Tour Edge Exotics EXS, and Callaway Epic Flash.
  • Golfers looking for a fade biased driver should consider the PING G410 PLUS (weight in the fade position), TaylorMade M5, TaylorMade M6, Wilson Cortex (in most settings), or PXG 0811XF GEN2
  • The most neutral driver we measured was the TaylorMade M5 (ironically in the draw position – everything is relative). The PXG 0811X GEN2 and Cobra F9 Speedback are also near-neutral designs.

SO WHICH CG LOCATION IS BEST?

There is no single center of gravity location that is ideal for everyone. There is no right CG or wrong CG – although I would argue that some (low-forward) are more niche than others, and a few (high-forward) are quantitatively bad for the majority of golfers. Different manufacturers have different philosophies and different design and manufacturing capabilities. That’s a good thing because more options mean a better chance of finding an ideal fit.

One exercise you may find interesting is to filter the charts to display only one or two manufacturers (showing multiple manufacturers helps with scale). What you’ll find is that some manufacturers (PING and Cobra) have pronounced design philosophies which are reflected in nearly every driver they’ve produced in the last five years. In one case (Titleist), a sudden change is observable. The TS series is inarguably a significant departure from previous Titleist drivers. In other cases, designs stretch from one end of the chart to the other. This could suggest that, rather than being guided by a single overarching design principle, some companies are every bit as invested in making new and different drivers each season as they are in making better drivers.

With that said, we believe that the widest part of the bell curve will achieve the best results with relatively high MOI and low to mid-CG drivers. Slower swing speed players, who need help keeping the ball in the air, generally do well with high/back designs. Golfers who are in desperate need of spin reduction (often aggressive swingers who hit down on the ball), will likely get better results with low and forward CG designs – even though that means giving up some forgiveness. High MOI isn’t for everyone. For golfers who consistently hit the ball high on the face, a higher CG driver may produce better results, while golfers who habitually strike the ball low on the face will likely benefit from lower CG clubs.

As we’ve said countless times, in golf there are no absolutes, and the correct answer is almost always it depends. We believe that by identifying a general center of gravity location that works well for you, you’ll be able to quickly narrow your focus to the few clubs that offer the highest probability of producing good results.

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YOUR HOMEWORK

As we have in the past, we encourage you to experiment on your own. Try splitting our chart four ways. If you’re feeling motivated, split it six ways. Go out and compare clubs from the different areas you define and see if you find that clubs perform more similarly within boundaries, and quite a bit differently across them. Move weights around and take note of changes in feel – and sometimes in your clubhead speed. See if the drivers in one section work better for you than those in a different area. Understanding what works best for you can help simplify the buying decision next time around.

For You

For You

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Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony is the Editor of MyGolfSpy where his job is to bring fresh and innovative content to the site. In addition to his editorial responsibilities, he was instrumental in developing MyGolfSpy's data-driven testing methodologies and continues to sift through our data to find the insights that can help improve your game. Tony believes that golfers deserve to know what's real and what's not, and that means MyGolfSpy's equipment coverage must extend beyond the so-called facts as dictated by the same companies that created them. Most of all Tony believes in performance over hype and #PowerToThePlayer.

Tony Covey

Tony Covey

Tony Covey





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      Jim Martin

      6 months ago

      Looking forward to seeing what you guys might have to say about the TM drivers with supposedly the first MOI 10000+

      Reply

      Weston Maughan

      4 years ago

      We going to see a 2020 driver report? This is easily my favorite content!

      Reply

      Erock

      4 years ago

      Will the 2020 data be published soon ? running out of golf months in the season :)

      Reply

      Jason

      4 years ago

      Same question! This is more important for a single person than Most Wanted.

      Reply

      Brian Dunnion

      4 years ago

      One of the best and most useful articles I’ve ever read about comparing golf clubs. Please, please, make this an annual feature.

      Reply

      Alessandro Petrone

      5 years ago

      Thanks a lot, a really wonderful work.
      Just to have an idea of how technology has improved in last years, can you tell me something in terms of Moi and CG about a very old driver like the Callaway FT-i (squared head) that I remember was very very forgiving?

      Thanks again

      Reply

      Park

      5 years ago

      Where is the PXG 0811 ‘LX’ ?
      I want to know this driver’s spec. PLZ Tony, let me know about this driver.
      I have one. LOL.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      5 years ago

      We didn’t measure the LX, but there are some reasonable guesses to be made. The primary differentiator with the LX is weight, and there are a couple of things that are almost universally true when it comes to lightweight drivers:

      MOI is lower than standard-weight models.
      CG is higher and more forward than standard-weight models.

      CG placement and MOI are the consequence of mass and the distribution thereof.

      With lighter heads, there’s less discretionary weight to play with, which means you have less flexibility to use it strategically. With less ability to direct weight, you’re a bit at the mercy of other design realities.

      The face is the heaviest part of the driver. It’s what designers try to counterbalance with the weight they save. When you take weight out of a driver to make it lighter, very little of that mass can come out of the face. To a lesser extent, that’s true of the crown as well…it weighs what it weighs.

      So while I can’t put a number on it…we can be all but certain that LX CG is mid to high, with a mid-ish CG placement.

      Reply

      Lawrence Williams

      4 years ago

      This information helps me even more than you realize!

      Reply

      Chris

      5 years ago

      Any idea how the Xtreme will measure up to the new Launcher HB Turbo? Particularly interested in terms of MOI and thus forgiveness. They seem to be two drivers after the same crowd and I like underdogs:-)

      Reply

      RL

      5 years ago

      Will you be adding in data from the Titleist TS4?

      Reply

      Gal

      5 years ago

      Great stuff. I just realized there are 2 Cobra drivers – Cobra King F9 and Cobra King F9 LL. What is the difference? Are there two different Cobra drivers?

      Reply

      B.Boston

      5 years ago

      surprised no one has answered this yet… the LL is the 9 degree head, the F9 is the 10.5 degree head.

      Reply

      Jay T

      5 years ago

      All this great analysis confirms 2 things for me: 1) I am playing a good driver (PXG XF GEN 2); 2) my swing is the sole root cause of all miserable shots. (-:

      Reply

      Wilson Player

      5 years ago

      How do you like the XF? I gave it a try and couldn’t make it work. I went with the Gen2X and love it.

      Reply

      Juan Buenestado

      5 years ago

      Are you gonna add Titleist TS4 CG AND MOI report??

      Thanks

      Reply

      tha dude

      5 years ago

      Most important line in the article: “Finally, although we’ve blown these charts up to make them a bit easier to read, every last one of the CG locations represented is within that tiny little 14mm x 12mm box previously described in our CG Primer.”

      Couple that with vertical CG varying at less than 1 cm, you are looking at a volume of less than 1cc/1mL, or about the size of a drop of water-which will also vary some with manufacturing tolerances b/t different heads of the same model, plancement of hotmelt/rattlestop, etc as also noted by MGS.

      Reply

      Adam

      5 years ago

      Thanks Tony! This is a great read every year. My Cobra LTD would still be in a nice spot on the CG/MOI chart. I always find it interesting how CG bottomed out in 2016, and has now been at pretty similar levels from 2017-2019. Why do you think this happened? Did the ultra low CG clubs from 2016 not perform as expected?

      Reply

      Mark M

      5 years ago

      This is great stuff! Thank you very much!
      I play a 2016 M1 and am looking at the differences between that some of the newer drivers. I hit it great but am curious what kind of a difference does 600 more combined MOI points make in the scheme of things.

      Reply

      Trey

      5 years ago

      Why no Epic Flash Subzero Triple Diamond?

      Reply

      joe

      5 years ago

      Because they couldn’t take the sound any longer. Staff was going deaf.

      Reply

      Emery

      5 years ago

      Evidence of a lot of variables…..this will help and confuse but information is always a good thing. Sticking with my 9* G400 XStiff Aldida shaft and just went with a stiff PING Tour 65 shaft….ahhh the difference! My swing speed (inspired by Phil) has increased probably 10-15mph in just a few months and the Aldida was starting to fade too much, the Ping Tour has brought it back to straight or baby cut. You can still get life out of previous model equipment but may find part swapping verses adjustments the answer!

      Reply

      Dan Z

      5 years ago

      Thank you for doing this research. I finally understand the effect of moving my weights to optimize strike location.

      Reply

      Stuart Anderson

      5 years ago

      All this being said, you did not say how the adjustable hozel changes the center of gravity. The best driver made to ad just the center of gravity was the R7 Quad.

      Reply

      Jack

      5 years ago

      Such thorough work – thank you. Just a quick question – what makes Tommy Armour Atomic so forgiving? Thank you.

      Reply

      Kei

      5 years ago

      I have a same question.
      Anyone knows the reason?

      Reply

      THOMAS

      5 years ago

      Really really great piece of work – I’ll have to to read and study it a few more times but I have gotten the main data thrust

      Thanx big big bunches Tony

      Reply

      Biggi

      5 years ago

      Weight of each head not published?

      Reply

      Matt

      5 years ago

      Was in the first chart when you hover over the dots.

      Reply

      Biggi

      5 years ago

      Good stuff. Cheers ?

      Colin

      5 years ago

      Great job, I am so impressed that you allow comparison of previous years, it really helps see the changes.

      Reply

      JP

      5 years ago

      Do you have the same analysis for irons?

      Reply

      Will

      5 years ago

      Real good info… Have the F9 10.5, dialed down to 9.5 with the weight forward & installed the Fuji Pro60 shaft. Has a great feel & provides plenty of distance over 200yds. Use the Pro V1, although I have played the Kirkland 4 piece ball, which also had a sweet feel;have not yet used the Snell MTB with this driver. Works fine for me & I’m a retired guy; well satisified…

      Reply

      Johnny

      5 years ago

      I have a Mizuno st190 10.5 at 194 grams and 190g 9 at 197 grams are your head weights with adapter?

      Reply

      Karan Sivi

      5 years ago

      Love it. Could you guys please bring back the report for FW woods as well?

      Reply

      Joe

      5 years ago

      Interesting. Had never heard of these guys: https://www.golfsub70.com/sub-70-839d-driver.html

      Reply

      Nihonsei

      5 years ago

      Beautiful work and great links to refresh. This is so on time for me to narrow down ideas pre-fitting. Looking forward to buying used after irons get reshafted! (TWT)…Tight Work Toney!

      Reply

      M.Coz

      5 years ago

      Well this is interesting. On the TM M5. I dialed my settings in this past January and it is stupid accurate and very straight. I can tend to be a very straight to slight draw player. My setting is in the draw position where I could never be before without over drawing or hooking it. In recent weeks I have checked both Tiger and Rory’s settings and they are also in a draw position. Being one is a draw player and one is a fade player, that probably best explains it that setting is Neutral which allows them to play their shots on their own with a neutral set. It has been spectacular for me, but I was surprised they, too, had essentially the same setting. Uh they are a “little” longer. But at least I am straighter, LOL. Excellent article!

      Reply

      Pete Popovich

      5 years ago

      Well written and very thorough. Was curious if you did any testing on how the CG may change once shafted or if that wasn’t a big enough difference?

      Reply

      Ray

      5 years ago

      Love this stuff! I’ve been playing the Cobra F9 and Titleist TS3 until settling on the TS3. All the data makes perfect sense as to what I was seeing in where the strike consistently was.

      The F9 with the weight forward was great struck out the middle but always found myself slightly towards the toe. With the TS3 in neutral setting, I’m finding myself in the middle heel and thought it was a more forgiving overall.

      Reply

      Nick

      5 years ago

      im having a hard time breaking down the TS3. So how does TS3 fair in all of this ? Where on the face is ideal strike ?

      Reply

      CDS

      5 years ago

      Love it Tony!!!

      Reply

      Beav

      5 years ago

      Very fun comparison!

      Surprised to see how draw bias TS3 is and what it’s comparable to.

      Reply

      Dale Durkin

      5 years ago

      This is the most influential test MGS does year-to-year. While you can’t replicate the experience of a launch monitor, this test gives fitter and golfers alike the opportunity to predict what will suit them. Great work!

      Reply

      Ryebread

      5 years ago

      I agree. This and the ensuing advanced data page are probably what I click on again and again. On the results, much of it can explained right here. Low launch and high ball speed? Check the loft…

      After tho my favorite article is the FW CG primer. That one doesn’t come every year though.

      I have always wanted a hybrid CG test. It would be interesting to see if there was any variance at all, and whether the mini-FW style hybrid has a CG that is all that different from the iron styled hybrid given the offset.

      Reply

      Joey Weiss

      5 years ago

      Do you guys have any plans to add the 2017 M1 440 data? In addition to that, could you test the M1’s, all versions, with the front weight shifted into the back track for a High MOI version?

      Thanks! And great work! Love the data.

      Reply

      Max

      5 years ago

      I own M5 and G410 Plus. I am generally a very in to out and hit a straight/draw ball flight. I struggle to hit fades in general with my swing path. Through tinkering the M5 in the draw setting was surprisingly the best. The G410 plus in the neutral setting hits nothing but fades for me which I thought was crazy with my swing. I think I’ll have to put that back weight in the draw setting. For what it’s worth, I think this kind of validates your measurements = PING G410 Plus being a little fade biased in the neutral setting and M5 in the draw setting being pretty neutral.

      Reply

      Rob

      5 years ago

      Yaassssss!

      Reply

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