The Most Popular Drivers of 2016 Secret CG Locations
Drivers

The Most Popular Drivers of 2016 Secret CG Locations

The Most Popular Drivers of 2016 Secret CG Locations

Ahhh center of gravity. How exciting.

No really, it is exciting…or at least interesting.

While the average golfer may not know what center of gravity is, or why it matters (in fact, he may not even care), there’s a reason why it (CG) is a part of the discussion that accompanies nearly every driver release.

PING’s centers of gravity have traditionally been low and back. In the not so distant past, TaylorMade was promoting low and forward. This year, Cobra’s Zero CG placement might be trumped by Callaway’s new Sub Zero CG driver.

But what does any of that actually mean, and of equal importance, who is actually telling the truth about CG location?

That’s what this post is all about.

Today we’re going to show you exactly what’s real when it comes to the actual center of gravity placement of this season’s hottest drivers. By the time we’re done, hopefully you’ll understand why it matters too.

Before we dig into the data, especially if this is all new to you, we suggest that you rewind and take a look our related stories from last year. While I won’t say it’s required reading, our Golf Geek’s – How Center of Gravity Makes a Huge Difference story will give you the foundation necessary to fully understand the data presented here. You may also want to check out 2015 Driver CG Data.

golf-geeks-1

The Fine Print

(A quick reminder from last year)

Before we get to our dynamic 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. The tolerance for our measurements is approximately .7mm. To account for this we represent CG using large dots rather than a smaller absolute point.

We should also note that of the companies that publicly state driver CG locations, most do so based on measurements from CAD drawings. Between manufacturing, assembling, welding and polishing, CAD projections don’t always align with the finished product. Our data comes from actual retail parts.

Where the dots in our charts are touching or are in close proximity to one another, it’s reasonable to assume the heads offer similar performance.

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 we described in our CG Primer.

cg-quads-1

Loft & Lie (New this Year)

You may already be aware that the loft stamped on the sole of your driver isn’t likely to be the actual loft. And since loft plays a big role in CG location relative to the neutral axis (all other things being equal, the CG will be closer to the neutral axis with a lower lofted club), you should know the actual lofts of the drivers measured.

It’s not uncommon for the actual loft of a driver to be .5° to 1° of loft above what’s stamped on the sole. Manufacturers do this, particularly in models targeting average golfers, because so many golfers’ egos won’t allow them to play the loft they actually need. The practice of vanity lofting exists to protect the golfer from his own worst enemy – himself.

And that’s before we start talking about tolerances.

The chart below shows the actual lofts of the drivers measured to collect our CG location data. For additional reference purposes, we’ve also included lie angle and head weight.

Lie angles can also provide performance clues. The more upright the lie angle, the more the club will point left at address, and where the club is pointed at impact is where the ball starts.

Finally, you can use the Manufacturer and Model dropdowns at the bottom of the charts to display only those brands and/or individual models you want to see.

*For Cobra heads, the stamped loft is defined as the middle value for each head’s range.

 

CG Relative to Face Center

The chart below shows the YZ (top to bottom and front to back) CG location relative to the center of the face for the 18 drivers measured. Effectively, the area shown represents that 14mm x 12mm box we mentioned in the fine print section. 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 for each driver measured. In addition to the Manufacturer and Model filters:

  • You can click on any model name at the top of the chart to isolate that club
  • Hold down Ctrl while clicking to isolate multiple clubs.
  • Hovering over any dot will reveal additional information including the relevant movable weight setting and the actual measurements in millimeters.


For even more information, including comparative data from 2015 drivers, check out the Advanced Data Page.

Observations

  • The TaylorMade M1 430 is notable for being aggressively low and forward. This suggests a good fit for higher swing speed players who hit down on the ball.
  • The Cobra KING F6+ offers the most impactful adjustability; showing significant CG movement from the front to back weight positions.
  • While it hasn’t been measured yet, our expectation is that Callaway’s Sub Zero will be somewhere between M1 430 and F6+ (front weighting).
  • Cobra’s KING LTD offers the lowest CG of any driver measured.
  • We expect PING to offer low and back CG (on a relative scale), but it’s somewhat surprising to see both Cobra (F6) and Knuth’s High Heat being a bit farther back still.
  • Despite being described as having a low/back CG, the Bombtech Grenade clearly has neither.

The Neutral Axis

golf-geeks-neutral-axis

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 as we’ve already discussed, those millimeters matter.

Worth restating from 2015’s post: It’s also important that you understand that because of where reality dictates the CG must be, and the front-heavy nature of a driver, it’s much easier to move the CG forward than it is to move it backwards. The farther back the CG is, the harder it is to keep it close to the neutral axis. Simply put…low and forward is relatively easy to achieve. Low and back is more difficult, which is why you don’t see many true low/back designs.

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 truly forgiving is perhaps the most difficult combination to achieve. Here’s our 2016 CGNA & MOI Chart. Same filter rules apply. (Note that because both the data and the scale is fundamentally different, this chart cannot be directly compared to the Front to Back chart above.

For even more information, including comparative data from 2015 drivers, check out the Advanced Data Page.

Observations:

  • As was the case in 2015, PING has the highest MOI driver currently available on the mass market. All 3 G models offer well above average MOI
  • Knuth and Cobra (F6 – back weight) aren’t far behind
  • While M2 offers above average MOI (average for this set is just under 4350) both M1 & M1 430 are below average MOI offerings
  • From both a CGNA and MOI perspective, the JPX-EZ  (high/back) is vastly different from last season’s JPX-850 (low/forward)
  • 4 Drivers – TaylorMade’s M1, Cobra’s F6+ (front 2 weight positions), KING LTD, and KING LTD Pro have center of gravity locations below the neutral axis
  • The Grenade’s CG location is literally almost off the chart. It’s higher than we’d expect for Nike drivers
  • With the exception of XR Pro, Callaway’s offerings tend to be higher CG than its competitors
  • While the F6+’s track weighting system produces the most significant total CG movement, M1 also provides significant CG movement
  • On a comparative basis, adjusting weights on Callaway, PXG, and Mizuno drivers produces a lesser shift in CG locations

So Which CG Location is Best?

As you might imagine, there is no single center of gravity location that is ideal for everyone. Clearly different manufacturers have different philosophies, or at a minimum, different design and manufacturing capabilities. There is anything but universal agreement.

We believe that the widest part of the bell curve will achieve the best results with relatively high MOI and relatively low 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 drivers, even at the expense of forgiveness. Like anything else, high MOI is not 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, but we believe that by identifying a general center of gravity location that works well for you, you’ll be able to quickly narrow focus to a few clubs that offer the highest probability of producing better results.

Your Homework

As an experiment, try splitting our chart 4 ways. If you’re feeling motivated, split it 6 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.

But Wait, There’s More (if you want it)

For those of you still with us, we’ve created an Advanced Data Page.

In addition to larger renderings of the charts already shown here, we’ve created a chart to show you XY  (top to bottom and left to right) CG locations. This will give you an idea of which drivers are draw biased, and which are fade biased.

We’ve also created an MOI chart that provides data for both horizontal and vertical MOI.

Finally, for you YZ and CG/MOI Charts we’ve included our 2015 data so that you can see how this year’s drivers compare to last year’s models.

Check out the Advanced Data now.

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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      Jack

      5 years ago

      Tony & MGS Team — as always, thank you again for another AWESOME article. This is yet another dimension where you’ve given power to the consumer. Truth be told I think this piece is not too far behind the ball testing you’ve run. Great work.

      Reply

      MyGolfSpy

      5 years ago

      Thanks for taking the time to read them and reach out Jack!

      Reply

      ole gray

      7 years ago

      I currently game a Callaway Fusion driver which (correct me if I’m wrong) has a back and low center of gravity. I’m a high face striker type of guy where all my ball marks are from the top of center and up. I have a slow driver swing speed 88 -92 ish so I’m wondering if I have enough horsepower to swing a forward center of gravity type driver to help with the high face strikes?

      Reply

      Deadeye

      7 years ago

      Great article, lots of good info. Interesting thing about Nike drivers. Five or so years ago they made some of the highest moi drivers around. I had a 4900 moi thirteen deg model called the “lucky 13” that was excellent. I gave it to a friend with a slower swing speed and it still works superbly. My recent test was the Ping sf tec at twelve deg with the sr shaft. The best ever for me. I gained both distance and control.

      Reply

      James

      8 years ago

      it would be awesome if just for fun if you posted this data for like a classic war bird driver or even a persimmon driver

      Reply

      David West

      8 years ago

      The data are interesting, but doesn’t it really matter how consistently the club face is delivered to the ball and to the ball’s CG? Is there a recommended cg position/moi driver for those who play infrequently and don’t have a consistent clubhead to ball delivery???

      Reply

      KCLeo12

      8 years ago

      Awesome info helping me decide that my preferred driver for this year will likely be the one that works for me.

      Also proves why I dislike Bombtech so much. they dont even know the real facts about the driver they build.

      Reply

      Jeff Moore

      8 years ago

      Just play Titleist

      Reply

      Undershooter30

      8 years ago

      HA! Just be a sheep. Same thing.

      Reply

      Old guy

      8 years ago

      In the article it says that for slower swing speed drivers that a HIGHER not lower CG would be beneficial.

      Could you explain that?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 years ago

      At slower swing speeds, some golfers (depending on other impact conditions) may require more spin to keep the ball in the air longer. One of the characteristics of high CG drivers is they generate comparatively higher spin. When you look at clubs that have been designed for guys who need help getting the ball in the air (Cobra Baffler series, Adams Blue, etc.) they’re typically high back CG designs.

      Reply

      yam

      8 years ago

      Then why some companies like Nike choose high CG even for pro models? I don’t think Tiger or Rory would need such support. Maybe other benefits?

      Jeff Shih

      8 years ago

      Hard to read this on a phone. I have a pxg and a knuth. What does this study say about these two? I got as far as the actual loft is higher than stated lost on both clubs.

      Reply

      Brad Smith

      8 years ago

      Jeff
      Geeez, then get a computer or tablet so YOU can actually read the info instead of asking all of us to do your research for you.

      Reply

      Jesse

      8 years ago

      I was really hoping to see the titleist D4. I’d be interested to see the difference between this model and their D2 and D3. I really like the new table with loft and head weight. Maybe you can update the table with the sub zero and D4

      Reply

      Marty Neighbour

      8 years ago

      This chart definitely coincides with my personal testing and preferences.

      I’m have a high swing speed and a negative angle of attack. And the two drivers I narrowed it down too, were the M1 430, and King LTD Pro. And ended up walking out with the M1 430.

      Reply

      Michael

      8 years ago

      Thought this was interesting- the Ping G and G30 do exactly what they claim- high MOI and forgiveness with low and back center of gravity

      Reply

      yam

      8 years ago

      Thanks for very useful information. Please keep it up.
      At Tab 3 (Face-on View) of Advance Data, which side (right or left) is tow or heel?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 years ago

      Heel side is the right side of the chart.

      Reply

      ComeOnSense

      8 years ago

      Excellent work!! Tony.

      Reply

      Nathan

      8 years ago

      Is there any reason why the New Line of Nike Vapor Fly drivers were not included? I’d be very interested in the new Flex 440’s number.

      Reply

      Dan 198t

      8 years ago

      Because every Nike driver ever make is better suited for fishing a TV remote out from under your couch, then it is for hitting golf balls ;-) I am Dan and I have spoken… all hail my glorious sarcasm!

      Reply

      Evan

      8 years ago

      If the CG locations are taken without the hosel sleeves, how accurate are they? Some companies have really large sleeves and might effect the data. Could you publish sleeve weights to the dataset?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 years ago

      Sorry…typo’d. Clubs are measured with the adapters. From lightest (Cobra) to heaviest (Callaway), I believe there’s roughly 4 grams between them.

      Reply

      Sebastian

      8 years ago

      I bought a bombtech driver in October and then went to a mayor golf store and said to them “I just got this driver and I have 60 days to try it and if I don’t like it, I can send it back for a full refund. Let’s see if you can sell me on another driver”. We tried all of their options, and they had a lot. We tried ping, cobra, Nike, callaway and Taylor made, nothing even came close to the grenade launcher. The guy finally said “how about some irons, or maybe wedges o balls, I want to sell you something but nothing I’ve given you comes close to the way you hit that driver”. And the costumer service from bombtech is amazing.

      Reply

      The Club Nut

      8 years ago

      And that is why I sell them. If you think the stock driver is a beast, you should fiddle with the shaft sometime. I’ve put some mid-range $$$ shafts on that head and it is even better than the original stock club. So far my long distance gain for fittings is 43 yards. Went from hitting 238 average to 281 and dispersion improvement of 10%. The numbers just don’t jive for the findings of this experiment — or perhaps club manufacturers are barking up the wrong tree?

      Reply

      Undershooter30

      8 years ago

      That just means you need all the spin help you can get to keep the ball in the air. Everyone’s swing is different. I actually have the opposite problem. Also my bet is, you generally hit the ball high on the face.

      Reply

      Ryan K

      8 years ago

      Most interesting data 2 years in a row.
      Cobra & Ping leading the pack in CG discussions!
      Cobra really is onto something with their offerings.

      Reply

      GilB

      8 years ago

      Interesting article on, for the most part, the big guns in the driver market. Can you please include more data on the new Bridgestone JGR driver. I’d love to know the specifics about that club. I recently went for a fitting for this driver, loved the way it felt and how it performed against the big boys. Thanks Tony.

      Reply

      Darren Tan

      8 years ago

      I’ll second that as I’m going to Japan in June and was looking forward to getting one.

      Reply

      Bradley Smith

      8 years ago

      Thanks for including the Knuth High Heat in the data as a representative of the smaller firms with interesting claims. In their case, it looks like they deliver on their claim of being a driver designed specifically for medium to slower swing speeds. Almost identical data as the Ping G and the Cobra King F6 for highest MOI, most rearward CG and middle of the pack placement relative to NA.

      Reply

      Mark

      8 years ago

      This is excellent information Tony, thanks for all the effort!!

      Reply

      DaveMac

      8 years ago

      Another vote of thanks for this great information.

      Reply

      Ryan

      8 years ago

      Cobra really came to play….looking at the advance data page and the “what if” tab. The Cobra F6 gives one the MOI of the Ping G(G – 5027 vs F6- 4968) with the option of moving the weight to achieve a lower CGna than the G LS tech with similar MOI assuming equal lofts.

      You basically get a Ping G and LS Tech for the price of one with the F6 driver. Well done Cobra!

      Reply

      Ed

      8 years ago

      Tony. Nice article and I appreciate your efforts and research. But, honestly, I think you have finally gone way over the bounds of TMI on this one. Just saying.

      Reply

      Cris

      8 years ago

      Sure. Why don’t you choose for all of us how much information is too much? Gees! Thanks, Tony. This is great work and really well done. Really appreciate that you don’t treat us like absolute idiots while diluting the information.

      Reply

      Anthony Penney

      8 years ago

      Where does Krank drivers fit in with these drivers?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 years ago

      We haven’t measured Krank, but based on face height, shape, etc. – along with the data we gathered from the Formula 5, we assume it’s a relatively high and forward CG design. As you might expect from a long drive company, that translates well for long drive guys who swing up on the ball and generally hit high on the face. The flipside is that it’s probably not ideal for the average golfer.

      Reply

      Anthony Penney

      8 years ago

      Thanks for your reply, I just got a great deal on the formula 5 driver, 3 and 5 woods, left hand, r flex, 10.5 degrees. I’m looking forward to taking it into Golftown and putting it up against the M1,King Cobra, and Callaway drivers, I’ll post my results after the challenge, thanks!

      Anthony Penney

      8 years ago

      HI Tony, we finally had some good weather and managed to get a round of golf in, I used the new Krank driver and I’m estastic with the high ball flight and the distance I got, I’m 61 and was getting drives over 260 yards, I haven’t hit a ball that far in 20 years, I think it’s going to be a fun year playing with some of my younger friends!

      Yam

      8 years ago

      How about new Nike drivers?

      Reply

      billm311

      8 years ago

      yes that. show me dem new nikes.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 years ago

      Looking at adding Nike with the next revision.

      Robert

      8 years ago

      Do you expect the Nike ones to be drastically different than last years models?

      Tony Covey

      8 years ago

      We’re hoping to get the Nike drivers measured for our next revision. It appears they’ve shallowed the cavities a bit. It won’t get them down into PING territory, but I suspect CGs will be lower than last year.

      erock

      8 years ago

      Are the head weights including the Shaft/tip adapter sleeve?

      I think your measurements for the G and G SF TEc are backwards.
      The SF Tec is Pings lightest head. You show 204.5 for the SF Tec and 200.3 for the G. I think those need reversed.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 years ago

      Weights do not include sleeves.

      Double checking the PING measurements, but I believe they are accurate.

      Reply

      mcavoy

      8 years ago

      Thanks for clearing that up.

      Reply

      RAT

      8 years ago

      Why is there not an F5 from Wilson?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 years ago

      We generally focus on the market leaders and a try and mix in a couple of smaller brands making *interesting* claims. That said, we’ll be adding the F5 before too long.

      Reply

      CE

      8 years ago

      Taking what you said into account, as the Z545 is a slightly older model compared to some others, do you think there will be data for that club? Thanks for this great info

      Eron

      8 years ago

      I would like to see the Srizon Z545 added as well. Good work Tony! Very imformative as always.

      Josh

      8 years ago

      Would like to see where the Titleist offerings stand up to these tests.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      8 years ago

      Check the Advanced Data…it’s in there.

      Reply

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