The Most Popular Drivers of 2015 Secret CG Locations
Drivers

The Most Popular Drivers of 2015 Secret CG Locations

The Most Popular Drivers of 2015 Secret CG Locations

Written By: Tony Covey

Yesterday we gave you a primer on driver Center of Gravity; what it is and why it matters. Whether you know it or not, CG location probably influenced your last driver purchase.

Today we’re going to take things a step further. We’re going to step away from the marketing, the buzzwords, and the catch phrases. We’re going to show you reality. We’re going to show you the actual center of gravity locations for 19 of most popular drivers of 2015.

Whose CG is the lowest? Whose CG is the farthest back? Whose CG locations are so high they’re nearly off the chart?

Does anyone actually offer low spin with forgiveness?

We have the answers.

Our first chart will provide you with a better understanding of relative CG between clubs. Our second chart is not to be missed. It pulls everything we’ve discussed the last two days together, and provides the best illustration of why the top drivers of 2015 perform the way they do.

The Fine Print

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.

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

These are CG measurements only. While CG placement is the foundation of driver performance, as you’re aware, loft and shaft selection also contribute to overall driver 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 discussed yesterday.

Here’s our graphic from our previous article to remind you how CG location impacts driver performance (left is front, right is back).

CG Location Relative to Face Center

This chart shows the CG locations of 19 different drivers relative to the center of the face.

To isolate a given head, simply select it from the list on the left hand side. You can select multiple drivers using the dropdown list. Individual models are color coded.

Movable weight/adjustable CG drivers have multiple dots associated with each head to reflect the CG location for the various weight positions. Hovering over a dot will reveal the driver model and weight configuration.

The x-axis represent distance in millimeters from the driver face (a value of -36, for example, represents a CG location 36mm from the face). Basically, the face would be to the right of the chart.

Observations

  • Mizuno’s JPX-850 has the lowest CG of any driver sampled
  • TaylorMade’s AeroBurner offers the most forward CG
  • Callaway Big Bertha driver with gravity core up have the highest CG
  • PING’s G30 has the most rearward CG location
  • Among the adjustable CG drivers, it’s interesting to note which models offer the most significant CG movement

The Neutral Axis

golf-geeks-neutral-axis

Still with me? Let’s kick the geek speak up a notch.

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 can 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. It’s your basic ball go far argument. As with everything else in our CG discussion, the distance from the CG to the neutral axis (or GG NA is it’s called for short) is measured in millimeters, but as we learned yesterday, those millimeters matter.

#Team_____ vs. #Team_____

As you would imagine, each golf company has its own unique CG philosophy. TaylorMade, for example, believes a low forward CG is best, while Ping is a strong proponent of rear (and also low) CG positions. Sometimes there’s a legitimate argument to be made for a given company’s philosophy, and sometimes – and this shouldn’t come as a shock – the publicly stated philosophy is developed to justify a technology that perhaps isn’t quite as compelling as we’re supposed to believe it is.

It’s also important that you understand that because of where reality dictates the CG has to 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 you move CG backwards, 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 hard, which is why you don’t see many true low/back designs.

loft-vs-cg

Allowed 5 seconds of honesty and the suspension of the immutable laws of physics most R&D guys will tell you that the farthest point away from the face, and close or on the neutral axis is the ideal CG location. But like I said, putting it there is literally impossible.

So as a substitute for perfection, golf companies strive for the best we can do. Variations of the phrase low spin with forgiveness have been tossed around quite a bit this season. So keep that in the forefront of your mind as you consider the next chart.

A comparatively rear CG location near the neutral axis is the only way to truly achieve low spin with forgiveness.

CG Location Relative to the Neutral Axis (CG NA) & MOI

As with the first chart, you can sort our CG NA/MOI chart by club model. We’ve also added the ability to filter clubs by proximity to the neutral axis and MOI.

Please Note: Because MOI is represented by a positive number, the driver face would be to the left of the chart.

Observations

  • In the previous chart we saw that the center of gravity for the majority of drivers is located below the center of the face, but none of the drivers measured has a CG on or below the neutral axis.
  • With some weight positions less than 1mm from the neutral axis, Mizuno’s JPX-850 has the lowest CG of any driver measured, and likely the lowest CG of any driver on the mainstream market.
  • The CG of Ping’s G30 is the farthest back of any tested, only Ping and Cobra offer drivers which can reasonably be described as offering low/back CG, and only Ping, Cobra, Titleist, Adams, and possibly Nike can be described as offering above average forgiveness.
  • Ping’s G30 LS and Cobra’s FLY-Z+ achieve low(ish) spin with above average forgiveness.
  • All of Nike’s current offerings can be considered high CG.
  • Most manufacturers offer a sort of linear progression between models. In many cases you can connect (or nearly connect) all of a given manufacturer’s offerings with a single straight line. I would suggest that this is the best indicator of a given company’s CG philosophy relative to an entire product line
  • The difference in CG location between FLY-Z+ weight forward and FLY-Z+ weight back, as well as Big Bertha Gravity Core Up vs. Gravity Core down is substantial, while CG movement between the various positions of the Mizuno JPX-850 is minimal.

Surprises

So, did anything here surprise you? Are there some manufacturers that aren’t exactly where they say they are? We think so.

I’d also be curious to know if you’ve observed something similar to what I have. Do you favor drivers with similar CG placements or are your preferences all over the map?

Want More from the Golf Geeks?

What other topics would you like to have our Golf Geeks tackle and simplify? Let us know.

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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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      Sharkhark

      8 years ago

      This huge amount of insight & info is amazeaballs!

      Reply

      Guy Crawford

      9 years ago

      THis was well written and worth a share! Gotta get the truth out there.

      Reply

      Dennis Corley

      9 years ago

      Tony,

      How would you (or could you?) use this information to mark the face of these drivers with their “hot spot”?

      Thanks,
      Dennis

      Reply

      Shane

      9 years ago

      Great physics and data science here. I have a couple of questions:

      1. Why are the reviews on the JPX 850 so mediocre? Based on this information it looks like it would be a distance beast. Doing some very approximate sentiment analysis the general consensus seems to be “not the longest club but not the shortest either”.

      2. It’s asserted that the “feel” of forward CG heads is heavy. I think they feel heavy but I also notice they usually are , indeed quite heavy, particularly the SLDRs and R15s and anything with big screws and loft sleeves. Are you sure that the feel here is not just reality. I am always concerned that the extra weight cuts into any distance gains.

      3. Any idea where the Callaway X2Hot/XHot would be on this chart. I just ask because I still play it due to being cheap :) I’m guessing it’s got a High CG relative to NA but I think it’s probably higher MOI than the Callaway’s in this chart.

      Thanks and keep up the good work!

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      Shane,

      Regarding the JPX-850, there are a couple of issues at play. First, it’s a sub-4000 MOI offering, so misses will suffer significantly. With the low CG/NA, well struck balls have the potential to produce more efficient launch conditions, but overall it’s a good with the bad situation.

      A 2nd factor that influences the perception of performance is stamped loft vs. actual loft. While some manufacturers intentionally add 1° to 1.5° of loft more than what they stamp to a club (it’s how they work around low loft ego and what not), Mizuno appears to stamp as intended (if it says 9°, Mizuno wants it to be 9°), and has good tolerances on top of that. It’s great for guys who need low loft, but when you take a guy who think he fits into a 10.5° – and who plays a driver with an actual loft closer to 12° and you then take that extra 1.5° away from him AND hand him a club with a CG that will decrease dynamic loft on a comparative basis and well…it’s not going to work very well.

      In theory, more weight can mean more distance. Think of it in terms of the classic hammer analogy…which drives the nail with more force, a jeweler’s hammer, or a sledge hammer? It’s an extreme example, but there is some validity to it. It also conveys the message that at somepoint, too much weight becomes unweildy/difficult to control. TaylorMade tends to make heavier drivers to begin with, but if you had two identical weight drivers, one with back CG and one with forward CG, the forward CG will almost certainly feel heavier.

      XHot/X2Hot (the former having what I would call the better mass properties) are what I would classify as high/mid CG offerings.

      Reply

      Dennis Corley

      9 years ago

      Tom,

      Fascinating aritcles. Question:

      Given the significance of getting COG close to the neutral axis —
      It appears to me that the lower the loft, then the “higher” or flatter the line of the neutral axis. Given that – IF the golfer could sufficiently increase the Angle of Attack – Wouldn’t you get better alignment of COG and Neutral Axis the lower the loft of the clu — and therefore higher ball speeds?
      I wonder if it is for this reason that the long drive competitors often use such low lofts – not so much that they have higher swing speeds – BUT they know that they get better ball speeds with the lower loft – IF/When they have a high enouhg AOA.

      Thoughts?

      Dennis

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      Dennis – Absolutely. Increasing Angle of Attack is something almost all golfers should be looking to do.

      Trackman talks about Spin Loft as a measure of efficiency…compression itself. The lower the spin number, the more efficient the transfer of energy from the club to the ball.

      For those who aren’t aware, Spin Loft is the difference between Dynamic Loft (the actual loft of the club at impact) and Angle of Attack.

      Based on Trackman’s charts, and all other things being equal…using a golfer with a swing speed of 95 MPH as our example:

      Optimum carry distance is 219. Increase Angle of Attack to +5 and ball speed increases by ~2MPH, launch increases, spin decreases, and that carry increases to 231. 12 yards, and all that changed was the swing (and spin loft). The positive consequence that you touched on is that you can now achieve the same (or better launch angles) with a lower lofted club, which by the nature of the relationship between loft and the impulse line, will have a CG closer to the neutral axis compared to the same model in a higher loft.

      Reply

      Troy

      9 years ago

      Thanks Tony, this is easily the most useful data I have ever seen when it comes to drivers. I purchased a new driver this year and I was split between the Cobra Fly-Z, Fly-Z+, Ping G30, and G30 LS Tec. Now I see why I preferred these drivers. For me, low and back is the way to go. I would love to see you include CG placement and CG NA info in future reviews. BTW, I went with the Fly-Z and I have been very happy with it…. Thanks and Keep up the good work!

      Reply

      david langley

      9 years ago

      these two graphs contradict them selves quite a bit which is baffeling me somewhat.

      looking at the the first graph you could conclude that: Ping G30 SF Tech spins less than the Ping G30 LS Tech

      looking at the second graph you could conclude that the Ping G30 SF Tech spins more than the Ping G30 LS Tech

      thats just one example, i saw similar things when comparing the SLDR & SLDR 430

      answers?

      Reply

      PD

      9 years ago

      From the first article: “Moving heavy weights over a comparatively small distance, or comparatively light weights over a greater distance doesn’t actually accomplish much.”
      I am looking see if a little change can make a difference for me.
      I have a Fly-Z+ with the stock weight (15g) in the front position. I am looking to lower spin–I love the club but my swing tends to put a lot of spin on the ball (I am working on that with lessons!).
      Cobra sells weights from 9g to 19g in 2g increments. How would the location of the CG NA change if I were to switch to, say, the 19g weight (i.e., +4g in the same position)?
      I suspect that since the CG NA is already above the neutral axis and the weight is at the sole of the club, a heavier weight would move the CG NA downward on the 2nd chart. If I am studying this right, that would increase dynamic loft and reduce spin (per the first article). But whether the +4g puts the Fly-Z+ in the same range as the Mizuno grouping I cannot estimate.
      Do I have this right?
      And what would happen to the MOI? Would it move left (=less forgiving) or right on the 2nd chart, or not change? If the MOI increases (or didn’t get worse) then this +4g weight would be a great little upgrade.
      On the other hand, I think the Fly-Z+ head weighs about 300g so 4g is not much of an increase…

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      A heavier weight in the front position would lower the CG/NA, but you’d also slow the dynamic closure rate of the head.

      Reply

      PD

      9 years ago

      Tony,

      Thanks for the reply and of course for the great articles (I have forwarded the links to many friends). I will give the heavier weight a shot in the front and back positions and see. I tend to launch high so maybe the heavier rearward weight will lower launch from stock weight as well as give me the high MOI benefits of the rear position.

      Paul Muehlemeyer

      9 years ago

      Tom, how does the RBZ stage 2 fit in to all of this information? I have found this driver to be phenomenal with the right shaft. Where does the CG fall on these clubs? I think they really hit the nail on the head with this design. What do you think?

      Reply

      pmhdvm

      9 years ago

      How does angle of attack figure into the cg/na equation? NO one hits up at the same angle as the driver face,so the force vector must not pass directly down this line.To transfer the most energy wouldn’t the cg have to be directly behind the combination of face angle and angle of attack? Really would like to understand if there is a effective sweet spot or not.

      Reply

      DL

      9 years ago

      First post here guys, I have been really impressed with your articles so far that I’ve read, they are non-biased and so much better and more interesting than anything else out there!

      Can you guys please add some drivers from the past year or so? I’d love to see the G25 up there and the Cobra Bio series, etc.

      Can you also explain how you go about getting these results? That would make a geek-happy article that people in the comments seem to enjoy. Thanks again!

      Reply

      Randy

      9 years ago

      You mentioned a goal launch and spin combination but for what swing speed? After two shoulder surgeries my swing speed for my TM R9 (420cc) is maybe 90 mph with regular shaft. Any idea if this is a forgiving head design. The flight looks good but only goes between 210-230 yards. Thx.

      Reply

      Paul Muehlemeyer

      9 years ago

      Tom, I don’t seem to be able to grasp the difference between the center of the face and the neutral axis. You say all the drivers have a CG below the center of the face but none have a CG on the neutral axis. Are you referring to a point left of center or what? I’m sorry to be so stupid but I guess I just don’t understand what the neutral axis is. I love these articles and all the fine work you guys do and thought your most wanted driver series was excellent. Can you maybe explain this axis thing in more detail please? I feel a little foolish that I don’t get it. Thankyou

      Reply

      Golfmaniac

      9 years ago

      Neutral axis is projected from center of face perpendicular to the loft.

      Reply

      JJ

      9 years ago

      Great article! I’m glad I read it. This article diminishes my need to go out and try /buy a g30 LS. The fly-z+ and G30 LS tec look to be almost the exact same driver, when the Fly Z+ weight is in back. Honestly, I haven’t tried my fly z+ with the weight in back yet. I’m going to give it a run tomorrow….

      Reply

      Kyle

      9 years ago

      Thanks for adding the SLDR/SLDR 430 numbers and CG position. I knew the MOI was lower in the SLDR, but had no idea that it was that low. Explains why the SLDR has always been an all or nothing driver for me. Equal parts best driver and worst driver that I have owned. Thanks for the article, charts, and all the info. I hope this becomes a yearly test that is done

      Reply

      Heath Crawford

      9 years ago

      Awesome analysis, Tony! Question about MOI and “forgiveness”, in regards to the higher MOI drivers-wont that decrease angular velocity and decrease closure rates simply by the radius from the axis of rotation to the COM? Conservation of angular momentum will see that if MOI is going up angular velocity is going down thus making it harder to rotate the face, which leads me to my question- Is the SLDR the easiest to draw via its extreme low MOI and high angular velocity about it’d axis of rotation? Any feedback would be great.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      Just a quick heads-up for those following along, I’ve updated the charts to include the TaylorMade SLDR and SLDR 430.

      Reply

      Dandaman

      9 years ago

      The spot colors seem to be flip flopped in the two charts when you added the two SLDR models. In the chart above, the SLDR 430 is the darker pink (closest to the clubface of the SLDRs) but in the chart below the 430 is the lighter pink (higher MOI)? It’s kind of confusing me.

      Reply

      bogey jones

      9 years ago

      awesome article, tony!

      could you please clarify which of the SLDR actually have the higher MOI?
      As dandaman pointed out, the colors are swapped in the charts and is confusing…
      it seems counter intuitive that 430 has higher MOI than 460, but it is entirely possible.

      i have been very interested much in the 430 lately, and this might just convince me to get one.

      thank you,

      rj

      9 years ago

      How does the knuth high heat driver stack up? – plenty of claims that it is significanty lower and deeper than and OEM manufacturer

      Reply

      Drivergolfclubs

      9 years ago

      Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

      chris

      9 years ago

      Do you have any comparison as to how the srixon z745 compares to the sirxon z545 and an info on the bridgestone j15. I was hopping to see where the z545 and j15’s cgNA is located cause i was trying to decide between that and the cobra fly z+, z545 and the j15

      Reply

      Robert

      9 years ago

      REALLY love this segment! You should perform these test every year for all new releases!

      Reply

      Morgo

      9 years ago

      30 years of playing and fiddling with golf clubs this and shaft spine information are the two best articles I’ve ever read. Thank you. I would like to also ask for the SLDR CG info. I would say most readers would like this as the SLDR set the DISTANCE bench mark for all clubs last year and I would be surprised if it wasn’t the most DEMO’d club in 2014. Having the SLDR info gives us a base club to compare the rest by. I play the SLDR 7* very long but so unforgiving IMO so I’m looking for an option in truth.
      We can only ask.
      Thanks for the article and keep them coming.

      Reply

      Rb

      9 years ago

      Hi, just one question, how is center of gravity related to impact location. If you hit the club high on the face is it better in terms of distance and forgiveness to have a high center of gravity driver?

      Reply

      Chris Pearson

      9 years ago

      This is precisely the data I’ve been after for quite some time.

      Since January, I’ve been working with driver/shaft combinations to try and identify potential distance gains for all levels of golfers, and this particular data set is the one thing that lends the ultimate credence to my existing analysis (in addition to bolstering it!).

      I do all of my testing on my local Golfsmith’s Foresight launch monitors, and thanks to that access, I’ve hit literally every club in your chart except for the Srixon and the Mizuno.

      Prior to reading this article, I thought I had identified the holy grail—the Cobra BioCell+, BioCell Pro, and to a minimally lesser extent, the Fly-Z+. However, based on the information in the chart, it would appear that the Mizuno JPX-850 (paired with the right shaft, of course), should produce an unbeatable combination of low spin and a piercing flight.

      Granted, we’re probably talking about an average spin rate of something like 2000rpm compared to 2100rpm for the Cobras, but still—gains are gains.

      Given how little chatter there seems to be around the Mizuno, I find this to be extremely intriguing. At this point, I can’t wait to hit one!

      Finally, for those of you who are interested, I have 3 favorite low-spin shafts that have produced the best numbers for both myself and people I’ve fitted in the last few months. The range of swing speeds here is wide, too—from 90mph to 120mph, and these 3 shafts have performed better for ALL of those speeds:

      • Matrix Black Tie 7M3 (x-flex yielded the most distance AND accuracy gains for…wait for it…90–100mph swingers)
      • Oban Kiyoshi Black 65 (again, 05 flex produced the best results for all swings; guys at 110+ felt like the 04 was too soft)
      • Mitsubishi Diamana D+ (70x for 110+, 70s for 90–110)

      I found these results to be interesting because fitters are absolutely not in the habit of handing slow-speed players hardcore x-stiff shafts. My guys are CRUSHING their old driving distances by 30–40 yards with these setups, though.

      You want to see happiness? Produce an extra 40 yards for a guy who is over 65 years old :D

      Reply

      Dave

      9 years ago

      Looking at both charts my guess would be that a G30 or Fly-Z with a hot melt that was placed on the top(inside obviously) directly above the rear CG could pull that CG upward and perhaps on the neutral axis????? What do you think.

      Reply

      Jack

      9 years ago

      Tony:
      If I’m understanding the data correctly (that the farthest point away from the face, and close or on the neutral axis is the ideal CG location) , this is what I gathered from all this concerning the Mizuno JPX-850.
      The weight settings that would maximize the driver (according to just the numbers) would be:
      Position 1-2 (both weights back) Neutral High
      • Best MOI (3997)
      • Furthest from Center of Face (-33)
      • Lowest Vertical Distance from Center (-5)
      • 3rd best distance from Neutral Axis (1.1 mm)
      Am I understanding this correctly? Currently I have the Heel-Toe setup.

      Reply

      KC6

      9 years ago

      “… most R&D guys will tell you that the farthest point away from the face, and close or on the neutral axis is the ideal CG location”

      Does this statement carry over to other clubs, such as fwy, hyb, iron, and wedges?

      I’m thinking answer is probably yes for fwy. But for others, the objective of the clubs isn’t really to minimize spin.

      It would be interesting to see the measurements on other types of clubs.

      Reply

      Kyle

      9 years ago

      This article and the one that proceeded it are two of the best I have read about drivers. I am glad that you did this testing and posted the MOI of the drivers. Companies really like to keep those numbers private. I went to a demo day last weekend and all but one of the drivers I liked all have low and back CG. The other driver had a low CG, but also a more forward one. I might have missed it, but what would the SLDR MOI numbers be?

      Reply

      shortyjohns

      9 years ago

      Thanks for this series of articles. Probably the best ones yet that I’ve read on this site!

      Reply

      KC6

      9 years ago

      One of the best golf equip articles I’ve read. Learned lots! Keep up the great work!

      Reply

      Winston

      9 years ago

      Great article on understanding the dynamics of CG and different drivers on offer to suit different swings. My swing is 80-85mph and I have a negative AoA (-6) on driver swings and tend to hit pushes or slices on bad misses and average distance 200 yards. Tend to hit low on face and between centre and heel.
      Wondering whether the PING G30 or SFC Tec would suit in the above context or alternatively which drivers would best suit?

      Reply

      Matt wiseley

      9 years ago

      Tony,
      I already had a G30 LS which I love but found even with the tour 80 shaft the ball would balloon into the wind. Through a buddy that is a callaway vip I got a DBD.
      Funny how these clubs are complete opposites but honestly- I struggle each day to decide which driver I want to use from round to round. In perfect conditions I hit each club within 5 yards of each other. The callaway is longer but certainly does penalize distance when mis hit. On the flip side I love the ping but hate the spin, so when I play in wind or in heavier air…going to have to ditch it. Your explanations above perfectly fit what I have found with these clubs.
      Love the article- thank you

      Reply

      Gabriel

      9 years ago

      Tony, another interesting, well-written article. I have a couple questions though. The first being what effect does cg have on where the true sweet spot is? And the second is the high cg a significant factor to the Nike vapor pro and flex being the most accurate drivers of 2015?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      The true sweet spot will be inline with the CG since that’s where your mass is centered. So a high CG (relative to center face) can have some benefit to those who habitually hit it high on the face. The trade-off is you have more physical space below the sweet spot. Impact below the sweet spot will add spin, while impact above it will reduce spin.

      No, I don’t believe the high CG is a significant factor in the accuracy of Nike drivers. Going back to the original Victory Red, and SQ Sumo2 we’ve generally found Nike drivers to be above average for accuracy. Accuracy is a result of closure rate (so front to back CG is a contributing factor), and bulge on the face (to counter the gear effect and bring the ball back towards the center).

      There’s an old argument that backspin counteracts side spin…that’s a bit of a falsehood. There is only spin and axis tilt. It’s the direction of the tilt that creates curvature (left tilt is draw spin, right tilt is fade spin). All other relevant factors being equal, and assuming a ball flight that moves away from the target line (slice/hook), the ball that spins less will stay closer to the target line.

      Reply

      william martella

      9 years ago

      Tony:

      I see your data and am trying to make sense of it, in terms of my swing patterns. Can you relate your data to how a player makes contact on the face of the club? For instance, CG closer to the neutral axis should yield better results, but is that assuming a center strike? What if I consistently strike the upper half of the face?

      My favorite all time driver was the Titleist 983E, not sure how that would relate to the current offerings.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      If you’re consistently well above the center of the face than a higher CG might make sense, as your CG would be more inline with the point of impact.

      As I mentioned in a previous comment, the consequence of that high CG is that you have more surface area below the CG and consequently a greater percentage of the face that creates higher spin rates (on impact below the sweet spot).

      There are a subset of golfers who consistently hit high enough above center that they actually achieve high launch with too little spin. Those are the guys who benefit most from higher CG drivers. It’s a very low percentage of golfers, but they do exist.

      Reply

      DaveMac

      9 years ago

      Tony, I commented that I prefered the Ping SF Tech to the standard G30, so is draw bias a reality or just a marketing myth. Is the CG location a cube high/low, forward/back, heel/toe?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      @DaveMac – Yes, we’re talking about a cube. The subject is complex enough where we wanted to start with the two most relevant dimensions (top to bottom, front to back).

      As far as draw bias goes…that’s sort of a catch all term for a number of different things OEMs do to influence/promote right to left ball flight (for right-handed golfers), or at a minimum, reduce a slice.

      Keep in mind, we’re talking about assisting or promoting a draw. It’s a draw bias, not a draw promise. Nothing can guarantee a draw, your impact conditions can (and often do) override any and all attempts by the manufacturers to stop us from slicing the ball.

      This is probably an article in and of itself, but let me give you the cliff notes version of ways manufacturers create draw bias.

      1. Rear CG/ Rear CG with offset. As we talked about in the first article, a rear CG creates a faster closure rate. This helps return the club to square, or even past square at impact, which should help close the face to the path, which is what’s necessary to move the ball right to left.

      Offset moves the CG even farther back, which creates even more dynamic closure.

      2. Upright Lie. Because of the loft on a golf club, when you raise the toe (make it upright), you change the face orientation (it points more left). Starting the ball left can help you from going too far right. The upright lie also promotes a left tilting spin axis, which leads to what’s generally called draw spin. It basically gives you a head start, but depending on the severity of the slice conditions the golfer generates, it’s certainly not a promise or guarantee of a draw.

      3. Closed Face – this primarily impacts starting line. The golf ball starts where the face is pointing. Close the face and you’ve pointed it left, and so the ball with want to start left. It can also alter the face to path relationship which again, can either promote a draw or mitigate a slice.

      4. Weighting (internal or external) – In simple terms, weight in the heel promotes a draw, while weight in the toe promotes a fade (or neutralizes the draw weighting alternative). There are 3 things you can accomplish with weighting:

      a: increased closure rate. More weight in the heel, the more the head wants to rotate around the axis of the shaft. This is basically how the SF Tec works. The shaping and internal weighting is different – and is designed to increase closure rate.

      b: Reduce heel gearing/increase toe gearing. For those who don’t know, because of the gear effect, anything to the toe side of the CG will promote ‘draw spin’, while anything to the heel side of the CG will promote ‘fade spin’. By shifting the CG towards the heel you slightly increase the area of the face that promotes that draw spin,while proportionally decreasing the portion that creates fade spin.

      c: Heel side sweet spot – When you move weight to the heel, the sweet spot moves with it. As you may guess, we’re talking about millimeters, but for those who tend to favor the heel, moving weight to the heel will not only mitigate a slice, but will also promote more distance on slight heel misses.

      As with all other aspects of CG, the impact of moving weight to alter shot shape is dependent on the amount of mass being moved, and the distance over which that mass is being moved.

      To put some real-world context to this, TaylorMade’s SLDR from draw to fade shifts the CG by 6mm. While it’s not a true 50/50 split with that model, conceptually you can think of it as 3mm in either direction from center. Again…not a lot by conventional measures, but it does matter.

      Reply

      DaveMac

      9 years ago

      Tony, thanks for the very detailed reply.

      DB

      9 years ago

      Thanks Tony. Really appreciate your straight-forward comments.

      Reply

      John Muir

      9 years ago

      Tony:
      I was surprised with the Titleist results. Would have expected higher/more forward. Looks like they’re in a good spot, fairly forgiving, not too high/low.
      John

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      John – It’s reached the point where I find the Titleist mystique (for lack of a better word) amusing. They have this reputation…one could even argue that they’ve cultivated a reputation…as a club for better players, but when you look at the charts, its drivers are among the most forgiving in golf. We can talk about ideal CG location and the tradeoffs between low spin and forgiveness, but I’d agree, Titleist occupies an extremely playable position.

      Worth mentioning…this isn’t a 915 series phenomenon…Titleist has has produced some of the highest MOI drivers on the market over the last several years.

      Reply

      Andrew UK

      9 years ago

      Shame the yet to be released 915 D4 wasn’t available. Be interesting to see where it fell on the chart given that Titleist have made ‘to order’ only and not outside the US (yes that’s a mini rant!).

      Of the new drivers I’ve tried I’d say Fly Z+ would be top of the list.

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      Just a guess, but given what we know about Titleist’s CG philosophy, my suspicion is that the D4 will be only marginally lower and more forward.

      I suspect D4 is to D3 what D3 is to D2, although admittedly that’s just conjecture on my part.

      Andy, UK

      9 years ago

      Thanks for response Tony. This and part are one of the best articles I’ve read in a long while.

      I’m curious to see what’s up next for you guys…slightly off topic but I’ve never been convinced by putters with groves or inserts improving roll. Be interesting to try and test some of the claims made in that area.

      Andy

      Jack

      9 years ago

      Tony/Anyone!
      not being a math wizard the idea I’m getting is that the Mizuno JPX-850 heel/toe weighted has an ideal “hot spot” ideal CG location (lowest spin/max distance) is -30 from the absolute center of the clubface and -4 from center…or just toward the toe and below right of center of the clubface? I always assumed the hot spot was above center and towards the toe? I have gained +22 (189 to 211 avg) yards since going to the JPX-850 from my Nike 2.0 and have been trying to hit the club top of center and towards the toe.
      Thanks,
      Jack

      Reply

      Lou

      9 years ago

      Another fantastic job Tony. Just want to get something clear though. If someone has a downward or negative angle of attack with their driver, they need more loft right? And with more loft generally means more spin right? But if this person is already generating a lot of spin and wanted to lower their spin numbers in hopes to find their optimal launch numbers and distance gain, would their chances of them getting their optimal numbers be better if they would go with the Mizuno or Cobra driver?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      @Lou – Short answer, it depends. Angle of Attack is important, but it’s just one variable that effects flight. Swing/Ball Speed, path, release, etc. all play a role.

      There’s a bit of a balancing act between launch and spin. It’s never as simple as launch as high as you can, and spin be damned, or spin as little as you can, launch be damned. It’s about achieving zen between the two. Although forced to choose, high launch with slightly high spin is preferable to low launch with low spin.

      That said, most generally I find that guys who hit down on the ball (especially those who hit down significantly (4° or more) generally benefit from lower lofted drivers. We have one regular tester who is -7°, and he gets his best distance results from extremely low lofted drivers (7.5° for example). We’re talking about a guy who averages about 4750 RPM at 9.5 degrees of loft, so you know…huge distance lost to spin. Trackman’s optimization numbers say my best shot at maximizing distance is to get his launch angle closer to 8.5° while keeping his spin in check (relatively speaking) at around 3600.

      Flip side, I’ve also had a +6° AoA who I was able to get his launch conditions consistently around 14.5° and 2000 RPM…with an 8.5 degree head.

      All of that said, you rarely find a case where a negative AoA guy needs an abundance of loft (12.5…14). Generally 10.5 is as high as ever need to go in those cases. Once you get closer to 0 (-2° to +2°) then those other factors play a larger role in the loft determination.

      So to answer your last question…it depends on the guy, and the target launch angle/spin combo. Painting with broad strokes, a guy who hits down that severely probably also needs forgiveness, in which case FLY-Z+ has the advantage. Of course, if the guys really needs to take loft off, Mizuno’s JPX-850 goes down to 7.5°, and while that is a niche loft of sorts, there are guys who need it. Depending on the severity of the situation, R15 430, DBD…anything lowish/forwardish can help (even at the expense of forgiveness)

      ALL of that said, we must also consider that what is optimal, may not be pleasing to the eye. Guys who hit down substantially often must rely on roll (vs. carry) to maximize distance. If the golfer isn’t comfortable with that, you may need to add loft to make the ball flight more visually appealing.

      Reply

      Lou

      9 years ago

      I tend to play a -5 if I recall last year off a trackman. I’m actually going to a demo day tomorrow and Cobra will be there so I’m going to hit the FlyZ+ for sure. My launch angle usually plays under 9 (like 7.5 to 9) and I get over 3300 rpm in my spin with my TourEdge set at 12 degrees. My swing speed tends to vary between 100-106mph. I try to get around 250-260 carry with 270-280 roll is what I’m trying to consistently achieve. Any advice and thanks for the reply.

      Justin

      9 years ago

      Any chance you can also show the horizontal CG location across the face for each model?

      Reply

      Kevin

      9 years ago

      Excellent article. It is time that golfers get to understand what is really happening. I could suggest a follow up that compares long irons with rescue clubs. What are the CG and MOI characteristics that we need to know about in choosing between the alternatives.

      Reply

      JaxBeachPackerFan

      9 years ago

      Excellent Suggestion!!!

      Reply

      andrew

      9 years ago

      i was surprised at the seemingly poor performance of the ls tec in the driver test, but i think i get it now- i absolutely crush this club on the Lm, better than the others I’ve tried (although i haven’t had time for all of them- cobra, dbd…) so its good to see why.

      Reply

      Steve

      9 years ago

      My bad, the LS COG is slightly closer to the neutral axis, so it should launch slightly lower with slightly less spin.

      Reply

      Steve

      9 years ago

      Based on chart #2, the G30 LS has a lower MOI than the G30, and also will launch higher with more spin than the G30 because the DOG is higher above the neutral axis. Am I reading this correctly? If so, why should anyone purchase the LS if they want to lower spin?

      Reply

      Jonny B

      9 years ago

      Thanks MGS for a fantastic writeup. Keep the quality articles like these coming.

      I play the Big Bertha Alpha with Gravity Core up and love the low, penetrating ball flight. It is also extremely workable – I can fade and draw it at will. But after reading this I am tempted to try the G30 LS Tec, it appears from a numbers perspective to offer a great combo of CG location and MOI for forgiveness. The BB Alpha is not very forgiving on mishits -that’s for sure.

      Reply

      Caleb

      9 years ago

      Are you saying that a lower CgNa will result in a less spin higher launch than a higher one? i.e. Big Bertha DD 815, core is up results in lower launch and more spin than when it’s down? I own one and it seems to be just the opposite?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      Yes. With the gravity core in the up position, the physics say that Double Black Diamond will launch marginally lower (less dynamic loft) and spin approximately 300 RPM more than with the core down.

      Generally speaking, higher spin and lower launch is not desirable. Callaway’s position is that for players who hit the ball high on the face there is a benefit to aligning the CG with the impact position. There may be something to that, but the results of our own tests, as well as the feedback from the world class fitters I’ve spoken with suggest that it’s a very narrow market (5%-10% of golfers) that benefit from the core up position.

      Reply

      Caleb

      9 years ago

      If it’s only 5 to 10% that would have the core in the up position, I am surprised that callaway would have made it reversible? Do you know if the core comes in different weights? If so, have you done any tests on the different weights?
      I am going to try the core in the down position and see again if it has a high launch then in the down position.

      Did you notice in your testing that in the down position the head felt dead?

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      Caleb – Let’s put it out there…gravity core is as much about a marketing hook as it is versatility/playability. Because of the design of the core itself, there’s a substantial amount of mass anchored to the center of the club. Think about the structure of the gravity core…you have the core itself (heavy end light end), you have the material that connects the two ends, and you have the supporting structure (the tube that keeps the core in place). All of that locks mass in the center of the head. That dramatically limits Callaway’s ability increase MOI (again…all the discretionary mass is in the core). They can’t go farther back and still have a core.

      For guys who need low spin, Big Bertha DBD has the potential to be the best driver on the planet, but to do that Callaway would need to ditch the core (and it’s extra mass), and anchor the weight in the bottom of the club (and potentially move it back). And of course, to do that, they’d have to back away from their position that gravity core is awesome. Callaway’s flagship technology limits their ability to functionally move mass.

      TaylorMade is in a similar boat with Low/Forward. Low/Forward is awesome (and it is for some people), but when you commit to that design standard, you also commit to making low MOI drivers. To create a forgiving driver, the company must first acknowledge that Low/Forward isn’t ideal for everyone, and that goes against the company message.

      I’ve discussed this before…companies commit to a technology (good, bad, or otherwise), and they’re basically locked into it for 3-5 years, because doing something different would basically be admitting that the idea wasn’t so great to begin with.

      Caleb

      9 years ago

      Tony,
      I see my Callaway came in on the low side for MOI and the Ping G30 the highest (am I reading the chart correctly?) If we put each driver in Iron Byron at a given swing speed, which driver would go further?

      John muir

      9 years ago

      Scott:
      Which new Accura shaft did u install in your G30?
      I’ve been thinking about testing one in mine.
      John

      Paul G

      8 years ago

      Hello Tony,
      Fantastic information…I’m a Golf Professional in San FRANCISCO area.
      These are The best articles I’ve read that have a directs explanation to why as a taylor-made staff member I could hit some drivers but not others. No longer taylor-made staff. Often would pick up my students and fellow pros Titleist driver’s and hit them and shake my head saying wow that felt great Like it was easy to hit, now I know why!

      I bought a Fly Z with R flex out of my golf shop and pound it. I like to hit mid flight fades like Sergio and this club does great with that though probably Spinney . do you have some shaft thoughts for me? Clubhead speed ranges from 105 – 110

      Are you a club fitter? It would be great to see you.

      Thank you

      Scott

      9 years ago

      Great writing… I just tested a bunch of new drivers.. I currently have Taylor maid S with Accura stiff shaft. After trying most of the drivers you mention the numbers came back that I hit Ping G30 20 yards farther. Swing speed was between 101-104 Hit down on th ball more often then not. The shaft was same but a newer model by accura. have not played with it yet but at least in the cage it was most on center and longest…

      Reply

      DB

      9 years ago

      I love technical stuff like this. Just the numbers, interpret them how you want.

      And I will tell you my interpretation: Pretty clear that the PING G30 series, Cobra Fly-Z series, and Mizuno JPX-850 are the best designed drivers on the market.

      And who looks particularly bad here… Sorry, but it’s Nike.

      Reply

      Tom

      9 years ago

      Not to argue with your interpretation, more to pose a question to test my understanding, but I think what looks particularly bad here is Nike Vapor Pro, as it is meant to be for better players but doesn’t have any of the benefits of either PING G30 (high MOI) nor the extreme opposite Callaway BB Alpha DBL etc (which will go very far if hit on the button and penalise for not), it seems to be the wost of both worlds. The Vapor Speed, for lower swing speeds who may want higher launch and spin, which is what the Speed is supposed to do, to keep the ball in the air and maximise distance it seems to do its job?

      What I love about this is you can look at the characteristics of your own game (swing speed, consistency of strike), for which my interpretation is (to take the 4 extremes) – Mizuno – good for high swing speeds with a precise strike. PING/Cobra – good for relatively high swing speeds and imprecise strike (me), Nike Speed – good for low swing speeds and imprecise strike, Callaway BBA DBL etc – good for relatively low swing speeds and precise strike? If I’ve misinterpreted please correct me.

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      Tom – Regarding the Vapor series, there’s spin…and then there is too much spin. My opinion is that Nike is one of the companies that locked itself into a technology (Cavity Back Driver) and is now bound by its limitations. The very nature of that design makes it impossible to put the CG low, there’s simply too much of the mass pushed to the crown.

      My guess is you’ll see them transition away from it. Nike’s head of R&D (Nate Radcliffe) is the brain behind the Cleveland Hi-Bore (low/forward before low/forward was cool). He arrived after Covert/Cavity Back started, but I suspect he’s going to take them in a more conventional direction.

      There’s another consideration we haven’t discussed in this story…stated loft vs. actual loft. It’s far from uncommon for drivers to have more actual loft than what’s written on the head. One of the drivers in this test had nearly 2.5° more loft than the stated loft. What that does is make a low/forward design more playable for the masses (because guys are buying more loft – even if they don’t intend to – than they otherwise might).

      So what you have are companies whose drivers are manufactured to meet the stated loft (Mizuno, Cobra, and Nike) and those who fudge loft for playability. So what happens when you compare loft to loft, those whose lofts are inline with what the club says appear to be lower spin on a comparative basis…that’s not always reality. What’s reality is that other ‘low spin’ designs appear to spin more because there’s substantially more loft than advertised on the club.

      Tom

      9 years ago

      Thanks Tony, didn’t want to come off as defending Nike, I can just think of one guy I play with who would really benefit from the Nike speed. Slow swing speed short off the tee. The stated loft idea is good input as well, again I understand there are a bunch more variables in this game.

      Was I on the right track though with the difference between Mizuno (high SS accurate strike) and Ping (high SS inaccurate strike)?

      buckeyewalt

      9 years ago

      Double thumbs on a great article and for trying to teach us something. It kind of makes me rethink of my traditional “go to” brands when looking for my next driver. Ping, to me, has always been a super game improvement club for players who need that type of club. Looks like I’m wrong again.
      Great article!!

      Reply

      txgolfjunkie

      9 years ago

      So what this is saying is that my recent purchase of the Callaway DBD is the least forgiving driver out there? Challenge accepted!

      Reply

      Fozcycle

      9 years ago

      Thanks Tony, this was a great little lesson. The Fly-Z is definitely worth looking at.

      Reply

      Leon

      9 years ago

      Fantastic work! Driver CG myth buster!

      Cleared the major manufacturers marketing BS, and gave a chance for golfers to truly understand and get educated about what they should go for. It is really a much needed job, and thanks Tony, you get it done, perfectly.

      Twenty thumbs up for you.

      Reply

      Todd

      9 years ago

      Tony, great article, really informative.

      I think what Mark was asking in a previous question was that if all the swing variables were the same for a given golfer would we expect him to hit the “JPX” & “forward FlyZ+” farther than the rest of the pack due to the low spin/high launch placement?

      If that’s not what he meant, I apologize, but I’d still like to know your answer…

      Reply

      Braden Powers

      9 years ago

      This was a great article. One of the best that I have read in a long, long time. Please keep the technical articles coming. As a software guy, I love the technical stuff.

      I will attest to the forgiveness of the Ping g30 LS. It is super forgiving and the low spin is dead on. I am playing the tour rouge in it and I am seeing great results.

      Reply

      golfercraig

      9 years ago

      The G30 LS has the world of low hdcp players abuzz. Now it’s easy to see why. “It’s so forgiving for a players club” is hard to quantify.

      BTW–love this test. Great job

      Reply

      Steven

      9 years ago

      Very informative and well written. Thanks for another great article.

      Reply

      Casey

      9 years ago

      Best article I’ve read in a long time. Well done.

      Reply

      Chuck

      9 years ago

      So does this mean the Aeroburner is the least forgiving driver? Should I eliminate the Aeroburner as a potential driver for the season?

      Reply

      Mark

      9 years ago

      Excellent stuff Toney. I’m trying to digest this so hope you don’t mind a question …

      Per the last chart – with everything else being equal and given that a player can consistently hit the middle of the face with say a 105mph swing speed, with the proper launch angle would they hit the JPX or forward flipped FLy-Z+ farther than others due to less spin?

      Thanks

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      Mark – That’s an interesting question. What is ‘proper’ launch? If we work at what’s inside the ballpark of ideal (call it 14/2100), I’d estimate that the difference would amount to about +/- 1 yard less carry and +/-2 yards of roll. The Mizuno would likely be less than 1 yard longer total. Performance should be similar for center strikes. Off center the Z+ has the advantage because of the higher MOI.

      Also worth noting, the JPX-850 is 440cc, while Z+ is 455cc.

      If recollection serves, last seasons BioCell Pro was very similar to the JPX-850 with the weights in the front.

      Reply

      Mark

      9 years ago

      Thanks!

      Dandaman

      9 years ago

      What strikes me is how some adjustable tech really seems to move some offerings to perform in a different region … Cobra’s Fly-Z+ for instance… while others, not so much. I’ve read in the past that T.O. at Cobra is one of the true metal wood design geniuses. I’d be extremely interested to see where his Bio Cell+ and standard offerings from last year fell on these graphics. Also some other big 2013/2014 performers and sales leaders like SLDR, the Berthas, etc…

      Reply

      DaveMac

      9 years ago

      Thanks for a fantastic article, this is the type of detailed information I am interested in reading.

      It would have been useful to thrown in last year’s SLDR and the XHot to establish a comparison.

      The Aeroburner has a CG location very different than I anticipated, supposedly TM’s forgiving option.

      The Mizuno has to win a technical merit award, it is a shame they went for a one loft for all approach or this might have be a more universal product (Mizuno, paint the ladies head blue and market it as an alternitive men’s loft)

      Reply

      mo

      9 years ago

      “The Aeroburner has a CG location very different than I anticipated, supposedly TM’s forgiving option.”

      Yeah, but it explains the surprising popularity of the AeroBurner on Tours.

      Reply

      DaveMac

      9 years ago

      I would be interested in seeing how draw / fade biased the drivers are, is this how close the CG is towards the hosel?

      I have only hit three models in this study, I hit the Ping G30 SF tech much better than the std G30. I am not normally a slicer but I don’t think I have a high rate of face closure, with the std G30 I hit shots straight right (blocks) while the SF tech produced straight shots. Looking at the CG location between both models, there dosn’t appear to be a large difference.

      Reply

      revkev

      9 years ago

      Another very nice segment, more technical than the last for sure but I think I understand it. Like the Most Wanted Driver test I’d be curious to see how last year’s models and for that matter the year before stacked up in terms of CG and then how that impacted their performance.

      I also have a question about MOI. That became the big marketing buzz word 6 or 7 years ago. I thought I recalled companies touting numbers well over 5,000 and yet we don’t see that sort of MOI number on this chart. I also remember reading an article stating that there is a point of diminishing return regarding MOI. Another words while the difference between 3,000 and 3,500 might be huge the difference between 3,500 and 5,000 was not so much. Have the companies stealthily rolled back the MOI in favor of marketing some other gimmick?

      Reply

      Tony Covey

      9 years ago

      It’s true…designs like Nike’s SQ SUMO2 and Callaway’s FT-IQ (the square drivers) were close to USGA limits for MOI. As you may recall, both suffered from distance issues, and I suspect we’d find that in those cases, to get the CG back (and the MOI high), the CG was also very high, which leads to gearing and lots of spin. So while the MOI number was high, distance really wasn’t.

      As for diminishing returns on MOI…that’s company philosophy type stuff. TaylorMade’s argument for SLDR was basically that the distance gains from low forward outweighed the losses resulting from lower MOI. Depending on individual needs/preferences, there is some validity to the argument, but that’s also before we start talking about the impact on feel and closure rate of a forward CG placement. You can definitely put up big numbers with it, but from a playability standpoint, it’s not for everyone.

      Reply

      revkev

      9 years ago

      Perfect thanks! BTW I believe the article that I read on MOI and diminishing returns was written by Frank Thomas. Your explanation makes sense to me though. Gear effect brings the ball back towards the center of the fairway on mishits but it seems to do it by increasing spin thereby decreasing distance. Got it.

      Regardless if you are a consistent ball striker MOI becomes a less important factor I think. More important for a player like myself is distance. No doubt that’s why I prefer the TMag SLDR approach and on the other end of the spectrum have never found a Cobra driver that I could hit well.

      The take away here is that if we know our swing and then know the Cog philosophy of differing companies we have better starting points as we search for the best driver available for our game. I like it.

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