The Best Drivers of 2018
As the upcoming golf season approaches, we have taken a look at the new releases that have emerged onto the market, bringing together the Best New Drivers of 2018.
Callaway Rogue/Rogue SUB ZERO Driver
Callaway have taken the revolutionary technologies that made the GBB Epic the best-selling driving in the US and supercharged them to create the Rogue driver that offers Jailbreak distance with increased forgiveness.
The Rogue driver offers industry-leading ball speed through the revolutionary Jailbreak Technology. New, hourglass-shaped titanium bars, makes them significantly lighter without affecting their ability to minimize crown and sole deflection at impact. This allows for a thinner face and better energy-transfer to the ball, to promote faster ball speed. The enhanced X-Face architecture thickens and thins strategic areas of the face to promote higher ball speeds on off-centre impacts, as well as consistently high ball speed and long overall distance.
Rogue’s new and more forgiving 460cc shape boasts a larger address footprint than the epic, and in turn encourages golfers to relax and make a free and fast swing. Finally, the drivers’ extreme forgiveness is made possible through Callaway’s incredibly light and strong triaxial carbon crown.
The Sub Zero model has all the same technology, as well as two interchangeable weights in the front and back of the sole to allow you to adjust spin-rate. This driver is a powerful, extremely low-spinning, Tour-level driver packaged in an high-MOI head shape. Finally, the Draw version of the Rogue driver features a 5-gram screw in the sole near the heel and substantial internal weighting at the heel to counteract the most common shot shape of an amateur golfer – the slice.
Owen Davies: A worthy follow up to Callaway's groundbreaking EPIC driver. The Rogue does not re-invent or even re-imagine what made the EPIC so succesful, but instead builds on the tech advances to produce a slightly longer, but definitely straighter driver
|Watch Owen's review of the Callaway Rogue Driver >>>|
Loft: Rogue - 9°, 10.5° and 13.5° HT
Sub Zero - 9° and 10.5°
Draw - 9°, 10.15° and 13.5° HT
Shaft: Aldila Quaranta (LL, W, L and R flex)
Aldila Synergy (L, R and S flex)
Project X EvenFlow (R, S and XS flex)
Project X EvenFlow 60g (S and XS flex) (Sub Zero only)
Callaway GBB Epic/Epic SUB ZERO
The Callaway GBB Epic driver offers an epic shift in how the head and face behave to enhance power, spearheaded by their innovative Jailbreak Technology and Exo-Cage/triaxial carbon construction.
The innovative new Jailbreak Technology changes how the head and face behave at impact to promote more speed across a larger area of the face for increased average distance. The innovative combination of titanium Exo-Cage and triaxial carbon crown – the lightest ever in a Callaway driver – creates an unprecedented forgiveness in a high-launch, low-spin design.
The track and sliding 17g weight have been redesigned to allow golfers to fit the club to your swing, providing 21-yards of shot-shape correction for more control and distance. This is on top of OptiFit Adjustability, an eight-way adjustable loft and lie mechanism. Finally, the Epic driver offers fast head speed from industry leading aerodynamics.
The SUB ZERO model has a slightly smaller profile and would suit the better player. The SUB ZERO also doesn’t feature the sliding weights on the back, but instead features two fixed weights to increase MOI. On top of this it also produces less spin and therefore a slightly lower ball flight.
Owen Davies: The benchmark driver for me of 2017, the EPIC stays in the Callaway line up and will deliver a set of characteristics that cannot be found in the Rogue. If you need a little more spin, the EPIC is for you. Best to consult a PGA Pro and have a proper fitting before reaching into your pocket for either the EPIC or Rogue.
|Watch Owen's Callaway GBB EPIC Review here >>>|
Loft: 9.5°, 10.5° and 13.5°HT
Shaft: 40g Class: Mitsubishi Diamana (Green) M+
50g Class: Mitsubishi Diamana (Green) M+, Project X HZRDUS T800
60g Class: Fujikura Pro Green, Aldila Rogue M.AX
70g Class: Aldila Rogue M.AX
COBRA KING F8/F8+
The COBRA KING F8 and F8+ take advantage of the brand’s fresh Precision Milled Forged face for greater levels of performance. Compared to traditional hand polished drivers, CNC precision milling allowed COBRA engineers to achieve precise face thickness and tighter tolerances resulting in improved bulge-and-roll curvatures with a face that is 3% thinner and 10% lighter for maximum ball speed across the face with distance and accuracy.
COBRA’s 360° Aero Technology incorporates an innovative system of aerodynamic trips strategically positioned around the perimeter of the face to improve drag reduction through the downswing for increased club head speed. An ultra-light, 5-ply Carbon Fibre crown saves discretionary weight to move the CG lower and deeper for higher trajectories and increased forgiveness. Finally, a lightweight 8-1-1 Titanium Body and Forged Face spares weight while the brands’ patented E9 Technology, a variable thickness face designed with elliptical pattern Sweet Zone, creates more hot spots farther away from the centre of the face for more distance on these shots not struck out of the centre.
The KING F8 features an oversized address profile that increases MOI and provides more distance, forgiveness and speed, for a higher, towering ball flight. The F8+ features the same technology, but offers lower trajectories with two GC settings, one in the front, for a lower, penetrating ball flight, and one in the back for a higher, towering ball flight with slightly more spin.
Loft: 8.0°, 8.5°, 8.5D°, 9.0°, 9.5D°, 10.0°, 10.5D° and 11°
(11°, 11.5°, 11.5D°, 12.5°, 12.5D°, 13.5°, 13.5D° and 14° Ladies only)
Shaft: Aldila NV 2KXV Blue 60 (R and S flex)
Aldila NV 2KXV Green 65 (s and XS flex)
Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75 (S and XS flex)
Aldila NV 2KXV 50 (L flex)
Titleist 917 D2/D3
The Titleist 917 D2 and D3 lead Titleist’s driver range and feature improved proprietary Titleist technology – The Active Recoil Channel 2.0 - and introduce SureFit CG technology. The 917 drivers promise to deliver increased ball speed for more distance with superior forgiveness through these new technologies.
The Active Recoil Channel (ARC) is a long, wide, deep sole channel that actively flexes and recoils at impact to launch the ball with more speed and less spin off the face, for more distance. The Radial Speed Face 2.0 is a high-speed forged face insert, tuned with ARC 2.0, to promote greater off-centre ball speed. The High-MOI Design, with a low deep centre of gravity location, delivers stability and forgiveness by preserving off-centre ball speed for more distance. Finally, the SureFit Hosel and SureFit CG weight system deliver the ultimate in precision fitting.
The D2 model provides distance and forgiveness in a large 460cc full pear profile, whereas the D3 provides distance with workability in a traditional, tour-inspired 44occ pear profile.
Owen Davies: A super solid performer from Titlesit and still in the bag of many of the best players in the world, namely Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas. The 917 is a great all round performer with the ARC channel giving great ball speed over the 915. The sound is a big plus and you will hit a straighter bal with this than with some others.
|Watch Owen's Titleist 917 Review here >>>|
Loft: 917D2 – 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12°
917D3 – 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Max 65 (S and XS flex)
Fujikura Speeder Pro TS 74 (S and XS flex)
Mitsubishi Diamana Ltd. Blue 60 (R and S flex)
Mitsubishi Diamana Ltd. Red 50 (A, R and S flex) (D2 only)
Mitsubishi Ltd. Red 40 (L flex) (D2 only)
The Mizuno ST180 driver is the first to feature Wave sole technology, which commits every available gram of weight low and towards the face in order to drop spin rates for even the fastest, downward ball-strikers. It contracts and expands to increase the energy imparted to the ball for elevated ball speeds.
The new Forged SP700 Ti multi-thickness face promotes accelerated ball speeds that take the ST180’s performance noticeably past its predecessors. The striking blue head’s Internal Waffle Crown is a weight-saving design that allows more grams to be relocated low and forward to promote efficient low-spin performance.
Loft: 9.5° and 12.5°
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 50 (A flex)
Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 60 (R and S flex)
Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 70 (S and XS flex)
Mitsubishi Tensei CK White 70 (S and XS flex)
Mitsubishi Tensei CK Orange 50 (R and S flex)
Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNi 80 (XS flex)
Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNi 70 (S and XS flex)
Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNi 60 (S and XS flex)
Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNi 50 (R flex)
Bassara E-Series 42 (L flex)
Srixon Z 765
The Srixon Z 765 driver delivers the most advanced innovation and best performance of any Srixon driver due to the Ripple Effect technology that helps deliver a powerful, accurate launch for those with high swing speeds.
The Power Wave Sole is an advanced multi-step design that allows the entire sole to flex, which enhances COR, especially on low impacts. The new Stretch Flex Cup Face has been extended farther around the crown and the sole to create a larger sweet spot. And finally, the new Lightweight Crown has seen about four grams of weight be removed from the crown and repositioned to enhance club head MOI and lower the centre of gravity.
Owen Davies: While not one of the big players in the driver market, Srixon should not be dismissed, they have a heap of tech in this driver that works really well. I enjoyed the performance, sound and the 'squat' head. It maybe a driver suited to better players, but give it a try, the results will surprise you!
|Watch Owen's Srixon 765 Driver Review >>>|
Loft: 9.5° and 10.5°
Shaft: Miyazaki Kaula Mizu 6 (R and S flex)
TaylorMade M3/M4 Driver
The TaylorMade M3 and M4 drivers feature the company’s breakthrough innovation, Twist Face, and is TaylorMade’s solution to counteract golfers’ most common misses. To counteract high-toe misses (a hook), the driver face has been twisted open (loft increased and face open) on the high-toe to help straighten ball flight. Similarly, to counteract a low-heel miss (a slice) the driver face has been twisted closed to de-loft and close the face in the low heel area. The corrective face angle when hit off-centre delivers straighter, longer shots.
Both drivers feature a Hammerhead Slot, which is housed in the sole and has engineered to work in combination with Twist Face and Inverted Cone technologies to deliver maximum ball speed across a larger area. This, in turn, results in a larger sweet spot.
Exclusive to the M3 in both the 460cc and 440cc models is a new intuitive Y-Track adjustability system that allows for CG adjustment of the head to obtain desired, optimal ball flight. The 440cc utilises a slightly smaller head, deeper face and 22g of moveable weight.
The M4 differentiates from the M3 in its design by putting an emphasis on unparalleled forgiveness with straight distance. As well as utilising Twist Face and Hammerhead technology, it also incorporates Geocoustic engineering that combines geometry and acoustical engineering to unlock more forgiveness and best-in-class sound. Finally, the M4 D-Type is a higher launching, more draw biased model.
Loft: M3/M4 - 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12°
M3 440 - 9° and 10°
Shaft: M3 - Tensei CK Red (high launch) (R, S and XS flex)
Tensei CK Blue (mid launch) (R, S and XS flex)
Tensei CK White (low launch) (R, S and XS flex)
M4 – Fujikura Atmos Red (A, R, S and XS flex)
M4 D-Type – Matrix Platinum White Tie (L, A, R, and S flex)
Price: M3 - £479.00
M4 - £369.00
Improvements to the new PING G400 driver focus in on a thinner face that offers a hotter feel from the club and up to two miles per hour more ball speed, meaning golfers can gain at least six to eight yards of distance. The Faster Forged face in fact offers 16% more flexing when paired with the aerodynamic gains.
The Tungsten Back Weight with its combined MOI over 9,000 and deepest CG location in golf offers one of the most forgiving drivers on the market. The higher-density back weight helps with forgiveness and allows you to customise your swing weight. The streamlined shaping harmonises with new, bolder turbulators and Vortec technology to reduce drag by 40% mid-downswing and 15% overall to increase club head speed.
The Dragonfly technology creates an ultra-thin crown and skirt for weight savings to help optimise the CG location and increase MOI for maximum forgiveness and accuracy. The inspired look helps focus your eye for confidence and extensive research and computer simulation combined with music theory has delivered a satisfying sound.
Owen Davies: This is a great driver, simple as that! It delivers really great ball speed, it feels quick from the face, looks good and most importantly of all it is super straight.
|Watch Owen's review of the PING G400 Driver >>>|
Loft: Standard version - 9.5° and 10.5°
LST (low spin) - 8.5° and 10°
SFT (straight flight) - 10° and 12°
Shaft: Alta CB55 (SR, R, S and XS flex)
PING Tour 65 (R, S and XS flex)
PING Tour 75 (R, S and XS flex)
Aldila X-Torsion Copper (50R and 60S flex)
Project X HZRDUS Yellow (5.5, 6.0 and 6.5 flex)
Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNi (R, S and XS flex)
Price: £389.00 (ALTA CB55 and PING Tour shafts)
£449.00 (Aftermarket premium shafts)
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