Driver Testing – What is Standard?
Driver Testing – What is Standard?
We Test The Latest Drivers Head-To-Head
Drivers always tend to be at the fore-front of manufacturer’s and brand’s advertising, announcing the latest and greatest model they’ve produced that will give you the best performance you’ve ever got out of a club. But are these claims all they’re cracked up to be, and then when you take your demo and test clubs out on to the range to have a hit, how useful is that as an exercise when your ‘Standard’ ‘Stiff’ Driver might not be exactly what it says on the tin…
PG’s Jack Symons and Simon Cooper tested out 12 of the latest Drivers on the market to see just how these clubs can differ and what it means about the manufacturer’s claims and ultimately how it might affect your performance.
We tested all drivers against each other, you won’t believe the results. This one may drag on a bit, but stick with it, it may be very important to your future purchases, and eventually save you money and shots. The drivers we tested are 12 of what we deem the most prominent models in the market at the moment, they are:
- Bridgestone J40
- Callaway Razr Fit
- Cleveland Classic
- Nike VR Pro
- Mizuno 650
- Ping G20
- Ping i20
- Taylormade R11S
- Taylormade RBZ
- Titleist 910 D2
- Titleist 910 D3
- Yonez E Zone 450
The measurments we took were:
- Dead weight (total weight of the golf club)
- Swing Weight (proportionate balance between club head and butt end)
- Shaft Type
- Stated Loft
- Actual Loft (drivers rarely, if ever, measure what they say)
- Loft difference from stated loft to actual loft
- Shaft length
- Frequency – flex chart measuring CPM with shaft length to detect actual flex of shaft.
- The dead weights varied by 40g
- The shaft weight varied by 21g
- The swing weight varied by over 7 swing-weight points,
- The average actual loft on a driver was nearly 2 degrees more than stated
- The average driver length was 45.5, a whole inch longer than tour standard.
- The frequencies (all the shafts were “S” flex) varied from 4.4 to 8.0. (4.4 would be a soft regular, 8.0 would be around the flex in Bubba and Rory’s drivers).
I.E. There is no such thing as ‘standard’ or ‘Stiff’. To get valid results from your fitting, it needs to be like-for-like.
The manufacturers have done nothing wrong here; they are in no way obligated to be generic with these numbers from brand to brand. The startling thing is just how different the drivers play. Taking a selection of 3 or 4 of these drivers at your local range, taping the heads up (which drastically affects spin rates and swing-weight by the way*) is a totally unfair test. YOU WILL NOT FIND A SUITABLE DRIVER USING THIS METHOD. Day in and day out, we find (even with higher handicappers) that just a few grams, or 1 swing weight point can have a huge effect on a driver’s performance, the differences shown here are almost as different as testing a tennis racket with a squash racket.
1) The Drivers are all longer than what the average golfer can manage. If tour players cannot consistently square up a 46 inch driver, what chance do you have?
2) Shafts are built longer because there are very limited ways of making the head alone hit the ball further any more. The heads have been set limits on size and face spring, the only way you can get better results is when they test on their one plane robot, a longer shaft creates a longer lever and appears to give more distance. It’s not so much whether you can hit them or not, more that as long as their data stacks up well against the other brands. In fact, they probably hope you can’t hit it consistently well, so you rush out and buy the next years model in the hope it will be better.
3) If you get a correctly fitted driver, you wont have to buy one next year. I am fortunate enough to be able to use any driver I wish, and mine is 6 years old, I have done tests, if anything out there worked any better, I’d swap.
4) Manufacturers spend huge amounts of money trying to convince you that next years model will change your life, as much as we’d love it to, it’s pretty likely it wont. The purpose of this article is to explain that if you get a good driver fitted by Precision Golf you can do it once and do it right – don’t chance it buy bashing 3 heavily taped drivers, and you’ll save money and shots in the long run.
No matter what the club, and what your ability is, it’s paramount to be using properly fitted equipment, and during your search, to have access to all the information, all the choice, and all the expertise to ensure you get it done right – as we like to say buy right, buy once.
*Did you know that adding a £10.00 note to the end of your club can increase swing-weight by up to half a swing-weight point! So imagine what happens when a face gets completely covered in tape!!