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Category: Drivers


January 02, 2014

First Look: Ping i25 Driver

Posted at 12:05 PM by Golf.com

Ping-i25-driver_640
Ping introduced its latest line of golf clubs: the i25s. The line is comprehensive, including drivers, irons, fairway woods and hybrids. Ping claims these new clubs increase distance while providing forgiveness and accuracy for a wide range of players.

More on the Ping i25 driver:

A replacement for the i20 driver, the 460 cc i25 is aimed at players who require a slightly lower trajectory and less backspin than the G25 (about 250 rpm lower spin). Though the i25 isn't quite as forgiving as the G25, it is designed to provide a solid balance of high MOI and distance (8 percent greater inertia from crown to sole than the i20).

Other features include a more aerodynamic shape than past Ping drivers as well as LeMans-inspired racing stripes on the crown to aid alignment at address. The i25 is built with an adjustable hosel (not available in the i20) that allows for 0.5° loft to be added or subtracted. Price: $399.

(Photo: Michael Chini)

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December 02, 2013

First Look: Callaway Big Bertha drivers

Posted at 10:11 AM by Robert Sauerhaft

Callaway-big-bertha-drivers_640
Big Bertha is back. It's been five years since Callaway rolled out a driver with the iconic name. Now come two new models, the Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha, with innovative technologies.

The newest Big Bertha is designed to max out distance for average players. It has a 19% larger sweetspot (the face area that provides ball speeds within 2 mph of max speed) than last year’s RAZR Fit Xtreme, and features the same 8-way adjustable hosel (four lofts, two lies) as in Callaway’s Optiforce drivers. The coolest update is an 8-gram weight that slides on a five-inch track along the back edge of the club. Moving the slider can shift the club’s lateral center of gravity up to 0.138 inches. Callaway says it translates to a 360 rpm change in sidespin, and a 15.6-yard dispersion.

In addition, a composite crown helps to keep the club light despite the rear track, while added perimeter weighting boosts forgiveness. Available in 9°, 10.5°, and 13.5° lofts with a 45.5-inch Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki shaft. The club will be at retail on February 14, 2014. $399.

Its sister product, the Big Bertha Alpha, has adjustable loft settings to strengthen loft by 1° or weaken loft by 2°. The Alpha, for better players, has a first-of-its-kind removable carbon tube in the head -- heavy tungsten on one end and a light nylon on the other -- which allows you to alter backspin up to 300 rpm without changing loft. Positioning tungsten near the sole creates a mid-spin head; tungsten higher in the head makes it a low-spin driver. The club will be at retail on February 14, 2014. $499.

(Photo: Michael Chini)

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November 11, 2013

First Look: TaylorMade's JetSpeed Line of Woods

Posted at 4:04 PM by Michael Chwasky
TaylorMade JetSpeed
Credit: Chad Matthew Carlson

 

The new JetSpeed line of woods (driver, fairway woods, hybrids) from TaylorMade will replace the existing RBZ Stage 2 woods in December. The JetSpeed ($299) is the first driver to feature TaylorMade's Speed Pocket technology, which is aimed at reducing spin and increasing speed and distance on shots struck low on the clubface. In addition a low, forward CG location produces significantly faster ballspeeds than RBZ and RBZ Stage 2 drivers on shots struck 1/2" high or low on the face. A twelve-position loft sleeve allows for full adjustability while a 46" lightweight shaft (49g) further contributes to increased clubhead speed and overall distance.  

JetSpeed fairway woods ($229) also feature Speed Pocket technology to produce greater clubface flexibility and faster ballspeeds. Considered by TaylorMade reps to be "the longest, most playable fairway woods ever," JetSpeed fairways will be available in 15-, 17-, 19-, 21-, and 23-degree models but will not offer hosel adjustability.

JetSpeed hybrids ($199) feature many of the same design elements as the fairway woods and will be available in 16-, 19-, 22-, 25-, and 28-degree models. 

The entire JetSpeed line of woods is currently being put through the paces at Golf Magazine's ClubTest, so be sure to check out the results beginning in the March '14 issue.

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October 21, 2013

First Look: TaylorMade SLDR Rescue

Posted at 1:40 PM by Robert Sauerhaft

TaylorMade SLDR Rescue

TaylorMade's SLDR driver quickly established itself as the most-played driver on the PGA Tour. Now comes the complementary SLDR Rescue. A new “Speed Pocket” slot along the sole is more flexible and closer to the clubface than in the RocketBallz Stage 2 Tour Rescue for more consistent, faster ball speeds low on the face. Additional flexing also occurs around the perimeter of the slot. An adjustable hosel allows you to change loft by +/- 1.5 degrees (12 positions in all) from the stated loft. The club has a medium face depth and a compact look in the playing position. It comes in four lofts -- 17, 19, 21 and 24 degrees -- with a Fujikura Speeder 82H shaft. $219 each, $289 with a TP shaft. The SLDR Rescue (as well as SLDR fairway woods) will be at retail starting November 15.

(Photo: Michael Chini)

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July 08, 2013

PHOTO: TaylorMade prototype SLDR driver

Posted at 1:14 PM by Robert Sauerhaft

Taylormade-sldr-driver_640

The USGA updates its list of conforming driver heads each Monday morning. Today, a prototype TaylorMade driver dubbed the SLDR appeared on the list.

The photo here (courtesy of the USGA) clearly shows a moveable weight mechanism along the sole. This design reminds me of the technology used in Mizuno’s MP-630 Fast Track driver from 2010. A big difference is that the slider -- used to tweak shot shape -- was rearward in the Mizuno model whereas it runs the length of the sole, and closer to the face, in the SLDR. Relatedly, it appears that the device replaces TaylorMade’s iconic removable heel-toe weights.

Dave Cordero, Communications Manager at TaylorMade Golf, confirms that company reps will have prototype SLDR drivers at this week’s John Deere Classic (PGA Tour) and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open (European Tour). More to come.

(Photo: Courtesy of USGA.org)

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July 02, 2013

First Look: Callaway FT Optiforce driver

Posted at 3:46 PM by Robert Sauerhaft

Callaway-ft-optiforce_640
Midsummer is rarely the time for a major product launch, but Callaway's new management team is shaking things up.

The FT Optiforce driver weighs less, offers greater adjustability and is more aerodynamic than both the RAZR Fit Xtreme and X Hot models unveiled earlier this year. With FT Optiforce, you can dial in four lofts ("standard," -1°, +1°, +2°) and two lie angles (standard or 2° upright) in a single head. By contrast, the RAZR Fit Xtreme and X Hot only allow you to adjust face angle.

The 460 cc head, for 100 mph or slower swingers, is pre-set at 10.5° loft ("standard") and can be altered to 9.5°, 11.5° or 12.5°. A 440 cc version, for players with 100-plus mph swing speeds, comes standard at 9.5° and can be tweaked to 8.5°, 10.5° or 11.5°. As you'd expect, the 460 cc head has greater MOI (more forgiveness) than the 440 cc and produces higher- launching shots with slightly more spin. Initial robot tests indicate that the 460 cc is slightly higher-spinning than the X Hot, while the 440 cc spins slightly more than the X Hot Pro.

At 290 grams, the FT Optiforce is noticeably lighter than many other adjustable drivers. A combination of the sub-200-gram head (titanium body with carbon crown) and light shaft should help players swing faster, while subtle changes to head shape can improve aerodynamics. Refinements to decrease club drag include a shallower face, changing the height differential between the top of the face and highest point of the crown, and relocating the crown's peak.

The FT Optiforce driver will be available at a suggested retail price of $400 starting July 12.

(Photo: Andrew Schlotterlein/Callaway)

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May 30, 2013

Back in Black: TaylorMade's R1 Black driver

Posted at 11:04 AM by Robert Sauerhaft

Taylormade-black-r1_640

The naysayers were wrong. Many predicted, in 2011, that a white driver wouldn’t fly given golf’s conservative roots. But, fly, it did. TaylorMade’s R11 turned the golf biz on its ear and precipitated an unprecedented run for the company. TaylorMade would never go back to the days of black drivers, would it? Sure, it would. The fully loaded, adjustable R1 Black has all the bells and whistles as the original R1 but in a more conventional-looking, toned-down package. The only difference, really, is its paint job. Both versions pack in a ton of adjustability features for loft (8° to 12°), face angle (4° open to 4° closed), and shot shape (removable 1-gram and 10-gram weights).

Why black, why now? “We want to stay connected with authentic, low-handicap golfers,” says Tom Kroll, product evangelist, at TaylorMade Golf. “We get a lot of feedback from people saying they want to play a black-headed R1. We want to give them what they say they want.” Understood. We all know golfers who won’t try a club based simply on appearance. 

One more thing: The R1 Black will be available in limited quantities only. "They'll account for less than 20% of all R1’s built this year," adds Kroll. "Once they’re gone, they’re gone, and we have no plans to do a second ‘limited edition’ run."

R1 Black will be at retail starting on Monday, June 10. Both the R1 and R1 Black are $399.

Finally, the R1 Black will debut on the PGA Tour next week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn.

RELATED: ClubTesters review the TaylorMade R1 Driver

RELATED: More TaylorMade equipment news, reviews on Golf.com

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(Photos: Courtesy of TaylorMade)

March 14, 2013

Cobra releases limited edition green AMP Cell driver just in time for Masters

Posted at 1:44 PM by Robert Sauerhaft

Cobra-masters-green-driver_640
Cobra broadened its fashion-forward offerings to include a limited run of 1,800 green-headed AMP Cell drivers.

Starting on March 15, the green monsters ($399; each one marked with 1-1,800 on the sole for authenticity) will be available with a green grip, a Mitsubishi Diamana Blue Board graphite shaft, plus a matching head cover and wrench. The club's adjustable hosel has six loft settings: 8.5°, 9.5°, 9.5° Draw, 10.5°, 10.5° Draw and 11.5°.

Its elliptical club face has "dual roll" -- it's flatter below the center line of the face -- to increase launch without increasing backspin. In addition, an elliptical pad behind the face improves ball speed on low-heel and high-toe shots.

RELATED

CLUBTEST REVIEWS: Cobra AMP Cell, AMP Cell Pro, AMP Cell Offset Drivers

VIDEO: Testers review the Cobra AMP Cell Pro drivers

MORE COBRA: Cobra Homepage on Golf.com

(Photos: Courtesy of Cobra)

November 01, 2012

Nike offers glimpse of new driver on Facebook and Twitter

Posted at 10:03 AM by David Dusek

On Tuesday, Nike Golf published two images of its yet-to-be-released driver on the company's Facebook and Twitter feeds, giving its followers a glimpse of the red-crowned club. Nike is unveiling the driver on Monday, Nov. 5.

Nike-Driver-Spy-Picture-Crown

Nike-Driver-Spy-Picture-Face
RELATED: Nike Homepage | See-Try-Buy: 3 Steps to Your Perfect Set

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July 10, 2012

Ping brings the Anser Driver to John Deere and Scottish Open

Posted at 11:25 AM by David Dusek

Ping-Anser-Driver_450x600

At the PGA Tour's John Deere Classic and the European Tour's Scottish Open this week, Ping staff players will get their first chance to try to the company's newest driver, the Anser.

The 460-cc, matte-black, titanium Anser is Ping’s first adjustable driver, allowing golfers to add or take away .5° of loft.

While the club should be in pro shops in mid-August, Ping declined to reveal pricing information, but did say it will be available in 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12° versions.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Ping clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

ClubTest 2012: Drivers: Regluar golfers tell you what they think 

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June 28, 2012

Cobra unveils ‘Sunday Orange’ AMP driver

Posted at 10:39 AM by David Dusek

There was a time when drivers were like Model T Fords—you could have one in any color your liked as long as it was black. But with the release of a Sunday Orange version of its AMP driver, Cobra has added yet another hue to the rainbow of driver options.

Orange-Cobra-AMP_640

The special edition AMP driver, inspired by Cobra staffer Rickie Fowler's love for wearing orange on Sundays, comes standard with the same shaft Fowler uses—an orange Mitsubishi Diamana White Board. An orange Lamkin 3Gen grip completes the monochromatic look,

 The 460-cc titanium head is identical to the previously released AMP driver and features a face that is slightly asymmetrical and designed to be more forgiving on shots hit high in the toe and low in the heel areas. The head can also be adjusted into one of three different face-angle settings using a torque wrench to help players create more of a draw or fade bias.

The Sunday Orange edition AMP will be available in July at select Cobra retailers. You can also buy the club on golf.com. The company is only making the club in right-hand models in 9.5° and 10.5° lofts and the price will be $499. 

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Cobra clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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April 11, 2012

Callaway udesign: With new customization engine, you can pimp your driver

Posted at 7:59 AM by David Dusek

If you wanted to buy a Model T from Henry Ford, he'd sell it to you in any color you wanted, as long as it was black. In recent years, golf companies have started offering white drivers, as well as clubs with bright orange, red and green trim, but Callaway's new udesign personalization and customization engine is a quantum leap forward.

Golfers can now go to callawaygolf.com/udesign and create a customized Callaway RAZR Fit driver, choosing from one of four lofts and eight colors.

Callaway-RAZR-Fit-uCustom_640

But the personalization doesn’t stop there. Using udesign, you'll also be able to choose from more than 100 customized shaft options, in lengths ranging from 2 inches longer than standard to 2 inches shorter than standard. You can pick any of the 24 different grips currently available and have up to eight wraps of tape added underneath the grip.

According to Callaway, there are more than 70,000 possible clubs combinations.The image below shows the website's interface.

Callaway-udesign_640
In a release, Jeff Colton, Callaway's senior vice president of global brand and products, said, "The opportunity to design your very own driver in the colors of your favorite team, alma mater or whatever you happen to feel looks best has never been offered on a mass scale. Our research and instincts show that this level of personalization and customization is what golfers want, and we’re excited to be the first brand in golf to offer it.”

Phil Mickelson, in Callaway's PGA Tour van last week at Augusta National, held a RAZR Fit designed in blue in honor of his beloved San Diego Chargers.

Mickelson-uDesign_640

According to Callaway, Alvaro Quiros requested a RAZR Fit in every color so that he can match his driver with his apparel.

While the standard RAZR Fit driver retails for $399, customized RAZR Fit drivers will cost $50 more, with certain customized shaft and grip options pushing the price even higher. Orders created in udesign will begin shipping May 1.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway/Odyssey clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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December 19, 2011

TaylorMade R11S driver is more adjustable, more aerodynamic

Posted at 1:03 PM by David Dusek

Lots of companies make adjustable drivers, but no company has embraced adjustability more than TaylorMade.
 
Since the 2004 release of the r7, a black driver trimmed in yellow and red, the company's flagship driver has always been adjustable. For 2012, that trend continues with the release of the white-crowned R11S on Feb. 3.
 
The R11S is not radically different from last season's top-of-the-line TaylorMade model, the R11, but there are a few evolutionary differences.
 
Last season's R11 featured a 440-cc head, but the R11S hits the USGA's maximum legal size, 460cc. TaylorMade says the bigger head combined with better aerodynamics make the R11S a little longer than the R11, and it has a slightly-larger sweetspot. The club should also do a better job of helping golfers maintain ball speed on mishits.

TaylorMade R11S Driver

While last season's R11 had a red adjustable plate on the sole that allowed golfers to choose from three face angles, the R11S has five settings: Neutral, Open, Closed, Slightly Open (Open+), and Slightly (Closed+).
 
The adjustable sleeve that connects the shaft to the head can be set in a Neutral, Higher or Lower setting. The Higher setting adds 1.5° of loft (transforming a 9° driver into a 10.5° driver) while the Lower setting decreases loft by 1.5°.
 
"In many cases a golfer may not be able to see that much of a difference with the smaller sleeve [used on the R11], but the larger sleeve is going to give them the ability to dial in that launch condition to be exact without changing the spin rate," says Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior director of product creation.

Click here to watch an exclusive video of Olsavsky talking about the R11S

There are also two weight ports in the R11S—one in the heel and one in the toe—which can hold the one- and the 10-gram weights that come with the driver. Positioning the 10-gram weight in the heel encourages a draw while screwing it into the toe should help you hit a fade.
 
There are 80 different ways you can set up the R11S, and according to TaylorMade, the club offers 140 yards of left-and-right adjustability.
 
"All in all, the package is going to give the golfer a little higher launch and less spin than the original R11, which should translate to more distance," says Olsavsky.
 
The R11S will come standard with an Aldila RIP Phenom 60 shaft for $399. The R11S TP, which features the same head but one of 25 upgraded shaft options, will cost $499.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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December 12, 2011

TaylorMade's RocketBallz driver coming February 3.

Posted at 12:00 AM by David Dusek

After walking through the glass doors of TayorMade's Carlsbad, Calif., headquarters, I was asked to sign a document forbidding me from writing about the stuff I was about to see. Forty-five minutes later, every eye in the second-floor conference room was focused on me. Sean Toulon, the company's executive vice president, asked, "So David, what do you think?"
 
I'd just been shown a new line of clubs that would be joining the R11 and Burner families.
 
For an internal sales meeting, Toulon had starred in a video with Nick Faldo that lampooned one of the company's TV ads, so I knew he'd go the distance to get a laugh. Part of me thought the name I'd just seen was a joke.
 
Glancing at my watch, I played it straight,. "Sean, I don't think I'll ever forget the time and place where I first heard about RocketBallz."

TaylorMade RocketBallz driver
David Dusek
TaylorMade RocketBallz driver

But RocketBallz is no joke, and clubs bearing RBZ on their sole will start arriving in pro shops near you in early February. (According to TaylorMade, the engineers who developed the line said the 3-wood "hit the ball like a rocket." Having a little fun, they etched "RocketBallz" into their prototypes, and the name stuck.)
 
TaylorMade's goal for the RocketBallz drivers—there are two, a Tour version and a Speed version—is to deliver some of the R11's adjustability at a lower price. Get ready to hear the catch phrase "Adjustability at $299" a lot.

(Click here to watch an exclusive video about the RocketBallz driver.) 

Using an included torque wrench, golfers can remove the head of the RocketBallz driver and re-attach it in any one of eight settings to change the face angle and effective loft of the club.
 
The RocketBallz driver does not have moveable weights or an adjustable sole plate like the R11. However, it's light and designed to help golfers generate more clubhead speed.
 
Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's senior director of product creation, says, "The aerodynamics of a driver are critical because you are trying to develop the maximum amount of speed with the minimal amount of effort." According to Olsavsky, the RocketBallz head is 1-2 mph quicker through the air than the Burner SuperFast 2.0, and the club weighs less than 300 grams when fitted with it's stock shaft, a 50-gram Matrix OZIK XCon 5.
 
Like every wood and rescue club in TaylorMade's 2012 line, the crown of the RocketBallz driver is white. According to the company, the combination of a black face and matte-finished white crown makes it easier to align the club and square it to your target.
 
The screw in the back of the club is not adjustable. This weight cartridge is designed to lower the head's center of gravity and promote a higher ball flight with less spin.
 
The Tour version of the RocketBallz driver has a slightly smaller head than the Speed version, and it comes with neutral weight bias instead of the Speed version's draw bias. The Tour model also has a slightly deeper face and comes standard with a 60-gram Matrix OZIK XCon 6 shaft.
 
A room full of TaylorMade executives weren't looking at you the first time you heard about the RocketBallz driver, but I bet you'll remember the name too.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about TaylorMade clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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December 01, 2011

Callaway RAZR Fit, its first adjustable driver, coming in 2012

Posted at 8:14 AM by David Dusek

Adjustable drivers have been around for years, and lots of golfers like them because they allow you to tweak things like the loft, face angle, lie angle, and weight distribution. However, one of the biggest names in golf equipment, Callaway, hasn't offered one. Until now.
 
In late January 2012, Callaway will release the RAZR Fit driver, which was quietly made available to tour pros during the PGA Tour's Fall Series. It's already found a home in the bags of Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson.

Callaway-RAZR-Fit-Comp_640 
"We wanted the adjustability to be easy for the consumer to use and to matter, so when a golfer makes a change we want him to be able to notice a change in the ball flight," says Luke Williams, Callaway Golf's global director of woods and irons.
 
Out of the box, the RAZR Fit will come with a neutral face angle, but you can open the face 2.5° or close the face 1.5°using a torque wrench to unscrew the head from the shaft and re-attach it in one of three different settings.
 
The RAZR Fit comes with a 12-gram weight in the toe area and a 2-gram weight in the heel, but using the same torque wrench, the weights can be switched to increase the draw bias of the club.
 
In addition to being Callaway's first adjustable driver, the RAZR Fit is also the first driver to feature Callaway's newest face, which is dubbed "Speed Frame." It's an optimization of the hyperbolic face pattern that Callaway has been using for several years, but the company says it should help golfers maintain more ball speed when they hit outside of the sweet spot.
 
"The center of the face tends to be the hottest spot on a driver, and that's capped by the USGA," Williams says. "So what we want to do is make the areas around the center behave more like the center of the face."
 
The crown of the RAZR Fit is made from Forged Composite, a unique carbon material that first appeared in last season's RAZR Hawk and Diablo Octane drivers. By melting millions of carbon fibers, Callaway engineers can press and mold the carbon material into very precise shapes and designs; in the case of the RAZR Fit, Forged Composite has been used in the crown to make it thinner and lighter. This allowed Callaway designers to add weight to the bottom and back sections of the club to lower the center of gravity.
 
The RAZR Fit will come with an Aldila RIP NV shaft and should cost about $399 when it arrives in pro shops.

See-Try-Buy: Learn more about Callaway clubs and schedule your fitting with GolfTEC or Golfsmith.

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