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Category: Drivers

August 26, 2014

Tour Edge Exotics E8 Driver: First LOOK!

Posted at 1:04 PM by Michael Chwasky

The new 460cc Exotics E8 driver ($299) is designed with a low and forward CG location, which promotes higher launch, lower spin, and faster ball speed and distance. The E8 also features a somewhat low-profile design, which further aids players who struggle to launch the ball high in the air (a critical characteristic for maximum distance). 

A channel positioned behind the clubface in the sole of the club is deeper than it was on the previous XCG7 model, allowing for increased face flex at impact. This “Power Grid,” design is aimed at further enhancing the club’s ability to produce lower spin and faster ball speed. A variable face thickness design works with the “Power Grid,” to provide improved performance on shots struck away from the center of the face, particularly in the heel and toe areas as well as low on the clubface. 

Adjustability is provided by a hosel that offers lofts ranging from 8.5-degrees to 12-degree in .5-degree increments, allowing for very exact custom tuning. The E8 can be further customized using an interchangeable 7g sole weight that can easily be swapped out to alter swingweight, ballflight, and feel. 5g, 10g, and 12g interchangeable weights are available in an optional weight kit. 

The matte black E8 is available with a number of popular shafts including Fujikura Pro Series and Pro Tour, Aldila Rogue Silver and Black, and Mitsubishi Bassara E-Series models. As with all Tour Edge clubs the E8 comes with a lifetime warranty and a 30-day play guarantee. 

For players with higher clubhead speeds who prefer a driver with even lower spin and slightly lower launch, Tour Edge also offers the Exotics E8 Beta ($399) model. Featuring a 440cc deep-faced clubhead, the Beta is built with a slightly higher CG location than the standard model, which promotes a more penetrating trajectory and even lower spin rates. A beta titanium clubface insert not included in the standard model enhances feel at impact while also increasing ball speed. 

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June 24, 2014

New Titleist 915 Driver Spotted at Congressional

Posted at 11:28 AM by Michael Chwasky

Some Titleist staff players have been testing the new 915 D2 and D3 drivers on the range at Congressional CC this week in preparation for the inevitable replacement of the current 913 series. Though the folks at Titleist are keeping tight-lipped about the new product line it's evident from the photos that a major design change has taken place.

Check out the slot in the sole right behind the clubface -- if this looks familiar it's because a similar design has been used by TaylorMade and Adams in recent years to produce better ballspeed and lower spin on shots struck low on the clubface, right where most recreational players tend to miss. Assume that this design feature will make the 915 series more forgiving and playable than the 913 series drivers, which were excellent in their own right. 

Another feature of the 915 series appears to be similar adjustable hosel technology to the 913 series, which allows for independent loft and lie tuning. Expect a 460cc D2 model as well as a slightly smaller, more pear-shaped D3 model. If you're interested in Titleist's new drivers you can look for them to be available sometime in the late summer or fall.

(Photo: Fred Vuich/Sports Illustrated)

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May 26, 2014

Rory McIlroy on how the Nike VR X3X Toe Wedge helped him win the BMW PGA and his ideal driver-ball combo

Posted at 12:08 PM by Michael Chwasky

X3xRory McIlroy is known as one of the greatest drivers in the game, but his short game was the key to his win at the BMW PGA Championship on Sunday, when he overcame a seven-shot deficit in the final round.

During his back-nine 32, McIroy chipped in for birdie on the par-3 10th, got up-and-down from the short side to save par on the par-3 14th, got up-and-down from the greenside rough for birdie on 17 and then got up-and-down from a bunker on 18 for another birdie and a two-shot lead. McIlroy made all these shots with a club that wasn't even in his bag at the start of the year: his 59-degree Nike X3X toe-sweep wedge [photo, right].

The unorthodox wedge -- with a wide sole near the toe and a narrow sole width at the heel -- looked a little unusual to the traditional-minded McIlroy when he first saw it, but he tried it out at Quail Hollow and loved how it played out of the rough.

"I'm pretty confident and can play all the shots," McIlroy said, "but [the toe sweep] is easier to play on some shots when you need to work really hard to keep the club open. This club really slides through the thick grass and that really gives me confidence to stay aggressive when I miss the green."

VIDEO: How Nike's Flop-Friendy Toe Sweep Wedge Works

McIlroy credited his new wedge for his up-and-downs from the rough on Sunday and also his bunker shot on 18.

"I’ve always been someone with not a lot of bounce to my wedges but I think it’s helped my bunker play as well," he said.

During the week McIlroy averaged more than 294-yards in driving distance. He said that his ideal driver-ball combination is "something that launches the ball at the right angle with good ball speed and a good spin rate." He doesn't try to lower his spin rate because that spin helps him find the fairway.

"I know some guys want less spin," McIlroy said, "but for me a little extra spin keeps the flight tight for me and with my high swing speed I can get away with it."

Known as a superlative feel player, McIlroy also talked about how his ball -- the Nike RZN Black -- feels at impact.

"It feels solid, and it feels softer than the ball I was playing last year," McIlroy said. "It performs well in the wind and rarely gets touched by the wind. Days with a little wind like yesterday you don’t have to aim too much off-line because the wind won’t move it."

Rory_clubs_300_december2013DRIVER: Nike VRS Covert 2.0 Tour (8.5°) with Kuro Kage XTS 70X shaft

FAIRWAY WOODS: Nike VRS Covert (15°, 19°)

IRONS: Nike VR Pro Blade (4-9) with Project X steel shafts

WEDGES: Nike VR Forged (47°, 52°, 56°), Nike VR X3X toe sweep (59°) with Project X steel shafts

PUTTER: Nike Method 006

BALL: Nike RZN Black

APPAREL: Nike Tour Performance Collection

SHOES: Nike Lunar Control

Photo: McIlroy's clubs in December 2013 (Kohjiro Kinno/SI).'s Mike Walker contributed to this report.

BUY your own Nike VR X3X wedge in our online store

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January 02, 2014

First Look: Ping i25 Driver

Posted at 12:05 PM by

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

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)

CLICK HERE for Equipment news, photos, ClubTest reviews, custom clubs, more

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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.

For more news that golfers everywhere are talking about, follow @si_golf on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube video channel.

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


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

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July 02, 2013

First Look: Callaway FT Optiforce driver

Posted at 3:46 PM by Robert Sauerhaft

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


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

CLICK HERE for Equipment news, photos, ClubTest reviews, custom clubs, more

(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 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.


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

(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.


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


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.


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 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 and create a customized Callaway RAZR Fit driver, choosing from one of four lofts and eight colors.


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.

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.


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.

Related: Follow David Dusek on Twitter | Facebook | Google+

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