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Category: Drivers

November 21, 2011

Brazen power: Tour Edge’s XCG5 driver uses chemical bonding, not welding

Posted at 11:26 AM by David Dusek

Paint, graphics and clever designs mask the fact that your driver is not made from a single piece of material. The face, the part that actually hits the ball, is welded to the body, and in many cases the crown is yet another separate piece.
According to Dave Glod, founder and owner of Tour Edge Golf, welding is fine but the process adds weight to the club and makes some areas too rigid. So instead of welding the pieces of the new Tour Edge XCG5 driver together, his company is brazing them. The brazing process chemically bonds the titanium crown of the club to the body so no welding is necessary.
In this video, Glod explains the process:


According to Tour Edge, the combination of no welds and the super-light titanium crown allowed designers to create six Weight Pads that concentrate more mass in the bottom and rear sections of the club. This added weight lowers the center of gravity and helps to create a higher ball flight.
Tour Edge also claims that because there are no welds to stiffen the edges of the face, which has been made 12 percent larger than its predecessor, the XCG4, the XCG5 driver should help golfers maintain ball speed on mis-hits and increase forgiveness.


To help golfers increase swing speed, the top of the XCG5 slopes down from the face to the rear section for improved aerodynamics. But for players who really want to squeeze out every last bit of power, Tour Edge is making a super ultra-light version of the club available that features a 40-gram Graphite Design Tour AD shaft and a lightweight Winn Lite Exotics grip. The whole club weighs in at a scant 271 grams. Slightly heavier stock shafts—including a 50-gram Fujikurea Blur and a 60-gram Aldila RIP Sigma—are also available.
Look for the Exotics XCG5 in pro shops now for about $329.

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

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November 14, 2011

Cleveland's Classic driver combines timeless looks with modern technologies.

Posted at 10:28 AM by David Dusek

Late at night, after everyone else has left the Huntington Beach, Calif., headquarters of Cleveland Golf, the engineers and clubs designers must be using a Wayback Machine to go back in time.
Last season they released the Mashie, a retro-looking hybrid with an unfinished crown. Sure, it's made of stainless steel, but the Mashie looks like something your great-grandfather used, right down to its pom-pom-topped knit headcover.
If you liked the Mashie, check out the Classic, which Cleveland plans to release in early 2012. The Classic is made using a modern material, in this case titanium, but it's the club's old-school look that will get everyone talking.

With a mahogany-colored crown, a brass-colored sole (complete with a "1") and a faux face insert designed, the Classic looks like a driver Ben Hogan or Byron Nelson might have used. 

Even the script "Classic" on the crown, which should help golfers position the ball in the sweet spot at address, harkens back to a time when swings were homegrown and clubs were hand-carved.

But while the Classic’s retro styling recall the Golden Age of America car culture, under the hood the Classic is a thoroughly 21st century club. Nate Radcliffe, Cleveland Golf's metalwoods development manager, said there is a lot of technology built into the Classic. 

"It's got the biggest face of any driver we've ever made," Radcliffe said. "It's deeper and it has more surface area. That gives it a lot of forgiveness. It's also got variable face thickness, and the thin areas around the outside of the face really help you maintain ball speed when you hit the ball off the center."
Two versions of the Classic will be available, one weighing 270 grams and the other weighing 290 grams, a trend Cleveland established when it made three versions of the Ultralight drivers, each tipping the scale at a different weight. The idea is to offer drivers that appeal to a broader range of players; slow swingers will be able to swing the lightest models faster for added power, but hard-hitters will get a little more stability from the slightly heavier models.
The stock shaft for the Classic driver will be a Miyazaki C. Kua and you should start to see the club in your local pro shops in late January for about $299. 

Click here to watch a video featuring Cleveland Golf's Nate Radcliffe discussing the Classic driver.

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

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October 17, 2011

Cleveland's CG Black Driver

Posted at 6:13 AM by David Dusek

The ultimate boxer would be as quick as welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao but would hit like heavyweight titleholder Wladimir Klitschko. Golf club makers have a similar goal when it comes to making drivers: build something that's light and easy for the average player, but make it pack a wallop.

With its new CG Black driver, Cleveland Golf hopes that it has created this combination for players whose swing speed is less 100 mph.

The CG Black features a head that is aerodynamically shaped to slip easily through the air, with a crown that slopes down in the back section more sharply than last season's Launcher Ultralight drivers. Cleveland's head of metalwood development, Nate Radcliffe, says that the shape of the crown decreases the club's drag throughout the downswing, which in turn helps players generate more clubhead speed.

At the same time, the 460-cc head has one of the lightest and thinnest faces Cleveland Golf has ever designed. Radcliffe says the faceplate is very thin on the perimeter, which not only saves more weight, but also broadens the CG Black's sweetspot.


Add to that mix a new Golf Pride grip that Cleveland says is half the weight of a typical grip and a special edition Miyazaki C. Kua Gold shaft and you've got a driver on Weight Watchers.

However, Cleveland put a little bit of that saved weight back into the head, adding a weight screw to the back of the sole plate. By adding weight to this key area, Radcliffe says the CG Black should naturally hit the ball on a higher launch angle to maximize carry distance, which is essential for slower-swinging golfers who want more distance.

"The overall package is a club that is designed to generate speed and be really easy to hit," says Radcliffe.

That's music to the ears of distance-hungry golfers looking to land a few haymakers on their opponents.

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

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September 22, 2011

Nike VR Pro Limited Edition Forged driver coming in November

Posted at 4:34 PM by David Dusek

Lucas Glover put Nike's VR Pro Limited Edition Forged driver in his bag at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in August. Anthony Kim started using one at the PGA Championship, and Paul Casey also switched to the club late this season.

Soon you'll be able to try the club, as the VR Pro Limited Edition will begin popping up in pro shops starting Nov. 1.


Like the current version of the VR Pro driver (VR is short for Victory Red), the Limited features a red channel that goes around the sole of the club that allows the face to flex back slightly at impact. According to Nike, this broadens the sweet spot and helps maintain ball speed on off-center hits.

There are some notable differences between the VR Pro Limited and its predecessor:

1. It has an updated face. According to Robert Boyd, a long-term research manager for Nike Golf, the company used computer simulations to engineer the new NexCOR face was engineered to work more in conjunction with the channel. "Because of the shape of the head and the shape of the channel, the geometry on the back of the face has to actually change a little bit," he says. The NexCOR face is thinnest in the center and slightly thicker in the heel and toe areas.

2. It's not adjustable. Last season's VR Pro came with Nike's STR8-Fit system, which allows players to set the club into one of 32 different positions to change the face angle and loft. VR Pro Limited does not have STR8-Fit, so the shaft is glued into the hosel and can't be adjusted.

3. It's smaller. Last season's VR Pro has a 460 cc head, but the VR Pro Limited Edition, designed for better players who like to shape their tee shots, has a head that measures 430 cc. That's not a big difference, but it's enough to produce a lower ball flight and less spin.

The VR Pro Limited will be offered in 8.5-, 9.5- and 10.5-degree lofts and will come standard with a Mitsubishi Rayon 'ahina shaft for $419.

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

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September 12, 2011

Cobra's Long Tom driver built for explosive distance

Posted at 9:30 PM by David Dusek

During World War II, the United States Army used massive 155 mm Gun M1 cannons that could hit enemy targets with a 94-pound shell from 14 miles away. Nicknamed “Long Tom,” they were serious heavy hitters. This fall, Cobra Golf will release two new drivers inspired by those cannons—the Long Tom and the limited-edition Long Tom RAW—for golfers who want serious firepower on the tee.


Measuring four feet in length (the USGA length limit is 48” for all clubs except putters), the face of each Long Tom driver is made from a new titanium alloy that is stronger than previous materials used by Cobra. This alloy makes the face thinner, and in the process, creates 20 grams of discretionary weight that has been redistributed low and deep in the 460-cc head. This discretionary weight lowers the center of gravity and helps to create a higher launch and, according to Cobra, more distance.

Like last season’s S3 driver family, Long Tom drivers also feature an elliptically shaped sweet spot that helps to maintain ball speed on shots hit in the low-heel and high-toe areas, where Cobra says players mis-hit most often.

Weighing in at a scant 269 grams, the Long Tom will come standard with a Grafalloy Blackbird shaft. Grafalloy says that a unique black paint on the Blackbird improves aerodynamics. Even the club’s grip, a Winn Ultra Light/Shorty, is geared toward adding yardage—it's so small that you can't choke down on the club!

While the standard, all-black Long Tom driver will be released in late November for $349, there will be 500 limited-edition Long Tom RAW drivers sold by authorized Cobra dealers starting in mid-October for $499 each.


Straight from the factory floor, the Long Tom RAW is unfinished, with no paint or cosmetic treatments. Aside from the titanium alloy, the only marks on the clubhead are testing measurements and the club’s serial number.

You may fire when ready.

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

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September 05, 2011

Bridgestone releases the spin-zapping J40 drivers

Posted at 9:15 PM by David Dusek

Depending on the player, spin can either be a blessing or a curse off the tee. For slow-swinging players, adding a little more spin can increase carry and overall distance. But for heavy-hitters, too much spin can balloon tee shots and cost serious yards.

Bridgestone prides itself on making spin-killing drivers for better players and the company is set to release two new offerings for fast-swingers.

The J40 445 (below) is made by fusing four pieces of titanium and repositioning the discretionary weight saved in the process to the perimeter of the head to increase the moment of inertia. Coupled with a face that is thicker in some areas and thinner in others to expand the sweet spot, the 445-cc head produces a mid- to high-launch with low spin for longer drives.


The J40 430 (below) has a slightly smaller head but uses the same four-piece construction and face technology. While it's still forgiving on mis-hits, accomplished players should be able to maneuver the ball off the tee more effectively with the 430-cc head. The ball flight of the J430 is also lower than the J40 445's and it produces even less spin.


"In the J40 445, we've made forgiveness the most important aspect of the driver design," says Corey Consuegra, Bridgestone Golf's club manager. "With the J40 430 we focused our efforts on workability and control. We now have high-launch, low-spin offerings for two very different types of players, both of whom value increased distance and consistency."

Look for the J40 445 in 9.5°, 10.5° and 12° lofts in pro shops starting in October. The J40 430 comes out in January, 2012, and will be offered in 8.5° and 9.5° heads. Both will come standard with a Project X graphite shaft and cost $399.

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

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July 04, 2011

Limited Edition Callaway Diablo Octane Drivers

Posted at 2:28 PM by David Dusek

Callaway is offering an all-black, Limited Edition Diablo Octane Tour driver, the same club used by Fredrik Jacobson, who won the Travelers Championship two weeks ago, and Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters champion.


If you decide to put this club in play, expect it to perform like any other Diablo Octane Tour. Both drivers feature a 450 cc head made with Forged Composite, a lightweight carbon material that allows engineers to make lighter, stronger and more-powerful clubs, according to the company. 

There will only be 5,000 of the drivers made, all right-hand models with 9.5 degrees of loft. To complement the all-black head, the club will come with a black, 45 1/2-inch Project X 7C7 shaft, along with a black-and-white Golf Pride New Decade grip.

To get your hands on one of the limited-edition drivers, which will cost $379, contact your local Callaway dealer. You can see a list of them here.

For more information, go to

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

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June 07, 2011

Adams Speedline 9088 UL Driver

Posted at 10:50 AM by David Dusek

The allure of super-lightweight drivers is based on the idea that a lighter club is easier to swing faster, and that increased clubhead speed should translate into more distance off the tee. Think of them as Sugar Ray Leonard drivers instead of George Foreman drivers.

Later this summer Adams Golf plans to enter the market in sub-300 gram drivers with the Speedline 9088 UL.


According to a company source, the Adams 9088 UL’s unique swing weight will separate it from other drivers in its category. The 9088 UL will have a swing weight of D0, which is slightly lower than a typical iron (D2-D4) and significantly lighter than other extremely light drivers. By comparison, Cleveland's 270-gram Launcher UltraLite XL270 has a swing weight of D6 and TaylorMade's Burner SuperFast 2.0 has a swing weight of D9.



The clubmaker hopes that golfers will be able to release the head of the 9088 UL more effectively and reduce slicing because of that lighter swing weight.

Look for the 9088 UL driver to come standard with a Matrix Radix HD shaft and start appearing in pro shops in August, with a draw version of the club coming later in the fall.

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

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April 15, 2011

Cobra releasing limted edition white S3 driver

Posted at 4:12 PM by David Dusek

Ian Poulter won the Hong Kong Open last fall using a very unique driver, a white Cobra ZL Limited Edition. The company made 500 of them, and Poulter, after being presented with one, decided that instead of putting it on his wall, he'd put it into play.

Today, Cobra Golf announced the release of a white S3 driver. Like the ZL last year, there will be a limited number available. Read what Golf Magazine ClubTesters think of the S3 driver or go to Cobra's Web site for more information on the club.

White Cobra S3 Driver_600

The driver will come standard with a white Golf Pride Tour Wrap 2G grip, and white Aldila RIP Beta shaft, for  $475 when it becomes available in early May. Right-handers will be able to chose between 9.5° and 10.5° lofts, while the 9.5º model will be the only choice for lefties. The 9.5° model will only be available in stiff flex; the 10.5° model will come with either a stiff or regular-flex shaft. 

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

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February 15, 2011

This Week in Gear: Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia talk about white drivers

Posted at 4:25 PM by David Dusek

Sometimes you have to grind and hustle for weeks to get the story and other times you've just got to walk a few blocks. On Tuesday morning I made my way to the Golfsmith store in midtown Manhattan and was given a chance to talk with Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia. The two TaylorMade staff players where there as part of a 'White Out' promotion to hit some drives down 54th Street using an TaylorMade R11.

Here's what they had to say about the club and the whole concept of a white, adjustable driver.

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

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February 08, 2011

This Week in Gear: ClubTest 2011 & driver trends

Posted at 3:53 PM by David Dusek

ClubTest 2011: Go to Special Section

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January 29, 2011

Titleist 910 drivers impress

Posted at 6:06 PM by Gary Van Sickle

Titleist ORLANDO, Fla.--This is probably going to be the Year of the Driver in golf. The bad news is, there are so many options that it's going to be difficult to pick just one. The good news is, they're all exceptional options.

Titleist has produced some excellent metal woods over the years, notably its 975 driver, and I've still got one of its classic PT 15 3-woods in my basement. I actually brought it to the range last fall to see if it still had some magic in it. I think it does--once I get it regripped.

Titleist is right in the mix in the Year of the Driver with its 910 line of drivers. Like TaylorMade, they're riding the game-changing wave of adjustable clubs. The 910 drivers are adjustable for both face angle and loft. The 910 comes in the D2 and D3 versions. They have the classic big-headed driver pear shape, and while the D3 is actually 15 cc smaller than the D2, which is max 460 cc, it's not easy to tell them apart.

It was obvious from Demo Day early in the week here at the PGA Merchandise Show that the Titleist drivers are going to be big this year because the Titleist tent on the range was packed. I managed to squeeze in and get off a few drives, and the D3 was impressive. It didn't hurt that Titleist had a spot on Orange County National's 360-degree range that was downwind on a day when it was blowing 30 mph but the fact is, it looked and felt like I crushed those shots. It gets a grade "A."

I can't wait until spring and a chance to tinker with a D3 and find my perfect combination of settings with the club. Like I said, it's going to be tough to pick only one driver to use in 2011. The Titleist D2 and D3 are definitely contenders.

(Photo: David Walberg/SI)

January 28, 2011

TaylorMade R11 white driver turns heads

Posted at 4:42 PM by Gary Van Sickle

R11 ORLANDO, Fla.--It is obvious which golf club is going to get the most attention in the first part of 2011.

Maybe you saw those TaylorMade staff players all dressed in white Thursday during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Maybe you've seen pictures of the TaylorMade equipment van, which has been repainted all white. Maybe you've seen that white blur on Golf Channel, as the white head of a TaylorMade R11 driver bashes another ball off a tee.

The R11 is an attention-getting club. First, there's the white paint job on the head. TaylorMade was known for its distinctive copper-colored driver heads in the '90s. Now they've reprised that smart marketing idea with white heads. Second, the R11 is part of the game-changing adjustability trend. The R11 has TaylorMade's traditional movable weights. It also has separate adjustments for face angle and lie. It's do-it-yourself custom fitting, giving customers the confidence that they can find a combination that works for them.

TaylorMade isn't alone in the double-adjustability category. Titleist's 910 drivers work that way, too. It's a trend that seems likely to continue and probably expand.

As for the attention the R11 is drawing, it's tangible. At PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day, the TaylorMade area was packed with people anxious to try the club and the crowd lasted all day. Even ten minutes before the range was to shut down, when I finally worked my way to the tee with an R11, there were still golfers waiting to hit.

The club has a nice feel and a nice balance. There was only time for half a dozen swings in a strong left-to-right wind. All I can tell you is I hit six very satisfying shots that the wind immediately swatted to the right. The ball jumped of the R11's face and I didn't need a launch monitor to know that those drives were big ones for me, which is good because I didn't have a launch monitor.

TaylorMade will market the heck out of this club (suggested retail price $399, by the way). Lots of commercials, lots of demo days, lots of tour players swinging on TV in PGA Tour events. You'll be seeing a lot of the R11 this year.

(Photo: David Walberg/SI)

January 18, 2011

This Week in Gear: Nike's Method Core putters and Cobra's S3 drivers

Posted at 1:19 PM by David Dusek

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

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Cobra studies missed shots to create the S3 driver

Posted at 10:53 AM by David Dusek

Cobra S3 Driver_600x450 Everyone mis-hits shots, including the pros. So before Cobra Golf designers sat down and started to create the follow-up to the S2 driver, they took a close look at those missed shots.

More than 25,000 thousand of them.

Their research revealed that most mis-hits aren't directly to the left or right of the sweet spot. More often, misses are hit either low in the heel area or high in the toe.

Armed with that information, Cobra set out to not only make a larger sweet spot for the new S3 drivers (above), but also one that would improve the club's performance in the areas where players miss.

Looking at the face of the new S3 and S3 Max drivers, golfers will notice that the head is more ovular, bulging near the toe area.

"We changed the face thickness distribution across the face to optimize ball speed in this elliptical pattern," says Tom Preece, Cobra's vice president of research and development. "this helps to create a 30 percent larger sweet spot in the S3 than its predecessor [the S2], which really makes it more forgiving on off-center hits."

One thing that didn't change when Cobra transformed the S2 into the S3 was Adjustable Flight Technology. This system allows golfers to unscrew the S3's head from the shaft and re-attach it in one of three different settings—Neutral, Closed and Open—so golfers can get the face angle they want.

Cobra S3 Max Driver_600x600 For golfers who tend to hit a slice, Cobra's S3 Max driver (right) is built with some offset to help close the face at impact. It also features an aerodynamic alignment aid in the back of the crown to help golfers get the driver set properly behind the ball at address.

Like the S3, the S3 Max has a 460cc head made from titanium, but it does not allow golfers to adjust the face angle of the club.

Both clubs will come standard with a Fujikura Blur shaft—45 1/2" for the S3 and 46" for the S3 Max—and should retail for about $299.

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

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