Drivers Buyer's Guide 2006
The modern driver can hold the contents of a 16-ounce can of soda and, with its heightened technology, offers much more pop than that. Check out the newest big sticks and find one that fits your game.
The driver is the only full-swing club in your bag that you use 14 times a round (the ball retriever doesn't count). Thus, your driver sets up your entire round. Drive the ball well and it gives you an emotional boost—your round “feels” better than it is when you drive it great and score poorly. But drive it poorly and you feel like a rat, no matter what the score. So central is it to your game that you can tell when your A game is coming back because you begin to hit your driver solidly again.
One of the absolute keys to consistent driving, which is often overlooked, is a properly fitted club, and with modern fitting methods at your disposal, there’s almost no reason to buy a driver off the rack. Instead, make it a priority to take the trouble and time to do some investigation and experimentation before purchasing a new big dog. To begin, take the plunge and convince yourself that a premium-quality model is worth the investment and, if you can, try not to be overly concerned with price. Once that decision is made, pick out a few models that look good to you and also have the design characteristics that you desire (movable weights, preset shot bias, deep or shallow face, etc.). If you’re not sure what you want, or even if you are, find a shop near you that offers a wide selection of models and demo a few. Once you narrow down your choices, then get fitted on a launch monitor.
Almost every driver now is a 460cc, high-COR, high-MOI behemoth designed to help you achieve optimal launch. So, other than the paint job, how can you judge one model from the next? Test-driving never hurts, nor does emphasizing the following cutting-edge technologies.
Low And Deep CG
While almost every driver features it, it’s still a noteworthy trait and an absolute must for recreational golfers. If you think you’re above a low and deep CG, put some lead tape where the face meets the crown on your current driver and hit a dozen balls—er, liners. The low (as in toward the sole) and deep (as in as far away from the face as possible) CG placement gives most recreational players the best chance of achieving the preferred launch conditions of high launch and low spin. It’s also why the design is so prevalent in irons as well.
If your new driver doesn’t have movable weights, it might be offered in a fade, neutral or draw model (like the new Tour Edge V25, pictured). Or the lower lofts may feature no offset, while the 11-degree model does and has a slightly closed face. Or there could be a Tour version attached to the line (a Callaway stalwart), with a slightly different CG to augment workability. Point is, head options in a single line give you a greater chance of finding the right driver for your swing.
It used to be a big deal when a driver reached the USGA limit of .830 COR. Now, with the universal use of high-grade titanium and the influx of variable face thickness, max COR is as common as a par on Tour. The key is the size of the high-COR area—after all, you still need your distance even if you miss the sweet spot. With TaylorMade’s Inverted Cone leading the way, face technology from the elite clubmakers is giving your swing more than it deserves.