2009 Drivers Buyer's Guide

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Want to really max out your driver’s performance? Get fitted for an aftermarket shaft now. The driver is not only the single most expensive club in the bag, but also the most fun to hit. However, it’s only fun if you drive the ball long and relatively straight, which is why we highly recommend checking out one or more of the following premium aftermarket driver shafts. Any one of these high-tech designs could mean 10 or more yards in distance, as well as significantly improved accuracy, provided you get yourself properly fitted. From top to bottom: Fujikura Motore F1, Aldila VooDoo, Graphite Design Tour AD YSQst, Grafalloy ProLaunch Axis, UST Mamiya Proforce AXIVCore, Mitsubishi Rayon FUBUKI.

Driver Trends

Geometric driver clubhead shapes continue to be used to improve moment of inertia (MOI) and center of gravity (CG) position, while staying within the United States Golf Association’s 460cc volume limit. There’s also increasing use of multiple materials in many driver clubheads to help accomplish that feat. Impact sound also has become a universally important design metric. “Over time, golfers have been conditioned to expect loud metallic sounds that signify a powerful impact,” says Alan Hocknell, vice president of innovation and advanced design at Callaway Golf. “The amount of sound generated actually has very little to do with the efficiency of the impact with the ball. As clubheads have become larger, and with thinner walls and a greater variety of materials, the sound has changed such that today there is a broad range of sound—measured in terms of pitch, amplitude and duration.” Some companies, such as Callaway, use sophisticated software technology that predicts major elements of the sound in computer simulations prior to making driver prototypes. That way, they can fine-tune a driver’s impact sound before it’s ever made. Experts also claim that driver adjustability—which to date has been accomplished via movable weights, interchangeable shafts and, in 2009, rotatable shafts that effectively alter the face angle—is still in its infancy. At its very minimum, it’s ideal for catalyzing the custom-fitting process. If you’re in the market for a new driver, definitely get fitted. You’ll probably find yourself hitting the 2009 models several yards farther—from every point on the clubface.
—Scott Kramer


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