2011 Buyer's Guide Drivers
Absence of weight is the next big trend in drivers. Is it right for you?
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InfinitiKey Feature: Designed with a deep face for a lower, more penetrating ballflight, the 452 is also made with either a square or open face angle. This helps golfers shape their tee shots.
452 Player’s Driver
What We Like: The “stealthy” all-black finish is really cool to look at. Also of note, considering this is designed as a 440cc driver for players who want shot maneuverability, the cupface construction provides a wallop of big distance and forgiveness on off-center hits.
Who It’s For: Better players who want power.
Specs: Available in two lofts, 9° and 10.5°, in a variety of shaft options.
infinitigolf.com | $379
MarumanKey Feature: The club is gold-plated. Need we say anything else? It’s forged titanium underneath, making it not only good-looking, but a viable performer, as well.
What We Like: We’ve only seen this driver—we haven’t actually tried it. And frankly, we aren’t sure if we have the nerves to try it, considering how beautifully constructed it is. Wow!
Who It’s For: If you need to ask, it’s not for you. This ultrapremium driver is for the golfer who has everything, and needs a little more.
Specs: Comes in two lofts, 10.5° and 11.5°, with Majesty Prestigio graphite shafts.
maruman.co.jp | $2,699-$2,799
MizunoKey Feature: This driver combined a forged face with an ultrathin crown and a strategic inner weighting system, resulting in what Mizuno calls Ultimate Dynamic Stability (U.D.S.)
What We Like: Sleek aesthetics (it’d be hard to expect any less from Mizuno) and a great feel off the forged face. The JPX-800 retreats away from adjustable technology; instead it’s just an all-around excellent driver.
Who It’s For: Those who want great feel and distance from a great-looking driver.
Specs: Comes in three lofts, 9°, 10.5° and 12°, with a Mizuno DS5 graphite shaft.
mizunogolf.com | $299
NikeKey Feature: The new SQ Machspeed drivers come in both round and square, and both have aerodynamic designs that cut through the wind with ease. STR8-FIT tech allows for an eight-way face-angle configuration.
SQ Machspeed SQ/R
What We Like: The two options. The square will help those who want sheer forgiveness, while the round will appeal to the traditional player.
Who It’s For: Average players looking for more swing speed and longer, straighter tee shots.
Specs: Both models come in five lofts 8.5°-13°, each with Nike Fubuki graphite shafts (X, S, R, A. L-hand available (9.5, 10.5).
nikegolf.com | $299
NikeKey Feature: The Variable Compression Chamber (on the sole behind the clubface) for more power off the clubface.
What We Like: Its classic good looks, along with the STR8-FIT tech that enables the club to be fit 32 different ways. As for feel, it feels just like a Tour-inspired should. It’s forgiving, but you also can work the ball if you want. Cool.
Who It’s For: Better players who want a lot of forgiveness, adjustability and the option to hit
different types of tee shots.
Specs: Comes in four lofts, 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 11.5°, with Project X graphite shafts. L-hand avail.
nikegolf.com | $399
PingKey Feature: A no-nonsense, simple, but extremely powerful shaping that will appeal to better players who want shot maneuverability and a controlled trajectory.
What We Like: Practically everything. The neutral weighting is ideal for better players who don’t need help fighting slices, and the ballflight across the big, deep face is amazingly consistent.
Who It’s For: Moderate to better players who want a versatile yet predictable driver that’s long and easy to hit.
Specs: Comes in three lofts 8°, 9.5°, 10.5°, with PING TFC 700D graphite shafts. L-hand available.
ping.com | $349
Notice anything missing in our descriptions? That’s right, we don’t cover driver sizes much anymore, mainly since most drivers hover in the 450cc to 460cc range. This is at the top of the allowable size as mandated by the USGA, meaning instead of equipment designers pushing the boundaries of size, they’ve shifted more toward designing drivers that are both lighter and more aerodynamic—two things that make swinging a driver faster.
Also, shaft lengths have gotten longer too, with some models measuring 46 inches in length. That’s about an inch longer than most people are used to, but rest assured, if a longer length isn’t what you’re looking for, cutting an inch or so off the butt end of the grip is an easy fix that any clubfitter can do in a matter of minutes. If you decide to cut at the tip end, that will not only shorten the shaft, but also add stiffness. So make sure that’s what you want before you request a tip-trim from your local clubfitter.
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