2009 Drivers Buyer’s Guide


Today's drivers are so fine-tuned and well-made that it's a cinch to find the right model for your game. If your old model doesn't have you hitting it long and straight, one of this year's new drivers definitely will. Remember when hitting 300-yard drives was something you only dreamed about? Well those days are over now that drivers are more powerful, more forgiving and more fun to hit than ever before.

If you've put a new driver in your bag recently, you've probably felt the rush of bombing one right down the middle. These new big sticks help launch the ball at optimized angles and spin rates, which in turn, adds tremendous distance to your drives.

Of course it's still up to you to square the face at impact, but even that's being addressed these days by manufacturers who've built clubs with adjustable and internal weighting to counteract those unwanted slices and hooks.

New drivers for 2009 include several redesigns that make them longer and more forgiving than ever, while other models have become more specific, and geared toward helping particular types of golfers hit better drives.

When choosing your new driver, be aware that just about every model can be custom-fitted with a wide variety of aftermarket shafts that significantly affect performance.

This icon indicates editors' picks, which are our personal favorites in the driver category.
To see editors' picks from other equipment categories, please visit
www.golftipsmag.com.



Adams Speedline

Adams Tech A4

Bridgestone J33R 460
Key Feature: What a drag...NOT! The Speedline is designed to minimize the air drag that plagues some 460cc drivers. This is accomplished with a reshaped crown and cross-sectional areas than are aerodynamically designed for maximum airflow.
What We Like: Awesome looks.
Who It's For: Golfers who want maximum clubhead speed. The draw model is great for slicers who need distance.
Specs: Three lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡) available with a Grafalloy ProLaunch Axis Blue shaft in any flex. adamsgolf.com | $299

Key Feature: A 15-gram weight low and away from the face makes this driver a very playable and forgiving choice. Ahh, Matrix Ozik in the house...
What We Like: Alas! A classic driver shape! The Tech A4 hides its "tech" inside and underneath, making it a popular driver for better players.
Who It's For: It has the looks better players may prefer, but the forgiveness all players can appreciate.
Specs: Three lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡) available with a Matrix Ozik graphite shaft standard. adamsgolf.com | $369

Key Feature: The all-titanium design features a tungsten weight low in the clubhead for a high MOI and deep CG. The clubface also is perfectly square.
What We Like: The J33R 460 has perhaps the most piercing ballflight of any 460cc driver we've tried. It's a worthy choice for better players who want added forgiveness but don't want a high, ballooning ballflight.
Who It's For: Better players who want 460cc's of forgiveness and playability.
Specs: Three lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡) with an Aldila NV graphite shaft. bridgestonegolf.com | $399


Callaway Big Bertha Diablo

Callaway FT-iQ

Callaway FT-9
Key Feature: The unique, asymmetrical shape allowed designers to position weight in key areas to achieve the optimal CG for either draw or neutral options, both with big power.
What We Like: The hyperbolic face design, meaning it's not uncommon to see mis-hits go as far as solid ones.
Who It's For: Gluttons for distance, as well as those looking for a slice fix.
Specs: All-titanium, Edge Technology; available with an Aldila DVS graphite shaft. LH available.callawaygolf.com | $299

Key Feature: Its square, composite body with a hyperbolic titanium clubface. The Lamborghini-inspired design pushes weight way back and to the corners for not only a high
MOI, but also some sweet aesthetics. The Fubuki shaft is an awesome pick.
Who It's For: At first glance, you'll think its a driver designed for better players, but it's not. And in case you happen to be a real stick, give the Tour version a whirl.
Specs: Six lofts (8.5_¡, 9_¡, 9.5_¡, 10_¡, 11_¡, 13_¡) are available, and a Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki shaft comes with each.
callawaygolf.com | $499
Key Feature: Fusion Technology, which allows weight to be positioned in the extreme perimeter via web weighting. This ups the MOI and optimizes the CG.
What We Like: Better sound! That's reason enough to pick up the best Fusion driver yet. The traditional shape is so refined, we can't believe it's actually a composite- body driver.
Who It's For: Just about anyone.
Specs: Comes in draw, neutral or Tour with an MR Fubuki shaft.
callawaygolf.com | $399


Cleveland HiBORE Monster

Cleveland Launcher

Cobra L5V
Key Feature: The face is 16% bigger than the previous HiBORE, making it almost too easy to hit it solid. We say this driver is "scary long and straight."
What We Like: Although bigger, this one looks better than ever. The three options (draw, straight, Tour) are well- designed to accommodate any golfer.
Who It's For: Anyone who wants to hit it better, longer, farther, straighter, etc.
Specs: Three versions, multiple lofts and two sweet Fujikura Fit-On Flight-speed shafts to choose from. LH avail. clevelandgolf.com | $299
Key Feature: A face area that's 21% bigger than the previous Launcher and Launcher Comp models. Meaning, if you can't hit it solid with this, you ought to try another sport.
What We Like: Its razor-thin crown, which enabled designers to push the weight low and deep into the clubhead. Plus a horseshoe design for enhanced perimeter weighting.
Who It's For: Distance-hungry players.
Specs: Three lofts (9_¡, 10.5_¡, 12_¡) with a Fujikura Fit-On Flightspeed shaft. clevelandgolf.com | $299
Key Feature: Cobra calls the clubface the largest in golf. We agree, but the coolest feature of the L5V is actually the ability to adjust either the draw bias or swap in a new shaft, both with the click of a wrench.
What We Like: Its carbon- composite crown and sole inserts that contribute to a high-launch, low-spin ballflight that maximizes distance.
Who It's For: Bombers and wannabe bombers who like custom performance.
Specs: Three lofts (9.5_¡, 10.5_¡, 11.5_¡) and a Mitsubishi Diamana Red Board. cobragolf.com | $399


Cobra S9-1

Hippo Hex2

Hireko Caiman
Key Feature: Already a winner in _â__ð09, the S9 is more stout from front to back and has a deep face, resulting in a huge clubface that promotes a high MOI and faster ball speed. It's also 6 grams lighter.
What We Like: Slick aesthetics and an awesome sound. Seemed like off-center hits still flew straight and far.
Who It's For: There's a club for everyone, from the Tour pro to the chronic slicer.
Specs: Three models (Pro,
F Speed, M Speed) in various lofts. Aldila DVS shaft standard (Matrix Ozik Xcon in S9-1 Pro). cobragolf.com | $299

Key Feature: The hexagonal shape of the Hex2 enables optimal weight distribution to the rear and corners of the clubface, allowing for a greater transfer of energy into the ball.
What We Like: The superhard titanium face is the thinnest possible for maximum COR ratings. The shape also produces a very high MOI. We like how it sets up behind the ball.
Who It's For: Mid- to high- handicappers who want distance and forgiveness.
Specs: Three lofts (9_¡, 10_¡, 12_¡) with a CP4 proprietary graphite shaft. hippo-golf.com | $199

Key Feature: The unique shape not only produces a high MOI and great ballflight, but if you look at it from behind, it looks like it'll bite you, thanks to a unique croc/snake shape.
What We Like: The black finish looks great in the sun, and the sound is an aggressive one. But, the best feature is undoubtably the price. At around 100 bucks, this club is one of the best deals for a driver you'll ever find.
Who It's For: Anyone who wants to take a bite out of the golf ball.
Specs: Three lofts (9.5_¡, 10_¡, 12_¡). hirekogolf.com | $106



Louisville Thumper MAX

Mizuno MX-700

Nickent 3DX RC
Key Feature: The biggest (and prettiest) persimmon driver ever made (285cc's on a 325cc chassis), the Thumper MAX has a high level of gear effect that corrects slices and hooks for more fairway-landing drives.
What We Like: The feel and sound. You just can't beat it. Also, this club is no novelty. It's a solid choice for golfers who want more control.
Who It's For: The aforementioned group and purists _â__ðround the world.
Specs: One loft (11_¡) with a Louisville MFP-33 graphite shaft; steel avail. louisvillegolf.com | $349

Key Feature: Hot Metal tech plasma-welds a Ti-9 titanium face to a 6-4 titanium body producing a unique grain structure that expands the COR area and increases ball speed and forgiveness.
What We Like: Mizuno engineers putting some serious effort into the company's woods. The first entire family of Mizuno woods introduced together.
Who It's For: Anyone who wants a high-tech driver with lots of forgiveness.
Specs: Available in 9_¡, 10.5_¡ and 12_¡ lofts in RH; 9.5_¡ and 10.5_¡ in LH. mizunousa.com | $299

Key Feature: The triangular shape helps the 3DX RC achieve the highest MOI allowable by the USGA.
What We Like: The clubhead measures 460cc but only weighs 190 grams. Also, the 3DX RC's back weight plug helps golfers square the face at impact.
Who It's For: Players who have trouble finding the fairway and don't want to spend a fortune en route to it.
Specs: Comes in four right-hand lofts (9_¡, 10_¡, 12.5_¡ and 14.5_¡) and two left-hand lofts (9_¡, 10_¡). Four UST SR 2.5 shaft options are available. nickentgolf.com | $199

Nickent 4DX Evolver

Nike SQ DYMO2

Ping G10
Key Feature: Interchangeable Shaft Technology (IST) allows players to change shafts at will. An oversized titanium clubhead with a low and deep CG provides solid performance.
What We Like: Nickent designers like to push the technology envelope to give consumers an innovative product.
Who It's For: All players, particularly those who like to tinker with their clubs to achieve custom performance.
Specs: Titanium clubhead and clubface. Four different lofts (8_¡, 9_¡, 10.5_¡ and 12_¡); two shaft options. nickentgolf.com | $379

Key Feature: The club's geometry positions square mass into a round shape, making it easier to control your drives and hit them a mile.
What We Like: The higher the loft, the more draw bias. It's about time someone figured this out!
Who It's For: Golfers looking to optimize their launch and spin.
Specs: Comes in five lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡, 11.5_¡, 13_¡) and a standard UST Wide Body Shaft with Axiv Core. Multiple flexes are available, as are LH models. nikegolf.com | $299

Key Feature: A thinner crown and face that produce a larger discretionary weight budget and a low, deep CG.
What We Like: An optimized crown, sole and face structure that maximize energy transfer through impact, plus a low CG for high-launch/low-spin rates.
Who It's For: All golfers. (A draw model is available for slicers.)
Specs: The standard model comes in five lofts (7.5_¡, 9_¡, 10.5_¡, 12_¡, 13.5_¡); the draw model comes in four. Shafts include: TFC 129D, Grafalloy ProLaunch Red and UST v2 High Launch 65.
pinggolf.com | $299


Ping Rapture V2

Srixon Z-RW

Taylormade Burner
Key Feature: Two tungsten weight pads in the back near the heel and toe optimize the Rapture V2's CG for a lower spin and higher launch.
What We Like: The combination of its lightweight titanium head and dense tungsten weight pads. That multimetalic design helps push weight deep and low for a higher CG and MOI.
Who It's For: Average to better players.
Specs: Comes in four lofts (9_¡, 10.5_¡, 12_¡, 13.5_¡) with no offset. PING TFC 939D stock shaft, with custom shafts available.
pinggolf.com | $449

Key Feature: A superthin crown that allows weight to be moved low and deep (aided by a tungsten weight in the rear of the clubhead). What We Like: Its opti

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