2015 Buyer’s Guide Drivers

Drive For Show. Some of the best drivers we saw at the PGA show

Bobby Jones

Black Series | $369
bobbyjones.com

Key Features: A new clubface combines with a hot cupface that's welded to the cast titanium body for low spin and high ball velocity. Spin rates are consistently around 2,500 rpm or less. The face angle is adjustable.
Wow Factor: The 460cc pear-shaped clubhead looks sleek—particularly with its glossy black finish—and the impact sound was tuned down a notch this year to a really satisfying level.
Specs: Three lofts (9°, 10.5°, 12°), with a Graphite Design G-Series graphite shaft.

Bridgestone Golf

J715 | $449
bridgestonegolf.com

Key Features: The no-nonsense design of the J715 actually shrouds innovative technology that helps promote some serious distance. The F.A.S.T. crown flexes at impact for a higher launch, the milled face prevents slippage (a trait not often considered on drivers), and the movable weights enable a finely tuned launch angle. Oh, yeah, and its clean, deep face-shaping is to be desired. Very desired.
Wow Factor: Good to see Bridgestone back in the category after a brief hiatus. Looks as though they spent time honing in on what matters most—looks, feel and performance. There are no gimmicks here, just a solid performer backed by some outstanding craftsmanship.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°), with MRC Fubuki graphite shafts.

Callaway Golf

Big Bertha Alpha 815 | $449
callawaygolf.com

Key Features: On the heels of the wildly popular Big Bertha Alpha drivers that were unveiled last year, the new Big Bertha Alpha 815 has R-MOTO face technology, which, in simple terms, adds more strength and stability to the clubface for longer drives. It's also lighter, has slightly more draw bias, and all in all, is way more forgiving than the previous BB Alpha. According to Callaway, it's ideal for golfers who want to reap the benefits of a low-spin launch—without Henrik Stenson-like swing speed.
Wow Factor: Yeah, we know. They just unveiled the BB Alpha last year, and now they did it again. But make no bones about it, it's not the same club—this one is way more forgiving and is more suited for regular folks just like us who want to tinker with weights and CG positioning.
Specs: Three lofts (9°, 10.5°, 12°), with premium shaft offerings from Fujikura and Mitsubishi Rayon.

Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond | $499
callawaygolf.com

Key Features: It, too, has R-MOTO face technology, but this model is all about low-spin performance for players with fast swing speeds. The CG is inherently lower, the Gravity Core is taller (for enhanced adjusting), and if you're among the type of players with swing speeds above 100 mph and, in particular, if you tend to impart a little too much spin on your tee shots—this is the go-to club for you in 2015.
Wow Factor: Look for the Double Black Diamond to burn up the professional Tours this year. Its low CG and low-spin properties make even the longest hitters even longer. That's just plain not fair, Callaway.
Specs: Comes in two lofts (9°, 10.5°), with Aldila Rogue or Matrix Black Tie graphite shafts.


Cleveland

CG Black Series | $349
clevelandgolf.com

Key Features: Cleveland says these drivers are the lightest drivers on the market, but to be honest, you may not realize it since they're balanced so well (D-2 swingweight, 260-gram overall weight). The no-frills design is ideal for golfers who want to swing the club faster—without having to do anything. No, really, you don't need to work out, drink a protein shake or try to swing harder. Just take your normal swing with the CG Black, and you'll hit it farther. How do we know? Because it worked just like that for us.
Wow Factor: If you're overwhelmed with adjustable hosels, movable weights and so on, the CG Black is the best lightweight, streamlined driver on the market. And it looks awesome at address.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (9°, 10.5°, 12°), with a graphite shaft.

Cobra Golf

Fly-Z Series | $279-$399
cobragolf.com

Key Features: There are three drivers in the new Fly-Z Series (Fly-Z, Fly-Z+ and Fly-Z XL), and the Fly-Z+ is garnering the most buzz. The driver comes equipped with loads of technology designed for added forgiveness, with stuff like E9 Zone Face Weighting, Speed Channel Tech (which is a channel around the clubface—a little weird at first glance, by the way) and more, but it's the adjustable weight that moves along the sole from front to back that has our attention. It's also dead-simple: Move it to the forward position for a lower flightpath. Move it back for a higher one.
Wow Factor: Seriously, Cobra would put a kitchen sink in the Fly-Z+ if they could. But, seemingly, its multi-material, multi-piece, multi-everything construction functions very easily and looks amazing (in a variety of colors, of course). The Fly-Z doesn't have as much adjustability (it still has a MyFly hosel), and the nonadjustable Fly-Z XL has plenty of draw bias to wipe out the dreaded slice. Nice work, Cobra. We dig 'em.
Specs: Fly-Z XL comes in three lofts (9.5°, 10.5°, 11.5°), with Fly-Z XL graphite shafts; Fly-Z is adjustable from 9° to 12°, with Matrix graphite shafts; Fly-Z+ is adjustable from 8.5° to 11.5°, with Aldila or Matrix graphite shafts.

Fourteen Golf

GelongD CT-214 | $600
fourteengolf.com

Key Features: The titanium clubhead's precise CG depth and distance yield nice feel, a long 47.75-foot shaft boosts clubhead speed and distance, a new shaft flex helps accelerate the clubhead through impact, and a multilayered cupface maximizes spring-like effect. Yes, all that tech doesn't come cheap.
Wow Factor: This driver came out last year and wowed us then, and it still wows us in 2015. It's pricey, but sometimes you get exactly what you pay for—precision craftsmanship and outstanding performance.
Specs: Two lofts (9°, 10.5°), with an MD-350JD carbon shaft.

Mizuno

JPX 850 | $399
mizunousa.com

Key Features: The JPX 850's sliding weight system (dubbed "Fast Track") moves weight front to back, back to front, along the sole of the club. This allows the hitter to refine the spin and launch angle with ease. The adjustable hosel allows for loft adjustments between 7.5° and 11° (wow!), and lateral weight ports can ease or accentuate a fade or draw ballflight.
Wow Factor: We love the blue color, but it's the ease of use that made us fans. It's simple to make adjustments in any direction, and we appreciate how easy it is to discern the effects. This is a fun driver to use and tinker with. And, it's extremely long and forgiving, too. (Don't want to forget that part.)
Specs: Comes in 9.5°, but can be adjusted eight ways for loft and lie. A Fujikura Motore shaft comes standard.

Nike Golf

Vapor Flex | $499
nikegolf.com

Key Features: All the cool stuff you find in the Vapor Pro and Vapor Speed are in the Vapor Flex, too, but with one more added component: a tube that runs from back to front with a weight called a FlightPod in it. With a flip of the FlightPod, the club's internal weight scheme can move low and forward to low and back. Low and forward flights the ball lower, with more shotmaking maneuverability; low and back adds more forgiveness.
Wow Factor: Is this the driver that puts Nike at the top of the heap? It certainly has the potential to be. The colors alone caught our eye, and the outstanding performance makes the Vapor Flex, clearly, the best driver Nike has ever made. It's also one of the most adjustable/customizable sticks on the market.
Specs: Comes in lofts of 8.5° to 12.5°, with Mitsubishi Diamana S+ G (Blue Board) shafts.

Vapor Pro/Vapor Speed $299-$479
nikegolf.com

Key Features: If you want a high launch with low spin, the Vapor Speed is certainly worthy of your consideration. Hmm, where to begin... FlyBeam-reinforced Covert Cavity design, Compression Channel and FlexLoft 2 tech combine to offer explosive distance and forgiveness in all 15 possible settings. The Vapor Pro is a lot like the Vapor Speed, but in a more pear-like shape that Tour players tend to prefer. It also yields a more subdued trajectory than the higher-launching Speed version.
Wow Factor: Rory McIlroy uses the Vapor Pro. Do we need to say anything else?
Specs: Comes in 8.5° to 12.5° lofts, with MRC Diamana S+ G (Blue Board) shafts (Vapor Pro) and MRC Fubuki Z 50 G Series shafts (Vapor Speed).


Ping

G30 | $349
ping.com

Key Features: Crown turbulators (our favorite new word) help reduce drag and generate more clubhead speed and ball velocity for more horsepower off the tee. They also subtly help with alignment, too. Inside, PING made some improvements to strengthen the face, add more stability and enhance overall forgiveness. We also think the higher balance point of the shaft is a novel approach. By moving it closer to the grip, the club feels lighter. This allows for a heavier head, which means it has more MOI to resist twisting on off-center strikes. The adjustable hosel allows for custom launch conditions.
Wow Factor: Turbulators. We love that word! But, really, the G30 is a stellar accomplishment. PING has a knack for making some of our favorite drivers, as of late. The G30 is long and easy to hit. Simple as that.
Specs: Comes in two lofts (9°, 10.5°), with PING TFC 419D or Tour 65/80 graphite shafts.

G30 SF Tec | $349
ping.com

Key Features: If you like everything about the G30, but really want to stop hitting the ball to the right (in all seriousness), the G30 SF Tec may be the antidote to your slicing woes. It has the adjustability and turbulator tech of the G30, but with a concentration of weight near the heel and a lighter overall swingweight.
Wow Factor: Adios, banana balls. It's time to see what the middle of the fairway looks like, not the right rough. It's cool to see an anti-slice driver that doesn't skimp on the latest technology.
Specs: Comes in two lofts (10°, 12°), with PING TFC 419D or Tour 65/80 graphite shafts.

Taylormade

R15 | $429
taylormadegolf.com

Key Features: The Front Track adjustable weighting system also doubles as a Speed Pocket, pushing the CG lower and more forward than any other
TaylorMade driver, to date. There are two weights this go-around for a huge variety of weighting configurations.
Wow Factor: If it bears the R name, you know it's gonna be good. The R15 comes in white or black, with black being our choice. And, in case you're wondering, it performs incredibly—what else would you expect?
Specs: Comes in four lofts (9.5°, 10.5°, 12°, 14°) in standard and TP models with Fujikura shafts.

AeroBurner | $299
taylormadegolf.com

Key Features: An enormous Speed Pocket (with a flexible debris cover) enhances the sweet spot and promotes extreme distance. Also, aerodynamics have been improved, not only in the crown, but in the wing-like hosel design.
Wow Factor: Sometimes all you want is a driver that's fun to look at, easy to swing and, ultimately, launches the ball as far as your swing will allow. That exact club is the new AeroBurner. It's not adjustable, but with a driver this easy to hit, who needs to adjust anything anyway?
Specs: Comes in four lofts (9.5°, 10.5°, 12°, HL) in standard and two lofts (9.5°, 10.5°) in TP, with Matrix graphite shafts.

Titleist

915D2 | $499
titleist.com

Key Features: Designed to yield a Tour-like trajectory with game-improvement forgiveness (yes, it's possible, folks), the 915D2 delivers big time. The SureFit Tour hosel and adjustable weight plug allow for a customized launch, and the improved, forged face insert means longer hits on more areas of the face.
Wow Factor: A 7.5° model? Wow! That said, Titleist has long kept their designs subtle and understated, and so is the case with the D2 this year when compared to other models. But don't be fooled, these drivers are as good as it gets in terms of sheer quality and performance.
Specs: Comes in five lofts (7.5°, 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, 12°), with a variety of graphite shaft offerings.


915D3 | $499
titleist.com

Key Features: Really, the only difference between the 915D3 and the D2 is that the D3 is a slightly smaller (445cc), more pear-shaped design that promotes more shotmaking maneuverability. Better players certainly will appreciate the muted sound and feel. The SureFit Tour hosel is a cinch to use—we love it when things are easy.
Wow Factor: This driver makes you feel like you're a better player, even before you swing it. But here's the secret: Even though it's made for better players, it's still remarkably forgiving and easy to hit.
Specs: Comes in four lofts (7.5°, 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°), with a variety of graphite shaft offerings.

Tour Edge

Exotics E8 | $399
touredge.com

Key Features: A Power Grid design moves the CG closer to the clubface for a mid-height trajectory/low-spin launch condition. It also comes with an adjustable sole weight and hosel for a custom fit.
Wow Factor: It's usually the Exotics fairway woods that turn heads, but the E8 is so easy to hit, we think it may start to garner the attention it deserves. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, but that's because it doesn't need it. By the way, we also love the deep face design and the shaping of the slightly smaller (440cc) E8 Beta.
Specs: One model that can be adjusted eight ways between 8.5° and 12°; Mitsubishi Rayon or Fujikura shafts come standard (Aldila in the E8 Beta).

Hot Launch | $199
touredge.com

Key Features: An adjustable hosel can be set eight different ways for a customized ballflight, and the deep face design and variable face thickness tech make it exceptionally long and forgiving. A rear weight deepens the center of gravity that helps make it easier to get the ball airborne.
Wow Factor: Did you see the price? For hundreds less than most new drivers on the market, you can still buy a very good driver. We love that.
Specs: One model that can be adjusted eight ways between 8.5° and 12.5°; Grafalloy shafts comes standard.

Wilson Staff

D200 | $299
wilsonstaff.com

Key Features: Smooth lines and an adjustable hosel prove that distance can be sexy. Wilson claims it's the "lightest and fastest" adjustable driver out there (it's just under 270 grams total)—but the cool thing is, it doesn't feel like it. It's a D2 swingweight, but even still, it feels a little heavier to us. That's a good thing. When a driver feels too light, it will seem harder to control. That said, when a club is lighter, it's a sure bet you'll swing it faster. We sure did.
Wow Factor: Smashingly long drives have never been easier with a Wilson Staff
driver. Period.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (9°, 10.5°, 13°), with a UST Elements Chrome graphite shaft.

Yonex

EZONE XP | $349
yonex.com/sports/golf

Key Features: A composite crown for a low and deep CG, and most notably, a grip with 20 grams infused in the cap end of the grip. This counterbalancing makes the driver feel light, even though it isn't. It has an adjustable hosel for a custom launch.
Wow Factor: Yes, you can swing lighter clubs faster, but if you can swing a heaver club faster, you'll hit it even farther. This one proves that point quite nicely.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (9°, 10.5°, 12°), with Yonex EX300 graphite shafts.

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