2010 is a great year to buy a new driver. Manufacturers have (with a few exceptions) returned to more traditionally shaped clubs, stock driver shafts are better than ever (though certainly not as high performing as a premium fitted one), and prices haven't budged.
Another reason to buy is that some drivers are now longer and more forgiving than ever. And, of course, the longer the club, the farther it goes. The really good news is that those long sticks are, thanks to quality clubhead engineering, more accurate than ever, making it easier to hit it big and end up in the short stuff.
|Golf Tips Legend
Our picks for new technologies, hot trends and equipment standouts.
But don't take our word about all the new offerings out there. As with any golf purchase, head to a range, pro shop or green-grass store and demo a wide variety of clubs before you buy. Let your experience dictate your choices. You'll be glad you did.
|Acer XDS Insider
Key Feature: Its clubhead's profile and contour were designed to help create a mental picture of an inside-out swing.
What We Like: The top of the clubhead definitely screams "hit a draw!" Also, the price is nice.
Who It's For: Slicers. And the last we checked, there are a few of them on the course. Even us.
Specs: The 460cc clubhead comes in two lofts: 10.5_¡ and 12_¡, and is 1.5_¡ closed, almost guaranteeing you'll never hit another slice. Both the body and clubface are titanium.
hirekogolf.com | $99
|Adams Speedline Fast 10
Key Feature: An aerodynamic sole that permits air to flow around it more easily. All told, there's 10 percent less drag, and that translates to longer drives.
What We Like: Traditional shape at address, but lots of technology "under the hood."
Who It's For: Golfers of all abilities, but the weekend warriors will gravitate to it the most.
Specs: Available in four lofts, 8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡ and 12.5_¡. Comes in two stock shaft options: Aldila Wasabi or Matrix HD (both 60g).
adamsgolf.com | $299
|Adams Speedline 9032LS
Key Feature: Heel/toe scoops that help decrease drag and increase clubhead speed by an impressive 3-4 mph. With a 460cc clubhead that equals an increase in distance and forgiveness.
What We Like: A face area that's 17.3 percent larger than the original Speedline. That equates to more forgiveness on off-center strikes.
Who It's For: Golfers who dig larger clubheads and need more speed.
Specs: Available in three lofts, 8.5_¡, 9.5_¡ and 10.5_¡. Comes with a stock, 60-gram Aldila VooDoo NV6 shaft.
adamsgolf.com | $369
|Bridgestone J38 460
Key Feature: A more rigid sole that helps to reduce spin rates and promote a higher launch.
What We Like: We're suckers for traditional-looking shapes, and J38 460 delivers this at address. With a 460cc clubhead, we felt like we couldn't miss.
Who It's For: Built for the better player and mid- handicappers who like traditional shapes as much as they do varying shot shapes.
Specs: Comes in three lofts, 8.5_¡, 9.5_¡ and 10.5_¡, and is fitted with a Fujikura Motore F1 65 shaft (R, S, X flexes).
bridgestonegolf.com | $399
|Callaway Diablo Edge
Key Feature: A four-piece modular design that produces the most weight-efficient titanium driver Callaway's ever created.
What We Like: Every part of the club is precision formed and accurately fused together, so weight can be positioned for high-MOI and penetrating ballflights.
Who It's For: Golfers looking to gain some serious downswing speed for more distance off the tee.
Specs: Comes in four different lofts (9_¡, 10_¡, 11_¡ and 13_¡) and an Aldila Habanero shaft (3 flexes). Tour version available, too.
callawaygolf.com | $299
Key Feature: A triangular head shape that helps to create unprecedented speed, stability and shot consistency.
What We Like: The Callaway team used polar weighting, which positions weight at the front and rear of the driver, raising MOI. That makes the FT-iZ more stable, even on off-center hits.
Who It's For: Golfers who like to use nontraditional shapes.
Specs: Comes with a stock Aldila VooDoo shaft (L, R, S flexes) and is available in four lofts: 9_¡, 10_¡, 11_¡ and 13_¡. Custom shafts available.
callawaygolf.com | $399
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. Four lofts: 9_¡, 10_¡, 11_¡ and 13HT_¡.
callawaygolf.com | $399
|Cleveland HiBORE Monster
Key Feature: The face is 16 percent 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 version 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 (regular, Tour, draw), multiple lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡, 11.5_¡) and two Fujikura Fit-On FLIGHTSPEED shaft options. LH avail.
clevelandgolf.com | $299
|Cleveland Launcher DST
Key Feature: Its weight–what there is of it. The Launcher DST weighs less than 300 grams, some 25 grams less than the typical thunder stick.
What We Like: With weight removed, the Cleveland designers could lengthen the DST to 45.75 inches. That results in a bigger swing arc and more distance.
Who It's For: Golfers who dig a light, long, traditionally shaped big stick.
Specs: The 460cc driver comes in three lofts (9_¡, 10.5_¡ and 12_¡), and its stock shaft is an Ultralite Diamana Red (three flexes). Also comes in a draw model.
clevelandgolf.com | $299
Key Feature: An adjustable hosel that can change the face angle up to 3_¡.
What We Like: The improved sound over some of the company's recent high-pitched hollow offerings.
Who It's For: Players seeking maximum distance and accuracy. And, really, who isn't looking for that?
Specs: Comes in four lofts, 8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡ and 11.5_¡. The stock Aldila VooDoo shaft was built specifically for Cobra. Measures 46 inches, so be prepared for more distance, but a potentially higher launch for some.
cobragolf.com | $349
Key Feature: An adjustable hosel that changes the face angle from neutral to closed to open.
What We Like: Its 9 Point Face Technology that helps promote ball speed across the entire clubface.
Who It's For: Mid- to high-handicappers happy to tweak the club so it fits their preferred ballflight.
Specs: Comes in four lofts, 8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡ and 11.5_¡. Stock shaft is Fujikura's Fit-On Max 65 (L, R, S, X flexes). Measures 46 inches, which will add distance, but could impact accuracy.
cobragolf.com | $299
Key Feature: A higher-back head design that Fourteen claims helps alleviate players dropping their right shoulders at impact.
What We Like: Its four-piece, 460cc titanium head. After striping a few with it, we were convinced that this company is a rising star.
Who It's For: Golfers looking to tack on some extra yards to their drives and who can handle its length.
Specs: Available in two lofts, 9_¡ and 10.5_¡. Measures 46.5 inches and comes with a stock MD-370Lt shaft.
fourteengolf.com | $699
|Hippo Hex XXL
Key Feature: Hippo's new Hex XXL driver boasts a Forged Beta Titanium, 460cc clubhead with the highest MOI allowed, due to internal (4 grams per corner) weighting.
What We Like: With maximum MOI, you're guaranteed that it'll resist twisting at impact.
Who It's For: All golfers looking for a forgiving, oversized driver at a very affordable price.
Specs: Comes with Hippo's proprietary 100 percent graphite shaft. There are a number of lofts to choose from.
hippo-golf.com | $189
Key Feature: From a company known for their dominance at long-drive events comes a 460cc offering that delivers the highest ball speed of any of their drivers yet. That says a lot.
What We Like: Looks cool; hits big.
Who It's For: Judging by their variety of shaft lengths, everyone. Although long drivers will gravitate to the stretched- out 47-inch version.
Specs: Available in five lofts: 6_¡, 7.5_¡, 9_¡, 10.5_¡ and 12_¡. Its Fujikura Diesel shaft comes in five flexes and a variety of lengths from 43 to 47 inches.
krankgolf.com | $349
|Louisville SMART Pro B.E.
Key Feature: An enlarged pear-shaped clubhead that was developed with the feedback of a four-time PGA Tour champ.
What We Like: Louisville isn't afraid to "keep it real." Their persimmon is beautiful. Feels great.
Who It's For: Anyone who thinks metal woods just don't cut it.
Specs: The 250cc clubhead comes in an 11_¡ version. Available in five flexes (R, S, X, A, L) and graphite and steel shafts. Lengths vary from 43 to 45 inches. Free headcover included.
louisvillegolf.com | $309-339
|Mizuno MP-630 FastTrack
Key Feature: Its 45 trajectory settings via Mizuno's Fast Track system.
What We Like: It's hard not to love a club that affords you the option to adjust ballflight across the board. High, low, left, right...this club does it all.
Who It's For: Tweakers. With so many trajectories to choose from, you can dominate the course, no matter what the playing conditions.
Specs: Comes in three lofts, 8.5_¡, 9.5_¡ and 10.5_¡. Stock shaft is a 64-gram MRC Fubuki. Measures a shorter-than-usual 45 inches.
mizunousa.com | $499
Key Feature: A 444cc four-piece clubhead that has an open clubface.
What We Like: Its low center of gravity, which produces a low spin and a boring but neutral ballflight. The nifty frequency- tuned sole for a more solid sound.
Who It's For: Better players who like a traditional head shape and solid-sounding thunder stick.
Specs: Available in two lofts, 9.5_¡ and 10.5_¡. Stock shaft is a 64-gram MRC Fubuki. Measures a shorter-than-usual 45 inches.
mizunousa.com | $299
|Nike VR STR8-FIT Tour
Key Feature: A compression channel that increases ball speeds across the entire face.
What We Like: 32, count __ðem, 32 face-angle options via Nike's STR8-FIT adjustable-face technology.
Who It's For: Players who like to tweak their drives with a twist of a wrench.
Specs: Comes in four lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡ and 11.5_¡), and an Aldila VooDoo shaft. Clubhead size is either 440cc or 460cc, depending on the club's loft. Also comes in a Tour version that's STR8-FIT-less.
nikegolf.com | $399
|Nike SQ Machspeed Str8-Fit
Key Feature: The PowerBow design and sole diffuser that help reduce drag and encourage faster acceleration than any previous Nike driver.
What We Like: Its eight different face-angle options, which make it a breeze for you to shape your shots. Also, it addresses what has been an issue in large clubheads: drag.
Who It's For: Anyone who doesn't mind playing with a weird-looking club, as long as it performs.
Specs: Comes in five lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡, 11.5_¡ and HL).
nikegolf.com | $299
Key Feature: Its face, which is a tad larger than last year's G10. That increases forgiveness and places more power behind the ball.
What We Like: The PING engineers built the G15 with an ultrathin crown and external weighting for a higher trajectory and low spin.
Who It's For: Made for everyone, but golfers who need help launching tee shots will benefit the most.
Specs: Comes in four lofts (9_¡, 10.5_¡, 12_¡, 13.5_¡) and a stock PING TFC 149D or Aldila Serrano 60.
pinggolf.com | $350
Key Feature: Internal weights placed away from the face help to knock spin rates down to produce a more Tour-like trajectory and better control.
What We Like: Built with a 460cc clubhead, but it doesn't look like it because of its pear-shaped head. Not to
mention PING's classic good looks.
Who It's For: Better golfers who like to shape their shots without the aid of adjustability. The i15 is made with a fade bias, so slicers beware!
Specs: Comes in three lofts (8_¡, 9.5_¡ and 11_¡). Measures 45.75 inches.
pinggolf.com | $405
|Powerbilt Air Force One|
Key Feature: Nitrogen-Charged Technology. What's that? The clubhead is filled with nitrogen gas to provide weightless