2011 Buyer’s Guide Drivers

Absence of weight is the next big trend in drivers. Is it right for you?

The next big thing in driver tech is the absence of weight. will it work for you?

If you think about it, we've seen some extraordinary advances in driver technology in the last few years. And no, we aren't talking the transitions we've made from wood to metal, or even metal to carbon. Instead, we're talking about driver customization, the advancements of shaft integration and so on. This year? We're seeing a new leaf being turned over, this time with regards to how much a driver weighs. They're getting lighter and easier to swing, meaning you can swing them faster with less effort. Cool huh? We've been lucky to try almost every driver in this category, and it's safe to say, 2011 has some of the best we've ever seen.

Golf Tips Legend

Our picks for new technologies, hot trends and equipment standouts.
s = steel g = graphite

Acer
XF Leggera

Great Buy!Key Feature: The XF Leggera is a lightweight driver head designed specifically for a lightweight shaft, resulting in a driver that's quick to swing and produces longer tee shots.
What We Like: What a great price. Furthermore, the overall shaping is a step in the right direction for Acer. And in case you're wondering, yes, the crown section is white. Shhhh...
Who It's For: Mid- to high-handicappers who need help getting the ball airborne.
Specs: Comes in three lofts, 9°, 10.5°, 12°, with a variety of custom shaft/flex options. L-hand available in 10.5°.
acergolf.com | $64 (clubhead only)

Adams
F11

Distance DrivenKey Feature: The new Velocity Slot, located on the heel of the driver, improves the club's aerodynamics for a faster, less turbulent ride.
What We Like: Adams says this driver will add up to 12 yards, thanks to its sleek aerodynamics. But really, that's not a game-changer for us. We happen to like this club based on its awesome looks, feel and tremendous forgiveness.
Who It's For: Golfers who want more clubhead speed with their driver.
Specs: Comes in four lofts, 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12° with Aldila VooDoo or Matrix Xcon graphite shaft (all flexes). Draw models available.
adamsgolf.com | $299

Adams
Speedline 4G UltraLite

Distance DrivenKey Feature: This driver's total weight is a mere 282g, meaning it's both lightweight and aerodynamic–a deadly long combination.
What We Like: Looks easy on the eyes, and it has all the power and forgiveness you'd come to expect from the popular Speedline series. Faster swingers might prefer a heavier feel since you may be inclined to overswing. (It's that light!)
Who It's For: Folks who want a lightweight driver that's by no means a feather. This driver
is long and fun to use.
Specs: Comes in two lofts, 10° and 12°, with Mitsubishi Bassara graphite shafts (R flex).
adamsgolf.com | $299


Adams
9064LS

Players OnlyKey Feature: A deep face, and guess what? Better aerodynamics!
What We Like: This driver is a favorite among Tour players because it's not only fast, but also produces the boring trajectory that better players want. We like that it has two shaft options (for high or low trajectory) and a huge, forgiving face.
Who It's For: Adams Staff players have gobbled this driver up, but it's not really a Tour driver. Virtually any type of player can reap its benefits.
Specs: Comes in three lofts, 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°, with Aldila Rip Alpha (high) or Gamma (low) graphite shafts. L-hand available 9.5°.
adamsgolf.com | $299

Boccieri Golf
DFT Driver

Beauty & BrawnKey Feature: The folks at Heavy Putter have a driver now, with a unique backweighting system under the grip for a balanced feel.
What We Like: The Dimple Face (don't worry they're on the inside) design leverages a soft feel, while the 50g shaft weight makes the driver feel lighter and faster through the swing.
Who It's For: Don't dismiss this as a heavy-feeling driver. Its counterbalancing makes it feel light, even though it has a 50g weight in the upper part of the shaft. It's a lot of fun to swing.
Specs: Comes in two lofts, 9° and 10°, with Aldila NVS graphite shafts (S, R).
boccierigolf.com | $399

Bobby Jones
Workshop Ed.

Alignment All-StarKey Feature: Jesse Ortiz's innovative triangular shaping, not to mention a 47-inch shaft that's superlong and lightweight.
What We Like: 47 inches? Wow. And being that it's approximately 40-45g lighter than most
models, it's a cinch to swing. The triangular design provides a lot of stability on off-center hits.
Who It's For: Tall people? Kidding. Once you get used to the shaft, it's a fun choice for golfers seeking more distance and forgiveness.
Specs: Comes in 9° or 10.5° lofts with a Graphite Design graphite shaft (A, R, S flexes). L-hand available 10.5°.
bobbyjonesgolf.com | $249

Bridgestone
J38

Forgiveness SupremeKey Feature: A rounded sole that helps to reduce spin rates and promote a higher launch.
What We Like: The J38 isn't new, but we like the shape and size, so it was hard to pass up.
It produced a flat trajectory, but it's also quite forgiving on off-center hits.
Who It's For: Better players who want a big, forgiving head that when paired with the right shaft, produces a flat, boring trajectory for maximum distance and control.
Specs: Comes in three lofts, 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°, with a Fujikura Motore F1 65 graphite shaft (R, S, X flexes).
bridgestonegolf.com | $399

Callaway
Diablo Octane

Distance DrivenKey Feature: A forged composite crown that's insanely strong and lightweight, and a Hyperbolic Face design that's long and forgiving.
What We Like: All the above. The Diablo Octane feels nothing like composite-crowned drivers we've seen in the past. It has plenty of pop and power. Also available is the Tour version, with an even more traditional head shape and a weighting scheme that produces a more penetrating flight.
Who It's For: Players who have come to recognize Callaway as a leader in driver technologies.
Specs: Comes in four lofts, 9.5°, 10.5°, 11.5°, 13°, with Grafalloy Project X graphite shafts (all flexes).
callawaygolf.com | $299

Callaway
RAZR Hawk

Versatile WonderKey Feature: The RAZR Hawk features a forged composite body (thank you, Lamborghini), meaning designers could position weight to cater to the needs of different players (draw or neutral). Yes, the car company was involved.
What We Like: Awesome feel, big distance and a look that's pure Callaway. The Tour version also is impressive.
Who It's For: Golfers who want all the tech Callaway can dish out in a long/straight hitter.
Specs: Comes in four lofts, 9.5°, 10.5°, 11.5° and 13°, with Aldila RIP shafts (all flexes). L-hand and custom shafts also available.
callawaygolf.com | $399


Cleveland
XL270/SL290

Editors' PickKey Feature: The all-titanium Launcher XL270 and SL290 both are optimized with Right Weight tech, meaning they may be amazingly light, but they're so perfectly balanced with the right shaft that they don't feel too lightweight.
What We Like: Drivers that feel too light are hard to control. These babies feel perfect, and they perform exceptionally. The 270g is the lightest driver we've tried, and boy, did we crush it.
Who It's For: Distance and speed gluttons.
Specs: Comes in three lofts, 9°, 10.5°, 12°, with Miyazaki C. Kua 39S graphite shafts (all flexes). L-hand available, as well as draw options.
clevelandgolf.com | $299

Cleveland
TL310

Players OnlyKey Feature: This model is ideal for better players (and Tour jocks) who want stability and control from, again, a lightweight driver design.
What We Like: At 440cc's, the TL310 is shaped quite traditionally, with a forgiving clubface and classic good looks. And, oh yeah, one of the best shafts we've ever tried. (That's a big deal, folks.)
Who It's For: Better players who want more speed from a lightweight design, all without sacrificing control. It's a GT Tech Award contender.
Specs: Comes in three lofts, 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°, with a Miyazaki C. Kua 59S graphite shaft (X, S, R). L-hand models available (9.5, 10.5).
clevelandgolf.com | $299

Cobra
S3

Versatile WonderKey Feature: The E9 Face Technology basically means the driver has nine key areas on the face where there's an awesome amount of energy transfer back into the golf ball.
What We Like: The aforementioned tech is cool, but we really like the way this driver looks and the rocketing trajectory it provides. The Fujikura Blur shaft is a nice touch, too.
Who It's For: It has an adjustable hosel, so it can cater to just about any type of golfer.
Specs: Comes in four lofts, 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 11.5°, with Fujikura Blur graphite shafts (all flexes). L-hand available (9.5, 10.5).
cobragolf.com | $299

Cobra
S3 Max

Forgiveness SupremeKey Feature: Like the S3, this driver also has the E9 Face Technology, but it also has a slight offset hosel and a scooped crown that aids in both better aerodynamics and visual alignment.
What We Like: The S3 Max is the best-looking offset driver we've seen. It's a bona-fide slicebuster with a lot of distance to boot.
Who It's For: Golfers who need a slice fix, thanks to its draw bias; and a distance fix, thanks to E9 Face Technology.
Specs: Comes in three lofts, 9.5°, 10.5° and 11.5°, with Fujikura Blur graphite shafts (all flexes). L-hand available (10.5).
cobragolf.com | $299

DnA
DnA Driver

Unsung HeroKey Feature: The DnA (Distance and Acoustics) driver is designed with removeable clubfaces, enabling golfers a custom fit based on the feel and sound they prefer.
What We Like: How a driver sounds is often a neglected area of clubhead design. This driver, can actually sound and feel like a persimmon wood if you want it to. That's gnarly! And by the way, it's a pretty long and forgiving club, as well.
Who It's For: All golfers willing to try something new from this hip, young up-and-comer.
Specs: Available in three lofts, 9°, 10.5°, 12°, in a variety of clubface/Fujikura shaft configurations.
dnagolf.com | $395

Fourteen
ST-110

Beauty & BrawnKey Feature: Four-piece construction that has a unique, hybrid titanium (two types) crown for added strength and more distance off the tee.
What We Like: Fourteen Golf makes some incredible irons, and their drivers are equally attractive. This one in particular is understated in appearance, but don't be fooled. It's a bomber. The crown construction also doubles as an infiniti 452 Player's Driveraerodynamic feature, again, for more power.
Who It's For: Golfers who want more distance and forgiveness out of an all-titanium design.
Specs: Available in two lofts, 9° and 10.5°, with MD-350fd graphite shafts (S, R).
fourteengolf.com | $699


Infiniti
452 Player's Driver

Distance DrivenKey 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.
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

Maruman
Majesty Prestigio

Beauty & BrawnKey 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

Mizuno
JPX-800

Editors' PickKey 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

Nike
SQ Machspeed SQ/R

Forgiveness SupremeKey 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.
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).

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