It doesn't matter what your handicap is or how often you get out to the course, testing out the latest and greatest new clubs makes for a real fun time — especially when it comes to drivers. I had the chance to test out the latest drivers on the market at PGA Demo Day at the PGA Merchandise Show and it was an eye-opening experience.
For background, I'm an 11 handicap. I have the ability to hit it 300+ with the big dog, but it certainly isn’t always straight. I have a major brand driver that's six years old and I'm looking to treat myself to a new one this year.
To get started, I asked a few PGA Professionals at Demo Day what I should pay attention to.
“It’s all about the shaft,” Tim Holt, Head PGA Professional at Nick’s Golf Center in Mishawaka, Indiana told me.
“You can have all the technology in the driver's head, but it won’t do you much good without the right shaft. That’s where it’s most important to get fitted or set up some time with your PGA Professional to make sure you’re set up to get the most out of your club.”
With this key advice in hand, I went over to one of the swing monitor areas and had a PGA Professional walk me through testing my swing speed to identify what type of shaft I needed. This small step allowed me to have the best experience possible testing out driver heads, and I highly recommend that you find a PGA Professional near you to go through this process as well.
Here are my impressions on this year's drivers.
The folks at Cobra are at it again with designing some of the coolest looking drivers on the market. I tested the more compact Speedzone because I like a smaller, compact look, but if the bigger driver head is your speed, then they have that for you.
The Speedzone has a lot of power in it. It’s a super lightweight club and I enjoyed the consistency in ball flight I was getting despite not hitting it on the screws each time.
Testing out the Maverik was a fun time. After I hit a few to loosen up the back (I blame a few toppers on sitting on a plane all morning) the Maverik really showed its might.
I talked to PGA Professional Tim Holt about the driver and he pointed out that it’s the railings on the bottom of the club, just below the face, that really helps players of all abilities keep the face square through contact and hit the ball straighter.
That's exactly what I noticed and why I became a fan of this club.
The good people at Wilson Staff are incredible, and so is the equipment that they are putting together.
This was the most fun driver I hit during the day. The Launch Pad seemed to have a hotter face than its counterparts, but it left me wearing a big smile as I cranked some of the longest drives I hit all day.
The engineers at TourEdge create some really good drivers, and they rightfully call themselves the best value in golf. The club has a clean look at address and delivers all the power you expect out of a quality driver.
The new ST200 line was another surprisingly fun driver to hit. The physics behind this design are intriguing, as they added stability to the bottom of the club and reduced it at the top. A simple geometry problem — or so I'm told.
This was a quality driver to hit from a brand I'm not as familiar with. I was impressed with how light the Honma felt, and I enjoyed that there weren’t too many movable parts when it came to sliding and adjustable weights — a trend I noticed across the board.
So many drivers. So little time. I guess I'll just have to keep having fun testing until I make up my mind.