2018 Driver Reviews

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TAYLORMADE M3

Review:

Forget for a minute that the M3 has nearly 13,000 adjustable settings and can reach the kind of off-center-hit stability reserved for mailbox-size drivers. Forget the carbon-composite panels in the crown and sole that are 25 percent thinner and lighter than they were two years ago. What’s truly different is the twisted face design. Inspired by studying more than half-a-million shots, TaylorMade believes traditional face designs fail typical golfers, so it reshaped the face into subtle contrasting curves from high-toe (more open) to low-heel (more closed) to help shots fly straighter.
Loft: Standard: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 12; 440: 9, 10. (Adjustable hosel from +2/-2 degrees.)
BY GOLF DIGEST
Street Price: $500 
Video Reviews

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Review:

If last year’s Epic was Callaway’s sports sedan, then the Rogue is its monster truck. The jumbo look, featuring Callaway’s largest triaxial carbon crown ever, shouts forgiveness. The internal “jailbreak” structure, which is now 25 percent lighter, provides power: Two titanium bars run from the crown to the sole behind the face to stabilize the head so mis-hits fly like center shots. Saved weight is used in other ways to add forgiveness to each of the three versions, including the spin-controlling Sub Zero model with adjustable sole weights and a heel-weighted Draw version.
Loft: Standard, Draw: 9, 10.5, 13.5; Sub Zero: 9, 10.5. (All with adjustable hosel +2/-1 degrees.)
BY GOLF DIGEST
Street Price: $500 
Video Reviews


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It’s not surprising our player-testers used the word “classic” 10 times to describe the 917 series, but the drivers have present-day tech, too. The hosel’s 16 independent loft-and-lie settings provide 112 ball-flight options across the line’s two heads and seven lofts. There’s also a weight in the sole that can be adjusted to promote a draw or fade, and the angled shape means there’s less chance of increasing spin or forfeiting stability on off-center hits. Finally, the new sole channel works better than in the 915 model, primarily because of selective thinning in the heel-and-toe portions.
Loft: D2: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 12; D3: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5. (Adjustable hosel +1.5/-.75 degrees.)
BY GOLF DIGEST
Street Price: $500
Video Reviews


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PING G400 DRIVER

Review:

The company famous for forgiveness keeps pushing the limits of how to make our worst misses more playable. The G400’s four models include the standard, low-spin LST, the slice-fighting SFT and the new oversize Max that sets a new standard for stability. The large front-to-back shape and thin crown work with a tungsten weight deep in the sole to make these Ping’s most forgiving heads ever, even though all but the G400 Max are a tiny bit smaller than any G-series driver in history. And each driver features those familiar drag-reducing ridges on the crown to make the large head glide through the air like a driver a third smaller.

Loft: Standard, Max: 9, 10.5; LST: 8.5, 10; SFT: 10, 12. (Adjustable hosel from +1/-1 degree.)
Street Price: $400
Video Reviews

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TAYLORMADE M4 DRIVER

Review:

This might be the least-complex driver in TaylorMade’s lineup, but it might give more golfers what they really need. Its priorities are forgiveness and ball speed. Carbon composite in the crown combines with a light, thin face to save weight. But rather than use those grams for movable screws, the M4 pushes that mass lower and farther back for a higher launch and stability on off-center hits. And because of a pair of struts, the slot in the sole is more than 20 percent longer, adding more zip across the face. Like the M3, the face’s contrasting curves help mis-hits go straighter. The D-Type version could be your anti-slice solution.
Loft: Standard: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 12; D-Type: 9.5, 10.5, 12. (Adjustable hosel +2/-2 degrees.)
BY GOLF DIGEST
Street Price: $430
Video Reviews

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COBRA F8 AND F8 PLUS DRIVER

Review:

Anybody with a whiteboard can design a driver. But manufacturing one—or tens of thousands—to precise weight-saving tolerances that lead to better performance? Well, that’s a new kind of science. Cobra uses automated computer milling to form its titanium face inserts. This saves weight and allows the face to feature subtle curvature for more speed and higher launch on mis-hits. The high-launching F8 and low-spin F8+ have lightweight carbon-composite crowns and movable sole weights (slice-fighting on F8, spin-controlling on F8+). A 3-degree range of adjustability on the hosel means one head fits all.
Loft: F8: Adjustable hosel from 9-12 degrees; F8+: Adjustable hosel from 8-11 degrees.
BY GOLF DIGEST
Street Price: $400
Video Reviews

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Review:

The Epic family of drivers, Callaway’s most successful launch since the 1990s, set out to change how drivers flex. Two titanium bars behind the face connect the crown to the sole, keeping the flexing at impact confined to the face. The result is maximum ball speed across a wider area of the face. Lightweight composite pieces in the crown and sole freed up mass for a rear sliding weight on the sole in the standard model, and front and back weights in the lower-spinning Sub Zero. The newest addition is the Star, which uses a shaft that’s about a third lighter than typical shafts to help provide extra swing speed.
Loft: Standard: 9, 10.5, 13.5; Sub Zero: 9, 10.5; Star: 10.5, 12. (Standard, Sub Zero with adjustable hosel +2/-1.)
BY GOLF DIGEST
Street Price: $500/$700
Video Reviews


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CLEVELAND LAUNCHER HB

Review:

Cleveland is having none of golf’s complex moving parts. The throwback design—no adjustable hosel, no movable weights—might seem basic, but look again: The simplicity serves a purpose. Most golfers, Cleveland engineers say, need forgiveness on mis-hits and a higher launch, so any feature that doesn’t work toward those objectives is a waste of material and unnecessarily confusing. Here, all the weight saved from not having adjustable features is pushed low and deep for higher launch and added forgiveness for off-center hits. A stepped crown and sole are designed to enhance the flexing of the face for better distance.
Loft: 9, 10.5, 12
Street Price: $300
Video Reviews

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MIZUNO ST180 DRIVER

Review:

With two movable weights, three weight tracks, a sliding chip on the sole to tweak its appearance at address and 4 degrees of loft adjustment on the hosel, the GT180 is the most changeable driver in Mizuno history. But that’s not even the coolest feature. The secret that makes all this movement more powerful is a specially treated, high-strength titanium alloy in the face. SP700 is 10 percent stronger than the titanium typically used in drivers, allowing for more varied thicknesses in the face, which leads to more consistent distances on off-center strikes.
Loft: Adjustable hosel 7.5-11.5 degrees.
Street Price: $500
Video Reviews

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