HOW WE DID IT
We invited all the major manufacturers to submit their entire 2016 ranges for testing. In order to ensure a level playing field, each of the three testers was fitted for the equipment tested. We conducted a test every week from the start of December, finishing in February when every new club was available. We tested both indoors in a controlled environment with a premium ball and outside from a range bay using range balls, as that's how many golfers will get fitted. We collected a ton of data from every shot hit, using a Foresight GC2 launch monitor (right), and then spent a month poring over all this information.
WHO DID IT
Chris Ryan, PGA Pro
Chris is senior instructor at The Belfry's PGA National Academy. He's an expert in club fitting, too.
Chris Jones, Editor, Handicap 11
TG's editor has been testing golf clubs since 2005. He's a hard-hitting but inconsistent player.
Simon Daddow, Equipment Editor, Handicap 10
A former club designer, Simon is a slow-swinging player who is very consistent.
WHERE WE DID IT
We've been testing gear at the National Fitting Centre at The Belfry since 2005. It's a fabulous facility in the heart of the country. They kept us stocked with balls, gloves, coffee and chocolate as we made more than 10 trips there to do each test.
OUR LAUNCH MONITOR
We chose the Foresight Sports GC2 launch monitor with Head Measurement Technology. Thanks to its high-res camera and stereoscopic lens (which captures up to 10,000 frames per second) we were able to collect thousands of pieces of data not only from the ball, but also from the clubface.
We picked it for several reasons:
- We were able to record where every shot impacted the clubface, making it possible to analyse where the fastest shots came from and monitor how much ball speed was lost on off-centre hits.
- It can be used both indoors and outside. That means we were able to create a controlled environment inside at a comfortable temperature to collect data while using a premium ball. To ensure data was relevant to you, we also tested outside using range balls.
- By hooking the system up to a laptop and using Foresight's software we could see where every shot had gone and how it had flown.
- Its portability let us take it to different ranges when we needed to gain more data.
- The GC2 is recognised by manufacturers, players and teachers of the game as giving unmatched accuracy.
HOW WE PICKED OUR WINNERS
To help you when it comes to buying your next new club, we picked our favourite 10 (five for sub-£250 and over-£350 drivers) products in each of 12 categories:
These are the products TG recommends. Each tester also came up with a personal top three in each category to show which products they'd put in their own bag (which you will find at the top of each category).
For more in depth specifications and shaft options on all the clubs featured in our test, please take a look at 2016's What Gear special below: