Best Golf Drivers 2017

Published:

Best Drivers 2017: We bring you our the best drivers of 2017 - tried and tested as part of our biggest ever golf club equipment guide, Top Gear.

From the TaylorMade M2 Driver to the Ping G and the Callaway Epic driver, there's been a lot of buzz about drivers year - and we're here to help you narrow down the selection.

In our biggest ever equipment test we reviewed hundreds of golf clubs, and when it came to selecting the best drivers of 2017, the only way we thought we could fairly do it was by splitting it in to three different price categories.

From the high priced TaylorMade M1 in the drivers priced over £380 to the lower-budget Yonex Ezone Elite in drivers priced £280 and under, there are plenty of options available when it comes to suiting every type of golfer's needs in 2017.


Best Drivers 2017: £380 +

You'll pay more for the Ferrari's of the golf club world, but you get the performance to match. The verdict from our three testers was that they ALL would take home the TaylorMade M1, but Callaway led the way with the GBB Epic being the club of choice for our test pro, and the Callaway Epic Sub-Zero for our amateurs. So what did we make of them all?  

TaylorMade M1: £479

Lofts: 8.5/ 9.5/ 10.5/ 12
Stock Shaft: Project X HZRDOUS / Fujikura Pro XLR8 / Mistubishi Kuro Kage and 30+ options
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/- 2 degrees

Tech:

This years TaylorMade M1 driver has 43% more carbon fiber, and 64% more front-to-back center of gravity adjustability, which means more choices for the golfer.

The weight savings come from reducing crown thickness, introducing a new finishing process and a new streamlined skeletal titanium body. A pushed in-toe section means that extra volume has been freed up so forgiveness is the same as last years impressive TaylorMade M2

TaylorMade m1 driver

Our verdict

For our test pro Chris Ryan, the M1 was his longest driver of 2017. His consistent repeatable swing delivered an average 171mph of ball speed and a 300 yard average carry distance, which was 5mph quicker and 14 yards longer than his test average.

Yet for the two amateur testers, they saw greater improvements using TaylorMade’s M2 over the M1 thanks to the extra forgiveness and ball speed protection. Quite noticeably the TaylorMade M1 driver's head size wasn't quite as wide, which our test pro felt better suited his eye. Conversely, our amateur testers - like lots of club golfers out there will - felt the M2's extra size breeds both extra confidence and ultimate forgiveness.

Bottom line

The 2017 TaylorMade M1 driver has the same level of forgiveness as last years M2, which was a seriously hot and forgiving driver.

Only you can decide whether your game benefits more from the M1’s sliding weight tech or M2’s extra forgiveness. The tour pros have been having the same conundrum and are flicking between the TaylorMade M1 driver and the TaylorMade M2 driver depending on which courses they play, which has to say both drivers are seriously good.


Callaway Epic: £469

Lofts: 9/ 10.5/ 13.5
Stock Shaft: Aldila Rogue Max, Project X HZRDOUS T800,  Fujikura Pro Green, MRC Diamana M+green
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: -1/ +2 degrees

Tech

Jailbreak technology sees two titanium rods connect the crown to the sole behind the face of the Callaway GBB Epic which they say stiffens the head for faster ball speeds. An exo-cage body structure is paired with the companies lightest ever carbon crown to maximise forgiveness.

A speed step crown improves aerodynamics for quicker club speeds and you get a 17g sliding perimeter weight offering up to 21 yards of shot shape correction.   

Callaway Epic Driver

Our verdict

Our test pro preferred the Callaway Epic Driver over the Sub Zero and carried drives on average 5 yards further with it, which highlights how Sub Zero isn’t always the best solution for hard hitters.

We don’t reckon you’ll find a better sounding driver in 2017, all three testers agreed both Epic’s powerful but muted acoustics scored highly and were much preferred over louder ringing drivers which have been popular before

Bottom line:

There’s no doubt in our minds Callaway have hit on something with their new jailbreak tech, all our testers saw some impressive numbers from it.

If your typical shot shape is anything other than straight the Epic’s sliding perimeter weight can reduce side spin and help keep shots on the fairway.

Mizuno JPX 900: £399

Lofts: 7.5 - 11.5
Stock Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 2 (all custom fit shafts available at no extra cost)
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: 8 settings from 7.5 - 11.5 degrees.  

Tech:
 
Mizuno reckon optimising driver launch angles and spin rates can make the difference or 20 or 30 yards so they've created their most adjustable driver ever in the Mizuno JPX 900. It allows you to dial in spin rates and launch angles best suited to your game. Two 8g weights in the sole can be split between either a central track to lower or increase launch angle and spin or positioned in toe or heel slots to create a draw or fade bias. A sliding 'face ngle prop' lets you choose how the driver looks at address without affecting loft. 

Our verdict:

Our test pro reckoned the Mizuno JPX 900 is by some way the best driver Mizuno have ever made. Yes its blue head has so many different settings you’re likely to need a physics degree to set it up correctly (and if you don’t we saw the potential to lose 18 yards of carry distance) but for those wanting to take the time to dial in their perfect driver set up the JPX 900 is seriously good.

We can’t say we saw our quickest ball speeds or longest carries for any tester, but for our test pro found using the JPX’s sole weights in both the draw and fade bias slots he effectively created a toe and heel weighted driver which was very efficient at protecting ball speeds.

Bottom line:

You won’t find many Mizuno drivers played on tour as they don’t pay players to use them, but we like how their engineers have worked really closely with their tour staff on the Mizuno JPX 900. The “face angle prop” lets you set up how your driver sits, it clearly comes from the tour and is really useful if you’re very particular about how your driver looks at address.  


Titleist 917 D2: £459

Lofts: 8.5/ 9.5/ 10.5/ 12
Stock Shaft: Aldila Rogue Max, Fujikuru Speeder Pro/ Mitsubishi Diamana Red, Blue, White
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +1.5/ -0.75 degrees

Tech:

The Titleist 917 D2 is their first adjustable centre of gravity driver, which has a SureFit weight cartridge that can be flipped to allow the CG to be moved from toe to heel and back to forward.

An improved Active Recoil Channel in the sole engages more of the head in the flexing process at impact and a new Radial Speed face delivers greater off centre ball speeds. A SureFit hosel allows independent loft and lie set up for ultimate precision fitting.

Titleist 917 D2 Driver

Our verdict:

£450 is a lot of money for a driver and anyone spending that sort of cash will rightly expect their new purchase at least to keep up with the very best. With some of the longest hitters on tour trusting Titleist to produce their drivers, their R&D engineers have clearly done a decent job at maximising and maintaining ball speeds and carry distance with the D2. 60% of our over £380 drivers incorporated at least some carbon fibre (which frees up inefficient weight), yet the Titleist 917 D2 has none. 

We reckon it’s worth giving some thought too especially if your game could benefit from an added degree of forgiveness too. Our test data showed the D2 performed solidly for all three testers yet didn’t post the quickest ball speed or carry distance numbers for anyone.   

Bottom line:

You can’t fault the Titleist 917 D2 as it is a really solid driver. Some will say it’s a bit dull and lacking excitement, and it’s head shape is pretty wide but so long as you get a proper fitting for yours its more than capable of doing a job for you. The range of premium shaft offerings at no extra charge is fantastic. 


Callaway Epic Sub Zero: £469

Lofts: 8.5/ 9.5/ 10.5/ 12
Stock Shaft: Aldila Rogue Max, Fujikuru Speeder Pro/ Mitsubishi Diamana Red, Blue, White
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +1.5/ -0.75 degrees

Tech: 

Jailbreak technology sees two titanium rods connect the crown to the sole behind the face which Callaway say stiffens up the head for faster ball speeds. An exo-cage body structure is paired with a carbon crown and sole, making it possible to position the CG inline with the neutral axis, to control spin. 12g and 2g sole weights can be interchanged to lower spin or increase launch and MOI, while a speed step crown improves aerodynamics for quicker club speeds.

Callaway Sub Zero Driver

Verdict:

It doesn’t take too much detective work to decipher Callaway’s Epic drivers are very good. When Rory puts one in his bag without any sort of Callaway contract you know it’s because it performs. And if you’ve thought “Sub Zero” CG drivers are just for hard hitters then think again.

As both our amateur testers saw slightly better results with the Sub Zero over the “mainstream” Callaway GBB Epic which has to say so long as you’ve got enough launch you can seriously benefit from the Callaway GBB Epic Sub Zero’s extra forgiveness (so long as the Epic’s 12g weight is in the back port). Callaway reckon their new Jailbreak tech increases ball speeds and we’d have to agree, as for two of our three testers it produced their fastest average ball speeds, and because of its such strong performance TG Ed Chris Jones has slipped one in his bag for 2017.

Bottom Line:

Callaway’s Epic drivers weigh in with huge price tags, but then they’ve got tech which no other brand can talk about. They promised increased performance and our data supports their claims. If you’re on a mission to find 2017’s longest driver you simply cannot miss the Epic Sub Zero off your shortlist.


Best Drivers 2017: £280 - £380

These drivers will be some of the most popular golf clubs of 2017, but which deserves a place in your golf bag? For our testers there was an average of 289 yards for this category, which was a drop of just six yards for those over £380 and an increase of two yards from the drivers in the under £280 category.


TaylorMade M2 Driver: £369

Lofts: 9.5/ 10.5/ 12
Stock Shaft: Fujikura Pro XLR8 56
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/-2 degrees

Tech: 

A new speed pocket is three times more flexible than last years TaylorMade M2 which helps maintain ball speeds from a larger area of the face. A sunken sole frees up volume so the head has a larger footprint and 7% bigger face.

Across the board weight savings mean 25g of mass is located low and back in the sole to improve forgiveness over last years TaylorMade M2. Advanced geometric shaping reduces vibrations by stiffening up the body to create great sound and feel.

TaylorMade M2 Driver

Verdict: 

TaylorMade’s engineers have worked seriously hard wringing out extra juice on last years hugely successful M2. The original TaylorMade M2 was a hit because of its ability to deliver a combination of distance and forgiveness, and for club golfers that’s a potent mix.

Against the old TaylorMade M2 our test pro gained 7 yards of carry distance from the same ball speed. Simon added 2 yards of carry distance from 3mph of extra ball speed and Chris Jones increased ball speed by 2mph without adding extra yards - which for us says with some fine tuning of shafts there’s a decent amount to be gained from the new M2.

If you’re stuck between the TaylorMade M2 and M1, we’d recommend getting fitted to get a better understanding of how each head performs for you. Just remember if your game has any inkling of benefitting from forgiveness you’re going to struggle to beat M2 in 2017.

Bottom Line: 

How TaylorMade have increased the M2’s head size by freeing up mass is seriously clever, and our two amateur testers loved the bigger size.

The new TaylorMade M2 is really easy to generate club speed with, it feels very lively and friendly, as if you don’t have to be on top of your game to get the best out of it, which for most amateurs is a nice place to be


Ping G Driver: £349

Lofts: 9/ 10.5
Stock Shaft: Alta 55/ Tour 65/ Tour 65 
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/-1 degree

Tech:

The Ping G has a dragonfly crown design removes inefficient weight from high in the head and repositions it, to lower and deepen the centre of gravity. Turbulators, a Vortec Shredder and an aerodynamic head shape improve speed. A new counter-balanced Alta shaft means you swing at the same speed but the club head travels quicker.

Ping G driver

Verdict:

We’ve got to give it to Ping, their driver line up is very clever. Other brands launch drivers aimed at different golfers, which often ends up confusing consumer’s over which is aimed at them. Ping go at it differently, confidently saying we make one driver that can be played by anyone. If you generate too much spin or suffer with a slice then we also make lower spin and draw-biased models.

As far as performance goes the Ping G Driver was top draw last year and it remains so for 2017. It’s the Ping driver best fitted to our test pro Chris Ryan and he racked up some seriously impressive data with it. Ping shout about the G’s aerodynamic performance, fittingly it delivered the highest average club speed for two of three testers.

A tiny 0.8mph drop off in ball speed between centre and off centre hits shows how forgiving the G is even when hit 1.5cm out of the toe!         

Bottom Line: 

Proper fitting for any G driver is vital as demonstrated by our test pro best fitting the Ping G rather than the lower spinning LS-Tec head. A huge benefit for us is the improved sound which is much more powerful, even though it’s louder than much of the competition.  


Callaway XR 16: £289

Lofts: 9/ 10.5 / 13.5
Stock Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: -1/+2 degrees

Tech: 

Forgiveness meets fast technology in the Callaway XR 16 Driver. Callaway have worked with experts at Boeing to create a high-speed head design with low drag to help you increase club and ball speeds. Callaway say a next generation R-Moto face and bigger footprint head increase MOI from every impact location. 

Callaway XR 16 Driver

Verdict:

You might think because Callaway are so proud of their new Epic drivers the XR would be discontinued for 2017. But brands like covering all angles, and an extremely attractive sub £300 driver like the XR 16 that won two majors last year realistically appeals to a lots of golfers.

The XR’s head looks longer from front to back than from toe to heel and it’s this streamlined stretched shape that lends itself so well to aerodynamics and forgiveness. The Callaway XR 16 put in a strong performance in Top Gear 2016 and it did exactly the same for 2017, which has to say it’s a decent option for reasonable money.

It doesn’t have jailbreak tech or a carbon crown like Callaway’s Epic series and some will say the simple crown graphics are less distracting (than the Epic), either way they focus attention on the ball superbly at address.    

Bottom Line:

Aerodynamics play an ever increasing role in driver design and our testing’s shown the tech is just as effective at higher swing speeds as it is at slower tempos. For us matching extra speed with forgiveness is the key to the Callaway XR 16’s strong across the board performance, the attractive price just increases its appeal.


Callaway Big Bertha Fusion: £369

Lofts: 9/ 10.5/ 13.5
Stock Shaft: UST Recoil or Mitsubishi Diamana Red Board
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +2/ -1 degrees

Tech:

The Callaway Big Bertha Fusion is their most forgiving driver ever. A triaxial carbon crown is fused with a lightweight titanium Exo-Cage body to free up 34g of weight which is located low and deep to raise forgiveness and stability. The option of a 1” shorter shaft boosts your chances of hitting the centre of the face more often which means higher consistent ball speeds and improved accuracy and control.

Callaway BB Fusion Driver

Verdict:

Make no bones about it the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion is an moment of inertia (MOI) monster. And by MOI we don’t just mean forgiveness to help hit shots straighter. More resilience to twisting means you also lose less ball speed on off centre hits so shots go further when you don’t hit the centre of the face.

The blunted “triangular” head shape divided opinion more than an in/out Brexit referendum, but if you can stomach it you’re in for a real treat. Simon in particular racked up some great numbers posting an average ball speed and carry distance on par with Callaway’s Epic Sub Zero, from the 1” shorter shaft.

We can’t say for sure it was more accurate than a longer driver, but we do reckon if you struggle for consistency with the driver the 1” Under concept is well worth further investigation..

Bottom Line:

You won’t see any Fusion’s in the hands of Callaway’s tour players as we reckon it’s a model that’s been designed almost exclusively for the club player. Its slightly higher spinning head and oodles of forgiveness is well suited to adding carry distance particularly at average to slower swing speeds.   


Ping G SF-TEC: £349

Lofts: 10/ 12
Stock Shaft: Alta 55/ Tour 65 / Tour 80
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/ -1 degrees

Tech:

The Ping G SF Tec Driver has all the same aerodynamic engineering tech as the standard Ping G driver but with extra weight positioned closer to the heel to create a right-to-left shot shape. A lighter swingweight means you should swing the SF-Tec quicker and it gives a fraction more time to square the face at impact, helping iron out the slice that affects 80% of golfers.

SF Tec driver

Verdict:

We’ve said how clever Ping’s driver set up is and its genius shines through with the Ping G SF-Tec. Usually draw biased drivers sit really closed at address which is a look that puts many golfers off the very clubs that could help them.

The Ping G is different as the SF-Tec looks just as good in the play position as the other G drivers. How did it perform? Well all three testers definitely saw an increase in club speed thanks to the slightly lower swingweight. None of our testers were a perfect fit for the SF’s Straight Flight tech but it literally was within a few yards of each testers best shots with their favourite G driver. 

Bottom Line:

The Ping G SF Tec is a very good golf club that could play an important role in many golfers bags who want a bit of extra help to curb a slice.  We love how the head doesn’t come with the stigma of being a predominantly game improvement driver even though it’s got the ability to seriously help your game.


Ping G LS-Tec: £349

Lofts: 9/ 10.5
Stock Shaft: Alta 55 / Tour 65 / Tour 80
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/ -1 degrees

Tech:

The Ping G LS Tec has all the same aerodynamic engineering tech as the standard G driver, with a centre of gravity that’s slightly further forward to lower spin for harder hitters. A slightly heavier swingweight and the Tour 65 shaft will suit golfers swinging at above average swing speeds. 

Ping G LS Tec driver

Our verdict

It’s a complete misconception the lower spinning Ping G LS-Tec driver is only for harder hitters, pros and better players. TG Editor Chris Jones who plays off 11 was told by Ping’s fitter he’s got the same ball speed as Hunter Mahan but the spin of a hacker, so in a bid to lower spin and maximise distance was fitted into the LS-Tec.

Simon typically hits driver too high so the Ping G LS-Tec helped lower his peak height by about 12 feet and thanks to the lower spin meant the LS-Tec was his longest G driver.

Bottom Line:

We are seriously impressed with all three Ping G driver models, there’s something within the range for every golfer. Do yourself a favour and make sure you get properly fitted to ensure your set up maximises your ultimate carry distance potential.


Srixon Z765: £325

Lofts: 9.5 / 10.5
Stock Shaft: Miyazaki Kaula Mizu 6
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: 12 settings +/-1 degrees

Tech:

The Srixon Z 765 has a slightly smaller head (445cc) and is aimed at faster swing speed players. The smaller size is easier to shape shots with while a “power wave sole” allows the entire sole of the driver to flex, enhancing spring back particularly when shots are hit low on the face. A new larger face cup expands the sweet spot across more of the face, 4g of weight has been removed from the crown to enhance MOI.

Srixon Z765

Verdict: 

There weren’t many surprises when it came to our Top Gear testing, but if there was any it has to be the Srixon Z 765. Make no mistake it’s an absolute beast in the right hands. Coming to the end of any test session its natural to expect our test pro to be tiring, but it didn’t stop him recording one of his very longest average carry distances and longest single carry (311 yards) for the day, with the 765.

We reckon the performance is explained by how Chris impacted a lot of shots lower in the face which the Srixon Z 765’s been specifically optimised to respond too. The heads unashamedly fuss free and aimed at the better player, there’s no crown graphics or alignment aid, which will float the boat for a small niche of very decent golfers. 

Bottom Line:

We would never recommend a smaller headed driver to the golfing masses, that would just be irresponsible. But if you’re a fan of slightly smaller headed drivers and have a tendency to hit shots low in the face the Srixon Z 765 is well worth seeking out.  


Wilson Staff FG Tour F5: £299

Lofts: 9/ 10.5 
Stock Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Z50
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: Six settings +2/ -1 degrees

Tech:

The Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 Driver been designed and extensively play tested by Wilson Staff player Kevin Streelman during its development. They reckon its got a refined 460cc head shape, with adjustable low and forward weighting to lower spin, along with a reactive face to maximise ball speeds across the face.

Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 Driver

Verdict:

Another driver that seriously spilt our testers, which just goes to show how much personal opinion comes into our buying decisions. The FG Tour’s got a seriously deep face but because it looks pretty lofted we felt it could inspire confidence for some golfers.

The sound of the Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 is very muted which was a point of discussion between our testers. Looking at the data for hard facts the Tour put in a shift. It carried just further than the average of all drivers on test, but it also launched and flighted shots amongst the highest which was unexpected because of the low forward weighting.

Bottom Line:

Wilson probably aren’t the first choice driver for many golfers, and the Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 Driver isn’t going to change this. Put aside the preconceptions of which brand makes the best driver and the Tour is a really solid proposition. 


Yonex Ezone XPG: £289

Lofts: 
Stock Shaft: 
Adjustable hosel: 
How much loft change:

Tech:

The Yonex Ezone XPG Driver has a carbon composite crown removes 8g of weight which has been relocated lower and deeper to promote a higher launching and forgiving ball flight. A heavier head weight is teamed with 20g of tungsten powder in the end of the grip to create a counter-balanced driver that’s got the capability to increase club speed while you swing at the same speed.

Yonex XPG Driver

Verdict:

There’s no doubting the Yonex Ezone XPG looks easy to hit, there’s a ton of loft, a wide body design and some clever crown graphics that disguise how big the body actually is. We thought the XPG’s design filled us with confidence at address as we really fancied our chances of hitting the centre of the bat.

It’s amazing how easy it is to hit something you can actually see! Looking at the numbers the XPG launched and peaked shots out above average for all the drivers tested. Throw in how there was just 3.5mph drop off in ball speed between centre and off centre hits and we’ve got to hold our hands up and say it’s a forgiving and playable driver.   

Bottom Line:

Yonex might not be everyone’s first thought when it comes to a new driver but we reckon the Yonex Ezone XPG can offer decent performance especially to those owning a smooth tempo and rhythmic swing.  


TaylorMade M2 D-Type: £369

Lofts: 9.5 / 10.5/ 12 
Stock Shaft: Matrix MFS White Tie 55
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/- 2 degrees

Tech:

The TaylorMade M2 D-Type is not your standard draw driver. Sole weighting moves towards the heel, and there’s plenty of clever tweaks to the design to deliver an average of 12 yards of draw bias (but up to 20’s on offer if you include hosel adaptor adjustment) from a head that doesn’t look like a draw driver at all. 

TaylorMade D-Type Driver

Verdict:

As good as past “draw” drivers have been golfers who’ve used them have confessed to feeling like keeping a dirty little secret from their playing partners. We promise though the TaylorMade M2 D-Type is different, so forget everything you think you know about draw drivers, as it simply isn’t relevant with the TaylorMade M2.

The face angle doesn’t aim left, the design, cosmetics and “draw” name don’t scream rubbish golfer, oh and the TaylorMade M2 D-Type doesn’t just work for slicers either. Simon who’d never entertained “draw” drivers before really warmed to the D-Type as his typical heel driver strike is right inline with the D-Type’s heel biased CG. So not only did it feel fantastically stable it’s also no surprise the D-Type produced some of his fastest ball speeds.

Bottom Line:

The TaylorMade M2 D-Type brings something very new to the TaylorMade driver party. It’s seriously good for more than just slicers. Remember if you get properly fitted you don’t have to have the standard light weight Matrix shaft, even though we felt it was really stable, lightweight and easy to generate speed with.


Best Drivers 2017: £280 - 

If you are looking for a brand new driver but don't want to break the bank on a golf club, then we suggest you look no further. There are some serious offerings in the under £280 range this year, and on average there was less than a 10 yard trade-off between these and the drivers priced over £380. 

The Cobra King F7 Driver came out on top for all three of our testers, with the Lynx Black Cat also featuring on all our tester's top 3, in addition to the Benross HTX Compressor and Wilson Staff D300. 


Cobra F7: £279

Lofts: 9 - 12
Stock Shaft: Fujikura Pro 60 
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: Eight settings from 9 - 12 degrees

Tech:

The Cobra King F7 Driver is the world’s first “connected golf club” say Cobra. A shot tracking sensor in the grip records data for every drive you hit and makes it easy to analyse and share your long game performance across your favourite social media channels. 3 sole weights can be interchanged, allowing you to choose between either a low spin penetrating trajectory, forgiving high flight, or a draw bias. 

Cobra F7 Driver

Verdict:

At a time when driver prices have sky rocketed Cobra’s King F7 looks like remarkable value for money. All three testers agreed the combination of the squashed wide head and lively Fujikura Pro shaft gave the impression of the F7 being really easy to hit, which is a great place to start when picking a new driver.

The Cobra King F7 basically offers 3 drivers from a single head which is really clever, and means it can be set up for a wide audience of golfers. The F7 produced one of the longest single shots of the whole test (in the hands of our test pro - 316 yards carry) which proves it’s not all about forgiveness and no slouch when it comes to power. Throw in how the Cobra Connect grip will record every drive you hit and we reckon it’s a fantastic option for 2017.

Bottom Line: 

A seriously good driver irrespective of price. But throw in how it’s £200 less than a TaylorMade M1 and you see why we’re such big fans of the F7. By tracking each drive you hit you should be able to spot the strengths and weaknesses of your driving which long term will help improve your long game.


Lynx Black Cat: £259

Lofts: 8.5/ 12-5
Stock Shaft: Grafalloy
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/ - 2 degrees

Tech:

The Lynx Black Cat Driver is a fully adjustable driver featuring Lynx's weight bar system. Weight can be moved to the front or back of the clubhead to adjust launch and spin conditions. The Black Cat driver has a sleek head shape with matt finish, available in black, blue or red.

Lynx black cat driver

Verdict:

Simply put, the black finished Lynx Black Cat is the best driver Lynx has made for some time. The deep face won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if you’re looking for a sensibly priced, powerful driver with a reasonable degree of forgiveness then you’ve found your match. 

A change of 1.5 deg in launch angle, 5mph of ball speed, 300rpm of backspin and 12 yards of carry distance for our test pro by switching the weight from back to front shows not only does the tech have an impact on performance but also a low and forward CG can help a particular type of golfer.

Bottom Line: 

A really unassuming driver that you don’t expect too much from, but trust us it really is a cannon. Try the Lynx Black Cat against a couple of premium alternatives this year and we reckon you’ll be very pleasantly surprised.


Wilson Staff D300: £279

Lofts: 9/ 10.5/ 13
Stock Shaft: Matrix Speed Rulz A-Type
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/ -1 degrees

Tech:

The Wilson Staff D300 is the lightest adjustable driver on the market say Wilson, the theory being you swing faster with the same amount of effort. Micro-vortex generators on the crown improve aerodynamics and reduce drag to wring out every last yard of carry distance from whatever club speed you can muster.

Wilson Staff D300 Driver

Verdict:

Wilson’s idea of going super lightweight with every component in the Wilson Staff D300 is an interesting concept. The D family is now in its third generation so the idea must be paying dividends with real world golfers.

In our minds there’s no doubt the concepts sound so long as you’re able to “time” shots on a consistent basis. Our three testers saw a mix of spikes and troughs in performance (long individual shots) with some pretty big drop offs in ball speeds and carry distances on miss hits.

The D300 didn’t quite power through with maximum carry distances for any tester (although a 311 yard carry for our pro testers was impressive), instead it put in a solid just above average performance to the other drivers tested. 

Bottom Line

We often hear golfers talk about how they like to “feel” or “know” where the club heads at during the golf swing. If you’re that type of player you might struggle to get to grips with the Wilson Staff D300, because it’s so light. If though you like that super lightweight sensation, fill your boots you won’t find lighter than the D300


Yonex Ezone Elite: £199

Lofts: 10/ 12
Stock Shaft: Yonex M60
Adjustable hosel: Yes
How much loft change: +/ - 1.5 degrees

Tech:

Yonex’s engineers have come up with an octaforce pattern to remove extra weight from the crown and top of the face, which means more weight to locate to influence forgiveness, spin and launch in the Yonex Ezone Elite. A lightweight carbon crown means a deep CG and improved forgiveness from this shallow and wide profile driver

Yonex Ezone Elite Driver

Verdict:

Whilst the big brands have gone carbon fibre crazy with their latest drivers, Yonex are keen to point out how they’ve been using the tech since the 90’s. The rules might limit driver head size nowadays but every year it seems some seriously smart engineer comes up with new ways to make 460cc heads look bigger than they actually are.

The Yonex Ezone Elite literally is huge from face to back, and because it’s so big it’s not as deep as many of the other drivers we tested. Which for plenty of golfers means extra confidence and much needed launch. Across three testers the Elite produced ball speeds and carry distances spot on the test averages, which should be applauded considering the £199 price point. 

Bottom Line:

Yonex are much bigger into golf in Japan than in the UK, but that’s actually a really good thing. It means you get all the benefits of their Japanese engineering and R&D for a reasonable price, which is not to be sniffed at. All in the Yonex Ezone Elite is a solid, lightweight forgiving driver which in reality suits a whole bunch of club golfers, especially those not quite as young as they used to be.


Benross HTX Compressor: £149

Lofts: 8.5/ 12.5
Stock Shaft: Kuro Kage Black TiNi
Adjustable hosel: No

Tech:

The Benross HTX Compressor has an improved Compressor Response Channel in the sole improves ball speeds across the entire club face to help maximise carry distance. Benross are committed to using quality components so the Kuro Kage shaft and Lamkin grip are similar to what you’ll find in other top of the range 2017 drivers.

Benross HTX Compressor Driver

Verdict:

Benross have been the king of “value” drivers for the best part of 10 years and it’s fair to say the Compressor looks set to continue the trend. Its whole design just wreaks of forgiveness and playability, and by throwing in such an impressive package of components for less than £150 its just what lots of club golfers are after.

The completely unoffensive head design delivered a bit more spin than most, which will help golfers flight shots to maximise carry distance without robbing them of distance. As most reasonable people would expect, the Benross HTX Compressor at £320 less than the longest driver in our test gave up an average of 14 yards of carry distance across all three testers.

Bottom Line: 

At £23 a yard to get as far down the fairway as a premium driver only you can decide which offers the soundest investment. If £150 is your budget for a new driver we reckon everyday golfers will be delighted with the Benross HTX Compressor’s all-round fun and forgiveness package.