Drivers Test 2015

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Top Gear
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We kick off our exhaustive 2015 testing programme with the club we all love most – the driver. This year has seen a raft of new launches, all claiming to help you hit the ball longer and straighter. But with so many decent options out there, how do you decide which one to buy? This test has been done by four golfers of various abilities, from pro to a 15-handicapper with an average club speed. Their feedback and Trackman stats helped us decide which were the best drivers of 2015 – and which ones you should go and try.

  Our panel of testers

James

James Ridyard

Handicap: Pro
Longest carry: 266 yards
Clubhead speed: 108mph

Joel

Joel Tadman

Handicap: 4
Longest carry: 251 yards
Clubhead speed: 106mph

Joel

Joel Cunningham

Handicap: 8
Longest carry: 206 yards
Clubhead speed: 85mph

Robin

Robin Hopkins

Handicap: 15
Longest carry: 212 yards
Clubhead speed: 93mph

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  How We Tested The 29 Drivers

Our testing panel includes two readers, equipment editor Joel Tadman and TG pro James Ridyard, from the Bedford Golf Club. James is a qualified club fitter, an expert in the laws of ball flight and has no brand affiliation, ensuring he offers honest and uncompromised club advice so you know which are the best drivers for you!

Drivers Test

Our driver test took place over three days in one of The Belfry’s custom-fitting bays using a Trackman launch monitor. We based our rankings out of 10 on opinion, feel and fact.

  • For Opinion we looked at four areas the manufacturers value when developing a club. Looks may not affect performance, but can make a difference to the confidence we feel at address. They can also influence our ability to aim the face. Feel and sound are similarly subjective, but we all know the sensation we want at impact. Forgiveness is, again, hard to quantify; only the golfer knows how well the club has rescued a poor strike. But to provide more insight into how well each driver performed on mishits, James used a fine film of powder-based foot spray on the face to ascertain strike points without affecting spin or lubricating the contact between ball and face. He hit one shot from the heel and toe within 20-25mm of the centre of the face, ensuring the strike point wasn’t overly high or low. He looked mostly at ball speed, smash factor and the ball’s direction on these shots. Other testers were given access to this data when giving their forgiveness mark, but it was not used to solely formulate the final mark.
  • New for this year is an Innovation category. This is our panel’s opinion on how the club’s technology advances the category, how well executed it is and how well the tester felt it enhanced the club’s performance.
  • As for Fact we wanted to compare the performance of each driver fairly. Golfers of different abilities are better suited to one driver over another, so rather than comparing the performance of the clubs from person to person, we ranked the performance against the player’s best drive of the day. That way, clubs are ranked against each other for each individual.

We recorded the distance and dispersion of each drive, and noted how far each shot finished away from the player’s best drive. We then took an average and gave it a rating out of 10 using a sliding scale. Performance was given double the weighting when creating the overall mark.

  Who Took Part

We invited all major manufacturers to be involved in our test, and gave them the chance to come along on the first morning and fit our testers. James was also on hand to fit the optimum loft, lie and shaft spec to each tester based on their swing characteristics. Manufacturers supplied us with an array of lofts with shafts that incur no upcharge at retail from all the 2015 models they wished to be included.

 The Results

MD Golf

MD Golf Superfit

Yonex

Yonex XP

Adams

Adams XTD

Yonex

Yonex Z- Force

Benross

Benross Speed 10

Mizuno

Mizuno JPX-850

Cobra

Cobra Fly-Z/Fly-Z+

Wilson

Wilson Staff D200

Callaway

Callaway XR

Callaway

Callaway Big Bertha
V-Series
Callaway BB V-Series

Bridgestone

Bridgestone J715

Srixon

Srixon Z545

Aeroburner

Callaway Big Bertha
V-Series
TaylorMade AeroBurner

Titleist

Titleist 915

Callaway

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815

TaylorMade

TaylorMade R15

Drivers Test

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