After a host of recent launches, we showcase the best drivers of 2017 looking to earn a spot in your golf bag for the coming season.
The Best Drivers 2017
Buying a new driver is an exciting prospect but it can also be a daunting one. With so much different technology on offer from every manufacturer, it can be almost impossible to know where to start.
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For 2017, custom fitting and moveable weights are strong and common themes. This adjustability helps golfers adjust launch, spin and shot shape and is relatively intuitive. Combine this with adjustable loft on the hosel and you’ve got endless combinations to get the most from your latest purchase.
Be honest with yourself about what you want to get from it – do you want more distance? Do you want to find more fairways? Do you want to change your slice into a draw? Some drivers may even be able to provide a little bit of everything, but you’ll only find this out by seeking the advice of your pro and getting custom fitted.
Don’t be surprised to have to pay a little more for a new driver in 2017 compared to last year, as the weakening pound against the dollar has forced brands to up their RRPs more than they’d have liked. Here are the best drivers of 2017…
2017 TaylorMade M1
The new TaylorMade M1 driver uses 43 per cent more carbon fibre, saving extra that paved the way for a longer rear track and a 2g heavier sliding weight. This creates 64 per cent more CG movement for even more variation in launch and spin. It has even more settings to maximise launch, spin and shot shape. It has a larger profile at address with a shallower face than the previous version.
As well as improved Active Recoil Channel 2.0 and Radial Speed Face 2.0 comes SureFit CG, a weight port in the back of the head that allows the swing weight, launch, spin and shot shape to be dialed in even further. It is positioned at a 30-degree angle to clubface, to keep spin levels low when in the fade position while maintaining forgiveness.
Callaway Great Big Bertha Epic
New Jailbreak technology comprises two ultra-light (3g), strong, parallel titanium bars connecting the crown and sole behind the face to reduce their deflection, allowing the face to take more of the load created at impact for faster ball speeds. It comes in standard GBB Epic, with a 27-gram sliding weight in the back of the sole to adjust shot shape, or the lower spinning Sub Zero model, which has 2g and 12g interchangeable sole weights to dial in launch and spin as well as change forgiveness levels.
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At 445cc, the Ping G400 driver is smaller than most so it can be quicker through the air yet it has been made more forgiving through extra weight savings that allow for an even deeper CG. A new forged face is said to deliver more distance while an internal rib structure enhances acoustics and feel. A new copper shaft utilises colour-shift paint technology that transitions to black as you address the ball to minimises distractions, with the counter-balance design of the Alta CB allowing for more mass in the head to increase the energy transfer. Comes in standard, LST (Low Spin Technology) and SFT (Straight Flight Technology) versions.
Cobra King F7
Three weights settings on the sole provide high launch and spin, low launch and spin as well as an additional draw setting. It comes as a standard King F7 or King F7+, which features lower loft options, but both come in either black, grey or blue colour options. Cobra Connect technology in the grip allows drives to be tracked through a smartphone app.
Two 8g weights can be placed in a choice of three Fast Tracks on the sole to alter launch and spin. Loft can be adjusted via the Quick Switch hosel while face angle can also be opened or closed via an additional weight on the sole. It has a larger, more confidence-inspiring head than the Mizuno JPX850 model it replaces and a reconfigured clubface said to be more forgiving on off-centre hits.
The Srixon Z565 driver replaces the Z545 driver and features a new Power Wave Sole to increase both launch angle and forgiveness. This is essentially a multi-step design that allows the lower portion of the face to bend more, increasing distance across the face. A Stretch Flex Cup Face has also been added, extending further around the crown and sole to create a larger sweetspot. Slight draw bias will help serial slicers achieve a straighter flight.
Cleveland Launcher HB
A redesigned HiBore Crown, which is lighter in weight, helps position the weight low and deep in the head for more launch and forgiveness while also being more convex, creating a stiffer structure for improved sound and feel. The ultra-lightweight hosel is non adjustable, which saves 15 grams of weight that can then be repositioned to make the woods more user-friendly. Flex-Fin Technology refers to the channel on the sole that flexes and returns energy at impact for distance on strikes across the face.
2017 TaylorMade M2
The new M2 driver features a recessed, ‘Geocoustic’ sole that saves weight and improves performance. Just like in M1, using the new lower density 9-1-1 Titanium body and six-layer carbon composite crown allowed for 25g of discretionary mass to be relocated low and back in the sole of the club. Together, these increase forgiveness without sacrificing low CG, a hot trajectory or aerodynamic performance. Now comes in a D-Type version with extra draw bias for serial slicers.
Wilson Staff Triton DVD
Triton is the fruit of the Golf Channel’s unique Driver vs. Driver contest, which offered aspiring equipment designers a $500,000 cash prize and the chance for their concept to be brought to market. The eventual winner features two interchangeable sole plates – one titanium, and the other a lighter carbon fibre. Three additional sole weights help dial in launch and spin, assisted further by an adjustable six-way Fast Fit loft sleeve. After minor technical issues with the USGA over the sole plates, a modified version with a DVD logo on the sole signifies a conforming driver.
Yonex Ezone Elite
Complimenting the Z-Force driver into 2017 is the Ezone Elite driver, a super game improvement model aimed at high handicappers, senior and lady golfers in the mid-price bracket. Key to the improvement in performance is upgraded Octaforce technology, whereby octagonal sections of the crown and clubface have been made thinner. This saves weight that is then repositioned to make the clubs more forgiving, but also move the CG lower and deeper for lower spin and higher launch. A light yet low torque M60 shaft helps increase clubhead speed for improved energy transfer.
Lynx Black Cat
The adjustable Black Cat driver features a new Spin Control System, a removable and reversible weight bar that repositions weight either further forward, or further back, in the clubhead to alter launch and spin. The 460cc two-piece titanium driver features a cup-face design with face hardening treatment applied to help generate faster ball speeds and reduced spin, while full adjustability from 9° – 12° is on offer and includes draw and fade bias settings for those players looking to eliminate slicing or hooking.
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