ClubTest 2020: 28 new game-changing drivers tested and reviewed
Update: ClubTest 2021 is now available. Click here to see our picks for the best drivers of 2021.
We put more than 100 drivers, woods, hybrids and irons through rigorous robotic and player testing to create GOLF’s biggest—and best—gear review ever. With our help (and a little research on your part), building the perfect bag for your game has never been easier. Edited by Jonathan Wall & Andrew Tursky.
The 2020 market for new golf drivers is headlined by wholesale brand reimaginations and a continued emphasis on including design elements that help squeeze every possible mile per hour out of your swing. Yes, the faces are still “hot,” but where you’ll benefit most is choosing the correct type of driver (standard, draw-biased, low-spin). Depending on your typical shot shape, game-changing options abound.
We thoroughly tested and reviewed 28 new drivers to help you find the perfect one for your game. Scroll down for our test results and reviews of each driver, and if you find the one you want, you can click through and buy it right now.
NEW GOLF DRIVERS FOR 2020
Price: $279 / BUY NOW
Lofts: 9.5 ̊,10.5 ̊, 11.5 ̊
Our take: Bridgestone’s boost wave crown helps the club flex more effectively at impact, generating higher initial launch angles and more ball speed compared to previous iterations. Credit the rear portion of the crown, which has been thinned to accommodate the flex. A redesigned power-milled clubface reduces “slippage” at impact, decreasing unwanted sidespin.
ClubTester’s take (13-hdcp): “Loud but responsive feel at impact. I’ve never hit a Bridgestone driver before, but this one performs.”
Robot’s take: Good for increasing spin (at fast and mid-swing speeds) and elevating height and carry (mid speed)
Our take: Mid spin and a moderate draw bias should please a wide range of abilities. A single 5-gram screw in the rear portion of the sole bumps up launch and forgiveness. Better yet: an AI-designed Flash Face SS20 architecture and Jailbreak Technology for efficient speed.
ClubTester’s take (5-hdcp): “Love the sound at impact. Not too loud or muted. Just right. Feels like the ball hangs on the face and then explodes off.”
Robot’s take: Good for increasing ball speed for both fast and mid-speed swingers.
Our take: What happens when you invest in a powerful supercomputer capable of spitting out 15,000-plus face designs in a matter of a few days? You end up with products like Mavrik Max. One of the most requested drivers during GOLF’s player testing, the ultra-forgiving, draw-biased Max is highlighted by an AI-designed Flash Face SS20 architecture (made from an exotic FS2S titanium) that’s six grams lighter than traditional materials. The red-hot face is paired with an aerodynamic crown and the company’s JailBreak Technology to improve ball speed and the overall efficiency of the clubhead. And with weight ports positioned in the heel and back of the sole, it’s possible to max out the slice-busting technology or go for even more forgiveness, depending on where you position the 14-gram weight. Landing near the top in multiple performance categories in year one of production establishes Mavrik Max as a legitimate force in the driver category. The club was a mile per hour faster than the average ball speed for all drivers tested, while also ranking near the top in accuracy. It’s the kind of combination that should appeal to a wide range of handicaps, especially those who fight a slice.
ClubTester’s take (16-hdcp): “My slice suddenly became nonexistent—as was my awful toe miss. This almost feels like cheating.”
Robot’s take: High swing speed players will benefit from ball speed, a draw bias and impressive accuracy. Slower swingers can expect more carry, draw bias.
Our take: It’s the lowest spinning Mavrik. Depending on where you position the two adjustable sole screws (two and 14 grams), you can manipulate spin up to 200 to 300 rpm. A smaller head size (450cc) and flatter lie angle should appeal to better players.
ClubTester’s take (3-hdcp): “One knock on Sub Zero models was their lack of forgiveness, but I can miss it with this one and it still goes!”
Robot’s take: Ranked near the top in carry distance at high speed.
Our take: Designed to eliminate a slice, HB Turbo Draw offers a variable cup face that expands the sweet spot and ramps up speed. A redesigned HiBore crown lowers the center of gravity for a high launch. Also comes in a standard version without the draw bias.
ClubTester’s take (13-hdcp): “Can turn the ball over on command. I love the matte finish.”
Robot’s take: The draw bias works. Heel misses mitigated across both swing speeds
Our take: The CNC-milled face on the SpeedZone driver has a fresh look with an Infinity design that wraps into the sole and crown to enlarge the sweet spot and boost forgiveness (something players raved about during testing). Removing unwanted titanium—50 percent of the head is comprised of carbon fiber—allowed for the addition of a 69-gram internal weight that pushes the center of gravity down and away from the strike to maximize head stability. Combine all of these attributes and you get a driver loaded with forgiveness and pinpoint accuracy. There’s a reason why Cobra staffers Rickie Fowler and Bryson DeChambeau switched to SpeedZone almost immediately after it was released. For non-pros, the driver also checks a bunch of boxes, but where it truly shines is in the ball speed retention department. Robot testing revealed a club that produces nearly identical ball speed numbers on shots struck in the center of the face and off the toe. With this and the Xtreme model finishing near the top in forgiveness tests, players have two great options based on shape and adjustability preferences.
ClubTester’s take (+1-hdcp): “Firm feel of this driver is like Led Zeppelin back in the day—it hits all the right notes and gets your attention.”
Robot’s take: For both fast and mid swing speeds, forgiveness on toe hits and in general spiked while also producing a lower peak height.
Our take: The 458cc Xtreme is slightly longer front to back than the standard model, and features but one adjustable weight, giving it more forgiveness for the golfer looking for pure speed and not as much workability.
ClubTester’s take (13-hdcp): “Looks like a hammer. I can swing this bad boy and not have to worry about it getting away from me.”
Robot’s take: Like the standard model, forgives toe shots like crazy.
Our take: Cobra’s lightest driver comes in at a feathery 285 grams. Internal weight concentrated low and toward the heel is designed to help turn the ball over. If that doesn’t eliminate your slice, an offset hosel should correct rightward tendencies.
ClubTester’s take (18-hdcp): “Offset hosels might not appeal to everyone, but it really helped me turn the ball over.”
Robot’s take: Ranked near the top in delivering a draw-shot bias for mid-speed swingers.
Our Take: Honma’s new XP-1 driver is designed to have a clean, classic-looking profile while also offering forgiveness that mid-handicappers need. It has an ultralight ET40 carbon crown with a 15-gram internal draw-bias weight pad in the sole. For faster ball speeds, there’s a double-slot design in the front portion of the sole, and there are five internal tabs that sit behind the Ti-6-4+ faces to increase face flex. The drivers have an adjustable hosel system to adjust loft, lie and face angle, and they come equipped with Honma’s lightweight Vizard shaft that ranges from 43 to 63 grams.
ClubTester’s take (12-hdcp): “Classic look at address is what makes this driver something special. Mis-hits low on the face still get out and go.”
Our Take: Designed for players like Justin Rose, who are looking for a combination of technology and performance in a tour-level shape, the TR20 is offered in two head profiles (440cc and 460cc) with a lightweight titanium frame featuring an ET40 ribbed crown and carbon fiber sole. Vertical grooves on the back side of the face thin out the structure while making it stronger at the same time. The end result is a face that delivers comparable ball speeds on center strikes and mishits. Three interchangeable weight ports located in the back, heel and front-center make it possible to alter spin, shot shape and swing weight.
ClubTester’s take (8-hdcp): “One of the better-looking drivers I tested. Interchangeable weight port get me excited about finding the right configuration.”
Our take: The Beta Rich Forged Titanium face is 17 percent stronger and maintains its performance longer than traditional materials. Weight savings from a compacted Wave Sole allowed for the addition of an 11.6-gram back weight, producing a balance of low spin and forgiveness. Also available in draw-bias ST200X and adjustable-weight ST200G. Better players will appreciate the flatter crown and lie angle.
ClubTester’s take (8-hdcp): “Classic looks combined with new-age tech. And it feels outstanding!”
Robot’s take: A ball speed winner for mid swing speed players.
Our take: Three weight locations along the perimeter—draw, neutral and fade—allow 20 yards of draw and fade. The multimaterial, 455cc construction features a forged T9S+ face that’s heat treated to increase face deflection. A creased crown design stiffens structure to enhance efficiency of the head.
ClubTester’s take (16-hdcp): “Penetrating ballflight and great distance without swinging hard.”
Robot’s take: Performed well for mid-speed players in terms of carry and accuracy. Forgave heel hits, too.
Our take: While the head is slightly smaller than the Plus version (450cc), the LST still offers the same range of adjustability and technology with a low spin profile. Depending on the player, the forward center of gravity can reduce spin by 200 to 400 rpm.
ClubTester’s take (2-hdcp): “Filthy low launch and spin. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t use PING!”
Robot’s take: Near the top in ball speed for high-speed players.
Our take: You can always count on PING to create one of the most forgiving drivers on the market. But with the G410 SFT (Straight Flight Technology) forgiveness is just one part of the equation. A fixed weight on the perimeter, lighter D1 swingweight and 50 percent more heel-side CG than its predecessor (G400) all but guarantee golfers won’t see a lot of slices. If straightening out your shots doesn’t get you excited, a T9S+ precision-machined forged face and reinforced “creased crown” design dishes out all the ball speed and mishit protection you can handle.
Testers commented that the G410 SFT seemed to hang in the air longer than some of the other products tested. Those findings were confirmed by the robot, where the driver spit out roughly 500 rpm more spin, on average, than the pack.
ClubTester’s take (12-hdcp): “Makes me feel like I can hit a driver again. Nukes my slice into oblivion.”
Robot’s take: Fast swingers will find a high launch, spin and plentiful heel forgiveness. Ditto for those in the sub-95 mph range.
Our take: The Ti51AF cup face delivers an abundance of ball speed. A lightweight carbon composite crown positions additional discretionary weight along the perimeter, boosting forgiveness and stability.
ClubTester’s take (10-hdcp): “Profile frames the ball nicely—and, boy, does the ball go.”
Robot’s take: One of the best at reducing spin for mid-speed swingers.
Our take: The Z785’s Tour profile is built for players seeking low spin and a flatter launch. Face cup and lightweight carbon composite crown carry over from the Z585, but with an adjustable sleeve. Loft and swing weight can be customized as well in this model.
ClubTester’s take (3-hdcp): “One of the hottest drivers I’ve ever hit. Launches out low and goes forever.
It’s a cannon.”
Robot’s take: A ball speed winner for all swing speeds.
Our take: Squeezing every last ounce of speed and forgiveness out of a driver head takes creativity—and some ridiculously smart engineers. Looking at TaylorMade’s shiny SIM (Speed in Motion), it’s clear that the company’s braintrust has been busy finding new ways to capture more speed while doing so in a way that appeals to golfers who crave adjustability and control. A speed-inducing Inertia Generator (located in the sole) is paired with a new aerodynamic profile to improve clubhead speed. What separates SIM from the other two models in the line is a 10-gram sliding weight that creates 20 yards of draw-fade bias to optimize ballflight. The driver has a slightly smaller face than the Max and Max D, but thanks to a fifth-generation carbon composite crown and groundbreaking Twist Face technology, it’s difficult to tell much of a difference when it comes to speed.
A combo of low spin and impressive carry numbers gives SIM some first-rate launch characteristics. Even with a smaller face profile, the driver still ranked near the top in overall (high speed) and high toe (both speeds) forgiveness. And if your go-to shot happens to be a fade? Even better.
ClubTester’s take (+1-hdcp): “This club is a 787. It’s big, bold, looks good and flat-out goes.”
Robot’s take: Carry and forgiveness numbers rate near the top for high swing speed players. Impressive forgiveness for the mid-speed set, too.
Our take: With a face that’s 8 percent larger than the standard SIM, the Max is designed to deliver as much forgiveness and ball speed as possible. It carries all the same technology as the other SIM products, with the exception of the adjustable weight track in the sole.
ClubTester’s take (15-hdcp): “Love the crown color. Feels expensive and performs at the same time.”
Robot’s take: If high, power fades are your game, the SIM Max is your gamer.
Our take: Delivers the same forgiveness package as SIM Max, but with a built-in draw bias aimed at attacking slices. Low spin properties should help, too. Also features an 18 percent larger face than SIM.
ClubTester’s take (12-hdcp): “Haven’t hit one like this in years where my slice isn’t a problem.”
Robot’s take: Data confirms the Max D’s ability to reel in slices and reduce spin.
Our take: Made for moderate swing speed players who need a higher launch, more spin and a slight draw bias. The lightweight 275-gram head generates roughly 200 rpm more spin than the TS2, yet boasts the same crown, face and hosel technology as the other TS models.
ClubTester’s take (12-hdcp): “Straightened out my slice in three shots. Three. That’s incredible.”
Robot’s take: A highly accurate option for fast swingers. Mid-speed players will benefit from the TS1’s ability to deliver ample spin and height.
Our take: The 460cc TS2 is built for pure, unadulterated distance. Instead of adding a SureFit CG cartridge to the sole to adjust shot shape, Titleist kept the profile simple, focusing on forgiveness across the entire face.
ClubTester’s take (10-hdcp): “It seems to check every box. It’s a cheeseburger. You can’t go wrong with it.”
Robot’s take: One of the best for reducing unwanted spin for mid swing speed players.
Our take: The mid-launch, low-spin TS3 houses Titleist’s SureFit CG cartridge in the sole, which makes it possible to alter the center of gravity to produce a fade or draw. With a multitude of adjustable features, it’s easy to see why Tour players like Justin Thomas rely
on the TS3.
ClubTester’s take (0-hdcp): “You can hear the ball rocket off the face. Clean look and easy to swing—an easy sell for a good player.”
Robot’s take: Delivers low spin and a more penetrating ballflight for faster swingers.
Our take: When it comes to the TS4, it’s all about killing spin and dialing in launch with a low and forward CG location—made possible by a relocated SureFit weight—that lops off 300 to 400 rpm when compared to the TS3. The 430cc pear-shaped profile is more compact than many modern-day drivers, but that’s by design. The aerodynamic shape helps build speed for faster swing speed players who don’t have a problem finding the center of the springy VFT (Variable Face Thickness) face on a regular basis. As you’d expect, the driver has a massive following among the professional ranks.
With a carry distance that was seven yards longer than the average for all drivers tested, it’s safe to say the TS4 put on a show during robot testing in South Korea. It received similar high marks during player testing from low handicappers—particularly those with faster swings—who previously had difficulty shedding unwanted spin.
ClubTester’s take (2-hdcp): “I love the smaller, more traditional profile. Mishits are magnified a bit, but when you hit one on the screws, it goes.”
Robot’s take: Excellent carry values for high swing speed players. Also, one of the best at promoting low spin characteristics.
Our take: Designed with a sloped crown and rear weight that pushes the center of gravity low and back to correct mishits and create a towering launch. A deep cup face and channel design also assist with forgiveness while delivering ball speed and better acoustics.
ClubTester’s take (16-hdcp): “I liked the little draw it produced, which I normally don’t have. One of the louder drivers I hit as well.”
Robot’s take: Tested well in fade correction across all swing speeds.
Our take: An elongated face-to-back shape, coupled with a 9-gram back weight, gives the EXS 220 a 20 percent bump in forgiveness when compared to its predecessor. Diamond face technology features 42 thick and thin diamond shapes to expand the overall sweet spot. Acoustics have been improved with the help of an internal sound diffusion bar.
ClubTester’s take (10-hdcp): “Maybe one of the best sounding drivers I tested. For someone who places a premium on feel and acoustics, this is it.”
Robot’s take: One of the best at correcting heel hits among the whole group.
Our take: At 192 grams (head weight), the nonadjustable D7 is built to capture more clubhead speed. A three-piece crown comprised of Kevlar sandwiched between two layers of carbon fiber neutralizes vibrations. Internal weighting is optimized depending on loft to dial-in launch.
ClubTester’s take (7-hdcp): “Never really been a big nonadjustable guy, but D7 could change things.”
Robot’s take: Mid-speed players will see a piercing launch.
Our take: Cannon-shaped weight pad in the sole and intricate rib structure work in tandem to create space for a larger cup face while supporting a sole thickness of just .45 millimeters. High balance point promotes a smooth feel for moderate swing speeds.
ClubTester’s take (16-hdcp): “I’m always looking for more speed, and this one helped me do it. Love the color.”
XXIO Eleven unavailable for robot testing.
Our take: Geared for faster swing speed players who want to reap the benefits of a lightweight clubhead and high balance point design. Generous cup face promotes forgiveness and fast ball speeds even on mis-hits. Carbon fiber crown pushes more weight low and back to generate high launch conditions.
ClubTester’s take (8-hdcp): “Sounds powerful. I’ve always been a big sound and feel guy, and this was the clear winner.”
XXIO X unavailable for robot testing.
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