ClubTest 2021: These 5 drivers are designed to cut down on excessive spin
Spin can be your friend if you struggle to get the ball in the air off the tee. A driver designed to promote a high launch with optimal spin will increase carry distance, which in turn should lead to longer drives. The low and back weight position also tends to be more forgiving on off-center strikes. It’s the kind of combo that most golfers can embrace.
But what about those who generate excessive spin? If you’re on the high-end of the swing-speed spectrum, there’s a good chance generating spin isn’t an issue. While spin can help keep the ball in the air, too much spin can lead to a loss of distance and consistency. Shifting the center of gravity toward the face is a common practice to negate spin, but for years it usually came at a cost in the forgiveness department.
Thanks to material and design improvements, it’s no longer necessary to sacrifice forgiveness for low-spin characteristics.
Here are five low-spin options that do it all — and performed admirably during the player-testing portion of GOLF’s 2021 ClubTest.
Callaway Epic Speed
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Callaway Epic Speed
Our take: Golfers have come to expect a lot from the Epic name, specifically more speed, distance, forgiveness and stability. Testers found all three Epic models to be up to the challenge, heaping praise on everything from the feel at impact to the impressive Tour-quality sound. “I put it through its paces and it never let me down,” said one tester.
The details: The latest game-changing tech from Callaway is a Jailbreak A.I. Speed frame that consists of a red-hot Flash Face SS21 and new internal structure that not only stiffens the head vertically but also provides horizontal stability. It all adds up to eye-popping ball speed gains. Epic Speed’s aerodynamic construction reduces drag for more speed and features a forward center of gravity that’s designed to reduce spin.
Our take: With a hammer-like sound and impressive feel, RadSpeed delivered in a big way during GOLF’s ClubTest. As one tester raved, “I love the aesthetic. There’s some slight carbon fiber you can see in the back, and you can’t go wrong with matte black. Feels great, looks great.” This was the general consensus with Cobra’s latest big stick. In addition to noticing lower spin and a more penetrating flight (thanks to a reimagined adjustable sole weighting system), the CNC-milled face offers sneaky alignment assistance, framing the ball at address. It’s easy to see why this neon-yellow-and-black beauty is the driver of choice for U.S. Open winner Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler.
The details: Cobra is known to push the boundaries with game-changing technologies. This year is no different. In addition to a new age CNC infinity milled face and carbon-fiber crown, Cobra also reimagined its sole weighting system. The OEM used tenets from a popular engineering formula called the Radius of Gyration (“Rad” stands for “radius”) to spread the weights in the sole of the drivers farther to the front and the back of the head for desired performance enhancements throughout the lineup. The RadSpeed standard head is lower spinning and lower flying thanks to two adjustable weight ports in the sole.
Ping G425 LST
Ping G425 LST
Our take: Some drivers offer flashy distance while others provide sturdy stability. Ping’s G425, however, checked both boxes for our testers. In his first time hitting the Turbulator-crowned driver, one GOLF tester called it “wife material” due to its alluring speed and forgiveness. “All my mishits went straight,” another said. Players also found the impact sound to sing a deep, booming note.
The details: By combining tech from previous releases, Ping says it has designed its most forgiving and highest-launching driver. The G425 LST model is popular among Tour players and high-speed golfers due to its more compact head shape and lower-flight capabilities. At 445cc, the G425 LST model has a back weight that weighs only 17 grams, compared to the 26-gram weight in the G425 Max model. The combination of a smaller shape and the lighter back weight leads to 500-700 rpm lower spin compared to the Max option, according to Ping.
Our take: We can’t get over how amazing the face on the TSi drivers looks, feels and performs. Said an excited tester: “It’s a bit bubbly looking, but the ball flies hot off the clubface.” Said another: “It’s the number-one driver that I’ve tried.” Those are high praises for Titleist, considering the challenge it faced in creating a driver with a clubface made from an incredibly unique, aerospace-grade titanium.
The details: The red-hot ATI 425 face (the material was originally developed for military applications, including tank and body armor) features multi-dimensional stability for a tighter spin range between shots hit away from the center of percussion. Other improvements include an aerodynamic package that reduces drag for speed and carefully positioned weights to optimize launch. Titleist designed the TSi4 with the lowest and most forward CG in the TSi family of drivers. Measuring 430cc, compared to the 460cc sizes in the other offerings, the heads have small pear shapes that traditionalists prefer.
Tour Edge Exotics EXS Pro
Tour Edge Exotics EXS Pro
Our take: The engineering in the latest better-player offerings from Tour Edge was derived from insights from the 100-plus PGA Tour Champions pros who have played the company’s clubs in recent years. That feedback resulted in a compact, anti-left clubhead that delivers low spin and a piercing ball flight in a handsome package. The aesthetics of the carbon-fiber shell especially appealed to our testers. “Good looking club, with a nice feel to it,” one rater said.
The details: This low-and-forward CG driver wasn’t meant for everyday players; it began as a prototype exclusively with Tour pros in mind. Then Tour Edge realized that among more skilled amateurs there was a demand for a sleek, workable, Tour-inspired 440-cc design that became the EXS Pro. The pear-shaped head has an adjustable sliding 6-gram weight called “FlightTrack” (three other weights are available separately) that can shift mass, depending upon players’ needs, from the extreme heel to toe.
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