ClubTest 2021: Prepare to launch it high with these 5 drivers
Courtesy of Srixon
Unless you’re a better player with impressive speed, there’s a good chance you could benefit from a driver with high launch characteristics. The slower you swing, the higher you need to launch it to squeeze out every carry yard from your driver.
That could mean changing the shaft or going to a head with more weight situated in the back to induce a higher launch.
Adding weight low and back in the head not only increases launch but ups the head’s MOI as well — meaning you won’t have to sweat losing significant distance if you don’t routinely catch the center of the face.
Callaway Epic Max
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Callaway Epic Max
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. The Epic Max offers a new level of forgiveness and shot-shaping via a 17-gram sliding weight that allows the shot shape to be tuned.
Cobra RadSpeed XB
Cobra RadSpeed XB
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 XB version is made for golfers who need a bit more height and forgiveness on their drives. That’s why Cobra designed the driver with weights positioned in the rear of the head to get CG further back. The XB driver has 20 grams of weight positioned back (14 grams of fixed weight and 6 grams of adjustable weight) with 8 grams of fixed weight up front.
Our take: Mizuno is making big strides when it comes to metalwoods of late, with the ST drivers proving that the company is equally dedicated to creating high-performing drivers with the same measure of success found in its popular iron iterations. New models not only launch the ball farther with more ball speed, they look and sound better than any Mizuno drivers tested to date.
The details: A forged SAT2041 Beta Ti face delivers impressive ball speeds and, depending on the model, a carefully designed blend of carbon-composite construction and internal weighting to promote either a draw bias (ST-X) or low-spin trajectory (ST-Z). The hosel also offers four degrees of loft adjustability.
Ping G425 Max
Ping G425 Max
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 Max, with the help of a 26-gram adjustable tungsten weight in the back of the head.
Our take: The ZX packs a two-fisted punch of added distance and forgiveness. One tester chimed in by saying, “The traditional shaping and the red line on the back look great. The ball feels really fast off the face. It’s the best driver I’ve hit today.” Speaking of hits, the two models offer golfers a choice between a higher trajectory with the ZX5 or a more penetrating flight courtesy the ZX7.
The details: A carbon crown and rebound frame combine to increase distance and forgiveness on off-center strikes. Additionally, an adjustable hosel and two rear and low weight ports enable golfers to fine-tune the CG placement and face angle for a draw or fade shot shape. The more triangular ZX5 has a higher MOI and produces a towering ball flight.
Want to overhaul your own bag for 2021? Visit the expert fitters at our sister company, True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.