Robot testing confirmed these 2024 drivers negate toe misses

ping g430 max 10k driver against grass background

G430 Max 10K was one of the most consistent drivers we tested. That's a good thing for those with consistent toe impact.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Even the best golfers in the world are prone to miss the center of the face with the most forgiving club in the bag. And if they’re going to miss, there’s a good chance it will be near the toe. Arguably the most common mishit location for weekend golfers, toe misses generally lead to a dip in spin rate and carry distance. The further the ball gets out on the toe, the more it will nosedive and knuckle, leading to wildly inconsistent launch, spin and carry numbers.

Or at least that was the case until recently when manufacturers started finding new ways to minimize toe misses across all models, including low-spin offerings.

This year’s crop of drivers featured a few that produced a positive carry distance number on high-toe misses. Yes, that means you could see a slight uptick in distance (at 95 mph) on toe strikes.

For the latest round of robotic driver testing, we analyzed the distance loss on toe strikes (across all three locations) to spotlight certain models and lofts worth further testing for one of the most common mishit locations. Let’s dive into the data.

(How we calculate: Each driver is tested at 95 mph using a 9-point face mapping. We hit 6 balls from each location on the face — high, low and middle quadrants — and then compared the data to the geometric center.)

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TaylorMade Qi10 LS (10.5 degrees) | 2.7 yards of carry distance loss on toe misses across all three locations (high, middle and low)

TaylorMade Qi10 LS Custom Driver

$629.99
Qi10 LS delivers a lower spin and lower launch that is engineered to optimize performance for fast swing speed players. With a deep face and a more compact overall head shape, it is the preferred driver for Team TaylorMade Tour athletes including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. NEW INFINITY CARBON CROWN An Infinity Carbon Crown covers 97% of the total crown area, creating a strategic advantage for mass redistribution and enhanced forgiveness. At address, it delivers a sleek and clean view that pairs with subtle alignment cues, setting the stage for confidence and success. REIMAGINED SLIDING WEIGHT DESIGN A new, more efficient moveable weight features an 18g steel sliding weight housed by an innovative track system. The redesigned structure allows the adjustable weight to move farther forward and lower compared to Stealth 2 Plus, resulting in a more forgiving low-spin experience. 
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Highlight: Similar to last year’s Ping G430 LST driver that exceeded our expectations, it’s time to stop thinking all low-spin drivers are for faster players with consistent impact. In some cases, drivers like TaylorMade’s 10.5-degree Qi10 LS perform exceptionally well at slower speeds.

TaylorMade’s low-spin weapon gained nearly 3 yards of carry on high and middle toe strikes — compared to geometric center — and saw low-toe strikes dip by 15 yards. The low-toe numbers aren’t anything to write home about, but if you need to shed spin and generally live in the middle to upper portion of the toe, Qi10 LS is about as good as it gets.

Ping G430 Max 10K (9 degrees) | 4.5 yards

PING G430 Max 10K Custom Driver

$599.99
The G430 MAX 10K is PING’s straightest and highest MOI driver to date, eclipsing the 10,000 g-cm2 combined moment of inertia threshold first surpassed by the G400 MAX five years earlier. FIXED BACK WEIGHT The fixed back weight allows for the record-setting MOI as it drives mass down and back to increase forgiveness and optimize the center of gravity position. LARGER HEAD PROFILE PING’s biggest head profile to date maximizes the USGA-allowable heel-toe and front-back dimensions while staying within the 460cc volume limit. This eye-pleasing shape helps square the golfer to the target and inspires the confidence to hit longer, straighter tee shots.
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Highlight: A picture of consistency across all three toe strike locations. Even low-toe saw a decrease of just 7.5 yards compared to center strikes. Outside of Callaway’s 12-degree Ai Smoke Max D (8.1 yards), no other driver came close to matching that number. Driver is a strong option for golfers who live on the toe but don’t necessarily reside in one particular quadrant.

Cobra Darkspeed Max (9 degrees) | 4.6 yards

Cobra DarkSpeed Max Custom Driver

$549.99
The Cobra Darkspeed MAX model delivers draw-bias and unrivaled stability in a low-mid spin design for ultimate distance and accuracy. REFINED AERODYNAMIC DESIGN An improved aero shape features a streamlined face to topline radius, a highercrown peak, raised skirt and reduced clubface surface area to maximize speed. SHAPED FOR SPEED AND FORGIVENESS A refined clubhead shape blends speed with forgiveness for an elevated lookat address that inspires maximum confidence on the tee.
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Highlight: Similar to the G430 Max 10K, the three carry distance deltas remained fairly tight with Darkspeed Max. Middle and upper toe strikes only lost 1.5 yards, and low toe was an admirable 12.6 yards. One of the most reliable drivers in Cobra’s 2024 lineup.

TaylorMade Qi10 (12 degrees) | 4.7 yards

TaylorMade Qi10 Custom Driver

$599.99
Wrapped in a clean and confident package, the Qi10 driver has been strategically engineered to help players optimize distance and enhance forgiveness.  THE QUEST FOR INERTIA TaylorMade’s goal with the Qi10 family is to make each driver as forgiving as possible, using advanced multi-material constructions to increase inertia. Qi10 is engineered for a balanced blend of distance and forgiveness. COMPLETE PERFORMANCE The Qi10 Driver features a lower CG projection and higher MOI than its predecessor, delivering balanced performance without any tradeoffs. NEW INFINITY CARBON CROWN An Infinity Carbon Crown covers 97% of the total crown area, creating a strategic advantage for mass redistribution and enhanced forgiveness.
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Highlight: Gained nearly 2 yards on high-toe misses. If you combine middle and high toe, the distance loss is practically nil. With three models/lofts represented on the list, it’s apparent TaylorMade placed an emphasis on preserving ball speed with toe strikes.

TaylorMade Qi10 Max (12 degrees) | 4.8 yards

TaylorMade Qi10 Max Custom Driver

$599.99
The higher the inertia the more forgiving the driver. Introducing the Qi10 Max driver, experience TaylorMade speed with the forgiveness of 10K inertia. BUILT FOR FORGIVENESS & STABILITY The Qi10 Max features a shallower head shape that extends from front-to-back and significantly increases inertia by allowing mass to be placed further away from the center of the clubhead. NEW INFINITY CARBON CROWN An Infinity Carbon Crown covers 97% of the total crown area, creating a strategic advantage for mass redistribution and enhanced forgiveness. At address, it delivers a sleek and clean view that pairs with subtle alignment cues, setting the stage for confidence and success.
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Highlight: Strong low toe distance loss number at just 11.3 yards. Tight carry deltas across all three locations mimic another 10K product on this list (G430 Max 10K). Even high-toe misses gained 0.6 yards.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf.

JWall

Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at jonathan.wall@golf.com.