With the latest in technology, the game's leading club manufacturers are
making the best drivers ever introduced . . . with adjustability now the
standard, nearly every major brand has a model that fits for your game.
We recently tested three of the hottest new drivers from TaylorMade, Nike
Each of these delivers a different technology, so it's important to decide
exactly what your looking for in a new driver.
TaylorMade's R15 continues the forward CG/low spin theme of the SLDR, so
lofting up is still recommended. The R15 boasts two sliding weights (instead
of SLDR's one) and a loft sleeve of 2 degrees (instead of the previous 1.5).
TaylorMade unveiled their latest technology this year - R15, which really is an updated
SLDR. One difference this year with TMAG is the new model comes in both 430 & 460
versions right off the bat (no more waiting to see which updated version gets released
in 90 days). Also, you can get the 460 version in either black or white.
Our test model came in 10.5 loft
with a stiff flex Fujikura Speeder 57
shaft. TaylorMade's R15 continues
the forward CG/low spin theme of
the SLDR, so lofting up is still
The R15 boasts two sliding weights (instead of SLDR's one) and a loft sleeve
of 2 degrees (instead of the previous 1.5).
Although TMAG is once
again pushing white
(above) as the color of
choice (it's easily noticed
by consumers when tour
players game it on TV).
I actually prefer it in
We weren't sure the R15
could possibly match the
feel and performance of
the highly acclaimed
SLDR . . .
During testing, the performance numbers were nearly identical to those of the highly
acclaimed SLDR, which is no letdown . . . the dual 12.5 gram weights and 2 degree
loft sleeve give another level of adjustability. Is slightly more adjustability worth the
purchase? That's for you to decide.
For more info: http://taylormadegolf.com/home
Nike Vapor (Speed)
Nike's new Vapor line is an upgrade of the Covert cavity technology of the
last two years. The swoosh folks created a stronger clubhead featuring Fly
Beam supports - according to Nike, the stiffer cavity creates a more stable
clubhead and hotter face at impact.
The Vapor is
perhaps the driver with
the biggest buzz of all
the new big sticks, and
was certainly one of the
models I was most
interested in testing.
Channel makes it's
return along with Flex
Loft technology for
15 different launch
Our test model came in the Speed version equipped with a 50 gram Mitsubishi
Fubuki shaft in stiff flex.
The Vapor Speed was by far the easiest driver to launch that we tested, but is
definitely geared towards those who need more spin to keep the ball in the air
longer. The carry #'s were superb (averaging 252 yds) and feel at impact was
completely sublime, but for me the spin #'s were too high (averaging around
3100 rpm) . . . nothing a shaft change couldn't fix to optimize the performance
of the Vapor Speed driver.
For more info: http://www.nike.com/us/en_us/c/golf/clubs/drivers
Cobra Fly Z+
The Cobra Fly Z+ features FLIPZONE technology. Move the 15 gram weight
forward and you get a piercing ball flight, move it back and it becomes a high
launcher. SmartPad sole gives a square face angle regardless of the loft setting
you choose. The stock shaft offering is the Matrix VLCT.
Cobra's Fly Z+ utilizes multi-material construction with a 6-4 titanium body
and carbon fiber crown and sole pieces. The innovative FLIPZONE enables
you to switch trajectories in an instant by flipping the 15 gram weight to the
front or back of the clubhead.
Cobra's Speed Channel is an engineered trench that increases ball speeds across
the face, an exclusive Cobra innovation. Their Forged E9 Zone Face for increases
performance on mis-hits.
The testing of the Fly Z+ was unique because of the front/back nature of the
weighting system. The ability to change launch angle without changing shafts
or adjusting a tip sleeve is really unheard of . . . until now. I was able to change
my launch angle by over 2 degrees and spin rates by nearly 500 rpms just by
flipping the weight . . . that's significant.
The composite parts give the Fly Z+ a distinct feel and sound that is very different
to your run of mill titanium driver head. If you've ever hit a driver with carbon fiber
head you know the sensation.
Engineer Tom Olsavsky of Cobra (formerly of TaylorMade) called the Fly Z+
"the best driver he's ever made" - those are big words considering what he's created
over the years. There is no question, the technology in this stick is groundbreaking.
For more info: http://www.cobragolf.com/