The NCG Drivers Test: What we learnedApril, 2013
Our conclusions from a day testing the latest drivers
No magic driver
Based on our testing, there was no driver that categorically outperformed the others in terms of distance.
Each tester hit certain drivers further than others, but that can mainly be attributed to the set-up being more or less in tune with their requirements.
If you want to hit it further this year, you won’t do so merely by spending £300 on the latest TaylorMade or Ping – or at least you are by no means guaranteed to do so.
However, if you invest in a new driver and are custom-fitted for it by an expert – then it says here that you will categorically hit it further. That’s the strongest message we can bring you from this test.
Value drivers went surprisingly well
You might expect to give up 20 or 30 yards by using a driver that is a third of the price but that was not our experience here.
Some of the cheaper drivers really did perform.
“You need to ignore the price, there’s a brilliant choice,” said our tester Steve. “Just look at the MD Golf driver – great for the money.”
We hit several of them every bit as far on occasion. That said, there was a difference – it came in the form of levels of consistency and dispersion.
Long shaft a trade off
Make sure you check the length of a driver before you buy, and compare it to a few others.
You might well find that an extra inch in the shaft results in extra clubhead speed and possibly extra distance, but there is a trade off, and it comes in the shape of accuracy and consistency.
There’s a reason driver shafts are the length they are – if you go too far then it becomes difficult to control the head and also to connect with the middle head.
Colours on crowns
Suddenly, colour is everywhere. You quickly get used to it but some crowns were just too busy for our eyes. It’s yet another reason you need to try before you buy to see if it bothers you.
Remember, a head being closed adds loft whereas a head set open decreases loft. By the same token, when you set the face open you effectively decrease loft and when you set the face closed you increase it. Don’t buy off the shelf – do get custom fitted.