Five things to consider when buying a new driverJuly, 2015 News & Tour
Five key findings from our driver testing experiences
1. LET THE EXPERTS TINKER
It’s amazing what a skilled club fitter can achieve with a wrench. But we see adjustability primarily as a fitting tool.
Unless you know what you’re doing, beware of the law of unintended consequences.
2. FITTING IS EVERYTHING
Almost every driver in our test was custom fitted. And what became apparent was that this meant they all performed well.
Inside a driver fitting: NCG Ultimate Driver Test
At times, it was possible to move from one driver to the next and produce a series of shots that were difficult to tell apart in terms of ball flight and key launch characteristics.
Certainly, the looks were different, as were the sound and feel, which is where personal preference comes into it, but the launch monitors were suggesting the flight and total distances were very similar.
3. TECH ISN’T EVERYTHING
We’ve used launch monitors, exotic shafts, wrenches and moved weights round heads. We’ve spent hours chattering about launch angles and spin rates and ball speeds and desired trajectories.
NCG’s 2015 Ultimate Driver Test – The results
And yet for all that, if you hit a good drive and it finishes in the middle of the fairway, well, that’s the aim of the game. There can be an obsession to chase an extra mph of ball speed or yard of distance when you’re hooked up to a launch monitor.
Out on the course, it’s more important that your tee shots finish on the short grass.
4. POWER ISN’T EVERYTHING
If you’re choosing between two drivers, we’d urge you to go for whichever is more consistent.
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The difference between a really good driver and the best can probably be distilled down to one more fairway hit per round.
If that doesn’t sound like very much then think about it carefully. Let’s say you average eight out of 14 fairways. If you can push that up to nine it might just mean you make an extra par rather than a double bogey or your final Stableford total is two higher. Worth having, isn’t it?
5. TRUST IS EVERYTHING
Occasionally you get a driver that just feels right, both in your hands and through the swing.
What gave some drivers the edge were those that most inspired confidence and, crucially, allowed us to get away with average strikes. In a test aimed at the club golfer, we think that’s vital. It’s why we reluctantly overlooked a couple of great drivers.
So when you are choosing your next driver, try to imagine how you would feel with it in your hands on the hardest par 4 on your home course.
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