We have heard what the likes of Rory McIlroy and the rest of the tour players think of their new clubs but we wanted to find out how they performed in the hands of the amateur golfer.
At Dunes we provided the opportunity for you to try the latest and greatest drivers on the market – each promising unrivalled levels of distance and accuracy.
Our Driver challenge proved a big hit as just under 40 local golfers turned up throughout the day to try the new drivers and compare them against what they were currently playing.
Of all the drivers currently available we had the best of the best on demo, namely; Ping G410, Mizuno ST190, Taylormade M5/M6 and Callaway Epic Flash.
Before we get into the results from the day let’s take a look at the story behind each club.
Taylormade M5 & M6
First up is the new M5 and M6 drivers from Taylormade that follow on from the hugely successful M1/M2 and M3/M4 franchises of the last couple of years.
The big story here is that TaylorMade are revolutionising the process of creating driver faces for the M5 and M6 by starting above the legal limit and dialling it back by injecting resin in to two ‘tuning slots’ in the driver face. This is called ‘Speed Injecting’ and ensures that every driver is on the limit thanks to an algorithm which calculates the right amount of resin to use for every face.
In 1998 driver face flex was limited by the R&A to stop how far golfers hit the ball but it has been impossible to produce drivers which consistently hit the limit of 0.830 COR.
What that means is that all drivers have a different level of ‘hotness’, and while it ensures no ‘hot’ drivers go on to the illegal side, it also means many golfers end up playing with drivers which aren’t as close to the limit as they could be. The ‘hottest’ drivers are hand-picked for tour players, leaving TaylorMade estimating around 70% of retail drivers are outside the ‘hot range’ usually used by pros.
TaylorMade state that the production methods in the past have made picking the hottest driver for club golfers nothing more than just pure luck.
In the M5 and
M6 they are removing the luck element due to the fact the Speed Injected technology
will position every driver face right on the edge of the rules.
Dunes Price: M5 £449.00, M6 £399.00
Callaway Epic Flash
Two years ago Callaway launched the Epic driver that featured Jailbreak Technology and this was a huge success. Last year they improved it further still by enhancing the jailbreak in their Rogue product line.
This year Jailbreak remains but the big news is the brand new Flash Face…
Flash Face’s sophisticated architecture was created by
Artificial Intelligence – the first known instance of using A.I.in the golf
equipment industry — and “Machine Learning,” a field of computer science that
uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to “learn”
with data without being explicitly programmed. Through Machine Learning
the Callaway computers cycled through 15,000 face iterations, learning from
each one, before arriving at Flash Face.
In normal driver testing approximately 6 different prototypes are used so given A.I was able to pick the best from 15000 it will be very interesting to see how the new Callaway Epic Flash performs.
Dunes Price: £449.00
The G410 PLUS’ big feature is that it is the first time Ping have added an adjustable tungsten weight for draw or fade bias.
Ping are often later to the party when it comes to things like this but only because they ensure that new design features offer a real benefit to the golfer without severely compromising another area of performance.
The three positions (draw, neutral, fade) shift the CG location by 1/10″ in either direction, which equates to approximately 10 yards — or 20 yards of correction between draw and fade settings — of shot shape.
The SFtec version features a weight 50% further towards the heel than the G400 Sftec version so if you slice the ball then this club will probably be the best on the market in 2019 for you to help straighten the shot out.
Ping say the
G410 driver will be better than its predecessors through four ‘Fs’.
It’s Faster, more Forgiving, has a better Feel and can be Fitted better.
through the air due to improved aerodynamics and more efficient turbulators
They’ve been able to drag the weight right to the perimeter to keep the MOI (resistance to twisting) as high, if not higher, than anything else on the market so it’s super forgiving. Better fitting is also possible through the loft sleeve which has eight positions with +/- 1.5˚.
Finally, and this is a good one for the North East of Scotland, they’ve made the headcover 20% heavier to make sure it doesn’t blow away in the wind!
Dunes Price: £379.00
Mizuno ST190 and ST190G
Mizuno have struggled to compete in the driver market for some years despite their dominance in the forged iron market. However, that may be about to change as all the online reviews of their 2019 models show that they could be their best yet!
The ST190 drivers offer Mizuno’s lowest spin rates and incorporate every known factor in the quest to enhance ball speed and driving distance. Mizuno’s ultra-fast Forged SP700 Ti face now boasts a lighter CORTECH structure to deliver consistently higher ball speeds, with a large carbon composite crown plus the Amplified Wave soleplate, introduced in last year’s ST180 drivers, helping to convert each additional mph into extra yards.
The ST190 is designed for mid to low spin with maximum stability, and features a single, factory-fixed 6g backweight that increases MOI for added stability on off-centre strikes
The ST190G is engineered for low spin and offers
Fast Track adjustability thanks to twin 7g weights on external tracks that can
reduce spin by an additional 200rpm, allowing players to achieve heavy fade or
draw biases by placing the weights in one track.
Dunes Price: ST190 £369.00, ST190G £399.00
We asked each participant to rate the drivers on four different aspects; Looks, Feel, Sound and Performance on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent)
The Taylormade topped the best-looking list with an average rating of 4.19 which was quite a way in front of 2nd placed Ping on 3.94. The Mizuno and Callaway shared 3rd place, both on 3.81.
WINNER BEST LOOKING: TAYLORMADE M5/M6
The Taylormade claimed victory once again as you voted it the best feeling driver of 2019. The Ping came 2nd, Mizuno 3rd and the Callaway was in 4th.
WINNER BEST FEEL: TAYLORMADE M5/M6
The drivers certainly have their own distinctive sounds of which we have no doubt the manufacturers engineer deliberately. And, this was a very close contest with very little difference on your opinions of the acoustic qualities of each club. However, it was a hattrick of wins for Taylormade as once again it proved to be your winner.
WINNER BEST SOUND: TAYLORMADE M5/M6
You could argue this is the most important category of all. At the end of the day, does it matter what a driver looks, feels and sounds like if it does not perform very well?
I think it is fair to say that all of these products perform exceptionally well but we can only have one winner!
And a huge congratulations go to Taylormade for making it a clean sweep as they claimed the top spot once again! It was a narrow margin of victory though with the Ping G410 coming a very close second.
WINNER BEST PERFORMANCE: TAYLORMADE M5/M6
Which driver would you buy?
No surprises when you consider the results so far that the Taylromade M5/M6 was your overall winner and the driver that you said you would buy next. Not by a small margin either, a whopping 47% selected the Taylormade with the other 3 sharing the remainder pretty evenly.
WINNER BUYING CHOICE: TAYLORMADE M5/M6
What was clearly evident from the day was that getting fitted for your next driver is an absolute must. You could easily dismiss a driver on its performance simply because you were fitted with unsuitable shaft, head type, length, settings on the head or most likely a combination of all of the aforementioned.
We have invested heavily in technology and training to help us quickly and confidently optimise the set up for each individual golfer. We are committed to providing a World class service to the golfers of North East Scotland and offer you the leading brands in golf at the most competitive prices. Best of all we will make sure you get what is right for you.
If you could not make it to the Driver Challenge then do not worry! We have the full range of demo products and shaft options in the Golf Studio for you to get fitted with 7 days a week.
Book online at www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/custom-fitting/ or call 01346 510693 and quote the code above.