I think drivers are finally “topped out”.

 butterysnaphook ·  
butterysnaphookbutterysnaphook  62WRX Points: 112Handicap: 1.4Members Posts: 62 Bunkers
Joined:  in Equipment #1

I’ve hit every new driver that’s been made for the past 10+ years. I have witnessed some leaps in performance through the years, but I’d say since around 2017 we have been “officially” topped out. A lot of drivers now have a combination of optimized ball speed, aerodynamics, low spin, sound, looks, and forgiveness, whereas you used to have to sacrifice something. My Ping G400 outperformed or matched every 2018-2020 offering that has been released, but it seemed like before 2017 you could always find a small improvement here or there every year. The drivers this year are all great but it seems like they’re all so good that they can’t get much better since everything is already optimized, not to mention the new distance report which will ensure they don’t get any longer. Thoughts? Or did you all gain 17 yards this year just like last year?



  • Pingman2019Pingman2019  49WRX Points: 23Members Posts: 49 Bunkers
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    I agree I have tested g410, sim and Mavrik sz on 5-6 occasions with same shaft and had a hard time trying to decide because they have been all been within 3-4 yards of eachother on average everytime. I can’t remember when I’ve ever had that with any other testing usually there is one clear cut option.

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  • crapulacrapula Golf!  1909WRX Points: 199Handicap: 1.0Members Posts: 1,909 Platinum Tees
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    I gained 5mph ball speed from Srixon z785 to Mavrik SZ.

    Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero 8 Rogue White 60 130MSI X
    Srixon Z F85 15 Atmos Tour 6 Black X
    Srixon Z H85 19 Project X HZRDUS Black 6.0
    Srixon Z-FORGED 4-PW Modus3 120 X
    Cleveland RTX-4 50, 54, 58 KBS Tour 120 S
    Huntington Beach Soft 11
    Srixon Yellow ZStar XV
  • Golf64Golf64 Go Habs Go! Ontario, Canada 8131WRX Points: 340Handicap: ScotchMembers Posts: 8,131 Titanium Tees
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    I agree OP. Comes down to getting properly fit to hopefully gain a couple of yards, but it's all about the miss hits. Dispersion is now king with the new offerings.

    In the bag:

    Demoing for 2020.

    Super Bowl LII Champions
    Fly Eagles Fly!
  • bullie76bullie76  2259WRX Points: 216Handicap: 9Members Posts: 2,259 Platinum Tees
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    I've never gained 17 yards in one year.

    My senior bag.......
    Callaway Rogue 9 * driver & 3,5 fw woods reg
    Callaway Rogue X 4,5,6 hybrids reg
    Callaway Apex cf16 irons 6-pw Recoil ES 760/f3 reg 
    Callaway Mack Daddy 4 52* A wedge
    Ping Glide es 56* s/w 
    Odyssey O-Works Marman black putter
    Datrex 15 way IDS cart bag - black
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  • zebra2955zebra2955  661WRX Points: 76Handicap: 12.8Members Posts: 661 Golden Tee
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    Callaway Rogue/Epic depending on my mood

    Callaway Epic 3 wood

    Callaway Rogue 5 wood

    Cobra F6 hybrids, 3-4 and 4-5

    Cobra F6 irons 6i -PW, GW

    Harry Taylor 54* and 58* wedges

    Odyssey "O" Works 2 ball, Super Stroke mid slim 2.0 grip

    Kirkland K3 and TP5

  • RacineBoxerRacineBoxer  874WRX Points: 162Members Posts: 874 Golden Tee
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    Last year I tested my 2014 Cobra BioCell driver against the 2019 offerings and didn't find anything that was appreciably better.

    I'm going to go through that process again this year. At some point I just HAVE to buy a new driver - LOL.

  • uglandeuglande  352WRX Points: 246Members Posts: 352 Greens
    Joined:  #10

    I agree, but I think we have only just reached that point this year or maybe last year. Comparing, for example, the ball speeds on a Titleist 917 driver versus a Titleist TS3 driver, the differences are significant, and the 917 is only a couple of years old (one product cycle). But I think starting with the Ping G400 series, the Callaway Rogue/Epic, the TaylorMade M5/M6, we're pretty much at the end of the ball speed road.

    Now it's about looks, shaping, CG preference, shaft combos, and MOI.

    Unfortunately, the marketing hype on new drivers is going to get worse, not better.

    Waiting for TaylorMade to roll out a TRUSS driver next year. 😂

    TM M5 (Hzrdus Yellow 6.5)
    TM OO (Hzrdus Yellow 6.5)
    Titleist U-500 3-4 (Hzrdus Smoke Black 6.0)
    Mizuno MP-20 5-PW (Modus3 Tour 120 Stiff)
    Vokey SM8 53D/58M (Modus3 Tour 120 Stiff)
    TM Spider
  • LondonerLondoner  1514WRX Points: 297Handicap: 10Members Posts: 1,514 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Feb 14, 2020 2:52pm #11

    Apparently I gained 20 yds when i went to graphite shaft. 10 yds for solid ball. 5 yds for balls with titanium. 5 yds for multicore ball. 5 yds for deeper dimples. 5 yds for hexagonal dimples. 10 yds when metal driver. 10 when bubble shaft. 10 when titanium face. 10 when bigger head. 10 when all titanium head. 10 when all graphite head. 10 when titanium/graphite. 10 when COR grew. Dont start me on aerodynamics and inertia generators.

    Why aren't I on tour?

    Mizuno mp h5. 4-W KBS tour stiff 2 iron modus 3 stiff.
    taylormade m2 Driver + hl 3 wood
    ping anser
    Titleist sm6 50 +54
    Cleveland 60
  • 10&810&8  89WRX Points: 63Handicap: 2Members Posts: 89 Fairways
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    I agree with this. The last big jump I saw was in 2017 with my Epic SZ. I’ve tried every new driver since, and it’s still in the bag. Just can’t find anything that beats it. And I still think it’s one of the best sounding drivers out there.

    Callaway Epic SZ 9* Alidila Rogue Silver 60 X
    Titleist 915 Fd 15* Aldila Rogue Black 80 S
    Titleist 909h 19* Aldila Voodoo S
    Mizuno MP 18 4-6 SC 7-P MB KBS Tour 120 S
    Callaway MD Forged 52* & 56*
    Titleist Vokey SM 6 60*
    Scotty Cameron California Monterey 1.5
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  • pinestreetgolfpinestreetgolf  3540WRX Points: 340Handicap: 4Members Posts: 3,540 Titanium Tees
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    *hardest eye roll humanly possible*

    They maxed out the Chocolate Chip Cookie a million years ago when Nestle got with the Toll House Inn. Now its just marketing. I mean, sprinkles?!? Peanut butter swirls? Turbolators? Come on. Any idiot knows all that marketing is garbage. I walk down the cookie aisle at the store and just get madder and madder. Those scumbags keep trying to trick me, but I ain't biting. I'm going to go post on the internet about it so I get the positive chemical reinforcement of a bunch of other people agreeing with me that the chocolate chip cookie is maxed out.

    What's that? You like sprinkles/turbolators on your cookie? LOL. What a stooge of marketing. Go on and waste your money. I'll be over here, busy being super smart.

    Wilson Triton 10.5 Rogue 125 msi 60 X-Flex
    Ping G30 2, 3, 4, 5*, 6 Hybrids TFC 419 Stiff Flex
    M2 7-AW ReAx 75 Graphite
    PM Grind 56* KBS Rev 2.0
    Cameron Mallet
  • dubbelbogeydubbelbogey  523WRX Points: 246Members Posts: 523 Golden Tee
    Joined:  edited Feb 14, 2020 3:23pm #14

    This image from the recent USGA/R&A distance report (https://www.usga.org/content/dam/usga/pdf/2020/distance-insights/DIPR-FINAL-2020-usga.pdf) says a lot about how driver distance has changed for handicap-level players over the past 20 years:

    Even looking the best players (below 6 hdcp) there is no general trend of driver distance increase since around the year 2000. Golf club marketing and advertising BS aside, this is what the data shows. (BTW, with all the hubub this report is getting about how distance is out of control, that can only be concluded as true for the professional and top competitive amateur ranks. The rest of have not really seen any meaningful increase, in general.)

    Sure, any individual among us may have benefitted much more with some clubs they've been fit (or stumbled) into, but the data says there has been no overall increase in distance for us regular players (as a group) in any recent years.

  • kizdockizdoc Wildcat  425WRX Points: 76Handicap: 9.0ClubWRX Posts: 425 ClubWRX
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    Instead of distance, it would be interesting to look at this same graph measuring dispersion or FIR hit as I believe this is where the improvements have been the past several years.

    Titleist 910D3 9.5* Graphite Design Tour AD VR 6S
    TS2 16.5* Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7S
    TS2 21* Graphite Design Tour AD TP 8S
    Miura Giken
    MB-5003 4-PW Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour120S
    1957 51Y, 55C Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Wedge 115
    Vokey 260.06 N.S. Pro Modus3 Wedge 125
    Spider X Navy
    Pro V1x

  • puttingmattputtingmatt puttingmatt Summer/ Michigan-- Winter/ Florida 5396WRX Points: 478Handicap: 6Members Posts: 5,396 Titanium Tees
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    Play Golf.....Play Blades......Play Something Else.....Just Go Play.....

    4 HC
  • gripandripgripandrip  1157WRX Points: 193Members Posts: 1,157 Platinum Tees
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    I made a significant gain when I moved to the EPIC SZ (original) from my older driver. But I have seen little improvement in all the next generations. I agree it would be interesting to see a dispersion or forgiveness comparison. Average distance may improving, but may be due to a better forgiveness in the average distances (better ballspeeds on off center hits)

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  • jungwjd7jungwjd7 seattle, WA 54WRX Points: 21Members Posts: 54 Bunkers
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    This figure is interesting!

    I'm like handicap ~20, my driver goes 260yd. I don't think I will need much progression on driver distance anymore.


    Taylormade SIM MAX 10.5 Graphite Design Tour AD VR 6S
    Taylormade SIM MAX D 3W 16 Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 7S
    Taylormade SIM MAX 3H 19 Graphite Design Tour AD DI 85S HY
    Taylormade 4-P P790 17’ Nippon NS Modus3 Tour 120S
    Callway Mack Daddy 4 48(10), 52(10), 56(10)
    Titlist SM7 60(12)
    Toulon Las Vegas

  • arbeckarbeck Seattle 604WRX Points: 312Handicap: 14.5Members Posts: 604 Golden Tee
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    Ball speed of the center has been maxed out for a long time. Almost all the companies now have at 3 different models to optimize launch and spin for almost every kind of player. The final hurdle was keeping ball speed constant across the face, which pretty much has been conquered (though this is slightly more recent).

    The only thing left to do is try to optimize MOI while keeping the spin low. I think with the all the makers having multiple models they've probably nearly achieved this for all but the most outlier of golfers.

    Ping Traverse
    King Cobra F7 10.5* w/ Mitsubishi Tensi CK Blue 60 set at 9.5*
    TEE E8 4W, 7W
    Ping G410 4H
    Mizuno JPX-900 Hot Metal 5-SW w/ Veylix Alpina 873
    TEE CB PROs 60*
    Scotty Cameron Squareback
  • SocratesSocrates Warning Points 1+ Winnipeg 9911WRX Points: 901Handicap: 4ishClubWRX Posts: 9,911 ClubWRX
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    Because, like the rest of us, you got 20 years older. And most of us don't work out - much - if at all.

    Ping G400 9º TFC 419 Stiff at 45"
    Cobra F8 5-6 Fwy at 18.5° Stiff
    Ping i20 3 Hyb 707H Stiff
    X2 Hot 4_-PW Recoil 660 F3 +1/2"
    Vokey SM2 52º cc, Ping ES 56º and ES 60º
    Ping Sigma2 Valor at 34.75"
    MCC Align Midsize

  • SocratesSocrates Warning Points 1+ Winnipeg 9911WRX Points: 901Handicap: 4ishClubWRX Posts: 9,911 ClubWRX
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    The whole USGA/R&A argument is BS. The big issue is that the Tour Players are now athletes and are bigger, stronger and fully capitalizing on the science on hitting it correctly.

    I'd love to see them take 20 of the top Tour Players and give them a week with a Titleist Balata ball from 1995 (of course brand new) and I'd bet they would hit it just as far with their equipment. Especially their irons. But they won't do that because it would crush their argument about the ball going too far.

    Ping G400 9º TFC 419 Stiff at 45"
    Cobra F8 5-6 Fwy at 18.5° Stiff
    Ping i20 3 Hyb 707H Stiff
    X2 Hot 4_-PW Recoil 660 F3 +1/2"
    Vokey SM2 52º cc, Ping ES 56º and ES 60º
    Ping Sigma2 Valor at 34.75"
    MCC Align Midsize

  • juststevejuststeve  5031WRX Points: 452Members Posts: 5,031 Titanium Tees
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    It is possible for an individual to see a significant gain vhen when there is no average gain over all golfers. A single individual might benefit by finding a specific driver that works better for him, but that is all it is.


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  • PepperturboPepperturbo Midwest and Southwest 16413WRX Points: 793Handicap: Low-Mid SDMembers Posts: 16,413 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Feb 14, 2020 5:44pm #23

    Yep... topped out least as far as the USGA & RA are concerned. Yet, powers to be claim there's a distance issue. Gota wonder who's poking the powers to be under the table?

    Might one topic be related or a motivating factor for the other topic. And don't OEM company's need to keep producing equipment? As it stands, they've all but hit a wall with certain clubs. Shaft improvement is still viable, though. Aside from loft, shaft is said to be the engine behind distance, right?

    I enjoy some yardage gain when I switched from 917 to TS2 driver and 4-wood, but mostly lowered dispersion. Both TS2 heads are fairway finders. Also both Ventus shafts appear to have contributed some yardage gain too. How much varies, depending on my bones, conditions and the ball.

    Titleist TS2 9.5, Ventus 5 "S"
    Titleist TS2 16.5*, Ventus 7 "S"
    Titleist T-MB 17* 2i, i95cw "S"
    Titleist 620 CB/MB 3i-PW, i110cw/i125cw "S"
    SM6 F-52*, i125cw "S"
    SM6 M-58*, DG-S200
    SC California Monterey
    ProV1x & ProV1

  • cgasuckscgasucks  2457WRX Points: 364Members Posts: 2,457 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  edited Feb 14, 2020 5:56pm #24

    Fact. The record for the longest average drive distance on the PGA Tour is set by Hank Kuehne at 321.4 yards....in 2003 with his R510 TP

    10.5 deg Titleist 905R with stock UST Proforce V2 Shaft
    1999 Ben Hogan Apex Blades (3-PW) with stock Apex 4 Steel Shafts
    Taylormade V-Steel 5W & 3W with Grafalloy Prolaunch Red shafts
    Taylormade ATV wedges in 54 and 58 degrees with stock steel shafts
    Rife Island Series Aruba Blade Putter
  • siegs07siegs07  86WRX Points: 32Members Posts: 86 Fairways
    Joined:  #25

    Then why haven't we seen similar gains with LPGA driving distance? You're saying only the men have been training and taking advantage of track man?

    Taylormade M5 Driver
    Cobra King F9 Tour 5w
    Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi 4i
    Mizuno MP-18 SC 5-PW
    Mizuno T7 52° and 58°
    Scotty Cameron Select Newport
  • 18thbunker18thbunker  387WRX Points: 76Members Posts: 387 Greens
    Joined:  #26

    All I can tell you is that I have not come close to reaching the ‘max’ performance on what my current driver. I need lessons to gains ‘17’ yards not another driver.

    [font=comic sans ms,cursive]driver - Titleist 915 D3 10.5[/font]
    [font=comic sans ms,cursive]fairway - Ping I25 18 degree 5 wood
    hybrid - Ben Hogan VKTR 19 & 23
    Irons - Mizuno MP68 3-PW
    wedges Mizuno MP-T5 50-58
    putter - Ping Sigma G Doon[/font]
  • disco111disco111  1176WRX Points: 274Handicap: 7Members Posts: 1,176 Platinum Tees
    Joined:  #27

    Yeah, me too, but I lost all that when I got old......................Now I'm looking for golf courses that have kids tees!

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  • 20six20six  582WRX Points: 117Members Posts: 582 Golden Tee
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    No man will ever break the 4 minute mile.

  • vmannvmann  84WRX Points: 75Members Posts: 84 Fairways
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  • farmerfarmer  8452WRX Points: 913Members Posts: 8,452 Titanium Tees
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    Londonor has gained about 130 yds, not counting rollout. He must have THE worst short game ever.

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  • BlkNGldBlkNGld  3058WRX Points: 218Members Posts: 3,058 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Feb 14, 2020 6:55pm #31

    I'd take that.

    Keep in mind that with today's technology the club and ball are an ecosystem. Club advances drive changes in the ball, and vice versa.

    Balata balls struck at high speeds had a much narrower margin for error on quality of strike and how much they spun. Current balls are more forgiving off of the driver.

    Somewhere I heard that once you get to around 150mph club speed, current ball technology beings to show similar behavior.

    But I agree with your main point... today's pros are much better athletes with more tools available to them to take advantage of modern equipment. If you took Jack or Arnie in their primes and gave them today's gear, I think they could hang with current pro, but after that things would drop off pretty fast.


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