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Is it just me, or do modern day drivers and fairway woods break too easily?


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I know this is a long intro, but please read so you get full context before firing from the hip.  I would appreciate an honest discussion here.

 

The first clubs I ever bought new were Taylormade back in 2009.  I had an R9 Superdeep driver, and R9 fairway woods.  I used to hit a TON of range balls back then.  I had a membership at my local course/practice range and worked on my swing at the range 2-3 times a week.  That driver lasted about 2.5 years before it cracked.  It hit thousands of range balls, and I definitely used all of the face back then.  The fairway woods were hit a lot too, and in fact, I still have them and they are beat up but not cracked, flattened or dented.

 

Fast forward to today.  In one season I have broken or dented 7 clubs.  4 Callaway Epic sub zero fairway woods (all dented or flattened and in very short order, like maybe less than 100 balls), cracked the face of a Krank Formula 5 LD head, cracked the crown of a Krank formula 6 head, and now just cracked the crown of a Krank Formula X Extreme head.  I bought Krank because I thought they would be more durable than the composite crowned drivers I used to have that also didn't last.  

 

More details.  I do not hit nearly as many range balls as I used to and all of these modern day clubs haven't even sniffed 2.5 years of use.  I bought some of these brand new through Callaway preowned (must have been extras from tour vans or something), and the Kranks were all used but in almost brand new condition.  I checked them over very well and hardly a scratch on them.  I made it a point not to buy one that could have been hit much by any LD comp guys.

 

Now admittedly, I am not an amazing golfer.  I tend to hit the ball low on the face and heel side of center a lot.  I strike much more consistently than I did back in my R9 driver days though and it sees many less balls during the course of a year.  For reference,  I have a quick swing speed but nothing compared to a long drive guy or even the fastest professional golfers.

 

My questions are:

 

Does anyone else also feel like modern clubs are way less durable than clubs say from 10 years ago?

 

Does anyone have some solid evidence for what causes the most premature failures with these modern clubs or what prolong's there life besides just limiting use? (For instance, heel strikes are the worst, bottom strike, toe strikes, range balls are the worst offender, if you really good and hit it out of the center every time it will not fail etc etc).

 

Please keep in mind this is not a toot your horn about breaking clubs cause OMG SO STRONG thread.  I really think these things are being made way weaker than before and I actually really dislike it, especially because it makes me and should make others more wary about buying anything off the used market that won't have warranty.  that and it is just plain annoying even with the really good warranties of the high end manufacturers.  Sometimes a guy really likes a club and doesn't want to be upgraded to the new version.  He just wants his original one to last more than a season.

Edited by clevited
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36 minutes ago, clevited said:

I know this is a long intro, but please read so you get full context before firing from the hip.  I would appreciate an honest discussion here.

 

The first clubs I ever bought new were Taylormade back in 2009.  I had an R9 Superdeep driver, and R9 fairway woods.  I used to hit a TON of range balls back then.  I had a membership at my local course/practice range and worked on my swing at the range 2-3 times a week.  That driver lasted about 2.5 years before it cracked.  It hit thousands of range balls, and I definitely used all of the face back then.  The fairway woods were hit a lot too, and in fact, I still have them and they are beat up but not cracked, flattened or dented.

 

Fast forward to today.  In one season I have broken or dented 7 clubs.  4 Callaway Epic sub zero fairway woods (all dented or flattened and in very short order, like maybe less than 100 balls), cracked the face of a Krank Formula 5 LD head, cracked the crown of a Krank formula 6 head, and now just cracked the crown of a Krank Formula X Extreme head.  I bought Krank because I thought they would be more durable than the composite crowned drivers I used to have that also didn't last.  

 

More details.  I do not hit nearly as many range balls as I used to and all of these modern day clubs haven't even sniffed 2.5 years of use.  I bought some of these brand new through Callaway preowned (must have been extras from tour vans or something), and the Kranks were all used but in almost brand new condition.  I checked them over very well and hardly a scratch on them.  I made it a point not to buy one that could have been hit much by any LD comp guys.

 

Now admittedly, I am not an amazing golfer.  I tend to hit the ball low on the face and heel side of center a lot.  I strike much more consistently than I did back in my R9 driver days though and it sees many less balls during the course of a year.  For reference,  I have a quick swing speed but nothing compared to a long drive guy or even the fastest professional golfers.

 

My questions are:

 

Does anyone else also feel like modern clubs are way less durable than clubs say from 10 years ago?

 

Does anyone have some solid evidence for what causes the most premature failures with these modern clubs or what prolong's there life besides just limiting use? (For instance, heel strikes are the worst, bottom strike, toe strikes, range balls are the worst offender, if you really good and hit it out of the center every time it will not fail etc etc).

 

Please keep in mind this is not a toot your horn about breaking clubs cause OMG SO STRONG thread.  I really think these things are being made way weaker than before and I actually really dislike it, especially because it makes me and should make others more wary about buying anything off the used market that won't have warranty.  that and it is just plain annoying even with the really good warranties of the high end manufacturers.  Sometimes a guy really likes a club and doesn't want to be upgraded to the new version.  He just wants his original one to last more than a season.

Taylormade has had a fair share of cracked faces/soles or flat spots, but havent heard much about other oems. certain walls of woods are thinner to move cg around, and faces are thinner to maximize cor, but even so i have yet to have any issues and i hit a ton of balls/play golf. There is something you are doing thats causing it, or you are just incredibly unlucky. Just curious, do you put headcovers on between shots/not hitting?

Edited by Red4282
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I posted my tin foil hat thoughts in another thread but here I go.

 

 I have zero empirical data to back this but, But i do believe that drivers now days are pushing tolerances to its limit.

 

1) Multi Material constructions.  creates multiple binding points.  structural integrity could be compromised compared to a solid one piece design.  No matter how good the binding agent is.

2) Keeping drivers at a specified total weight,  while moving CG around and mass in the head can cause deterioration in specified areas.  To keep a D2 swing weight yet, move weight around while keeping structural integrity?  Cant have your cake and eat it too can you?

3) CT unit rulings.  239 units +/-18 units = 257 CT units maximum legal limit.  Most heads are pushing those limits 

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1313&_nkw=Golf+Driver+head+CT&_sacat=0&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=0&_odkw=Golf+Drive+CT+unit

 

Just got to Ebay,  these CT limits are being pushed, 248CT, 249 CT, 242/240

 

This just means thinner faces for the maximum amount of smash.

 

I hear specifically Concerns about TM and Callaway clubs. specifically those multi material designed heads (2 piece carbon heads), and heads what have uniquely thinner faces (Twist face and Jailbreak/AI face) 

 

This is Compared to a Titleist, Cobra, Ping Which I think are solid head designs, and difference of tech in regards to face and face inserts.

 

 

Outside of that, you might have bad luck.... But there might be something about it? As yes i think we are pushing the limits on the drivers.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Red4282 said:

Taylormade has had a fair share of cracked faces/soles or flat spots, but havent heard much about other oems. certain walls of woods are thinner to move cg around, and faces are thinner to maximize cor, but even so i have yet to have any issues and i hit a ton of balls/play golf. There is something you are doing thats causing it, or you are just incredibly unlucky. Just curious, do you put headcovers on between shots/not hitting?

Thanks for the response.  I have heard quite a lot about TM problems too, part of what has made me gun shy to buy one off second hand market unless its in really great shape.  I do put head covers on my clubs yes.  They don't take any abuse other than hitting a ball.  I even make sure any sand is brushed off a ball before I hit it on the range.  I also only hit my fairway woods off tees on the range so I don't get sand damage.  Basically sandblast the face doing that.  (R9s I never did that and they are still going strong).

 

I have been told it is because I don't always hit the middle.  I am almost certain it would be true that even the quickest swinging pro's don't go through drivers or fairway woods at the rate I have this year.  The differences between me and them....I am slower than the fastest on tour but faster than the average, I hit a lot of range balls which feel like rocks (pro's hit premium, softer feeling balls probably always), and I hit mostly on the low heel side of the center.  I do occasionally hit one thin, or extreme heel but most of the time I hover near the heel side of the sweet spot.  Feels good but not perfect if you know what I mean.  I have been told Cameron Champ only broke one driver last year or something.  If that is true, is it because he always hits center, is it because he doesn't hit range rocks, or is it both?  Is he fibbing maybe because Ping is his sponsor and he doesn't want to give them a bad image?  I have no idea.

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1 minute ago, Exactice808 said:

I posted my tin foil hat thoughts in another thread but here I go.

 

 I have zero empirical data to back this but, But i do believe that drivers now days are pushing tolerances to its limit.

 

1) Multi Material constructions.  creates multiple binding points.  structural integrity could be compromised compared to a solid one piece design.  No matter how good the binding agent is.

2) Keeping drivers at a specified total weight,  while moving CG around and mass in the head can cause deterioration in specified areas.  To keep a D2 swing weight yet, move weight around while keeping structural integrity?  Cant have your cake and eat it too can you?

3) CT unit rulings.  239 units +/-18 units = 257 CT units maximum legal limit.  Most heads are pushing those limits 

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_trksid=p2334524.m570.l1313&_nkw=Golf+Driver+head+CT&_sacat=0&LH_TitleDesc=0&_osacat=0&_odkw=Golf+Drive+CT+unit

 

Just got to Ebay,  these CT limits are being pushed, 248CT, 249 CT, 242/240

 

This just means thinner faces for the maximum amount of smash.

 

I hear specifically Concerns about TM and Callaway clubs. specifically those multi material designed heads (2 piece carbon heads), and heads what have uniquely thinner faces (Twist face and Jailbreak/AI face) 

 

This is Compared to a Titleist, Cobra, Ping Which I think are solid head designs, and difference of tech in regards to face and face inserts.

 

 

Outside of that, you might have bad luck.... But there might be something about it? As yes i think we are pushing the limits on the drivers.

 

 

 

Thank you for your reply.  So we are both crazy conspiracy theorists maybe lol. My tinfoil hat is right next to me 😉

 

I have had the carbon crowned Callaway drivers and fairways fail on me, but always the face.  Sent a driver back to Callaway preowned, got the replacement, sold it to a friend because I didn't have much faith in it (and I couldn't hit it that great anyway).  It has made me gun shy of buying anything carbon crowned again.  Because of this, I primarily purchased Krank, thinking they were going to last much longer.  To my dismay they have not and they are full titanium.  Currently looking into warranty for my Formula X head.  Nothing has lasted as long as my R9 Superdeep.

 

I am hoping that it is just a result of trying to push limits and not a purposeful thing meant to kill the used market as much as possible.  That said, Callaway for sure really stands behind their products so I am not sure it is purposeful at least for them.

 

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On 9/14/2020 at 3:40 PM, clevited said:

 

Thank you for your reply.  So we are both crazy conspiracy theorists maybe lol. My tinfoil hat is right next to me 😉

 

I have had the carbon crowned Callaway drivers and fairways fail on me, but always the face.  Sent a driver back to Callaway preowned, got the replacement, sold it to a friend because I didn't have much faith in it (and I couldn't hit it that great anyway).  It has made me gun shy of buying anything carbon crowned again.  Because of this, I primarily purchased Krank, thinking they were going to last much longer.  To my dismay they have not and they are full titanium.  Currently looking into warranty for my Formula X head.  Nothing has lasted as long as my R9 Superdeep.

 

I am hoping that it is just a result of trying to push limits and not a purposeful thing meant to kill the used market as much as possible.  That said, Callaway for sure really stands behind their products so I am not sure it is purposeful at least for them.

 

So here is a wild theory,  In the used market that is;

1) 2009  *correction 2004* R&A established the initial .830 cor then ratified the 239ct units +/-18 to 259ct units  Meaning any driver 2009 and newer is pretty much maxed out in distance,  smash factor to smash factor.  

2) TM R9 superdeep is within that realm, but try reach for another,  TM RBZ, JetSpeed,  Titleist 913/915 D2 Series.  Ping G30, Cobra BioCell

 

The mentioned heads are super forgiving,  but I have not heard much about any of those caving.  JUST to test, I know some of those can be had for a song..... and hell if you are smashing them  a cheap Jetspeed head for $50 wont be too much a loss and you are NOT leaving anything on the table in my opinion.

 

I have my 07 burner and current 915D3 that I doubt I can scratch the surface. these things are tanks LOL.  Not sure if I am leaving anything on the table but 5y at most....so I wont least too much sleep.  

 

GL on your quest!

Edited by Exactice808
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11 minutes ago, Exactice808 said:

So here is a wild theory,  In the used market that is;

1) 2009 R&A established the initial .830 cor then ratified the 239ct units +/-18 to 259ct units  Meaning any driver 2009 and newer is pretty much maxed out in distance,  smash factor to smash factor.  

2) TM R9 superdeep is within that realm, but try reach for another,  TM RBZ, JetSpeed,  Titleist 913/915 D2 Series.  Ping G30, Cobra BioCell

 

The mentioned heads are super forgiving,  but I have not heard much about any of those caving.  JUST to test, I know some of those can be had for a song..... and hell if you are smashing them  a cheap Jetspeed head for $50 wont be too much a loss and you are NOT leaving anything on the table in my opinion.

 

I have my 07 burner and current 915D3 that I doubt I can scratch the surface. these things are tanks LOL.  Not sure if I am leaving anything on the table but 5y at most....so I wont least too much sleep.  

 

GL on your quest!

 

Hey thanks for the well wishes and your thoughts.  I am definitely keeping my eyes open for another R9 Superdeep, might even go for a SLDR.  Neither are forgiving though so I might have to take a look at the ones you mentioned.  I am just tired of broken drivers and fairway woods.  I will probably rock the R9 fairway woods again after my current Epic 5 wood replacement dies, which will be soon I am sure.  

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The closer you push the limits, the higher the failure rate is gonna be. I think most OEMs have just accepted a certain failure rate in the name of trying to push boundaries and get everything out of the designs that they can. I think most of the multi-material designs do tend to fail more frequently as @Exactice808 said, it's just more points to fail when you've got carbon fiber and titanium and other things all bonded together somehow. I think anecdotally you see fewer failures from companies like Ping that are still mostly titanium and use forged faces and not trying to strip weight from the crown every which way (and granted part of that is market share-based and there's just more TMs and Callaways sold so you see more of those failed even though the actual failure rate may not be much different). All that said, I'm not aware of a single company that doesn't stand by their product and have great customer service. I've seen product failures from every OEM and all of them take care of their customers.

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4 hours ago, Exactice808 said:

1) 2009 R&A established the initial .830 cor then ratified the 239ct units +/-18 to 259ct units  

 

Sorry but no. CT for drivers began in 2004. The .830 COR limit for drivers (.822 with a .08 tolerance) was established in 1998.

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Been a long while since I cracked anything or seen anyone else do it - From your description I’d be suspicious of your range balls. Range balls don’t normally feel like rocks, if anything they are fairly squidgy, just that they are designed to fly ten or twenty percent less far. 
 

Yes engineering limits are being pushed re performance / durability but in your case.... it’s the balls.

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I believe as Exactice808 said, it has to do with the modern construction. When i visited the Callaway HQ one of the things they said was that the Epic driver had over twice as many "steps" in the build process as any driver they had made before it. If you have multi-material heads, multiple processes in putting them together, 3-4 different screws in them that can sheer etc...some bad things will happen. 

 

That being said, most OEMs are very reasonable in sending you new drivers even over 1-2 + years of use if there is a break

 

Also, i have yet to break a modern driver and i play a lot. So it's not like they are crazy flimsy

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I have never cracked a metal wood.  Cracked a wood one back in the day.   I still drive the ball fairly well but I never (or rather can’t) swing at ludicrous speed.  
 

thank you Mel, I finally got to use your joke for golf.  
 

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7 hours ago, grm24 said:

 

Sorry but no. CT for drivers began in 2004. The .830 COR limit for drivers (.822 with a .08 tolerance) was established in 1998.

 

Yes, the Ping TiSI was the impetus for the COR limit.  The Black Toaster of Death.   LOL

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1 hour ago, MtlJeff said:

I believe as Exactice808 said, it has to do with the modern construction. When i visited the Callaway HQ one of the things they said was that the Epic driver had over twice as many "steps" in the build process as any driver they had made before it. If you have multi-material heads, multiple processes in putting them together, 3-4 different screws in them that can sheer etc...some bad things will happen. 

 

That being said, most OEMs are very reasonable in sending you new drivers even over 1-2 + years of use if there is a break

 

Also, i have yet to break a modern driver and i play a lot. So it's not like they are crazy flimsy

 

For sure the high end club makers stand by their clubs, although from my experience, Callaway has gone above and beyond expectations at least for me.  Taylormade not as much.  While it is great that these manufacturers will usually replace your club with no hassel when it breaks, it sure does stink to have a driver or fairway wood you really like and have it replaced with one you don't because they don't make the original anymore.  It also makes the used market a little more sketchy imo.  I am afraid to buy modern drivers even very lightly used.  On more than one occasion, I have received what looked to be a lightly used club only the toe or heel was flattened or dented.  Hard to see in pictures too so it is easy to have happen.

 

Thanks for the reply.

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3 hours ago, hammersia said:

Been a long while since I cracked anything or seen anyone else do it - From your description I’d be suspicious of your range balls. Range balls don’t normally feel like rocks, if anything they are fairly squidgy, just that they are designed to fly ten or twenty percent less far. 
 

Yes engineering limits are being pushed re performance / durability but in your case.... it’s the balls.

 

My range balls feel pretty harsh.  Hard covers no doubt.  They are Pinnacle Practice yellow range balls.  I will occasionally hit a worn out ProV1 or something similar and feels completely different.  1 feels like hitting a cue ball, the other like a rubber superball (relatively speaking).

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3 hours ago, MtlJeff said:

I believe as Exactice808 said, it has to do with the modern construction. When i visited the Callaway HQ one of the things they said was that the Epic driver had over twice as many "steps" in the build process as any driver they had made before it. If you have multi-material heads, multiple processes in putting them together, 3-4 different screws in them that can sheer etc...some bad things will happen. 

 

That being said, most OEMs are very reasonable in sending you new drivers even over 1-2 + years of use if there is a break

 

Also, i have yet to break a modern driver and i play a lot. So it's not like they are crazy flimsy

Obviously you're not swinging hard enough and need to hit the gym. 

 

(kidding, btw)

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I have only dented one fairway wood, and that was from playing night golf and hitting a glow ball. 
 

I don’t swing fast enough to dent anything else. 
 

I have read different threads on here where people have stated heel strikes are not good as far as blowing up heads. I don’t know. 

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On 9/14/2020 at 8:16 PM, grm24 said:

 

Sorry but no. CT for drivers began in 2004. The .830 COR limit for drivers (.822 with a .08 tolerance) was established in 1998.

Whooops!  I miss quoted,  You are correct the CT measurement began in  2004.  The COR was a type of measurement but I dont think it was an established rule.  They used it as a base but because of the cumbersome test they could not effectively apply it. So I dont think anyone was penalized in a sanctioned event. ( I could be wrong though LOL)

 

As for the CT Units, my apologies again you are correct 2004 and as we recently know some players have been lived tested at events and disqualified for failing equipment.   Correction my mistake.

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Never had any but what I did to the club...on accident. 

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2 hours ago, Bubbtubbs said:

Obviously you're not swinging hard enough and need to hit the gym. 

 

(kidding, btw)

 

Oh no it's true...LOL.

 

Covid closed all our gyms and i barely got it out there over 260-270 this year. I am concerned my wife may leave me for a more virile male

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Give cobra heads a try... 100% anecdote, but I swing hard and hit hard range balls... I’m on season three with my Ltd pro.

 

havent had a problem.

 

multi material heads are going to fail more frequently. I have no idea how frequently.

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I play quite a bit, including 2 different leagues, tournaments, and weekend money games and I have never seen a driver crack unless it was user error (if you hit balls off the crown, near a seam then what do you expect).

 

The only club I’ve seen fail with normal use was an 8i from a set of TM RSIs that had the slots on the face.  I did see some raising between the face and the slot on the toe side.

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Maybe 12 years ago, people who caved in driver heads were usually big hitters swinging XS shafts.

 

The past five years, I have heard of more and more people cracking the heads of drivers and even fairway woods. Most frequent incidents involve TM and Callaway. These incidents involved people who were medium to hard swingers, not just the big hitters.

 

With ever thinner faces, this may have some effect on the durability of the clubheads.

 

And it's not just long clubs. I've seen comments on GolfWRX on iron heads breaking also.

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Driver:  Calla XR16 Pro set 11.5°  ||  Fairways:  Tour Edge XRail 4W + 7W or Calla Alpha 815s set 16° and 21°

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16 minutes ago, ChipNRun said:

Maybe 12 years ago, people who caved in driver heads were usually big hitters swinging XS shafts.

 

The past five years, I have heard of more and more people cracking the heads of drivers and even fairway woods. Most frequent incidents involve TM and Callaway. These incidents involved people who were medium to hard swingers, not just the big hitters.

 

With ever thinner faces, this may have some effect on the durability of the clubheads.

 

And it's not just long clubs. I've seen comments on GolfWRX on iron heads breaking also.

 

I agree with you regarding the incidents and who tends to break these modern clubs.  I think it is especially bad for the naturally faster swinger that doesn't always hit the middle.  What use to take thousands of hits by even very fast players, or a few hundred by the LD pro's, now can take only a few hundred hits to do by a moderately fast player.

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12 hours ago, Exactice808 said:

As for the CT Units, my apologies again you are correct 2004 and as we recently know some players have been lived tested at events and disqualified for failing equipment.

Who has been disqualified from a professional tour event for having a driver that failed the random CT test by the USGA which is done before an event starts? Names were leaked from some of the early CT tests where a few readings came in high but nobody was disqualified. The players simply put a new head in play. The COR test was an established rule with the USGA and R&A. Easy to find information on it.

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11 hours ago, grm24 said:

Who has been disqualified from a professional tour event for having a driver that failed the random CT test by the USGA which is done before an event starts? Names were leaked from some of the early CT tests where a few readings came in high but nobody was disqualified. The players simply put a new head in play. The COR test was an established rule with the USGA and R&A. Easy to find information on it.

 

Sorry about that, my correction my mistake,  its been a little hectic, so my memory is quite fuzzy, when I quickly type these reponses. I am miss quoting and mis-remembering my apologies.   Thank you for the corrections so I may update my future post.

 

I re-googled, and correct the test happened prior to the events and the players had a chance to find a conforming replacement.  I stand corrected. I dont know how I missed it as I remember hearing about it on the Golf Channel and I thought I heard someone was disqualified.  But as confirmed I miss heard or misunderstood.

 

 

As for the COR.  I admit I have not done extensive research,  but a deeper google dive has confirmed your points.  I guess I managed to pick the first google points and roll with it.  I recall reading that the reason for the change from COR to CT was due to the cumbersome testing equipment.  the CT unit was portable and able to be taken to events. where the COR required more equipment and was hard to transport.  Then it went on to say something to the effect of the COR being a base line, (I assumed on my error) that I didnt confirm it to be a rule more than a baseline. So my apologies.

 

Thanks again for the corrections. I have also updated my post so that misinformation can be limited.

 

 

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I've never cracked or dented a driver or fairway wood.  Been playing my M4 since they came out and the Epic 15* for well over a year and no issues.  I play a decent amount of golf.  Now as a side note, I'm not the longest or hardest hitting person so my experiences may not be representative of the typical WRXer.  😆

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