Golf Digest editors picks
Hot List 2008: Drivers

Hot List 2008: Drivers

Our selection of gold and silver medalists in the driver category

February 2008
Hard to believe, but true: The first time metal drivers were used to win all four majors was only 13 years ago. No single piece of golf equipment has changed in as many ways since then. Because the U.S. Golf Association has adopted limits on drivers, who knows what we'll see in the next decade? Look for advances to come less from leaps in physics than from improvements in manufacturing. The era of personalized drivers with adjustable heads and shafts, for instance, is approaching. But why wait? The future of driver technology is now. Start with these 17.

CALLAWAY FT-5

STREET PRICE: $430
WEBSITE: callawaygolf.com
LOFTS
8.5 (Tour), 9.0, 9.5 (Tour), 10, 10.5 (Tour), 11, 13 HT. Comes in draw and neutral versions. Fade version available in tour only

TECH STORY
The titanium cup-face and carbon-composite body combine for a near-traditional shape. A lightweight frame enabled designers to tweak the center of gravity for the neutral, draw and fade versions. A 25-gram weight in the sole is designed to lower the center of gravity.

PLAYER COMMENTS
"I was impressed with the distance... I'm getting more and more used to that sound... Wow, is that straight!... Less pingy. Sounds like you've crushed it. Love the trajectory."

HOT
The OptiFit fitting system is a big bonus, and the shaft-adjustability option coming this spring is especially intriguing. This driver serves all ball flights, features plenty of lofts and wraps it up with an excellent fitting program.

NOT
A fine driver, but does a year-old product need to be more than $400?
February 2008

CALLAWAY FT-I

STREET PRICE: $500
WEBSITE: callawaygolf.com
LOFTS
8.5 (LCG), 9, 9.5 (LCG), 10, 11, 13 HT

TECH STORY
The square shape helps improve heel-toe stability and crown-to-sole performance. A composite body and titanium cup-face provide design freedom for CG location. The LCG tour version is the latest addition (for lower spin), along with an interchangeable shaft-head system called I-Mix.

PLAYER COMMENTS
"This is on the smaller side, but it works as well as the bigger ones. More maneuverable... When they say it will help you hit it straighter, they aren't lying."

HOT
You don't have to like square to appreciate the effort here, especially with the addition of a tour version and the mix-and-match head-and-shaft system.

NOT
If it's square, why not push the U.S. Golf Association moment-of-inertia limit? A $500 tag prices out a lot of people who need this technology.

CLEVELAND HIBORE XLS

STREET PRICE: $300
LOFTS
8.5*, 9.5*, 10.5*, 11.5*; draw version: 9, 10.5, 12; (*also comes in tour version)
WEBSITE: clevelandgolf.com

TECH STORY
The third generation of the scooped-crown design has a wider and larger face (17 percent bigger than the HiBore XL) and an MOI above 5,000. Helping to increase that number is a thinner wall (0.6 millimeters) and deeper indentations in the heel-and-toe sections of the scooped crown.

PLAYER COMMENTS
"It's the farthest, most stable driver yet. The ball doesn't balloon... This is like that country song, 'I got a brand-new girlfriend!' You just choose your loft and go... I hit one clear on the heel, and it still went decent."

HOT
The best way to make an unconventional-looking driver is to make it play like an old standby--on steroids. That's what we have here. Plus, we like the three versions.

NOT
Adding a 13-degree, nondraw version would help better players with slower swing speeds.

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