Equipment: New LooksJanuary 10, 2018

New Driver Faces Bring The Heat

Photo by Jeffrey Westbrook

The rules limit how much driver faces can flex. But they aren’t preventing them from flexing more effectively. On the PGA Tour, the average ball speed (how fast the ball comes off the clubface) and smash factor (the ratio between ball speed and swing speed) have increased in the past five years. That means the average of all hits with the latest drivers—including mis-hits—are likely flying farther than they did the last time you went driver shopping. New structures and materials, stronger titanium alloys and thinner faces lead to new distance potential for all players. Here are four new ways to get faster now.

Cobra’s designers used a precise milling process (as opposed to the usual manual grinding and polishing) to create a thinner face for improved ball speeds. Two movable weights let you choose between standard and draw settings.
PRICE: $400

One way to make the face better is to think about how it works with the crown. Here, the high-strength titanium-alloy face gets a boost from a strong, lightweight, carbon-composite crown that flexes at impact to transfer more energy to the ball.
PRICE: $500

3.) MIZUNO ST 180
The wave-like pattern on the sole does two things: (1) It reduces stress on the advanced titanium-alloy face for a faster-flexing structure. (2) The sole pattern allows more mass to be placed lower in the head for less ball spin.
PRICE: $400

4.) XXIO X
Why not make the face as flexible as you can where players make contact most often? The face for this 10th-generation driver has been thinned out in off-center areas, resulting in a larger sweet spot heel to toe.
PRICE: $650