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Equipment

Cobra, Ping, PXG, TaylorMade with new drivers on conforming list

Cobra Darkspeed, Ping G430 Max 10K, PXG 0311 Black Ops, TaylorMade Qi10 LS on conforming list

November 13, 2023
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It may be the wind down to the competitive golf calendar year, but the season of new clubs is just heating up.

As manufacturers begin their respective pushes to the 2024 launch season in a few months, occasionally there will be glimpses of what they’ve been working on. While those of us who are already neck deep in the 2024 Hot List process already have seen what’s coming, three equipment companies showed their respective hands recently with photos on the USGA and R&A conforming lists of drivers.

Golf’s governing bodies both added new Cobra, Ping, PXG and TaylorMade drivers to their rosters of drivers that are now available for use on the world’s professional tours and other events that require competitors use drivers on the conforming lists. While none of the companies released specific details on the drivers, and while there is no guarantee that these models will eventually be available to the public, it seems easy enough to do the math given what we know about product cycles and introduction timelines.

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First up appears to be an extension of Ping’s G430 line of drivers, the G430 Max 10K. Unlike the other drivers in the G430 lineup, while the details on the conforming listing mention a tungsten weight, there does not appear to be draw and fade settings. Also, like the previously introduced G430 LST, there appears the phrase “Carbonfly Wrap.” That could be a reference to the same kind of carbon composite crown, which wraps around the edge of the crown into the skirt section, used on the G430 LST. On that driver, it was used to save weight and lower the center of gravity to help tee shots launch with less spin.

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Joining the Ping addition appears to be the next family of Cobra drivers. The conforming listing includes three models under the Darkspeed moniker: Darkspeed LS, Darkspeed X and Darkspeed Max. Each model features sole weights, including three on the Darkspeed LS with two of those toward the front. The images also show the phrases "PWR-Bridge" and "PWRSHELL" on the sole. If past models like this year's Aerojet family are any indication of what's in store here, he former refers to internal weighting in which mass is positioned low and close to the face in an arcing bridge-like structure. The latter references Cobra's L-shaped face design that wraps around the leading edge and into the sole.

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Also recently put on the conforming list is the PXG 0311 Black Ops driver, which includes two additional Tour-1 and Tour-3 models. That design features the familiar PXG extreme heel, toe and center weights on the sole for additional adjustability for ball flight and CG position.

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Finally, there’s a completely new TaylorMade driver making the rounds. The Qi10 LS features some of the similar looks of the company’s recent drivers, including the angled rear weight port, the face flex-enhancing slot in the sole (known as the “speed pocket”), and some kind of sliding weight at the front part of the sole. Given the sliding weight’s forward position, it doesn’t seem much of a stretch to suggest that the “LS” might refer to “low spin.” Like the Stealth and Stealth 2 before it, this driver includes the word “carbonwood,” a likely reference to the company’s flagship technology of a carbon composite face insert, first seen in the Stealth in 2022 and updated with this year’s Stealth 2 drivers.

No word on when any specific players might be putting these drivers in play, but it seems also a likely bet that putting a model on the conforming list on the week of a tournament mght mean someone wants to give one of these new sticks a swing before the season fully winds down. That includes the DP World Tour Championship, CME Group Tour Championship on the LPGA Tour and the RSM Classic, the last event on the PGA Tour schedule where players will solidify their status for the 2024 season. For the players, it might be the end, but for these clubs, it’s only the beginning.