Forgiving Driver Shoot Out

What happens when you take 6 drivers from 6 different companies and put them head to head against each other with nothing but high handicap players? A THP Driver Shoot Out is what happens and we just finished conducting another one. This time with golfers with higher handicaps to determine which driver is best suited for players trying to get better at this game. Here is how it works.

All drivers are going to be hit for 15 balls by each person.
All drivers are 9 or 9.5 degrees with a standard stiff shaft. (the same that participants currently play)
Here is what they are basing judgment on with distance and accuracy each worth 2 points and the rest worth one point.

Look
Sound
Feel
Distance
Accuracy

Each golfer ranked his drivers one through six after totaling his points based on the above criteria. Let’s first meet the competitors (drivers) and the participants (golfers).
1. Nike DYMO Str8 Fit
2. TaylorMade 2009 Burner
3. Mizuno MX-700
4. Nickent Evolver
5. Powerbilt Air Force One
6. Cleveland Monster

Both the Nickent Evolver and the Nike Str8-Fit are able to be adjusted but for the sake of this Shoot Out we set both drivers at standard and did not allow altering of either one.

Now let’s meet the golfers that participated in the challenge. THP gathered twelve golfers for this event and each player had to have a GHIN official and current handicap. 4 golfers with handicaps over 25, 4 golfers with handicaps from 18-25, and 4 golfers with handicaps from 12-18.
Over 25
James R – Plays at a 26.7 and really struggles with a slice. Currently playing a 2007 TaylorMade Burner.

Stephen R – Plays at a 30.1 and off the tee is his biggest issue. Currently playing a Mizuno MX-560.

Mark B – Plays at a 25.3 and he has come down from a 28 in less than a month since correcting his slice off the tee. Currently plays a Ping G10 and does not like it.

John A – Currently plays at a 25.1 and slicing is his biggest issue. Currently playing a Ping G10 and is also looking for something else.

18-25
John H – Currently plays at a 20.0 and has come down from a 31 in the last 6 months. Currently using a TaylorMade R7 460.

Ross F – Currently plays at a 23.5. His current driver is the Callaway FT-i and he fights a hook with it.

Kevin W – Currently plays at a 18.9. His current driver is the TaylorMade R7 425.

Michael F – Currently plays at a 21.4. He is still fighting a slice and is playing with a Cleveland Hibore XLS.

12-18
Rick B – Currently plays at a 13.8 and has only been playing
for 2 years. His driver of choice right now is the Nike Sumo.

David O – Currently plays at a 16.1 and still fights a slice. His current driver is a TaylorMade R7 460.

Franklin C – Currently plays at a 16.4 and is really struggling off the tee. His current driver is a Callaway FT-5.

Bobby C – Currently plays at a 16.7. His current driver is a Titleist 907D2.

For the sake of this article, we will give the results for each handicap index group, but for people that want more detailed info, there will be a link at the bottom of this page to go into our forums and read how each golfer fared and what they liked and disliked about each driver. Click here to be taken to in depth analysis from this shoot out.

Remember each golfer was required to fill out a card ranking each driver 1-6 based on the criteria listed above with distance and accuracy being slightly more important than looks, sound, and feel. Here are the results for the different handicap index groups.

Over 25
1. Cleveland Monster – 19 points
2. Nike DYMO Str8-Fit – 19 points
3. Mizuno MX-700 – 15 points
4. Nickent Evolver – 11 points
5. TaylorMade Burner – 10 points
6. Powerbilt Air Force One – 10 points

What we were hearing
– Cleveland Monster – Very long and very straight but one person struggled with the sound.
– Nike DYMO Str8-Fit – Most just loved the feel of this club but 2 of the testers hated the grip.
– Mizuno MX-700 – Most said it was the straightest. However some did not like the graphics on the head and everybody thought the ball flight was very high.
– Nickent Evolver – It seemed this one was all over the map. People either loved it or hated it.
– TaylorMade Burner – All 4 golfers had the same issue and that is that they felt as though the club was too long for them.
– Powerbilt Air Force One – Solid performer that the testers really liked. But they could not get passed the looks and sound of this one at all.

18-25
1. TaylorMade Burner – 16 points
2. Mizuno MX-700 – 15 points
3. Powerbilt Air Force One – 15 points
4. Nike Str8-Fit – 13 points
5. Cleveland Monster – 13 points
6. Nickent Evolver – 12 points

What we were hearing
– TaylorMade Burner – When struck dead on it was by far the longest. Some struggled with slice.
– Mizuno MX-700 – It got up quick and stayed up. Very straight even on mishits.
– Powerbilt Air Force One – Either dead last or first on all ballots. Performance was NOT the issue.
– Nike Str8-Fit – Everybody loved the distance, but each golfer struggled with slicing this one.
– Cleveland Monster – 2 golfers could not get past the sound of this one but none had any issues with performance.
– Nickent Evolver – 3 out of the four golfers had a tough time controlling this one and losing them to a slice.

12-18
1. Nickent Evolver – 16 points
2. Cleveland Monster – 15 points
3. Nike Str8-Fit – 15 points
4. TaylorMade Burner – 14 points
5. Mizuno MX-700 – 14 points
6. Powerbilt Air Force One – 10 points

What we were hearing
– Nickent Evolver – 3 golfers LOVED it and 1 player hated everything about it.
– Cleveland Monster – Sound killed its chances of the top spot by each golfer. Performance was top notch.
– Nike Str8-Fit – All 4 golfers fought a small slice with this one.
– Taylormade Burner – Longest out of every driver here. All 4 had control issues.
– Mizuno MX-700 – All 4 golfers thought ball flight was an issue. But loved the straightness of the shots.
– Powerbilt Air Force One – 1 golfer fell in love with this club the rest called it a “hook machine” and “lacked feel”.

As you can see some groups seemed to like certain drivers better than others, but results were really all over the map. However when votes were tallied, we had a tie for first place. Here are the standings at the final bell.

Overall

Cleveland Monster – 47 points
Nike Str8-Fit – 47 points
Mizuno MX-700 – 44 points
TaylorMade Burner – 40 points
Nickent Evolver – 39 points
Powerbilt Air Force One – 35 points

As with all of our shoot outs these are not based on our rankings. They are based on golfers selected by THP based on handicap. They are completely unbiased and reflect only the opinions of those that participated.

You can read much more about each individual tester and what their thoughts were on each driver

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