Driver Shootout Contest - Harry's Pick

Harry Longshanks

ILikeBigPutts&ICannotLie
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
Messages
12,044
Reaction score
97
Location
Home on the Range
Well, this seems to have been one of our more popular contests. Before I give the name of the driver that I picked as my favorite, I want to do a recap for those coming in late, as well as some information on why I picked the "winning" driver. If you aren't interested in any of that and just want to know the brand/model that I picked, you can skip down the the spoiler at the bottom.

The Competitors: As we posted in the Driver Shoot Out thread and the Contest thread, the full field consisted of:
Adams Fast 10
Adams Speedline 9032 LS
Bridgestone J38
Callaway FT Tour
Callaway Diablo Edge
Callaway Diablo Edge Tour
Callaway FT-iz
Cleveland DST
Cleveland DST Tour
Cobra ZL
Fourteen Golf JC-909
Geek Dot.com This
Nike Victory Red
Nike MachSpeed
Ping G15
Ping I15
Powerbilt Air Force One Air Foil Tour
Srixon ZTX
TaylorMade Burner Super Fast
TaylorMade R9 Super Tri
Tour Edge Exotics XCG3
Wilson Staff Smooth

Procedure
: We decided that the driver testing should be as close as possible to the way that consumers choose clubs - just hitting them. So the testing was a wholly unscientific test. No measuring, no launch monitors, nothing. Just JB, GG, and me standing out on a range for several hours watching me hit driver after driver after driver, and watching distance and ballflight. As I was hitting, I would sort the drivers into piles of finalist, non-finalist, and need to hit some more. (Except for the finalists, don't ask me which ones went into which piles, because it is all a blur.) After all was said and done, I selected 7 finalists, and over the next 2 days (36 holes), I tested out the finalists.

The Swing: As I've mentioned in several threads over the past few months, I have been struggling mightily with my driver. I've always fought an over the top swing, but lately I've mitigated in in the irons, but the driver went wonky. It's an easily correctable flaw, as my pro proved when he fixed it in about 15 minutes at my last lesson right before I flew to Florida for the PGA Show. However, it hasn't completely stuck. As a result, I was worried that my swing might affect the outcome in terms of whether the driver that worked best for me during the testing was one that I would want long term if I was actually buying it. That turned out not to be an issue. The driver swing was far from perfect, but it was close enough to my long term swing for testing purposes. There were a few bizarre ball flights here and there, but it was obvious that they were the result of my swing and not the drivers. Just as an average consumer would, I based my picks on accuracy/forgiveness, distance, and sound/feel.

Finalists
: As I posted in the contest thread, 7 drivers (in alphabetical order) advanced from the range to the course:
Adams Speedline 9032LS
Callaway Diablo Edge
Callaway FT Tour
Cleveland DST Tour
Ping G15
TaylorMade Super Tri
Wilson Smooth
I was surprised that two "Tour" drivers made the cut considering my driver woes lately. Particularly when both are sub-460 cc drivers. I've never had the "I want to play what Tiger (or Phil or whomever) plays" mentality, so in the past I have always gravitated to the 460 cc drivers. And JB and GG can attest to the fact that I was so focuses on hitting balls and making sure I gave each club a thorough test, that I couldn't even keep the drivers straight. It wasn't until after I put them in the finalist pile that I realized that the Cleveland DST Tour (430cc) and the Callaway FT Tour (440 cc) were in there.

Finalist Testing
: Two drivers per 9 holes were put in my bag for testing on the course. I'm not particularly long (and we played a 7000+ yard course on the second day and most holes were into a 20-30mph wind), so I used driver a lot. All of the finalists got as good a testing as I could have hoped for.

As I played, the drivers filtered into 3 basic categories:

Good, Really Good, and Oh My. Now keep in mind that these were the finalists, so "Good" is a relative term. Here, Good category drivers already beat out many other drivers. Perhaps bronze, silver, and gold medalist(s), with an overall winner, might be a better way to think of the finalists considering the Winter Olympis start in a few weeks, but we wouldn't want to be accused of copying anyone, so we are sticking with Good, Really Good, and Oh My.

Good (Finalists):
Callaway Diablo Edge
Cleveland DST Tour
TaylorMade Super Tri
Wilson Smooth
Really Good (Finalists):
PING G15
Oh My! (Finalists)
Adams Speedline 9032LS
Callaway FT Tour
First, the PING G15 was very close to making it into the Oh My! category. After range testing and before on course testing, I was confident that the G15 would take the Overall Winner trophy. But after the on course play, the G15 was fractionally below the Adams Speedline and the Callaway FT Tour. I'm not sure why the G15 didn't stay on top. Perhaps the smaller finalist field allowed me to focus more clearly on the details? In any event, the G15 is a fantastic driver and I would not hesitate to put it in my bag.

Second, the Oh My! category. Listen, I'm just as shocked as you are. I've never even demo'd Adams drivers before. As for the FT Tour, I normally don't care for composite drivers. Or Callaway drivers. And a "tour" sub-460cc driver? What the heck is going on here?

The Adams Speedline feels and plays like a conventional 460 cc titanium driver. But it is long and forgiving. I had a fairly high ball flight (but not too high) with the Adams and it consistently punched the ball longer than any other driver.

The Callaway FT Tour was a little shorter and about the same foregiveness on decent swings, but on horrible swings, it seemed to correct a little where the other drivers couldn't. I have no idea if it actually did, but it sure seemed that way. Ball flight was a little more penetrating than the Adams. And the feel/sound of the FT Tour was unsurpassed. Traditionally, I haven't liked composite drivers because they felt kind of dead to me. But the FT Tour feels lively and it actually had the feel of compressing the ball like you get with irons.

I had a LOT of trouble deciding between the Speedline and the FT Tour. It was hard enough where I considered declaring a tie on several occasions. But finally I decided that if someone was giving me a driver, and only one driver, I would choose one over the other.

So, after several days of testing, and several more days of debate, my pick for the best driver in the 2010 THP Driver Shoot Out is:

Spoiler
The Callaway FT Tour.


I have no idea who voted for what in the contest, so I am as anxious as everyone else to find out who, if anyone, picked the same driver that I did.
 

cwill

New member
Joined
Oct 25, 2009
Messages
653
Reaction score
2
Location
Papillion, NE
Handicap
19.2
Great job, Harry! Very detailed. I picked the G15, so guess I missed out. Glad you liked it though.
 

MO_Hacker

At the drag strip
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
6,662
Reaction score
54
Location
Kansas City, MO
Handicap
DragRacing
Great write up Harry, it's what we've come to expect from you!

Unfortunately for me we weren't on the same page with this driver shootout
 

dtak84

Active member
Joined
Nov 18, 2009
Messages
1,578
Reaction score
6
Location
Irving, Tx
Handicap
11
very nice write up. (Like ALWAYS)

I'm glad you also found something that you really like that was a complete surprise. Opening new doors is always a good thing with equipment!
 

Harry Longshanks

ILikeBigPutts&ICannotLie
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
Messages
12,044
Reaction score
97
Location
Home on the Range
Unfortunately for me we weren't on the same page with this driver shootout
Dude, even I wasn't on the same page with me!

If I had picked before the testing, I probably would have put the FT Tour and the Speedline near the bottom of my list.

Just goes to show that you should always test clubs with an open mind. You never know what you might find.
 

Smallville

#WeLoveYouAlex
Joined
Oct 16, 2008
Messages
98,688
Reaction score
453
Location
Kansas City, Kansas
Handicap
In Flux
Heck, I was out before the finalists were announced! It was funny watching everyone getting all anxious about the whole thing since I didn't have to get involved! hehe
 

Harry Longshanks

ILikeBigPutts&ICannotLie
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
Messages
12,044
Reaction score
97
Location
Home on the Range

ClairefromClare

Give 'em Helen!
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
12,275
Reaction score
93
Location
Right over THERE
Handicap
Brazilian
I really enjoyed that, Harry--you made it feel like were there with you.

Like Cwill, I picked the G15. Nice to know I was close.
 

MO_Hacker

At the drag strip
Joined
Oct 22, 2008
Messages
6,662
Reaction score
54
Location
Kansas City, MO
Handicap
DragRacing
Just goes to show that you should always test clubs with an open mind. You never know what you might find.
That's my problem, there are a few companies that I just really don't even want to try. I'm kinda afraid I'm missing out but I just don't like them.:confused2:


FTR: I picked the G15 too
 

thedue

Another Day in Paradise
Joined
Jul 5, 2009
Messages
25,823
Reaction score
75
Location
Nebraska
Handicap
8
I'm out, but great job Harry. Good luck to the winner!
 

White Rhino

SANDBAGGER!!!!!!!
Joined
Nov 22, 2009
Messages
17,314
Reaction score
82
Location
Los Angeles
Dude, even I wasn't on the same page with me!

If I had picked before the testing, I probably would have put the FT Tour and the Speedline near the bottom of my list.

Just goes to show that you should always test clubs with an open mind. You never know what you might find.


That is a good idea.. I think we should all pass the drivers around and all have the chance to test them all out. (yea right) :banana::banana::banana:
 

bonknhead

New member
Joined
Jul 13, 2009
Messages
4,613
Reaction score
19
Location
Hillsboro OR
Handicap
18
Great way to narrow down a driver that works for you Harry. We can all take a lesson on how you pared down a long list of great drivers and finally picking the one that best fits our game. Thanks for the great writeup.
 

ClairefromClare

Give 'em Helen!
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
12,275
Reaction score
93
Location
Right over THERE
Handicap
Brazilian

Dirt_Guy

I dig holes.
Joined
Dec 4, 2009
Messages
2,747
Reaction score
12
Location
Fort Dodge, IA
Handicap
Bogey-ish
Re: Driver Shootout Contest - Harry's Pick

That was a great breakdown of your experience Harry. I'm glad to hear such a thorough test was accomplished in a small time frame. I guess this opens my eyes as well because I would have never expected some of your finalists.

I was banking on the G15 to be the apple of your eye, so I'm glad I was close.
 

Harry Longshanks

ILikeBigPutts&ICannotLie
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
Messages
12,044
Reaction score
97
Location
Home on the Range
I hope that's so they can customize it for you. Except your :( suggests otherwise.
It is common for companies to ask for their clubs back. It keeps everyone on the planet from starting a blog and asking for equipment. Completely understandable.
 

ClairefromClare

Give 'em Helen!
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
12,275
Reaction score
93
Location
Right over THERE
Handicap
Brazilian
It is common for companies to ask for their clubs back. It keeps everyone on the planet from starting a blog and asking for equipment. Completely understandable.
Of course. I just thought JB had said you'd get to keep yours. Though that may have been that the contest winner gets one, and I conflated them.

IIRC (and of course I do), you have a birthday coming up. :present:
 

Harry Longshanks

ILikeBigPutts&ICannotLie
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
Messages
12,044
Reaction score
97
Location
Home on the Range
Of course. I just thought JB had said you'd get to keep yours. Though that may have been that the contest winner gets one, and I conflated them.

IIRC (and of course I do), you have a birthday coming up. :present:
Did he? That would be awesome. Maybe he did. Frankly, I still haven't recovered. I slept last night, and had a 90 minute nap this afternoon, but I'm still at that stage where I'm exhausted but can't sleep. So I could just be forgetting.

I can't emphasize enough how much work it is to cover the PGA Show.
 

Spank818

Brian Gaysian
Joined
Dec 21, 2009
Messages
8,589
Reaction score
80
Location
Orlando, FL
Handicap
TMEX 4.19
Great write up Harry. It must have been a task to sort out through all those clubs. Get some rest!!!
 

ClairefromClare

Give 'em Helen!
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
Messages
12,275
Reaction score
93
Location
Right over THERE
Handicap
Brazilian
Did he? That would be awesome. Maybe he did. Frankly, I still haven't recovered. I slept last night, and had a 90 minute nap this afternoon, but I'm still at that stage where I'm exhausted but can't sleep. So I could just be forgetting.

I can't emphasize enough how much work it is to cover the PGA Show.
Don't take my word for it! I didn't go back and check or anything.
 

interlooper

Wishing I was golfing now
Joined
Nov 2, 2009
Messages
3,661
Reaction score
25
Location
Chicago, IL
Handicap
10.3
Thanks for all the info, Harry. I hope you had a fantastic time trying out all those clubs.
 

Puttin4Bird

Say what again mf'er!
Joined
Feb 26, 2009
Messages
26,511
Reaction score
112
Location
Sioux Falls, SD
Handicap
3.5 GHIN
You had a lot of work on your plate for this "vacation"! I will say without a doubt that you did outstanding and I'm 100% behind THP flying you to Orlando for each and every PGA Show they cover from now on! Good work there and good work on the driver testing- that would be a really fun way to find a good driver that fits your game. Hope you get a chance to get your hands on one real soon!
 

EHSGolf1

New member
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
94
Reaction score
0
Harry- How was the Adams driver into the wind and how was the roll out with that driver?
 

Sodakrep

New member
Joined
Jan 6, 2010
Messages
226
Reaction score
1
Location
Lincoln
Handicap
21
well I was close I also picked the G15, I thought because he would have some favoritism from his irons that he was playing before the TM. Well whoever picked the FT-Tour congrats!!!
 

Harry Longshanks

ILikeBigPutts&ICannotLie
Joined
Oct 9, 2008
Messages
12,044
Reaction score
97
Location
Home on the Range
Harry- How was the Adams driver into the wind and how was the roll out with that driver?
Because it had a slightly higher trajectory for me than the FT Tour, the Adams suffered a little into the wind. But it never ballooned unless there was a serious gust.

Good roll. It didn't fall out of the sky and die or anything.
 

Welcome to The Hackers Paradise

Don't just play golf, live it!

Register Log in
Top