2010 drivers: A search for speed

(Left to right) Ping i15, Mizuno MP-630 Fast Track, Bridgestone J38
(Left to right) Ping i15, Mizuno MP-630 Fast Track, Bridgestone J38

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Golfers will hear a lot about speed in 2010. In the driver universe, swing speed will be topic No. 1. Manufacturers will talk about more distance because of higher clubhead speed, and the conversation will grow more sophisticated with complex discussions of clubhead aerodynamics and drag.

It makes sense. Driver limitations, as established by the U.S. Golf Association, are measured with machines. So clubmakers are focusing on aerodynamic developments that allow people, not machines, to accelerate the driver faster during the swing.

At the same time, several manufacturers continue to stress adjustability as a primary feature for 2010. Golfers are able to adjust these drivers for shot pattern (draw, straight, fade) and trajectory (higher or lower).


The skinny: Face angle adjustability is the calling card of this driver. A golfer, using a torque wrench, can select one of 32 face-angle positions. Along with its companion Victory Red driver, the VR Tour, the STR8-FIT has a bold new shape and look for 2010.

Cost: $479.99 MSRP

Available: Feb. 1

Callaway Diablo Edge Tour

The skinny: The 2009 Big Bertha Diablo has become the 2010 Diablo Edge, and the Diablo Edge Tour is the skilled-player version of this driver. Made of four titanium pieces that are fused, the driver has what Callaway is calling the “largest sweet spot of any Callaway Ti driver.” The standard model has a deep red finish, while the tour model has a black finish.

Cost: $299

Available: March 15

Tour Edge CB3

The skinny: In a world of 460cc drivers, the CB3 is something of a throwback. It is smaller at 430cc, which is intended to provide enhanced workability. This driver features a titanium face and body, along with a heavy steel sole plate. The two metals are joined with a brazing process.

Cost: $349

Available: Immediate

Ping i15

The skinny: Don’t want to hook the ball? The fade-biased i15 is a driver designed for low-handicap golfers. It has a traditional pear-shaped head with a bulging crown and deep face. The sleek carbon finish sets it apart frommost titanium drivers.

Cost: $405 MSRP

Available: Immediate

Cobra ZL

The skinny: The big news here is the sound. The ZL has a low-pitched sound that is different from recent Cobra drivers. The performance is still there, but the sound is more of a solid thump than a bang. Traditionalists will love this driver. Featuring Cobra’s Advanced Multi-Material Construction, the ZL already has been used by Ian Poulter to win on the PGA European Tour.

Cost: $349.99

Available: Immediate

Adams Speedline Fast 10

The skinny: Adams, which has engaged in extensive wind-tunnel testing for all of its Speedline drivers, is saying its newest creation has 10 percent less drag and 10 percent more forgiveness. Thus, the name Fast 10. At the recent Re/Max World Long Drive Championship, Adams captured every division.

Cost: $299.99

Available: Feb. 1

Mizuno MP-630 Fast Track

The skinny: Features a face made of super-strong Ti-9 titanium. The face angle can be adjusted to 45 neutral, draw and fade positions. This is the latest in a lineof appealing drivers from Mizuno, which has built its reputation on forged irons.

Cost: $499

Available: Feb. 1

Bridgestone J38

The skinny: Bridgestone has excelled at designing low-spin drivers. The company’s latest offering, the J38, is more forgiving than its predecessor, the J33, and actually has slightly more spin to keep the ball in the air and achieve maximum distance. The face is marginally shallower than the J33, and the head is deeper from front to back.

Cost: $449 MSRP

Available: March 1

Cobra S2 driver

The skinny: Cobra is expanding the S2 family with new drivers and fairway woods. The unique paint scheme on the driver makes the S2 look as if yellow flames are shooting out of the sole. The S2 driver features Cobra’s 9-point face technology (for maximum forgiveness) and adjustable flight control (for changing the face angle). Also sold in a draw-biased offset version. Available in 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 11.5 degrees.

Cost: $299 with Fujikura Fit-On graphite shaft

Available: Feb. 15

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