Best New Drivers of 2018
Are you in the market for a new driver for 2018? Personally, I am always in the market for a new driver if I think it will help me hit it longer and straighter.
In 2017, the Callaway GBB Epic has become one of the most popular drivers available. According to GolfWRX, the Callaway GBB Epic and Epic Sub Zero won the vote by a significant margin over the TaylorMade M2 with Titleist coming in 3rd.
It will be interesting to see if TaylorMade can take back the top spot for drivers in 2018. Without any further delay, let’s start by taking a look at what the big four (Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping, Titleist) have to offer and then make our way through the rest of the manufacturers.
2018 Callaway Rogue / Rogue Sub Zero / Rogue Draw Drivers
It will be interesting to see if Callaway can improve on the well liked GBB Epic. They have certainly given it their best shot with the new Rogue. For more detailed information on the Callaway Rogue, check out our post here.
Updated Jailbreak technology – The new jailbreak technology includes hourglass shaped bars that give the crown and sole more stiffness. The stiffer face and sole allow the face to produce faster ball speed and increased distance.
Triaxial Carbon Crown – The carbon material saves weight and allows Callaway to redistribute weight to the perimeter of the club for higher MOI and better forgiveness.
Boeing Aero Package – Callaway worked with Boeing to help refine the leading edge for better aerodynamics. The idea is to help you increase your swing speed even if ever so slightly.
The Rogue model line includes the standard Rogue, the Sub Zero, and the Draw version. The Sub Zero is for higher swing speed players who need to lower their spin. While the Draw model is for those of you who need to control your left to right ball flight.
Standard and draw models come in 9, 10.5, and 13.5. Sub Zero models come in 9 and 10.5. All models will adjust down by 1 degree and up by 2 degrees.
There are some upgraded shaft options that will cost you more, but stock retail price is $500.
Here are a few video reviews of the new Rogue. Take a look at these to get a better idea of how they perform.
2018 TaylorMade M3 / M3 440 / M4 / M4 D-Type Drivers
TaylorMade is trying to play catch up to Callaway after being the lead dog in the past. We will have to see if these new models help them become king of drivers once again.
Twist Face – This is the new feature TaylorMade seems to be promoting the most and is included on all new TaylorMade models. Instead of the traditional bulge and roll club face that has been around forever, the new Twist Face is curved open in the high toe and slightly closed in the low heel. The result is tighter dispersion on mis-hits that should cause you to spend more time in the fairway.
Hammerhead – Also included on all new models. The sides of the slot in the bottom of the club head has been reinforced to allow the club face to be lighter and more flexible. This makes the sweet spot much larger and allows for more forgiveness.
Y-Track – Only on the M3 models. The moveable weights on the bottom can now be adjusted within a Y shaped area. It gives the golfer more options to adjust for draw, fade, high and low.
The premium models are the standard M3 and the M3 440 which include all of the new technologies. The 440 version is for lower handicappers and golfers with higher swing speeds with a lower spin requirement. The M4 is slightly less expensive and does not include the Y-Track technology. It is more geared toward higher handicappers. A D-Type M4 is also available for those who struggle with a slice.
M3: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees
M3 440: 9.5 and 10.5 degrees
M4: 9.5, 10.5, 12 degrees
M4 D-Type: 10.5 and 12 degrees
Lofts are adjustable +/- 2 degrees
M3 and M3 440: $499.99
M4 and M4 D-Type: $429.99
Ping G400 / G400 Max / G400 LST / G400 SFT Drivers
Ping has always made a great driver and hopefully they can improve on the excellent G series that came before.
G400 – Standard Model
G400 Max – Higher MOI shape that is deep from the face to the back. Should be more forgiving for higher handicappers.
G400 SFT – This version is targeted toward those who need help with their slice. It has a draw bias.
G400 LST – This is the low spin model made for the low handicapper with higher swing speeds.
G400 and G400 Max: 9 and 10.5 degrees
G400 SFT: 10 and 12 degrees
G400 LST: 8.5 and 10 degrees
All models can be adjusted up or down by 1 degree.
$399 with stock shaft
Titleist 917D2 / 917D3 Drivers
While these drivers were released for the 2017 model year, they are still the latest model from Titleist and will be until late in the year. Titleist has always been more traditional and this driver does not stray from that theme.
Surefit GC – Allows the the center of gravity to be moved between the toe and heel to adjust spin and launch angle.
Radial Speed Face 2.0 – Has a thinner perimeter face width for more forgiveness and ball speed across the entire face.
Active Recoil Channel 2.0 – They refined the thickness of the walls around the channel to lower spin and add ball speed.
917D2 – Geared toward those who need a little more forgiveness, but is also great for the better player.
917D3 – Targeted at the better player with a slightly smaller 440cc head shaped in a way that lowers spin.
917D2 – 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, and 12 degrees
917D3 – 8.5, 9.5 and 10.5 degrees
Both models will adjust down .75 degrees and up 1.5 degrees.
Both models retail at $550
Cobra King F8 / King F8+ Drivers
Cobra has made some really good drivers in the last few years. The Cobra Amp Cell Pro from a few years ago is still one of my favorite drivers. The King F8 promises to be one of best they have produced based on early reviews. When it comes to new technology, Cobra is leading the way with the new Cobra Connect app being the most exciting.
Precision CNC milled face for more ball speed. Milling the face is more precise which allows Cobra to ge the face thickness right to the legal limit.
E9 Technology – Cobra analyzed over 25,000 shots and noticed that missed tended to be in a elliptical pattern from low heel to high on the toe. Armed with this information, they created a sweet spot that matches this pattern for more forgiveness.
Tilted bulge and roll axis – The top half of the face is designed with more curvature and the bottom half is more flat to optimize spin no matter where on the face you hit.
360 Aero – Like other companies Cobra has optimized the shape of the head for better aerodynamics to increase club head speed.
Adjustable CG Settings – One weight in the back and one in the heel allow you to optimize spin for greater distance and accuracy.
Cobra Connect – The only one of the major manufacturers to feature an App that connects to the golf club. The App gives you distance, dispersion, and percentage of fairways hit to help you improve your game. It will also make suggestions about the optimal driver settings for your swing.
King F8 – Geared toward those who need a little more forgiveness, but is also great for the better player. Has one CG weight toward the heel to help create more draw bias.
King F8+ – Targeted at the better player with weights in the center of the sole near the face and the back edge of the club head. This allows for more adaptability for spin and launch angle.
King F8: 9° / 9.5° / 9.5° Draw / 10.5° / 10.5° Draw / 11.5° / 11.5° Draw / 12°*
King F8+: 8° / 8.5° / 8.5° Draw / 9.5° / 9.5° Draw / 10.5° / 10.5° Draw / 11°*
All driver heads are the same. The lofts can be adjusted using the myfly 8 adjustable hosel.
Both models retail at $399
Mizuno GT180 / ST180 Drivers
Mizuno is well known as one of the leading iron companies, but their drivers have been playing catch up for a number of years. They have caught on some with their recent offerings, but still make up a small share of the driver market. The new GT180 is one of the more adjustable drivers available today and could be one that continues to help the company gain traction in the driver market.
Amplified Wave Sole – The ST180 has this technology that compresses and expands the entire sole at impact causing faster ball speeds.
Forged SP700 Ti Face – Allows more flex at impact to increase ball speed.
Sliding Sole Weights – Three tracks for sole weights give the player complete control of spin and launch angle.
GT180 – Targeted at all players with numerous settings to adjust for optimized ball flight.
ST180 – Targeted at faster swing speed players who need lower spin. Weight is concentrated low and toward the face to achieve this.
GT180 – Adjustable from 7.5 to 11.5 degrees
ST180 – 9.5 (adjustable from 7.5 to 11.5) and 12.5 (adjustable from 10.5 to 14.5) degrees
GT180 – $400
ST180 – $400
Cleveland Launcher HB Driver
Cleveland is best known for wedges and putters, but they’ve returned to the long game with the new Launcher HB. The driver goes for a throwback design, forgoing the trend of adjustability in favor of a lightweight head. Taking out the adjustable weights and lofts also allowed Cleveland to cut down on the price, with the Launcher HB being the least expensive driver on our list.
Flex-Fin Technology – This technology is designed to launch the ball with remarkable speed, even on heel and toe miss-hits.
HiBore crown – Moves the center of gravity low and deep, promoting a high-launch, low-spin trajectory.
Launcher Cup Face – Increases COR across the face, adds ball speed and consistency.
9, 10.5, and 12 degrees.
Bridgestone Tour B XD-3/XD-5/XD-7 Driver
Bridgestone updated their driver lineup in late 2017 with three new models under the Tour B name: The mid-level XD-3, the more forgiving XD- 5, and the distance-boasting XD-7.
F.A.S.T crown – Get faster ball speeds and high launch angles with our F.A.S.T. (Flex Action Speed Technology) crown design. Variable face thickness work together to minimize loss on off center strikes.
Power Rib Technology – Creates a stable base for less vibration and perfect sound.
XD-3 and XD-5: 9.5 and 10.5 degrees.
XD-7: 9 degrees.