Diving is a unique sport because it needs life assistance devices. That’s why our ScubaLab group invests much of its time carrying out hard-core examinations on regulators, BCs, computer systems and fins. You depend upon your vital dive equipment to keep you safe, and our task is to assist you discover the very best alternative at the very best expense.
See ScubaLab’s Most current Device Evaluation
However the dive experience incorporates more than simple survival. Diving is a sport — it’s expected to be enjoyable. So we entered search of the essential dive devices — toys, tools and more — that aid you take pleasure in the total dive experience. The following are the top devices we believe every scuba diver needs to have.
1. A Great Full-Sized Equipment Bag
Cressig Gorgona Dive Bag
Courtesy Zach Stovall
Every scuba diver requires a bag to arrange, transportation and safeguard their equipment. We advise you do it right with dive-specific travel luggage that’s not just custom-made to safeguard your equipment however that can withstand sun, saltwater and sumo-like luggage handlers. The pattern in full-sized dive travel luggage is towards somewhat smaller sized and distinctly lighter bags as airline companies have actually gotten stringent about travel luggage constraints over the last few years. Here are 3 brand-new designs that impressed us. See ScubaLab’s newest dive bag evaluation.
On any dive boat smaller sized than your common attack aircraft carrier, so-called “dry locations” are rare. How do you make sure your wallet, cellular phone, clothing and towel remain bone-dry while you’re out having damp enjoyable? Your best option is an airtight dry bag that will seal out water and wetness even if dropped overboard.
It’s another world on the reef during the night, and your passport to diving night is a reliable dive light. You require an excellent primary for night diving, obviously, however an excellent pocket light works both as a backup light and for peering into crevices by day.
If you truly wish to impress the other scuba divers on the boat, do not loaf informing traumatic stories about getting lost — simply return to the boat without needing to surface area to discover it. Some computer systems — take a look at the ScubaLab computer system test here — consist of a digital compass, however you might require to utilize an excellent, old-fashioned compass if you wish to hone your navigation abilities.
Take it from us: Emerging down-current a long, long method from the dive boat is one lonesome sensation. You can’t constantly avoid it, however you can get ready for it with an excellent set of surface area signaling equipment. We advise a high, inflatable signal tube, an ear-splitting whistle and a signaling mirror as basic devices on every dive.
Getting lost at sea is a problem for nearly any scuba diver, however you can put your mind at ease with a GPS rescue signaling gadget such as the Nautilus Marine Rescue GPS. As soon as you trigger the Nautilus, your GPS position is sent out to surrounding boats — it likewise drifts and can be required to 425 feet.
7. A Great Components & Tool Package
Minor equipment failures like a blown O-ring or dripping fitting will not keep you from diving if you have the ideal backup parts and tools to take part in some standard field repair work.
No piece of dive equipment has actually enhanced more over the years than the dive knife. The most recent styles utilize much better products that withstand deterioration and hold a sharp edge longer than ever in the past. See ScubaLab’s latest dive knife review.
Scuba divers understand the noise all too well — clank! clank! Tank bangers are ideal for divemasters mentioning animals in the blue or friends who wish to rapidly catch the attention of another scuba diver.
We love rock climbing shoes, and we bet you do too. The good news for climbers is that there are more styles and quality products to choose from than ever before. Time-tested classics like the La Sportiva Miura VS, impressive new models such as the Skwama, and up-and-coming brands like Unparallel all are represented on this list of the top climbing shoes of 2020. From long alpine routes to overhanging sport climbs and bouldering, we’ve got you covered. In addition to the men’s or unisex version, we’ve linked to the women’s-specific model when available. For more background information, see our climbing shoe comparison table and buying advice below the picks.
The Velcro model of the Miura has become far more ubiquitous than the lace-up in recent years, and for good reason. The VS is a stiffer, more aggressive shoe, and unlike the Lace is constructed with the P3 midsole. Whereas the Miura Lace can become a floppy comfort shoe in no time, the VS will hold its aggressive shape throughout the years. That said, with a leather upper, expect the Miura to stretch a bit over time (if this is a concern, take a look at the partially synthetic Otaki below). Further, many climbers agree that the toe box puts undue pressure on the big toe. But, as the saying goes, if the shoe fits, it doesn’t get much better than the Miura VS… Read in-depth review
What we like: A bouldering slipper that provides amazing support.
What we don’t: Some will want a softer shoe.
The Instinct VS is a relatively new shoe from Scarpa that quickly has grown in popularity. It established itself as a versatile choice for sport climbing and bouldering, but it’s also a common pick for indoor and competition climbing (most notably, 11-time American Bouldering Series champion Alex Puccio cites the Instinct VS as her favorite shoe). The rubber-shrouded toe and heel are excellent on steep rock, and the medium-stiff rand offers more edging power than we’re used to seeing in a bouldering shoe.
Made with synthetic microsuede, the Scarpa will stretch less than a leather shoe, but an elastic patch on the top of the foot gives it a close fit. The stiff feel and moderate downturn set it apart from most shoes made for high-performance sport climbing and bouldering, but a thinner 3.5mm sole adds sensitivity and flex (note that the XS Edge rubber on the men’s version is replaced with XS Grip 2 on the women’s model for an even softer, grippier shoe). Scarpa also offers the same design in a softer version with a 2mm sole (the VSR), which is ideal for lighter climbers or those who prefer a more sensitive feel. And the impressive Instinct family is rounded out by a high-performance lace model and a slipper (SR), each of which are quality, standout shoes in their own right…
Butora might not be a household name like La Sportiva or Scarpa, but the Korean company quickly is gaining traction in the U.S. Before launching Butora in 2014, shoe designer Nam Hee Do had been in the business for over 30 years (most notably, he worked with Chris Sharma to design the Shaman). He came out of the gate swinging with an impressive attention to detail and use of top-notch materials, and their Endeavor quickly became our top pick for a beginner shoe. With its $100 price tag, we recommend it to anyone new to the sport, and even to guides or gym rats looking for a super comfortable all-day shoe.
The flat Endeavor won’t help you push into high-level climbing, but if you want a cozy rig that climbs up to 5.10 or V4, it won’t disappoint. The zig-zagging Velcro straps provide a snug, customized fit, and a unique mix of leather and synthetic in the upper offers comfort and breathability in the areas where you need them most. Further, the inner layer of the tongue is made of memory foam, and the shoe is fully lined with 100-percent-organic hemp to minimize stretch and odor. Plus, both the men’s and women’s Endeavor come in two versions—wide and tight—so you can tailor your fit. All in all, there’s simply no other entry-level shoe in the game with such thoughtful, quality design. And for a more comprehensive list of recommendations, check out our article on the ,,,
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know who Tommy Caldwell is. He climbed this little thing called the Dawn Wall in Yosemite a few years ago, which became some of the biggest climbing news ever—and this is the shoe that TC designed for the job. The TC Pro is an absolute climbing machine for vertical to less-than-vertical terrain, and specifically granite. While we often correlate a flat shoe with a beginner shoe, the TC Pro is a notable exception: the stiff make-up and sticky XS Edge rubber make it an ultra-high-performance edger and slabber. And the upper that extends over the ankles is a game-changer for protection—we actually cringe now when faced with climbing a wide crack in any other shoe.
Take note that the TC Pro is not at all an all-rounder. On anything steeper than vertical, this shoe will feel clunky and flat, akin to having bricks on your feet. Even on thin finger cracks, we’d rather be wearing a shoe like the Anasazi Pink or Otaki below. Boulderers, sport climbers, and gym climbers: this is not your shoe. And as far as fit goes, we’ve found that sizing the TC Pro comfortably does not compromise much in the way of performance. For an all-day shoe that you might take to the mountains and wear with a sock, this is great news… Read in-depth review See the La Sportiva TC Pro
Downturn: Moderate Upper: Synthetic Closure: Lace What we like: Our favorite shoe for technical face climbing. What we don’t: Painful in wide cracks.
The Anasazi Lace (aka the “Pink”) is sort of like living in Colorado—you know who wears this shoe because they tell you they wear the shoe, all the time. Pink fans are true devotees. This shoe excels on vertical face—trad, sport, or bouldering—with excellent edging power that comes from a unique heel and high-tensioned rand. The lace closure allows for a closer, more precise fit than any of the Velcro options above, and the synthetic Cowdura upper minimizes stretch throughout the life of the shoe.
The fit of the Pink doesn’t work for every foot, but when it does, it seems to work extremely well. In other words, you’ll probably love the Pink or hate it, and therefore we heartily recommend trying this shoe on before you buy. And everyone is bound to like the price: at $150, the Pink is one of the most affordable high-performance shoes on this list. To add to that, Five Ten’s popular Anasazi collection is available in a number of different versions: recent iterations include a Velcro model (VCS) and the Pro, a bouldering-specific version of the VCS with a rubber toe patch… Read in-depth review See the Five Ten Anasazi Lace
Downturn: Aggressive Upper: Leather/synthetic Closure: Slipper/Velcro What we like: Fantastic quality; comes in both narrow and wide sizes. What we don’t: Unique toe shape might take some getting used to.
We took the tried-and-true La Sportiva Solution off of our list and replaced it with the Acro, which is Butora’s solution to… the Solution. In just a few years, these shoes quickly have proved their performance chops, gaining a devoted following amongst boulderers and sport climbers alike. If you’re a La Sportiva diehard and the Solutions fit you well, by all means stick with them. However, if you’ve struggled with their fit and are looking for something slightly more comfortable, less bulky, and super form-fitting, it might be time to try out the Acro. And it doesn’t hurt that the quality of this shoe is absolutely outstanding. Despite heavy use, our pair shows no signs of frayed stitching or delamination.
The truth is that we have few gripes about the Acro, although we don’t recommend it for less-than-vertical terrain. The shoe is almost completely covered with rubber, making it a toe- and heel-hooking machine, perfect for boulders and steep sport climbing. It also has a full-length 3D ABS midsole, which means that it retains the downturned shape over time. Climbers in general have been very impressed with the fit, too: the Acro comes in both narrow and wide options and fits a wide spectrum of foot sizes. And the most recent addition to the lineup is a “Comp” version, which is a softer variation of the original slipper…
Downturn: Aggressive Upper: Synthetic Closure: Velcro What we like: It’s tough to argue with Chris Sharma. What we don’t: The “Knuckle Box” and “Love Bump” are features you’ll either love or hate.
Designed in part by Chris Sharma, the Shaman is best suited to the kind of climbing Sharma enjoys most: steep, endurance limestone sport routes. They perform incredibly well on this terrain, dominating small pockets, toeing in on positive crimps, toe hooking on tufa-like features, and heeling on small edges. The Trax rubber is not our favorite, but it is super sticky and performs well once you get used to it. Meanwhile, the synthetic upper maintains a tight fit over time, and the Velcro straps are thin enough to give ample room for toe rubber.
All in all, the Shaman is a really good shoe at a very competitive price. That said, Evolv’s unique “Knuckle Box” and “Love Bump” technologies certainly offer a unique experience. The Knuckle Box creates space on top of the foot, making room for toes to sit comfortably, even when curled. The Love Bump, meanwhile, is a physical bump that sits under the ball of the foot, filling the dead space under the toes and pushing them toward the knuckle box. The intention is to create a comfortable space for a downturned foot, and if the fit is right, it accomplishes this goal. But if the fit is not right, it’s really wrong. We definitely recommend trying on the Shaman before buying or choosing an online retailer with a good return policy…
Downturn: Aggressive Upper: Leather/synthetic Closure: Lace What we like: The No-Edge technology is, as the name implies, genius. What we don’t: About as expensive as climbing shoes get.
The La Sportiva Genius is a high-performance climbing shoe, perhaps best known for its role in popularizing No-Edge technology. It’s a highly aggressive model that features a toe box rounded around the natural shape of the toes, rather than the standard beveled edge we’re used to seeing. The result? It can conform to a large surface area better than shoes with edges, resulting in more sensitivity, stickiness, and security on rock. No-Edge technology has been embraced by many, and now is available on a few more Sportiva models, including the men’s and women’s Futura and the Maverink slipper.
The Genius received rave reviews—including from us—upon its release, but now that the fanfare has settled, it’s uncertain as to whether No-Edge technology truly is a game-changer. On the right terrain (think overhung with large footholds, or especially slabby), it allows you to have the messiest of footwork and still stick to the wall. But for vertical face climbing with small edges, you’ll be left with very little to stand on. Overall, the tradeoffs are similar to that of many shoes: you get high performance on one kind of rock, but not on another. Furthermore, when it comes time for a new sole, you’ll have to send your shoes to one of just a few specialized resolers to get the job done…
9. Unparallel Up Mocc ($110)
Downturn: Flat Upper: Leather Closure: Slipper What we like: A durable, comfortable slipper made in the U.S.A. What we don’t: An unlined slipper isn’t for everyone.
If you haven’t yet heard of Unparallel, here’s your introduction. After Five Ten was bought out by Adidas in 2011, their production was moved overseas, leaving their SoCal factories and many former employees idle. Before long, Unparallel was born, taking over Five Ten’s abandoned spaces with a resolve to carry the U.S.-made torch. Now, this grassroots company makes a full line-up of climbing, mountain biking, and commuter shoes, with a dedication to high-quality materials and construction.
Unparallel’s Up Mocc is a classic, unlined leather slipper, great for all-day comfort on everything from long trad climbs to boulder problems. It differs from the popular Five Ten Moccasym in a few ways: for one, it’s cheaper at $110 (compared to the Moccasym at $125). Second, the Up Mocc has a rubber toe patch, which gives the shoe more durability, protection, and performance in cracks. Last, it’s simply a better-made shoe. In the past few years, the quality of the Five Ten Moccasym has diminished—most notably, many have experienced issues with the leather tearing—leaving many former devotees on the lookout for a replacement. And if slippers aren’t your jam (let’s be honest, they’re not for everyone), we recommend taking a look at Unparallel’s complete collection of bouldering, sport, and trad climbing shoes. See the Unparallel Up Mocc
Downturn: Moderate Upper: Leather/synthetic Closure: Velcro What we like: Downturn plus stiffness allows for great edging on vertical face. What we don’t: The wide toe box is good for some, but sloppy for others.
The Otaki is a relatively recent innovation from La Sportiva, along with its sister shoe, the lace-up Kataki. Built on the same last as the Skwama below and with the same P3 technology and S-Heel design, you’d think the Otaki was a bouldering shoe. And it can be—but it’s also so much more. We’ve worn this shoe both on vertical sport climbs and hard finger cracks and have been super impressed with its performance in both environments. In short, you get both the edging capabilities of the Miura VS and the crack-climbing versatility of the Katana Lace. That’s one impressive recipe.
The Otaki (and Kataki) is often touted as the successor to the Katana Lace, but a few major features set it apart. For starters, the Otaki is constructed with a synthetic lining around the toe, reducing the pesky stretch that occurs in the toe box of the Katana. Additionally, the Otaki has a more aggressive downturn (PD 75 vs. the Katana’s PD 55 last), a Velcro closure, and S-Heel technology that make it a superb crossover shoe between technical face climbing and steep bouldering. And wide-footed climbers rejoice: the Otaki is just as comfortable as the Katana. If you’ve struggled to fit into the Miura VS, the Otaki could be a viable solution.
Every golfer wants to drive well. Straight and as long as possible is what most of us want. The TaylorMade R15 is designed to do just that. It is not for beginners but more experienced golfers will appreciate the benefits of this club.
In this review of the TaylorMade R15 Driver, we will explain what it has to offer.
The main purpose of the driver is to get you good distance off the tee. There are, however, a few other things needed. The TaylorMade R15 is all about distance but has a good many other significant advantages.
It is an advanced driver with a host of features and technologies. It is probably not best for beginners but most golfers, especially the mid to low handicappers will gain a lot from the R15.
As we said, distance is the main purpose of a driver. Distance should be your main goal unless perhaps you are an absolute beginner. There are a number of designs and technologies that make up a driver capable of delivering a good distance. The R15 encompasses the bulk of these technologies in their own unique way and then add a few of their own.
Even experienced golfers still want a fair amount of forgiveness. A forgiving driver will allow balls that are not struck perfectly dead center to still travel a good distance without straying too far off course.
This is related to forgiveness. The maximum allowed is 460cc. While this will give you more confidence at address and more forgiveness it can slow your swing down slightly. The R15 is available in a 360 or 330cc build.
Aerodynamic Head Design
The more aerodynamic the head the faster you should be able to swing which will result in more distance. With TaylorMade design and technology, you can be sure the heads are ultra-aerodynamic.
This will determine how high the ball launches. A higher loft will result in a higher launch. While the launch is important, too much loft will reduce distance. As with many aspects of drivers, it is all about finding the right balance. If you struggle with loft look for a driver with a good loft or an adjustable loft that you can work with.
This is important especially for better players that know what they are doing. Adjustability adds a bit to the weight of the driver but can help you dial it in for your specific needs, the course or weather conditions on the day.
The shaft is an important aspect. Weight and length are important but critical is the shaft flex. The faster your swing speed the more stiffness you want in the shaft. Conversely, a slower swinger will want more flex.
TaylorMade were pioneers in drivers introducing the first steel 12-degree loft metal wood as far back as 1979. While they make a range of quality golf clubs they have always been known for highly effective drivers.
They had great success with the R series driver for many years before switching to the SLDR. The R15 marks their return to the popular R series and it has a lot to offer.
It is a driver designed primally for distance while still offering ample forgiveness. It is highly adjustable and delivers a high launch with minimal spin.
What TaylorMade has done with the R15 is build on their extensive experience and success with earlier models and tweaked a few areas to make the R15 faster, longer and more effective than earlier models.
There are a number of technologies that have gone into making the popular R15 the driver it is and we will explore these in more detail.
Plenty of playability
Accurate and forgiving
Value for money
Better players had some challenges shaping their shots perfectly
Some golfers are not crazy about the crown graphics
Not ideal for higher handicap players
Features & Benefits
Low and forward center of gravity
This is one of the design features TaylorMade has used for a while and they have fine-tuned it for the R15. It promotes a good launch with a low spin. This maximizes distance.
Some players might need additional loft to make this work but fortunately, the R15 is highly adjustable. More on that later. You can always work the loft to your style and swing speed.
Speed Pocket and Inverted Cone Technology
As you would expect from a TaylorMade driver, they have incorporated a speed pocket as well as inverted cone technology. These are both tried and proven technologies that promote distance.
The inverted cone technology not only improves distance but also makes the R15 more forgiving and allows for better results on off-center hits.
The Speed Pocket further reduces spin adding more to the speed and distance of the driver. The updated front track system also operates as a Speed Pocket which allows for a larger sweet spot and helps keep the spin low.
While many modern drivers offer adjustability TaylorMade take it to a whole new level with the R15. You can dial the driver into to your exact needs. The 4-degree loft sleeve will give you an optimized launch.
They also sport “new & improved” sliding split weights that can be positioned to the toe for a fade or the heel for a draw. You can literally have the best of both worlds and adjust the driver to your specific needs. This feature is also handy on tricky courses or when the wind is high.
Flight Control Technology TaylorMade call it, with good reason. There are not many drivers that allow for such perfect adjustability.
The head is lighter than previous versions and has been flattened out. This allows for greater ball speed and distance. It is available in a 460 or 430 CC configuration according to your needs. It is a large head, make no mistake, but the sleek appearance allows it to still fly swiftly through the air. The aerodynamic design is exceptional.
The shaft is also new and is the Fujikura Speeder 57 Evolution shaft, one of the leading shafts available. It has a Lamkin UTX Grip. It is a fair 45.5 inches length and available in a range of options including Extra Stiff, Stiff, Regular and Light. Ensure you match the shaft stiffness with your swing speed.
There is no denying that looks are important, particularly with drivers. Most golfers will agree that the R15 is an impressive looking driver. Despite the adjustability and great technology, it looks modest yet powerful. It does have a large head so it has an imposing presence but does not look oversized by any stretch of the imagination.
The crown graphics are subtle yet some are still put off by them. The shape is sleek and refined and appeals to most players. There is a decent alignment aid for those that want one. It is subtle enough for those that do not want one to be able to ignore them but they are for those that prefer them.
The feel at impact is generally favored by most players. It is not as assertive as some other drivers but certainly lets you know what you did and how you did it.
This is a high-tech driver that has a good combination of technologies. The adjustability, Front track Speed Pockets, sliding weights, and low and forward CG combine well to create a driver that delivers distance with fair forgiveness. It is highly adjustable and works well for most mid to low handicappers.
There is no doubt that the TaylorMade R15 is a killer driver but that it is not to say it is the only great one. There are a number of other worthy alternatives.
Here are a few options worth a look:
1. The Ping G400 Max Driver
Ping know their way around a good driver and the G400 Max is a classic example of their design skills and technology. It has a large sweet spot so is highly forgiving but does not compromise on distance.
It also sports a center of gravity near the rear that delivers distance combined with forgiveness. It is a versatile driver that works well for a range of players and is not just for better players.
It is forgiving and hits long and far. It is not the cheapest driver you will find but it delivers the goods and is extremely popular and well-liked.
2. The Cobra King F9 Speedback
As quality drivers go, the Cobra King F9 Speedback is a serious contender. It also features a low and back weight position for optimal COG and has a CNC-milled face. The entire design supports speed and has a fair amount of forgiveness.
It also features great adjustability and the interchangeable sole weights range from 2g to 14g for optimal performance according to your game. The MyFly hosel also allows for flexibility and fine-tuning of the paly on this driver.
3. The Titleist TS2 Driver Review
Another legendary driver, the TS2 uses legendary Titleist technologies that have made them famous. The adjustable hosel and Speed Chassis stand out. They combine well to give the driver forgiveness and make it workable for a wide range of golfers.
This thin clubface promotes energy transfer, speed, and distance. In a driver designed for distance, this is all-important.
There is no doubt about it, your driver is one of the most important clubs in your bag. You need one you can rely on. All golfers have different needs but distance and accuracy rate amongst the top for golfers at all levels.
The TaylorMade delivers on both aspects and still offers so much more. It is undeniably a long driver which is vital. It is forgiving and accurate. At the same time, it still gives you good playability and control for a distance driver. There is not much more you could ask for. If you are looking for distance and control, the R15 is a good option.
When selecting the best driver for your needs you have to consider your skill level as well as your main priorities. This will help to guide you to select the best driver to fit your needs.
Consider your needs and skill level. If you play a relatively decent game you cannot go wrong with the TaylorMade R15. It is a player’s driver that will still work well for the mid handicappers. Gain a few feet with your tee shots and maintain accuracy with the TaylorMade made R15 driver.
Golf equipment makers are dependent on many aspects of player selection. There is no piece of equipment that would suit all players.
Drivers are the most difficult club in the bag to execute to its full potential. The main reasons for this are the length of the shaft, the speed of the swing and a flatter swing plane than most other clubs.
2020 has seen a number of brands with ground-breaking innovation making purchasing a driver an exciting time. Most significant advancements were achieved on face technology and testing the COR limits maximizing ball speed.
Most players will stick to tried and tested drivers for many years with the average number of rounds that a diver is used being around 200 – 300. This excludes the visits to the driving range.
There are many categories for comparing equipment and a few categories are mentioned below. This review will focus on the category where there are the most active players namely the Most Forgiving Drivers for Mid to High Handicappers.
Although most drivers were released as pairs, e.g. TaylorMade M5/M6, we will highlight the major differences between the clubs but only review the one that is most applicable to the mid to high handicappers.
It is advisable to have a club fitting with your local club pro to ensure that you will gain maximum benefit and consistency from your driver
The player skill level should play a big role in the decision of the equipment purchased. Although the advertisers would want you to believe that the newest driver would add a major distance advantage to your game, this is not always the case.
Purchase the equipment that will suit your game and budget rather than spending vast amounts on equipment that will not add value. It is recommended that the money is rather spent to do a proper fitting with a professional to achieve better results.
This review is based on the intermediate players (mid to high handicappers). A brief description of the categories for the reader to decide whether they fall into this category.
The players in this group require as much assistance as possible. In most cases, this means less equipment, basic fitting until a constant swing is established. Purchase the most forgiving clubs on the market and improve your game.
The majority of players fall into this category and this is where the equipment reviewed will add the most value.
The clubs chosen should mostly be forgiving for the off-center hits as up to 90 percent of hits in this category are still off-center.
Even in this category players, even some professional players, still use forgiving equipment.
Most heads released conforms to the maximum of 460cc. It is advisable to purchase a driver with the maximum size and very few players will benefit from smaller sized heads.
The loft of your driver should be in line with your assessed club-head speed.
20 – 14 Degrees
85 – 94
13 – 12 Degrees
95 – 104
11 –,10 Degrees
105 – 115
9 – 7 Degrees
7 – 4 Degrees
The adjustability of the driver will play a big role depending on the skill and the personal preferences of the player.
Some players prefer to tinker with the setup on a regular basis where others are more inclined to take standard options and concentrate more on the workability of the ball.
It is important to note that adjustability will add weight to the driver as well as increase the cost. Not everyone needs adjustability.
If you do select a club with the adjustability, take the time to understand how it works so that it can help and not hinder your game.
Although there are many factors that play a role in the shaft, flex is probably the most important. The table below can be used as a guideline.
53 – 62
L – Ladies
63 – 76
100 – 110
A – Seniors / Amateur
77 – 92
110 – 139
R – Regular
93 – 107
140 – 160
S – Stiff
X – Tour Xtra Stiff
The lighter the shaft, the faster you can swing it. Lighter shafts are a bit whippier than heavier shafts.
The length of the shaft plays a role in the consistency of the shot and strike. Have the shaft fitted for length and you will reap the benefits.
With the original jailbreak technology plus an AI designed face generating thousands of virtual prototypes resulted in increased ball speed across the meat of the face. The stable head accommodates off-center hits without major loss of direction and distance.
Flash Face Technology for low spin and high MOI
Jailbreak Technology for faster ball speeds and therefore distance
Adjustable Perimeter Weighting allows for control and versatility
Some find the crown design distracting
The sound is not to all golfers liking
New Flash Face technology is as a result of AI technology being put to use to design the new face of the drivers.
The AI simulated in excess of 15000 iterations to set the correct thickness across the face and remain within the trampoline effect parameters as set out by the USGA.
The new technology allowed the thickness reduction from 5/1000 to 2/1000 inch by forging the inside then milling the front pushing the boundaries of legal limits.
The results of the improvements have been proven and the majority of players have seen speed gains of up to 10 MPH while still conforming to regulations.
The increase in ball speed necessitates a stronger face. Epic Flash Face is tempered for strength before being welded onto the head to create the 595C Super Aged Forged Titanium clubhead.
The club retains the original jailbreak technology from the Epic range into the new Flash Face design. The Epic Flash model will suit more players than the Sub Zero.
The Epic Flash Sub Zero driver is more suitable for better players wanting to shape the ball flight than the Epic Flash.
The classic Callaway curved line is set back from the leading edge and the club sits well at address. The head-on the Sub Zero version has a slightly deeper head giving it the impression that it is more forgiving.
The Flash Face is a series of thick and thin swirls that give it the appearance likened to an ear. The Epic Flash is neither round and compact nor stretched and triangular.
The boldness of the head cover design has to be applauded. The crown has thin green and gold stripes on a backdrop of black carbon fiber. At address, you can see the ball framed by two lines of white dots to assist in alignment.
The look is improved by the laser-etched lines together with the five larger rectangles around the sweet spot at the end of the lines. The Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero driver comes in a smaller more compact head as the standard model without losing any of the features.
The sound of the ball meeting the Flash Face sounds explosive without hurting the more sensitive ears. It will intimidate those playing partners that have a lesser ego though.
It’s in the middle of the sound spectrum between a hollow sound and wooden-bat-solid. The volume and pitch are neither too high nor too low. The sound is explosive without hurting the more sensitive ears.
Generally, there is great audible and sensory feedback through the hands that will speed up the adjustment process when playing with the new driver.
Shafts come standard with a Golf Pride Align grip helping alignment through a raised ridge on the back to help with hand alignment.
The Cobra is the driver to beat in 2020 is the best value for money driver as it is the least expensive, not cheap, 2020 premium driver.
Through the balance of colors and visuals to appeal to a bigger market than before.
Low deep CG
Good speed and distance
CNC milling allows for consistency across the face
Good adjustability options
Some golfers do not appreciate the feedback and muted sound produced
Graphics are distracting to some
Cobra’s King F9 Speedback Driver aero package was inspired by supercars that Cobra dubbed “aeroficiency”. The ground-breaking combination of low CG and an aerodynamic head is the first of its kind resulting in more distance from faster clubhead speed and reduces spin.
Aerodynamic enhancements and enhanced rigidity of the carbon crown is achieved through the strategically placed “PWR Ridges maximizing speed and distance.
A reduction in drag is achieved through the use of lightweight polymer crown trips and titanium sole trips positioned relative to the direction of airflow.
The more triangular shape compared to other drivers on the market helps to slide the club through the air. The high placement of weight high on the clubhead causes a loss in distance due to increased spin.
By raising the perimeter skirt and rounding the leading edges to increase speed and stability through drag reduction, Cobra created what they call an “Aeroficient” driver.
The main color on the 2019 range is a yellow and black color scheme with a secondary option called Avalanche color of snow which is not quite pure white.
The sound and feel of the King F9 driver was also a little better too and combined with a good selection of quality shafts you get a club that feels very poised and stable.
Increased ball speed is achieved through the aerodynamic crown and restyled sole.
The most noticeable change from the 2018 model is that the blue color is replaced by black to achieve wider acceptance in a market that is returning to the conservative side.
The polished weave pattern on the crown provides a confident feel. The less pronounced sole utilizing Wave Technology has fewer ridges resulting in a stiffened sole and improved ball speed. Here is a markable improvement in feel from its predecessor and the ST190 with a reduction in the pitch off the face compared to the ST180.
Mizuno’s use of Harmonic Impact Technology results in a fine-tuned solid sound at impact. The improved adjustability with the Fast Track increases the workability of the club allowing for control of spin and direction.
The ST190 is a simpler, weight-back driver with the ST190G being super adjustable with two sliding weight tracks allowing for fine-tuning of spin and shaping shots.
The ST190 retains the distance of its predecessor but creating too much spin. The ST190 Cortech Face is 10% than the rest of the head while retaining the same Forged SP700 titanium for the rest of the head.
Mizuno offers 26 shafts without an upcharge.
The ST190 is a competitive driver in the current premium driver market with the company returning to a dark look rather than the limited appeal of the blue drivers of the previous model. The ST 190 is a competitive driver but by no means a class leader.
Ping is not the golf business rushing into equipment changes that have no benefit to the player. The G410 Plus is the first time that Ping has added movable weights to their drivers.
Ping’s new G410 SFT (Straight Flight Technology) Driver is their most fade correcting driver yet built with a draw bias
Maximized clubhead speed is achieved through a lighter swing weight but allows additional to achieve a square face at impact
The Ping G410 range has a slightly lighter color than the preceding G400 range, which is only really noticeable when placing the clubs alongside each other.
The long white grooved lines on the face (Turbulators) is meant to assist with alignment when addressing the ball.
The aerodynamically shaped crown has more-efficient Turbulator Technology creating less drag during the downswing creating improved clubhead speed and distance. The patented heat-treatment process used by Ping to create the precision forged face creates a thinner and hotter impact are resulting in maximum flexing.
An awesome sound and feel are achieved through the process of forging and the head’s internal geometry. By adding movable weights for the first time, Ping has produces its most workable driver to date.
This fist moveable weight product from Ping is highly recommended for people that are fighting a fade bias and that want to move to a more draw-biased club. It is recommended that the draw bias be set on the G410 Plus.
The M6 is an all-round offering that is one of the easiest drivers to hit currently on the market. The combination of soft looks, stable head, great sound, speed, and forgiveness will suit the majority of mid to high handicap golfers.
Impressive ball speeds and distance
No major improvements on earlier versions
TaylorMade introduces new technology named ‘speed injected twist-face’ in the new M6 driver pushing the boundaries at the edge of the Coefficient of restitution (COR) yet staying within the legal limits of speed regulations.
The technological improvements despite, the player still experiences more forgiveness than in previous models.
More ball speed is generated as by a larger sweet spot resulting from the screws in the clubface.
The M6 player would likely:
Require maximum forgiveness
Have limited to no need for adjustability
Be able to work the ball
Not be overly concerned with spin
TaylorMade M6 Specs:
Length: 45.75 inches
Loft: 9, 10.5, 12 degree
D3 swing weight
Adjustable Loft Sleeve
The M6 has a sleeker aerodynamic shape than the M4 before it. The crown consists of a 6 layer carbon fiber sole allowing for weight to be applied elsewhere to improve stability.
With the weight savings, engineers were able to create a sleek, aerodynamic shape inclusive of the new ‘inertia generator.’ The inertia generator houses the additional discretionary weight extremely low and back for maximum forgiveness while lowering the CG compared to previous models.
The M6 has a lower and deeper weight in the sole thanks to a carbon sole. The M5 has a moveable inverted T-track on the sole allowing for a 20 gram movable to be installed. The matte black traditional shaped crown inspires confidence and assists with the easy of alignment.
The sound off the face is more muted than the M4 with a stronger feel through the ball.
There are four key features to the design of Speed Injected Twist Face that allow TaylorMade to maximize ball speed;
Ultra-thin Titanium face with redesigned Inverted Cone Technology (ICT)
Reengineered, more-flexible Hammerhead 2.0 slot
Internal support foam with variable amounts of injected resin
A proprietary algorithm to tune each head, which is inspected, measured and then tuned for maximum speed and to ensure conformity.
The TS range is a major improvement on the 917 range with increased feel and performance. With TS range, Titleist is back in contention regarding distance whilst continuing to have consistency.
High clubhead speeds and good distance
Some find less control with the longer shaft
From start to finish, the TS (Titleist Speed) Project was about driving ball speed and unlocking a level of performance that golfers simply couldn’t ignore. – Josh Talge, VP, Titleist Golf Club Marketing
The TS2 allows for a straighter higher-launching fairway finder. The TS3 is more for traditionalists that prefer to optimize performance and shape shots.
The weight chamber at the back of the sole allows for an increase or decrease of the head’s weight. This, in turn, assists in choosing the shaft as a result of the changes in MOI and swing weight.
To assist in the effectiveness of the thinner features the Titleist designers streamlined head shape of the TS2 and TS3 drivers by raising the top of the club just behind the leading edge.
This reduced drag by 20% and assisted in achieving swing faster clubhead speeds. An improvement in aerodynamics was furthermore achieved by a steeper chamber between the face and the top of the crown,
The titanium crown is 20% thinner than the 917 drivers and in the process shaved 20% or 1mm of the crown. In terms of the face where 6g was cut of the weight which is a tremendous amount in terms of clubhead weight.
The face is now .35 mm thinner resulting in Titleist’s thinnest ever face. This was achieved through the implementation of Titleist’s Radial VFT (variable face thickness) concept which reduces the weight of the head and with the Speed Chassis system at the heart of unlocking speed.
Titleist drivers have improved 12% in forgiveness over previous drivers as a result of the changes.
This steeper camber from the face to the top of the crown and then a sharper drop off behind that is effectively what improves the aerodynamics. It holds the air closer to the head for longer in the same way these air tripping devices like SpeedSteps and Turbulators do and is just another way of achieving a similar result.
The Speed Chassis lowered and deepened CG more than any previous Titleist drivers. New lighter and longer stock shaft add to the increase in speed gains.
Mitsubishi Chemical Kuro Kage Black Dual Core 50: Lightweight, high launch and spin shaft. Straight Flight Weighting (SFW) reduces fade flight.
Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei AV (Aluminium Vapor) Blue 55: Lightweight, mid-launch/spin shaft that also features SFW technology. The AV stands for, which is a coated weave by the hands that’s tighter, denser, and thinner for control.
Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 60: Low/mid-launch and spin shaft with a higher balance point to optimize the swing weight. An 80-gram shaft is also available at no upcharge.
Project X Even Flow T1100 White 65: Heavy with low launch/spin. An 85-gram shaft is also available at no upcharge.
Final Thoughts On Choosing a New Driver in 2020
The reason there are so many drivers is that there is no “one size fits all”. We all have different priorities and needs. A good driver that works well with your swing style and speed is an essential piece of equipment. While all clubs are important, there is a good reason people invest more time, effort and money in their drivers and driving skills. Getting it right is important.
We have presented some of the best golf drivers and there is something for everyone. Consider your needs, your strengths, and weaknesses and select the best one for your game.
The Callaway Epic Flash/Epic Flash Sub Zero stands out as our top pick for the best golf driver for this year. The technology and design of this driver give it forgiveness and distance. It is a pleasure to drive and will help many golfers perform better off the tee.
Not too long ago we sent out an email asking you to identify some of your favorite gadgets. We got some absolutely amazing feedback, and quite frankly, you guys mentioned some things (ok…lots of things) we never would have thought of…and you mentioned the same things again, and again, and again.
This list, compiled based on feedback from our readers, isn’t a list of what’s hot. It’s a list of 10 really cool things you guys say actually work.
GOLFSHOT CLASSIC APP
GPS and Scoring Apps were popular choices among our readers, but none more so than Golfshot Classic. The interface is clean and intuitive, stat tracking is reasonably robust, as is the feature set as a whole. Some will point out that the social media and interactivity pieces aren’t as advanced as some of its competitors, while others will ask why your golf gps and scorecard needs to be social at all.
Because not every course has ball washers, and when they do they, sometimes they’re bone dry, or worse, filled with what smells like raw sewage…. several of you told us that the BallZee is one of your favorite accessories. Who the hell are we to argue? Besides, who doesn’t appreciate squeaky clean balls?“IT’S STUPID AND I GOT IT AS A GAG GIFT AT XMAS ONE YEAR, BUT I LOVE THIS THING” – BRAM
When we did our golf tee test, 4 Yards More came out on top. That’s cool, but what’s equally as impressive is that you guys think 4 Yards More is a must have. Our readers cited durability, consistent tee height and a variety of sizes, as the reasons why they love this particular tee.
Frogger Brush, Frogger Towel, take your pick as both received multiple mentions from those who replied to our email. While the towel is great, we gave the edge to the brush because of the lower price point, its replaceable brushes, and the built-in groove cleaner. Toss in the retractable cord (and Frogger did), and you’ve got a no-brainer accessory for your bag.
EYELINE PRACTICE T ALIGNMENT ROD SYSTEM
Sure, feel free to pick up some run of the mill driveway stakes from Home Depot, we’re not going to fault you for that (not even a little). For our list we chose the Practice T Alignment Rod System from Eyeline golf. We like the added durability, the anchoring system (works with most golf tees), and the crosspiece which keeps the two rods anchored together in an adjustable T-shape . The crosspiece (also available separately) works with Tour Sticks, and those Home Depot grade reflector rods as well.
SUN MOUNTAIN DRY HOOD
The rain hood that comes with your golf bag sucks (they all do, I’ve never seen one that doesn’t). The Sun Mountain Dry Hood is the first. It works with any golf bag, keeps your clubs dry and more importantly easily accessible. It also easily collapses and fits nicely where your old garbage rain cover used to take up space.
IPING PUTTING APP AND CRADLE
PING awesome little free app works like a launch monitor for your putter. It analyzes key aspects of your putting stroke and shows you how consistent (or not so consistent) your putting stroke really is, and will recommend a putter based type of putting stroke you have (straight back-straight through, slight arc, strong arc). While the app is free, the cradle that allows you to easily attach your phone to you putter shaft will set you back about $30.
You guys hammered us with recommendations for several of Martin Chuck’s training products. Sure, we love the Tour Striker Educator, but this list gives us the opportunity to introduce you to the new Smart Ball. The Smart Ball helps keep you connected while eliminating that nasty chicken wing action. It weighs next to nothing, and because it’s inflatable, the Smart Ball takes up nearly zero space in your bag.
Does HackGolf have it wrong? Is the answer to making more putts to actually shrink the size of the cup? No 3-Putt fits into a standard golf hole and reduces the size of the hole by 68%. If that’s too daunting, use only the outer ring for a 42% reduction. When you practice with a smaller cup, the real cup will suddenly look a whole lot bigger.
The final app on our list, Tour Tempo is the only thing we can offer that’s had its science validated by a Yale University study (for whatever that’s worth). As the name suggest, Tour Tempo (available for iPhone and Android) helps you integrate the same tempo used by Tour Players into your game. Over 100K golfers, including Major Championship winners have used Tour Tempo to improve their games. Why not see if it can improve yours?
2 FOR THE ROAD
While we didn’t feel right including them in the Top 10, several of you mentioned the sharpie (we like the mini), and the classic ball retriever. So here goes…
The Sharpie is almost a gimme. Doesn’t everyone mark their balls with a Sharpie? The Sharpie Mini is available in a wide variety of colors which gives you the freedom to make your mark just about any way you see fit. Toss it in your back, or clip it to the outside with a carabiner. Either way, the simple sharpie is the closest thing to an absolutely must have on this list.
IGOTCHA ULTIMATE BALL RETRIEVER
While some will be philosophically opposed to the inclusion of aball retriever (we’re right there with you…almost) several of you argued their merits on the basis of cost savings. Likely the only gadget on this list that will actually pay for itself, the 18′ iGotcha Ultimate extends long enough to reach into (and probably across) most of the hazards you’ll likely need to fish your precious balls out of. We can’t guarantee you won’t pull out a disproportionate amount of TopFlite’s, but it won’t take many ProV1s before you’ve more than broken even.