2015-16 Driver Roundup: An AmateurGolf.com Staff Review
19 Oct 2015
by Rusty Cage

see also: Equipment Reviews

Conventional wisdom tells us that driver technology doesn’t change much from year to year. Perhaps there’s some truth to that. However, if you haven’t bought a new club in the last few years, you may be surprised to discover just how many additional yards you could be missing out on.

If you don’t always make contact on the center of the face (and let’s face it, that applies to everyone), today’s drivers are better able to retain higher ball speeds on shots struck on the perimeter. They are also easier to play and spin lower than ever before - which translates to distance gains for nearly every kind of player.

At AmateurGolf.com we’ve compiled a list of the most sought after drivers of 2015 including just released models that are going to see plenty of action next Spring.

Titleist 915 D2 / D3 Drivers

The 915 model drivers from Titleist are definitely not the new kids on the block, but these sticks are tour-proven for sure. Jordan Spieth and Zach Johnson used them to lock up three of the last four Majors, and that tally doesn’t even consider over a dozen other wins worldwide.

Titleist 915 D series driver
Titleist 915 D series driver

The 915 drivers are notable for being lower spinning than their predecessors while being a little more forgiving. The 915 D2 driver has a 460cc head. It launches higher than the more compact 440cc D3 that is deemed more workable. Titleist was able to save weight up front allowing them to move the CG low and deep to increase MOI. Both driver models feature the Active Recoil Channel that undercuts the sole of the club, allowing a wider region of the face to flex at impact while imparting less rotational energy when the ball leaves the face.

Key Features:

  • Active Recoil Channel improves distance on shots struck towards the toe or heal
  • High MOI Design maximizes ball speeds without sacrificing forgiveness
  • Traditional Head Design that better players prefer
  • SureFit Tour Hosel with up to sixteen unique loft and lie combinations available
  • Multiple stock shafts and flexes are readily available

Callaway Great Big Bertha Driver

The Great Big Bertha was one of Callaway’s most successful drivers back when it launched nearly two decades ago. It was considered highly innovative for its time, and the new version is certainly no pushover when it comes to modern design.

The new Great Big Bertha is Callaway’s most forgiving driver. It also spins less than the company’s V-Series driver as well as other previous models. Expect it to deliver superior distance and forgiveness for 80 to 90 percent of all golfers.

Callaway Great Big 
Bertha driver
Callaway Great Big Bertha driver

One of the reasons why it’s so easy to hit: a 10-gram sliding weight runs across a track on the perimeter of the clubhead. Callaway put it there to add stability and to let golfers fine- tune the dispersion of their drives, leaving them with virtually unlimited draw and fade bias options.

Key Features:

  • Next generation R-Moto face maximizes ball speeds on shots hit on the perimeter
  • Adjustable sliding weight increases the club’s MOI while offering dispersion control
  • The Optift Hosel offers eight different configurations to tune loft and face angle
  • Multiple stock shafts and flexes are readily available

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond Driver

While most players will benefit from playing the Great Big Bertha, Callaway also offers a unique driver better suited for those golfers with turbo-charged swings. The Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond offers those players extreme distance from a lower- spinning head.

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 
816 Double Black Diamond
Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 816 Double Black Diamond

The new Big Bertha Alpha 816 is Callaway’s lowest-spinning driver as a matter fact. It’s also as forgiving as last year’s Big Bertha Alpha 815 driver, offering a 45 percent larger sweet spot and a 30 percent tighter dispersion.

With the new driver, Callaway continues to expand the capabilities of its Gravity Core module. You can place the weight into one of two separate Dual Distance chambers to fine tune both your spin and direction. Finding the best combination of both produces greater distances and the shot-shaping control better players desire.

Key Features:

  • Dual Distance Chambers give you total control over your launch conditions
  • Next generation R-Moto tech provides a thinner face for higher ball speeds
  • Designed with a Deeper Face and Traditional Shape favored by skilled players
  • Mitsubishi Diamana D+ and Aldila Rogue I/O shafts come standard

Ping G30 Driver

The success of the Ping G30 driver can be summed up this way: it’s golf’s version of a Polaroid camera - just point and shoot. The G30 is one of the most forgiving drivers around due to a center of gravity location that is the lowest and furthest back on any Ping model available. That makes it one of the easiest drivers to put in play out of the box.

Ping G30 driver
Ping G30 driver

And while the Ping G30 is extremely forgiving, it also happens to be very long for its high MOI design. The G30 is outfitted with what the company calls turbulators across the the crown. Turbulators help reduce drag and increase the club’s ball speed across the face. The combination of excellent ball speeds and the easy-to-launch design made the Ping G30 one of the best reviewed drivers over the past year.

Key Features:

  • Turbulator technology in the crown generates faster ball speeds
  • The driver’s CG position ensures optimal launch and high MOI
  • Matte black crown and modern design appeals to better players
  • Multiple stock shafts and flexes are readily available

TaylorMade M1 Driver

As well-received as TaylorMade’s R15 driver had been, the new M1 is being heralded as a marked improvement, both in terms of length and adjustability. Both the M1 460 and 430cc models are incredibly high-launching and low-spinning. But the real difference between the new driver and past models is that the unlike TaylorMade’s SLDR or even the R15, the M1 is more forgiving, making it the one TaylorMade driver almost anyone can play.

TaylorMade M1 driver
TaylorMade M1 driver

Both models of the M1 driver have a T- track weighting system that lets golfers change both the launch height and direction of their tee shots. Also, both drivers have a light-weight carbon composite crown that lowers the center of gravity to increase forgiveness and distance potential.

Key Features:

  • Two separate weight slugs allow golfers to control launch height and direction
  • Two-tone crown design saves weight from the upper and rearward part of the driver head
  • Loft Sleeve allows golfers to set their preference for face angle, loft and lie
  • Fujikura Pro 60, Mitsubishi Kuro Kage TiNi Silver and Aldila Rogue Silver 70 shafts are standard

Cobra King LTD / LTD Pro Drivers

With its King LTD and LTD Pro drivers, Cobra literally lets you see the technology inside. A circular cut out in the club’s sole gives you a glimpse of the aerospace-inspired technologies that allow these clubs to be longer and straighter than ever.

Available in two models, the new Cobra drivers use the same head design. The King LTD comes in a higher loft configuration and has a more upright draw bias design, while the King LTD Pro is the lower-lofted version with the flatter look. Both clubs feature the unique, removable “Spaceport” sole weight that repositions weight lower and deeper to help increase launch and lower spin. The new drivers also use a carbon fiber material called Textreme which is 20 percent lighter than standard. Textreme allowed Cobra to make the crown thinner and lighter which improves distance and dispersion on off-center hits.

Cobra King LTD driver
Cobra King LTD driver

Key Features:

  • Spaceport weight creates an extremely low and deep CG with high MOI
  • Forged Titanium face has variable thickness for thinner, hotter sweet spot
  • Textreme Carbon Fiber crown repositions weight for extreme distance and forgiveness
  • Aldila Rogue Black 60 shaft comes standard

Srixon Z355 Driver

In the past, Srixon has primarily focused on releasing drivers geared for highly skilled golfers. But their new Z355 driver which uses a heavy club head and counterbalanced shaft is set to help golfers who generate lower club head speeds.

Srixon Z355 driver
Srixon Z355 driver

Srixon calls their new driver feature “Action Mass Technology”. The Z355 uses a lightweight, high balance point Jinsoku shaft from Miyazaki to offset the extremely heavy club head, creating the opportunity to generate more ball speed which leads to greater distance.

Key Features:

  • Action Mass combines a heavy head and counterbalanced shaft to deliver consistency and distance
  • Titanium Cup Face creates a larger sweet spot for increased distance off the tee
  • QTS Adjustable hosel offers 12 unique settings to configure loft, lie and face angle

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