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Test driving the drivers Battle of the beasts!

Golf Driver Review

Many golfers will tell you that getting it right off the tee is immensely important. In reality, however, this is probably more for the mentality of the player than the score making potential; shaving off shots on or around the green is the best way to really impact the final score. Plus, the increased power and different set-up of drivers brings a higher margin of error. So why, when so many things can go wrong, do so many players place great importance on having the right driver?

The simple answer is, nothing sets up the rest of the hole (and for some the round) like a solidly hit drive. It’s also more fun than playing the percentages, and let’s not forget the last, all-important reason: everyone enjoys taking out the big club and impressing his or her playing partners with a shockingly long tee shot, splitting the fairway like a pro.

So with these things in mind, we headed out on a cold January morning with three amateur golfers representing a range of handicaps to test three of this year’s latest drivers. Each player was asked to take at least five hits with each club in an actual round and give his opinion on each of the clubs, as well as grade them with marks out of five on look, feel, performance and distance.

The Clubs

Nike VR Tour driver, TaylorMade R9 Supermax Driver, Tourstage X-Drive 705 (Type 455)

Nike VR Tour driver

Tiger Woods endorses this club that has “shot shaping distance capabilities.”

Club settings: Length: 45.75 inches. Shaft flex: stiff. Loft: 9.5. Weight: 322 grams.


TaylorMade R9 Supermax Driver

This club has an adjustable head and weights to “totally optimize you.”

Club settings: Length: 45.75 inches. Shaft flex: stiff. Loft: 9.5. Weight: 292 grams.


Tourstage X-Drive 705 (Type 455)

This club is known for its “integrated power body,” new titanium alloy material, and hybrid head structure.

Club settings: Length: 45.25 inches. Shaft flex: stiff. Loft: 9.5. Weight: 313 grams.

Player's Verdict


On the Nike:

Look: 4.5/5. “It has race car good looks, especially with the red compression channel. I really like it.”

Feel: 3/5. ‘It feels good in the hand, but on impact it feels a bit unresponsive.”

Performance: 2.5/5. “It might look like a race car, but for me it didn't perform like one. In its defense it went straight and pretty far when struck in dead center, but it wasn’t very forgiving when struck even slightly off-center.”

Distance: 4/5. “I hit 250 to 280 yards on average.”


On the TaylorMade:

Look: 5/5. “I loved the black head with the black shaft, it gave it a black widow feel!”

Feel: 5/5. “It’s super responsive. It lets you know if you’re doing the right thing.”

Performance: 4/5. “Definitely get it with the stiff shaft. The club was quite forgiving on the off-center shots, but it was a little difficult to control the shape.”

Distance: 4/5. “I hit between 280 and 300 yards.”


On the Tourstage:

Look: 3.5/5. “The head is quite large, and looks a bit boxy.”

Feel: 3/5. “If you like a heavy head, this is the club for you. It felt a little awkward for my club head speed.”

Performance: 4/5. “For me it was solid and easy to keep straight. I was always on the fairway, but lacked my usual distance.”

Distance: 3/5. “I hit an average of 250 to 280 yards.”

Player's Verdict


On the Tourstage:

Look: 3/5. “I did like the shape of the head.”

Feel: 3/5. “The club head felt a bit heavy for me.”

Performance: 3/5. “Unfortunately, I was only able to hit it well once.”

Distance: 3/5. “I averaged 230 to 240 yards.”


On the Nike:

Look: 5/5. “This was the best looking of the three for me.”

Feel: 3/5. “For me, the balance was a bit off.”

Performance: 2.5/5. “I think this club is more suitable for a lower handicap. I could not get used to it.”

Distance: 2.5/5. “I averaged about 230 yards with this one.”


On the TaylorMade:

Look: 5/5. “I liked the black ‘ninja’ look!”

Feel: 5/5. “I liked the responsive, springy feel of the club face on impact. It’s definitely sporty.”

Performance: 4/5. “Impact feedback made this club’s performance, and it went further than my own driver!”

Distance: 4/5. “I hit an average of 280 yards.”

Player's Verdict

Paul Braganza

On the TaylorMade:

Look: 5/5. “It’s gorgeous.”

Feel: 5/5. “It was responsive and balanced.”

Performance: 5/5. “I feel like I didn't have to force it to get great results.”

Distance: 5/5. “I managed to hit one 320 yards!”


On the Nike:

Look: 5/5. “It looks very modern; the design is great.”

Feel: 3/5. “I felt that the club felt bit too long, even though it’s a similar length to the other two. I liked the weight distribution—it feels well balanced.”

Performance: 1/5. “Control was difficult—I tended to spray this one a bit.”

Distance: 1/5. “I managed to get only one drive on the fairway, which was 240 yards, so I can’t really gauge the distance.”


On the Tourstage:

Look: 5/5. “It looks impressive—the large head looks like it could send a ball into the stratosphere!”

Feel: 5/5. “It felt really good stepping up to the tee. In general it had a good snap to it on impact.”

Performance: 4/5. “A close second to the TaylorMade for me. With the extra head weight I was unable to hit it long, but it was not so forgiving if I strayed from the sweet spot.”

Distance: 4/5. “I averaged 280 yards.”

The Outcome


Look: 15/15

Feel: 15/15

Performance: 13/15

Distance: 13/15

Total: 56/60



Look: 14.5/15

Feel: 9.5/15

Performance: 6/15

Distance: 7.5/15

Total: 37.5/60



Look: 11.5/15

Feel: 11/15

Performance: 11/15

Distance: 10/15

Total: 43.5/60


Look: 1. TaylorMade 2. Nike 3. Tourstage

Feel: 1.TaylorMade 2. Tourstage 3. Nike

Performance: 1. TaylorMade 2. Tourstage 3. Nike

Distance: 1. TaylorMade 2. Tourstage 3. Nike


Overall Standings:


2. Tourstage

3. Nike

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