How This Tiny Thing Can Make A Huge Difference In Your Next Driver

How This Tiny Thing Can Make A Huge Difference In Your Next Driver

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You care about your driver’s center of gravity. You may not realize it yet, but you do.

I will concede that this sort of science-y stuff can be a little bit boring, and it certainly hasn’t helped my cause any that the golf companies have tossed the phrase center of gravity around so much that it’s basically lost all meaning (while at the same time losing your interest).

But bear with me guys, keep your eyes open and read on, this CG stuff…it’s really interesting. And it’s not interesting because I said so, it’s interesting because, whether you know it or not, it’s a large part of the reason why you’re playing the driver you’re playing today.

So what exactly is Center of Gravity, and why exactly do I think it’s so damn important? Let’s get to it.

CG Defined

Center of Gravity (CG or CoG) is the point at which all of the weight of an object appears to be concentrated. An object can be balanced on a small flat point placed directly beneath its center of gravity.

That may sound complicated, but it really comes down to balance. Ever balanced anything on the tip of your finger, or as the R&D guys occasionally do, the tip of a pen? The physical point at which an object is perfectly balanced…where it doesn’t tip over one way or another and crash to the floor, that’s its center of gravity.

You might not think that a physics lesson most of learned on playground teeter totter would be relevant to a golf club performance discussion, but not only is it relevant, it’s at the very center of the discussion.

Sorry…won’t happen again.

center-of-gravity-balance

Why CG Location Matters

CG location matters because it heavily influences both performance and feel. How high your driver launches, how low it spins, how it feels, and how it sounds at impact, that all begins with its center of gravity.

Before we dig deeper into the specifics of how CG location impacts both performance and feel, there are a few things we need to make sure everybody understands.

1. It’s Called Center Of Gravity For A Reason.

As you might expect given its label, the center of gravity is always located very near the center of the clubhead. The CG of every driver measured for this series of articles is located within a box that’s 14mm front to back and 12mm top to bottom.

To put that into perspective, we’re talking about a box just a little bigger than your average Micro SD Card. It’s that small.

CG-micro-sd-1

You’ve probably seen some of the marketing/advertising graphics where golf companies claim to move the center of gravity from the extreme rear of the clubhead so far forward that it’s practically pressing against the face.

That’s total nonsense…outright shenanigans. Using our SD card (see the image above) as the example, while those OEM graphics convey a CG shift significantly more impressive than the equivalent of moving the CG from the ‘U’ to the ‘G’, in Samsung, actual reality is much closer to our example than theirs.

The reason it’s called center of gravity is because it’s near the center of the clubhead. Always.

Now that said, the CG location of a driver head has a slight forward bias because:

  • The face is much thicker and heavier than the rest of the body
  • The hosel (and all of its weight) is near the front of the club

2. Your Driver Is Stuck in the Box…Sorry.

We can talk physics and materials all day long, but the reality is that, with what engineers have to work with right now, it’s basically impossible to move center of gravity outside of that 12mm x 14mm box (SD card) we talked about before. Kind of amazing, right? Front CG, back CG…your driver, my driver, the center of gravity is always somewhere within that little box.

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3. How Millimeters Make Drivers Go Farther.

Small CG movements within our little box can have a significant impact performance.

Despite having CG locations that are only millimeters apart, a Ping G30 plays very differently from a Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Double Black Diamond. Why? CG location.

For those clubs with movable weight (adjustable CG technology), moving those weights around can alter performance significantly. For confirmation of that statement, try comparing numbers on an R15 with the weights in the middle to an R15 with the weights in the perimeter (MOI) position. Do the same with a FLY-Z+ with the weight in the front compared to the weight in the back. Grab a Callaway Alpha series driver and flip the core. Again…we’re talking about millimeters here, but those millimeters matter.

Changing the CG location changes performance.

4. Moving Mass Doesn’t Always Bring Significant Change.

I know…I just said nearly the opposite, but it’s important to understand that not all adjustable mass systems are created equal. The significance and impact of flipping, sliding, or any other type of CG movement depends on three things:

1. The direction the weight is being moved
2. How much weight is being moved
3. How far the weight is being moved

The more weight you can move over a greater distance, the more the CG will shift. Moving heavy weights over a comparatively small distance, or comparatively light weights over a greater distance doesn’t actually accomplish much.

How Center of Gravity Affects Performance

cg-quads-1

The above chart illustrates how changes in center of gravity impact performance. Here’s a quick summary.

CG Forward

Dynamic Loft: decreases
Spin: decreases
Closure Rate: decreases
MOI: decreases

CG Up

Dynamic Loft: decreases
Spin: increases

CG Back

Dynamic Loft: increases
Spin: increases
Closure Rate: increases
MOI: increases

CG Down

Dynamic Loft: Increases
Spin: Decreases

GeekTalk

Dynamic Loft is the actual loft delivered to the ball at impact.

At equivalent measured lofts, a driver with a back CG will produce more dynamic loft, and therefore launch higher than a driver with a forward CG placement. More loft produces more spin.

Closure Rate or Dynamic Closure Rate is the rate at which the clubhead closes during the downswing. The more forward the CG the slower the closure rate. Clubs with slower closure rates are generally described as being more workable. Back CG designs with faster closure rates are more forgiving, and can help to mitigate a slice.

MOI is often defined as the clubhead’s resistance to twisting. While technically accurate, that leads some to believe MOI plays a greater role in accuracy than it actually does. In perhaps simpler terms, MOI is a protector of ballspeed. The higher the clubhead MOI the more ballspeed, and by extension distance, is preserved on balls struck somewhere other than on the sweet spot.

geektalk

How Center of Gravity Affects Feel

While we can’t put hard numbers to feel the way we can performance, we can make some generalizations about how center of gravity affects feel.

On a comparative basis:

  • Drivers with forward CG locations often feel heavier than those with rear CG placements
  • A forward CG location will cause the shaft to feel stiffer.
  • Because of the effect on closure rate, forward CG drivers may be harder to square, and some golfers will find it difficult to control the club during swing

While it may not be universally true, I suspect that many of you favor clubs with similar CG locations. Whether driven by feel or performance, we like what we like, and whether we know it or not, that starts with CG location.

Details to Come

Check back tomorrow when we bring what we’ve learned today into the real world. We’re going to publish CG locations for several of the most popular drivers on the market this season. Whose drivers have the lowest CG? Who’s really forward? Who’s high and spinny?

We’re about to show you.

MyGolfSpy

Giveaway – Nike Vapor Speed Volt Driver

Giveaway – Nike Vapor Speed Volt Driver

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MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Driver for Accuracy is now available in Volt..and YOU can Win It here!

Some of you still call it neon yellow, but if you’re going to win one, you should probably start calling the color by its proper name.

Say it with me. Volt.

See, that wasn’t so hard.

vapor-speed-volt

The first time Nike Athlete Michelle Wie tests the driver, she asked something along the lines of “Can I get this with a Volt crown?”

What Michelle wants, Michelle gets, and so, in the interest of making Michelle Wie happy (and apparently challenging Callaway for the title of Kings of Really Long Driver Names), born the Nike Vapor Speed High Visibility Volt Edition was.

Michelle Wie got one, and we’re offering you a chance to get one too. One MyGolfSpy reader is going to win a Nike Vapor Speed Volt Edition Driver.

How to Enter

Entering is simply, all you have to do is complete this sentence:

nike-volt-enter

Leave your answer in the comment section below.

Rules and Eligibility

    • Contest ends Friday, June 22nd at 5:00PM Eastern Time
    • Open to all residents of planet earth
    • To be eligible you must be subscribed to the MyGolfSpy Newsletter

    • Winner chosen at random from all eligible entries
    • As always, void where prohibited
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The Club Report: Cleveland CG Black Driver

The Club Report: Cleveland CG Black Driver

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Attention lower swing speed golfers. Today we’ve got something just for you.

I know…it’s about time.

As participants in golf forums and other golf-related communities we’ve been conditioned to believe that the average golfer swings 110 MPH and carries the ball at least 300 yards (and that’s uphill, at sea level, and into a headwind).

Can you believe we had a reader question the validity of our Most Wanted Driver test because the average distance across all testers was below 290 yards? The unrealistic expectations and the quest for distance have gotten that far out of hand.

Let’s spend today getting real about some things. Let’s spend today talking about a driver for the guy who doesn’t hit the ball 250.

Cleveland-CG-Black-Driver-6

Shifting Focus

The golf companies have increasingly catered to the gearhead, and while average golfers like shiny things that move too, it means more, and often complex adjustability.

The trend towards low and forward CG positions does have the potential to create massive distance, but it offers little help to the guy who struggles to get the ball in the air or who like many of us, has a tendency to work the face rather than work the ball.

When you consider all of that, it’s actually ironic, though not surprising, that a club like Cleveland’s 2015 CG Black – a club actually designed for truly average golfers – occupies a space a bit outside of the mainstream. There’s just a hint of absurdity in that.

Slower swing speed guys, this one is really and truly for you.

Cleveland-CG-Black-Driver-10

The Competitive Set

When we compared CG Black to the majority of Speed-centric drivers on the market, we found that only Wilson’s D200 at 268 grams is in the same weight class. TaylorMade’s AeroBurner (300g), and even Callaway’s lightweight-ish V-Series (290g) aren’t really playing in exactly the same space.

The CG Black is for guys who want a lightweight driver…a really lightweight driver. At only 260g, the Cleveland CG Black is the lightest driver on the market right now.

Cleveland CG Black Driver Specs

cg-black-specs

CG Black Technology

On a comparative basis, it’s noteworthy that in the process of evolving the CG Black from 2012 to 2015, Cleveland’s engineers shifted the center of gravity lower and closer to the face.  Now all of that happened within the relative vacuum of the Cleveland CG Black line, so a lower and more forward center of gravity doesn’t mean a low/forward CG. The new CG Black isn’t designed to compete with TaylorMade’s R15 or Callaway’s Big Bertha Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond. We’re still talking about a driver designed to help average golfers get the ball in the air.

Like many drivers on the market today, the CG Black features variable face thickness. The idea is make the face more responsive in the areas where average golfers tend to miss. Face design coupled with MOI is where forgiveness comes from.

Cleveland-CG-Black-Driver-4

Speed through weight reduction is gaining in popularity with most companies now offering something that either qualifies as ultralight or is designed to compete with ultralights. Cleveland’s CG black is on the extreme end of that ultralight range. Of the 260 grams of total weight, 187g of that is in the head, while the 44g Mitsubishi Bassara shaft accounts for the bulk of the rest. You can do the math yourself to figure out the grip weight.

The totality of the design contributes to what Cleveland calls Low Swing MOI. Now is a good time to make sure everyone understand the distinction between head MOI and Cleveland’s Swing MOI. High MOI in the head is desirable. It’s where forgiveness comes from. Lower Swing MOI, according to Cleveland, is desirable because it produces more speed with the same effort.

Everybody wants more speed…at least that’s what all the commercials say.

Aesthetics

Cleveland-CG-Black-Driver-7

The CG Black offers a slightly rounded shape, a matte black crown, and absolutely no alignment aid. The only crown detail, blue accents on the trailing edge, is subtle-enough that most won’t notice it at address. While you might call CG Black a game-improvement driver, the overall design proves that game-improvement doesn’t need to be in your face. Much like the Classic line, CG Black reflects a modern take on a traditional aesthetic.

Other details include a slightly shallow face, and while difficult to explain in any meaningful way, the majority of golfers who sole driver at address will appreciate the way the heal-side edge contours hug the turf.

Cleveland put a fair amount of effort into refining the sound (and consequently the feel) of the CG Black driver. The addition of an internal rib creates a higher frequency sound at impact, which most will likely prefer over a deeper thud. The result is a club that feels more alive at impact.

Performance

Cleveland-CG-Black-Driver-4

Everything we’ve talked about is all well and good, but doesn’t it really boil down to how the driver performs?

Because of its specific and arguably narrower market focus, Cleveland declined to have CG Black included in our Most Wanted Test, but it did provide us with samples for testing. So while not specifically part of the test itself, a subset of our testers (those within CG Black’s target audience) did hit the CG Black driver during the test.

When we look at key metrics like swing speed, ball speed, and distance (total and carry) it’s not surprising that for our golfers within its target audience, the CG Black outperformed low/forward CG designs like the TaylorMade R15, Callaway Double Black Diamond, Cobra FLY-Z+, as well as a majority of the sub-460cc drivers.

Cleveland-CG-Black-Driver-5

Those drivers are generally designed for lower launching, lower spin players. They’re not designed to produce higher club head speeds or help the golfer get the ball in the air.

Among the drivers in our test, and likely across the entire market, the closest comparison to the Cleveland CG Black is the Wilson D200, and so we thought it could be interesting to take a look at a direct comparison.

The Data

cleveland-chart

As you can see, the two drivers performed quite similarly and depending on what exactly it is you’re looking for in a driver, you could probably make a case for either.

When we take a deeper dive into our data we find a bit clearer of a dividing line. For the subset of testers who swing above 85 MPH (the range was roughly 86-91 MPH), the Wilson D200 put up better numbers (nearly across the board), while for our testers under 85 MPH (roughly 78-84 MPH), the results were better – again, nearly across the board – with the Cleveland CG Black.

While the results of our larger tests suggest the D200, and other fast drivers like AeroBurner and V-Series should have wider reach within the market, for lower swing speed players, particularly those below 85 MPH, Cleveland’s CG Black is an intriguing option.

The Takeaway

Cleveland-CG-Black-Driver-3

If you swing more than 90 MPH, the Cleveland CG Black probably isn’t for you. If you’re happily playing a TaylorMade SLDR or something else of that ilk, it’s probably not for you either, and that’s okay…at least it should be.

Much to Cleveland’s credit the company isn’t taking the usual this driver is for anyone who wants more distance route. Instead the company is being specific and honest about who is most likely to benefit for the CG Black.

Unfortunately that probably also means the CG Black won’t  grab the same level of attention as the marketplace juggernauts. All things to all people is what the market likes. Still, if you’re a slow to moderate swing speed player looking for help getting the ball in the air, and who wants to have fun hitting the driver again, then take a look at Cleveland’s CG Black.

The 2015 Cleveland CG Black driver is available in 9°, 10.5°, and 12°. Retail price is $349.99.

MyGolfSpy

Contest! – Win MyGolfSpy’s 2015 Most Wanted Driver ($1500 Prize Package)

Contest! – Win MyGolfSpy’s 2015 Most Wanted Driver ($1500 Prize Package)

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THE LARGEST, UNBIASED, DATA-BASED DRIVER TEST EVER PERFORMED IN THE GOLF INDUSTRY.

Launches Monday.

Monday you will get the performance you deserve.

But today, you pick who you think is going to win.  Pick all the winners and you walk away with part of a prize pack valued at over $1500.  The winner will walk away with $500 Cash + The 2015 Most Wanted Driver. So, who are you picking?

Power To The Player

Our testing procedures were significantly expanded. Our test included more golfers, more drivers, and more data than ever before.  28 drivers have been put to the ultimate test.  20 golfers just like you for spent over 150 hours in testing, over 10,000 shots calculated,  more than 250,000 data points scrutinized.

Our goal is to empower the consumer with truthful and reliable information that will help you identify the best driver for your game.

Prizes:

Entering is quick and simple.  All you need to do is post a comment with your guesses for the Most Wanted Driver in all 3 Categories we grade (Distance, Accuracy, Total Performance).

  • 1st Prize – $500 + 2015 Most Wanted Driver
  • 2nd Prize – 2015 Most Wanted Driver

In the event that multiple readers correctly identify the winning drivers, winners will be selected at random from qualified entries.

Contest ends on Monday, March 30th as soon as our Most Wanted Driver for Distance is announced.

How To Enter:

Leave a comment below with your picks for each of the following

  1. Most Wanted Driver for Distance – {PICK YOUR WINNER}
  2. Most Wanted Driver for Accuracy – {PICK YOUR WINNER}
  3. Most Wanted Driver for Best Overall – {PICK YOUR WINNER}

GOOD LUCK!

*As always, void where prohibited. Open to residents of the USA, Canada, and the rest of planet Earth.

The 2015 Most Wanted Field

2015-mwd-contest-banner_012015-mwd-contest-banner_022015-mwd-contest-banner_032015-mwd-contest-banner_042015-mwd-contest-banner_05

Most Wanted Driver next week. Distance, Accuracy, and Total Performance. Over 100, Below 100, and of course, overall winners.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

First Look: Adams Golf blue Driver

First Look: Adams Golf blue Driver

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Fresh from the USGA’s conforming clubs list, here’s your first look at the upcoming blue driver from Adams Golf.

When the time comes for Adams to start talk about blue, I think you’re going to find the brand messaging very different that what you’re accustomed to.

Frankly, I can’t wait to see what you think of where the company is headed. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts on what you see here.

adams-blue-usga

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

CASE #: 2015 Most Wanted Driver

CASE #: 2015 Most Wanted Driver

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UPDATE: Our investigation to help find the suspect for the 2015 Most Wanted Driver is now 76% complete. #MostWanted #GolfCSI #YourDriverFingerPrint

Do you support unbiased equipment testing? If so, help spread the word and educate other golfers about the importance of unbiased golf equipment reviews. By doing so you will be automatically entered to win a wedge from MyGolfSpy’s #ThePimpList. All you have to do to enter is click the retweet button on the tweet embeded below.

It’s the button that looks like this: icon-retweet

“I support unbiased reviews and equipment testing.”

 
 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Coming Soon! – Titleist 915 D4 Driver

Coming Soon! – Titleist 915 D4 Driver

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Written By: Tony Covey

We’ve got a fresh entry on the USGA’s Conforming Drivers list from Titleist. Considering Titleist has been fairly consistent with it’s one-two punch of D2 and D3, the emergence of a third 915 model will likely come a bit of a surprise to some, but remember, we told you Titleist would have 3 drivers for 2015.

The Details

While Titleist is still fairly tight-lipped about the new offering, here’s what we’ve learned so far.

  • Weight closer to face than D3 and D2.
  • Deeper face than D3.
  • Because of the deeper face, it is 450cc, 10cc more than the D3.
  • Looks very similar to the D3 but with more curvature across the crown for a slightly rounder look.
  • Reduces spin by approximately 300RPM (compared to D3).
  • Lower MOI than D2 and D3, but offers similar to higher MOI compared to competitive low spin product.
  • It will be available through Titleist’s yet to be announced MOTO program.  MOTO stands for “Made Only To Order”, which basically means you can’t just go to Golfsmith at grab a D4 off-the-rack.
  • The D4 will be released in May.

What Does that Mean?

What we’re talking about more closely fits the conventional definition of a better player’s driver. The most intriguing piece of this is that bit about the weight being closer to face. The rest of the tech (Active Recoil Channel, Radial Speed Face) will almost certainly carry over from the D2 and D3. Nevertheless, the D4 is a potentially interesting change of pace for Titleist, who, despite its reputation of being a brand for better players has continuously churned out some of the most forgiving drivers in all of golf.

Is it that Titleist really make clubs for better players, or is that it better players are better in part because they have the good sense to play more forgiving drivers?

From a comparative design philosophy perspective, Titleist is much closer to PING than it is TaylorMade. How far Titleist has swung to the other side with the D4 remains to be seen, but I suspect the D4 won’t prove to be dramatically different. Titleist is a company that thrives on subtle and systematic changes not total revolution.

Also worth a mention, the D5 model that Adam Scott has been testing is apparently dead for now. The feeling inside of Titleist is that if one of the best golfers in the world struggles to control it, it’s probably not right for the average golfer. No doubt some of the hardcore forum guys will be inconsolable for the next little while.

Why Wait So Long?

It’s reasonable to assume that, in general, the D4 will be well-received, however, there will no doubt be some who’ll be frustrated (probably annoyed) that Titleist chose not to release the D4 alongside the D2 and D3. It’s not that consumers don’t appreciate having options, but as a general rule we prefer that all of them be on the table at the time of purchase.

Unfortunately that’s not how the golf industry operates.

More To Come

Sources are telling us that as equipment sales continue to grow, Titleist will offer more of these specialty releases down the road. If you think about it, it’s not a huge leap from the Vokey Wedge Works model, and that’s worked out pretty for Titleist.

The Titleist 915 D4 Driver (available in 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5°) is slated for a May release (assuming things go as expected on tour), and while we haven’t been given specific pricing information, I expect the D4, which will offer the same stock shaft selection as the D2 and D3, will be priced comparably to the other 915 models. I’d wager you’re looking at $449 plus the cost of whatever shaft upgrade you need to make the numbers right.

 

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Exclusive Pics – Parsons Golf PXG Driver

Exclusive Pics – Parsons Golf PXG Driver

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Written By: Tony Covey

Hey Guys, we’re excited to bring you the best look you’ve had to date of the upcoming PXG 08 Driver from Parsons Xtreme Golf.

We’ve received some preliminary information on the new driver. Take it for what it’s worth given that we haven’t tested the PXG 08 for ourselves, but we’re being told that it offers abnormally high launch with low spin.

You can file that right next to Outrageous Speed.

Sources are telling us that in both player and robot testing, the PXG 08 prototype is, loft for loft, launching up to 1° higher, producing 300-400 RPM less spin, while increasing ball speed by 1-2 MPH, compared to it competitor’s drivers. If it’s true – and we have know way of knowing if it actually is – that’s certainly a recipe for increased distance.

parsons-xtreme-golf-driver-sole

What’s With All Those Damn Screws?

I know what you’re probably thinking…Bob Parsons must have gotten a pretty sweet deal on bulk Torx screws during a Home Depot clearance sale.

Apparently that’s not the case. The 16 (yeah, we think it’s a lot too) weight design (milled surface normal relative to the sole) seeks to tackle what Parsons engineers see as a limitation in current movable weight models. The way most manufacturers move weight is by taking one or two big weights and moving them to one or two alternative locations. That works as far as moving the CG is concerned, but it also isolates the mass in a relatively small space. Parsons engineers think there’s a better way.

PXG Driver 2x

By using a larger number of smaller 2.5 gram Tungsten and 0.5 gram Titanium weights (along with a wider area over which those weights can be re-positioned), Parsons can spread out the mass, which leads to higher MOI, while still allowing for significant CG movement. All of this creates greater fitting flexibility, and the potential to get more golfers to their optimum numbers.

In addition to optimizing CG location, the modular design makes it extremely easy for fitters to make small adjustments to both head and swing weight. This can have a significant impact on performance as well.

While the weights are designed to be easily adjustable by the user, the sheer number of them suggests this won’t be the most user-friendly adjustability system when it eventually hits the market.

parsons-xtreme-golf-driver-sole (2)

Like many other adjustable drivers, the Parsons hosel is adjustable by +/- 1.5° in 3/4° increments.

As you might expect, the PXG 08 is engineered to deliver high launch, low spin, and maximum ball speed. The company isn’t making any specific claims at this time, but we’ve been told that Parsons won’t bring anything to market until it annihilates the competition. When we asked if the early results suggests the PXG 08 will do just that, the response was a very simple “so far, yeah“.

Parsons-Xtreme-Golf-Driver-Crown

It’s Not Ready Yet

It’s important to note that the PXG 08 is a true prototype. There’s no release date yet. There’s not even an MSRP. It was only submitted to the USGA because Ryan Moore wanted to put in the bag alongside his PXG irons. World-wide availability is still a ways away.

Other than some guys quoting launch monitor numbers we have no way of knowing if the Parsons Xtreme 08 driver will annihilate anything, but we certainly look forward to finding out.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

Just Arrived – 2015 Bridgestone J715 460 Driver

Just Arrived – 2015 Bridgestone J715 460 Driver

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Written By: Tony Covey

Earlier this week, Bridgestone Golf’s J715 460 Driver became a reality in the USA. As you may recall, we covered most of the 2015 lineup when details emerged on Bridgestone Golf’s Japanese website several months ago.

Before we get to the meat of why you might want to give the J715 a look, I’ll spare you any suspense and confirm that the J715 will be included in MyGolfSpy’s 2015 Most Wanted Driver test. Testing, by the way, begins next Monday (1/12/2015).

As much as we like to praise Bridgestone for its controlled release cycles (it’s been 4 years since the J40), like anyone else, the company still relies on some clever marketing to describe its technologies.

Bridgestone J15 Driver-5

In this case, Bridgestone says there are 4 Key Technologies, and what I find most interesting about at least 3 of them is they’re designed to promote additional distance within the confines of the USGA’s COR limitations.

I know…some of you believe a singular restriction based on a static measurement of what in the real world is a dynamic force (the USGA’s pendulum test) amounts to a hard cap on distance. It doesn’t. In reality, the USGA’s measurement is at best a limitation on center or near center face ball speed. It gives no consideration to aerodynamics, nor does it account for evolutions in driver designs that create higher launch with less spin (more distance at the same speed).

So at least keep that in mind as we consider whether or not Bridgestone’s latest innovations can actually boost performance compared to the previous model.

F.A.S.T. Crown

Bridgestone J15 Driver-2

Bridgestone describes a crown design that is thinner near the face and progressively thickens as you move towards the rear. The idea is that the crown itself flexes at impact, which Bridgestone says produces higher launch and “increased repulsion”.

It’s reasonable to assume that Bridgestone chose that particular phrase because the USGA frowns upon any marketing that directly suggest a spring-like or rebound effect. Language can be fun…right?

Power Milled Face

Bridgestone J15 Driver-1-2

The most visually intriguing of Bridgestone’s new technologies is the Power Milled Face. Aesthetically is resembles the micro grooves found on some of today’s wedges, and the idea is that the milling helps the ball adhere to the driver face, which ultimately leads to better compression and reduced spin (Bridgestone’s robot tests say 200-300RPM compared to non-power milled faces).

Basically, we’re talking about reducing spin without reducing loft. For the overwhelming majority of golfers, this a good thing.

Don’t Grooves add Spin?

Some of the more analytical among you many find yourselves wondering why milling would reduce spin on a driver when we all know it adds spin in wedges.

Good question (that you may or may not have actually asked). It’s probably not worth digging into the ab solute details from a physics perspective, but it has to do with loft and the way the ball responds to it.

The short of it is that at lower lofts, face textures reduce spin. As loft increases the impact of texture slowly decreases and then, at a certain point, grooves, texture, etc. begin to add rather than reduce spin.

Really short version; it’s related to loft, and I promise you we’ll be seeing more of this face texture stuff from other companies in the very near future.

Back to those Key Technologies…

Spin Flight Control Technology

Bridgestone J15 Driver-1

Bridgestone’s take on moveable weight technology. Basically, the J715 460 is CG adjustable. The default system consists of 2 weights (10 grams and 4 grams) that can be swapped between a front/center and rear/heel positions.

Bridgestone isn’t giving any specific number, but basic math tells us that we’re dealing with 6 grams of actual weight movement. We can’t yet give you exact numbers, but we do know that with the heavier weight in the front, CG will lower and more forward. This is your higher ball speed, low launch, low spin setting.

Moving the weight to the rear will increase launch and spin, while raising MOI. It’s your forgiveness and consistency setting. Based on the location of the weight port, it’s possible it could also introduce a very slight draw bias as well.

Variable Adjust System

Bridgestone J15 Driver-8

Everyone, let’s welcome Bridgestone to the adjustable hosel club. The J715 is Bridgestone’s first adjustable hosel driver. Like TaylorMade, Cobra, and a few others, Bridgestone’s implementation is a single cog design that allows for a 1° change in face angle (either open or closed). Settings also allow for the club to be set either upright or flat.

Final Thoughts

Given how well the J40 performed for us, we’re obviously excited to see how the J715 will perform in our 2015 Most Wanted Driver Test. We know some of you are always on the lookout for high-performance alternatives to the bigger manufacturers.

We’re as curious as you are to find out if the J715 is just that.

Specs, Pricing, and Availability

Bridgestone J15 Driver-7

The J715 Driver is available in lofts of 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, and 12°. The most popular lofts (9.5° and 10.5°) will be available in left-handed as well (Finally! Am I right, lefties?).

*Left-handed models won’t be available until April 1.

The stock shaft is the Mitsubishi Fubuki ZT. The stock grip is a custom yellow Golf Pride Tour Velvet.

The Bridgestone J715 Driver will be available at retail starting February 1st, 2015. Street price is $399.

What, No Pro Model?

Bridgestone J15 Driver-9

For now, Bridgestone is only releasing one (the 460cc model) J15 Driver. For those who really want something in a smaller footprint, it very well could be worth waiting a few months to see if an alternative emerges.

Golf Forum – Golf Blog (MyGolfSpy.com)

MyGolfSpy’s 2015 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver Test – All The Details

MyGolfSpy’s 2015 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver Test – All The Details

Post image for MyGolfSpy’s 2015 Golf’s Most Wanted Driver Test – All The Details

A couple of weeks ago we let you know that invitations for the 2015 Most Wanted Driver Test had been sent.

We told you how we reached out to 16 different companies. We told you about how we worked with R&D teams at 3 different OEMs to refine our testing process. We told you that our 2015 test would be bigger and better than ever.

Now it’s time to dig into the specifics. Apart from the behind the scenes stuff (lots of spreadsheets and math), we wanted to share with you exactly how things are changing for the better, and of course, give you the list of companies who have boldly chosen to participate, and the shorter list of those who would prefer not to go head to head with their competitors.

Let’s get to it.

Significant Improvements

We’ve Partnered with Foresight Sports. Moving forward all of our Most Wanted Club Tests, and club reviews will be powered by Foresight GC2 launch monitors. We’ll have more details on this partnership in the coming weeks, but needless to say we’re incredibly excited to be using the same technology that the big golf companies rely on for their indoor testing.

We’ve Partnered with Bridgestone Golf. You guys ask us about the golf ball quite often. While we’ve always been consistent in what we use, we’ve never had the opportunity to use a true tour-quality ball before. Beginning with the 2015 Driver test, all Most Wanted tests, as well as labs and reviews that rely on a golf ball constant will leverage Bridgestone’s B330 golf balls.

We’re Separating Pro and Tour Heads. In the past we’ve combined Pro/Tour heads with their standard counterparts. Some testers hit the Tour head while others hit the standard. While this was certainly efficient, we feel there’s enough difference that each model should stand on its own. So for this year’s tests, and all future tests, each variation will be tested independently and hit by all of our testers.

We’ve Increased the Number of Testers. When we spoke with the golf companies about our testing protocols, we focused on two areas; the number of shots and the number of testers. While it might surprise you to learn that nearly everyone told us we were hitting plenty more shots than we needed in order to get valid data, it will will surprise you less to know that every company told us we needed more testers.

What’s the right number? Is it 10? 15? We asked that question to the 3 companies we worked with extensively on our testing procedures, as well as two others we had cursory conversations with. Each and every time we asked, the answer was the same: 20.

Could we really scale from 6 testers to 20? Hell yes we can.

This year’s test will feature 20 golfers of differing abilities, swing speed, etc.. As we’ve done in the past, we’ll collect, sort, and present our data to you when we announce our 2015 winners.

2015 MWD-2

Who Was Invited

We sent out invitations to the following 16 golf companies. Each was given a brief rundown of the test, and invited to send any and all models from its current lineup, and as always given the opportunity to ask any questions about the test itself.

  • Adams
  • Bombtech
  • Bridgestone
  • Callaway
  • Cleveland
  • Cobra
  • Geek
  • Mizuno
  • Nike
  • PING
  • PowerBilt
  • Srixon
  • TaylorMade
  • Titleist
  • TourEdge
  • Wilson

We’ve had a late addition. Royal Collection will also be participating in the 2015 Test.

2015 MWD-5

Declined to Participate

The good news is that 11 of the 16 (make that 12 of 17) companies almost immediately agreed to participate. As is the case every season, there are a few companies who declined to participate. And so here they are…the companies who would prefer its products not be tested by MyGolfSpy.

  • Adams
  • Bombtech
  • Callaway
  • Cleveland
  • Titleist

In fairness, two of the companies listed had specific and legitimate reasons for declining to participate:

  • Adams is in the midst of a brand transformation of sorts, and unfortunately the company’s 2015 offerings are not yet available.
  • Cleveland declined to send the new CG Black for the larger test, however; the company was more than willing to send samples for future testing among golfers within the product’s target demographic.

Bombtech has made its position clear in the past, and we want you to know that we did everything we possibly could to sway Callaway and Titleist, but in the end, each declined to provide product samples for unbiased, data-driven testing. Make of their decision to avoid our test what you will.

2015 MWD-1-2

We’re Not Taking No For An Answer

When we considered all factors – Callaway’s resurgence largely as a result of the rebirth of Bertha, arguably Titleist’s most innovative and certainly most exciting release in years with the 915 Series, and another season of bold claims from Bombtech, we felt we’d be doing golfers, and more specifically our readers, a tremendous disservice by excluding any of these brands from our 2015 test.

While Bombtech, Callaway and Titleist have told us they don’t want to be a part of our test, our response is – as polite as it possibly can be – we understand and respect your decision, however; this year, you don’t have a choice.

MyGolfSpy has never been about what manufacturers want. It’s about what our readers want, and we’re hearing you loud and clear. You guys want to see how the Titleist 915, Callaway Big Bertha (Alpha 815 Double Black Diamond, and V-series), and the Bombtech Grenade stack up against the competition, and so we’re going to do what we have to do to get those answers for you.

To that end, we are taking steps to procure Callaway, Titleist, and Bombtech drivers through other channels.

Bombtech, Callaway, and Titleist drivers will be part of MyGolfSpy’s 2015 Most Wanted Driver Test, whether those companies want them to be or not.

2015 MWD-4

Testing Starts Soon

We’re still waiting for some product to arrive, and of course, we need to survive the holidays. Our expectation is that testing will begin the week of January 5th, and will likely take 4-6 weeks to complete and process.

We’ll almost certainly have more information to share once testing gets rolling, so be sure to follow MyGolfSpy on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the latest information on our 2015 Most Wanted Driver Test.

Support MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Testing

As you may already know, MyGolfSpy doesn’t accept advertising dollars from the biggest names in golf. We believe it’s the only way to remain above the influence while performing real tests and publishing real results based on real data. In Most Wanted Testing, there are clear winners, and not everybody gets a medal.

If you’d like to help cover the cost of the most complete and comprehensive club testing in golf (this includes the cost of testing facilities and clubs from Bombtech, Callaway, and Titleist), please consider making a donation to MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Testing Fund.

100% of donation money received will be used to offset expenses directly related to our 2015 Most Wanted Driver Test.

We accept credit cards through PayPal. A PayPal account is not required in order to donate.

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