Want to know more about the drivers used by pros in championship golf? Popular manufacturers will be releasing new editions soon. You can bet the professionals on tour will be testing them.
Want more success with your drives?
We thought you’d want to take a look at what clubs were being used by the top 10 players of golf in 2019.
Rank 10 – Bryson DeChambeau
Driver: Cobra King F9 Speedback
The King F9 driver is set up more aerodynamic than past Cobra drivers, and it maintains a low and back center of gravity.
When used properly, this driver is designed to help golfers generate faster head speeds to get increased distance off the tee while enhancing forgiveness.
Cobra took the superior aspects of the King F8 driver by providing an updated package that glides through the air more efficiently, all with a low center of gravity.
This has a very classic look to it and some find the Cobra logo a good means for lining up the target.
Cobra mills each titanium face of its King F9 with a computer by shaving tiny ribbons of material off the face instead of grinding off the metal manually
This way they can be more precise with the hitting area and sweet spot. In fat, this helped Cobra increase the sweet spot to help protect ball speed/spin on off-center hits.
Golf is, after all, a target game.
Each King F9 driver comes with 2 weights you can use, a 14-gram and 2-gram to place in the sole. Placing the heavier weight in the sole’s forward port reduces spin and launch angle while placing it in the back increases spin and shot height.
There is an eight-setting “MyFly8” adjustable mechanism in the hosel which allows you to increase or decrease the King F9’s loft by up to 2 degrees.
Regardless of which MyFly8 setting you are using, the Smart Pad designed into the sole ensures the face appears square to the target line for the golfer.
To provide golfers with more data about their driving and performance, each King F9 comes standard with Cobra Connect, an Arccos-powered shot-tracking system embedded in the grip. I doubt they’ll put that in there during any championship tournaments.
It connects to a smartphone by Bluetooth, and with the use of a free app let’s players track their drives and store data for analysis.
No wonder Mr. DeChambeau likes this one.
To achieve all this, the team at Cobra made some changes in their 2019 King F9 Driver.
- The seam where the topline meets the crown has been rounded,
- The leading edge where the hitting area meets the sole has been rounded.
- Aerodynamic trips have been added to the crown
- A squared area in the back it calls Speedback. This holds one of two moveable weights that help to pull the center of gravity down and away from the face.
- Use of a larger carbon-fiber crown provides the weight to shift the center of gravity to the lower half.
Cobra has published that this combination of features has helped make the King F9 17 percent more aerodynamic than the King F7 driver which was released two years ago and about 12 percent more aerodynamic than the King F8.
Rank 9 – Xander Schauffele
Driver: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero
The driver face was designed with machine learning. How has machine learning been used? Let me explain.
Most manufacturers have moved to design variable thickness faces in their drivers.
This means they make them thicker in the center and thinner around the perimeter of the face.
The concept is that center-hits are already achieving maximum ball speed, while the thinner face in other areas protects ball speed/spin on mis-hits.
They Used Machine Learning
Callaway, for both the Epic Flash and Epic Flash Sub Zero, taught a big fancy computer how to design a driver face by using over 15,000 virtual prototypes (tests) of the face to see which one could generate the most ball speed and forgiveness.
In the past, most driver faces typically were tested and updated only half a dozen times before being built.
I can see young professional golfers choosing this as one of the top drivers used by the pros.
There is also the OptiFit adjustable hosel which allows loft to be decreased or increased by as many as 2 degrees.
Golf is changing with machine learning.
The Epic Flash and Sub Zero both have 460cc heads. The standard model Epic Flash is larger from face to back, while the Sub Zero edition has a deeper face.
Golfers get the use of a 2-gram front weight in the sole of the Epic Flash Sub Zero to help pull the center of gravity more forward which should result in a lower launch with less ball spin.
A Comparison to Previous
The titanium Flash face looks the same as any other driver on the inside with thick portions next to very thin areas.
Callaway has said it delivers significantly more ball speed across a larger region than any other face Callaway has made. Now us amateurs can feel like we’re playing for the championship.
Like the Epic driver released two years back and last year’s Rogue model, the Epic Flash drivers were designed with JailBreak technology. The JailBreak 2 bar system are directly behind the face to help stiffen the front of the head.
So at impact the head changes shape much less and thus more energy is directed into the shot for extra distance.
Both Epic Flash versions have a carbon-fiber crown that weighs less than a typical titanium crown. This helps lower the center of gravity.
The weight that was saved in the clubhead was used in the form of a 16-gram weight that is moveable in the sole of the standard Epic Flash and a 12-gram weight for the Sub Zero driver.
By moving this weight, golfers can create a draw or fade bias. The classic adjustability you would expect from Callaway.
Rank 8 – Justin Rose
Driver: Honma Tour World TW747 460
If you haven’t seen Justin in the hunt for championship golf tournaments, then you haven’t been watching this year. This Honma Tour World TW747 460 Driver has a shape that makes it easy to hit the ball for the shallow center of gravity design with large-sized shallow back.
This driver from Honma has a large projection area to get more explosive flight distance with high trajectory & low spin. Although the projected area is large it has a shallow center of gravity.
The golfer can use a driver tuning function called “NON – ROTATING SYSTEM”, in short, adjustments can be made “steplessly stepless” (the manufacturers words, not ours) without rotating the shaft to adjust the Loft ± 1.0 ° and Face Angle ± 1.5 °.
The crown of this driver is made of carbon to provide less weight on the top of the club head. This allows for a lower center of gravity.
New technology, called 4-Fang, has been used in the face to give more forgiveness and distance.
Golf is such a game of concentration, but also has amazing sites and sounds. There is also a pleasant hitting sound and response allows the user to feel the ball caught on the face.
Its structure is simple, with two ribs shaped like fangs on the top and bottom attached to the top and bottom of the face to raise the rigidity around the face of the driver. Very similar to the jailbreak system Callaway uses, this Fang technology is designed to improve ball speed performance.
Rank 7 – Patrick Cantlay
Titleist’s newest editions, the 917D2 and 917D3, turned up at Congressional at the Quicken Loans National in June 2019. Classic Titleist staff players used the drivers and compared them to the 915D2 and 915D3. Several tour players switched by the end of that week, including Patrick Cantlay.
The 917 version from Titleist are scheduled to reach stores Oct. 21.
Driver: Titleist 917D2
The Titleist 917D2 driver features the same 16-position SureFit adjustable hosel found on the 915 driver models. This feature allows players to adjust the loft and lie angle independently to fit their swings.
The 917 model includes an adjustable weight system in the sole (SureFit CG).
Each 917 driver also comes with a 12-gram weight cartridge in the head. The cartridge looks almost like a AA battery you find at the grocery store. This weight gives the driver a neutral setting.
Also provided is a 12-gram draw/fade weight that can replace the neutral weight cartridge which can shift the center of gravity and give players draw-fade adjustability.
Making adjustments to your golf game is essential, especially if you want to play at the championship level. The adjustable SureFit hosel allows independent lie adjustment.
This provides an adjustable start direction of the golf ball coming off the face. The SureFit CG system was positioned in the head to help provide golfers with a more desirable ball flight based on their swing.
Titleist said “We have angled the SureFit CG in the sole to allow that fade position to be slightly more forward, so it will produce a lower-spin fade. In contrast to that, a draw is typically a lower-spin ball flight, so we’ve positioned that center of gravity slightly farther back, which adds a little spin to that draw. So, between all three positions (fade, neutral, draw), we’re moderating and delivering more consistent spin.”
Active Recoil Channel
Titleist has also updated the Active Recoil Channel in the sole. This channel is designed to allow the face to flex more efficiently at ball impact. It looks similar to the channel in the 915 driver, but it now flexes more.
Titleist also tweaked the variable-thickness face used in this new design.
The center of the hitting area is still thicker than the edges, but in replace of tapering, the outer parts have a constant thickness. This is said to make a larger sweet spot.
Titleist was also able to keep the moment of inertia (MOI) level achieved by the 915 models, so on off-center strikes, this driver will resist twisting and work to transfer energy from the swing into the golf shot.
Rank 6 – Tiger Woods
Driver: TaylorMade M5
There is a reason the TaylorMade M5 Driver that Tiger Woods uses is one of the top drivers used by players throughout the PGA Tour – it’s Tiger. Golf won’t be the same when he’s gone.
Using a new manufacturing technique TaylorMade is shooting to have the M5 driver deliver more yards and make it easier to customize to your swing.
To make the golf game more competitive, the USGA and R&A limit what they call “the trampoline effect” of a driver’s face, capping the coefficient of restitution (COR) at 0.83.
What does this mean? Drivers are mass-produced, so in order to make certain no driver head produced crosses the 0.83 line, driver manufacturers make them just a touch (s)lower than the legal limit, referred to as a “manufacturing tolerance”.
The M5 driver, which replaces last season’s M3, is taking a completely different approach to the manufacturing process.
TaylorMade designed each head to be slightly too fast, and then, right before they are finished, a computer-controlled system checks each M5 face in several different areas to measure how far it is over the COR limit.
This helps determine how much urethane needs to be injected into the heel and toe areas by a pair of syringes to bring the head into compliance with the USGA and R&A rules.
The HammerHead slot in the sole of the driver is directly behind the leading edge and has been used to allow the face to flex more efficiently when the ball hits the face.
This, according to TaylorMade, makes every M5 driver faster. That combined with a 64 percent larger sweet spot (from 266 mm2 in the M3 to 437 mm2 in M5) provides a driver capable of producing more distance even for amateur golfers.
The M5 driver has a larger carbon fiber crown than the M3 to save weight, and it has carbon fiber panels in the sole that remove weight too. Using this saved weight, engineers at TaylorMade were able to redesign the T-track moveable weight system in the sole so fitters and players can now create a larger draw and fade biases.
To help golfers find the fairway more often, TaylorMade used the M5 Twist Face, a face design that was introduced by them last season in the M3 and M4 versions to reduce miss-hits.
The high-toe area has been opened slightly while the low-heel area has been delofted and closed. These adjustments were made after TaylorMade studied thousands of mis-hits of resulting ball flights.
The adjustable hosel mechanism allows fitters and players to increase or decrease the M5’s stated loft by up to 2 degrees by making some simple adjustments.
The following golfers also use the TaylorMade M5 Driver. These guys are good at championship golf.
- Jon Rahm, ranked #5
- Dustin Johnson, ranked #3 – he may have switched to the M6 Driver
- Rory Mcllroy, ranked #2
- Brooks Koepka, ranked #1
Rank 5 – Jon Rahm
Driver: TaylorMade M5
Rank 4 – Justin Thomas
Driver: Titleist TS3
Titleist TS3 The newest versions from Titleist were built to create more ball speed and deliver more distance while maintaining stability and forgiveness.
Inside the Titleist R&D offices, there was a bracket created, pitting prototypes against each other to see which design would run the gauntlet and emerge as the fastest, most powerful Titleist driver.
TS Stands for Titleist Speed
The winners, both 460cc designs, were named the TS2 and TS3 (TS stands for Titleist Speed), and they first were made available to PGA Tour players at the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
That week 17 Titleist was used staffers who switched that week, including Justin Thomas, who used a TS3 to hit a 422-yard drive in the opening round.
When you address the ball, the TS3 driver looks like classic Titleist drivers – polished black crown and shaping. However, it is more slender than the 917 model.
Titleist has said the TS3 creates 20 percent less drag during the swing. With the same amount of effort used, golfers should be able to swing the TS3 driver faster.
Titleist designers made the titanium crowns 20 percent thinner, which saved about 10 grams of weight that could be redistributed to other performance-enhancing areas of the head.
Six more grams were saved by making the variable-thickness face thinner. The face is so thin, Titleist has each inspected to make sure it is USGA and R&A compliant. There isn’t enough thickness for the company to cut the scorelines into the heel and toe areas, so they are lasered into the metal.
The TS3 driver (available in 8.5-, 9.5- and 10.5-degree versions) is also a 460cc design, but it is more adjustable. Like the 917D3 it replaces, the TS3 has a SureFit CG weight that can be adjusted to create a draw, fade or neutral weight bias.
Titleist said the moment of inertia in the TS driver is 12 percent higher than then 917 version, making the clubs more stable on off-center hits. For that reason, Titleist has increased the stock length of the TS2 and TS3 by half an inch to 45.5 inches, and golfers can buy a driver in any length they want through custom fitting and order.
Both drivers feature Titleist’s SureFit adjustable hosel mechanism. It allows players and fitters to independently change the loft and lie.
Rank 3 – Dustin Johnson
Driver Used: TaylorMade M5
Rank 2 – Rory McIlroy
Driver Used: TaylorMade M5
Rank 1 – Brooks Koepka
Driver Used: TaylorMade M5
Summary of Top Drivers Used by Best PGA Players
You might be thinking that these drivers can only be played by professional players. Think again. If you want more success of the tee, learn more about how to choose the appropriate driver for your golf game.