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New crop of drivers built on forgiveness

Cobra Drivers Cobra Drivers

Forgive but definitely don’t forget.

The mantra for a new release of drivers seems to champion that phrase in that so many of the offerings are built around forgiveness.

TaylorMade is championing its newest line of drivers, the Qi10, which has found a new level of this measurement, one that was thought to be unreachable.

The family of drivers the company has released includes the Qi10 Max, Qi10 LS and Qi10. These unlock plenty of forgiveness, with the Qi10 Max hitting the elusive total moment of inertia of 10,000 g-cm².

Essentially, the higher the moment of inertia, or MOI, the more stability there is in the club. It means reduced head twist on balls that are hit off centre.

Unless you are a club creator or deeply interested in the physics of golf clubs, you don’t need to fully understand this number, but you should know that with the new Qi10 Max, TaylorMade has reached this milestone measurement.

For the regular folks, this means TaylorMade has just released its most forgiving golf clubs ever made. With the new Qi10 Max, if your shots don’t find the exact centre of the clubface – and let’s face it, that’s probably most of the time – they will maintain more speed meaning more distance, and also stay more on line.

As TaylorMade said in its release announcing the new family, these clubs “unlock a new frontier of forgiveness.”

Callaway’s new driver offering in the Paradym family, the Ai Smoke, takes another step in high-tech design from a company that has been at the forefront of this for some time. At first it was super computer technology that helped create the club faces in the company’s offerings. Now that’s been combined with artificial intelligence, using the data from real players that was gathered while fitting clubs.

All this information of swing dynamics gave engineers the knowledge of how to optimize speed, club delivery and face orientation by showing where the club was just prior to impact. This led them to build a club that has exceptional launch conditions and tight dispersion on nearly every swing.

With Ai Smart Face Technology, micro deflections are activated each time a ball hits the face. That means that if a shot is not dead centre (and let’s be honest, for most of us, that’s more often than not), the face can help correct the ball’s flight and preserve distance.

There are several members of the family including the Ai Smoke Max, which has a 15-per-cent lighter carbon chassis compared to the 2023 model. That’s achieved by adding an internal titanium support structure with the result being that weight can be moved around in the head to deliver great launch conditions. One of the intriguing features of the club is the forged carbon sole, with every club having a unique colour and carbon pattern. So, in essence, every Ai Smoke Max driver has a one-of-a-kind look.

The Max model also has an adjustable perimeter weight system that can dial in the perfect shot shape for every individual.

There is also the draw-biased Max D, the lightweight Max Fast, the Max and the low-spin Triple Diamond, for those with higher swing speeds.

Cobra has moved over to the dark side with the new Darkspeed driver line, which continues the company’s push to find the most aerodynamic clubhead.

The new line improves upon the already impressive aerodynamics – which means faster swing speeds and potentially more distance – with the overall design and shape of the clubhead. It also offers a larger face insert, with the PWRSHELL H.O.T. technology, which was created using artificial intelligence. It’s fast and can help shots that don’t find the absolute centre.

There are three models in the Darkspeed line: the LS, which is suited for better players; the Darkspeed X, which can fit most regular players; the Darkspeed Max, which is the most forgiving of the trio. If you tend to slice the ball, this is the one for you.

PING has continued to pursue its founding principles with the unveiling of the G430 MAX 10K driver, which it describes as the most forgiving and straightest driver it’s produced in its 65 years of club-making.

The new MAX 10K is a welcome addition to the G430 driver family.

“The ‘10K’ in the name refers to its record-setting combined MOI that exceeds 10,000 g-cm²,” said John K. Solheim, PING CEO and president.

Reaching that level of 10,000 is something engineers have been striving for but until this year it had never been reached. TaylorMade and PING have managed the elusive measurement this year.

“It's a great addition to our G430 driver line, giving golfers another custom-fitting option loaded with innovations,” Solheim added. “It has a lot of the proven performance of the G430 MAX driver, but differs in several ways from a design standpoint, including a fixed backweight, larger head profile, and a Carbonfly Wrap crown, each contributing to the new level of forgiveness.”

There are now multiple options of G430 drivers. There is the G430 LST, G430 SFT, G430 LST, G430 HL and the MAX and MAX 10K.