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Callaway UDesign Review

Callaway has pioneered the next generation in golf driver customization: the UDesign Razr Fit Xtreme. This driver has been hugely popular this year (might be driver of the year), and the new UDesign feature will allow golfers to purchase a one-of-a-kind Razr Fit.

callaway udesign razr fit xtreme golf driver

Among the options for customization are two different color choices, one for the sole and one for the crown. Consumers can also choose from a variety of different grips and shafts, as well as custom engraving on the sole. The UDesign user interface is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. Check it out by clicking here.

Essentially, there are over 70,000 different combinations to choose from, so odds are good that you will have a very unique golf driver. The Callaway UDesign RAZR Fit Xtreme starts at $450.00, but may cost extra if you get an upgraded shaft. From other review sites we’ve looked at, the Fit Xtreme is by far one of the best new drivers to come out in 2013. Callaway really did their homework on this one. We expect other golf driver companies to follow suit and release their own online customization interfaces.

callaway u design golf driver

Reader Reviews

“I already had a Razr Fit Xtreme, but when I heard about the UDesign I just had to have one. Purple and orange for my Phoenix Suns!”

-Paul in Mesa, AZ

“This is a genius idea. Now you can have a driver that looks different from the other golfers on the course. Props to Callaway on this one.”

-Rick in San Bernardino, CA

Callaway has released its newest driver and fairway woods series, the X-Hot. The driver has been receiving great reviews so far from sites like GolfDigest.com. Callaway boasts an additional 13 yards on the X Hot compared to previous RAZR Fit models, and the expert golf reviewers have confirmed this.

 

Callaway X Hot Golf Driver Review

 

Two models have been produced so far, the X Hot and X Hot Tour. The regular version is a full 460cc, which is 20cc larger than the Tour version. The Tour X-Hot is also 14 grams heavier, as it was created for players with greater swing speeds.

According to Callaway’s research department, most golfers who require a higher loft also require a draw bias. This is why both regular versions and Tour editions will shift the center of gravity towards the heel when the loft is increased. This helps golfers “square” their shots more, resulting in more on-center sweet spot drives.

The Callaway X-Hot golf driver is available in lofts of 9.5, 10.5, 11.5, and 13, while the Tour version comes in 9, 10.5, and 12. They both feature an adjustable hosel design, much like other drivers in the last several years. The standard shaft on the regular edition is a True Temper Project X Velocity, and the Pro comes with a Real Deal Project X Velocity.

 

 

Reader Reviews:

“You can really feel the face flex when you hit the sweet spot on the X Hot. Even on mis-hits, you still get a good deal of distance and forgiveness.”

-Rance in San Antonio, TX

“Thank you Callaway! I thought the RAZR Fit was great, but this driver is a step above in my opinion.”

-Laura in San Diego, CA

Nike VRS Covert Golf Driver Review

Nike has released it’s latest golf driver line-up, the VRS Covert and Covert Tour. In addition to a striking paint job (which we expect from Nike), the new VRS series features the large cavity near the back of the driver head. The regular version with the 460cc head retails for $299 and comes stock with a 50g Mitsubishi Kuro Kage shaft. The VRS Covert Tour, which costs $399, features a smaller 430cc head and a heavier 60g Kuro Kage shaft.

 

nike vrs covert golf driver review

 

Why the unusual cavity in the back of the driver? According to Nike’s research, the VRS Covert design greatly reduces ball spin while maintaining a high level of forgiveness. Early reports from major golf driver review websites have also indicated that the Covert has a much better sound than that of previous models.

Nike is keeping up with other driver manufacturers in the area of adjustability. The adjustable hosel design on the Covert VRS allows golfers to adjust the face angle 1.5 degrees in either direction starting at neutral. Loft can be tuned up or down in 1 degree increments throughout the 5 degree loft range (dubbed Flex Loft by Nike).

For years Nike has been considered a lower-end golf driver company. Serious golfers have only used Nike drivers if they were sponsored to do so. With the VRS Covert, though, Nike is finally getting some respect. Field testing has confirmed that the technology behind the large cavity in the back of the head is real- not just a gimmick. Hats off to Nike for an amazing driver that has been receiving very favorable reviews among reputable golf sites. Check out the review below from GolfWRX.com

 

Reader Reviews:

“It’s about time Nike came out with a driver we could take seriously. Just because they have a lot of money and can hype their products with major celebrity endorsements does not necessarily mean anything. The VRS Covert finally shows that Nike can be a serious contender in the golf arena.”

-Jonathan R. in Sun City, AZ

“I’ve tried other Nike drivers in the past, and was not that impressed. I decided to give the Covert driver a try, and wow. Its a weird design, but it works! Very forgiving but almost no ball spin.”

-Ronnie from South Florida.

 

 

 

Many of our readers have asked us about having their golf driver shaved. Golf driver shaving is a fairly new process invented by a company called World’s Hottest Drivers. We wanted to give an overview of how it works and why it has become so popular.

 

golf driver shaving

 

As many golfers know, the USGA has placed sanctions on golf drivers restricting how “hot” the face can be. The current standard is .830 COR (Coefficient of Restitution). In layman’s terms, the COR measures the trampoline effect when the face strikes the ball. The more flexible the face is, the higher velocity it will produce.

World’s Hottest Drivers uses a CNC milling machine to grind the titanium face down. This allows the driver to flex more upon impact, and can easily add 15-30 yards of distance to your drives. When a customer sends in their golf driver to WHD, they are asked what their swing speed is. Swing speed is used to help determine the COR that the customer’s driver will be shaved to. For example, someone with a 90 mph swing speed would have their driver shaved to a .900 COR, while a golfer with a 105 mph SS would usually settle for a .880 COR shave job.

Why the different COR’s? If a golf driver face is shaved too aggressively for the golfer’s swing speed, it can easily dent/break. We spoke with World’s Hottest Drivers, and they reported that only 2 drivers have broken during the 5 years they’ve been offering golf driver shaving. Furthermore, those incidents were when a high swing speed golfer requested a high COR, knowing full well what might happen.

 

drivergrooved

 

When a golf driver gets shaved, it loses the groove lines put on by the factory. WHD uses a laser etching machine to re-apply the grooves, although groove lines are purely cosmetic. Even the factory grooves don’t actually affect the trajectory or ball spin- they are purely aesthetic. However, many golfers still opt to have the lines lasered back on, just to fool their golfing buddies when they hit 20 yards past everyone else.

TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2 Golf Driver Review

TaylorMade has released the next installment in the Rocketballz series, the RBZ Stage 2. Although it may share a similar paint job with the new R1 driver, the Stage 2 does not feature the same level of adjustability. Therefore, they are generally sold for less ($50-100 less.)

 

TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2 Golf Driver

 

TaylorMade’s goal was to improve upon the original Rocketballz and RBZ Tour editions from last year. The Stage 2 has a center of gravity that is lower and more “forward”; it is in between the centers of gravity of the original RBZ and Tour. TM also gave it a larger face area, which generally makes a golf driver more forgiving on mis-hits and widens the sweet spot. The 2013 Rocketballz 2 drivers and fairway woods feature the same “speed pocket” introduced with the original editions from last year, as shown in the picture below:

 

taylormade rbz 2 golf driver

 

The Tour version has an even lower center of gravity than the normal version. This is less forgiving, but rewards accurate high-swing-speed golfers with lower trajectory and better ball roll. Although the RBZ 2 is not as adjustable as TM’s new flagship driver, the R1, it still features a hosel design with 1.5 degrees of range in loft.

Rocketballz Stage 2 Fairway Woods Review

According to TaylorMade, the new RBZ 2 Fairway Woods (normal and Tour) hit a full 10 yards longer than the original RBZ woods. Once again this is due to the lower CG (center of gravity), though TM also claims to have used a different metal composition for the face they call “Rocketsteel”. This new material is 38% stronger than the original RBZ/Tour model fairway woods. The stronger alloy allows for  a .25mm thinner face in most areas. Early TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2 Fairway Woods reviews have been very favorable.

taylormade-rocketballz-stage-2-fairway-wood

 

Check out the video review and reader reviews below:

 

 

Reader Reviews:

“Cheaper than the R1 but not as adjustable. If you already know exactly what loft/face angle you like, go with the RBZ 2. If you love experimenting with fine-tuning your trajectory, the R1 is for you.”

-Robert in Scottsdale, AZ

“It truly is amazing what the Stage 2 fairway woods can do. They help me shave 4-5 points off my score every round. My friends aren’t letting me handicap anymore lol.”

-Brent in San Diego

“I generally don’t jump on bandwagons, but TaylorMade is really putting out some quality products these last several years. They always find a way to improve from the previous year’s models as well. Truly incredible golf drivers.”

-Sam via email

One Driver to Rule Them All

When TaylorMade released it’s most recent driver, the R1, it boasted the ability to satisfy both amateurs and Tour Pro’s alike. And, they just may have a good stake to that claim. The 2013 R1 features the most adjustability of any driver to date.

2013 TaylorMade R1 Golf Driver Review

 

According to TaylorMade’s research department, nearly 80% of amateur golfers are using the wrong loft. Even more astonishing is that 35% of them are 2 degrees (or more) away from the loft they should be using. This is why the R1 has a 4 degree range of loft adjustabilty, from 8 to 12 degrees. This essentially erases the potential for using the wrong loft, as golfers can now adjust their driver a full 2 degrees up or down.

From reading many other 2013 TaylorMade R1 reviews, it is clear that the .5 degree loft increments and 12 loft degree possibilities are a huge hit with golfers. Its predecessor, the R11S, was only adjustable between 9, 10.5, and 12, thus allowing only a 1.5 degree increase or decrease. In addition, the R-1 features 7 different face angle options, as opposed to the 5 options available on the R11S. Golfers can now choose from: neutral/square, open, medium-open, maximum open, closed, medium-closed, and maximum closed.

 

taylormade r1 golf driver

 

So, what does all this mean for you? According to TaylorMade, the R1 has a lower, more “forward” center of gravity than most drivers (and thus a lower sweet spot). This means that it will be natural for golfers to underestimate their optimal degree of loft. Also, keep in mind that a 1 degree adjustment in loft will result in a 2 degree change in face angle. And don’t forget the two adjustable “weight ports” that allow you to further customize your swing by interchanging the 10g and 1g weights, giving you either a draw or neutral setting.

 

 

Reader Reviews:

“About time someone made a driver with this kind of adjustability! Even amateurs can find that perfect blend of loft, face angle, and swing weight with the R1. Thanks TaylorMade!”

-Brian S. from Arkansas

“I loved the R11S but this driver takes it a step or two further.”

-Gabriel in South California.

“5 out of 5 stars! TaylorMade is my favorite golf manufacturer, and the R11 driver proves why”

-Anonymous

Everyone wants to know about the new golf drivers for 2013, so we thought we would assemble a list to make it easier.

Callaway

Callaway has several new drivers on the horizon for 2013, including the RAZR Fit Tour (already released), and the RAZR Fit Xtreme, which is due out in January. The Fit Tour was designed to give advanced players a higher degree of customization. The hosel features 3 sub-positions between the usual Open, Closed, and Neutral settings. The Tour also gives more options by means of smaller moveable weight increments, allowing players to adjust the center of gravity by the slightest amount.

The RAZR Fit Xtreme is Callaway’s answer to complaints about high ball spin on the original RAZR Fit drivers. The Xtreme produces much lower ball spin. So far, testing has shown more distance, speed, and less ball spin compared to the OG Fit.

2013 Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme

Cobra

Cobra released the Amp earlier this year to carry their 2013 line-up. Cobra performed testing and found that the majority of mis-hits occurred in an elliptical pattern around the middle of the face. So, while most drivers have a circular sweet spot, Cobra designed the Amp with this oval-shape in mind. The picture below shows the average range of mis-hits as orange dots, while the white circle represents normal sweet spots.

cobra amp driver review

PING

PING’s new driver for 2013 is the Anser (read why it’s not spelled “Answer”). The Anser features what could be considered the best adjustable hosel design golf has ever seen. Nearly every driver with an adjustable hosel makes it very obvious, because the hosel is big, bulky, and noticeable. It can even distract you while attempting a drive, as well as throw off the weight distribution of the driver. PING fixed this problem by producing a sleek hosel for the Anser, that still features the same adjust-ability. In fact, if you didn’t know it was adjustable, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell at first glance.

ping anser driver

TaylorMade

The R11 was one of TaylorMade’s best selling drivers of all time, so they improved the design for 2013 with their new driver, the R11S. They increased the size of the head to make it more forgiving on mis-hits, but were somehow able to keep the ball-spin low as well. So far the feedback has been excellent, as many golfers have switched to the S version.

Taylormade R11S golf driver review

Titleist

The 910 series from Titleist were a popular driver set, so it’s no surprise the  new 2013 drivers have been well-received. The 913 D2 has a larger head, making it more forgiving, while the 913 D3 has the smaller head, giving players more control and precision. Titleist made the middle of the face thicker, and the outside thinner, which they feel helps tremendously with mis-hits.

Titleist 913 D3 golf driver

XXIO

The XXIO-7 quickly became the best-selling driver in Japan when it was released (despite the $700 price tag). The 7 is lighter by 2 grams, and the shaft is shorter by a half inch. This brings the center of gravity closer to the grip, giving the golfer more control. Srixon also improved the sweet spot by 7% by refining the titanium used on the face.

XXIO7 golf driver

Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme Review

New for 2013 is the Callaway RAZR Fit Extreme golf driver. Callaway wanted to create a driver that embodied all the ingredients of the top drivers in the world. The RAZR Fit Extreme is designed to have lower spin, be more forgiving, and deliver higher ball speeds than the previous model, the RAZR Fit from 2012.

2013 Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme

Evan Gibbs, who is the manager of performance analysis and configuration at Callaway Golf, claims the 2013 RAZR Fit Xtreme is the widest ranging of all the drivers Callaway has produced. The Xtreme is offered in lower lofts: 8.5, 9.5, and 10.5. This is in contrast with the majority of drivers on the market, which range slightly higher. According to Gibbs, more skilled players want “a smaller footprint and more penetrating trajectory,” whereas handicappers want more forgiveness, and more ball spin for maximum distance. Thus, the RAZR Extreme was created to satisfy the more skilled players.

Callaway fashioned the 2013 Extreme’s after the older FT Tour drivers. While the 2012 RAZR Fits were popular drivers, some players complained about the excessive ball spin, so Callaway lowered the center of gravity in order to compensate. They accomplished this by removing weight from the crown, and by making the face thinner in specific areas.

Luke List, a golfer on staff at Callaway, was tested using the new 2013 RAZR Extreme driver. On average, he gained 16.6 yards on drives, .6 mph, and saw reductions in spin by around 500 rpm. These numbers were in comparison with his drives using the original RAZR Fit driver.

The RAZR Fit Xtreme’s head weighs 5 grams less than the original, making it obviously lighter for greater swing speeds. Less experienced players may lost some control, but more skilled players will enjoy the added velocity/distance on their drives. For styling, Callaway used the same green color as the RAZR Fit Tour Edition. The RAZR Fit Xtreme will be available on January 18, 2013.

TaylorMade is set to release its new set of golf irons for 2013, the Rocketbladez (as if “Rocketballz” wasn’t a cool enough name, right?). Now, as we have mentioned elsewhere on this website, many drivers, irons, and hybrids that are released are merely the previous year’s model with a new name and/or paint job. However, it seems that TM really has something going with these irons.

2013 taylormade rocketblades irons

The technology that TaylorMade puts into the Rocketblades can be found in a hollow “speed pocket”, about 2mm wide, that runs across the inside sole of the iron. This allows the face to flex more upon impact, providing not only more distance, but more consistent distance, according to TM. This is also supposed to make the Rocketbladez Irons  give a higher trajectory, which in turn makes it easier to backspin the ball upon landing.

2013 taylormade rocketbladez

Part of TaylorMade’s research concluded that most amateurs mishit the ball low on the iron face (68% of the time, according to research), so they designed the 2013 Rocketbladez accordingly. This is a big part of the “speed pocket” technology- the further down the face you hit the ball, the more the face should flex. Pretty smart! Added distance comes from the 11% thinner face, which is TaylorMade’s thinnest iron face ever. The Rocketballz irons were 1.8mm thick, while the new Rocketblades are 1.6mm.

TaylorMade president Mark King announced a Tour version, to be released several months later. He mentioned that when the TM tour pros tried the new Rocketbladez, they were so impressed they wanted a set for themselves. The Tour Version will be more compact, and thus slightly less forgiving. Generally “tour” versions of drivers and irons are less forgiving, but have greater potential for distance.

When will the TaylorMade Rocketbladez be released? The regular version of the irons will be available on November 30, 2012. The tour version will be released February 1st, 2013.

How much will the TaylorMade Rocketbladez cost? The regular version of the irons will be $799 for a set with steel shafts, and $899 for graphite shafts. The tour irons version will be $799.

2013 Golf Driver Review

The TaylorMade R11 quickly became one of the most successful drivers in golf history, so TM decided to improve upon that design. The R11S doesn’t look too much different at first glance, but there are subtle changes and tweaks that make it slightly better than its predecessor.

Taylormade R11S golf driver review

Usually, when a golf company increases the head size on a driver, it creates more ball spin. Somehow, TaylorMade was able to get around that rule on the R11-S. The added size makes the driver more forgiving and easier on mis-hits, but the ball spin is the same or less than the original R11. When the S version came out, many golfers were skeptical that it was merely an R11 sold under a different name. After all, golf companies (and other sporting good companies) are known to do this from time to time. However, golfers from all around the globe are singing the R11S’s praises, heralding it as even better than the R11.

The TaylorMade R11S reviews we’ve read from other sites are very happy with the level of customization the club offers. There are 3 different aspects you can adjust, in order to fine-tune your drives. The first is the loft- it can be adjusted 1.5° up or down in 8 different positions. The second is the face angle- you can choose from 5 different settings, each adjusting the angle more open or closed by 3°. The last level of adjustability is the weighting distribution. Two different weights, one 10 grams and the other 1 gram, can be interchanged from the back to the front and vice-versa. This changes the center of gravity, which affects the trajectory of the ball during drives. Check out the video reviews below:

 

Reader Reviews

Gerald in Galveston, TX

“I was like you mentioned in this review- skeptical that the R11S would really be any different. For me, the differences were subtle but still noticeable enough to justify the purchase. You know how we golfers are- anything that gives us even the slightest improvement is worth it.”

Paul from Northern California

“In my opinion, TaylorMade is the best golf driver company in the world. They consistently produce great drivers, and somehow find ways to improve each one. That’s true engineering.”