2012 Buyer’s Guide Drivers

This year's crop of new drivers is longer and lighter then ever

By John Stahlschmidt

Roughly 85 percent of all amateurs slice their driver, but very few Tour players do (or if they do, they do it on purpose). Why? Simple. Pros swing the club on a flatter plane and square the clubface at impact.

Slicing can happen for two reasons: a steep downswing that leads to an outside-in swing and/or an open face at impact.

To fight the slice, try rehearsing your swing on a flatter-than-normal swing plane by hovering the clubhead about a foot off the ground and making swings like you see here.

This creates more arm rotation through the impact zone and generates more clubface rotation, as well. Do this enough, and the face will square at impact and allow for a straighter drive.

THE YEAR’S CROP OF NEW DRIVERS are longer and lighter than ever! Thanks to a handful of new design iterations that reduce weight and add length to the shaft, today’s top drivers are extremely powerful and forgiving. And in our opinion, 2012 is the year of pure driver style. Seems as though most companies have adopted the classic shape again, only this time in a variety of colors and variations sure to please just about any type of player. If it’s hot and it’s new, we have it right here in our listings of our favorite drivers for 2012.

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Golf Tips Legend

Speedline Fast 12

Key Feature: Made to be as aerodynamic as possible, the Fast 12’s airfoil design elements cut air drag by up to 14%, making it whizz through the air faster than ever. And faster clubs mean longer drives. It’s simple science, folks!
Who It’s For: Golfers who want to take advantage of smooth aerodynamics and who really just want a driver that is extremely long and exceptionally forgiving. There’s no fuss here with adjustability. Just big hits!
Specs: Three lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡) with Grafalloy ProLaunch Blue graphite shafts. Draw model also available. (LH avail.)
adamsgolf.com | $299

Speedline Fast 12 LS

Key Feature: Super slick aerodynamics help it reduce drag (you can__ see a stepped design on the crown) for a faster swing speed. But, check this out. The club’s length can be adjusted from 45 to 45.5 inches. Cool huh? It can also be face/lie/loft adjusted as well, making it a real club tinkerer’s dream driver. It’s super long and fast, too.
Who It’s For: Speed freaks who want a driver that packs a lot of horsepower that also has loads of adjustability.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡) with a variety of graphite shaft options. (LH available)
adamsgolf.com | $399

Bobby Jones
Workshop Ed.

Key Feature: The innovative triangular-shaped driver isn’t new, but we like it too much to leave it behind. It’s stable, long and super easy to swing. Perhaps the 47 inches has something to do with that, not to mention the fact that one of the games most innovative designers, Jesse Ortiz, created it.
Who It’s For: Golfers who want real power from a pretty-looking driver.
Specs: Comes in 9_¡ or 10.5_¡ lofts with a Graphite Design graphite shaft.
bobbyjonesgolf.com | $249

Boccieri Golf

Key Feature: The dimple face (on the inside, folks) and the precisely weighted 50g backweighting system combine to produce a driver that feels lighter than it really is. The heavier weight lends better tempo, rhythm and extension of the arms. Swing smooooooth.
Who It’s For: Golfers who want more control and a smoother swing. Don’t be fooled, the counterweighting system in this driver can produce long tee shots, as well.
Specs: Comes in two lofts (9_¡, 10_¡) with Aldila NVS graph-ite shafts.
boccierigolf.com | $399


Key Feature: The J40 comes in two sizes: 430cc and 445cc, both of which are designed to produce penetrating, nonballooning ballflights. The 445cc head is a tad more forgiving than the workable 430cc, but both produce that coveted, low-spin, midlaunch flight.
Who It’s For: Golfers who want to hit boring tee shots. Really, we mean that in a good way.
Specs:430cc and 445cc, all-titanium heads, in a variety of lofts. No LH. Comes with Project X graphite shaft.
bridgestonegolf.com | $399


Key Feature: An adjustable hosel and removable weights combine to offer custom shot trajectories. Add a Forged Composite Crown and a newly designed SpeedFrame clubface and you have a driver that’s easily our favorite big dog ever from Callaway. Trust us, it’s that good.
Who It’s For: Golfers who want an easy-to-use adjustable hosel and removable weight system. It may have a composite body, but it sure doesn’t feel like it.
Specs: Comes in a plethora of lofts with a new, 45.5-inch Aldila RIP’d graphite shaft. (LH available)
callawaygolf.com | $399

RAZR X Black

Key Feature: This new driver has a unique black finish that partially hides a Forged Composite Crown, which effectively lowers the CG and places it away from the new SpeedFrame clubface. Okay, so what’s that mean? It means this driver is exceptionally easy to hit, flies long and maybe, best of all, leaves some extra green in your wallet.
Who It’s For: Golfers who want a sleek, long, aerody-namic driver that’s also one of the best values in golf.
Specs: Comes in a variety of lofts with a Fujikura Motore F8 graphite shaft. (LH available)
callawaygolf.com | $249

CG Black

Key Feature: The sleek, ultralight CG Black driver has the makings of a top-secret weapon. Best used by swings of less than 95 mph (most of us), the all-black CG Black driver is made to increase one’s swing speed for added distance. Heck, it only weighs 265 grams, so no wonder it’s so fast! We love those Miyazaki shafts, as well.
Who It’s For: Golfers who want more swing speed in an instant, and who aren’t afraid of bombing their tee shots.
Specs: Comes in 3-PW with aforementioned graphite; also in steel shafts. (LH available)
clevelandgolf.com | $399


Key Feature: Wait a second…could it be true? We’ve been waiting for a driver that had the good looks of yesteryear combined with the new technology of today’s metalwoods. And alas, it’s here! The new Classic is our favorite in terms of looks and feel, and dare we say, it performs even better than it looks? It does. It’s mega long!
Who It’s For: Golfers who want a club that looks and feels like a vintage sports car, but yields modern-day horsepower.
Specs: Comes in three models (270g, 290g or 310g) in a variety of lofts, with a Miyazaki graphite shaft. (LH avail.)
clevelandgolf.com | $299

AMP Driver

Key Feature: There’s a lot going on in the AMP Driver, including E9 Face Tech, Adjustable Flight Tech and the new Advanced Material Placement (AMP) Tech that repositions the CG low and away from the face. The result? A hot, colorful driver that’s our favorite Cobra driver to date. It’s young, fresh and sure to turn heads, not just because it looks good, but because it performs even better.
Who It’s For: Golfers who want style and power.
Specs: Comes in four lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡, 11.5_¡) with Aldila RIP graphite shafts. (LH available)
cobragolf.com | $299

Long Tom

Key Feature: Length! This driver is four feet long (48 inches)! The all-black weapon of choice features an ultralight Blackbird shaft and a titanium head replete with tons of technology to help you do one thing: hit longer and straighter bombs down the fairway. It’s almost like it swings itself, making it a breeze to hit big tee shots.
Who It’s For: Golfers who want the added distance that comes from a longer shaft, not from swinging harder.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (8_¡, 9_¡, 10_¡) with a 48-inch Grafalloy Blackbird shaft. Wow!
cobragolf.com | $349

ZL Encore

Key Feature: The ZL encore employs a mixed-material construction (its crown and sole are composite) as well as a redesigned clubface for even greater distance and forgiveness. Like the previous ZL driver, the Encore also has Adjustable Flight Tech for an even more refined fit. It comes in both white and black with electric green.
Who It’s For: Fans of the previous ZL Driver who want a slightly larger design and even more performance.
Specs: Comes in four lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡, 11.5_¡) with Fujikura Motore F1 or F3 graphite shafts. (LH available)
cobragolf.com | $399

DNA Driver

Key Feature: The DnA (Distance and Acoustics) driver has removeable clubfaces to adjust based on the sound and feel that you may prefer. And speaking of, this baby actually sounds and feels like a persimmon wood, only with the power and forgiveness of a titanium head.
Who It’s For: Golfers who really pay attention to how a driver feels and sounds, and who want the softer feeling of wood in their modern-day big stick.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (9_¡, 10.5_¡, 12_¡) in a variety of clubface/Fujikura shaft configurations.
dnagolf.com | $395

Fourteen Golf

Key Feature: This new driver oozes beautiful craftsmanship in its unique design that uses four different types of titanium in the face, crown, neck and body. The CG in this driver favors moderate to fast swings, since it’s placed more toward the clubface. This means greater workability for the advanced player, but not without forgiveness.
Who It’s For: Better players who want a work of art to play with out on the golf course. Err, and big spenders!
Specs: Two lofts (9_¡, 10.5_¡) with two graphite shaft options–the standard MD-350gd or the stiffer TS-70d shaft.
fourteengolf.com | $729


Key Feature: The new MP-650 was designed for Tour players who happen to prefer the classic pear shape and clean aesthetics. Also, the neutral bias allows better players to manipulate their shots easily.
Who It’s For: Better players who want a driver that responds to their shotmaking commands and doesn’t come with any confusion. Just think of a shot, make the right swing and watch your ball soar a mile.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡) with a Fujikura Orochi 65 D graphite shaft.
mizunogolf.com | $399

VR_S Driver

Key Feature: Nike has implemented something they call NexCOR face technology in their new VR_S family. The multithickness face design in the driver helps players of all skills nuke their drives. An aerodynamic design makes the clubhead cut through the air like a knife through butter.
Who It’s For: Players who want speed (hence the addition of the "S" in the name), and enjoy tinkering with Nike’s adjustable STR8-FIT technology.
Specs: Comes in five lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10.5_¡, 11.5_¡, 13_¡/HL) with a Nike Fubuki K graphite shaft.
nikegolf.com | $359


Key Feature: Are you ready to launch higher and longer tee shots? That’s exactly what the G20 is made to do, with an external weight placed low in the back section of the sole. This lowers the CG tremendously, resulting in big, towering tee shots. Oh, and it’s PING’s most forgiving driver to boot. Thanks PING, golf just got a lot more fun!
Who It’s For: Mid- to high-handicappers who want a high trajectory and tremendous distance.
Specs: Comes in four lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡, 10_¡, 12_¡) with two stock PING TFC 169 graphite shaft options. (LH available)
ping.com | $299


Key Feature: Two strategically placed tungsten sole weights in the 460cc titanium head help position the club’s CG low and deep and ramp up the MOI. What results is a forgiving clubface that mid- to low-handicappers can benefit from. Hey, name one good player who doesn’t want to hit long, accurate drives? We sure can’t.
Who It’s For: Better golfers who like to hit long, workable, low-spinning shots with a penetrating trajectory.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (8.5_¡, 9.5_¡ and 10_¡) and two stock shaft options. (LH available)
ping.com | $349

Air Force One DF

Key Feature: The only nitrogen-filled clubhead in golf. What does it do? Eliminates the need for internal bracing. That plus its extremely thin face (2.8 mm) add up to crazy long drives. Also features a face that’s five millimeters taller than the previous iteration. This increase creates a more square face and reduces ball spin and produces longer drives.
Who It’s For: Distance seekers who don’t want to drop a ton of money on their next big stick.
Specs: comes with a proprietary Fujikura shaft.
powerbilt.com | $249

Power Play
Caiman X2 Driver

Key Feature: The second-generation Caiman driver uses an ultrathin crown and a unique shape (from behind, it actually resembles a caiman crocodile) to bolster the club’s forgiveness and raw power. And by the way, it’s one of the best bargains for a driver that we’ve ever seen. It’s forgiving both off the tee, and in your wallet.
Who It’s For: Average golfers who want a slick, black driver that yields high-launch/low-spin drives.
Specs: Comes in three lofts (9_¡, 10.5_¡, 12_¡) with a stock graphite shaft or virtually any type of custom option.
hirekogolf.com | $105

5 thoughts on “2012 Buyer’s Guide Drivers

  1. The Callaway RAZR Fit in my view is the best driver in the 2013 line-up Callaway keeps it simple with no alignment aids and all black. The all black crown is lethal and just begs you to unload on a golf ball. Its aggressive looking yet gives you the feeling that you?۪re playing with a pro?۪s kind of driver

    The face has a large sweet spot and high ball speeds across the titanium face for long, consistent distance. The shots off the face and you know instantly where you hit it. Definitely one of the better feeling and sounding drivers I have hit in a while.

    The Callaway RAZR Fit has looks, performance, sound, technology, which makes it the complete package! Callaway spent time and money for research and perfecting this driver. Callaway indeed does deliver the good with this new big stick. The Razr Fit to me combines the best combination of looks, forgiveness and distance performance.

  2. The RocketBallz driver I think is also one of the top-rated drivers I have ever tried. High marks for the feel of the club. All tee shots were straight shots right down the middle and miss hits where not that bad. Looks great a little flashy with the white color but who cares this club hits straight. Adjustability features allow you to tweak ball flight to your liking I loved to tweak.

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