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Driver Challenge 2019 – The Results

We have heard what the likes of Rory McIlroy and the rest of the tour players think of their new clubs but we wanted to find out how they performed in the hands of the amateur golfer.

At Dunes we provided the opportunity for you to try the latest and greatest drivers on the market – each promising unrivalled levels of distance and accuracy.

Our Driver challenge proved a big hit as just under 40 local golfers turned up throughout the day to try the new drivers and compare them against what they were currently playing.

Of all the drivers currently available we had the best of the best on demo, namely; Ping G410, Mizuno ST190, Taylormade M5/M6 and Callaway Epic Flash.

Before we get into the results from the day let’s take a look at the story behind each club.

Taylormade M5 & M6

First up is the new M5 and M6 drivers from Taylormade that follow on from the hugely successful M1/M2 and M3/M4 franchises of the last couple of years.

The big story here is that TaylorMade are revolutionising the process of creating driver faces for the M5 and M6 by starting above the legal limit and dialling it back by injecting resin in to two ‘tuning slots’ in the driver face. This is called ‘Speed Injecting’ and ensures that every driver is on the limit thanks to an algorithm which calculates the right amount of resin to use for every face.

In 1998 driver face flex was limited by the R&A to stop how far golfers hit the ball but it has been impossible to produce drivers which consistently hit the limit of 0.830 COR.

What that means is that all drivers have a different level of ‘hotness’, and while it ensures no ‘hot’ drivers go on to the illegal side, it also means many golfers end up playing with drivers which aren’t as close to the limit as they could be. The ‘hottest’ drivers are hand-picked for tour players, leaving TaylorMade estimating around 70% of retail drivers are outside the ‘hot range’ usually used by pros.

TaylorMade state that the production methods in the past have made picking the hottest driver for club golfers nothing more than just pure luck.

In the M5 and M6 they are removing the luck element due to the fact the Speed Injected technology will position every driver face right on the edge of the rules.

Dunes Price: M5 £449.00, M6 £399.00
           

Callaway Epic Flash

Two years ago Callaway launched the Epic driver that featured Jailbreak Technology and this was a huge success. Last year they improved it further still by enhancing the jailbreak in their Rogue product line.

This year Jailbreak remains but the big news is the brand new Flash Face…

Flash Face’s sophisticated architecture was created by Artificial Intelligence – the first known instance of using A.I.in the golf equipment industry — and “Machine Learning,” a field of computer science that uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to “learn” with data without being explicitly programmed. Through Machine Learning the Callaway computers cycled through 15,000 face iterations, learning from each one, before arriving at Flash Face.
In normal driver testing approximately 6 different prototypes are used so given A.I was able to pick the best from 15000 it will be very interesting to see how the new Callaway Epic Flash performs.

Dunes Price:
£449.00

Ping G410

The G410 PLUS’ big feature is that it is the first time Ping have added an adjustable tungsten weight for draw or fade bias.

Ping are often later to the party when it comes to things like this but only because they ensure that new design features offer a real benefit to the golfer without severely compromising another area of performance.

The three positions (draw, neutral, fade) shift the CG location by 1/10″ in either direction, which equates to approximately 10 yards — or 20 yards of correction between draw and fade settings — of shot shape.

The SFtec version features a weight 50% further towards the heel than the G400 Sftec version so if you slice the ball then this club will probably be the best on the market in 2019 for you to help straighten the shot out.

Ping say the G410 driver will be better than its predecessors through four ‘Fs’.
It’s Faster, more Forgiving, has a better Feel and can be Fitted better.

It’s faster through the air due to improved aerodynamics and more efficient turbulators
They’ve been able to drag the weight right to the perimeter to keep the MOI (resistance to twisting) as high, if not higher, than anything else on the market so it’s super forgiving. Better fitting is also possible through the loft sleeve which has eight positions with +/- 1.5˚.

Finally, and this is a good one for the North East of Scotland, they’ve made the headcover 20% heavier to make sure it doesn’t blow away in the wind!

Dunes Price: £379.00

Mizuno ST190 and ST190G

Mizuno have struggled to compete in the driver market for some years despite their dominance in the forged iron market. However, that may be about to change as all the online reviews of their 2019 models show that they could be their best yet!

The ST190 drivers offer Mizuno’s lowest spin rates and incorporate every known factor in the quest to enhance ball speed and driving distance. Mizuno’s ultra-fast Forged SP700 Ti face now boasts a lighter CORTECH structure to deliver consistently higher ball speeds, with a large carbon composite crown plus the Amplified Wave soleplate, introduced in last year’s ST180 drivers, helping to convert each additional mph into extra yards.

The ST190 is designed for mid to low spin with maximum stability, and features a single, factory-fixed 6g backweight that increases MOI for added stability on off-centre strikes

The ST190G is engineered for low spin and offers Fast Track adjustability thanks to twin 7g weights on external tracks that can reduce spin by an additional 200rpm, allowing players to achieve heavy fade or draw biases by placing the weights in one track.

Dunes Price: ST190 £369.00, ST190G £399.00

THE RESULTS
We asked each participant to rate the drivers on four different aspects; Looks, Feel, Sound and Performance on a scale of 1 (bad) to 5 (excellent)

Looks
The Taylormade topped the best-looking list with an average rating of 4.19 which was quite a way in front of 2nd placed Ping on 3.94. The Mizuno and Callaway shared 3rd place, both on 3.81.

WINNER BEST LOOKING: TAYLORMADE M5/M6

Feel
The Taylormade claimed victory once again as you voted it the best feeling driver of 2019. The Ping came 2nd, Mizuno 3rd and the Callaway was in 4th.

WINNER BEST FEEL: TAYLORMADE M5/M6

Sound
The drivers certainly have their own distinctive sounds of which we have no doubt the manufacturers engineer deliberately. And, this was a very close contest with very little difference on your opinions of the acoustic qualities of each club. However, it was a hattrick of wins for Taylormade as once again it proved to be your winner.

WINNER BEST SOUND: TAYLORMADE M5/M6

Performance
You could argue this is the most important category of all. At the end of the day, does it matter what a driver looks, feels and sounds like if it does not perform very well?

I think it is fair to say that all of these products perform exceptionally well but we can only have one winner!

And a huge congratulations go to Taylormade for making it a clean sweep as they claimed the top spot once again! It was a narrow margin of victory though with the Ping G410 coming a very close second.

WINNER BEST PERFORMANCE: TAYLORMADE M5/M6

Which driver would you buy?
No surprises when you consider the results so far that the Taylromade M5/M6 was your overall winner and the driver that you said you would buy next. Not by a small margin either, a whopping 47% selected the Taylormade with the other 3 sharing the remainder pretty evenly.

WINNER BUYING CHOICE: TAYLORMADE M5/M6

MY THOUGHTS

What was clearly evident from the day was that getting fitted for your next driver is an absolute must. You could easily dismiss a driver on its performance simply because you were fitted with unsuitable shaft, head type, length, settings on the head or most likely a combination of all of the aforementioned.

We have invested heavily in technology and training to help us quickly and confidently optimise the set up for each individual golfer. We are committed to providing a World class service to the golfers of North East Scotland and offer you the leading brands in golf at the most competitive prices. Best of all we will make sure you get what is right for you.

If you could not make it to the Driver Challenge then do not worry! We have the full range of demo products and shaft options in the Golf Studio for you to get fitted with 7 days a week.
We are open Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm and Saturday/Sunday 10am to 4pm.

A fitting costs £30.00 but this is refunded against the value of any club purchased as a result of the fitting.

SPECIAL OFFER – SAVE £30!
Get a FREE fitting from one of our expert club fitters during the month of March with this special promotional code ‘MARCH19
Simply go the website – click the button to book and then enter the code in the Redeem Coupon section to get your £30 discount

Book online at www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/custom-fitting/ or call 01346 510693 and quote the code above.

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New Drivers for 2019 in the spotlight

The big boys are flexing their muscles as most of golf’s premium manufacturers are releasing new products right now.

In this feature I am focusing on the best new drivers that have just come out or about to be launched. So, if you are thinking of buying a new big stick then read on….

Taylormade M5 & M6

First up is the new M5 and M6 drivers from Taylormade that follow on from the hugely successful M1/M2 and M3/M4 franchises of the last couple of years.

The big story here is that TaylorMade are revolutionising the process of creating driver faces for the M5 and M6 by starting above the legal limit and dialling it back by injecting resin in to two ‘tuning slots’ in the driver face. This is called ‘Speed Injecting’ and ensures that every driver is on the limit thanks to an algorithm which calculates the right amount of resin to use for every face.

In 1998 driver face flex was limited by the R&A to stop how far golfers hit the ball but it has been impossible to produce drivers which consistently hit the limit of 0.830 COR.

What that means is that all drivers have a different level of ‘hotness’, and while it ensures no ‘hot’ drivers go on to the illegal side, it also means many golfers end up playing with drivers which aren’t as close to the limit as they could be. The ‘hottest’ drivers are hand-picked for tour players, leaving TaylorMade estimating around 70% of retail drivers are outside the ‘hot range’ usually used by pros.

TaylorMade state that the production methods in the past have made picking the hottest driver for club golfers nothing more than just pure luck.

In the M5 and M6 they are removing the luck element due to the fact the Speed Injected technology will position every driver face right on the edge of the rules.

Available for fitting: Now
Release Date: 15th February 2019
Dunes Price: M5 £449.00, M6 £399.00

Callaway Epic Flash

Two years ago Callaway launched the Epic driver that featured Jailbreak Technology and this was a huge success. Last year they improved it further still by enhancing the jailbreak in their Rogue product line.

This year Jailbreak remains but the big news is the brand new Flash Face…

Flash Face’s sophisticated architecture was created by Artificial Intelligence – the first known instance of using A.I.in the golf equipment industry — and “Machine Learning,” a field of computer science that uses statistical techniques to give computer systems the ability to “learn” with data without being explicitly programmed. 

Through Machine Learning the Callaway computers cycled through 15,000 face iterations, learning from each one, before arriving at Flash Face

In normal driver testing approximately 6 different prototypes are used so given A.I was able to pick the best from 15000 it will be very interesting to see how the new Callaway Epic Flash performs.

Available for fitting: Now
Release Date: 15th February 2019
Dunes Price: £449.00

Ping G410

The G410 PLUS’ big feature is that it is the first time Ping have added an adjustable tungsten weight for draw or fade bias.

Ping are often later to the party when it comes to things like this but only because they ensure that new design features offer a real benefit to the golfer without severely compromising another area of performance.

The three positions (draw, neutral, fade) shift the CG location by 1/10″ in either direction, which equates to approximately 10 yards — or 20 yards of correction between draw and fade settings — of shot shape.

The SFtec version features a weight 50% further towards the heel than the G400 Sftec version so if you slice the ball then this club will probably be the best on the market in 2019 for you to help straighten the shot out.

Ping say the G410 driver will be better than its predecessors through four ‘Fs’.
It’s Faster, more Forgiving, has a better Feel and can be Fitted better.

It’s faster through the air due to improved aerodynamics and more efficient turbulators
They’ve been able to drag the weight right to the perimeter to keep the MOI (resistance to twisting) as high, if not higher, than anything else on the market so it’s super forgiving. Better fitting is also possible through the loft sleeve which has eight positions with +/- 1.5˚.

Finally, and this is a good one for the North East of Scotland, they’ve made the headcover 20% heavier to make sure it doesn’t blow away in the wind!

Available for fitting: 7th February 2019 (come along to our free of charge demo day on 7th February 3pm to 7pm)
Release Date: 21st March 2019 7th March 2019
Dunes Price: £379.00

Mizuno ST190 and ST190G

Mizuno have struggled to compete in the driver market for some years despite their dominance in the forged iron market. However, that may be about to change as all the online reviews of their 2019 models show that they could be their best yet!

The ST190 drivers offer Mizuno’s lowest spin rates and incorporate every known factor in the quest to enhance ball speed and driving distance. Mizuno’s ultra-fast Forged SP700 Ti face now boasts a lighter CORTECH structure to deliver consistently higher ball speeds, with a large carbon composite crown plus the Amplified Wave soleplate, introduced in last year’s ST180 drivers, helping to convert each additional mph into extra yards.

The ST190 is designed for mid to low spin with maximum stability, and features a single, factory-fixed 6g backweight that increases MOI for added stability on off-centre strikes

The ST190G is engineered for low spin and offers Fast Track adjustability thanks to twin 7g weights on external tracks that can reduce spin by an additional 200rpm, allowing players to achieve heavy fade or draw biases by placing the weights in one track.

Available for fitting: 11th February 2019
Release Date: 11th February 2019
Dunes Price: ST190 £369.00, ST190G £399.00

The importance of fitting…

No matter which driver you like the sound of, the single most important thing, if you are looking for the best performance, is to get fitted by an expert using a launch monitor.

Our PGA staff at Dunes are highly trained and lead the way in Custom Fitting in the North East of Scotland. The technology in the studio is the best in the World for fitting as the data provides accurate feedback so you and the PGA fitter can see the difference between each option that you try.

Book your custom fit appointment online now at www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/custom-fitting or telephone 01346 510693

Price match promise
We have set our stall out to be THE place for you to buy all your golf equipment. Our well stocked shop, knowledgeable PGA staff and highly competitive pricing all backed up by a caring after sales service mean we so no reason why you should buy elsewhere.

We want your feedback….

A couple of years ago we ran a challenge to see which of the new drivers you liked the best. It was so successful that we are going to run it again. However, we do not just want the big hitters to come along. We would like golfers of all ages and abilities, male and female to come and give the latest models a try.

You will be asked to rate each driver on looks, sound, feel and performance. There is no charge for the event and certainly no obligation to buy anything – we just want your feedback.

DRIVER CHALLENGE – FRIDAY 22nd FEBRUARY
Book your time slot online at www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/driverchallenge

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Which one won…Ping G, Callaway Epic or Taylormade M1?

The Heavyweight Driver Battle

We have heard what the likes of Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson think of their new clubs but we wanted to find out how they performed in the hands of the amateur golfer.

At Dunes we provided the opportunity for you to try the latest and greatest drivers on the market – each promising unrivalled levels of distance and accuracy.

Our Heavyweight Driver Battle proved a big hit as 54 golfers turned up throughout the day to try the new drivers and compare them against what they were currently playing.

Of all the drivers currently available there are really only 3 that people are talking about: The Callaway Epic, Taylor Made M1/M2 and the Ping G.

Before we get into the results from the day let’s take a look at the features and benefits of each.

Callaway Epic
The new Epic is probably the most talked about new driver since the original Great Big Bertha was launched in the mid-nineties.

The most notable feature on the Epic is what Callaway have called Jailbreak Technology.

Jailbreak works by dramatically increasing distance through stiffening the body to transfer more energy to the ball. On normal drivers, the face and crown flex upon impact with the crown moving up and sole moving down. This creates a loss of energy so Jailbreak creates a vertical connection with two lightweight titanium vertical bars. This drastically reduces the flex on the face to double the impact load for more energy and ball speeds across the face.

Taylor Made M1/M2

The all-new M1 driver takes multi-material construction to the next level to deliver distance, forgiveness and complete personalisation. Featuring a new 6-layer carbon crown and additional carbon toe panel, the 2017 M1 driver has 43% more carbon than last year’s model.

Ping G Driver
Inspired by an approach called biomimicry, PING engineers analysed the dragonfly’s intricate wing pattern to design ultra-thin crown sections for extreme centre of gravity location and maximized MOI. Dragonfly Technology, Vortec Technology, turbulators and a strong T9S face have created Ping’s longest and most forgiving driver ever.

So, that’s the information on the technology but what did you, the general golfing public, think of them?

All participants were asked to score each club on; Looks, Feel, Sound, Performance and ultimately which one they would buy.

Looks
Callaway topped the best-looking list with an average rating of 4.14, just a fraction ahead of the Taylormade. The Ping was certainly not a favourite aesthetically and finished a good way behind the other two.

WINNER BEST LOOKING: CALLAWAY EPIC

Feel
The best feel was a very close run affair between all three drivers but it was the Ping that came out on top, defeating the Callaway into second place by the narrowest of margins.

WINNER BEST FEEL: PING G

Sound
The three drivers certainly have their own distinctive sounds of which we have no doubt the manufacturers engineer deliberately. It was our prediction that the softer thud made by the multi-material Callaway and Taylormade would be popular but it seems we were wrong. The much louder crack created by the Ping proved to be the preference overall and therefore claimed the top spot.

WINNER BEST SOUND: PING G

Performance
You could argue this is the most important category of all. At the end of the day, does it matter what a driver looks, feels and sounds like if it does not perform very well?

I think it is fair to say that all three of these products perform exceptionally well but we can only have one winner!

We have long promoted the Ping G Driver as one of the best on the market but since the launch of the new M1 and the Callaway Epic we were questioning if it’s crown could now be taken. Well, according to your ratings, the answer was NO. Despite the Ping selling for £299 versus the Callaway and Taylormade at £429 you rated it as the best performing driver of them all.

WINNER BEST PERFORMANCE: PING G

Which driver would you buy?
An interesting result here as you would think that it would be the Ping given that it was rated as having the best performance. However, the totals showed that the Callaway Epic will be filling more of your golf bags this year than both the Ping and the Taylormade.

WINNER BUYING CHOICE: CALLWAY EPIC

MY THOUGHTS

What was clearly evident from the day was that getting fitted for your next driver is an absolute must. You could easily dismiss a driver on its performance simply because you were fitted with unsuitable shaft, head type, length, settings on the head or most likely a combination of all of the aforementioned.

We have invested heavily in technology and training to help us quickly and confidently optimise the set up for each individual golfer. We are committed to providing a World class service to the golfers of North East Scotland and offer you the leading brands in golf at the most competitive prices. Best of all we will make sure you get what is right for you.

Rodney Trail certainly benefitted from a good fitting and the newer technology available today. His current driver is a Callaway Diablo driver from 2009 but with the new Callaway Epic he gained 42 yards in length. That is what we call a ‘Game Changer!’

If you could not make it to the Heavyweight Driver Battle then do not worry! We have the full range of demo products and shaft options in the Golf Studio for you to get fitted with 7 days a week.
We are now open Monday to Friday 10am to 8pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

If you would like to see how much more yardage and accuracy you could gain then book a fitting today. It costs £30.00 but this is refunded if a purchase is made as a result of the fitting.
Don’t forget to bring your own club along as we only want you to buy a benefit!

Book online at www.dunesgolfcentre.co.uk/custom-fitting/ or 01346 510693

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What would 30 yards longer from the tee do for your game?

Golf is not all about more distance but if you are going in to the green with an 8 iron instead of a 5 iron it is sure to make a difference to how often you hit the green, how close you are to the pin and ultimately what score you achieve.

Not to mention how much more fun you will have!

I am really pleased with my Ping Driver certainly hitting a lot further than I was and mostly hitting the fairway! I would certainly recommend it to any person looking for a new driver.
Regards
Norman Cruickshank

With strict rules enforced by the R&A regarding club design, it seemed the manufacturers were left reinventing the wheel when it came to bringing out new products. However, Ping have truly delivered something special with their new G driver.

Since it was launched earlier this year we have seen it outperform every other driver on the market including the likes of the Taylor Made M1 and M2, Callaway Big Bertha Alpha, Titleist 916 and everything else we have put it up against.

There’s a lot happening on the crown of the Ping G Driver  First, it has the Turbulators which we also saw on the G30.  What’s new is the Dragonfly Technology.  The structure of the crown is designed to mirror a dragonfly’s wings, an approach Ping call Biomimicry.  The benefit is that the crown is strong but lighter and thinner than ever resulting in more ball speed and more distance!

The new G driver is also more forgiving thanks to the Dragonfly Technology.  By shaving eight grams from the crown, PING has raised the MOI (moment of inertia) to make the G driver more stable on off-centre hits. And when you combine more speed and more forgiveness with high launch and low spin, you have the best driver in golf!

Warning: Buying any G Driver won’t help!

I have spoken to several people who tried a friends G driver without noticing any gains of distance or accuracy. The reason: The friends driver was built especially for them and did not suit the swing technique of the person trying it.

With three different head types and loft options, over a dozen stock shafts, and adjustability settings, there are literally thousands of combinations to choose from.

The only way you can do this accurately is with technology like the GC2 in the Studio at Dunes and with the help of one of our expert custom fit technicians who can analyse the data and optimise the set up.

In addition to the standard head, there are two options to help create a better ball flight:

SFTEC – If you have a tendency to slice the ball
More weight in the help helps turn a slice into a much straighter shot
LSTEC – For the player who hits it too high
The centre of gravity is slightly further forward which reduces the backspin on the ball.

Book your custom fitting today: Call 01346 510693 or book online by CLICKING HERE

The G Driver now accounts for 90% of all of our driver sales, but don’t just take our word for it. Look what our happy customers are saying…

Got to say I am more than happy with my driver, seem to get a little more distance when I hit it sweetly, a bit more carry, but see a big difference when I maybe don’t hit it just as sweet as I would like to compared to my old driver! Overall very happy with it!
Thanks

Steven Ritchie – Rosehearty Golf Club

Fantastic driver, although I’m not a huge fan of the looks due to usually having smaller head tour drivers to reduce spin but the results don’t lie!
I would say it has added 20 yards to my drives and the ball flight is a lot more penetrating in windy conditions.Would definitely recommend the G driver to all abilities but as I have discovered with my new set of clubs custom fit is a must for all players not just the pros.
Regards

James Hadden – Fraserburgh Golf Club

Since getting fitted for the new Ping G SF Tec driver, my confidence has grown when I step on the tee, as I know where my drive will go, rather than trying to over compensate and hope my ball lands on the fairway. so that its self is a huge help…Ball flight is much higher and with the SF Tec model this corrects my fade which I am happy with and it makes it easier to play the next shot from the fairway – rather than the rough!!!

Just the look of the club head is nice to look at when teeing the ball up, as I feel this helps with your confidence.Compared to my old Callaway Big bertha 815 Aplha, I would say am hitting the ball 40-50yrds further, and on a good day when am hitting it well it’s the best club in the bag!!!!

The amount of people I know that had changed to the new Ping G Driver is quite a lot, so to me that says something – Ping you have a great driver that’s easy to hit and makes golf a lot more enjoyable.
Doug Hastie – Inverallochy Golf Club

Prior to buying my Ping G driver I was hitting my drives about 150 yards.
After purchasing my driver and have some lessons at Dunes I am now driving well over 200 yards. I’m more consistent on the fairways now than ever as I had a tendency to always slice the ball right. I would happily recommend anyone to buy this driver if they are looking to improve and increase their driving capability.
Regards
Norman Reid