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DRIVERS

Always the most tantalizing club in a golfer’s bag, there’s never a shortage of new drivers released each season. These three stand out for being the most cutting-edge.

Thousands of virtual simulations and prototypes came before the Callaway Epic Flash. Conventional driver design is symmetrical, where the clubface is thickest in the center and thinnest at the perimeter—until Callaway proved that to be an inefficient design. Utilizing artificial intelligence, the company’s team of engineers programmed a computer to understand how the geometry of a clubface affects ball speeds and durability. This optimized solution for maximum ball speed “is not very predictable with all these ripples and waves,” explains Evan Gibbs, Callaway Golf ’s director of R&D for woods. “It looks very different than any face we’ve ever seen, but it’s very effective.” The club is also manufactured differently—the face is first forged, then machined into shape, and finally laser-welded onto the body. “The architecture is so complex,” Gibbs says, “that if you used traditional casting methods, some of the features would get washed out.” $530; callawaygolf.com

Kevin Murray. Opposite, Courtesy Images From Top: Callaway Golf; Lynx Golf; Cobra Golf

Not only does the Lynx Prowler VT deliver adjustable lofts, but it does so in a revolutionary way that took the brand almost a decade to perfect. A traditional adjustable driver utilizes a changeable mechanism in the hosel that unavoidably changes a club’s lie and face angles. The Prowler VT features interchangeable faceplates that prevent those unwanted secondary changes. The weight that is saved by eliminating that hosel mechanism is then repositioned (with the faceplate screws) around the perimeter of the club, increasing the club’s moment of inertia (MOI). At least 25 different faceplates are available, ranging from 8 to 12 degrees of loft, some with close- or open-face angle configurations to deliver a fade or draw bias. $525; lynxgolfusa.com

Driver design is a tug-of-war between aerodynamics and a low center of gravity (CG), which is crucial for performance, as it allows for the most efficient transfer of energy from the club to the ball during the swing. The Cobra King F9 proves there’s a way to achieve both. By creating a CNC precision-milled driver face that is five times more precise than hand-polishing—and through the development of a carbon fiber–wrapped crown design that reduces the clubhead’s total weight by an additional 10 grams—Cobra’s engineers have built adjustable weight into the sole of the club, which pulls the center of gravity down, even as the crown was raised to be more aerodynamic. The end result is faster club speed and greater precision. $450; cobragolf.com w

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