We’re just like you.

We’ve never been more amped up about the game’s latest equipment. We can’t wait to blast every driver, flush every iron, roll every putter. So that’s what we did. We considered 222 candidates for the 2019 Hot List; 129 made our cut.

The clubs featured on these pages (and in the coming months), the ones that made it through our rigorous scrutiny, are the only sticks worth your time, energy and dollars this year. That means trying before you buy, certainly, but whether you’re revamping your whole bag or just replacing a wedge, we urge you to include a qualified fitter in your process.

Each of these clubs can be a game-changer for you. We know it. We tried them.

We’re just like you.


GOLD


Callaway

epic flash epic flash sub zero    

2019 Hot List: Drivers

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★★

VERDICT
The original Epic blew our minds with its “Jailbreak” technology in which two titanium bars connect the sole and crown to maximise flexing in the face. The Epic Flash has this technology, plus a face designed using artificial intelligence: thousands of virtual prototypes – impossible to conceive with traditional methods – created a face whose back (under magnification) is rippled like an Olympics moguls run. The benefit is more ball speed across the meat of the face. The head is also extra stable on off-centre hits, and there’s a sliding weight track in the rear to adjust flight.

Callaway epic flash • epic flash sub zero

COMMENTS
(L) You can almost feel the ball absorbing into the face and shooting away.
(M) I really like the crack-of-the-whip sound at impact.
(H) The clubhead is incredibly stable: it seems everywhere on the clubface ends with a workable result.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


Cobra

King f9 speedback    

2019 Hot List: Drivers

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★★½

VERDICT
The problem with an aerodynamic shape is, well, the shape. Sure, it helps the club slide through the air, but it often places too much weight high in the clubhead, resulting in increased ball spin and less distance. Cobra’s design here keeps the smooth edges for aerodynamic efficiency. However, instead of compromising on spin, Cobra stretched its lightweight carbon-composite crown around the edges. Light material on top means more heavy material low and deep, including a 14-gram weight in the sole that can be switched from back to front to lower spin even more.

2019 Hot List: Drivers

COMMENTS
(L) Looks like a predator. My ball flight had a gradual descent. A soft but strong feel.

(M) Those little adjustments worked wonders on my low trajectory. When you hit it, everything represented power.

(H) Easy to get up in the air without over-spinning it.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


Mizuno

st190 st190g    

2019 Hot List: Drivers

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★½

VERDICT
For Mizuno, it wasn’t enough to incorporate a high-strength beta titanium alloy in a complex variable-thickness face with a carbon-fibre crown to help lower the centre of gravity. The company’s engineers also designed “waves” on the sole to improve forgiveness and boost the size of the hottest part of the face as much as 50 percent. The ST190 features a steel weight deep in the sole to improve l saunch and stability on mis-hits. The lower-spinning ST190G has parallel sliding weight tracks to better control spin and ball flight.

2019 Hot List: Drivers

COMMENTS
(L) The clubhead sits square with a clean look. I was very happy with its consistent, middle trajectory. It just flies out there.
(M) I found it easy to launch high with serious distance. Even with a lower loft, I could launch it high.
(H) It’s like they translated the forged feel of irons to a driver.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


Ping

g410 plus g410 sft    

2019 Hot List: Drivers

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★★

VERDICT
Even though Ping’s new family of drivers has a model with an adjustable centre of gravity (G410 Plus), the line retains its extreme stability. This means your mis-hits will be nearly indistinguishable from your centre strikes. One key feature is a weight-saving, super-thin crown designed with narrow support veins like those on a dragonfly’s wings. This allows the Plus model to have a 16-gram weight that seamlessly fits into draw, neutral and fade positions in the rear perimeter. On the lighter, slice-fighting SFT model, extra mass moves to the heel to help you square the face at impact.

2019 Hot List: Drivers

COMMENTS
(L) Probably the most elegant adjustability mechanism I’ve seen. Invisible but effective.

(M) It was Mr Reliability, like a Honda Accord: you can drive it every day and not worry about it.

(H) This tells you everything: I hit some of my best misses with it.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


PXG

0811 X GEN2 0811 XF GEN2

2019 Hot List: Drivers PXG0811 X GEN2 • 0811 XF GEN2

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★★½

VERDICT
Driver designers love carbon-fibre crowns. The lightweight material allows a low centre of gravity and more stability on off-centre hits. But the team at PXG wanted more, so it selectively raised and thickened its carbon-fibre crown. The goal is to stiffen the structure and redirect energy back to the flexing face for distance. There are two options: the adjustable and compact 0811 X has nine sole weights to optimise trajectory. It also emphasises low spin and high speed for better players. The larger 0811 XF is designed for high launch and forgiveness that nears the R&A and USGA limit.

2019 Hot List: Drivers PXG0811 X GEN2 • 0811 XF GEN2

COMMENTS
(L) Quiet and soft but still powerful and explosive.

(M) A bullet-like flight. There’s nothing like this dense sound. Thuddy, but with more backbone.

(H) Cool, flat finish. The contrast between the front and back draws you to the face.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


Srixon

Z 785 Z 585    

2019 Hot List: Drivers SrixonZ 785 • Z 585    

Performance ★★★★½
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★½
Demand ★★★

VERDICT
When you’re in search of ball speed, it helps to have the exclusive use of a super-strong titanium alloy. This strength allows the face to be designed thinner so it can flex more for maximum ball speed. Both models here feature a cupface design in which the face extends around the crown and sole. That construction creates more thin areas on the perimeter to increase flexing. The Z 785 has an adjustable hosel and is geared for better players. The Z 585 features more forgiveness and produces a higher launch angle. Both have a lightweight carbon-fibre crown.

2019 Hot List: Drivers SrixonZ 785 • Z 585    

COMMENTS
(L) This club had some of the lowest variability from shot to shot.
(M) I liked how you feel the mis-hits but don’t see any real change in performance.
(H) I found the 585’s draw bias quite helpful. Allows you to go after it without fear of losing it right.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


TaylorMade

M5 M5 Tour    

2019 Hot List: Drivers TaylorMadeM5 • M5 Tour

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★½

VERDICT
The premise is wickedly simple: to make a faster-flexing face, why not make it illegal to start? Then, before the head is finished, tune it back to being legal. The execution isn’t so simple, of course. The heads are injected with a precise amount of resin (through those blood-orange ports) to make them as close to the conforming limit as possible. TaylorMade says it has increased the area of the face at the R&A and USGA limit to nearly the size of a 10-cent piece. Also, two 10-gram weights in a T-shape track on the sole control ball flight in thousands of possible settings.

2019 Hot List: Drivers

COMMENTS
(L) The sound is so deep – like a heavy door slamming. And just as powerful. Very strong and consistent.
(M) A ninja. If you didn’t see the launch numbers, you wouldn’t think it was hot. But it is.
(H) Easy to use the adjustability to tighten your shots.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


TaylorMade

M6 M6 D-Type    

2019 Hot List: Drivers TaylorMade M6 • M6 D-Type  

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★★

VERDICT
Instead of extra adjustability, some of us just want maximum forgiveness. In place of sliding weights, large panels of carbon composite fill the sole. They flank a weighted centre section, allowing mass to be placed low and deep on the standard model. There’s also a D-Type with 46 grams in the heel area to beat back a slice. And the face? Like the M5, the twisted-face shape helps minimise mis-hits. TaylorMade also starts with an extra-fast (non-conforming) face. Then, the head is injected with resin to bring the speed back under the limit. This intense manufacturing process aims to push every TaylorMade face closer to the edge than the norm.

2019 Hot List: Drivers TaylorMade M6 • M6 D-Type  

COMMENTS
(L) This is the essence of stability: you can swing hard and not lose it.

(M) The sound is muted, but man, does it have pop.

(H) The silver bracket nicely frames the face. D-Type fought my slice, and it won.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


Titleist

ts2 ts3

2019 Hot List: Drivers Titleist ts2 • ts3

Performance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★½                                                         

VERDICT
These two distinctly different drivers share a foundation. It starts with a new face design and a thinner-than-ever titanium crown. Together those features help produce higher ball speeds and lower spin than in past models. (Titleist also ensures quality control by inspecting every head for maximum spring-like effect.) The weight saved from the 20-percent-thinner crown is redistributed low and deep to help increase the off-centre-hit stability of the larger-profile TS2. On the more classic-shape TS3, a sole weight can be adjusted for a fade or draw.

2019 Hot List: Drivers Titleist ts2 • ts3

COMMENTS
(L) Great balance from setup to follow-through: you know where the head is at all times.
(M) Extremely pleasing to the eye, and the ball came off the face with speed.
(H) I really like the quiet sound. Powerful without being obnoxious.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


SILVER


Bridgestone

Tour B JGR    

2019 Hot List: Drivers Bridgestone Tour B JGR    

Performance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★
Demand

VERDICT
Average golfers fight two problems with their drivers. They hit the ball too low, and they battle a slice. Bridgestone addresses those issues with this driver’s structure and weighting. First, a thinned-out crown gives at impact, allowing the face to flex like a spring against a sole made extra firm by a structure featuring internal and external ribs. That helps provide a higher flight. Second, loads of weight in the heel (25 grams internally and a 10-gram weight in the sole) make it easier to square the face. A special milling pattern on the face – double the depth of its predecessor – also helps reduce spin on those high-launching shots for better distance.

2019 Hot List: Drivers Bridgestone Tour B JGR  

COMMENTS
(L) The yellow paint is a tad loud, but there is plenty of pop off the face. Reliably high flight with no slicing.
(M) Super easy to find the centre of the face. Easy to return dead square.
(H) Nice baby draw.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


Tour Edge

Exotics EXS  

2019 Hot List: Drivers Tour Edge Exotics EXS  

Performance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★½
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★
Demand★★

VERDICT
The Exotics line is known as Tour Edge’s high-tech luxury brand, but the EXS costs less than comparable models. Still, the EXS checks off an admirable technology roster: a weight-saving carbon-composite crown and sole panel that push mass low and deep for forgiveness, low spin and high launch. There’s also a variable-thickness face to enhance ball speed on mis-hits. Finally, moveable sole weights and an adjustable hosel let you manage spin and direction among 16 settings.

2019 Hot List: Drivers Tour Edge Exotics EXS  

COMMENTS
(L) The carbon-fibre clubhead produces the soft, duller sound that I like, and there’s no discernible vibration.
(M) The EXS is one of the easier drivers for launching the ball in the air, and the ball flight was easy to control.
(H) My drives had consistently low spin with high trajectory – the formula for distance.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High


Wilson

d7    

2019 Hot List: Drivers Wilson d7  

Performance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★
Look • Sound • Feel ★★★★
Demand ★★

VERDICT
The D7 is about 30 grams lighter than the typical driver, but the way the weight is distributed helps boost distance. The grip, shaft and head are lighter than standard, so you can swing the club faster. That speed boost also benefits from a more efficient head design. Using a carbon-composite Kevlar crown and eliminating the adjustable hosel saves nearly 20 grams. The saved weight is redistributed differently based on loft: for players seeking low spin with low-lofted drivers, the weight is low, forward and neutral. Those who play high lofts get a club with the weight back and toward the heel for improved carry and draw bias.

2019 Hot List: Drivers Wilson d7  

COMMENTS
(L) Nice, compact head with very little distraction.

(M) Super light – felt like you could really move it through the zone. Fun to play Home Run Derby with it.

(H) Beautiful, glossy finish. Easy to hit high.

Handicapper  (L) Low  (M) Middle  (H) High