In the northern climes of North America there are certain things that are most-assuredly signs of spring. The signs might be regional based but there is no mistaking that the fresh sprouts of daffodils and tulips are a tell-tale sign that a seemingly everlasting winter has reached a conclusion. The sun, well that feels just a little warmer and yes, the days are slowly getting longer. The Masters, that little nugget is a definite signaling of golf days that lay ahead.
It seems like a lifetime ago that all of the industry press releases started to emerge informing media and golf junkies alike, of the new hardware that was going to land in 2023. Then, there’s the PGA Show that takes place in Orlando every – or nearly every – January. A place where much of anything that’s getting released receives their first looks. The show this past January was my first since 2020 and while some manufacturers weren’t present, there were enough there to make any golfer’s heart content.
Demo and Fitting Day at Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge is a great place to test what’s coming out and develop some pretty decent head-to-head comparisons. Most of what there will be is right there on the 360* driving range. This January, the conditions were perfect, save for a fair breeze (as is always the case) on the Winter Haven, Florida facility.
However, I wasn’t in optimal product-testing condition as I hadn’t made swings since October and I wasn’t able to make swings that I typically make due to severely injuring (butchering) my right hand prior to my departure. It’s ultimately the reason why I opted to not hand out my PGA Show Demo Day Teezy Awards in 2023. After all, I don’t want to do a disservice to the manufacturers.
Fear not though, I was still able to form opinions in limited swings, So with that being said here are three drivers to try if you intend to buy in 2023.
***Author’s Note – There were a couple of manufacturers whose drivers I did not swing out of the manufacturers that were present. PING G430 (Long story short. I was queued in the wrong line) and Cleveland Golf (time constraint).
Mizuno Golf ST230 – Mizuno Golf released the all-new ST230 range of drivers. There are two separate models in their stable in 2023. The first is the ST-x 230 which is a clubhead that features a head that’s more workable and a little more draw-biased than its sibling the ST-z 230. Mizuno states that if you’re already a golfer that hits a draw the heel-weighting may add more speed. This head feels great at impact.
Conversely, if you’re a golfer that couldn’t give one iota about workability in a driver then the ST-z 230 is right up your alley. Straight and stable with low-spinning tendencies. The fact that it features a higher Moment of Inertia (M.O.I) means that forgiveness is at the roots of what this head is about. As great as the “X” is at impact, the “Z” is that much better.
Titleist TSR – The golf industry giant from Fairhaven, Massachusetts brought the goods in 2023. Then again, have golfers or golf gearheads ever seen a release from Titleist where they haven’t brought “it”? Likely not, or at least not since the 907 range. That was quite the era of golf equipment, wasn’t it? The thing about Titleist is that they don’t introduce products just for the sake of doing so.
The TSR comes in four different models being the TSR1, TSR2, TSR3, and lastly the TSR4. TSR1 is a driver for moderate swing speed players. Everything about the TSR1 is built for the slower swinger. The head and shaft combination is ultralight, helping to promote more speed for those needing help in that facet of the game. The TSR2 is for the golfer that wants a head that’s lower-spinning but still offers a high launch. TSR3 and TSR4 are lower-spinning heads than the prior two mentioned above. Titeist describes the TSR4 head as a head that offers “aggressive spin reduction”.
Aesthetically speaking, Titleist’s sleek “Black Beauties” are the best-looking drivers of the 2023 crop. Their shape is a very eye-pleasing profile with the classic pear-shaped head that Titleist is known for. The TSR1 looks a little more bulbous than the other three yet still captures a nice shape, Their feel and sound is quite frankly… Titleist. That’s a huge compliment albeit vague. Those who know… know.
Cobra Golf AEROJET – Full-disclosure with this one. When Cobra Golf announced the AeroJet to the golf world I had a light-hearted chuckle. How quaint? It was like TaylorMade’s AeroBurner and JetSpeed had an illegitimate love-child. Even the color story was sort of familiar. My impressions about the 2023 release were nothing short of cynicism, but I should have known better. Cobra Golf has long been known for their innovation.
The AEROJET, like so many of the other manufacturers, offers their product in three different models. The AEROJET MAX, AEROJET LS, and AEROJET are all designed with particular player types in mind. If you’re a golfer that needs all of the help possible then the AEROJET MAX driver is for you. There’s no question that this driver has a bias built into it. This head is high-launching and low to mid-spin head whereas the AEROJET is a low-spinning, medium launching head that was nothing short of a dynamo at Demo Day.
Rounding out Cobra Golf’s drivers in 2023 there’s the AEROJET LS. The LS is what Cobra Golf developed thanks to feedback from tour player’s. The combination of low-launch and low-spin makes this driver the perfect choice if you’re a player that seeks maximum workability and low spin. Even the head-shape is geared toward the more discerning of golfers.
By the time I made swings with these drivers it was the second to last booth that I visited. On the range at Demo Day the combination of its feel at impact, acoustics, launch, and ballflight might have given this driver from Cobra Golf… “Teezy Gold”.
Until The Next Tee!!