Rivalries are good for business. Ohio State/Michigan. Yankees/Red Sox. Nicklaus/Palmer. Curiosity is up, excitement is high, and all eyes are open when they hit the stage to face one another. Money is made and history is usually written when they lock horns. When it comes to the driver game, the Tyson and Holyfield of golf equipment has been TaylorMade and Callaway. The Epic Flash was the best selling driver of 2019, thanks to artificial intelligence. That technology continues with the design of the 2020 MAVRIK. But will the trend continue? The TaylorMade SIM hopes to turn the tables with the brand’s fastest swinging driver to date. I put two of my best club fitters to the task of hitting each and giving me their honest review. You can give me all the robotic testing data you’d like. But humans play golf, and humans buy golf equipment. 

Mason Suchora – TaylorMade SIM Driver The Taylormade SIM comes in three models this year and I had the pleasure of being able to test each.  When I first got to our fitting cart here at Golf HQ the first thing I noticed was an ample amount of great stock shafts.  Whether you want your ball flight to go up or down you will have that covered with Taylormade’s stock options.  I first tested the SIM Max driver in the HZRDUS green, which is the low launch low spin option of the stock shafts.  However the SIM Max head still launched fairly high and spun upwards of 3000 rpms. I then went on to try the SIM in an attempt to take down some of the spin I was getting. This head did exactly that by dropping around 1000 rpms.  I also increased my club head speed due to the slightly more compact design, which in my game makes me swing a little more freely at the ball.  I was getting my best numbers with the SIM at a ball speed around 162-165, club speed between 114 and 116, and carry distances when the strike was central around 295-305, and on occasion some out around 315.  The SIM Max D is not really meant for me being a natural drawer of the golf ball, but I still gave it a go for the sake of testing and it did exactly what it is supposed to. It launched high and favored a right to left ball flight. All in all these are great clubs and will definitely be at the top of the list of drivers to try this year.  

Keegan Butler – Callaway MAVRIK Driver The Callaway Mavrik is yet another “wow” in the driver category for the number one wood company in the business. The initial look at address is very appealing, inspiring confidence in the Mavrik line and providing an exceptional players look in the Sub Zero model. The sound of the first few strikes is very pronounced. After about five shots I could tell that the AI face built into the Mavrik creates incredibly consistent launch and spin on all areas of the face. After trying both the standard and the sub zero head in the standard setting at 9 degrees, it was evident that with my swing speed the lower spinning sub zero would better suit me. The Mavrik Sub Zero, with the stock Aldila shaft 60 grams in an extra stiff, led to a 3 mph ball speed increase and a total average gain of 10 yards.

Now its obvious Keegan and Mason are single digit players with a lot of speed (ahhh youth is a wonderful thing). But it is often difficult to get a good player with a 110+ club head speed to pick up more mph with just a club switch. Materials and aerodynamics in both models are going to show just that, and even more of a speed increase with an average player. We are excited that Callaway and TaylorMade are our first in-store demo days on the 2020 calendar. Callaway is Saturday, February 8th and TaylorMade will be Saturday, February 29th. If you’re local, call or message us on any of our social media platforms to schedule a free fitting. But you don’t have to wait until then! Both clubs are up on GolfHQ.com for preorder and will be in stock in a few weeks. We have all heads and shafts in our fitting carts and can professionally fit you today! 

Enter our Callaway MAVRIK Driver Giveaway! We are giving away a Free MAVRIK driver to one lucky winner March 1st. Click the banner for ways to enter for YOUR chance to win! This is Callaway’s 2020 MAVRIK Driver – NEW!

Farmers Insurance Picks My sleeper pick last week did exactly that, sleep. Jason Kokrak missed the cut, and Kevin Kisner did as well. But my boy Rickie Fowler helped me save face with a top-10. We stay in Cali this week but head to La Jolla and gorgeous Torrey Pines for the Farmers Insurance Open. Torrey South is now the longest course in PGA Tour history at 7,765 yards, so length will be a premium. But you’ll also need to be able to putt the tricky, and sometimes bumpy, Poa annua greens. Winner Tony Finau Tony loves Torrey having never finished outside the top-24 in 5 appearances. He played well last week with a t-14 finish and firing a career low on tour with a 62. This the week Finau snags that long awaited second victory. Will contend Rory McIlroy When Rory putts, Rory wins…..or at least contends. He’s no doubt got the length and ball-striking. If he rolls the flat-stick well this week, he’ll be a factor on Sunday. Sleeper Ryan Palmer Played well in Hawaii 2 weeks ago with t-4 finish at Sony. Palmer has finished runner-up and t-13 the last 2 years at Torrey. I’ve always loved his golf swing and it hasn’t changed a bit.

Enjoy the game and each other,

Written by Seth Zipay
Designed and Published by Craig Walton

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