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That time of year has come; a time to reflect on all the exciting products the golf world bestowed upon us. In this 2-part series, we focus on the top products in the realm of equipment, apparel, accessories, and more. We go over the features and benefits that landed each product on our list. Without further introduction, here is the first list of our favorite golf products of 2018.
Favorite Golf Products of 2018: Part 1
Driver – PING G400 Max
The PING G400 Max driver may have been the last of the G400 family to be released but it’s definitely not the least. The slightly larger 460cc head packs the most forgiveness of any PING driver ever. Key features include a T9S+ forged face, turbulators, Dragonfly technology, and a tungsten sole weight. They all combine to deliver faster ball speeds, ideal CG placement, and aerodynamics to boost performance.
You don’t need to only take our word for it. The G400 Max is heralded throughout the industry for its performance, looks (that matte finish), and sound. Professionals, like Tony Finau and Cameron Champ (2 of the longest hitters on Tour), trust the G400 Max in their bag to bomb it down the fairway.
To learn more about this driver, check out our full review.
Fairway Wood – Callaway Rogue
Callaway first introduced their groundbreaking Jailbreak technology in the Great Big Bertha Epic drivers. The technology places 2 vertical bars behind the clubface, stabilizing the head to deliver more ball speed at impact.
To evolve the design, Callaway introduced Jailbreak into our favorite fairway wood of 2018, the Rogue. Callaway improved on the design of the Jailbreak bars in the Rogue. The bars are lighter, allowing weight to be redistributed around the head for more forgiveness. To ensure stability and strength weren’t sacrificed, engineers made the bars out of stainless steel, versus titanium (used in the drivers).
Ball speed gets a boost from the Carpenter 455 steel face and Callaway’s Face Cup technology. A refined, more aerodynamic shape also make the Rogue fairway look very appealing.
We loved the feeling of the ball jumping off the face at impact. It’s also easy to hit it off the tee or off the ground. For more information, read our full review HERE.
Hybrid – Wilson C300
Hybrids have been a game-changing club for many golfers. As long iron replacements, they offer more forgiveness and consistent distance, helping golfers play better.
The Wilson C300 hybrid is our favorite hybrid of 2018 because it does something unique. Wilson uses Power Hole technology to deliver distance and forgiveness. The Power Holes run through the crown and the sole of the club, a first in the industry. To maximize performance, the holes flex at impact, transferring more energy to the golf ball at impact. That energy translates into more distance. The holes on the crown also aid alignment, perfectly framing the ball at address.
Swapping the interchangeable weights (12-gram and 2-gram) on the sole of the C300 promote different ball flights. Place the heavier weight in the heel for more draw bias. Switch the heavier and lighter weight around to give the club a neutral bias.
The loft is adjustable +/- 1-degree with the hosel adapter at the end of the shaft. There are also “upright” settings that give the club more draw bias.
Finally, the C300 hybrid has a smaller, peanut-like head shape that inspires confidence in the club’s shot-making ability and forgiveness. And don’t forget the gorgeous dark(er) matte red finish.
Iron Set – TaylorMade P790 Black
Player’s distance irons became a trend in 2018. These clubs have the looks a better player likes (compact head, thin topline, minimal offset) with the forgiveness of a game-improvement iron. One of the first of these types of irons was the TaylorMade P790. They were originally released in September of 2017 but TaylorMade came out with the P790 Black in 2018 (which is why they made the list). P790 Black irons share all the features with their older brother but stand out thanks to their high-gloss black PVD finish.
P790 irons have a clean, crisp look to them. But their beauty goes more than skin deep. The face of the P790s is made of an ultra-thin material that wraps around the sole to the cut-through Speed Pocket. The face and Speed Pocket flex at impact, creating the added ball speed and distance.
Inside of these hollow-body clubs is the secret to their performance, SpeedFoam. SpeedFoam is a revolutionary material that gives the irons a soft feel and helps increase ball speed at impact. The improved feel is an important distinction. Irons with a thin face produce more vibrations that translate to a hard feel that’s off-putting to golfers. SpeedFoam dampens these vibrations, lessening the negative feedback. SpeedFoam also works in conjunction with the face to add more flexing at impact, meaning more ball speed/distance.
Finally, let’s talk about the forgiveness of these clubs. A tungsten weight placed near the toe places more perimeter weight on the clubs. As we know, more weight on the perimeter helps shots hit near the heel or the toe go further. The progressive offset on the P790s (more on long irons, less on short irons), gives you forgiveness and control where you need it most.
These are just some of the reason why the TaylorMade P790 Black irons were our favorite iron set of 2018. Check out our full review of the originals HERE.
Wedge – Titleist SM7
Bob Vokey is a legend in the industry for his wedge designs. In fact, Vokey wedges are the most popular wedges on the PGA Tour (not that we need to tell you that). Success in the wedge game comes from designing consistent, high-performing clubs for the widest array of players. Titleist SM7 wedges have these in spades, which makes them our favorite wedge of 2018.
The biggest feature of the SM7 wedges is the number of grind options that are available, 6 in total. With plenty of options, finding the right combination for your swing/playing conditions is as easy as finding the right letter (of the grind).
Progressive CG locations and loft-specific groove patterns enhance the performance of the SM7 wedges. The CG location starts high and lowers as the loft increases, controlling the height of the shot. There are also 2 different groove patterns on the SM7 wedges. Lower lofted wedges (46-54 degrees) have narrower, deeper grooves. Higher lofts (56-62 degrees) have wider, shallower grooves. The groove pattern partners with the CG location to produce the ideal ball flight and spin for each club.
Remember, it’s as important to get fit for your wedges as it is any other club in the bag. A fitting will find ideal wedge setup (loft and grind) for your game. Read more about the SM7 wedges in our review.
Putter – TaylorMade Spider Tour
One of our favorite putters in 2017 was the TaylorMade Spider Tour. This putter continues to wow us in 2018, expanding the options of the lineup to fit a wider range of players. Jason Day was the first player to put this putter on the map, in 2016, using it to reach #1 in the world. Since then, it’s crawled its way into several bags on the PGA Tour, including former world #1 Dustin Johnson and rising phenom Jon Rahm.
The Spider Tour comes in 3 finishes and adds multiple hosel configurations and several alignment line options for 2018. The finishes include the original red, a black, and a diamond silver. There are a handful of hosel options to choose from; ranging from classic “L” shape to center-shafted, fitting any putting stroke. You can also choose from a single alignment line that runs the width of the putter or no line at all.
Each Spider Tour head is constructed of a heavy 304 stainless steel frame and a lighter 6061 aluminum body. The heavy frame places more weight on the perimeter of the head for extremely high MOI.
You’ll also find TaylorMade’s patented Pure Roll insert on the face of each Spider Tour model. The insert has grooves cut at a 45-degree angle, helping get the ball rolling online faster.
Experience this putter for yourself and see why it repeats as one of our favorite golf products of 2018.
We Made It…
Whew. Thanks for checking out Part 1 of our favorite golf products of 2018. Leave a comment below and let us know what some of your favorites were. As always, we’re here to help if you have any questions. Stay tuned for Part 2…
Some of our favorites from years past