Monday, April 23, 2012

Product Review: Cleveland Golf Black Driver

Ask a typical golfer about Cleveland Golf and you’re likely to hear their thoughts on wedges. Cleveland has long been making some of the best wedges in the game and should be proud of the reputation it has garnered. But what about drivers?

While Cleveland offers several models, American Golfer recently tested its Black driver. For whom is this driver designed? Well, anyone, but it is specifically engineered to help golfers with lower swing speeds.

The Black driver weighs only 265 grams, which makes it the lightest driver on the market, according to Cleveland. This helps players generate measurable increases in swing speed and distance with the same swing effort.

Technically speaking, the Speed Crown Design is an innovative, teardrop-inspired crown profile that maximizes distance through aerodynamics by reducing drag at all angles of airflow during the swing. MaxCOR2 Variable Face Thickness Technology reduces face weight and increases trampoline effect on off-center hits, meaning higher ball speed and more distance on off-center hits. Plus, a high-density weight screw at the rear of the sole plate positions the center of gravity lower and deeper to promote a high, draw-biased trajectory with optimal launch conditions for effortless distance.

Translation: The ball jumps off the CG Black’s club face, soars high and long ... all with minimal exertion.

Also help decrease overall club weight for faster swing speed are a Miyazaki C. Kua 39 Limited Edition graphite shaft and a Golf Pride Ultralite grip. Every little bit helps when you’re weighing in grams!

The specifications are laid out above and you can find that information online or at any shop that sells the Black driver. This, however, is a review.

How did the Cleveland Golf Black driver perform in live action? In a word: great!

In the hands of a 9 handicap golfer with average club speed, the Black driver not only provided distance, but a surprising amount of accuracy. Considering the model tested had a loft of only 9 degrees, we expected the former, but not the latter.

On a course, our writer can expect a well-struck ball to roll out to about 270 yards. Slightly more when “opening up” the swing. This is where a diet-pill commercial would enter its statement “results not typical” or “results may vary.” With average effort, one tee shot travelled 327 yards, while another came in at 297. Most were in the expected 270-yard range.

Wesley Snipes once quipped in the 1990s movie Passenger 57, “Always bet on black.” If the wager was based on adding distance without increasing effort, I wouldn’t bet against it.


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