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Best Golf Drivers – Then vs. Now

Our Job Is Your Game

To celebrate 10 years of Most Wanted Testing, we decided to put on a head-to-head Best Golf Drivers showdown.

We pitted the very first driver to ever receive the title of Best Driver versus the Best Driver of 2023.

Callaway X Hot versus TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus.

Then Versus Now. Let the battle commence!

Callaway & TaylorMade

Testing Parameters

A decade of separation begs the question, “Is newer better?”

Below you will find the parameters with which we tested both the Callaway X Hot and the TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus.

  • 10 Testers
  • Swing Speed Range (85 mph – 110)
  • 15 Shots with Each Driver

We are keeping it simple, analyzing the data from a raw data perspective.

Best Golf Drivers Background

Here is a brief overview of each driver.

Callaway X Hot Driver

The Callaway X Hot burst onto the scene in 2013, featuring a Speed Frame Face which assists with faster ball speeds while maintaining efficient launch conditions. Additionally, X Hot included Callaway Golf’s OptFit Hosel. This adjustable hosel allows golfers to change the face angle to a neutral, closed or open setting.

In 2013, our testing showed Callaway X Hot was the best golf driver overall. Its victory was propelled by accuracy and serviceable distance.

TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Driver

The new TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus beat out a strong field of competitors this year to claim the best golf driver 2023. If you think the driver space was competitive in 2013, 10 years has amplified it exponentially. Manufacturers continually strive to find even the slimmest technology advancement to edge out their competitors.

For TaylorMade Golf, the magic is in their 60x layer carbon face as well as using more carbon throughout the driver head.

2013 vs. 2023 Results

As you can see, there is no question that 10 years makes a difference. TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus ousts Callaway X Hot in every category: ball speed, carry distance and total distance. Stealth 2 Plus is a low-spin driver so it isn’t surprising that it produces a lower backspin number on average.

Strokes Gained

For every 14 holes, gaming a TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus has the potential to be 1.1 strokes better than the Callaway X Hot on average. Why 14 holes versus 18? Well, in most scenarios, golfers are using a driver, or are able to use a driver, for 14 out of 18 holes on a golf course. (The understanding being that the other four holes are par-3s.)

Buying a New Driver

How often should you buy a new driver? It is a common question asked by golfers. If you’ve followed us long enough, you know our answer.

Our rule of thumb is three to five years. We’ve seen that it takes that period for manufacturers to truly enhance performance benefits in their drivers. This being said, you should only replace your current golf driver if a new one appreciably outperforms your current one.

In the end, you want to be using the driver that fits you the best. Your driver should be giving you the best opportunity to hit more fairways, maximize your distance and ultimately help you shoot lower scores.

Newer Is Better … Sometimes

Year to year, new golf clubs, especially drivers, hit the golf market. Some have one-year life cycles. Others have two-year life cycles.

Through Most Wanted Testing, we’ve seen products hold their own against the newest wave of technology. To which, we ask, “Is newer truly better?” and is it worth your investment. Inside that three- to five-year window, it it difficult to say a golf club, specifically a driver, is substantially better than the latest and greatest.

Having said that,  sometimes newer is appreciably better.

In this test specifically, 10 years does make a difference. The TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus produces higher ball speeds, more carry distance and longer overall distance. Additionally, in an admittedly small sample size, it can potentially provide an average Strokes Gained value of 1.1 per 14 holes.

If you are playing a driver that is 10-plus years old, it is time to consider an update. If you are using a driver that is five or more years old, it won’t hurt you to explore a new option.

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*We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.



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