By Dominic Choma, Club Fitter
All three models have an 8 gram weight and a 2 gram weight. The weights can be placed either in the heel or the front of the club to promote a more draw biased flight in the heel, or a lower spinning and more fade bias flight in the front. All three models also offer five different no upcharge shaft options, which will allow the player to find the right clubhead/shaft combination for their game.
To test these drivers, I hit them in the Cluboratory and tracked the results using the Trackman 4 launch monitor. Because of how new this product is, I only had one head for each model available to me. The XD3 head was 9.5 degrees, the XD5 was 10.5 degrees, and the XD7 9 degrees. Each head was set at the neutral setting, with the UST Elements Platinum 6 X-Flex Shaft. I set the 8 gram weight in the front setting in each head. The results are below.
|Model||Clubhead Speed||Ball Speed||Launch Angle||Spin Rate||Carry||Total||Launch Direction||Spin Axis|
The first thing that sticks out for me is the ball speed. Each clubhead averaged over 173 miles per hour of ball speed, which for me is very high. All things being equal, more ball speed is going to give the golfer more distance, which is never a bad thing. I bring this up because I saw this trend for all three clubheads which really impressed me. Now let’s take a look at each clubhead individually.
For the XD3, I averaged 9.9 degrees of launch with 2395 rpms of spin. My average ball speed was 173.5 miles per hour. These numbers combined to produce an average carry distance of 294.8 yards. In terms of the shot shape this driver started 1.1 degrees left of the target and had an average spin axis of -5.7 degrees, which is what I will typically see from a driver with a neutral bias. This clubhead is right between the other two models in terms of size and shape. It definitely does not look too big at address, but it does have a slightly larger shape than the XD7 which should help it provide more forgiveness on off center hits. This model should appeal to the player who does not need a draw bias clubhead like the XD5, but would like a slightly larger clubhead that will provide more forgiveness than the XD7. This clubhead bridges the gap between the XD5 and XD7 nicely.
The XD5 is the model that should cater to the majority of golfers. Most golfers tend to miss to the right, and this clubhead is designed with a draw bias that should help those golfers. I definitely saw that in my test, as this driver definitely wanted to go more to the left than the others did. The average ball speed with this driver was 173.3 miles per hour. This driver had an average launch angle of 8.9 degrees, with an average of 2597 rpms of backspin. The average carry was 290.7 yards. The average launch direction 3.2 degrees to the left, with a spin axis of -9.6. This driver started more to the left than the other two models, while also producing more curvature to the left as well, which will be great for golfers who tend to miss to the right. The interesting thing is that this clubhead actually launched the lowest for me, despite being designed to be the highest launching clubhead. It also had the highest loft, which does not make sense in theory. There is one reason that I can attribute this to, which is that I was starting the ball more to the left and curving it more to the left than the other two. A ball that starts left and curves to the left will tend to launch a lower than a straight ball flight will, which is the main reason as the why this club head was launching lower for me than the other two. Overall this clubhead will work best for the player who needs help with a miss to the right, or who could benefit from a higher ball flight or a more forgiving club head.
Lastly we have the XD7. This club head averaged 174.7 miles per hour of ball speed. The average launch angle was 9.7 degrees with a spin rate of 2458 rpms. The average carry distance was 298.2 yards with the launch direction averaging 1.5 degrees left and a spin axis of -1.1 degrees. This clubhead had the fastest ball speed, the farthest carry distance, and also the straightest flight of the three models for me. Being a player that struggles with a miss to the left, it makes sense that this was the best model for me. This clubhead is the smallest of the three which should appeal to the better player who likes the look of a smaller clubhead at address. However, being that it is the smallest clubhead of the group it will be the least forgiving on mis hits. Players that struggle to hit the center of the face consistently should probably look at one of the other two options as they will provide better performance on mis hits. This driver will work best with a player who tends to struggle with a high ball flight, a player who tends to miss their tee shots to the left, or a player who likes the look of a smaller clubhead at address.
The 2017 Tour B XD3, XD5, and XD7 drivers from Bridgestone are all designed with different players in mind, catering to a wide range of players. All three produced fast ball speeds in my testing, and that combined with the ability to dial in the right shot shape for each player should produce long and straight tee shots. As always, every player should be properly fit for the right clubhead for their game before purchasing one of these drivers.