Driver Weight Comparison: Going nuts with Weight Settings
The new Honma TR20 Driver is equipped with a function that makes the heart of every club fitter and hobbyist beat faster. It is possible to set up three different positions with different weights. This sounds unspectacular at first, but it allows you to do so much with the ball flight and also the swing of a player. This is what we wanted to show with this test. We took an actually very constant driver player and gave him the driver with five different weight distributions.
The TR20 driver has three different slots to place the weights and we have all weights from 0g (completely without screw) up to 15g available. If you want you can make this driver incredibly heavy. But it is also possible to change the center of gravity and concentrate everything on one area. Let's have a closer look at the constellations and results:
Standard Setup: good distribution with high MOI
With 9g in the back and 3g in the front and heel, the weight is distributed quite neutral and designed for increased MOI. This is the standard setting in which you receive the driver. The weight is only slightly shifted backwards which basically simplifies the launch and guarantees good control. Our player coped very well with this standard setup. The launch was decent with 14°, the spin with 2884rpm rather on the high side. The carry length was 207m and the dispersion was minimal. Normally you wouldn't have to change this setting very much, but we wanted to find out what is possible...
Maximum MOI and more weight
By placing 15g in the back and only 3g in the heel we maximized MOI and should have a driver that maximizes launch and spin. Also the control should be theoretically better. The driver head is now 3g heavier and has a swing weight of D4 instead of D2.5.
We were definitely right with our assumption that launch and spin are maximized with 15° and 3462rpm. But in terms of control we could see one thing very well: The player was not only overstrained with the heavy club but also with the heavy weight in the back area. Controlled shots were not possible for him. Most of the time the clubface remained much too open and the club could not be accelerated at all. This can be seen by the 3mph lower clubhead speed. The player had the feeling that the driver head opened too much in the follow through and got lofted up. This is not surprising with so much weight in the back area and is also shown by the 20.4° dynamic loft.
Maximum MOI and a heavier swing weight do not automatically mean more control.
Maximum MOI with identical weight
Now it is time to end the experiment with D4 and give the player the identical swing weight of the basic setting. We are quite radical and pack everything that can be moved to the back, i.e. 15g and otherwise no screws.
What you can already see is that the clubhead speed returns to normal and becomes identical to the standard setup. In comparison, however, the launch is only 0.3° and the spin is not even 100rpm higher.
Although the player was able to handle this setting a little better than with the heavier club, he didn't have much control. Again, the weight is unnaturally far back. Compared to the standard the carry length was 2m shorter without any real gain in control.
It's time to put away the 15g screw and end the experiment with a too one-sided weight distribution. Such heavy weights only make sense if the player really needs a very heavy club head, e.g. because he wants to play with a shorter shaft, a thick grip or a high balance shaft. Basically we would not recommend a very one-sided weight distribution.
The quest for maximum length
Now we pack 12g to the front and only 3g to the back. Our goal is to minimize the spin and get more length out of the driver without optimizing the shaft or loft. At first we reach our goal and the spin is minimal at 2460rpm. However, when it comes to overall length, at 227m we can't beat the standard version. This is clearly due to the fact that the launch with 11.2° is suboptimal and therefore the carry length is too short. Here it would be time to change the loft and/or shaft - which is not the subject of this test.
One thing is evident here: our player controls the ball much better with a very straight flight. In general, the swing is completely different after the weight is no longer in the back. The Angle of Attack has become steeper and the club moves more from the outside to the inside. Our player has adjusted to the new weight distribution in his own way.
The quest for big hooks
One setting we have not yet tested: 12g weight in the heel. This is an absolute anti-slice setting which our tester does not need at all. The result is accordingly brutal. The balls are uncontrollably on the left side, the clubface is strongly closed. With a neutral swing path of -0.5°, this results in flat pulls that do not produce any length and, above all, are strongly out of direction.
This setting shows one thing above all: There are drivers on the market that are equipped with such a setting as standard. An example is Honma XP1 or Beres. But there are also drivers from other manufacturers. However, many players do not know about them or are not advised correctly. They acquire such a driver and then wonder about flat shots that land in the bushes on the left.
The weight distribution in the driver is definitely not a joke or a marketing invention. It definitely has effects that a player should be aware of and this test has shown this very well.
But what the test also shows is that an unusual weight distribution can irritate the player and throw him off balance. Radical methods are not effective at this point and have a decisive influence on the player's swing. For example, our player had particular problems with too much weight in the rear area. Although this is supposed to increase control, the opposite was the case. Also a too heavy swing weight could not only not bring additional control but also a significantly lower club head speed.
With the weights in the TR20 driver, fine-tuning is possible and that's how you should understand it. On the other hand, it also allows the overall weight to be changed significantly, which is especially important when playing longer or shorter shafts, heavier grips or shafts with a lot of weight in the shaft end.