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Golf Driver Technology Through The Years [Infographic]

Updated on December 14, 2016

Golf is said to have started way back in the late 1200’s – before the time of what most believe was in Scotland. This was in fact the Netherlands and predated the modern game. Thinking about it, it actually makes sense where the name ‘golf’ derived from the word ‘kolf’, which in Dutch means ‘club or bat’.

Anyway I’m not going to bore you with the history of the game!

We’re going to run through technology in golf and how it has changed the game through the years – particularly in the driver and metal woods.

I’m not the oldest golfer around being only 33 years of age, but I have been playing golf for 28 of those years so I have a healthy knowledge on how things have progressed. Let’s get stuck into Golf Driver Technology then!

Golf Driver Technology Infographic

golf-driver-technology-12

1972: The First Graphite Driver Shaft, Ever!

golf-driver-technology-shafts

The first ever graphite shaft was introduced into the game and was developed by aircraft engineer James Flood. This was when the well-known graphite shaft company Aldila was born. It was a complete game changer and offered players a much needed game improvement resource.

This was primarily due to the weight of the shaft and club as a whole providing higher swing speeds resulting in more distance.

1979: Taylormade Launch First Ever Metal Wood

taylormade-metalwood

Gary Adams took out a $24 000 loan to found Taylormade and focused his time only on producing the first ever metalwood in the history of the game. It was cast of stainless steel and termed the Taylormade Metalwood.

1991: Callaway Launches World’s First Stainless Steel Driver

callaway-stainless-steel

This was where the game was changed immensely. Callaway took the bull by the horns and produced the ever popular Big Bertha Stainless Steel headed driver. At 195cc it was enormous compared to what golfers were used to. It was a game changer.

1995: Callaway Launches Great Big Bertha with 250cc Clubhead

callaway-big-bertha-driver-1996

Once again Callaway has come to the fore and this time around it was the Great Big Bertha. At 250cc it was larger than life. It was the talk of the town and each and every golfer wanted to see it and more importantly hit it. Plainly put – it was phenomenal. It honestly provided that feeling of being able to hit it exceptionally long and straight EVERY time.

1995: Taylormade’s Bubble Shaft Driver Takes World By Storm

taylormade-burner-bubble

Taylormade’s Bubble Shaft Driver took the world by storm and proved to be a huge success in terms of popularity and sales. However, as time went on unfortunately it proved to be inconsistent and slowly drifted out of the limelight.

This was one of Taylormade’s stand out highlights through the decades though. Every single golfer who currently plays and was around during that time will remember this particular club. If you owned one of these – you were “the business”.

2000: First 300cc Driver Head Introduced, then 350cc!!

taylormade_golf_drivers-300-series

Taylormade introduces the 300 Series Drivers, which were offered in three variations. The smallest of the three being the 300Ti which provided a flatter more penetrating ball flight. The 320Ti (which was most popular) provided slightly more forgiveness and also a slightly ‘left’ trajectory i.e. aiding a draw shape.

The 360Ti was the biggest of the three and supposedly one that provided the most distance having the lightest shaft and head combination at that time.

2002: First 500cc Driver Head Launched!

taylormade-golf-drivers-500-series

The 500 Series Drivers are released by Taylormade and again are a massive hit among golfers across the globe. Thee variations being the R510, R540 and R580 and again each of these offering similar benefits to the 300 series.

The Inverted Cone Technology was the selling point of the 500 Series and was said to improve distance – the #1 selling point still to this day for any manufacturer.

2004: Legal Limit of 460cc Instituted

B52-Bomber

Bullet released the B52 Bomber driver weighing in at a massive 500cc and was absolutely massive. This was not as popular as they would’ve hoped, but nonetheless made their name with this piece of equipment – albeit that it wouldn’t stay legal for very long as in 2004 the USGA and R&A impose a legal limit of 460cc’s to driver heads.

That limit still stands until today and is unlikely to change anytime soon.

2005: First Ever Adjustable Weight Driver

Taylormade-r7-quad

Taylormade once again offer the golfing fraternity a new piece of equipment. The R7 Quad with moveable weight technology that won Golf Digest’s award for best driver of the year.

The Moveable Weight Technology allowed players to adjust the weights in order to control their ball flight and shot shape better.

2011: Adjustable Weights Become Standard Feature In Drivers

taylor-made-r11

Adjustable drivers are the new kids on the block. Taylormade’s R11 was one of the biggest influences in a positive change in worldwide golf equipment sales and became, what is now, an almost must have when purchasing a driver. The ability to change shafts at the drop of a hat or to adjust the loft or lie of the driver head.

Titleist launched their 910 series, Adams their Speedline and Srixon their Z-Star adjustable drivers.

2017: Cobra Introduce Tracking Sensor In Driver Grip

cobra-f7

Cobra deliver something that will soon become a common denominator in particularly drivers. A preinstalled tracking sensor in the grip of the Cobra King F7 which is a huge breakthrough. When paired with a phone application it can track your swing and provide useful swing advice and tips by Cobra stalwart Rickie Fowler.

About the author 

Michael Todt

Mike fell in love with the game from a very early age – a passion that hasn’t diminished ever since. He earned provincial colors throughout his junior years, but by the time he reached Varsity, the realization set in (thanks largely to some cold ales) that it was time to favor the pen rather than his clubs. He now writes for GA along with a few other sources.

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  1. Only when we look back can we see the unbelievably amazing advancements that technology has brought to golf equipment! In the 30 years since I became a serious golfing enthusiast, I have been the fortunate benefactor of innovations to the game of golf that improved my playing ability and helped me enjoy the game.

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