Robotic testing data reveals how Rory McIlroy’s driver got even better…

➡️Robotic testing data reveals how Rory McIlroy’s driver got even better…

Rory McIlroy has been on staff with TaylorMade Golf since 2017 when he inked a lucrative multi-year equipment deal. When you’re getting paid millions to endorse a particular brand, the general assumption is constructive criticism goes out the window. Every product is a game-changer that will help weekend golfers gain 20 yards. There’s no gray area. It’s all great.

While that might be the case for some players, McIlroy isn’t one of them. When a particular club is working, he’s more than willing to sing its praises. The same thing goes when things are amiss. Few offer more honest assessments of the gear they are paid to play than McIlroy.

Coming off a dominant performance at the Wells Fargo Championship, McIlroy was asked during his pre-tournament press conference at Valhalla Golf Club, site of this week’s PGA Championship, if he could expound on his recent run of good form with the driver — a club that’s separated him from many of his peers during his career. When McIlroy’s driving it on a string, he’s practically unbeatable.

From a driving perspective, yeah, I think it’s probably the best driver I’ve had in the last few years,” McIlroy said. “I’ve really gotten comfortable with the driver, and I think some of the technical things in my swing are just a little bit better, and the good drives are still very good but the bad drives aren’t as bad so the misses aren’t as wild.”

It’s easy to read through McIlroy’s comments and chalk it up to “marketing-speak.” Every driver is the “best driver” and helps mitigate the bad misses. However, if you take a closer look at McIlroy’s comments, the specific praise he heaped on TaylorMade’s Qi10 “core” driver (also known as the standard head) is actually warranted: “[T]he bad drives aren’t as bad so the misses aren’t as wild.”

Today’s 460cc driver heads are designed to be ultra-forgiving and provide some semblance of ball speed protection on even the worst misses. But there’s no such thing as a perfect driver. In most cases, design sacrifices have to be made to produce certain launch, spin and forgiveness characteristics. Pull one lever and you have to release another. There’s always a performance tradeoff that has to be made.

At least that was the case until “unicorn drivers” started popping up in the equipment space. Cobra’s LTDx was one of the first to go through GOLF’s rigorous 9-point robotic driver test and see almost no distance drop across the entire face, making it a perfect option for golfers with inconsistent contact.

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