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The New Drivers

Cleveland HiBore Traditionalists may balk at the hammerlike profile of the Cleveland HiBore, but it gets results. The dramatically scooped-out crown realigns the driver's geometry so that the ideal spot to hit the ball is directly on the midline, instead of above the midline as it is on most modern drivers. (You'll want to tee it lower.) Cleveland says this creates a bigger sweet spot and optimum low spin without the slight loss of energy that occurs when impact is higher on the clubface. The design generates a more muted feel than you may be used to, but distance, consistency of trajectory and shot dispersion are uniformly excellent. The company is vague on the clubhead's volume, but the HiBore's broad footprint provides plenty of forgiveness. $499.* Call 800-999-6263 or visit clevelandgolf.com.

Nakashima HTec The news here is the fitting system. The 460cc head of the Nakashima HTec driver—identical to the excellent NP-1 head—has a removable hosel that can be attached to the end of practically any shaft. Thus you can easily test combinations of shaft and clubhead loft, then walk away with the actual best-fitting club you find. In other fitting systems, the club you order may not play exactly like the one you tested due to manufacturing and assembly variables. Nakashima anticipates the HTec will meet with USGA approval this year. $580. Call 800-455-5514 or visit nakashimagolf.com.

TaylorMade r7 460 The latest from TaylorMade, the r7 460, is not only the company's biggest driver but its most forgiving. The two movable-weight ports (two-gram and twelve-gram plugs are included) are located farther apart than in previous r7 models, creating even more resistance to twisting on mis-hits. The fixed weight at the rear of the sole plate moves the center of gravity lower and farther back to help get the ball up. The clubface is designed slightly closed, making the r7 460 a good choice for those seeking the distance benefits of draw spin. $499. Call 800-888-2582 or visit taylormadegolf.com.

Yonex Cyberstar Nanospeed Yonex's specialty has always been graphite. Its latest innovation, found in the shaft and crown of the 460cc Cyberstar Nanospeed, uses tiny particles ("nano carbon") to fuse graphite fibers together, instead of gluing them with resins, thus saving weight and increasing strength. The weight saved from the shaft (available in five flexes) is used to reinforce the tip section with a resilient titanium alloy that delivers a palpable kick. The club looks satisfyingly traditional at address, and the ball really zings off the face. $449. Call 800-449-6639 or visit yonex.com.

Tour Edge Exotics As with its acclaimed Exotics fairway woods, Tour Edge uses several new technologies to redistribute weight in its sweet-hitting Exotics driver. The trick is in how the head's three main pieces (each made from different types of titanium) are joined. Instead of using standard, heavier welding, the company chemically bonds the thin-walled crown to the body and laser-welds the face. The saved weight goes into tungsten screws on the rear and into the sole plate, creating a power profile that works for both high- and low-handicappers. $400. Call 800-515-3343 or visit touredge.com.

It's such a simple idea, we wonder why no one thought of it before: an upside-down pocket to protect your clubs' grips in the rain. It's just one of many cool features of the completely waterproof and breathable DryJoys Performance Rain Jacket ($220). Call 800-224-8501 or visit footjoy.com.

The Nicklaus High CT irons ($799) make a unique, driver-like ting sound at impact. That's because their faces are almost as thin as many driver faces and boast a similarly generous trampoline effect. With their lightweight shafts and jacked-up lofts, the CTs are a compelling game-improvement choice. Call 800-322-1872 or visit nicklaus-golf.com.

Ogio's innovative Shling system returns with an improved, better-fitting single-strap yoke that distributes weight evenly on both shoulders. Lifting it takes a few tries to master, but it's worth the effort, as the harness allows you to walk upright more easily, making your clubs feel lighter. The Ogio Flight bag ($240) has nine pockets. Call 800-922-1944 or visit ogio.com.


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