At the start of every year, two giants of the driver category go head to head with their respective launches looking to capture golfers' attention before the product hits the shelves. 2022 was no different, with Callaway unveiling its Rogue ST driver early on January 4th followed by TaylorMade’s Stealth line up just a few hours later.
Whether one performs demonstrably better than the other remains to be seen and will be player dependent but is there a case to say that one generated more excitement and anticipation than the other and why might that have been?
Our initial verdict is that it was TaylorMade that created the biggest buzz and the most amount of interest when the Stealth driver was unveiled, perhaps unsurprising for a company known for its bold marketing. The page views on our website reflect this and the replies on our Twitter feed back this up further.
Which of today's new driver releases do you most like the look of? 👇 pic.twitter.com/ahRUx0PfJHJanuary 4, 2022
For starters, it has a completely new name and it features an eye-catching technology - the bright red carbon fibre face. We got an early glimpse of it too with Tiger Woods putting the driver and fairway in the bag for his return to golf at the PNC Championship. He and his son nearly won the event, and so the appetite was whetted for when full details were to emerge.
The take up on tour for both drivers has been phenomenal. At the Sentry tournament of champions, admittedly a limited field event, TaylorMade staffer Collin Morikawa put Stealth in play, which is interesting given he decided not to make the switch from SIM to SIM2 last year. Other staffers like Lucas Herbert and even free agent Daniel Berger also put Stealth in the bag. Callaway’s poster boy Jon Rahm put the Rogue ST straight in the bag, as did Phil Mickelson, Xander Schaufelle, new signing Abraham Ancer, Marc Leishman and Talor Gooch.
Callaway’s aim was to produce something more visually elegant and while it has achieved this with Rogue ST, it perhaps doesn’t have the wow factor of Stealth. I think the A.I. tech story, while absolutely valid, is a difficult one to sell to the golfer who can see and touch the new face on Stealth and leaves nothing behind closed doors.
Rick Shiels, with his now two million YouTube followers, is a pretty good barometer of interest from the golfer and his Stealth drivers review video has had over double what his review of the Rogue ST drivers has achieved. That said, our Callaway Rogue ST review video has outperformed our Stealth drivers video thus far.
A little #ThrowbackThursday to a carbon-faced driver we released 20 years ago. Our face technology has moved on quite a bit since then... ⚡️ #FlashFace #Callaway | #TBT pic.twitter.com/AQv1HAqjEjJanuary 13, 2022
Callaway fired shots on Twitter recently by posting an image of Big Bertha C4 driver from over 20 years ago, which had a carbon face. This was clearly a pop at TaylorMade’s supposedly groundbreaking technology and while it is worth remembering this technology has been done by Callaway before, you can’t help but wonder if this low blow merely plays into TaylorMade’s hands.
Make no mistake, both these drivers look to be up with the very best ever made, but it looks like the Stealth has got the juices of the audience flowing a little more vigorously.
Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.
One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.3.
Joel's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9°
Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15°
Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18°
Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-7 iron, TaylorMade P7MC 8-PW
Putter: Evnroll ER2V
Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x
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