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The Best Golf Equipment Of 2022, So Far
It’s hard to believe but we’re fast approaching the midway point of 2022, with golf season now in full swing around the globe. And it's been an exciting start to the year when it comes to golf equipment, as great new products spanning multiple categories have been released over the course of the last few months.
At Golf Monthly, we’ve already released our Editor’s Choice awards for 2022, but we wanted to take an even deeper dive into some of the products that have been standouts in our eyes to date. That being the case, we reached out to members of our Review/Buying Advice team with a handful of questions to gather insight about some of their favorite golf equipment releases so far this year, as well as what they’re looking forward to in the second half of 2022.
If you’re currently in the market for new golf gear, you might glean some ideas from the answers below about good options for your game or possibly discover products you were previously unaware of but might like to find out more about. Enjoy and play well!
The Best Golf Equipment Of 2022, So Far
1. What driver that has been released in 2022 has been your personal favorite?
DAN PARKER (DP): It has to be the TaylorMade Stealth, right? I mean, what other brand would have the gumption to paint a driver face bright red? While the paint may just be an aesthetic addition, it’s safe to say that the new carbon face has proved popular with golfers across the handicap spectrum in 2022. Taking distance out of the equation (the difference in 2022 driver distances is negligible at best), I’ve been impressed with how forgiving the Stealth is on off-center hits. Toe or heel strikes barely fall behind middled strikes and I think that’s what most club golfers will benefit from most in a new driver, and the Stealth is one of the most forgiving drivers on the market.
NEIL TAPPIN (NT): Cobra LTDx. I loved the previous generation Radspeed driver from 2021 but the only negative for me was the feel. It had a high-pitched, loud impact sound that felt like it lacked power. Cobra has toned down the sound and, as a result, the LTDx ticks all the key boxes. It is long, forgiving, and it has a premium, modern look that goes beyond its mid-range price tag, all of which make it one of 2022's best drivers.
JOEL TADMAN (JT): I haven’t tested all the latest releases like Neil but I’ve had the TaylorMade Stealth Plus in my bag since February and I’ve become noticeably more accurate without losing distance. My Arccos data tells me I’m gaining 0.4 strokes on a typical 4-handicapper, which is ridiculous considering driving has always been the part of my game I’ve struggled with. It’s also one of only six clubs in my bag where I’m gaining shots every time I use it, which is a huge confidence booster.
CHRIS WALLACE (CW): I’m going with the Mizuno ST-Z 220, a choice that has even surprised me, as I would have expected Callaway’s Rogue ST Max LS or Triple Diamond to be my pick. But the ST-Z 220 has impressed me. It looks great, it sounds great, it’s incredibly forgiving, and for me it has been plenty long. I’m still searching for the right shaft but it could be the one to finally knock my 2017 Epic Sub Zero out of the bag.
ANDREW WRIGHT (AW): I haven’t had the privilege of hitting all that 2022 has to offer but my favorite so far is the new Callaway Rogue ST Max LS. It looks incredible from all angles and feels exceptional off the face. Eclipsing all that, however, is the forgiveness on offer. My off-center strikes went longer and straighter than my current Mavrik Sub Zero so a change could be on the cards soon.
2. Outside of the driver category, what 2022 golf club release have you been most impressed with?
DP: Wilson D9 Forged Irons. When I was playing off a handicap of about 21, I had a set of Wilson D7 irons. They were fantastic, but the brand then launched the D7 Forged a few months later and I was extremely jealous of my friends who waited and picked up a set. The D9 Forged is a great evolution of a solid players distance iron, and it doesn't get the respect it deserves as one of the best irons in golf. If you’re at that stage in your development where you’re ready to move on from a set of cavity back irons, give the D9 Forged irons serious consideration. They look great behind the ball, still offer plenty of distance and forgiveness, and give you that slightly smaller, more compact head that better ball-strikers want to see.
NT: TaylorMade Stealth irons. I like how there is a trend in the golf market towards forgiving irons being more appealing to look at, especially at address. For a club that promises plenty of forgiveness and distance, the TaylorMade Stealth has outstanding shelf appeal. This is an example of a truly aspirational-looking set of clubs that is aimed at mid- and higher-handicap players.
JT: The Mizuno Pro iron range has really impressed me, specifically the 225 model. It’s compact behind the ball but has so much power behind it. I also think Odyssey’s putter range is as good as it has ever been when you factor in the Eleven, Tri-Hot 5k, and the Toulon options, and I was really taken aback by how much I liked the Vokey SM9 wedges. But I’m really excited to test the new Cobra King Forged Tec irons. The old model was an absolute rocket launcher and with the new X model claiming to be even faster, it’s an exciting time to be a mid-handicapper!
CW: The Callaway Apex UW is my pick here. Wow! These clubs are unbelievably impressive. Part fairway wood, part hybrid, they’re easy to hit, look great at address, and offer explosive distance. Phil Mickelson played a key role in the development of these innovative utility woods, dare I his best contribution to the game thus far in 2022, and they belong on any list of the best hybrids in the game. At least one UW will be going in my bag as soon as I figure out which loft option gaps best with the rest of my set.
AW: This is an easy one. The Titleist Vokey SM9 wedges have somewhat transformed my short game and approach play from 130 yards and in. Optimized by my first wedge fitting, the gapping at the lower end of my bag now gives me so much more versatility on full shots, while the bounce options mean I can tailor my shot choice around the greens based on the situation I’m faced with. The looks remain unrivaled and I opted for the black finish for the first time, which I absolutely love! These are definitely among the best wedges on the market.
3. What's one product you have tested so far in 2022 that you had high expectations for that fully lived up to those expectations?
DP: The new PowaKaddy CT8 GPS. I knew this was going to be a one of the best electric golf trolleys and PowaKaddy has not disappointed. Having the embedded GPS on such a compact trolley chassis was even more convenient than I could’ve expected, and I also think it really looks the part in the all-black colorway.
NT: Callaway Chrome Soft X golf ball. I was really impressed by the all-around performance on offer from the Callaway Chrome Soft X. This was very fast and long off the tee but the spin control into and around the greens was outstanding. A premium product that really lived up to its price tag and one of the best golf balls in the game.
JT: Probably the Blue Tees Series 3 Max laser rangefinder. For $259 you’re getting so much value. It looks cool but performs too -- the accuracy and clarity through the display is on par with the best Bushnell rangefinders and the speed at which the correct distance is displayed means your pre-shot routine isn’t at all disjointed and you can just focus on the shot at hand.
CW: As easy choice here as the Sun Mountain C-130 cart bag gets the nod. The C-130 has been a staple in Sun Mountain’s bag lineup for nearly two decades now. Golfers love it and I fully expected it to be outstanding, which it was. It's stable and quiet on a cart, and the storage it offers is impressive. The C-130 also looks sharp and there are excellent color options to choose from. Certainly there are a lot of great options out there in the cart bag category, but in my opinion the C-130 remains the gold standard. If you ride when you play, this bag has to be one to consider.
AW: The Ping Glide 4.0 wedges. It was many moons ago that I last used Ping wedges, having switched and stuck with Titleist Vokeys since. I was excited to see how things have progressed, especially given the claims that the hosel transition and high-toe design of the Eye2 sole profile made it ‘the ultimate bunker club.’ While impossible to definitively say one way or the other, I can tell you it didn’t disappoint, nor did the more traditional grinds. One of my biggest testing takeaways was the spin on offer - truly incredible!
4. What's one product you have tested so far in 2022 that vastly exceeded your expectations?
DP: The Ecco Biom C4 golf shoes. I knew going into this test that Ecco makes some of the most comfortable golf shoes on the market, but Biom C4 has taken comfort to new heights for me. The super soft leather on the upper and the brilliantly cushioned insole make it feel like you’re walking on air, and they are also one of the most breathable golf shoes I’ve ever tested. Looks wise, they exceeded my expectations, too. Ecco perhaps has a bit of a stereotype of being a shoe for the older golfer, but this athletic silhouette should blow that stereotype out of the water. I’ve tested a lot of golf shoes this year and the Biom C4 is the one I keep going back to when playing casually.
NT: It would be a toss up between the PXG 0211 driver and the Snell Golf MTB-X ball. With a starting price of $229, my expectations of the PXG 0211, which was released in 2021, were fairly modest. However, after a full fitting session in March, I ended up with a model that was up there with the easiest-to-hit drivers I've tested this year. Likewise the Snell ball offered premium levels of performance (especially in the long game) for a more affordable price.
JT: The TaylorMade Stealth irons. I knew they would be long but they felt way better than I thought they would and they’re just so straight. The consistency across the face is going to help golfers find more greens and that’s all you can ask from an iron, especially in that game-improvement space where golfers need something user friendly.
CW: I have two choices here, the Maxfli Tour X golf ball and the TecTecTec KLYR rangefinder. Both of these products offer incredible performance but also immense value at their respective price points. The Tour X was a revelation in terms of how it performed from tee to green and it's one of the best premium golf balls I've tested, while the KLYR offers the accuracy, speed, and functionality of the best laser rangefinders, many of which can cost twice as much.
AW: I would probably say the PXG Sugar Daddy II wedges here. With very little experience with this brand going into the testing process, I was skeptical given the lofty price tag usually attached to PXG clubs. However, I found these wedges to rival anything else I’ve tested in this category so far this year. In particular, they are really easy to flight however you like, while the brand has introduced more versatility to the range this year in terms of bounce options and groove design. They are also among the most forgiving wedges.
5. What company are you most looking forward to seeing new product releases from in the second half of 2022?
DP: I’m excited to test the new Motocaddy M7 GPS electric trolley. I think the M5 GPS is one of the best trolleys on the market right now, so to have this GPS functionality embedded into a remote golf trolley is exciting . I’m hearing whispers that there will be a big launch from Powakaddy later this year, too, so the second half of 2022 looks to be an exciting one for the electric golf trolley market.
NT: Ping and Titleist. With TaylorMade and Callaway taking center stage at the start of 2022, I'm keen to see what Ping and Titleist have in store. For me, many of the new technologies we've seen are making clubs more consistent in terms of ball speed and spin rates. I'm keen to see how both of these brands attempt to move things forward.
JT: It’s got to be Ping’s new G Series, which is due later this year. The G425 range is so impressive, from driver down to iron. It caters to so many different player types and just makes the game seem easier. With Ping, it’s usually a forgiveness and playability story, so I’m curious to see how they can cram in even more off-center assistance on the drivers and irons.
CW: I’m looking forward to seeing what Cleveland does in terms of new wedges, which are likely coming in the fall based on the company’s typical product cycle. I usually lean toward Cleveland wedges when it comes to my bag, and I absolutely loved everything about the RTX 4. That said, the ZipCore models weren’t my favorites, which admittedly was a surprise to me, so I’m definitely interested to see what their replacements look like.
AW: There’s something about Titleist for me that screams class, so that’s what I’m going with. Especially with Callaway and TaylorMade hogging the limelight so far in 2022, it’ll be interesting to see what comes next from one of their main competitors. Whether it’s a new range of Titleist drivers, irons, or both, I look forward to finding out how they stack up and if they could make their way into my bag.
Chris joined Golf Monthly in February of 2022, becoming the organization’s first full-time staff writer in the United States. In his role at Golf Monthly, Chris reviews a broad spectrum of golf equipment, ranging from the latest in golf clubs to what’s new in the world of golf technology. His vast experience in the game allows him to look beyond the marketing hype to judge the merits of the latest equipment for golfers of all ability levels. As for the trend in golf equipment that Chris has been most impressed with in recent years, the Players Distance Iron category would earn that distinction, as golfers now have far better options for irons that provide the assistance that so many need in terms of distance and forgiveness without forcing them to sacrifice look and feel.
On a personal level, Chris played college golf and was a three-year letterwinner and two-year captain at Lynchburg College in Virginia and later spent two years as the assistant golf coach at the University of Virginia. The vast majority of his professional career, however, has been spent as a sports writer and editor. In the early phases of his career, he covered college football, college basketball, and golf for different newspapers and websites before turning his attention solely to golf in 2011. Over the course of the past decade, Chris managed the Instruction Blog for GolfChannel.com and more recently created equipment-related content for TGW.com and 2ndSwing.com.
An avid player, Chris currently maintains a handicap index of 2.4 and has a career-low round of 66, which he has shot on three occasions. He lives about 20 miles north of Atlanta in Roswell, Georgia, with his wife, Stacey, and is a member at Atlanta National Golf Club.
Chris is currently playing:
Driver: Callaway Epic Sub Zero, 10.5*
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3, 17*
Hybrid: Callaway Mavrik Pro, 20*
Irons: Mizuno JPX 921 Forged, 4-PW
Gap wedge: Cleveland RTX 4, 50*
Sand wedge: Titleist Vokey SM6, 56M
Lob wedge: Titleist Vokey SM8, 60L
Putter: SeeMore Nashville Z3C
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
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