Golfers want to hit the ball farther and straighter, and that likely will never change no matter what decade it is. As such, golf club companies will continue to focus on making drivers longer and more forgiving.
In this decade -- especially since USGA limits are now easily met on center strikes -- a variety of design philosophies were explored and expanded upon, including different materials, aerodynamics, CG locations and adjustability.
Many modern drivers of today use lightweight materials, such as carbon composites, in their crowns and on different locations in the heads to free up weight to be used more effectively in the head; mostly, as companies have figured out, a lower CG (center of gravity) is optimal. This means that drivers can be made lower spinning, higher flying and more forgiving for longer and straighter shots.
Equipment companies also continue to study and test aerodynamic designs in order to help golfers swing the club faster and avoid the drawbacks of drag as the club moves through space.
Additionally, as club fitting becomes more accepted by mainstream golfers, driver companies have introduced adjustability to help each individual find an optimized driver setup for their needs.
Just before the start of this decade, in 2009, the first adjustable hosel on a driver became available to the general public. This hosel system allowed golfers and fitters to adjust loft and lie angle of the driver to fine tune flight characteristics. Now, nearly every driver that hits the market includes a hosel adjustability system.
Also, sliding and otherwise adjustable weights have become popular on the soles of drivers. These help golfers find the right CG (center of gravity) location for their needs. In general, a more forward CG helps lower spin and launch, a rearward CG helps raise launch and forgiveness, a heel-ward CG helps a golfer reduce their slice, and a toe-ward CG helps a golfer reduce their hook. As discussed previously, the common denominator is a low CG, which has been found to be best for most golfers.
HOLLOW-BODIED IRON DESIGNS
While not completely new in this decade, hollow-bodied iron constructions remerged and became widely popular in the mid-2010s.
PXG was at the forefront of this movement when it introduced a set of two-piece irons with a soft material infused between the faces and bodies. This line of thinking influenced many iron companies to create small-sized players irons with hollow-bodied constructions in order to take advantage of both the playability of small irons and the distance, launch and forgiveness of game-improvement irons.
Before this decade, most “skilled” golfers used one-piece irons, whether they were blades or cavity-backs. Now, hollow-bodied irons are seen throughout bags of all skill-level golfers, including PGA TOUR pros.
This design philosophy has had a tremendous impact on the top-end of iron sets, too. The modern driving iron, spearheaded by the Callaway X Utility prototype in 2012, uses hollow constructions and other designs to make long irons more forgiving, higher-launching, and provide greater distances to players both off the tee and from the fairway.
In 2019, these modern driving irons have significantly reduced the usage of hybrids, especially in the bags of PGA TOUR players.
MULTI-MATERIAL SHAFTS AND THE EXPANSION OF GRAPHITE