Are you in the market for a new “big stick?” Have you considered taking a look at the Yonex EZONE SD driver?
You may not have heard of Yonex, but PING, Callaway, TaylorMade, Adams and Nike aren’t the only golf equipment companies that make excellent maximum game-improvement drivers. Yonex makes one too - it’s called the Yonex EZONE SD driver.
Yonex is a top-rated club manufacturer, but among amateur players the company is better known in the UK and Japan than in the United States. Have you heard of Ryo Ishikawa? Even if the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’ve probably seen him playing on TV recently. He’s not even 21 but he’s the hot new golf “phenom” from Japan. And he plays a Yonex driver. In fact, he’s used Yonex clubs since he started playing as a kid.
I figure if Yonex clubs are good enough for one of the top up-and-coming golf pros, they’re more than good enough for the likes of me. So when I was given the opportunity, I jumped at the chance to test one. This review combines some information about the club’s features with my experiences while hitting it at the driving range and during two test rounds.
First, let’s go into the design and some of the technology that’s built into this driver.
An earlier Yonex driver had a pentagonal head, but thankfully the 2012 Yonex EZONE SD driver has a much more traditional look. Personally, I don’t like “geometric heads” (square, triangular, pentagonal and so forth) so I’m happy to see Yonex going in a more conventional direction, appearance-wise. Give me a good old pear-shaped head every time ... please.
The crown features a classic black finish and is made of a strong but lightweight carbon material. The body of the head is titanium. An internal weighting system in the driver is intended to reduce spin and promote higher launches for increased distance. Weight positioned along the rear of the sole helps the club’s launch characteristics and accuracy.
The EZONE SD’s center of gravity and sweet spot are positioned in the exact middle of the face – a design technique which represents the club’s “core” technology and distinguishes it from its competitors. Most other drivers have a center of gravity that’s higher and closer to the heel than that of the Yonex EZONE SD. Yonex claims the sweet spot covers 20% more of the face than its previous driver and provides enhanced distance, power, forgiveness and control. The club also has a strong “Muscle Power Face” to promote greater distance.
Yonex has long been known for its superior graphite shafts. In fact, it has its own shaft company. A new Yonex Nanospeed 200 graphite shaft is paired with the Yonex EZONE SD driver. The shaft has a titanium strand in the tip to give it an extra “kick” and let it really power into the ball. It all gets a bit technical, but the bottom line is that the shaft is designed to promote faster club head speed and more power, distance and consistency. Almost everything I read about the Yonex EZONE SD driver made it seem like the club was designed for golfers who need help with distance and accuracy – those of us who have slower swing speeds.
I tested a 10.5-degree Yonex EZONE SD driver fitted with the stock Nanospeed 200 graphite shaft in regular flex. The driver is also available in 9-degree and 12-degree versions, and the shaft comes in stiff and “superlight” flexes as well as regular.
The Yonex EZONE SD driver has a handsome look at address. The red shaft provides the perfect contrast to the beautiful black head and the combination is not at all distracting. Although the crown doesn’t have an alignment aid, the square leading edge makes it easy to line up. The driver sets up nicely behind the ball.
The tall, deep face made me feel as though I was about to smack the daylights out of the ball. It felt nicely balanced throughout my swings, and it definitely gave me a high-launching ball. I’d say its consistency and forgiveness were well above average because even my poorly-struck shots flew pretty far and fairly straight. Sound and feel at impact were firm and pleasant, with a lovely “click” on my center-face hits.
The Yonex EZONE SD driver does feature a slightly closed face, so you might want to stay away from it if you already hit a draw. But if you slice the ball, this club can probably help you hit straighter shots.
The Bottom Line: The Yonex EZONE SD driver doesn’t excel at any one particular thing, but it’s a dependable, rock-solid overall performer. It’s forgiving and fairly long, so it’s worth taking a look if you’re a mid- to high-handicap golfer.