Sub70 845 Pro – Official MGS Forum Review by Shapotomous
I am thankful to be chosen for testing and looking forward to see how this driver compares to my custom weighted G410+ with an Accra shaft upgrade (especially in the spin #’s and its impact on distance & accuracy). I’ve been playing over 50 years (still waiting for my first HIO by the way) and currently around a 5 handicap. I’ve been getting out about twice per week – a 9 hole league and as many as I can get in on a weekend evening. I moved to the G410 from a G10 in late 2019. I liked the G10 so much I stuck with Ping & experimented with a couple shafts, loft / lie adjustments and head weights to settle on the current version of the gamer.
With a warm weather comfortable swing speed about 105, usually carrying about 240 and pretty straight, the driver doesn’t get me in much trouble and I consider it a strength of my game on the courses & tees I usually play. A small draw or fade will be prevalent for the round depending how my back feels and I play it rather than trying to fight it. Keeping it in play at about 250 yds is my #1 priority, I don’t swing at 100% to gain an extra 15 yards at the expense of accuracy. I am stubbornly ignoring the oft quoted length statistics so that I stay out of the trees at 275! I don’t mind aiming over a hazard or a few trees if I know the carry number is below my normal 240. A few years ago some disk issues in my lower back had robbed me of some distance and playing time. Thankfully through stretching and light workouts and equipment advances I’ve been able to turn the clock back about 10 years in how it feels and got back that distance.
My miss is an infrequent over the top pull. I think it generally shows up if my top half gets ahead of my bottom half. It doesn’t play favorites and can happen on occasion with woods, hybrids or irons (maybe even the putter ).
If a par 5 is about 500 I can usually get on in two if my drive gets a little friendly roll to it. Usually a 7i thru pw will get me onto the par 4’s on the courses & tees I play. At times some young punk will drag me to the back tees and the 5 & 6 irons & hybrids get used quite a bit more on the par 4’s.
I have a small synthetic putting green in the backyard but ironically putting can be a weakness if I don’t play a lot. For me green reading breaks and speed have to be ‘played’ rather than ‘practiced’ in the backyard. The practice green is fast and flat so it’s good for dialing in a consistent stroke but not developing touch so I get too mechanical. This backyard green has turned 45 – 65 yard wedges shots into a strength as thousands of balls have been hit to it so those distances are in my DNA now.
I couldn't find an assistant but after a few times with bad camera aim, I have this one from tonights testing...
Some of the marketing for this head indicates it is on the lower spin side of the spectrum. This intrigued me as I have been considering a LST version of the G410 that has been my gamer for the past two seasons and I noticed in some launch monitor sessions my spin numbers can get up to 3000 and I believe rob me of some distance. The various weights that are provided with the driver allow the flexibility to tweak the performance and really appealed to the ‘experimenter’ side of my golf personality. The adjustable loft / lie settings the adapter provides seem to be standard with the industry now.
The first look at the club when opening up the box I believe shows care & quality. Foam spacers that hold the shaft keep the club in place in the box. The sticker on the head with the weight (201.6g) tells me each head gets specific attention in this detail. The selections I made when choosing the set up were delivered accurately. I used the Get Fit button on the website and went with the recommendations after filling out the info, standard length & grip and stiff shaft. I picked the Hazrdous Smoke 60g, 6.0 shaft to go with a 9* driver head. A few Sub70 stickers, tees, the CEO business card and a thank you card completed the package and are a nice touch. It comes with extra varied sole weights which for a tinkerer like me is fantastic! I had to buy a weight kit off the bay for the G410+. Between the weights and the loft adjustments I believe I can tune this club pretty well to feel good to me.
The reference point for me testing this driver will be how it performs compared to the G410+ I am gaming. I hit my driver as accurately as any other club in the bag so the 849 Pro will need to match its accuracy and provide some added distance maybe through a little lower spin rate. The feel is also important. I don’t have to ‘work’ to swing the current driver it matches my natural swing very well with the weight and loft set up tweaks I made. I would like to see how much adjustment would be needed to my swing to get the same or better performance from the 849 Pro. There are various head weights to try out and three different spots to put them so there are many options to dial it in.
Head Comparison Pic’s…
Testing will consist of sessions hitting balls on the ‘range’ which in this case will actually be on the course at the best driving hole using Snell MTB-X balls. I will hit a couple shots then alternate drivers to make sure I don’t have a warm up or getting tired bias to the results. I will also take it out to a couple holes that require a fade or draw and see if I can work the ball with the same success rate as the gamer. Of course I will then use the 849 Pro during rounds to see how it performs under scoring pressure. I will use my mevo during these sessions to check ballspeed and height and maybe spin. I can measure yardage with a range finder at the location of the balls. Finally I will also book a trackman session to get some spin numbers since there are claims is this has been engineered for lower spin.
Looks 8 out of 10 points)
The look of the club is understated with its all black coloring. Being a traditionalist, I prefer this to the various colors you can get on other manufacturers. The only alternate to black that I would consider is if someone came up with a design that mimics the persimmon grain pattern of my youth! The shape and size are comparable to some other drivers and I like the rounded look from the face to back of the club. It doesn’t look too oval shaped or elongated in either he toe to heel or face to back directions. The standard 9* loft setting has to my eye a slightly closed look to it when sitting on the sole, however the spec data says its 0.5* open. I experimented while testing and settled on two clicks lower in loft which seemed to move the face away from the slightly closed look. The Hazrdous Smoke shaft also has a darker plain, color to it which matches the all black head to complete the understated look.
Standard setting pic...slightly closed look to my eye?
Real Nice Look - Nothing Flashy - Weighting settled at toe & center ports used, heel port empty.
Sound & Feel 9 out of 10 points)
Sweet spot hits have a nice solid feel and are similar to a flushed shot with a blade iron where you don’t feel the ball pushing back on the clubhead at all. Those sweet spot hits have a nice muted click, not a loud thwack or any kind of a ringing sound. It has the better sound of a wooden spoon on a metal pot rather than a metal spoon if that makes sense. In comparison it is quieter than the G410. While trying out different weight combinations and finally leaving the heel spot empty did not change the sound at all.
The ball jumps off the clubface and the ball flight on those hits gets out there quickly and laser-like rather than a high rounded ball flight. Mis-hits can certainly be felt in comparison to a sweet spot hit for immediate feedback. My miss tends to be a toe hit or thin hit and I could tell by the slight twist feel where on the face impact occurred before confirming it with the ball mark. The overall club weight and the swingweight feel to the club are right in my wheelhouse. Out of the box it was within 1g of my gamer and within ½ a swingweight so it has a very familiar feel. I had nothing new to get used to in the weight department.
Basic Characteristics 18 out of 20 points)
I spent some ‘range’ and Mevo time dialing in the adjustability with loft and head weights before using it on the course. I had gone through the same process with the gamer but in that case had to buy the extra varied weights off eBay. It is a great feature Sub70 supplies them with the club. It came with the 12g in the center and a 3g in the toe and heel along with extra 6g, 8g & 10g weights. I settled on a 12g in the toe and 6g in the center slot with nothing in the heel. I went with 2 clicks lower in loft mostly to get away from the slightly closed face look at the standard setting.
Actual range time was used just to get a feel for swinging the club since range balls where I go are not good indicators of ball flight performance. So I went to the course a few evenings with some real balls (Snell MTB-X) and used the best driving hole on the course for testing. Wide open and a slight uphill landing area so overall distance isn’t skewed by a long roll out from hitting something hard on the ground.
On-Course / LM Performance 27 out of 30 points
In the overall performance category it did not disappoint. My reference point of comparison is the G410+ driver and the tee ball is a strength of my game. I consistently get comments from new playing partners about the distance (I’m no Bryson but relative to my age & size I seem to exceed first impressions!) and fairways hit with the driver. The 849 Pro ball flight, distance and dispersion numbers on the course and on the launch monitors I used were very comparable to the G410. In addition to the numbers game, I can say I have the same workable feel for this club as I do the G410. If I need to favor a fade or draw I am able to get that ball flight with as much success with either driver.
I had about the same success rate hitting it on the screws and squaring up the face. I wondered if the shaft difference between the clubs (Hazrdous S in the Sub70 vs the Accra M5 in the Ping) would result in a performance impact but I did not notice anything in either distance or dispersion. The Sub70 felt a little whippier but the clubhead did not lag and stay open.
Mishits had about the same effect to them between the clubs I was comparing. The mishit with the biggest impact for me is a ball hit low on the face, it ends up with higher spin rate and shorter carry by about 20 yards. This effect is the same for both the 849 Pro and the G410 low mishits. The slight toe mishit also performed about the same between clubs, a more pronounced draw with only a slight impact to overall distance. I have a habit of checking the face impact spot after each shot and could consistently tell by feel what the ball mark would then confirm.
Trackman Session Data
Club Spd Ball Spd Face Ang. Launch Ang. Carry Dyn. Loft Spin Rate Height
Mph Mph Deg Deg Yds Deg Rpm Ft
849 Pro 15 shots
Average 101.1 150 6.4 12.9 247.8 14.6 2617 92
Consistency 1 1.4 1.7 0.8 3.8 0.8 260 9
G410 13 shots
Average 100.6 148.2 4.7 12.3 240.5 14.2 2877 89
Consistency 1.3 2.2 2.3 1.5 7.9 1.5 287 13
The Spin Factor:
I was especially interested in spin numbers since the promotional material indicates this is on the low spin end of the spectrum. I used a trackman session to compare to the G410+ and the 849 Pro did come in about 260 rpm’s lower on average for sweet spot hits and slight toe hits. Low on the face hits ended up with about the same spin rate between the two clubs. It would be interesting to test if spin data changed based on using different weights in the three different ports. Maybe that will be a winter time trackman session experiment. It would be a good excuse for a couple Jan & Feb indoor sessions to help keep the swing loose through the winter!
Miscellaneous 8 out of 10 points
The careful packing, extra items pictured above and the individual head weight data label on the club indicate attention to detail to me. I also love the varied weights that come with it to help customize the performance of the club. I always asked for opinions on the looks of the club and the only negative comment was from a TM fanboy saying it was missing some blue color to it…but he is admittedly biased. Maybe to appeal to a larger audience some color could be in the next iteration. I had a few people hit it through the round and all liked the sound & feel of a good hit. These were players from a wide range of ability from 5 handicap through about 25.
One issue I noticed is the headcover is not easily put on the club. The opening is too tight vs. the size of the driver head. Especially if the club is damp from dew. A little wider opening with a gather at the midpoint like other headcover designs would help. I put the headcover on after each use and it was very frustrating so my 1970’s Eastern European Olympic judge mentality came out and I deducted 2 points. I will HAVE to get an aftermarket cover.
Play it or Trade it? 19 out of 20 points
To score this category I am simply looking at the features / performance / price point in comparison to the current driver market mfg's which get most of the attention….the Ping’s, TM’s, Callaway’s, Cobra’s & Titleist’s. Having a Ping G410+ I was able to do a direct comparison to the Sub70 849 Pro and found there is no real difference in performance between to the two for me. The Sub70 price point being at $300 for the version I tested is below the other brands giving it the advantage. There are quite a few upcharge shaft selections available if someone has a favorite model they are trying to get and again even with the price adder it is still a bargain compared to the other manufacturers.
I will be PLAYING the 849 Pro going forward and waiting for the MGS aftermarket head cover to get back in stock!!
To summarize, I found the Sub70 849 Pro driver to be a quality product equal in performance to my G410+. I used launch monitor data, course performance, feel, looks and sound parameters for the comparison. When looking at the price of the Sub70 compared to other manufacturers that is where the real advantage is realized. At $300 for the version I tested it is a bargain compared to the other major manufacturers with no drop off in performance for my game. There was no drop off in distance or dispersion and I may even get a little more out of it with some more adjustable weight experimentation over the winter. I don’t swap clubs very often so I can see myself playing this one for the next 5 years or so.
Final Score: 91 out of 100 points
Modern Bag: Sub70 849 Pro 9*, Hazrdous Smoke S Flex; Titleist 915F 3w, Diamana S+ 70 S flex; Snake Eyes 15*, & 23* Hybrids; Mizuno JPX 900 Forged 5 - PW, PX LZ 6.0; Cleveland Tour Action 49*, 53*, 57*; PX LZ 6.5 ; Ping Heppler Fetch; Ball - Snell MTB-X; Bag - Sun Mountain H2NO
Classic Bag: Driver - Wilson Staff Persimmon; 3w - Hogan Speed Slot; 5w - Wilson Staff Tour Block; 3 - pw - Staff Dynapower; sw - Ram Tom Watson; putter - bullseye standard or flange.