Best Golf Driver

Hit it Longer: The Best Golf Drivers of 2018

Nothing beats bombing one off the tee and straight down the middle, except blasting it down the middle twenty yards past everyone else.  

You get to innocently say things like “is that my ball way up there,” or “gee, my long irons are getting a lot of rest today.”  

Today’s drivers will get you further and straighter down the fairway than ever before.  Every one of them boasts new levels of distance, forgiveness, and adjustability.  

Before you can decide on what to buy, however, you need to focus on what you want from your new driver, forgiveness, distance, low spin, adjustability, or all of the above?  

Let’s see if we can help with this short primer and rundown on the best new golf driver 2018 has to offer.  

If you are a beginner or high handicapper, you might want to read our guide to the best drivers for beginners before you tackle this article.  Also, if you battle a chronic slice, you will want to check out our review of the best drivers for a slice.

I Play a Ten Year Old Driver. How Much More Distance Should I Expect?

You might be disappointed to find out that no magic bullet exists when it comes to distance off the tee.

All things being equal – the same player, shaft length, club head size, loft, and center-of-gravity placement – even best golf driver of last ten years won’t add much as far as distance, at least on perfect hits.

But, don’t let that make you think twice about getting an upgrade, because who hits the ball perfectly every time?

Thanks to a wealth of new technologies, you will get more distance on slight to moderate, and sometimes, even severe mishits, which brings us to the next question.

How Much Forgiveness Should I Expect from a New Driver?

You can expect plenty. So far, golf driver reviews for 2018 have made forgiveness the winner of this year's most improved trophy.

Two brands (we’ll name names shortly) have entirely redesigned the clubface. Others use different combinations of variable face thickness, exact CG placement, and lightweight materials to help you keep it in the middle.

Plus, along with helping you keep it straight, today's drivers will also impose far less distance punishment, on mishits, than those of not long ago.

Do Adjustable Center-of-Gravity Weights Work?

They work great if you take the same swing every time. A professional golfer will see an immediate difference in ball flight after making a CG weight adjustment.

Some manufacturers have begun to move away from adjustable CG weights because they found that players weren't using them. If you have the time and the patience to set them up correctly and have a reasonably grooved swing, then center-of-gravity weights can provide an excellent level of customization.

While it’s not practical to tweak them on a regular basis, they can be used to adjust spin, launch, fade, and draw bias over the long term if your swing changes.

Also, your friends will enjoy taking bets on how long it takes you to lose the little wrench that came with your new adjustable club.

Why Would I Need an Adjustable Hosel?

Like the CG weights, an adjustable hosel provides a nice level of customization. You’ll probably only set the clubs lie once, when you first get it, unless you’re still growing ( or shrinking) but, it’s always good to be able to get your club to sit the way you like.

Many of today’s drivers will also let you fine-tune the club’s loft on the fly. You can go low against the wind and high when it’s at your back.

Even if you only set it occasionally, an adjustable hosel could be the difference between needing a new driver when your swing improves, of sticking with your current club for years to come.

Should I go with the Standard or Low-Spin model Driver?

Some people (we’ll call them guys), will buy a $4000 barbeque to cook a hot dog, or a commercial grade circular saw to cut a piece of molding.

In those cases, although they didn’t need to, going with the top-of-the-line item didn’t affect their outcome.

With golf clubs, however, deciding that a club will serve you better because better players use it, is a mistake.

Most manufacturers make low spin models with professionals in mind. They do this because some of the features that give the average player the help they need work against the elite golfers who require different qualities in their clubs.

They need feel and playability while the rest of us need distance and forgiveness.

Are the New Smaller Head Drivers Harder to Hit?

You might be surprised but, a lot of golfers, not just pros, find the smaller heads are easier to hit. That’s because the larger heads can be harder to square up at impact. Many also find that they’re more accurate with a smaller club head as well.

If you’re at the point where you can work the ball to some degree, the more modest head will be the smart choice.

In general, if your mishits rarely come on the heel or toe of the club face, than the smaller driver should be a consideration.

It won’t hurt on distance either and may actually speed up your swing a tad.

How Do I Choose the Best Driver Shaft for My Swing?

More than any other feature, getting the right shaft for your swing speed will have the most significant impact on your new club’s performance.

A shaft that’s too stiff won’t flex enough and sap your distance on a well-struck shot.

A shaft that’s too weak will flex too much throughout the swing and won’t release properly. You’ll get too much side-spin, and even the most forgiving club head won’t be able to bail you out.

Shaft length also plays an essential part in getting the most out of your driver. Manufacturers have been gradually moving towards shorter lengths over recent years. Even though, when swung correctly, a longer shaft will give you more distance, they can be harder to hit.

Overall, most players don’t lose distance with a shorter shaft because a shorter shaft makes good contact easier to accomplish.

Going back to flex, you’re probably wondering how to determine your swing speed without using a launch monitor.

We’re going to show you a simple method but, you must tell the truth. Answer the question “what club do I hit, on average, 150 yards.

With that in mind, the chart below will give you a pretty accurate assessment of what flex you should use, not just on your driver but, on all of your clubs.

Another Simple Guide to Selecting the Right Shaft


Your Shaft Flex Is...  If You Hit 150 Yards With A...

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    X Flex (Extra Stiff) – PW or 9-iron
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    S Flex (Stiff Flex) - 8-iron
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    R Flex (Regular) – 6- or 7-iron
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    A or M Flex (Amateur or Senior) – 4 or 5-iron/hybrid
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    L Flex (Ladies) – Any club 4 or below

Now that we’ve covered the basics let’s take a look at what’s new for 2018.


TaylorMade M3 Driver / M3 440cc Driver

TaylorMade M3 460 Driver

Pros

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    Twist Face – TaylorMade developed a unique multi-curved face design they call “Twist Face.” After looking at over one-hundred-thousand swings of players at every level, TaylorMade researchers found that balls hit high on the face tended to draw or hook, while balls hit low on the face tended to fade or slice. Armed with this new data, TaylorMade engineers created what looks to be a breakthrough in clubface design.  After looking at over one-hundred-thousand swings of players at every level, TaylorMade researchers found that balls hit high on the face tended to draw or hook, while balls hit low on the face tended to fade or slice. Armed with this new data, TaylorMade engineers created what looks to be a breakthrough in clubface design.
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    Hammerhead – Previous TaylorMade drivers and woods had a cavity that runs along the sole of the club behind the face which provides more flex on face to ball contact. For the M3 driver and M3 440cc driver, engineers took the single face-length pocket and broke it into three individual sections. They found that doing this almost doubled the size of the club’s sweet spot, improved ball speed, and most importantly, increased forgiveness.
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    Y Track – Y Track features two 11 gram weights set in a continuous “Y” shaped track along the sole of the club. The weights can be placed in any configuration to create dozens of combinations of spin, fade, and draw.
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    Twelve-Way Adjustable Hosel.

Cons

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    With thousands of possible lie/loft and CG weighting combinations, the M3 could take considerable time and effort to set up.

TaylorMade may be onto something with their new “Twist Face Technology.” Early reports indicate that it works as advertised. One thing’s for sure though – They put a lot of effort and research into the M3 Driver, and it pays off for players that are willing to take the time to find their optimal setup.

Between the “Y” track CG weighting system and the twelve-way adjustable hosel, no one else offers the same level of adjustability. The M3 also comes with a 440CC M3 version head for those who prefer a smaller profile.

If you think you might be better suited for the M4 driver, head over to our detailed guide to the M3 and M4 Drivers.


Callaway Rogue Driver / Rogue Sub Zero Driver

Callaway Rogue Driver

Pros

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    Jailbreak Technology – Callaway’s Jailbreak technology features two internal vertical bars which join the club head’s crown and sole, and stiffen its body. This promotes faster ball speed and distance on both good contact and mishits. Jailbreak, coupled with Callaway’s proprietary “X Face technology, improves distance and enhances forgiveness as well.
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    X Face Technology – By analyzing one-hundred and seven different impact locations, Callaway learned which parts of the clubface experience the most and least stress at impact. This data led to the new “X-face” design with a variable face thickness selectively thinned out in different areas. The thinner face flexes more on impact, and in turn, creates more ball speed and added distance.
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    Triaxial Carbon Crown – The new and lighter crown allowed Callaway engineers to push weight to the outer edges of the club and significantly increase the M.O.I. (resistance to twisting) over even their most recent offerings.
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    Optifit Technology – The Callaway Optifit hosel adjusts to eight possible lie and loft combinations.
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    Adjustable Center of Gravity Weighting System (Rogue Zero) - Two interchangeable weights of two and fourteen grams, located in the sole's front and rear, let users adjust spin-rates up to plus or minus 300 rpm.

Cons

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    Requires time and patience for optimal setup.

Last year, some people thought the Great Big Bertha Epic Driver might be the best golf driver of all time but, then along came the Rogue Driver.

Between the standard, the Sub Zero, and the draw models, Callaway pretty much makes a Rogue for every player. The standard model is probably the best driver for the average golfer.

Better players will appreciate the high level of adjustability offered by the Rogue Sub Zero Driver which might also be the best low spin driver on the market, and the Rogue Draw Driver will help beginners with their slice.

The Sub Zero doesn’t have the same endless amount of CG adjustments as the TaylorMade M3 Driver but, it should still do fine by most and could be the best driver for good players.

To find the right Rogue driver for you, check out our full review of the Callaway Rogue Drivers.


Ping G400 Driver / G400 LS Driver

Ping G400 Driver

Pros

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    Improved aerodynamics provides new and improved clubhead speeds.  
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    PING’s Dragonfly Technology and turbulators on the crown not only look sharp but also improve aerodynamics.  
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    A Solid and satisfying sound and feel at impact.  Ultra-low CG offers impressive forgiveness.  
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    The Trajectory Tuning Technology with adjustable hosel lets you fine-tune the launch to your specs.  
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    The G400 has the highest stability on mishits of any Ping driver and possibly all of golf.  
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    The G400 Driver and G400 LS Driver (Low Spin) share most of the same traits but, for the LS model Ping moved the tungsten weighting closer to the face.
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    This adjustment reduced spin by as much as 300 rpm without sacrificing forgiveness.

Cons

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    Can be a bit pricey for a single club.
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    Not as adjustable as some others on the market.
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    At 45.75”, the super long shaft could make the G400 one of the harder drivers to hit on today’s market.

The Ping G400 Driver may be the best driver for players who struggle with both distance.

It’s also one of the few drivers carried by both beginners and pros, as witnessed by last year’s U.S. Open where thirteen players had either the G400 or G400 LS Driver in the bag. 

If you’re not intimidated by the longer shaft or the hefty price tag, the Ping G400 Driver is an excellent choice for players of every level.  To read more, read our full review of the Ping G400 Driver.

It had not been released at the time of this review, but the Ping G400 Max Driver is definitely worth checking out if you are leaning towards the Ping G400 Driver.  We have a full review of the Ping G400 Max Driver posted if you want to check it out.


Cobra King F8 Driver / F8+ Driver

Cobra King F8 Black/Silver Driver

Pros

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    Cobra Connect and Arccos sensors –The Cobra Connect app recognizes over forty-thousand courses worldwide. It pairs with Arccos sensors installed in the grips lets you track your distance on every drive. It also makes recommendations on CG weight placements and loft settings and records dispersion and percentage of fairways hit.
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    Dual Roll Technology – Similar to TaylorMade’s “Twist Face,” Cobra employs what they call “Dual Roll Technology.” The F8 and F8+ have a more vertical curvature on the top of the club face, and less at the bottom of the face. This new design provides optimal launch and spin on mishits above or below the face’s center.
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    MyFly 8 With Smart Pad - Eight easily adjustable loft settings allow users to increase or decrease launch angles in half-degree increments, and increase or decrease spin by plus or minus 400 rpm. Loft on the F8 can be set from as low as 9° to as high as 12°, while the F8+ adjusts from 8° to 11°, with draw settings of 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5°.

Cons

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    Some owners might find the high number of CG weight and loft adjustments unnecessary.

Like the M3s, the Cobra F8 Driver and F8+ Driver feature what could be the next big thing in clubface design.

The new design, along with the Cobra Connect System, its high level of adjustability, and Cobras traditionally lower pricing, makes the F8 possibly the best driver for intermediate golfers on the market today.

If you’re at the point in your game where you need more playability, then consider the F8+. It has all of the great features of the F8 in a player-friendly low spin package.  Still not sure which one is right for you, our Cobra F8 and F8+ Driver review will help.


Titleist 917 D2 Driver / 917 D3 Driver

Titleist 917 D2 Driver

Pros

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    The big and beautiful liquid slate 460 cc head makes mishits a thing of the past.
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    The “SureFit” hosel has 16 independent loft and lie settings.
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    Titleist’s “SureFit” CG weight system lets you dial up the right combination of draw or fade.
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    No upcharge premium shaft options include Aldila Rogue M*AX 65, Fujikura Speeder Pro TS 74, and Mitsubishi Diamana LTD in White 70, Blue 60, Red 50, and Red 40.
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    Solid and satisfying sound and feel on both good and bad contact.
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    Titleist’s Active Recoil Channel 2.0 reduces spin while increasing ball speed.
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    Also available in a lower spin and trajectory, and smaller head (440 cc), “players” D3 model.

Cons

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    The high spin rate could sap distance.
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    A hefty price tag.
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    The large head can actually seem too big for some.

​​​You probably think of golf balls or “players” clubs when you hear the name Titleist.

But, thanks to their latest offerings in the driver category, the 917 D2 Driver, and 917 D3 Driver, you may need to think again.

Titleist incorporated plenty of tech into the D2 to lure a wider range of players, and their efforts have paid off nicely.  

The large head and Titleist’s Active Recoil Channel give novice players the confidence and forgiveness they need while the “SureFit” hosel and CG weighting system, plus an excellent selection of stock shafts, make the 917 D2 possibly the best golf driver for mid handicappers.

If your game has moved to “shot shaping” territory, then you will appreciate the low spin smaller head (440 cc) D3 model.  If you are a Titleist guy, your next read needs to be our full review of the 917 D2 and D3 drivers.


Mizuno ST180 Driver / GT180 Driver

Mizuno ST-180 Driver

Pros

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    The classic blue finish delivers a clean, sleek look
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    A lower and farther back Center-of-gravity increases forgiveness and provides excellent launch.
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    No “upcharge” stock shafts include the Kuro Kage Silver TiNi Dual Cor, the Tensei in white, orange or blue, and the Bassara E42.
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    The Quick Switch Adapter lets you choose on-the-fly between seven-and-a-half, nine-and-a-half, or eleven-and-a-half degree lofts.
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    The GT180 has three adjustable CG weights which provide a wide range of fade, neutral and draw settings in high, mid and low spin flights.

Cons

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    The ST180 is probably not the most workable driver.
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    The GT180 could be a challenge to find the ideal settings.

Mizuno calls the ST180 Driver a “low spin driver” and the GT180 Driver an “any spin driver.” That’s because the ST model has a fixed CG weight while the GT has three moveable weights that provide a variety of fade/draw and high/low spin combinations.

If you’re a mid-handicapper though, don’t let the low-spin designation on the ST180 scare you, it’s also exceptionally forgiving.

Both drivers will get you down the fairway in a hurry, but the CG weight system on the GT180 makes it one of the best player’s driver.  If you are still curious about these new Mizuno drivers, our review of the ST180 and our review of the GT180 are not bad reads.


Cleveland Launcher HB Driver

Cleveland Launcher HB Driver

Pros

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    A new and lighter “HiBore” crown allowed designers to move the center of gravity low and deep which leads to high-launch and low spin.
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    The stronger ultra-lightweight hosel design also helps keep weight low and adds to distance.
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    Cleveland’s forgiving Flex-Fin Technology helps launch the ball with incredible speed, even on miss-hits.
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    One of the best-priced options available.• Great if you like to keep it simple.
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    Cleveland’s “Launcher Cup Face” provides a huge sweet-spot and improves energy transfer across the face for more distance and forgiveness.
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    Comparable in distance, consistency, and accuracy to the much higher priced competition.

Cons

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    Low-tech compared to most other drivers on the market today.
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    No low-spin option available.

While so many manufacturers today have added more and more adjustability to their drivers, Cleveland Golf has taken the opposite approach with the HB Launcher Driver.

They’ve simplified the process of finding the Launchers optimal setup, by doing it for you. Overall, the Launcher does its name proud and gets the ball down the middle with plenty of height and distance.

It’s a great beginners club but, intermediate players will also appreciate the Launchers simplicity and low price tag.


After looking at each driver the manufacturer's have put on the market for 2018.  Let's look at which one is the best for your skill level.  For this comparison, we will look at the Best Driver for the Average Golfer and then the best Driver for Good Players.  Primarily, the good player's drivers will include the low spin drivers as only good players can normally take advantage of these.

First up, we will compare the drivers made for most of us.  These drivers are designed to be long, forgiving, and get the ball up in the air.  Most of these drivers have total adjustability which means you can adjust loft and move weights around to create draw bias, fade bias, increase & decrease spin.

Best Drivers for Average Golfers
Comparison Table

Distance

 Forgiveness

Adjustable

Price

Overall

Very Long

Most Forgiving Driver of 2018

CG Weight and Hosel

Pricey

Very Long

Very Forgiving

CG Weight and Hosel

Pricey

Longest of average Player drivers

Longer Shaft Can Cause accuracy issue

CG Weight and Hosel

Reasonable

Average

Very Forgiving

CG Weight and Hosel

Reasonable

Average

average forgiveness; on the fringe of a better player's driver

CG Weight and Hosel

Reasonable

Average

Average

None

Most Affordable Driver on List

And for those of you who do not worry about playing a brand new Pro V1 because you know you are not losing the ball, below are the best Good Player's Drivers.  

They are generally adjustable like the models above, but these drivers are designed a little different from the ones above in a couple of areas.  First, they encourage low spin which means you hit the ball further in most cases but the lower spin comes at the price of accuracy.  Secondly, these drivers tend to be smaller, which allows you to hit draws and fades on command if you are good enough to do that.

Best Drivers for Better Players
Comparison Table

Distance

 Workable / Accuracy

Adjustable

Price

Overall

Longest Driver of 2018

Accurate Enough given the increased distance

CG Weight and Hosel

Reasonable

Long

Very Accurate and extremely workable

CG Weight and Hosel

Pricey

Very Long

Not as workable as Other drivers On the list

CG Weight and Hosel

Pricey

Long

Very Accurate

CG Weight and Hosel

Reasonable

Average

Most Workable driver of 2018

CG Weight and Hosel

Reasonable

Second longest Driver of 2018

Average

ST180 Adjustable Hosel, GT180 Version is fully Adjustable

Reasonable

And the Winner is....

Some fantastic new drivers hit the market for twenty-eighteen.


Callaway upped their game with the Rogue Driver, while the Cobra King F8 Driver and F8+ Driver offer players a level of “tech” not previously thought possible.


Even Titleist has jumped into the fray with the 917 D2 Driver aimed at the general public.


As far as who makes this year’s best driver, we’re going with the TaylorMade M3 Driver for most players.


The new “Twist Face” design, plus its incredible amount of adjustability, makes the M3 Driver not only the best driver of twenty-eighteen but, also the kind of club a player will keep in their bag for a long, long time.


If you are a really good player, the Ping G400 LS will have you hitting shorter irons into the green than you ever thought possible.  If workability is your goal, the TaylorMade M3 440cc should be your weapon of choice. 

2 thoughts on “Hit it Longer: The Best Golf Drivers of 2018”

  1. One of the best reviews on drivers thanks
    I think that suggesting a driver for higher handicapper is good advice but I think swing instructions should be mentioned.
    I know from my own experience that the club’s you choose are important but without the proper swing you probably won’t see results.

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