Three days after they released the Mack Daddy 2 wedge
, our friends at Callaway Golf have announced their new FT Optiforce driver
. Lighter and more forgiving than the recent Callaway X Hot driver, the Optiforce driver also features a higher launch.
Known as the "Falcon" or "Project Black Tail" within the Callaway R&D department, the new driver offers adjustability, improved ball speeds and light shaft options. You may have already seen the lightweight FT Optiforce driver in the bags of Callaway's Trevor Immelman, Tommy Gainey and Andres Gonzales.
We heard from Callaway's own Doc Hoc, Alan Hocknell, Senior VP of R&D, to hear learn more about the new driver, the design and what inspired it.
"We had developed a prototype head that we had called ‘Falcon’ which had the best aerodynamics of any Callaway Driver we had ever made above the 400cc volume range. We realised we could produce a traditional head shape, that doesn’t have any unusual visual features to it, but had a definite advantage in adding head speed at the point of impact, based on the same effort applied by a golfer.
"We then held onto this research for a period of time while we concentrated our R&D efforts on satisfying the consumer demand for ‘adjustable weighting’ products and introduced RAZR Fit Xtreme and X Hot Drivers."
"However, we were so excited about ‘Falcon’ that we decided to return to the prototype and see how we could push the concept even further by adding our newly developed ‘adjustable’ technology."
Thus, the FT Optiforce driver was born. Due to launch to the market July 12th, the new driver is lighter than many recent Callaway drivers. Hocknell and his team conducted an extensive study into driver length and driver weight. "Many of these findings influenced our thinking with FT Optiforce but also powered some key choices in the X Hot Driver, namely making it a lighter overall Driver product, compared to our previous designs." Hocknell said. "However, with FT Optiforce we thought there was an opportunity to go a little bit lighter again."
It is certainly lighter. The overall club weight 290 grams, unlike the X Hot which is 300 grams or above (depending on shaft options).
Like the X Hot driver, the new FT Optiforce features adjustability thanks to Callaway's OptiFit hosel. However, the hosel has been upgraded for the Optiforce. The Advanced OptiFit Technology lets you adjust the loft of the driver from standard to -1°, or +1° or +2°, giving you four loft settings. Add to that two lie settings, Neutral (or standard) and Draw (or upright), and you have 8 different settings to find the best ball flight for your swing.
"During the development of FT Optiforce we worked on using the shape of the sole of the club to take it to a point where the changes in face angles, as you change the hosel setting, are almost inconceivable." Hocknell added.
Following Callaway's recent trend, the FT Optiforce driver is available in either a 460cc (left) or 440cc (right) head. "The larger 460cc head has more MOI, it's more stable, and slightly more rearward shaped. It also has a slightly higher centre of gravity making it an easy launch club that creates a slightly higher flying shot, compared to the smaller headed option."
The final piece of the Optiforce designed involved further reducing the club's weight by pairing it with premium, lightweight shaft options.
"FT Optiforce uses the lightest shaft we have ever launched in a standard product and at 46in long, it is one of the key contributors to the driver’s overall lighter configuration. Manufactured by Grafalloy, the Project X Velocity weighing just 43g, is a slightly modified version (stronger in the tip) of the Project X Velocity 39g shaft that the company has been promoting on Tour."
So there you have it, the latest driver from Callaway Golf. Is the FT Optiforce right for your game? Alan Hocknell explains it is suited to any golfer.
"Sometimes there can be a perception that a lightweight driver is for senior golfers, but we found that everyone either benefits from, or wants, speed....With the 43g shaft option, I would say the bulk of people who swing around the 100mph range should see the biggest benefit."
Callaway have also launched an FT Optiforce fairway wood. With the trajectory profile of the RAZR Fit Xtreme fairway wood (high launch, high spin) and the ball speed advantages of the X Hot fairway, the Optiforce fairway is designed similarly to the driver to produce a higher, more forgiving performance.
Both the fairway and the driver will be in shops July 12th. The driver will have an RRP of £339, whilst the fairway has an RRP of £179.
More info and photos of the Callaway FT Optiforce driver and FT Optiforce fairway wood.