Thursday, January 27, 2011

Heavydriver ORLANDO, Fla.-- With apologies to The Hollies, it ain't heavy, it's my driver.
The leading contender so far at the PGA Merchandise Show for the Most Surprising New Club is the Heavy Driver, brought to you by the folks at Boccieri Golf who created the popular Heavy Putter and followed it with last year's Heavy Wedge.
This year, after positive reactions to the wedge, Boccieri came to the show with the whole rest of the set, uh, heavy-ized. The driver. The fairway woods. The hybrid. The irons. And you know what? They were hot. I was among a long line of startled golfers who tried out the driver on the range at Orange County National during PGA Demo Day and, after busting long straight drive after long straight drive, stood there with mouth agape and said, Holy cow. Or expletives in a similar vein.
The ball had that wonderful feel that golfers love of just jumping off the driver's face. The clubs are somewhat counter intuitive. They are heavier but the secret, says founder Steve Boccieri, is that they are balanced. The driver's head weighs 208 grams, but by adding 50 grams to the butt end of the grip, the club is better balanced and suddenly a very manageable swing weight of B-6.

The added weight helps to keep the club on plane better, Boccieri said. With a little more weight in the shaft, it's more difficult for the average golfer to push it out "over the top" on the forward swing, as many golfers do, and instead swing the club more efficiently a little closer to the body. The best analogy may be of a figure skater who spins slowly on the ice with arms outstretched, then brings the arms in close and spins faster.
The improved balance also nets a gain in clubhead speed. In addition, the face plate inside the head has a dimple pattern which allows a redistribution of weight. The head is 460 cc, pretty standard to most of the driver head shapes currently in fashion. It comes in only two lofts, 9 degrees and 10 degrees. The suggested retail price is $399.
"With the total weight of the club, we improve a player's plane, improve their consistency, they don't go over the top or release it early," Boccieri said. "It increases ball speed. We had PGA Tour players yesterday at Demo Day and some long drive guys try it. We had one guy hit our 45-inch driver at 195 mph ball speed and he said his normal ball speed with a 45-inch driver was 190. His long drive competition driver is 48 inches long and he hits that at 204 mph. He said this was the best driver he's hit that he could actually use on a golf course.
"We were pleased with the response at Demo Day. we turned a lot of heads. Last year, the wedge did quite well. So many people who loved the wedge wanted the rest of the set. So I got pretty busy after last year's show and went for the full set. I felt like we needed the whole set all at once, we couldn't bring them out one at a time."
I had the chance to take a few swing with several different drivers at Demo Day, notably the new TaylorMade, Adams, Titleist and Ping models, and while they were all pretty sweet, I'd be happy to put any of them in my bag tomorrow, there wasn't a model that felt any better than the Heavy Driver. No launch monitor numbers were available so I could compare ball speed and carry yardage, but trust me, it was stunningly easy to hit straight and it felt long. I'm looking forward to trying one out on a real golf course this spring. It's a concept and a club that is worth checking out.
(Photo: David Walberg/SI)

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