Callaway Fusion FT-iQ
Billed as the firm's longest, straightest
Callaway's stealth-like FT-iQ driver is
engineered to swing fast and hit hard.
"It's our most energy-efficient face with
our most stable head," says Dr. Alan
Hocknell, Callaway's VP of Innovation
and Advanced Design. In short, it boosts
ball speedfor longer drivesdue to a
hyperbolic face design, high MOI and
precise center of gravity (CG) location.
The turbocharged titanium face (with
an "X" pattern behind the hitting area)
is thickest in the center and becomes
rapidly thinner in the perimeter. This
construction delivers consistent ball
speed across the face so misses carry
nearly as far as center strikes (see face
map, above). A tapered, lightweight
composite body gets the club's center of
gravity twice as low (and more rearward)
than FT-i, resulting in 300 rpm less
backspin. That's significant because FT-i
was known to produce too much spin,
particularly at higher swing speeds. In
addition, the rear chamber (including
weights) accounts for 18 percent of the
head's total mass. The payoff is greater
controlMOI is 8 percent higher
than FT-i; shot curvature is 35 percent
less than FT-ioff the tee. $499 to
$529, graphite; callawaygolf.com
2 of 7Fred Vuich
News and Reviews of 2008 Drivers
This has been a banner year for drivers. While 460cc is still the maximum head size allowed by the USGA, engineers are using high-tech designs and space-age materials to produce drivers that hit the ball farther, and straighter, than ever before.
This alphabetical gallery includes all the drivers reviewed and discussed in GOLF Magazine in 2008. Click "Next" to begin, or use the index below if you'd like to see a specific club.
• Adams Insight XTD a3
• Bobby Jones Workshop Edition by Jesse Ortiz
• Callaway: FT-i Tour Low CG | Fusion FT-iQ
• Callaway: Hyper X | Hyper X Tour
• Cleveland HiBore: XLS | XLS Draw | XLS Tour
• Cobra LV4 | Speed LD
• Hippo: Hex TX | Hex 2
• MacGregor MT 460
• Mizuno: MP-600 | Mizuno MX-560
• Nickent: 3DX Tour Square | 4DX SuperMag
• Nicklaus: Dual Point FastBack
• Nicklaus: Dual Point Drawback
• Nike: SQ Sumo 5000 | Sumo2 5900
• Ping: G10 | G10 Draw
• Srixon Z-RW
• TaylorMade: Burner | Burner TP | Tour Burner
• TaylorMade r7 CGB Max
• Titleist 907 D2
• Tour Edge Bazooka GeoMax | Exotics XCG
• Wilson Spine
3 of 7Schecter Lee
Adams Insight XTD a3
We tested: 9.5° and 10.5° in Aldila DVS 55 graphite shaft. Shaft length: 46"
Company line: "We've expanded the impact zone of the face, for maximized ball speed on center and off-center hits, while 'Boxer technology' pushes mass away from the face and into the corners for higher MOI."
Our Test Panel Says:
PROS: Its longest shots are arguably the longest in the field; looks round but square ... square but round; provides stability you can sense at impact; many prefer the medium ball flight; head is just heavy enough to feel throughout the swing; square look is not as radical as in years past high-tech without being bizarre; interesting, pleasing sensation at impact.
CONS: Susceptible to pushes and fades, likely due to the longer shaft; misses stray well to the right; too often, testers don't get through the shot.
"This head design promotes stability." Rich Bernstein (12)
• Rate and review this club in the GOLF.com Equipment Finder
4 of 7Schecter Lee
Callaway Hyper X Tour
We tested: 9.5°, 10.5° in Fujikura Fit-On E-360 graphite shaft. Shaft length: 45.5"
Company line: "Hyper X Tour drivers are designated by half-degree lofts (8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°) and have face angles that are slightly open, providing highly skilled golfers with a more pleasing look at address and increased workability."
Voted Best For Distance
Our Test Panel Says:
PROS: This baby outdistances its competition; stability through the hitting zone provides consistent distance; many testers experience a neutral flight to slight fade bias, so you can take the left rough out of play; excellent spring effect on contact, shots bound off the clubface; you can get it to produce gentle fades and draws, like any good 460cc driver should.
CONS: This head/shaft combo isn't for natural faders who want to eliminate right-side misses; at address, the face looks like it has little loft, which can be intimidating.
"The longest Callaway I've ever hit." Jon Dobberstein (7)
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5 of 7Schecter Lee
Cleveland HiBore XLS Draw
We tested: 10.5° and 12° in Fujikura Fit-On M Gold; 10.5° in Fujikura Fit-On M Red graphite shaft. Shaft length: 45"
Company line: "Our largest clubface ever is 3-degrees closed, to eliminate slices. The XLS Draw has an extremely high MOI of 5,300 g/cm2 and includes the Fujikura Fit-On Red/Gold shaft fitting system."
Our Test Panel Says:
PROS: Does what it promises; it's a well-balanced club that comfortably manages your misses; offset encourages a draw, helps to prevent slicing; nice, aggressive ball flight that gets
up very easily and pierces the sky; steady distance output; overall, an upgrade over last year's version; now-familiar HiBore cosmetics don't look so wacky anymore; Cleveland does a good job hiding the offset.
CONS: Very little feedback across the face, a general lack of feel; loud impact noise is a distraction and turnoff.
"It plays like a square head, but with rounded corners." Eric Jack (17)
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6 of 7Schecter Lee
Nickent 4DX SuperMag
Lofts: 8°, 9°, 10.5° and 12°
Best for: Average players
Titanium has been a super-metal in driver heads since the mid '90s due to its relative strength and light weight. Nickent now swaps titanium in the crown for magnesium, which has half the mass. The net effect is an additional eight grams positioned lower and farther rearward (24 grams total in two visible green plugs) than in the existing 4DX driver. This shift creates greater head stability through impact, plus higher launching (by 2-degrees) shots. The 46-inch SuperMag makes a loud, cowbell-like sound at impact.
7 of 7Schecter Lee
TaylorMade's family of Burner drivers is engineered for those who want to bomb it (by contrast, adjustable-weight r7 clubs are for those who like to tinker).
The new Tour Burner and Tour Burner TP feature a smaller, lighter and crown (by 12%) that distributes more mass lower the head. This new design helps shots take off higher, and with less spin, than they do with the previous Burner. The payoff is greater distance. Tests by our exclusive equipment partner, Hot Stix Golf, reveal that the Tour Burner TP flies 5 to 6 yards farther than the Burner TP [at 100 mph swing speed] due to 1.5-degree higher launch.
Sounds simple but here's the physics of it: The center of gravity (CG) in most drivers is located well back from the face to produce high launch. But this alone could increase spin too much and impede overall distance. Dropping the CG lower in the head reduces spin and potentially boosts total distance. In actual numbers, the CG in Tour Burner is 5 millimeters below the center of the face versus 3 mm in the Burner TP.
The Tour Burner comes with the Reax SuperFast 60-gram shaft at 45.5". It is also available through the firm's SelectFit custom fitting system.
Tour Burner: $399, graphite; Tour Burner TP: $599; taylormadegolf.com
Rate and review this club in the GOLF.com Equipment Finder
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