The allure of super-lightweight drivers is based on the idea that a lighter club is easier to swing faster, and that increased clubhead speed should translate into more distance off the tee. Think of them as Sugar Ray Leonard drivers instead of George Foreman drivers.
Later this summer Adams Golf plans to enter the market in sub-300 gram drivers with the Speedline 9088 UL.
According to a company source, the Adams 9088 UL’s unique swing weight will separate it from other drivers in its category. The 9088 UL will have a swing weight of D0, which is slightly lower than a typical iron (D2-D4) and significantly lighter than other extremely light drivers. By comparison, Cleveland's 270-gram Launcher UltraLite XL270 has a swing weight of D6 and TaylorMade's Burner SuperFast 2.0 has a swing weight of D9.
The clubmaker hopes that golfers will be able to release the head of the 9088 UL more effectively and reduce slicing because of that lighter swing weight.
Look for the 9088 UL driver to come standard with a Matrix Radix HD shaft and start appearing in pro shops in August, with a draw version of the club coming later in the fall.
Ian Poulter won the Hong Kong Open last fall using a very unique driver, a white Cobra ZL Limited Edition. The company made 500 of them, and Poulter, after being presented with one, decided that instead of putting it on his wall, he'd put it into play.
The driver will come standard with a white Golf Pride Tour Wrap 2G grip, and white Aldila RIP Beta shaft, for $475 when it becomes available in early May. Right-handers will be able to chose between 9.5° and 10.5° lofts, while the 9.5º model will be the only choice for lefties. The 9.5° model will only be available in stiff flex; the 10.5° model will come with either a stiff or regular-flex shaft.
Sometimes you have to grind and hustle for weeks to get the story and other times you've just got to walk a few blocks. On Tuesday morning I made my way to the Golfsmith store in midtown Manhattan and was given a chance to talk with Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia. The two TaylorMade staff players where there as part of a 'White Out' promotion to hit some drives down 54th Street using an TaylorMade R11.
Here's what they had to say about the club and the whole concept of a white, adjustable driver.
ORLANDO, Fla.--This is probably going to be the Year of the Driver in golf. The bad news is, there are so many options that it's going to be difficult to pick just one. The good news is, they're all exceptional options.
Titleist has produced some excellent metal woods over the years, notably its 975 driver, and I've still got one of its classic PT 15 3-woods in my basement. I actually brought it to the range last fall to see if it still had some magic in it. I think it does--once I get it regripped.
Titleist is right in the mix in the Year of the Driver with its 910 line of drivers. Like TaylorMade, they're riding the game-changing wave of adjustable clubs. The 910 drivers are adjustable for both face angle and loft. The 910 comes in the D2 and D3 versions. They have the classic big-headed driver pear shape, and while the D3 is actually 15 cc smaller than the D2, which is max 460 cc, it's not easy to tell them apart.
It was obvious from Demo Day early in the week here at the PGA Merchandise Show that the Titleist drivers are going to be big this year because the Titleist tent on the range was packed. I managed to squeeze in and get off a few drives, and the D3 was impressive. It didn't hurt that Titleist had a spot on Orange County National's 360-degree range that was downwind on a day when it was blowing 30 mph but the fact is, it looked and felt like I crushed those shots. It gets a grade "A."
I can't wait until spring and a chance to tinker with a D3 and find my perfect combination of settings with the club. Like I said, it's going to be tough to pick only one driver to use in 2011. The Titleist D2 and D3 are definitely contenders.
ORLANDO, Fla.--It is obvious which golf club is going to get the most attention in the first part of 2011.
Maybe you saw those TaylorMade staff players all dressed in white Thursday during the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines. Maybe you've seen pictures of the TaylorMade equipment van, which has been repainted all white. Maybe you've seen that white blur on Golf Channel, as the white head of a TaylorMade R11 driver bashes another ball off a tee.
The R11 is an attention-getting club. First, there's the white paint job on the head. TaylorMade was known for its distinctive copper-colored driver heads in the '90s. Now they've reprised that smart marketing idea with white heads. Second, the R11 is part of the game-changing adjustability trend. The R11 has TaylorMade's traditional movable weights. It also has separate adjustments for face angle and lie. It's do-it-yourself custom fitting, giving customers the confidence that they can find a combination that works for them.
TaylorMade isn't alone in the double-adjustability category. Titleist's 910 drivers work that way, too. It's a trend that seems likely to continue and probably expand.
As for the attention the R11 is drawing, it's tangible. At PGA Merchandise Show Demo Day, the TaylorMade area was packed with people anxious to try the club and the crowd lasted all day. Even ten minutes before the range was to shut down, when I finally worked my way to the tee with an R11, there were still golfers waiting to hit.
The club has a nice feel and a nice balance. There was only time for half a dozen swings in a strong left-to-right wind. All I can tell you is I hit six very satisfying shots that the wind immediately swatted to the right. The ball jumped of the R11's face and I didn't need a launch monitor to know that those drives were big ones for me, which is good because I didn't have a launch monitor.
TaylorMade will market the heck out of this club (suggested retail price $399, by the way). Lots of commercials, lots of demo days, lots of tour players swinging on TV in PGA Tour events. You'll be seeing a lot of the R11 this year.
Everyone mis-hits shots, including the pros. So before Cobra Golf designers sat down and started to create the follow-up to the S2 driver, they took a close look at those missed shots.
More than 25,000 thousand of them.
Their research revealed that most mis-hits aren't directly to the left or right of the sweet spot. More often, misses are hit either low in the heel area or high in the toe.
Armed with that information, Cobra set out to not only make a larger sweet spot for the new S3 drivers (above), but also one that would improve the club's performance in the areas where players miss.
Looking at the face of the new S3 and S3 Max drivers, golfers will notice that the head is more ovular, bulging near the toe area.
"We changed the face thickness distribution across the face to optimize ball speed in this elliptical pattern," says Tom Preece, Cobra's vice president of research and development. "this helps to create a 30 percent larger sweet spot in the S3 than its predecessor [the S2], which really makes it more forgiving on off-center hits."
One thing that didn't change when Cobra transformed the S2 into the S3 was Adjustable Flight Technology. This system allows golfers to unscrew the S3's head from the shaft and re-attach it in one of three different settings—Neutral, Closed and Open—so golfers can get the face angle they want.
For golfers who tend to hit a slice, Cobra's S3 Max driver (right) is built with some offset to help close the face at impact. It also features an aerodynamic alignment aid in the back of the crown to help golfers get the driver set properly behind the ball at address.
Like the S3, the S3 Max has a 460cc head made from titanium, but it does not allow golfers to adjust the face angle of the club.
Both clubs will come standard with a Fujikura Blur shaft—45 1/2" for the S3 and 46" for the S3 Max—and should retail for about $299.
When it was released early last season, TaylorMade hoped the 460cc Burner SuperFast driver would appeal to players who craved distance and power off the tee. The club's triangular head, long shaft, louvered sole and lightweight design were all intended to help golfers swing faster and create more ball speed.
With the Burner SuperFast 2.0 and SuperFast 2.0 TP, TaylorMade hopes to make a fast club even faster.
Like the R11 driver, the first thing you'll notice about the SuperFast 2.0 is its white crown. By designing a driver with a black face and a white, matte-finished crown, TaylorMade is trying to create the most contrast possible in order to help golfers align the club more easily. The white crown also eliminates hot spots and glare that are often created with glossy-topped clubs.
While the triangular titanium clubhead has been made more aerodynamic, the face of the new SuperFast, which measures 4,550 square millimeters, is bigger than last year's model. In fact, it's the biggest face TaylorMade has ever built for a driver. And that's good, because the standard shaft for the SuperFast 2.0 (Matrix Ozik XCon 4.8) is 46.5" long. That long shaft is going to help you generate more clubhead speed for greater distance, but hitting the ball in the sweet spot will be a little more challenging too.
For even more distance potential, TaylorMade shaved six grams from the old SuperFast to bring the 2.0 in at a scant 279 grams.
Add it all up, and TaylorMade says the Burner SuperFast 2.0 is 5 yards longer than last year's model.
The TP version of the Burner SuperFast 2.0 has a non-adjustable weight port in the toe area and a slightly open clubface angle at address. It also features a slightly heavier 45.5" Matrix Ozik HD6 shaft.
Both clubs should be in pro shops in early February, with the Burner SuperFast 2.0 selling for $299 and the Burner SuperFast 2.0 TP selling for $399.
After the success of the r7 and R9 drivers, the release of TaylorMade's third generation R11 adjustable driver was bound to cause a buzz in the equipment world.
But even before the pros at Kapalua start tinkering with TaylorMade's newest model, they'll notice the glaringly obvious thing that sets it apart—it's white.
"The satin white finish, along with the black face, creates the maximum contrast between face and crown to help you align the club more easily," says Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade's director of product creation (metal woods). Olsavsky adds that the white finish helps to reduce the hot spots and glare often created on glossy-topped drivers.
Rumors have been swirling over the past few months that TaylorMade was planning to release a white driver, but many of those rumors failed to mention the R11’s new level of customization. In previous models, TaylorMade’s torque wrench was used to adjust the face angle, which automatically changed the club's loft as well. In the R11, loft and face angle are adjusted independently.
In the r7 and R9, an aluminum sleeve attached to the shaft, which screwed into the head in a variety of face angles. Not anymore. Now the R11's sleeve has eight settings to increase or decrease the effective loft by as much as one degree.
Face angle is controlled by an adjustable aluminum sole plate. By moving the red triangular plate into the closed, neutral or open position, you can adjust the look at address. The face settings range from 4 degrees open to 4 degrees closed.
Like the r7 and R9 drivers, the R11 features weight ports—one in the heel and one in the toe—that allow for a draw or fade bias. The R11 comes with a10-gram screw and a 1-gram screw. Positioning the 10-gram weight in the heel promotes a draw, while putting it in the toe encourages a fade. According to TaylorMade, the moveable weights provide up to 25 yards of right-and-left adjustability.
Because the club is so adjustable, the R11 driver will be available in only two lofts — 9° and 10.5°. Olsavsky says that's all the loft options that are required, even for Tour pros.
To make his point, Olsavsky says you could theoretically set a 9° R11 to have an open face at address, a draw weight bias and an effective loft of 10 degrees. The same club could be adjusted to have a closed-face at address, a fade bias and 8° of playing loft.
In addition to all that adjustability, Olsavsky says the R11's head shape is more aerodynamic, making it at least 6 yards longer than 2010's R9 SuperTri.
The standard R11 driver will come with a 45.75" Fujikura Blur shaft and retail for $399. A TP version of the club will feature an identical head and several shaft upgrades for $499. Both drivers should arrive in pro shops in mid-February.
Below is a video of Olsavsky talking about the technologies and features of the R11:
When it comes to tee shots, golfers tend to fall into one of two categories: players who simply want to crush the ball, and those who are willing to give up a couple yards if they can shape their shots.
If you're all about distance, Callaway has the Diablo Octane driver. But if you like to draw the ball around a corner or fade it into the short grass, the company now offers the RAZR Hawk and RAZR Hawk Tour drivers.
Like the Diablo Octane, the RAZR Hawk and RAZR Hawk Tour are made with Forged Composite, a super-lightweight material Callaway developed in conjunction with Lamborghini. To create it, millions of ultra-thin carbon fibers are heated and pressed between two halves of a metal tool. The fibers melt in the heat and pressure of the tool and ooze into the exact shape Callaway desires. The final product is very strong, and very light.
Forged Composite was used in the crown of the Diablo Octane, but it's used to make the crown and body of the RAZR Hawk drivers, although none of the material is visible at address.
Some of the saved weight has been redistributed to a nickel weight in the rear of the club. This lowers the club's center of gravity and should help produce higher-flying drives. In the Draw version, the weight is slightly more to the heel side of the head.
Even with that weight, the RAZR Hawk driver is still light enough for Callaway to pair it with a 46-inch shafts, which should help golfers generate faster swings. Couple that with improved aerodynamics (the company says drag has been reduced by 43% compared to last season's FT-9), and Callaway says that the 460cc RAZK Hawk driver is more than 6 yards longer off the tee than the FT-9.
Like the FT-9 Tour, the RAZR Hawk Tour has a slightly smaller head (445cc), a slightly-higher CG and will come standard with a 45.5-inch shaft.
Both the standard and Tour versions of the RAZR Hawk have a cast titanium cup face that is chemically milled to be slightly thicker in the center and thinner near the edges to help golfers maintain ball speed on off-center hits. Along the bottom of both drivers, Callaway has also placed an aluminum skid plate for added durability.
In addition to the drivers, Callaway is releasing matching RAZR Hawk fairway woods. Unlike the drivers, the fairway woods are made with a Carbon Composite crown but a stainless steel body and face.
While the RAZR Hawk fairway woods come with standard-length shafts, they feature the same variable face thickness (VFT) found in the drivers for added pop.
You'll start to see all of these clubs in your local pro shops in the middle of February. Callaway's RAZR Hawk driver will be available in 9.5°, 10.5°, 11.5° and 13° versions; the RAZR Hawk Tour will be available in 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5° models. Both will cost about $399. The fairway woods will be available in 13°, 15°, 19° and 21° for $229.
Golfers who are really into gear have been buzzing for weeks on message boards and blogs about white drivers. First, there was the all-white Cobra Limited Edition ZL, which Ian Poulter put into play and won with in Asia.
Next down the Great White Way will be TaylorMade's yet-to-be-released R11, the next generation of 2010's R9. A few images of Sean O'Hair testing the club were obtained by Golf.com.
As you can see, the crown of the club is white, but the sole is black.
The photo below, while slightly out of focus, clearly shows a TaylorMade technician adjusting the bottom of the club using a torque wrench.
The video below shows several TaylorMade staff players's reactions to the R11 driver:
Keep checking back on GOLF.com for more information on TaylorMade's R11 driver.