Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf gear through its paces. Today we look at the Callaway FT Optiforce driver.
Tester — Shane Bacon — Handicap: +2.4
Target Golf Audience — All handicaps
Callaway has been on fire lately with their products, and the FT Optiforce driver is definitely one that could be a game changer for the company. After the success of the X-Hot, Callaway came out with the Optiforce with two options, either the 460cc head that offers a little more forgiveness or the 440cc head that provides more workability and a more boring trajectory.
I went with the 440cc head, and while it took a little time getting used to (who knew 20cc difference between the standard 460 and 440 would be that different to look at!?), it's cool to have a head that almost gives you an old school type of feel with the size.
I think that club companies need to pick an identity these days, with either an extreme spectrum or colors and options for the head (like Cobra has done) or just sticking with a classic look throughout the brand (like Ping). This Optiforce head is more of a traditional style while being sleek with the black paint that gives the club a menacing look, something that helps when you're trying to pound the ball 310 yards off the tee on that final par-5.
The first time I took the Optiforce out on the course I was surprised at how easy it was to work the ball with this driver. I normally move the ball right-to-left (a cut for a lefty like myself), but it's been tough for me, considering I'm committed to that shot, to turn the ball over when I really need it (and I need it a lot on some of the closing holes I play often).
The driver is long, there is no question about that, but the thing that hit me was simply how easy it was to get the ball to do what you want it to do. So many times we are obsessed with how far the ball goes and how far each driver travels and which one is the longest, but if I can find a golf club that I feel comfortable with hitting fairways, I'm committed and the Optiforce does that for me.
Maybe it is simply the fact that the head is just a little smaller, but it just feels when you're standing over it like the ball is going to end up in the fairway when you swing, and that is a huge confidence boost for a guy that normally struggles to find the short grass.
The bottom line after hitting the Optiforce is it is no surprise to me that Phil Mickelson has already switched and put this club in his bag.
Besides the fact that the driver is extremely good to look at, the performance, ability to adjust lofts and directional ability (draw or fade) and distance makes this a must have if you're in the market for a new driver in your bag.