Devil Ball Proving Ground: Callaway's Diablo Octane driver

Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf equipment through its paces. Today, we focus on Callaway's sporty new Diablo Octane driver.

Callaway has heralded the arrival of its new Diablo Octane with a media blitz that included Stuart Appleby using it to race a Lamborghini Gallardo. And Ernie Els used it to win the Grand Slam of Golf, a nice little piece of publicity. So does the club warrant the blockbuster movie-level hype? In a word: youbetcha.

The tech specifics: Callaway uses a material known as "forged composite" in the driver, which is both light and strong. Housed in the crown, the forged composite allows Callaway to establish a precise center of gravity to go along with a larger sweet spot. And since it came from the company's partnership with Lamborghini, it gives you an extra layer of EuroCool with every swing.

We took the Octane out for two rounds, one on a tight, tree-lined course, another on a wide, forgiving track. And in both cases, the Octane performed exceptionally well. Though I'm no shot-shaping Mickelson off the tee, I nonetheless had little trouble crafting both high, arcing drives and low, straight liners. (Had a few boomers that were still going up when they hit the tree line, but that's not the Octane's fault.)

The club is light beyond belief, a joy to swing, sleek and good-looking. The club head has a bit of a thick feel to it, which grows more pronounced after about 50 straight swings, but chances are you won't be taking 50 drives in a row anywhere you'll want to show your face a second time. The impact of the shaft's flexibility -- I had a standard model -- will only be magnified because of the lightness of the club head. If you're looking to add the Diablo Octane to your arsenal --and certainly I'd recommend you consider it -- be sure to be honest about the degree of shaft flexibility (don't say it) you select.

The Octane is designed to add distance to your drives, and company estimates are that it will add another 8 yards to the average player's tee shot. Anecdotal evidence -- i.e. squinting at where the balls hit on the range, and looking back at the tee while on the fairway -- suggested that the 8 yards might be too conservative a figure.

Bottom line: the Diablo Octane will make your game look better, both driving to the tee and off it. Return that holiday sweater you're not going to wear anyway and pick up a gift for yourself.

To see more about the Diablo Octane, click here or visit your local golf emporium. Tell 'em Devil Ball sent ya.

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