The Bobby Jones Superlight driver has a good set of genes, being
designed by one of the world's most highly regarded golf club designers.
Jesse Ortiz began his career at Orlimar, creating clubs used by PGA
Tour pros Ken Venturi and Johnny Miller. Now, he's crafting clubs for
Bobby Jones Golf, and one of his most recent creations is the Superlight
The "Workshop Edition" Bobby Jones Superlight driver uses an aerodynamic, triangular head and new, lightweight shaft and grip technology. Bobby Jones contends that although conventional pear-shaped and square driver heads fitted to extra-long shafts tend to stay open at impact (which would lead to a slice), the triangular shape of the driver helps the head rotate to square at the point of impact and be more forgiving on off-center hits.
The club has a Graphite Design 45-gram YSQ Tour AD shaft which is longer and lighter than normal. The shaft is an almost-frightening (to me, anyway!) 47 inches long - 2 inches longer than the "standard" shaft. Bobby Jones says the shaft's extra length increases club head speed by almost 7 mph, resulting in an additional 15 yards off the tee for "most players," and 15 to 20 for good golfers with swing speeds that have dropped into the 80s or below. That kind of distance gain can be a game-changer. It's a remarkable claim, but does the Bobby Jones Superlight driver come through?
The long, light shaft is topped by a newly-developed Winn grip that only weighs 25 grams. Without question, the Bobby Jones Superlight driver lives up to its name - it's definitely a featherweight. But is it a heavyweight, performance-wise? Is the Bobby Jones Superlight driver a club you'd like to have in your bag?
One of my friends recently bought one of these drivers, so naturally I tried it out. Although I only hit it on the range and during a single round, I think I managed to get a pretty good feel for the capabilities and characteristics of the Bobby Jones Workshop Superlite driver.
Overall, I thought it performed pretty well. It took me quite a few balls hit on the range to get used to handling such a super-long shaft. At first I was hitting the ground behind the ball - something I normally never do on the tee. Crisply hit drives were a rarity until I got used to the length of the shaft. Once I got the hang of it, though, my swing fell into place and I started hitting my drives much cleaner, crisper and higher. And they started going longer. Were they 15 yards longer, like Bobby Jones claims? I don't know for sure, but they were out there.
Based on the triangular head and the company's claim that it helps golfers achieve a squared face at impact, I'm guessing the Bobby Jones Superlight driver is aimed at mid- to high-handicappers. Most accomplished golfers prefer traditional, pear-shaped heads. I have to agree with them, and I never did get completely comfortable looking at the shape of this club at address.
This is such a lightweight club that I was somewhat surprised by the fact that I didn't "lose" the club head during my backswing. I've tended to do that with some of the other super lightweight drivers I've tried. I dug around for an explanation, and I think I found it. Many super lightweight drivers accomplish some of their "weight loss" by removing weight from the head. According to Ortiz, that wasn't done with the Bobby Jones Superlight driver. The only areas where weight was reduced were in the shaft and the grip - the mass of the head stayed the same. So, it turns out not to be so surprising that I always knew where the club head was throughout my swings.
The Bottom Line: These drivers aren't for everyone. Some golfers will be put off by the unusual triangular shape of the club head, and others won't be able to handle a 47-inch shaft. Accuracy wasn't the best (probably due to the length of the shaft). But, for golfers with slower swing speeds who need some extra distance but usually hit the fairways, the Workshop Edition of the Bobby Jones Superlight driver might be just the ticket. It's available in stiff, regular and senior flexes, in 9-, 10.5- and 12.5-degree lofts.