The softened triangular shape of the Callaway FT-iZ driver is attracting
the attention of golfers. But can a triangular driver like this one
deliver more distance and accuracy? Or would a driver with a classic,
pear-shaped head be better for most average-to-high-handicap golfers?
Read on to learn about this driver - I tried it myself the other day.
This specific driver made its appearance in 2010, and the company says it uses a totally different design than its other recent drivers. I have to admit it was odd seeing a triangular head at address, but its obvious use of carbon composite and the unusual shape did make me wonder what Callaway had put "under the hood." Although I tend to be a traditionalist and prefer pear-shaped heads, I'm not silly enough to refuse to play a driver with an unconventional shape if it gives me a few more yards or better accuracy. And, it's all the better if I'm lucky enough to find a driver that delivers both. So, I decided to ignore any disquiet I was feeling due to the unfamiliar shape of the Callaway FT-iZ driver.
I'm glad I did. If I had decided to forego testing this driver or gone ahead but let its appearance "get to me," I would have missed out on a good driving experience.
When the club was introduced, Callaway Golf claimed it was the longest, straightest driver the company had ever made. How many times have we heard manufacturers make that kind of claim for the clubs they're bringing out? Not sure about the exact number, but it must be about a bazillion. And, I'm not sure if the Callaway FT-iZ fulfills that claim and actually is the longest, straightest Callaway driver ever made - but it was plenty long and straight for the likes of me.
You'll probably see what I mean if you hit the Callaway FT-iZ driver a few times yourself, because it has a lot going for it. The one I tried was an 11-degree with a senior flex Aldila VooDoo graphite shaft (regular and stiff are also available), but these clubs also come in 9-, 10- and 13-degree lofts (10 and 11 for lefties).
As far as I can tell, there are four main pieces of technology to talk about in this golf club. To begin with, the Callaway FT-iZ driver bucks the current trend toward all-titanium driver heads. Instead, "Fusion Technology" combines several materials (cast titanium, compression cured carbon fiber, cast steel and formed aluminum) to reduce the club's overall weight and position its weight optimally. Callaway also enhances the club's feel, consistency, speed and stability on off-center hits by using something it calls "Polar Weighting" - a heavier than normal face and a rear weight port that act together to concentrate the head's weight at the front and the rear. A chemically-milled "Hyperbolic Face Cup" allows the company to precisely control the thickness of the face of the Callaway FT-iZ driver. And finally, Callaway claims that the aerodynamic shape of the triangular club head (wide at the face and progressively tapering as it moves rearward) reduces air drag during the downswing for higher club head speeds at impact.
As a result of all this technology, you can achieve potentially faster club head speeds for additional distance. But, the Callaway FT-iZ driver also has a high Moment of Inertia to promote accuracy and forgiveness.
The club swings smoothly and feels well balanced. I had no questions about what the head was doing during my backswing. Pure shots are long and straight with a fairly high ball flight, but if you miss the sweet spot (not easy, because it feels huge), your ball will still fly a respectable distance. The sound at impact is more subdued than an all-titanium club, but it's a solid "thwack" that lets you know when you struck the ball properly.
The Bottom Line: The Callaway FT-iZ driver has changed my mind. At first I thought the softened triangular shape of the head was "unusual" and "odd;" now I think it's "aerodynamically helpful." If you can overcome a preference for hitting a traditional, pear-shaped driver, you might gain a few yards and a little additional accuracy with this club. It's probably not the longest driver on the market, and it's probably not the most forgiving, but the Callaway FT-iZ driver is a nice combination of distance, accuracy and forgiveness.