Let's make no mistake about it - as the "Tour" in its name implies, the
Callaway FT Tour driver is made for accomplished golfers. No offense
intended, but unless you're pretty darn good you probably won't be able
to handle this club. I'm a 9-handicap right now, and after a couple of
rounds with this driver, I decided it was too much club for me.
Of course, your game might be better suited to this club than mine. You might even come away from a test drive chomping at the bit to buy a Callaway FT Tour driver. Without question, it can be a fine club in the hands of the right player. Here is some information about this high-quality, professional-level driver. I'll toss in some of my personal impressions along the way.
Designed to satisfy the needs of the world's most skillful, demanding players, this driver is a high-performance club with a conventional, pear-shaped head. Tour pros, including Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk and Ernie Els, began using the Callaway FT Tour driver in 2009. Each of them has won tournaments with this club, and Mickelson won the 2010 Masters with it. That's a pretty strong endorsement. For a while this driver was only available to the pros, but now it is also available to amateur players.
This driver doesn't have a geometric shape or interchangeable weights, but when wielded by a skillful golfer it is definitely capable of delivering significantly greater distance. It's also the first Callaway driver to use a traditional, full-length tour-style hosel. But before I delve into the technology built into the Callaway FT Tour driver, a few words about its appearance might help.
The club's traditional pear shaped head is relatively compact by today's standards. Both of golf's ruling bodies - the USGA and the R&A - permit driver heads to be as large as 460cc, but many skilled golfers prefer a slightly smaller footprint because it promotes workability. This driver also has the deep face and large hitting surface preferred by many professional players. A subtle crease marks the place on the crown where the midnight-black, ultra-light carbon composite body meets the hyperbolic titanium face.
The Callaway FT Tour driver sets up slightly open to the ball - a look and design which many Tour pros prefer. Unfortunately for us less-skillful amateurs, that open setup (the face is actually set to 1.5 degrees open) can lead to a slice because it makes it difficult to square the face at the moment of impact.
The club simply looks and feels "right." The sound is a muted but powerful "thwack" - not the thunderous crack so common with all-titanium drivers.
The "Hyperbolic Face Technology" built into the Callaway FT Tour driver is designed to enlarge the sweet spot and produce faster ball speeds. In fact, distance is the driver's hallmark. The ball flight is long, low and penetrating. Even the run-out is impressive, partially due to the lower trajectory and partially because this is a low-spin driver. But, if you're a slicer or you need a club that's ultra-forgiving or launches the ball high, you need to look at some different drivers. This one just won't be right.
An Aldila VooDoo graphite shaft is the stock shaft fitted to the Callaway FT Tour driver. The club is available in 8.5-, 9.5- and 10.5-degree lofts. I tried the 10.5-degree version, and hitting the ball properly seemed like a never-ending battle. Normally, my driver is the most reliable club in my bag, but that wasn't the case with this one. My swing just didn't measure up to the demands of this club.
The Bottom Line: Although a fine club, the Callaway FT Tour driver isn't for beginners - or for that matter, 90% of the golfers out there. It's designed and built for highly skilled players, so you'd be wise to stay away unless you have a single-digit handicap. With a 9-handicap, I'm at the high (bad) end of the spectrum of players who can handle this club - and I struggled mightily. Other drivers on the market are much more forgiving and promote a higher trajectory, and believe me, they'd be better for most of us. But, if you meet the high standards for playing skill demanded by this club, it could be a keeper. It's a great-looking stick and it's definitely a "players club."