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Tech Talk: Callaway FT OptiForce drivers and fairway woods



While the mechanics of hitting longer drives are complex, the physics behind hitting a golf ball farther is fairly simple — golfers have to increase their ball speed, improve their launch conditions, or do both.

Golf’s ruling bodies have capped the amount of ball speed that can result from a center strike with a driver, which has left many golfers scrambling to find new ways to hit it farther with the big stick.

Sure, golfers can pick up extra yards by continuing to improve their launch conditions, and today’s drivers also give golfers more ball speed on mis-hits than ever before. But what about new, unbridled distance gains that will have golfers chomping at the bit to hit their next tee shot?

Callaway’s new FT OptiForce drivers are the lightest drivers in the company’s history, and were designed to give golfers more club head speed. Increasing club head speed has the potential to give golfers more ball speed, which will result in increased distance.

The OptiForce drivers come in two different sizes — a 460 cc model that targets golfers who need more forgiveness and a higher launch, as well as a 440 cc head that is geared for better players who desire a more penetrating trajectory.

“Callaway has always placed the golfer’s performance first when developing clubs, and we feel strongly that one club head does not fit all golfers,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell, senior vice president of R&D for Callaway. “Players using an 8.5-degree driver are fundamentally different than players using 12.5-degrees of loft, so with the FT Optiforce Driver we have optimized each of the two available heads — the 440cc and the 460cc –- and adjusted critical elements like size, weight, center of gravity position, moment of inertia and others so that golfers have the best chance to optimize their launch conditions for better total performance.”

460 FT OptiForce Driver


440 FT OptiForce Driver


One of the ways OptiForce drivers create more speed is with more aerodynamic head shapes, which Callaway says create 23 percent less drag on the downswing than previous models.

The drivers also offer increased speed through the reduction of head weight and total weight. Both drivers have Callaway’s Forged Composite Crown, which allows the 460 OptiForce to be made with a weight 192 grams — 3 grams lighter than Callaway’s X Hot driver. Likewise, the 440 OptiForce driver is 3 grams lighter than the X Hot Pro driver at 195 grams.

Those driver heads are also equipped with lighter shafts, which further maximize a golfer’s potential to swing the club faster. As stock shaft options, golfers can choose between the super light True Temper Project X PXV shaft that weighs 43 grams (at the stock length of 46 inches), and the more standard weight Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ shaft, which weighs about 64 grams.


The 460 OptiForce is stamped 10.5 degrees, but Callaway’s revamped OptiFit hosel allows golfers three other loft settings — 1 degree down to 9.5, or 1 or 2 degrees up to either 11.5 or 12.5. The 440 OptiForce is stamped 9.5 degrees and features the same range of loft adjustability.

The new OptiFit system also allows golfers to pick a lie setting, either S for standard or D for draw, which makes the driver more upright. The system seems complicated at first, with two different rings that twist independently and have both lie and loft markings, but it is simple to use once golfers realize that all they have to do is line up the desired loft and lie setting with the white lines on the hosel.


While changing the loft of an OptiForce driver does change the face angle (adding loft slightly closes the face, while subtracting loft opens the face), the design of the new OptiFit hosel makes those face angle changes much more minimal than in previous models.

Both OptiForce drivers will be available July 12, and will sell for $399. Also to be released on July 12 are a line of FT OptiForce fairway woods ($229), which feature the same principal design as Callaway’s X Hot fairway woods in a lighter, higher-launching, higher-spinning package.

Click here to see photos of the fairway woods in the forums.

The OptiForce fairway woods are not adjustable, and come in the following models: 3 wood (15 degrees), 4 wood (17 degrees), 5 wood (19 degrees), 7 wood (21 degrees) and 9 wood (degrees). They’re sold with either a True Temper Project X PXV 53-gram shaft or a Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ 62 shaft.

Click here to see what members are saying about the FT OptiForce line in the forums.

Click here to see what members are saying about the FT OptiForce line in the forums.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

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  1. Pingback: Callaway Ft Optiforce Fairway

  2. Pingback: Callaway Golf Ft Fairway Woods 7 Wood


    Aug 23, 2013 at 2:08 am

    Out of all the Callaway drivers past/present the FT Optiforce 440 driver is the best head they’ve come out with in years, reminds me of my older model but trusty FT 5 TH (tour hosel) & FT 9 TA drivers that I won’t let go of. The Optiforce 440 has the bomber distance of the FT 5 TH as well as it has that compact look of the FT 9 TA & the ball just a seems to explode off the face. I don’t agree with the lighter/longer = more distance, for the past 5/6 years my normal driver is 44.25″ because it’s just easier to control & I hit it as far as I would with a 45″/45.5″ shaft. I tried lighter 60g shafts in my driver about a year ago but I wasn’t as consistent with it & was just way to light. When I got my FT Optiforce 440 drivers the first week of August one was shafted with a Accra TourZ CB/85/M5, the other with a Oban Kiyoshi white 65/05 both tipped 1.25″. Both are great shafts but I ended up with the TourZ CB/85/M5, the feel of the shaft is unreal for a 85g shaft, was more consistent, & gained about 5-8mph higher ball speed over my X Hot Pro with the same shaft. This head is the real deal, you don’t need to go with a super lightweight shaft to take advantage of the great technology of this driver. Besides using a 85g driver shaft the head is also hot melted to 206g by Cally to get me to a D4.5 swing weight. If you give this driver a test driver with the right shaft you won’t be disappointed. There’s a reason why the FT Optiforce has been the #1 Callaway driver since it came out & 12 of 14 Callaway European Tour players are also gaming this big stick. Thumbs up to Callaway for bringing out a true players driver this year.

  4. Chip

    Jul 31, 2013 at 9:12 am

    I was able to demo the FT Optiforce driver last weekend. I was looking for a driver that was lighter in wieght. After hitting a few balls on the driving range, I started to think that I may have found my driver. When I took it to the course I was amazed at the added distance and control, especially distance. I consistantly hit more fairways and added 25 to 30 yards to my drives. Instead of trying to avoid fairway bunkers, I just flew over them. It was actually hard to mishit a shot in my opinion. I have read some pretty negative remarks regarding this driver, but I couldn’t diagree more. All golfers are not the same, and a light wieght driver may not be for you. But if you really want more distance and greater control, this driver may be a good option for you. I bought the driver and the 5 wood and could not be more pleased. It will lower my handicap for sure. I am a 14 hcp and used to drive 235. Now I am hitting my drives past 260. Great choice for me presonally.

  5. Michael

    Jul 30, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Great post! I bookmarked your site so I’ll be back again to check out more posts.


    Jul 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    We don’t get fat because of a drastic cut in calories, whenthis happens our metabolic rate can be brought down in a matterof 36 hours by as much as mine is rising. My body responded wonderfully to low carb 5 htp for dieting is the elimination of bread and pasta.

  7. Martfin

    Jul 11, 2013 at 9:51 pm

    Got to hit the 440cc OptiForce driver and the 3 wood today at Golfsmith. The 3 wood I hit well but preferred the Razr Fit Extreme which to me just felt more solid. Distance numbers for me were about the same though. The drive on the other hand felt great, it was effortless to hit and at least 15-20 yds longer than my Razr Fit and every shot was down the middle. Both clubs were using the Diamana stock Stiff shafts. I think I could be tempted by the driver.

  8. mike

    Jul 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    I personally liked the razrfit design better. The weights allow me to swingweight the club after its cut down to 44.5 and the open setting will be missed by more than a few of us.

  9. paul

    Jul 6, 2013 at 10:34 am

    In swinging something that weighs around 300 grams i don’t think removing 3 of those is going to make it that much faster to swing. and keeping in mind that a club has the aerodynamics of a brick with a rounded back i don’t think that improving drag off it will make it much faster. you could improve how much effort it took to swing it much more by making it smaller, or making the front more aerodynamic.

  10. Johnjohn

    Jul 3, 2013 at 6:35 am

    Agree, Callaway needs to read Tom Wishon’s book. Besides Clevelans has done the lighter/longer thing for yrs, nothing new

  11. Mike B

    Jul 3, 2013 at 1:21 am

    Nice looking driver, but if you want more distance, go non-conforming!

  12. Jeffrey

    Jul 2, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Like others in here, fell in love with the Superfast. I’d catch a few sure, but the club was so light, it was hard to swing with tempo, and yeah, keeping it on the course, yeah right. I’ve never gone through so many golf balls. I play a shorter and heavier shaft in my current driver, and wow, it finds fairways, and misses are just off the fairway.

  13. Mike

    Jul 2, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Hmmm, the hosel looks like an extended version from Titleist SureFit. So are the two offerings of head size. Have seen it before

  14. Dirk

    Jul 2, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Yeah, I’m with Danny. I heard this song a few years ago when Superfast came out.

    Fool me once, and all that.

  15. hvilletn

    Jul 2, 2013 at 2:00 pm

    OOPS! I think something is wrong with the content in this article. How many people missed this . . .
    “The 460 OptiForce is stamped 10.5 degrees, but Callaway’s revamped OptiFit hosel allows golfers three other loft settings — 1 degree down to 8.5, or 1 or 2 degrees up to either 11.5 or 12.5. The 440 OptiForce is stamped 9.5 degrees and features the same range of loft adjustability.”

  16. Jason

    Jul 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    Saw these in person and the 440 and fw shape is really nice. Can’t remember if there’s a weight port tho? The 195 g head won’t work for me as others mentioned- if you like a shorter driver w heavier SW you’ll have to use lead tape I guess?

  17. Scott

    Jul 2, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    Uhh the sole of club looks like a female anatomy part cant believe they didnt catch that.

    • pablo

      Jul 2, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      hahahahaha no kidding it does!

    • Zack

      Jul 6, 2013 at 3:46 am

      That’s why u get a “penetrating” flight with this driver. 😉

  18. Tim

    Jul 2, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Nothing really new here, but I’m sure someone will buy into it.

  19. Klayton

    Jul 2, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    Loved the old FT-9 Tour. Possibility of this head being similar only lighter and adjustable??? Not a big fan of light and long clubs. Would have to cut the shaft down to 45 and get something heavy like my Diamana Whiteboard 83X that is in the Razr fit right now.

  20. Callaway X Hot

    Jul 2, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Sure you will increase club head speed with a ligher driver but what about control?

  21. roger

    Jul 2, 2013 at 4:22 am

    COOL! so the old razr Fit will be on sale!
    Just bought a Razr Fit Driver used . Love the old stock sales.

    • Todd

      Jul 2, 2013 at 10:42 am

      I also picked up the older Razr Fit used here recently, and am pleasantly surprised by the performance! The used price was great, and within only a few practice rounds and range visits, I bagged this over my Anser driver. There was no denying that (for me) this club was straighter and longer. I’m convinced that I got lucky with the shaft that came with the Razr thought — the Fuji Motore tour spec. I think with the right shaft fitting, any of these drivers could be great. It will be interesting to see what players think of the Optiforce.

      • Ted

        Jul 3, 2013 at 12:28 pm


        I agree. I played last year’s Razr Fit for over a year. You made a great choice. (I recently switched to the xtreme which gives me a lower trajectory that is better for hard fairways and the windy conditions I typically play.)

  22. vince

    Jul 2, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Light weight head with a light weight made for (i presume) shaft and improved aerodynamics.. heard that before and sounds gimmicky. Guess I’ll wait and see how it really performs.

    • Jay

      Jul 7, 2013 at 8:53 am

      Maybe not, I bought an original Blueboard off eBay that was pulled from a razr fit extreme and it was a real deal. Had all the proper tags under the grip.

    • Nicholas

      Jul 13, 2013 at 3:35 am

      A lot of the new equipment is being given to the consumers with high end shafts at no extra charge, meaning stock. Take for instance Titleist in their Diamana + line for their 913’s or even Ping for their Aldila Rip’s. It’s improving just a tad for folders who actually care about their numbers and hitting fairways or greens.

  23. paul

    Jul 1, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    I think it looks less like a toy then the xtreme . and it isn’t called Xtreme. so its already on the right track.

    • Ted

      Jul 3, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Although, I respect Paul’s opinion, I disagree. I have been using the xtreme for over three months and it looks nothing like a toy. The deep black gloss finish is very unobtrusive and it looks great at address.
      It performs better than any driver I have ever played or tested and beleive me I have tested all the top drivers!

      • paul

        Jul 3, 2013 at 8:51 pm

        I thought the sole looked toyish to me. at address i love the driver. i have hit quite a few of my best drives with a friends club. at least you didn’t disagree with the Xtreme name that i find irritating. couldn’t they have come up with something better? Optiforce sounds better to me. good job callaway

  24. Joe Golfer

    Jul 1, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Looking forward to reviews on this later on after testing.
    It looks sharp, though I’m partial to a tiny alignment aid on the crown.
    Like the other posts, I’m not sure longer and lighter is the answer, though I’ll wait for the GolfWRX tests to see those Trackman or Flighscope results.

    • Jay

      Jul 7, 2013 at 8:47 am

      I think the alignment aid is only on the 460. I think the bottom looks kinda cheap but if it performs well that 440 with the Blueboard would rock after I cut it down to 44 1/2

  25. 8thehardway

    Jul 1, 2013 at 11:16 pm

    The hosel looks like a Rubik’s cube but I can’t wait to see how they perform.

  26. Danny

    Jul 1, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I had a longer and lighter Burner Superfast that crushed the ball into the trees. Tempo killer,

  27. t

    Jul 1, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    longer and lighter is bad. makes the game harder, not easier.

    • Sectxag06

      Jul 2, 2013 at 12:04 am

      Absolutely agree. Best thing I’ve done is cut down my driver shaft. Control is better than 1-2 mph swing difference.

    • Chuck

      Jul 4, 2013 at 10:01 am

      Wow. Just what I was thinking. What a great, simple comment right off the bat.

      How does Callaway propose to solve the problem of hitting more fairways with driver? One could reasonably suggest, “Get lessons.” That’s fine, I suppose. Buy equipment to help you hit it farther, and get lessons to help you hit it straighter.

      But having played golf much more seriously than I have any right to, for several decades, my problem is hitting fairways. Not driver distance. And modern technology has not helped in that regard. I have been moving toward shorter, heavier drivers and it has been making the game more enjoyable.

      All good engineering recognizes that there are always tradeoffs in physics.

      I have a few specific issues with this report as well. I presume that it is a typo, that a driver marked “10.5”, less one degree of loft via hosel adjustment is “9.5,” not “8.5” as written.

      Also, just speaking for meyself, I never felt limited in my ability to get a driver whose loft fitted me. Just choose a head from 7.5 to 10.5 degrees of loft. Everybody made one. No; the real problem was finding open face angles. When we are seeing many tour-player spec sheets featuring drivers at 4 to 6 degrees open, it is pretty clear that a lot of retail options are limited. And to my eye, these new Callaways look closed (sigh — like so many other retail drivers) and the adjustibility doesn’t seem to be there, at least not by way of this description.

      • PGAPankey

        Jul 7, 2013 at 11:11 am

        Callaway doesn’t care if you hit more fairways, that’s not why MOST people buy a new driver. When someone comes into my shop and looks at the newest driver they always say the same thing. “I’ll buy it if it goes longer than mine”. They never say “I’ll buy it if I hit more fairways with it”. As Craig Kilbourn used to say on Sportscenter, callaway is “in business to do business”. The majority of golfers want a club to go farther, not straighter.

      • Dave

        Jul 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm

        I agree, Chuck. I am a more experienced golfer as well… and while distance is important, the combination of distance and accuracy is MOST important, and should differentiate one club from another. In addition, your comment about open face is right on. Most manufactures offer only closed faces. Like you, I need a face that is a couple of degrees open… and for the life of me, I can not understand why manufacturers do not provide more options for golfers like us. Maybe we will get there some day… one can only hope. In the mean time, if anyone has some suggestions, plz let me know… tx.

      • Martin

        Jul 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        I would like to see one of the big companies build a 44″ driver and swing weight D1/D2, and emphasise ballspeeds from centre strikes. Shorter driver and more ballspeeds from less clubheadspeed!! Now that’s the driver i would like.

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Whats in the Bag

Austin Cook’s Winning WITB: The 2017 RSM Classic



Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution TX-Flex

3 Wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujifuke Motore Speeder VC 7.2 TX-Flex

Hybrid: Ping G400 3 Hybrid (19 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91X

Hybrid: Ping G400 4 Hybrid (22 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91 X

Irons: Ping S55 Orange Dot (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour S-Flex

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 SS (50-12, 56-12), Ping Glide 2.0 WS (60)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne 
Grip: SuperStroke Mid-Slim 2.0

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

5095fce33e880406a172796becbc64f8 6900daf1b0d2a2751ffa5557ac3865f7 2340677acd0b3c6d0f53ae8fa46c2024 80f602716821fd9518f148951913c9c0 4df372aac347ad61f031f519a1fd1edb 48039d9dfced6272ba047b51e6265d03 6fecf1d551cb1559587f1f17392ba7c8 0519679f5fdaaae2ffbaf2d97c0def72 5445ea5d9987cddfda04efba5d2f1efd


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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm’s Winning WITB: 2017 DP World Tour Championship



Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75X

3 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75TX

5 Wood: TaylorMade M1 2017 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD-DI 8X

Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52 and 56 degrees), TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” (60 degrees)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Golf Ball: TaylorMade TP5x


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See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver



Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.

The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.

There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.

Below is a collection of early feedback from GolfWRX members, and make sure to join the full discussion. See more photos of the ST-180 driver here.

Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.

GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver

TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all. 

trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either. 

akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.

odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.

nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well. 

evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal. 

regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course! 

Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero. 

Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down.  ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).

Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here

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19th Hole