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.
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.