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

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440 FT OptiForce Driver

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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.

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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.

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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 Managing Editor of GolfWRX.com.

He's been a part of the company since 2012, when he was hired to develop GolfWRX's front page. Since that time, GolfWRX has become the go-to destination on the web for golf equipment news, tour news, instruction and opinion.

Zak also developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers who want to improve their skills and allows established golf professionals to communicate directly with readers.

He played college golf at the University of Richmond, where he took too many strokes. Good thing he also studied journalism and creative writing.

You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss all the cool gear and insider info that's part of his job.

46 COMMENTS

  1. […] Tech Talk: Callaway FT OptiForce drivers and fairway woods … 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  […]

  2. […] Tech Talk: Callaway FT OptiForce drivers and fairway woods … 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  […]

  3. 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.

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