Started in 1995 by Harou Yoshimoto, the Crews Tour van is a distinctive and regular sight at Japan tour events but in the rest of the world Crews is just part of the Japanese OEM crowd. Truth be told it’s probably less well known than Japanese manufacturers like Vega, Royal Collection, and Miura and probably alongside the likes of Yururi and Fourteen in terms of brand awareness. This is no reflection on the quality of these brands but just an acknowledgement that golfers are unlikely to know much about them.
Our interest in the Crews Tourlink D-460 was piqued when it won a driver test in a major magazine. Now this was not a driver test where was up against other JDM drivers but up against the big boys like TaylorMade and Callaway. Winning a test like that against the major OEM’s and their multi-million dollar marketing budgets is as rare as it gets. Despite it having been out for a year or so when we got the chance to test it we jumped at the chance.
Crews have this to say about their club: Condensed know how in a full sized head. The clean and simple head design belies the technology that is hidden inside. Perfect weight distribution is achieved by a 0.65mm crown, an inner-rib and an internal dimple structure. The result is a long and very forgiving driver! A weight pod on the back of each head offers ideal spin and launch angle across three different lofts. The 10.5 HT head has a shallower face and a deeper centre of gravity delivering an easy strike. The TLV-3 original shaft is newly designed to work with large head size completes the package.
Look and Setup
A classic pear-shaped driver. Compared to most modern drivers it is much neater as it has a much smaller footprint both heel-to-toe and back-to-front. From face on it has a hint of the original Cleveland Launcher in terms of depth of face and from address looks stunning. In a market of triangular, square and even more bizarre shaped heads it shows that some people have remembered how to make a good looking driver that doesn’t look like a balloon on a stick. The simple lines of the head mean that there are no distractions and the chrome sole is gorgeous. The finish is exactly what you would expect in such a high end club with no hint of blemish. The higher lofts are slightly closed and the lower lofts being square to open.
|Face Angle||0.5 Open||Square||0.5 Closed||1.0 Closed|
|Swingweight||D0-D2 depending on shaft flex|
High hitting and low spinning, this thing throws it long and I mean seriously long. The head plays slightly more lofted than indicated but even with a stock shaft that plays a little weak to flex there’s no danger of ballooning. Forgiveness is amazing, the equal of any of the bizarrely shaped drivers that we are all told is required to generate high MOI but there is still the ability to work the ball. This is no one trick pony where all it can do is hit it long and straight – if you want a draw you get one, if you want a fade you get one of those too.
The only external indication that there is some serious technology hidden away in this head is the weight port at the back of the head. The lack of outward indications might make some believe that this is a simple club but nothing could be further from the truth. The super-thin crown, dimple face-technology, weighting and internal rib structure add up to a club with the latest in cutting-edge technology. These all add up to a seriously good driver.
I was so impressed with the performance that I did something that I normally resist doing I replaced the shaft with something I thought might work better. Tinkering with review equipment is a funny business, You want to how well something can perform when it has been customised for you but in some ways it’s fairer to test the stock version as that is what the majority of people would be buying. In this case, I thought that it was a fair thing to do. Given that golfers who buy JDM equipment tend to be those that would be custom fitted anyway
The stock Graphite Design shaft is good but the shaft I decided to put in is one of the best ones currently available on the market for hitters, an Aldila VooDoo. As you might expect the difference was night and day. Where in the past a perfect drive would merely soar off into the distance, with the new shaft the drive would take a similar trajectory but just would leave previous drives for dead. Owners of new drivers often (and slightly giddily) talk about how a driver has added that mythical 20 yards but it this case it wasn’t too far off.
One thing that has dogged drivers over the last few years in the sound. We all know that sound equals feedback and that the louder a driver is the better we think we’ve hit the ball but God forbid you should take one of these to a driving range! Apart from deafening golfers with their ridiculous noise, better golfers have come to realize that we actually want to hear the difference between a good shot and a bad shot, even if we want the latest technology in them to forgive our mistakes. The benchmark for sound was set with the slightly smaller drivers of a few years back which didn’t have such a tendency to make your ears bleed and the good news is that the D-460 is practically indistinguishable from the TaylorMade 510TP. The solid ‘thwok’ caresses your ears and its practically a symphony compared to the racket that other drivers make.
Value for Money
Of course there has to be something to stop this club from being absolute perfection and pretty much the only negative about this club is the price that you pay for this level of performance. At a eye-watering £399/$570 it is up against not only the best of the other JDM gear but also the latest and greatest from the major OEM’s like the R9. The obvious reply to that this driver is as good or better than anything else on the market at any price point.
There’s very little you can say about this club other than it is fantastic. Actually fantastic is probably the right word as this club is as close to a fantasy driver as you can find. It’s as long as any out there, as forgiving as anything out there, as workable as any 460cc driver out there with as much feel and sound as any out there. It’s only the price that stops this from being the perfect driver.
Without some serious exposure on the PGA or European Tour, Crews is likely to remain unknown to the vast majority of golfers. Those that have the money to spend on a driver like this really should try out the Crews Tourlink D-460 – and if you do decide to get one, trust me when I say that your playing partners are going to hate you for all the right reasons!
For more information, visit www.madeinjapangolf.com