John Letters may not be a familiar to many but there was once a time when they were one of the greatest brands on the planet. At their peak, John Letters supplied a record 8 out of 10 of the British players in the 1949 Ryder Cup – a record that still stands to this very day.
In fact, in Sam Torrance and Bernard Gallacher John Letters have two players who went on to captain Ryder Cup teams and John Letters' clubs are found in the bags of more than a few players on the European Seniors Tour. Their recent announcement at the PGA show that they are opening a workshop in St Andrews in Scotland showed that they are on the way back into the limelight. Bag Chatter got to try out the T9+ driver and fairway woods over the winter period to see how they performed.
So what are we told about these clubs; The T9+ Beta Titanium driver features a head made from strong but lightweight titanium to allow for a redistribution weight across the clubhead and towards the heel and toe areas to provide more stability and extra forgiveness on every drive.
The fairway wood uses discretional weighting to push more weight in the heel and toe areas for maximum forgiveness and stability on off centre strikes. A special Maraging steel face transfers more energy at impact whilst 'Feel Cell' technology in the sole of the clubhead helps to disperse vibrations at impact, giving an improved sound and solid feel.
The T9+ clubs are good looking in a fairly understated way. The glossy pure black finish and the chrome and blue sole is not as lurid as some (and it's certainly not all white!).
The driver is not quite as appealing as the fairway woods. With it's broad face it's functional rather than pretty and the closed face will mean that slicers will love it but it will look wrong to those that fear the left side of the course.
With their shallow profile and square face the fairway woods are another matter. They set up beautifully at address and ooze class.
The driver is a good honest club without excelling in any one area. Forgiveness is probably the category where it scores the strongest where the heel and toe weighting means that strikes away from the sweetspot still travel almost as far. Distance as a whole is good, coming from a high trajectory launch and the spin levels are pretty much middle of the range. You can tell from the straight flight that this driver is aimed squarely at the sort of golfer who struggles to hit the ball straight and who is not interested in working the ball. With the face being so strongly closed, there is a definite tendency for the ball to go left and given that the sort of golfer that this club is aimed at more often struggles with a slice than a hook, this makes perfect sense.
The fairway woods are top notch. The shallow face means that it works as well from the fairway as from the tee. You can even use them in light rough where the sole allows you to glide through the grass. In fact, the low profile head is reminiscent of the iconic Adams Tight Lies fairways both in appearance and in performance. With the low COG, it's very easy to get the ball up in the air but there is no ballooning. These really performed beautifully throughout a rather grotty winter period in less than ideal conditions. Even when the fairways were soft and heavy, it was easy to clip the ball off the turf and send it arcing towards the green. With the high launch and mid spin, these are very good for approaching the green on par 5's and longer par 4's.
The review clubs came with Project X graphite and Aldila RIP shafts which did a great job at controlling spin levels as well as offering a superb sense of location throughout the swing.
While the driver does not have the changeable hosel technology that golfers have come to expect in the big dog, the solid performance at only £149 means that for the budget conscious golfer it deserves some consideration.
The fairway woods are excellent whichever way you look at them. Fantastic performance and good looks make them a real surprise package that should be considered whatever your price bracket but for under £70, they are probably the best option in their price bracket.
For more information, visit www.johnletters.com