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Callaway Gets Adjustable

The FT Optiforce is Callaway’s first loft-adjustable driver—at last

By: James A. Frank

This certainly has been the year of the adjustable driver, with every major manufacturer offering at least one big dog with changeable specs. Some were surprised that Callaway Golf was one of the last companies to let golfers twist and turn hosels and shafts to their liking of loft. But whether wanting to learn from others’ mistakes or just slow to develop a workable technology, Callaway now has its first driver with adjustable lofts as well as lies, and the FT Optiforce is worth checking out.

To the company’s credit, adjustability is only one part of this club’s story, and, I’d venture to say, not the most important. Using the slogan that “fast is longer than slow,” Callaway is pushing the fact that the new driver has been optimized for speed with an aerodynamically designed head, lighter-weight construction, and a face that sends the ball off in a hurry.

The FT Optiforce driver is available in two head sizes, 440cc and 460cc, set at 9.5 and 10.5 degrees of loft, respectively. The larger head is better suited to the higher-handicap golfer as it also is weighted with a slight draw bias, while the smaller head’s weighting is neutral. (Unlike some other adjustable drivers, there are no weights to move around.)

By turning the easily adjusted hosel, the loft of either club can be reduced one degree or increased one or two degrees. That’s a limited range compared to some other adjustable drivers, but it’s unlikely most golfers are going to need, or want, more choices.

The lie settings are also limited—neutral or draw—but once again, it’s probably enough for most golfers. But those limits make choosing the correct head size crucial.

I spent some time with the 440cc Optiforce driver both on the course and on the range. Tweaking the “Advanced OptiFit Hosel” was simple (a special tool is provided) and the results obvious. But as noted above, it’s the other qualities of this driver that proved memorable.

If they want to tell me that it’s moving faster, I won’t argue. This driver definitely seems to be moving quickly with very little air resistance. I didn’t notice consistently greater distance than from the other new drivers I’ve tried, adjustable and otherwise, but the FT Optiforce is definitely one of the easiest to swing and the titanium face produces a refreshingly soft yet satisfying sensation at impact. That’s probably from what Callaway calls “Speed Frame Face Technology,” effectively enlarging and de-stressing the sweetspot. Whatever the reason, impact feels great, neither clunky nor loud.

Soft impact and a limited number of effective adjustability choices. That’s a good combination. Callaway was wise to wait.

$400. callawaygolf.com

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