By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
When it comes to Callaway's latest driver offering, FT Optiforce, the name of the game is lighter, faster, farther. Unveiled Monday at The Greenbrier Classic, the FT Optiforce driver comes in two head models (440cc and 460cc) and features an aerodynamic profile, lightweight, forged composite crown, and variable face thickness technology.
According to Luke Williams, Callaway's global director of woods and irons, the new aerodynamic profile reduces drag during the swing by 20 percent, compared to some of Callaway's other driver models.
"The emphasis for this driver was all about speed," said Williams said. "The original concept came from some work we were doing with aerodynamics. We had a shape we'd worked on a couple years ago that was the best aerodynamic shape we'd ever had, so we decided that should be the platform for this driver."
In other words, Callaway believes the lightweight driver will equate to increased club head speed and ball speed, which equals more distance off the tee.
At 290 grams, FT Optiforce is the lightest driver Callaway Golf has ever produced in the United States. To achieve the lightweight package, Callaway used the same forged composite crown found in RAZR Fit Xtreme to keep the head weight down.
The company also went with a 43-gram Project X Velocity shaft that brought the total driver weight to under 300 grams at 46 inches. For players that want the additional weight, Callaway will offer a heavier 62-gram Mitsubishi Diamana S+ shaft option.
Another major addition to the FT Optiforce driver line is loft adjustability. For the first time ever, Callaway will offer one head that can be adjusted to multiple lofts.
"We're really excited about the adjustability aspect of this driver," Williams said. "But we want to stress that these are two different drivers optimized for different players and abilities. There's more to FT Optiforce than two different head sizes."
Even though both drivers share a number of traits and look similar at first glance — you can tell the drivers apart because the 440cc model has white paint on the sole, and the 460 cc has red paint — they have a number of unique performance benefits that set them apart.
The 440cc model has a smaller head and is designed for players that don't need the extra forgiveness. The center of gravity is also positioned forward in the club to produce a lower, penetrating ball flight. The driver comes with a 9.5-degree standard setting that can be adjusted down to 8.5 degrees or up to 10.5 and 11.5 degrees.
The 460cc model has a larger head with additional draw biased and a center of gravity that's positioned towards the rear of the club for a higher ball flight. Unlike the 440 cc model, the 460 cc has a standard loft of 10.5 degrees and can be adjusted down to 9.5 degrees or up to 11.5 and 12.5 degrees.
FT Optiforce will also be available in a fairway wood line (3, 4, 5, 7, 9). However, the fairway woods won't feature the same adjustable loft hosel as the driver.
"The construction of the fairway wood is similar to X Hot," Williams said. "They feature our forged Speed Frame face cup and were designed to get the ball up in the air a little easier than X Hot. The center of gravity is a bit higher to get the ball in the air, but it still has that high ball speed with the hot face. There are actually a few guys on TOUR who've taken a look at the fairway woods already."
The Greenbrier Classic marks the first week players will get the opportunity to see the final product, but it isn't the first time players have tested FT Optiforce on the range. Tommy Gainey, Luke List, Trevor Immelman and Andres Gonzales received a sneak-peek and tested out the driver earlier this year at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Callaway Golf’s new FT Optiforce drivers ($399) and fairway woods ($229) will be available at retail on July 12.