Pros:Great looks, amazing distance, and very affordable.
Cons:Buyers should be fitted to assure you get the right one for your game.
The Bottom Line: This driver would be an addition to anyone's bag and game. The design is timeless and the shot results are predictable.
I hit a power draw and with the wrong driver this can easily turn into a pull hook if I get overly aggressive. A friend of mine, who is a scratch player by the way, told me that my problem (ironically) was that I was "too good for the driver I was using". I was using a driver meant to assist me in playing my draw. With my swing pattern this simply wasn't necessary. Having learned a little about my driver and my swing I set about looking into my options.
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Turns out the so-called "Tour" models of clubs would be what I needed; they are more open at address and thus you are less likely to hit a hook and more likely to hit a nice and controlled (and powerful) draw.
Looking online and off I began to notice a trend. While there were many drivers on the market that would fit this bill the Callaway line of drivers had the most buzz. After about 3 weeks of testing, reading, and testing some more I settled for the Callaway FT-9 Tour Neutral. Based on my fitting I needed a 10.5 loft and a stiff shaft.
Having been fitted properly I opted to go shopping online and, as it turned out, an online retailer actually offered the exact driver I needed/wanted new for $199.95. I ordered the driver with the stock stiff shaft and eagerly awaited delivery. Everyone reading this can relate to that feeling of knowing that a new golf toy is on its way. With the tracking number I was able to follow my driver all the way from the warehouse to my house and three days after I placed the ordered I was hacking away at the packaging to get at my new weapon.
That evening I took the driver to the range eager to see the results. Knowing that my old driver's sweetspot was low on the face versus the high area of the FT-9, I set about trying to adjust things in order to make the most of the driver. Within one bucket I was dialed in and was hitting the drives with a carry of 250 and a total with rollout of about 270. Incredible to say the least! The best my old driver could deliver was about 250 total.
I had received the driver on a Wednesday and could not play until the following Saturday. Our tee time was nice and early and I got up around 6 eager to hit the range to assure that I was still dialed in. Our tee time came and there I was on the first hole, a 387 par 4 with slight downhill after 150 of carry. There are woods to the right and left and the shot, for a first hole, is demanding. Hit it anywhere but straight and you are going to pay the price for it. But if you do manage to carry it over the 150 mark that downhill slide will take you via the beautifully groomed fairway, all the way to the front of the green.
We tossed the tee and I was third in line. The stakes were decided and the first man up took his position. $1 per hole, $1 closest to pin; $5 for front nine low, $5 for back nine low and $10 for overall low. Birdies double and any eagle is automatic $20.
The first drive was long and straight. Little doubt that he was going to be close to the green; no more than 50 yards at most. Second man up. His drive is pushed to the right and the horrid sound of wood against surlyn echoes out of the forest as his shot shoots out of play. Finally, it is my turn. The first man up is already bragging about his drive and challenging me to match it. He knows this is the first real hole for my new driver and he knows that if I pull it to the left there is at least a one shot recovery coming. My practice swing in my routine feels great. I take a deep cleansing breath and address my ball. The contact I made was, in a word, amazing. And the ball floated gently to the right at first, climbed, and then drew right into the middle. It was only when I was able to drive the cart over the hill at the 150 mark that I could see my ball versus my opponents. His was a great shot. Only about 30 yards from the green and dead center fairway. But mine was better. I was actually just off of the fringe! The downhill is steep and I was to stress that I am not going to try to convince anyone that I managed to drive the ball 350 yards. More like I drove it 270 and it rolled down a steep, dry, well manicured downhill fairway to its position.
My playing pardner hit his second shot some 15 feet from the pin. I, on the other hand, hit my lobber right next to the cup and ended up with a tap in birdie.
By hole 18, a par 4, I had managed to win almost every hole, and was to end up shooting a 78. (38 front and 40 back) The 38, by the way, included two birdies, and two double bogies along with 5 pars. Had it not been for some bad decisions (taking silly chances) I have little doubt that my score would have been lower.
In the end about 1/3 of my new driver's cost had been won. And my three friends were all asking me about my new driver. I am willing to bet that by the time we play again next week they may have added one to their bags.
This driver, once dialed in, inspires confidence. When you address the ball the driver dwarfs it and yet the lines of the driver are smooth and old fashioned. The technology is hidden inside and on the bottom of the club. The finish is beautiful and shiney once again inspiring confidence. On contact the sound the club makes is that of power and the ball flies off and begins its shot pattern predictably. I was easily able to shape a couple of drives whereas I could only draw the ball before and I was actually on and putting for an eagle on one par 5 simply because I shaped the ball over and around a row of trees in a dogleg right.
Because this is last year's model, bargains can be found online and off. I look at this club as an investment because I generally keep my clubs for several years. (my irons are 2003 models purchased brand new in April of 03) Stepping up to the first tee knowing that you have an advantage allows you to relax and enjoy. Golf, like most other sports, is a lot more fun when you are able to do it well. The Callaway FT-9 Tour is an incredible piece of technology that is well designed, affordable, and just plain fun.
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