This is a great offering by Wilson Staff. I’ve waited a long time to review this driver, and there are several reasons for that. First off, even though it was available in January of 2011, I had already spent much time ranting and raving about the wonders of Wilson Staff. I was bagging the Di9 Irons, and playing the FG Tour Ball, and thinking things just couldn’t get any better for my game, or for Wilson Staff.
Recommend this product?
Even though I tried this club, and loved it, I was afraid that my consistently 4 and 5 star positive reviews on equipment built by Wilson Staff was just not going to be taken seriously at the rate I was pumping them out. I simply didn't want this driver to get lost in the flood of positive reviews I was writing about Wilson Staff Equipment. Follow that up with a lot of reviews on many irons built by different makers , and then –“Guess what?” Despite all of these rave reviews on lots of good irons built by other makers, I end up trading out my Wilson Staff DI9’s for Wilson Staff Ci 9’s, and write another rave review on Wilson Staff equipment. It hasn't been this consistent for one maker from me since the days I used to bang the drum for Nickent Golf. Wilson Staff has really come a very long way. This driver needs to be taken very seriously for lots of reasons, and if you will grant me the favour of your attention for a little while, I would be most happy to tell you why.
Balance -5 Stars
This is by far one of the best balanced drivers currently on the market today. Not only is the weight trimmed out just so, but internal rubberized tungsten weight pads have been added within different spots of the head based upon the loft of the club. This is the type of attention to detail that always grabs my attention, and gets my writing nerves to twitching. All of the lofts felt good to me throughout the swing, and that’s what’s so fascinating. You can’t really feel the difference on a conscious level, but watch the ball flight on allthe different lofts, and you’ll know that it’s true.
In the 8 and 9 Degree versions the weights are added lower on the head, but more towards the front and /or center of the club head in order to enhance the bulge and roll of the club face and enhance “vertical gear effect.” (Vertical Gear Effect is an old theory that backdates to the days of Wooden Drivers, and still holds true to this very day.) For the longest time the more bulge and roll enhanced old-fashioned Persimmon drivers outclassed all Stainless Steel and Titanium Drivers in Vertical Gear Effect, and to this very day, many players insist that despite the absolute trouncing Persimmon Drivers take in a distance contest vs. their metal-headed brethren, they still sport more vertical gear effect. These are the first metal drivers I am aware of that actually attempt to conquer this difference, and they do a fairly admirable job of it.
The 10.5 and 12 degree versions move these weights lower and further back in order to make it easier to achieve a higher launch off the tee box. All four models have specific balance points and launch tendencies that make a good match up a real joy. 8 and 9 degree models get that piercing ball flight, while 10.5 and 12 degree models get a beautifully shaped arc that flies high and carries far. Throughout the swing, all lofts felt very good, and club head awareness was neither vague, nor heavy handed.
Forgiveness -5 Stars
So what is vertical gear effect? It is the effect of optimized bulge and roll off of a club’s face that allows a ball hit above center face to spin less, yet still travel high. As we all know—higher ball flight with less spin is the optimal formula for distance. Conversely, if you hit a ball on the lower half, the bulge and roll will compensate for the extra spin by launching the ball even higher, thus enhancing the potential for carry. Why is such a big deal?—Well for openers, almost all the “Forgiveness” touted by most makers is about horizontal “left to right” forgiveness. That has pretty much been covered by MOI restrictions of 4500 as set by the USGA.
Seems to me, that since “Horizontal” forgiveness has already been maxed out, then “Vertical” forgiveness is something that can actually spell innovation for the club makers and distance for the golfers instead of simply more empty marketing claims about some new whizz bang techno-gizmo that will supposedly forgive a rotten swing. Because of the weights for enhanced gear effect, as well as a well balanced head, and well mated shaft (Aldila VooDoo) for horizontal forgiveness, this driver scores off the charts for forgiveness in a driver that also sports tour like workability.
Distance -3.75 Stars
Now I’m not going to pretend that this driver is as long as those 46-48” Long Drive machines, that some of the others are stamping out, but I will say that it is Wilson Staff’s first driver in a long time that doesn’t need to make excuses about how workable it is, while lagging a good 10 yards behind the others. This driver is just as long as anything else in its class, and thanks to the forgiveness factor, many of you will find that it is actually longer when you factor in fairways hit vs. longer and in the woods. With so many of the other drivers these days distance becomes a non event.
Let’s face it, metallurgy, shafts, and USGA limits have most drivers hitting within 5 yards of each other when all sport a 45-45 1/2" overall length. Once you pass 45” you can gain club head speed, but the propensity for hitting a slice grows exponentially with each extra 1/4 of an inch. I hit this driver 7 yards longer than my old 2009 Burner, but 5 yards shorter than my Adams F11. In all three cases, however, I hit this driver the straightest. The Burner has a bit more distance potential, but this thing is so off the charts forgiving as compared to that Wild and Wooly Ride that my drives usually suffer at the hands of The Burner, that it simply isn't funny. The Adams isn't quite as forgiving, but she is fairly close, and offers as much distance potential (if not more so) than The Burner. Besides, the 5 zone face on this Wilson is definitely hotter than the 3 zone face of its predecessor, and it easily rivals the launch and distance of many other makers variable thickness faces and rhomboidal sweet spots.
Overall -4 1/2 Stars
This is an amazingly solid offering by Wilson Staff. Their irons have been making great strides, and now it appears that their woods are about to take off as well. I was getting a little worried, as my old Wilson Staff Dd6 Driver was a true warrior's club, but all the other offerings since then have been just a touch short of the mark. This is more than just a step in the right direction. It is a rock solid offering which will probably go on sale soon. At the current price tag of $299 I give her a solid 4 stars. The moment she drops to $149—she becomes a five star club in anyone’s book. With the new DXi Super Lite scheduled for release this season, this baby could drop to closeout pricing in a heartbeat. At that point I will have to get one myself as backup to my Adams.
I'd like to thank my CL Abraham, for providing me with the product link that made this review possible.