When I was a car-obsessed boy in the 1950s, each September brought growing excitement over the new models Detroit would introduce. Automakers would always manage something a little different, but sometimes they would take huge leaps in design-big pointy tail fins-or technology-automatic transmissions. Today, another industry has won that same place in my heart as I await the launch of the latest golf clubs each January. Tweaks are most often marginal-perhaps a slightly bigger or smaller head or some variation of titanium casting. But two of the biggest golf club companies, Callaway and TaylorMade, have done more than just tweak their top-of-the-line drivers.
The Callaway Razr Hawk ($449) pairs forged composite material with a titanium face, using the carbon fiber material developed by the engineers at Lamborghini. The titanium face is milled to remove excess material from the prime hitting areas. The thin face provides greater distance. Callaway calls it Hyperbolic Face Technology. Given the carbon fiber's low density, weight could be redistributed to the outer edge of the club head to promote stability and forgiveness. The weight savings also permits the 460-cc club-the largest allowed-to be shaped for better aerodynamics, and thus, according to Callaway, it creates more club head speed on the downswing.
The TaylorMade R11 ($399), already dubbed The Ghost, has an all-white top with a black face, the first color combo of its kind. TaylorMade says the color contrast makes it easier to align the club at address. The all-titanium 440cc club is unique because of three variables that can be adjusted with 48 different possible settings. The Adjustable Sole Plate (ASP) allows a face-angle range from 2 degrees closed to 2 degrees open.
The Flight Control Technology (FCT) permits a change in loft in 0.5-degree increments from 1 degree lower to 1 degree higher. And, the Movable Weight Technology (MWT) shifts weight between the heel and toe of the club to permit either a draw or a more neutral bias. TaylorMade suggests that you can alter the side-to-side ball flight by up to 100 yards. While TaylorMade has had FCT and MWT technology in clubs for several years, the addition of ASP has added an extra dimension in fine-tuning a club. Luke Donald won the World Golf Championship Match play tournament in February with the club in his bag.
Visit callawaygolf.com and taylormadegolf.com.