The Bobby Jones Black driver is the latest offering from well known club maker Jesse Ortiz. Early impressions provide golfers with the expectation of something unique with the 460CC pear shaped head and attractive matte black finish, yet it is the cup-face design of the Bobby Jones Black driver that builds so much intrigue.
From Bobby Jones
The 460 cc pear shaped driver features a new face material while keeping the hot cup-face design. Last year’s model was too loud for most tastes, so I changed to a denser grained Ti material that produces a more pleasing sound and feel. The cup-face design produces lower spin but maintains a high ball velocity off the face for the highest CT allowed. Spin rates are consistently in the 2500 rpm range, or below, with a launch angle a bit lower than most drivers. For this reason I recommend the 10.5 or 12 degree models for most players.
The sleek, aerodynamic slope of the crown increases clubhead speed and presents a very appealing look at the address position. The slim, superlight, adjustable titanium hosel is designed for a clean look, unlike most fat, clumsy offerings, and provides options of square, one degree closed or two degrees closed face angles. I don’t believe adding weight in the hosel area enhances performance, so I stay away from too many adjustment options.
The cup-face is laser welded to the 6-4 cast ti body. I will provide drawings and dimensions of the cup-face at a later date. The new, jet black, satin finish is worthy of a Ferrari; the iridescent red crown decals that frame the head and offer alignment, give the club a jewel-like elegance. The traditional shape in a high-tech package will be among the most eye appealing drivers you’ll see.
Lofts are 9 degrees, 10.5 degree and OLA (12 degrees). The standard shaft offering is Graphite Design’s G-Series shafts. These shafts are used throughout the line of drivers, fairway woods and hybrids and in stiff, regular and senior flexes.
A simplified hosel adjustability feature on the Bobby Jones Black driver allows the user to change the face angle from neutral to one and two degrees closed. Range and on-course experience suggested that ball flight would introduce a draw by placing the driver in the +1 or +2 setting, with the head showing notably closed. There are many players who battle a slice with the driver, and this extremely easy-to-use feature could be valuable in their attempt to straighten their driver flight. Adjustments to this feature did little to change the launch angle of the ball.
Jesse Ortiz offered a reference to ‘Ferrari red” in his product explanation, and while it looks fantastic, the focus quickly turned to the matte black finish. While glossy finishes are predominant throughout the industry, the matte black suits the Bobby Jones Black driver very well. With the unique pear shape head design, introducing something like matte black with sleek red lines really allows the experience to focus on framing the golf ball. He paired the red and black head with the Graphite Design G Series shaft, matching the colors nearly perfectly.
Not only does the matte black finish look great, the contact on the face is drawn very clearly after each strike of the golf ball, allowing users to clearly see how close to center they were able to strike the golf ball. As a training aid or reference guide, this was used nearly 100% of the time when learning more about the head during range sessions, and again on course.
Owners who manage their drivers well and take care to return the headcover after each drive should have little issue with head wear. Through countless range sessions and rounds of golf, the Black driver is nearly spotless and void of any notable imperfections.
With innovation often comes something unique. While golfers find the ‘norm’ in club contact sound based on the countless drivers available on the marketplace, the Bobby Jones Black driver once again stands apart from the crowd. Surely personal preference plays a big role in whether a driver makes ideal sound, and this could either play to the benefit of the Black driver or hurt interest in it. What is experienced on contact is a notably higher pitched, slightly hollow sound that surprises most the first time they hear it. With that in mind, the performance section will offer a good understanding of how quickly the initial shock value transitions into intrigue.
This is where the review of the Bobby Jones Black driver became extremely enjoyable. After numerous range sessions that produced consistent and repeatable mid/high, straight flight drives, and after a number of rounds that produced high fairway-in-regulation percentages, there was little to deny that Jesse Ortiz has designed a driver fit to earn a spot in a golf bag.
As described by Ortiz, the cup-face design allows for increased ball velocity while lowering spin to a reasonable rate. Many drives during testing left users suggesting a ‘hot face’ with how quickly the ball vaults off the head into the air, and in ideal conditions, the Bobby Jones black faired as well if not better than other drivers. This opinion comes from a number of firsthand experiences with extremely different golf swings, all gaming different drivers.
The conclusion for most, after the initial shock value at the sound of the head, was that of surprise and intrigue, with one user noting “well, I am genuinely sold on this driver after what I just experienced on the tee box.” Driving distance was on par with their current driver, and while only a small sample size, the dispersion was fairway viable.
Graphite Design G Series
Paired with the Bobby Jones Black driver is the Graphite Design G Series 40 stiff shaft. Weighing 52 grams, this mid-spin, mid-kickpoint, and mid-launch shaft compliments the lower spin of the Black driver well. Stability issues and head drag were non existent, leaving zero concern for shaft shuddering and whipping toe hooks. Paired with the 460CC head, the D1-D2 swing weight compliments nicely, offering a solid swing even for players who prefer the heavier driver heads.
Winn Dri-Tac Grip
Completing the driver is the Winn Dri-Tac grip, colored and labeled for the Bobby Jones Black. Softer in the hands than a typical stock grip, this tacky and cushioned offering will be a very comfortable fit for many golfers. Despite the softer interaction, the Dri-Tac offered great traction and never slipped in the hands.
An elegant finish to the total package, the Stitch headcover offers a historical sentiment to an otherwise new age driver concept. High quality materials give the appearance of durability along with class. This does a great job of drawing the eyes to the driver in the bag in a subtle fashion.
Whether a golfer is looking for a driver that fairs well with accuracy, distance, or something that stands apart from other drivers on the market, the Bobby Jones Black is a viable candidate. Experiences would suggest that the innovations of Jesse Ortiz continue to provide golfers with an opportunity to succeed on the golf course. For more information on the Bobby Jones Black driver, visit www.bobbyjones.com.