Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Those are the words that I kept telling myself as we were getting requests to review the new driver from Callaway’s FTi line. I had seen the pictures on the web like most of the readers and the club was just not my cup of tea based on them. But over the course of time of writing these equipment reviews, I have learned not to trust a picture and wait until the real thing is in my hands.
We got so many requests to review this club we just had to reach out to Callaway and speak to them about covering it. They were happy to oblige for the THP readers and within about 5 days the club arrived. I want to touch on Callaway’s customer service, because over the years it has been some of the best we have ever dealt with. Regardless if we are speaking to a contact there or just calling a customer service rep, we always get correct answers and everybody is extremely friendly. So nice to have that in this day and age.
When the box came we could not wait to get our hands on it. After removing it from the box, I once again reminded myself that pictures do not do clubs justice. This driver looked very good in our hands. With a club head design that was inspired by a Lamborghini, we could only hope that it delivered the same aerodynamics of the amazing sports car.
While it retains its 460cc volume, the club head is much less square than its predecessor in appearance. The driver does set up slightly offset, but because of the shape looks even more closed than it really is. Callaway engineers claim the elongated depth dimensions, compared to its FTi predecessor, increase the moment of inertia (MOI), to deliver 35% tighter shot dispersion. The titanium club face has an X-Shaped Center with just enough surface texture to repel moisture and impart spin. That’s also a feature in Callaway’s Hyper X driver that we absolutely loved. Both have a hyperbolic face to deliver consistently high ball speeds whether hit purely or off center. That was a major complaint we had of last year’s square driver is the lack of a “hot face”. I can tell you that after using this driver for the better part of two weeks, the face is HOT! The shaft used in our testing was the Mitsubishi Fubuki in stiff. I loved the shaft. Not flimsy at all, but had great play in the tip.
But all the technical specs can only go so far and the proof will be how it plays on the course. The first day we took six people out to the range for some testing to see what their thoughts were. Four out of the six players that tested the club on day one struggle with losing the ball to the right off the tee. The other two struggle with losing it to the left. (note that all players were right handed) The first thing we noticed is that the sound is much more “real” and less tinny than last year’s model. Sound is a huge part of drivers these days with some being loud enough to cause hearing damage. Each golfer hit about 30 balls with the driver and then we got together to compare notes. All four golfers that struggled with a fade or slice were in HEAVEN. They reported back great distance, phenomenal control, and no slicing. The two golfers that had issues with a hook both had problems with this club. They really liked the face at impact but just struggled to keep it straight.
Over the next week, I played this driver on the course and to my amazement, it is long and straight. However I am one of those players that can lose it to the right so having a driver slightly offset has never been an issue for me. I played 8 times with this driver on the course and the best effort was hitting all 14 fairways with it. The worst effort was hitting 11 of them. To put that into perspective I average about 11 fairways per round at my home course. The distance was quite good as well. Definitely on par distance wise with what I am used to playing with even more forgiveness.
We decided that we wanted more feedback from the general public on this driver and decided to take it back to the range for more testing. We took the driver to a very busy course on a Saturday morning and headed to their practice facility. Once there, we were able to get feedback from an additional 15 golfers of various skill levels on their thoughts on the Callaway FT IQ. We got lucky with this one as four of the golfers actually played the Callaway FT I and were able to compare this new driver head to head against last year’s model. All four of them preferred the new version for one reason. They said it went further. The rest of the golfers had the same feedback. If you struggle with a slice, this is a tremendous driver.
Overall we really came away impressed. Going into this review I was not real eager to try this club, but it changed my mind on the course. If you are a player that struggles from slicing, it is definitely worth a shot at a demo day or store. It will be available in both regular (we tested) and tour. From what we can gather the difference is slight weighting and the regular model is 1* closed while the tour is neutral. The MSRP is $499.99 so it is not the cheapest driver out there, but even at that price it is worth a look in THP’s eyes. You can read tons more about it at Callaway FT IQ.
Till Next Time