I happen to be a big fan of seeing when companies that are trying to break onto the scene with golf equipment that they believe can compete with the big OEM’s of the industry. Obviously, without the big budget R&D facilities that the major companies have, the production process is more daunting for a small company, but in the end no matter the budget, it all comes down to performance and I absolutely love that. One such company is Fister Golf. While obviously a unique name for a company, it makes much more sense when you realize that it was started by three time RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion Sean “The Beast” Fister himself. For me, having grown up watching the LD’ers competing on TV and knowing who Sean Fister was, I was immediately even more excited to get my hands on the Fister Model-I driver.
About Fister Golf:
Headquartered in Charleston, S.C., Fister Golf Company is owned and operated by Long Drivers of America Hall of Famer and three-time RE/MAX World Long Drive Champion Sean “The Beast” Fister. Fister Golf designs, markets and sells high performance premium drivers that incorporate Fister’s extensive knowledge of maximizing driving distance into their construction. Fister Golf also manages the operation and marketing of the Fister Golf Power Academy – offering “Tour Level” training and fitting services to golfers looking to improve their distance, accuracy and consistency off the tee.
From The Company:
Billet Fire Forged SP700 Beta Ti Face
Unlike most premium drivers using SP700 Beta Titanium in their faces, the Model I uses a fire forging process that allows the industry’s strongest beta ti to be shaped from a billet into a variable thickness tongue-and-groove cup face that provides superior strength and a more consistent CT in and around the impact zone of the club. The result is a driver that falls within the USGA limit for CT with the hottest face possible.
Accordion Compression Chamber
The sole of the Model I incorporates a series of three cavities designed to absorb and redistribute the stress forces, typically encountered at impact, away from the face of the clubhead. The result is a smoother energy transfer that minimizes hook and slice causing sidespin. In addition, the Accordion Compression Chamber reduces backspin, providing a more penetrating ball flight and a shallower angle of descent for more fairway roll.
Variable Crown Thickness
The Model I’s forged crown enables it to be variable in thickness, removing discretionary weight from areas where it is not needed and redistributing it to more critical areas. The result is a driver that offers lightweight performance on par with that of a carbon fiber crown, while retaining the acoustics of pure titanium.
Precision Tongue-and-Groove Body Construction
The Model I uses the latest advancements in precision tooling, joining the body to the face through a tongue-and-groove construction that ensures more consistent body shape and dimensions than all competitors’ driver manufacturing. In addition, the body is CNC plasma welded to maximize the discretionary weight used in weight stabilization efforts, providing increased MOI.
The Model I features a Grade 4 Pure Titanium hosel that provides ease of adjustment similar to a forged iron. In fact, the hosel can be bent 1-degree in any direction for optimum face angle, launch and lie control.
For the purpose of this review I was paired with the 10.5 degree Model-I driver head and the Fujikura Motore F1 65g S-Flex shaft playing at 46”. The various loft and shaft options that Fister Golf offers are listed below:
- 9.0 (RH)/10.5 (RH)
- Fujikura Fuel (R, S, X)
- Fujikura Motore F1 (R, S, X)
- Fujikura Motore F3 (R, S, X)
- Head-Shape and Face
The Fister Model-I at first glance possesses what I would consider a somewhat classic headshape. Although from a size standpoint the head definitely looks like a 460cc with a slightly elongated front/back and heel/toe length, it is not at all awkward or pointed like some driver heads out there. Also of note is that the face of the Model-I definitely fits in between what we consider to be deep and/or shallow by today’s standards. The design actually maintains smooth lines all the way around and is very easy on the eyes, which is something that really can make or break a design aesthetically speaking for many golfers.
For the Model-I, the company chose to go with a slightly metallic black crown paired with the contrasting brushed silver face, a very classic and traditional choice that is sure to fit the majority of golfer’s eyes. The sole of the club is definitely more “busy”, with the combination of a black/white/chrome color scheme as well as the weight port and accordion chamber. The thing about the sole of the Model-I is that even though there is a lot more going on here than there is at address it all flows together very well and you definitely sense that some serious R&D really did go into this head. Most interesting though is that in the middle of today’s flashy marketing trend there are no unnecessary branding or graphics on the head, which allow the design to simply speak for itself.
- Feel and Sound
As I’ve said hundreds of times, I’m a big proponent that a major factor in feel is the sound that a club gives off to the user at impact, and the Fister Model-I definitely has what I would consider a unique sound to it. The fact of the matter is that if you aren’t prepared for it, initially the sound of this one will take you by surprise. There is no low muted tone or high pitched ting, but rather a much more hollow almost aluminum type of sound. Although this is definitely one that will get you noticed at the driving range, it is not any better or worse than any of the major OEM’s out there, simply different. Even with its unique sound the one thing that can be said in my time with the Model-I again and again is that it really does feel like the ball just jumps off of the face, there is no sensation of the ball lingering at impact at all which really gives the feeling of just jumping all over the golf ball at impact.
Among the first things that I took notice of when researching the driver on the Fister website were the shaft options that are being offered to the consumers. I find it extremely impressive that the company is doing things the right way and rather than just going the route of a “designed for” shaft, Fister is offering three different Fujikura shafts in multiple flex and weight profiles. The Fujikura Motore F1 and F3 are proven shafts that perform for a wide range of golfers and when combined with the new Fujikura Fuel it is apparent that Fister Golf is prepared to fit every golfer’s specific launch and spin needs. For me, the Motore F1 was a very nice pairing with the 10.5 head as it is incredibly stable with my transition from the top and kept up well with my tempo through the swing allowing the focus to stay on the head itself.
The Fister Model-I boasts not only the use of materials that allow for the weight to be shifted throughout the face and head to maintain as high of a COR across the face as possible, but it also features what Fister Golf calls an “accordion chamber”. This accordion chamber can be seen on the sole and is actually intended to shift the stresses exerted on the face by the ball and cut down on sidespin AND backspin. I personally found that the Model-I was actually most responsive to misses across the face. The distance loss that I saw from both heel and toe misses was much less than I initially expected from the head. On misses up and down the face I did see more distance loss comparatively, as well as just a more penal ball flight on those misses overall, but being that it is not what I would consider a truly “deep” face this was to be expected. This is honestly the area that I was the most concerned about coming into this review. When you think of a driver head designed by a Long Drive athlete like Sean Fister you cannot help but immediately think about distance at the cost of forgiveness. This really could not have been further from the truth for me, as the amount of cross-face forgiveness is quite impressive.
Obviously with the Model-I coming in at 46” and being designed by Sean “The Beast” Fister himself, distance is going to be the area that the biggest premium is put on. The 10.5 degree head paired with the 65g Motore F1 shaft gave me a solid mid-high launch angle which produced a nice penetrating ball flight time and time again along with a solid amount of rollout. On what I would consider to be truly “good” swings I saw a very nice mid-high ball flight that gave me some very nice carry distances. Although the carry itself was not significantly longer than other drivers I have gamed throughout the year, the rollout in coordination with the overall carry is where the Fister really shined for me. Typically, where I play you either see drives that carry forever with minimal roll or you see line drives that run forever. The Fister actually gave me a combination of the two, which I typically do not see out of my game. Although I did not see any massive 20 yard gains with the Model-I, it does have an impressive amount of length packed into it for sure.
While it may not be the best sounding or flashiest driver on the market, the Model-I driver by Fister golf is a driver that certainly brings some performance with it. It is clear that Fister Golf doesn’t have the big name or the big funding of the major OEM’s, but they still produced a driver that can stand on its own. The biggest issue however for the Model-I will not performance, but rather finding ways to get the club into the hands of the golfing public. With access being predominately limited to their website for now and an MSRP of 399.99, it will certainly be interesting to keep an eye on how things play out in the long run.
For more information be sure to check out the Fister Golf website at hwww.fistergolf.com.