Fourteen Golf is a brand that may not be immediately recognizable to a lot of the THP readers, but it will soon be on their radar quite a bit. The brand, which was founded in 1981 in Japan, did not find its way into the US market until 2005. Their slogan is “Providing the 14 best clubs for every golfer”. The name “Fourteen” is based on the fundamental rule of golf which states that the player can carry up to 14 golf clubs in their bag. Fourteen Golf strives to produce the best 14 clubs ever and aims to achieve the ultimate in club characteristics which allow golfers to hit shots they didn’t think possible. When we got the news that THP would be reviewing these drivers, the best word that came to mind was “intriguing”.
From the company
Fourteen’s all new JC-909 features the combination of precision 4 piece titanium head with the 46.5″ shaft produces the optimal spin rate, head impact stability, and amazing trajectories. This design also creates the purest feeling driver Fourteen has ever produced. The JC909 was developed by utilizing field testing and computer simulations to discover the precise CG to maximize its impact capabilities. The CG length is 38mm (1.5 inches), which is slightly shorter than standard oversized heads, to provide “easy-swing”. Positioning 38.5mm (1.52 inches) of CG depth creates better shot stability. The 21mm (0.83inches) of CG height allows for the optimal spin rate. As a result of the precision CG design, JC909 is able to take full advantage of the over-sized head and the longer shaft length. By designing the club head with a higher back section, we’ve helped to level out the players swing by alleviating the problem of dropping the right shoulder. This results in a smoother takeaway, leading to fewer tendencies to open the face, and generating a smoother swing.
When the box arrived and the clubs were taken out the first thing you notice is the headcover. White with orange trim it has a carbon fiber like texture and a single feather (logo) in silver on it. The thoughts of elegant and classy are not normally used to describe a headcover, but they fit the bill perfectly here. Once the cover is taken off you see a driver head that is semi-traditional looking, but in a new era kind of way. The head itself appears to be much smaller than that of 460cc, which is a testament to the design and the crown is all black with no sight line and a small shelf at the back end. The sole of the driver features the model number and loft and right at the back of the club is a single white feather that looks perfectly placed. At setup, you have what appears to be a very traditional looking smaller head, but in reality, there is nothing traditional about the JC-909 from Fourteen Golf. At this point curiosity was getting the best of us and we had to head to the range.
The Fourteen Golf JC-909 driver was featured in our 2010 Driver Shoot Out, so we sought out different players to test this. THP gathered up 9 testers and had them meet us at the range and when we unveiled the clubs they would be hitting, not a single person had heard of the brand before. THP gave each tester a bucket of range balls and asked them to hit the JC-909 driver from Fourteen Golf as well as their current driver and fill out a small survey sheet that has spaces for them to discuss Looks, Sound, Feel, Distance, and Accuracy. There is also a place for Overall comments and whether or not they would trade their current driver in for the one that they were testing.
Here are the results from those survey sheets:
Looks – 7 of the 9 golfers said that they preferred the look of the JC-909 to their current model that they are playing. The number one reason for that was because they liked what appeared to be a smaller head size despite the fact that the Fourteen Golf driver is 460cc.
Feel & Sound – The Fourteen driver really excelled in this area. All 9 golfers said that they preferred both the feel and the sound of this driver to any that they have played before. Pretty remarkable in that area and something we had not seen previously. One of the testers used the phrase “It is as if I was connected to the club head during impact”.
Distance – The Fourteen Golf JC-909 was not longer in terms of overall distance for any of the testers. However it really was not shorter either. Distance stayed about the same across the board for each person that was trying this driver out and comparing it to their current driver of choice.
Accuracy – This could be where the driver shined the most. 7 out of the 9 testers found this driver more accurate (measured to the center of the range) than their current driver. THP saw similar results during the 2010 Driver Shoot Out in which this club took home the honors of most accurate.
Since the 2010 Driver Shoot Out, I had been eager to put this driver in play on the course and for this review I was able to play this club for 7 rounds and countless range sessions. Not all clubs are created equally! What I mean by that is that this driver feels unlike any other I have hit before. Not better or worse really, just different! Did the JC-909 driver make me a better player? Well the answer to that is really yes and no. My scores did not get any better overall, but that is obviously attributed to many factors. The club certainly made me slightly better because during the testing I averaged two more fairways hit in regulation than I do with my current driver of choice. From a technical stand point this driver did launch the ball significantly higher than my current driver, but it did not create a gain or loss in distance. At the same time, as mentioned previously, I was playing from the short grass a little more during each round and that was something that was pretty exciting. The confidence one gets after a couple of rounds like that is pretty priceless.
One of the things that I want to discuss in my course testing section that is often overlooked in driver reviews are two words, Uniqueness and Consistency. When using the term unique in discussing a golf club, it in most cases is reserved to the looks of the club. While the looks are anything but normal in this one, for the purposes of this review, I am going to relate it to feel and sound. The sound that comes at impact from the JC-909 is incredibly different than most others on the market and it relates to the feel quite a bit. It is a mellow tone that has a nice high and low pitch at the same time and as mentioned, is unlike just about anything we have tried before. The feel is similar to that perfectly executed wedge shot that you remember from each round…Something rarely seen in a driver. With both the sound and feel that this driver gives off, the consistency kind of fell into place. I found myself hitting ball after ball just to experience it over and over again and it translated well from the range to the course.
After winning the category of accuracy in the THP 2010 Driver Shoot Out, I was eager to find out for myself if the club was “magic”. While the Fourteen JC-909 driver will not be substituted for a magic wand anytime soon, it did help me find the fairway more often. When you have the classic looks, the unique sound and feel, and the performance all built into one club, it is certainly going to be a winner to many. Readers are going to be hearing a lot more about this brand through 2010 and we think that you will like what you see. For more information on the JC-909 driver or any other products that Fourteen Golf is offering, check out their website at www.fourteengolf.com.