I recently had a chance to review a fairway wood made by Maruman Golf, one of the premier Japanese golf equipment manufacturers. I was very impressed by the golf club and thought that it could make a great addition to many people’s bags. As a follow up to that review, I was asked to try out the Shuttle i4000x driver. If you’d like a little more info on the basics of the Shuttle line, as well as Maruman, there is some good information in the fairway wood review and I’d invite you to check it out. Rather than rehash that here, let’s get to my thoughts on the driver.
Thoughts on the Aesthetics
Maruman has designed a very nice looking driver with the Shuttle. The sole of the club is nicely finished with a black, red, and silver color theme. The top has some pretty modern looking graphics that may be a turn-off to some, but I thought they were attractive to look at. The head shape is fairly traditional at address, but it does have an interesting profile when you hold it from the side. There is a noticeable slope from the crown to the back of the driver to the point that it almost flattens out. This is designed to lower the center of gravity, which assists in getting a higher launch angle. Like the Shuttle fairway woods, this driver has a very shallow face. I didn’t really notice how shallow it was until I took some side by side pictures with my normal driver. It is definitely vertically challenged and required me to tee the ball quite low. The goal in the design of the Shuttle series is to get a high launching, low spinning driver with maximum forgiveness.
The shaft in the Shuttle driver is the same as the one in the fairway woods. Interestingly, I liked the feel of the shaft when it was in the fairway wood more than I did in the driver. I can’t really say why, but it seemed a bit stout for my liking in the driver, whereas I didn’t notice that issue as much with the fairway wood. I have to say that I didn’t really care for the sound produced by the Shuttle. It was pretty loud and reminded me of an aluminum bat. That being said, I don’t really like loud sounding drivers in general. At one point, I shared the range with a friend of mine that carries another driver known for being loud and the Shuttle wasn’t much different. Like many things, feel and sound are subjective and we all have our likes and dislikes. One special thing to note is that the head cover that came with the Shuttle driver is excellent. It is made of imitation leather, has a handy spot for pulling it off the club, and has a very cool opalescent logo on the front of it. It looks awesome in a golf bag and will definitely get some looks on the range.
I had some pretty high expectations for the Shuttle driver before taking it to the range. I liked the fairway wood so much that I assumed the driver would be a big hit for me. In the end, I wasn’t completely sold on it. I found the Shuttle to give me mid trajectory for the most part, with the occasional high ball thrown in here and there. I did get a chance to hit it on a launch monitor and found that it actually launched the ball a bit lower than my current driver and with a bit less spin. However, average distance was very comparable. Well struck balls were very nice, but I ran into some issues with the forgiveness.
I found that well struck shots were consistently good in terms of dispersion and distance, but my off-center hits seemed to lose quite a bit of yardage and were prone to straying pretty far offline. This was especially true when I hit the ball high on the face, which is becoming my typical miss with the driver. I did find that teeing the ball lower helped a bit with that issue, but I still found the upper portion of the face quite often, with less than ideal results.
As I mentioned earlier, the sound of the Shuttle was bit distracting to me and I have to say that I didn’t really care much for the feel at impact either. It just seemed a bit harsh compared to many of the drivers I’ve tested this year. I was easily able to tell the good shots from the bad, but the good shots still didn’t feel as pleasing to my hands as I would have liked. Again, feel is completely subjective and is something that you have to determine for yourself.
We are fortunate to live at a time in which there are so many options in golf equipment. It truly is possible to find something that fits your eye and your swing if you look hard enough. I really enjoyed spending time hitting and playing with the Maruman Golf Shuttle series. In the end, the driver wasn’t really a good fit for me, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be right for you. The sleek looks and rarity of this line make it something that you have to try out if given the chance. You may find yourself surprised at just how much you like these clubs if you get your hands on them. As always, thanks for reading and best of luck out on the course this year.