Square drivers first hit the scene a couple of years ago, and the shape’s two chief protagonists – Callaway and Nike – are sticking with it for their latest top-of-range models. Nike’s is to be called the STR8 (straight, get it?), more of which in a couple of weeks, while Callaway’s latest is the FT-iQ, available in both standard and Tour versions from mid-October.
This must surely be the first driver inspired by a supercar – the Lamborghini Reventon – and the stealth fighter jet on which that car’s shape was based. The thinking is that while the original FT-i was highly effective at keeping you on the short stuff, its deep face and angular looks perhaps weren’t the most aerodynamically efficient.
The new FT-iQ addresses these criticisms with a more conventional face shape and a more streamline style that helps generate increased clubhead speed for extra distance. The head is a mix of materials – carbon composite, titanium, aluminium and a dense metal alloy – with 18% of its weight concentrated in a separate rear section to provide a lower, deeper centre of gravity.
This time, rather than offering different flight biases within each model, the differentiation comes via the two models – the standard with a draw bias to counter slice tendencies, and the Tour with the more neutral bias that better players might prefer. Some may still baulk at the impact sound, which is loud and audibly different to all-titanium heads, while the price tag is quite hefty too – not far shy of £400. But even so, assuming it ends up in a sufficient number of tour bags (and it must have more chance than the original FT-i) then Callaway will no doubt do very well with it. Player response was good when it was unveiled at the Scottish Open with Anton Haig wanting to put it straight into play and others like Graeme McDowell, Niclas Fasth, Oliver Wilson and Thomas Bjorn giving it an enthusiastic reaction. Find out what the GM team thought in our November issue.