50 Word or Less
An unexpected gem. The most fun I’ve had hitting driver in a long time. This driver looks great, feels amazing, and is as long as advertised. So good it’s forcing me to reevaluate my relationship with my gamer.
When Callaway dropped a new driver on us midseason, I was excited. I’ve gamed Callaway drivers for the last two seasons and couldn’t wait to see how they were going to improve on the Razr Fit Extreme. Then I heard that the selling point of the new driver, the FT Optiforce, was that it was lighter and “faster,” and that the shafts I had for my RFE wouldn’t work (new adapter). Excited Matt went away. Negative Matt took his place. “Ugh, light clubs are for old people. Lame.”
Then I got the FT Optiforce in my hands and Negative Matt shut the f*** up. Fast.
While there’s only one name, FT Optiforce, there are two totally different heads: the 440 and the 460. The differences start with looks: the 440 is smaller (duh) and the crown is free of alignment aids or graphics. The 460 head is slightly larger with a small alignment aid and subtle crown graphics.
Negative Matt, like every other golf equipment elitist with a keyboard, thought the graphics were stupid…until he got them in hand. Smart Matt saw that the graphics are minimal, not billboard-sized *cough* TaylorMade *cough*, and not a big deal. Is the 440 better looking? Yes, it’s probably the best looking driver on the market. Does that mean that the 460 is bad looking? Not even close.
Sound & Feel
From the first swing, I was in love with the sound and feel of the Optiforce. The solid, muted “thud” at impact stands in stark contrast to the metallic crack of most drivers, and I think it’s fantastic. The feel almost has more in common with hitting a forged iron than it does with hitting most other drivers.
The FT Optiforce is the first Callaway driver to feature the Advanced Optifit hosel. Whereas the Razr Fit, Razr Fit Extreme, and X Hot drivers adjusted to Open, Square, or Closed face angles, the FT Optiforce is adjustable for loft and lie. You can reduce the loft by 1° or raise it by 1° or 2°. Keep in mind that changing the loft will also change the face angle (adding loft closes the face, reducing loft opens it).
You can also select between two lie angles: Neutral and Draw (upright).
440 vs. 460
In addition to the aesthetic differences, there are significant performance differences between the 440 and 460. First is loft: the 440 comes in 9.5°, the 460 in 10.5°.
Of equal importance is the weighting: the 460 has a draw bias, the 440 is neutral. This difference is subtle, but noticeable, especially for those that tend to miss towards the heel.
Launch Monitor Testing
For launch monitor testing, I pitted both FT Optiforce drivers against my current gamer, the Razr Fit Extreme. The 440 head produced numbers very similar to the RFE: launch of about 14 degrees and spin around 2400 RPMs. The 460 head launched just a hair higher and spun 300-400 RPMs more. This makes sense due to the additional loft on the 460.
Swapping shafts between the drivers didn’t produce any significant, consistent differences in spin numbers once I’d adjusted to the change in weight. I thought the PXv would be less accurate, but it was every bit as good as the Diamana. Project X has done a great job of balancing that shaft so that there is still some weight in the hands and feel for the club head in spite of the low total weight.
The big difference on the monitor was club head speed, ball speed, and distance. With the 460 head and the PXv shaft (my best combination), I was consistently 7 yards longer than my RFE.
Real World Results
On the range, I can summarize hitting the Optiforce in one word: FUN. I’m not a guy who likes to hit a lot of drivers on the range, but with the Optiforce I found myself emptying bucket after bucket. When the next ball flies farther than the last, why stop?
On the course, the Optiforce was excellent. On well hit shots, I was definitely past the spots where my drives normally stop. As far as accuracy, I had plenty of confidence to hit the Optiforce on any hole where I would normally hit driver.
Going into this review, I expected the Optiforce to be inaccurate due to its light weight and long shaft. I expected that the additional shaft length and reduced weight would not give me additional club head speed. And I expected the 440 head with the Diamana shaft to perform best for me.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Accuracy was equal to, or better, than anything I’ve played this year. The Optiforce is longer than my gamer. And, while the 440/Diamana combination was good, the 460/PXv combo was the clear winner.
Don’t be like Negative Matt, be like Smart Matt and go try the Callaway FT Optiforce. Forget the marketing, forget the weight, forget any notions of what you think fits you, and just go hit it. But don’t wait because the Optiforce is quickly selling out of golf shop. Fast.
Price, Specs, and Manufacturer Notes
The Callaway FT Optiforce driver retails for $399.
The 440cc version is available in 9.5°, and the 460cc model is available in 10.5°.
The stock shaft options are the Project X Velocity 43 and the Mitsubishi Diamana S+ 64
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