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Square Head meets Round Ball – A First Look at the FT-1 Driver

I had the opportunity to go through a full club fitting at the Callaway Performance Centre which included my first look at the FT-1 driver. I`ll write more about the fitting later (and, hopefully, post some video) but I wanted to quickly share some of my impressions of the square driver.

I began by swinging the FT-5. The club felt fine (or so I thought) but, as was my experience in the past with Callaway`s carbon clubs, there was a hollow sound as I struck the ball that made every swing feel like a mis-hit. Ball position and swing aside (I`ll have to work on those with my driver if I`m going to maximize launch angles and distance), the performed okay but wasn`t going to replace my beloved Titleist 975J.

And then we switched to the FT-1. Our host, Barry Wallis, explained that while the FT-1 might not help you hit the ball further, it will definitely help you hit the ball straighter. As he talked, I took a few practice swings and immediately felt the difference for the FT-5.

One of my problems with previous carbon clubs was that the weight of the head just didn`t seem quite right. Now that I was swinging the FT-1 I realized that I had the same problem with the FT-5. Callaway`s new square driver has a wonderful weight distribution that felt eerily similar to the Titleist. Just to make sure, I grabbed the FT-5 again and gave it a few more swings.

Once my suspicions were confirmed about the weight, I put the club down behind the ball and start smucking away. You know what, Barry was band on! I didn`t hit the ball any further (he gladly informed me that that was a swing adjustment, not the club) but it did, indeed, travel much closer to the centre of the fairway. Swing after swing produced the same results.

As for the shape, it wasn`t until I was finished the fitting and casually chatting later that I realized that the club head had no emotional impact on me whatsoever. I guess we`ve all gotten over the ooh and aah of seeing giant club heads. In retrospect, the FT-1 didn`t stand out as gimmicky, which is a very good thing. That being said, the club will surely get some Å“wows on the first tee when you pull it out for the first time.

Will I buy the FT-1? I don`t know yet but I hope to have a chance to get it out on the course for a real test drive.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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