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FT Optiforce – Our #1 Driver On The PGA Tour In Its Debut Week

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By:
Jeff Newton

So it was a big 4th of July weekend for FT Optiforce, to say the least. Our Tour Reps introduced the driver last week at The Greenbrier Classic and while we certainly expected a great reception from players who tested it on the range, even we couldn’t have predicted that it would be our #1 Driver played on the PGA Tour last week!

But that’s how it shaped out as Gary Woodland, Tommy Gainey, Bobby Gates and Stuart Appleby were among the Tour Pros who used FT Optiforce at its first PGA Tour event.

(Update: FT Optiforce was our #1 Driver model in its second week on the European Tour with 15 in play at the Scottish Open. Alvaro Quiros, Ernie Els and Branden Grace all switched into the driver.)  

Gainey wasted little time showing off his new 9.5° gamer on Thursday as he hit 13 of 14 fairways and carded an opening round 62 on Independence Day. The Callaway Staff Pro averaged over 303 yards per drive through the first three rounds and went on to hit 85.7% of fairways for the week (T2 in the field). It looks like Gainey’s driver is giving him fast ball speed and accuracy – always a good combination if you ask us.

Meanwhile, Woodland (aka the #XBomb king) averaged 307.8 yards per drive with his new 9.5° FT Optiforce in the bag. He took the driver out during a practice round last week after he told our Tour Reps that he wanted to carry the ball over 300 yards to fly it past all the “trouble” that players would face on their tee shots at The Greenbrier. Long story short, Gary found exactly what he was looking for.

One Tour Rep told us that during the round, Woodland flew one of his drives 311 yards straight into an 8 mph wind and over a water hazard. The rep said that after the ball landed, Woodland just turned to him and laughed. We’d like to think that all practice rounds are this entertaining on the PGA Tour.

Available July 12 at retail, and now on pre-order at shop.callaway, FT Optiforce is designed to help increase a golfer’s clubhead speed, ball speed and distance. It also offers loft and lie adjustability to optimize launch conditions. The driver is available in two head options (440cc or 460cc) and last week all the Tour Pros who used the new driver played a 440cc head.

So why did so many Tour players make the switch to FT Optiforce, especially during a time of the year when most of them are dialed in with their equipment? Our Tour Reps noted that the tight dispersion, forgiveness, strong ball flight, along with the look, sound and feel all contributed to the quick conversions into the driver. So yeah, all in all, a pretty crazy week out on the range.

You can find out more about FT Optiforce in our new Callaway Talks with SVP of R&D, Dr. Alan Hocknell, and in the latest Callaway Tech Talk featuring Callaway PGA Tour Rep, Mike Sposa.

NOTES

Stuard Finishes T6, Posts Fourth Top-10 Of The Year

Callaway staffer Brian Stuard shot 66-67-67 over his final three rounds at The Greenbrier Classic to finish T6 and earn his fourth top-10 this season. Stuard used an X Hot Pro Driver (9.5°), X Hot Pro 3-wood (15°), X Hot Pro Hybrid (18°), RAZR X Muscleback Irons and an Odyssey Versa 90 #7 Black Putter for the week. As the numbers show, he’s been rock solid all year long.

Bjorn Gets Another Top-10

Thomas Bjorn has been on fire of late and on Sunday he capped of his fourth top-10 finish in his last five starts. Bjorn closed out his T8 at the Alstom Open de France with a HEX Black Tour Ball and an Odyssey Tank #7 Putter. He’s now up to 13th place on the current Race to Dubai standings.

ANECDOTES

Big Bertha Creator Dick Helmstetter Headlines New Callaway Podcast

Photo: [PODCAST] Dick Helmstetter created the original Big Bertha, but what did he think of the name that Ely Callaway had come up with? Learn from RCH himself in part 1 of our must-listen interview with a golf icon --> https://soundcloud.com/callawaygolf/callaway-talks-podcast

Icons don’t come much bigger in our business than Dick Helmstetter, the man who created the original Big Bertha Driver. He’s a legend in the golf equipment world, one of the most innovative minds we’ve ever seen and he possesses a seemingly endless list of stories about his close friend and old boss, the late Ely Callaway.

We were honored to have Mr. Helmstetter on our new Callaway podcast to discuss some of his fondest memories with the Company, including what he originally thought when he first heard the “Big Bertha” name. We were absolutely blown away by his insights and stories.

You can listen to the podcast with Dick Helmstetter here or on our new Callaway Media Productions page.