"I know there are some of you who will put your noses in the air because you don't like Callaway, or because you think composite sucks. To all of you, let me just say this; get over your damned selves. It doesn't get much better than this. The results of our tests suggest that the Callaway RAZR Fit Driver is both long and straight...make that really long, and really straight!"
Callaway RAZR Fit Driver
(Written By: @GolfSpy T) The RAZR Fit is one of the clubs I felt like we absolutely had to test. That doesn't mean I was looking forward to doing it. I had reservations for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the RAZR Hawk driver is one of the most revered clubs we've ever tested. The odds of its successor striking the same chord with our testers were remote at best. Secondly, if we're being completely honest after the I-MIX situation (it looked pretty good out of the gates, but other manufacturers quickly passed Callaway by - the whole thing turned into a debacle), I wasn't convinced Callaway would be able to develop an adjustable club technology that was both effective and unique. Quite frankly, the entire scenario set up perfectly for what's now commonly referred to as an #EPICFAIL.
Of course, what I failed to consider is that Callaway drivers have been basically exceptional for a couple of generations now, so adding one more to the tally probably isn't rocket science. And speaking of rocket science, there are enough adjustable drivers out there now serving as proof that the industry has more or less got it figured out. So while I was quietly preparing for the worst possible outcome, my testers set about the business of showing me exactly how baseless my fears were.
The Marketing Angle
If you want to know what Callaway thinks about the new RAZR Fit, read the press release. We're certainly not going to reprint it here. But, I suppose...in the interest of fairness, I will share a few of Callaway's bullet points that explain why should care about the new RAZR Fit.
- OptiFit Technology: OptiFit Hosel adjusts the face angle in Open, Square or Closed positions at address to improve accuracy and trajectory. The OptiFit Weights (12 grams and 2 grams) shift the clubhead’s center of gravity to promote either Draw or Neutral ball flights.
- Forged Composite: Revolutionary material in the crown that’s lighter, stronger than titanium. The crown contains over 7 million turbostratic carbon fibers, which allows our engineers to precisely control thickness, resulting in an optimum center of gravity and high MOI.
- Streamlined Surface Technology: Aerodynamic contours reduce energy loss from drag during the downswing by 14% compared to the RAZR Hawk Driver, and create higher impact speeds for added distance
- Speed Frame Face Technology: A combination of VFT and Hyperbolic Face Technology creates a large sweet spot and high ball speeds across the titanium face for long, consistent distance. This technology saves weight that can be redistributed to the perimeter of the clubhead for a high MOI. The chemical milling process selectively removes excess material for precision thickness control.
Shaft: Callaway Aldila RIP'd NV
Grip: GolfPride New-Decade Multi Compound 360 Red/Black
How We Tested
The 5 golfers (Tim was unavailable due to injury) for whom we collected detailed performance data were asked to hit a series of shots on our 3Track Equipped simulators from aboutGolf. As usual, testing was done at Tark's Indoor Golf, a state of the art indoor golf facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY. Detailed data for each and every shot for which we collected data is viewable just below the performance section of this review.. This data serves as the foundation for our final performance score. As a supplement to our 5 performance testers, a subset of additional golfers were given the opportunity to test the Callaway RAZR Fit Driver and provide feedback in our subjective categories (looks, feel, sound, perceived distance, perceived accuracy, perceived forgiveness, and likelihood of purchase). This information, which we also collected from our performance testers, is used as the foundation for our total subjective score. Testing was done using a 9.5° and 10.5° drivers in regular and stiff flex.
Like the the last few driver tests we've conducted, this test was conducted under our new testing protocols. Full details of our testing and scoring procedures can be found here. The short version is that scores are calculated based on a point system. Points are determined per shot using a formula of distance minus accuracy. Based on previous test results, we've assigned each of our six testers a theoretical maximum point value. The percentage of that maximum theoretical score that is achieved by each individual tester represents the individual score for the Callaway RAZR Fit Driver. The total performance score is determined by the average score of the top 5 testers.
Distance & Launch
With the Callaway RAZR Fit Driver our testers averaged 253.02 yards of total distance. That's significantly longer than some of the more recently reviewed drivers. The boost in overall average is due impart to a single tester (Nick) who in addition to swinging his driver reasonably well during the time we conducted our tests, was absolutely lights out (long and STOOPID straight) with the RAZR Fit.
When we remove our shortest hitter (senior tester) from the equation, overall average distance increases to a 267.38 yards (and that's borderline absurd considering our biggest hitter was actually a couple yards shorter than his normal average).
When we take a closer look at the launch conditions achieved by our testers using their preferred loft/flex combo (best fit from available options), we find that our testers achieved and adjusted average of 12.12 degrees of vertical launch. While obviously ideal launch varies from golfer to golfer, you've got to start somewhere and 12.12 is a pretty solid beginning for most golfers (especially when you consider there's a low ball hitter in the mix).
Accuracy & Spin
As a group our testers missed the center line by an average of only 13.44 yards. As I've said a few times before, anything below 15 yards is rock solid. Curiously, it was our lowest handicap tester who struggled the most to hit the ball on his target line (he missed by an average of 23.20 yards). When we remove him from the equation and recalculate, we find that the group adjusted average improves to 11.00 yards. Quite frankly it's extremely doubtful we'll ever have a test that produces a sub 10 yard accuracy number. 11.00 might prove to be as good as it ever gets.
As far as spin is concerned, our testers produced an average of 3047.60 RPM. Worth noting is that our senior tester produced 4391.90 RPM. As the high spinner he was dropped from our calculations, however; as I usually do, I produced an excessive amount of spin (3869.10 RPM) which buggered the averages pretty good. Remove me from the equation as well, and the spin numbers are a much more palatable 2773.77 (not bad for a stock shaft).
The results of our tests suggest that the Callaway RAZR Fit Driver is both long and straight...make that really long, and really straight. If there's something else you're looking for in a driver, you're probably in the minority. Though not all of our testers produced the same type of numbers Nick did, in general our performance results are nothing short of stellar. If you were wondering if Callaway had to compromise performance for adjustability, the answer is an emphatic NO.
MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 91.97
The Interactive Data
The charts below show the individual and group averages (black dotted line) for each shot our golfers took during our test of the the Callaway RAZR Fit Driver. If you click on the "RAZR Fit - Test Range tab, you can see where each shot came to rest on our virtual driving range. Hovering over any point will give you all the details of that particular shot. You can use the filters on the right-hand side to show and hide individual golfer based on handicap and clubhead speed. Clicking on the "RAZR Fit - Raw Data" tab will show you the individual numbers and group averages for our testers.
I was particularly interested to see how the subjective scoring would shake out for two reasons. Firstly, with the exception of some issue with crown design, our testers absolutely loved last year's RAZR Hawk. Hell, one of our testers (he games the RAZR Hawk Tour) suggested that after last years' model Callaway didn't really need to release a new driver (EVER). Secondly, there's the composite issue. While composite drivers have come along way over the last several years, there are those who would swear they can absolutely tell the difference, and more to the point, they tell me they absolutely hate the sound and feel of composites. Would that change?
Last year's RAZR Hawk looked pretty good. The one major gripe our testers had with the Hawk (and the FT-iz, and FT-9 before it) was the two-piece crown design. Golfers understand that club heads are made up of two or more pieces, but we prefer it when everything looks seamless. Thankfully Callaway has finally ditched the design in favor of a more traditional look for the crown. In addition to getting rid of the ditch where the face meets the crown, as they've done with previous tour models, they've elected not to include an alignment aid of any kind.
I suppose there's a chance some might find the lack of one disconcerting, but as what I call "visual acuity fitting tools" like TrueAim take off, more and more golfers, I believe, are going to prefer the naked look.
While I can't say I love everything about the sole graphics, there are elements I'm certainly fond of. I really like the matte gray finish (it looks almost raw) that surrounds most of the perimeter and the weight ports. The rest of it I could take or leave, but overall it's a solid presentation.
Unlike the I-MIX connector that was bulky and easily damaged (sometimes the wrench would slip and trash the ferrule), the new OptiFit connector is more inline with what the rest of the industry is doing (adjustments originate from the sole, not the hosel). The design does add some extra bulk compared to a traditional glued hosel, but more bulk doesn't necessarily mean bulky, and the bottom line is that it's far from distracting.
The stock shaft is a "made for" variant of the Aldila RIP'd NV. Like TaylorMade, Callaway has elected to give their made for shafts a distinct graphics scheme (I suppose it does help eliminate confusion). Unlike TaylorMade, upgraded shafts retain the actual manufacturer's graphics.
Overall our testers really liked the looks of the RAZR Fit driver. In a perfect world (at least my perfect world), Callaway would have paired the RAZR Fit's crown with the RAZR Hawk's sole (plus the weights), but clearly my testers see it differently.
MGS Looks Score: 97.83
Sound & Feel
Bottom line, this ain't your grandma's composite. While I wouldn't say the RAZR Fit is the best feeling driver on the market today, it's very difficult to distinguish the feel from similarly positioned titanium clubs. While last year's RAZR Hawk was distinct (perhaps the softest feeling driver I've ever hit), the RAZR Fit is comparable to a lot of what's out there in the marketplace. Considering that many golfers have a set notion of what a driver is supposed to feel like, that's probably a good thing.
"Felt comfy, crisp, clean and powerful" - Nick B.
As with Feel, sound is comparable to other drivers (no better, no louder). The fact that our testers had little to say about the sound tells me that it's just fine.
MGS Sound & Feel Score: 93.53
Not surprising given the distance and accuracy numbers, our testers rated the RAZR Fit high for forgiveness. In my opinion the lines between drivers for better players and drivers for the average golfer have been slowly blurred over the last couple of years. At this point forgiveness itself is seldom a differentiator (at least not among drivers with no offset, and adjustable faces). Even within Callaways own lineup, it's doubtful we'd see much more forgiveness from the RAZR X Black. The buying decision will likely boil down to looks, adjustability, and price.
My point is that the RAZR Fit is as forgiving as it needs to be, and quite possibly as forgiving as it possibly can be.
Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 92.45
Likelihood of Purchase
You guys have seen how this works before. If the rest of the subjective scores are high, the LOP score is going to be high. Given I've already shown you 3, 90+ scores, you should pretty much expect to see one more.
While our senior tester rated the club a 7, and our low handicap golfer told us he'd be more inclined to forgo the adjustability and keep the RAZR Hawk in his bag, everybody else basically said they'd seriously consider putting the RAZR Fit in their bags. One tester told us he was absolutely going to do it - and then he bought one.
Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 92.45
Adjustability (Not Scored)
When it comes to the release of Callaway's first truly adjustable driver, the company must have found itself walking a tightrope. While they were admittedly well behind the curve; in playing catch-up they really needed to come up with something mostly original. TaylorMade has their MWT, FCT, and ASP (more places to stick a wrench than a $1000 tool box), Cobra has a very simple, and easy to comprehend system of their own, and Titleist has their two-way hosel-based adjustability.
To create their Opti-Fit system, Callaway combined elements from each of those designs to create a unique-as-it-can be system that achieves their goal of being both simple and meaningful.
By now most of you understand how moveable weights work. The short of it is that if you put more weight in the toe you promote a neutral ball flight, or potentially a fade. Put the heavier weight in the heel and you promote a draw. Callaway's implementation is no different. The club ships with 12 and 2 gram weights. Though they are not available at this time, additional weight kits will be available for purchase beginning in May.
Though the Callaway system resembles Titleist's, with OptiFit you're not affecting the lie angle. You're simply opening or closing the face. What the OptiFit system does that no other big OEM system does is allow you to maintain the original shaft orientation regardless of how the club is configured.
For some this may not be a big deal, but it does mean you can use any grip with the Callaway RAZR Fit and not have to worry about tread patterns being misaligned, or a rib ending up out of position. One interesting possible implication of the design is that golfers would be able to use Pure'd or Spined and Flo'd shafts without mis-orienting them. Practically speaking, most golfers don't do that, and since Callaway isn't planning on offering their tips at retail (boo, boo), real world applications are limited. OptiFit does ensure that shaft graphics remain consistent...if you care about such things (I don't).
Unlike most other adjustable systems where the alignment of the face angle changes by small increments, Callaway stayed true to its promise of providing meaningful adjustment. In the closed position the club sits a full 1.5 degrees closed. In the open position, the club sits an almost scary 2.5 degrees open.
For those looking for a bit more control, you can look forward to a tour model, which should feature the same head, and a hosel that offers more incremental adjustments.
As with other systems where the connection to the shaft is secured from the sole, the OptiFit is incredibly easy to work with.
TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE: 94.39
I'm in my 3rd year of testing clubs and writing reviews for MyGolfSpy. In that time I've received exactly 3 drivers that I honestly loved. The RAZR Hawk was one of those. Quite frankly I was concerned that the RAZR fit, despite the (I think) necessary addition of adjustability might prove not to be a worthy successor to the RAZR Hawk. We are talking about our tester's single favorite driver from last season, here. And honestly, it has taken me some time to come to terms with the fact that no only do the numbers suggest Callaway has improved upon the RAZR Hawk, but that I might actually like the new club better.
I really had to think it through. The Callaway RAZR Fit is longer. It's straighter. The crown is cleaner, and the shape is a bit more refined. Yeah...I guess I do like the slightly more compact look of the RAZR Hawk and the stealthy looking sole graphics. I really do love the feel of the Hawk as well - and I have a strong sentimental attachment to it, but looking at the big picture, there's not a doubt in my mind the RAZR Fit is the better driver. Not only is it more-than-worthy successor to the RAZR Hawk, it's among the longest, and is the most accurate driver we've tested among what is a very strong crop of 2012 driver offerings.
I know there are some of you who will put your noses in the air because you don't like Callaway, or because you think composite sucks. To all of you, let me just say this; get over your damned selves. It doesn't get much better than this.
MGS TOTAL SCORE: 92.21
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