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Spy Pic – Callaway FT Optiforce Driver

Post image for Spy Pic – Callaway FT Optiforce Driver

Written By: Tony Covey

The war for market share, and I suppose by extension the hearts (and dollars) of the golfing consumer, between TaylorMade and Callaway is heating up.

Get your angry fists ready.

We've been hearing rumors about accelerated product launches (which translates to decreased product life-cycles) since this spring's price wars began.

That driver you bought a month ago...it's quickly creeping closer towards obsolescence.

Today the first concrete evidence of a new Callaway driver surfaced. The guys at South Florida Golf Magazine posted the below photo of the upcoming Callaway FT Optiforce Driver.

Coming Soon

Callaway filed for the Trademark on the name back on January 30th, and the rumblings are that the new driver is going to be released within the next several weeks.

We're told that stock shaft offerings for Callaway FT Optiforce Driver are the Project X Velocity 43 and Mitsubishi Diamana S+. The FT Optiforce will be available in a 460cc standard model, and what we assume is a 440cc Pro Model.

Retail price is expected to be $399 for the driver, and $229 for the non-adjustable (glued) fairway wood.

At first glace we think the FT Optiforce looks quite a bit like Callaway's Japanese Market Legacy series (above).

And speaking of the Legacy lineup, recently 3 distinct Legacy models were added to the USGA's conforming list.

Callaway looks to be cranking out drivers at a rate usually associated with...well...you know who.

But Wait There's More...

On June 18th Callaway filed for yet another Trademark on the name Big Bertha Alpha. Whether that driver will hit shelves this fall or early next year remains to be seen. I suspect that while Callaway has a plan, they're certainly reserving the right to change their mind should market conditions (competitor releases) make it in their best interest to get aggressive.

Let's call this the consequence of success. While TaylorMade still enjoys a comfortable lead in metalwoods market share, it's obvious that Callaway is going to do everything it possibly can to regain its spot on top of the industry.

Chip Brewer clearly means business.

It's Just the Beginning

This spring's discounts have reiterated the fact that price drops can move product. In fact the only thing that can move product better than a price drop is new product.

Despite all the grumblings about "new drivers every 2 weeks", the reality is that consumers are willing to replace, upgrade, or otherwise change their drivers with regularity. If I'm a golf company in a hyper-competitive market I'm going to keep releasing drivers so long as my pipeline is long enough to do so.

The consumer will always buy.

Regardless of what you might believe, it's actually been a while since we actually saw a golf company release 3 or 4 distinct models in a single season, but you better get used to it, those days are about to return.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom54 June 27, 2013 at 2:04 pm

Like cars and TVs, as soon as you buy one, there’s always something better about to be released.

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Ventucky Local June 27, 2013 at 2:44 pm

“Better” or simply a small detail in comestics different? COR numbers have been maxed for awhile now so how much “better” is questionable.

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Tony Covey June 27, 2013 at 2:59 pm

We hear the COR argument all the time, but COR is basically limited to what you could call a static ball speed. Point is, there are legitimate ways to make a golf ball go farther that aren’t directly related to COR.

In most cases, higher launch and less spin increase distance without impacting COR.

If you can, through a reduction in weight, or increased aerodynamics increase clubhead speed, you increase distance without impacting COR.

Contrary to what many believe, there is still more distance to be be had through design.

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gunmetal June 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm

With respect, while technically you may be correct, the reality is that’s not entirely accurate. The majority of golfers today swing under 100 mph. In there case, they need higher launch AND higher spin. Even still, how exactly do you achieve higher launch and lower spin? Sure you make weight shifts in terms of vertical CG and front to back CG but these are extremely small when you’re dealing with a 460cc or 440cc head. COR or CT that is used to day, is a good indication of spring-like effect and there’s a reason it was maxed out many years ago. Aerodynamics doesn’t hold water simply because the ever changing orientation of the clubhead from transaction throughout the downswing and into impact. Why did Adams abandon their super duper ‘put a club in a wind tunnel and blow some air over it’ designs? Because the story got old. It wasn’t a tangible performance enhancement. The reduction in weight theory is fine, but by now we know that there is such a thing as too light. Otherwise, tour players would be playing 40 gram shafts. The average tour weight shaft is 75.

I like your line of thinking. I imagine it’s akin to what the engineers at the OEMS thought process is. I just don’t think that physics is on your side.

With all that said – I’ve purchased 5 2013 drivers this season :)

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RP Jacobs II June 29, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Thank you GM, I feel much better with regards to my ’13 driver purchases. Ya got me by one, lol ;-p

The Very Best this season

Richard

Fairways & Greens 4ever

Steve P June 30, 2013 at 2:28 am

Adams hasn’t abandoned their “super duper ‘put a club in a wind tunnel and blow some air over it’ designs.”
Their new Speedline S and LS still claim aerodynamics as a benefit but that alone isn’t enough to sell drivers, so they’ve added VST and adjustability (both hosel and length) to their selling points.

gunmetal June 30, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Sure they have. On their webpage, they don’t even mention aerodynamics for their flagship driver the LS. They’ve completely removed the little fin tails on top of the crown, and the shaping is very traditional. This year’s story is the speed pocket, which is a recycled story from their fairways. Essentially it boils down to one of two scenarios. Either Adams can’t figure out a way to make the face hot enough so they had to create a little speed pocket…or they wanted a story to tell. Having played Adams drivers for the past 5 years, I can assure you they know how to make driver faces hot. It’s marketing and story telling, my man. Driver head technology as it pertains to distance is maxed. Getting fit will get you more yards than buying a 2013 driver will.

Ben June 27, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I would think that the net is probably a loss due to retooling costs, but what do I know. Both drivers are ugly. Callaway needs to understand that it’s not turnover of product, it’s innovation. TaylorMade, for all of the issues I have with them, are continuing to push technology boundaries in the area of adjustability. Callaway has turned into a follower except for their work in alternative materials, which nobody cares about.

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BaggerSkip June 27, 2013 at 2:09 pm

four forty, four forty-one…whatever it takes

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Tim June 27, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Love the MM reference. Classic!

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Justin June 27, 2013 at 2:10 pm

And yet, people aren’t rushing out to constantly “upgrade” either.

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GRADY WYATT June 27, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I REALLY ENJOY YOUR WEBSITE

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Simon G June 27, 2013 at 2:15 pm

The hosel looks the same as Titleist SureFit?

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gunmetal June 28, 2013 at 12:20 am

Yep. It looks just like the Callaway Tour Authentic Hosel…which it probably is.

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Michael June 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Very nice. Much better looking than the TM & Adams ‘scribbly heads’. There are enough distractions in golf, so simple and uncluttered is the way to go.

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Tony Covey June 27, 2013 at 3:21 pm

The crown on the pro model is clean, the ‘standard’ version has graphics similar to XHot.

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Westy June 27, 2013 at 2:31 pm

Good news! The x hot will be in the bargain bin in 3 months time! For those of us who are happy to have last years driver or clubs its great when they put new kit on sale quickly.

Wondered why they were giving away an x hot hybrid with every x hot driver in the uk at the moment.

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Rick June 27, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I just got used to my Callaway Razor!! Too soon for me to care about an upgrade/new driver. Current only 1 year old.

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Tony Covey June 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm

1 year old? How can you play with that dinosaur?

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Paul R June 28, 2013 at 4:44 am

Yeah, surely it must be on the GD Obsolete List by now LOL

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golfercraig June 27, 2013 at 3:00 pm

This thing is a travashamockery. Wait until you see the specs.

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golfer4life June 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm

The Big Bertha Alpha will prob be late Oct early Nov so I’ve been told. I wouldn’t trust that tho, because it came thru a rep and he doesn’t even get the right info all the time. I will share if I hear anything more.

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Nic Sherman June 27, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Hi Simon,
The hosel looks very similar to the Callaway Tour Authentic driver hosel. Basically the same adjustments as the Titleist.

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Foz June 27, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Doesn’t do much for me……of course I just got the Nike Covert Driver & 3 wood, so I am set for awhile……I think!

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Mike Honcho June 27, 2013 at 3:55 pm

The bottom looks a bit “Adams-ish” E.g. the 9008 UL

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cdvilla June 27, 2013 at 4:01 pm

RazrFit Extremes hitting the bargain bin is the big news here.

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Steve-O June 27, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Exactly. Like I’ve said with pretty much every other new product release. The big news is that there will be a quality product on the discount rack very shortly. Just like the 910′s when the 913 line came out, or the G20′s when the G25′s surfaced, I’ll be walking right past these guys and picking up a RazrFit Extreme on clearance.

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Mike June 27, 2013 at 5:01 pm

I like the look of the driver and the name “optiforce” is kinda cool too, I hope Callaway don’t go nuts and release driver after driver after driver in the same season…like…you know who, the thing I always liked about Callaway was they gave you time to get used to their latest and greatest before they released their…latest and greatest.
I like the 440 head, never could really get used to the 460, prefer smaller heads, and as for the Razr-fit extreme, I just couldn’t see or feel the difference between that and the original razr-fit…a wasted exercise if you ask me.

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Gil B. June 27, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Personally, the more equipment that’s introduced in shorter time spans is a boon to this golfer.
Now I’ll be able to buy more of them on ebay when the “old” models are considered obsolete for considerably less money. I hope they have rapid fire introductions of new gear. The market will be flooded with stuff we’d like to try at more reasonable costs. I read all these comments about COR, MOI, etc and the only thing I’m concerned about at this stage of my golfing life is $$$.
Love your comments guys, keep them coming.

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Ron June 27, 2013 at 5:26 pm

You guys get a life lol.

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Rex June 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm

1) It would appear that the only meaningful innovation here is going to the 2X-cog.
2) Looks like no MWT tech is present.
3) Appearance is very, very bla.
4) Incorporates a dated naming convention that never did very well to begin with.

This thing better kill it on a launch monitor or it is simply DOA…especially with a glut of R1′s in the market….oh, and TM’s near-term reaction.

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mygolfspy June 27, 2013 at 6:36 pm

Sounds like the tech you might hear about with this might be something along the lines of “Fastest Driver Ever Made” or something similar.

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Rex June 27, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Boy, good luck with that… did not seem to pan out for multiple manufacturers about 3 years ago….so I guess we need to add: “old story” to this drivers DNA. Look, I also think there is going to be some blowback from retailers as well. As much as they want a new story to tell, telling the same story as TM (more distance)…as often as TM, has earned TM many, many detractors. Callaway is in no position to absorb that. Still, I look forward to hitting it.

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Nano-Power June 28, 2013 at 1:58 am

I personally believe in Callaway’s technologies.

“better” is not just by cosmetic , there’s newly improvement by manufacturing process plus with materials , that brings new-made clubs better.
many are by appearance & cosmetic , however , there are something can be said “better” !

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Nano-Power June 28, 2013 at 2:23 am

“COR” is something ridiculous.
ex. Tour guys swing 125mph , impact the club face Ti plate 3.2mm of hardness HRC42 , COR could be found under 0.83 by purposely made the headbody absorbing more at impact , while the impact force effect later , bringing longer carrying ball in the air. Also spin amount is higher camparing to any others swing slower than 125.
With Japanese beta Ti , thickness 2.8mm is good to withstand swing speed 110mph+/-10. (enough elongation no breakage) many have made that COR can adjust to be higher or lower than 0.83. This is not a problem at all with makers today.
COR doesn’t mean a thing , it is an unfair regulation.
With same model driver conforming to rule , explosive power at impact is much less for 110mph player than 125mph. It is obvious.
The original intention to define COR should be reviewed.

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Nano-Power June 28, 2013 at 2:36 am

The Asian made driver with a JTi face at 2.2 mm , brings very long distance for venerable aged golfers , that is for fun for enjoyment. That is great. But for serious side , and true that the Dunlop driver XXIO is conforming and long distance comparing to most of the American brand drivers. If you guys happen to find one to play with , it is going to be an exceptional experience for you. It is not saying that the XXIO is better than Callaway or Taylormade , it is to indicate the manufacturers today can produce driver with COR reality but tested in rule.
That is ” hidden COR”.
Not difficult though.

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Skinndeep June 28, 2013 at 4:55 am

who you guy’s are quite some techno buffins. I’m (Hcp11) still playing my R7 Draw hit it 250-270 yards, each time I try a new one I just don’t hit it further, they usually have longer shafts to get there distance, which makes me less accurate. On most courses in Europe where I mostly play, I get punished if I hit it any further. I hit my Driver max 8-9 Times per round. I also still play my Mizuno’s MP 32 I bought in 2007 like the Driver, I just love the response and feed back I receive from the irons, I also tried new irons on Demo day’s, but spend $1000, for replacements is just not worth it, I rather take the money and spend it on green fees of magnificent Golf courses. Enjoy your game.

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golfercraig June 28, 2013 at 10:57 am

” I’m (Hcp11) still playing my R7 Draw hit it 250-270 yards”

If you hit it that far, and have been for 6 years, and are still an 11 you should spend some of your saved money on a lesson or two.

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Henry June 28, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Not a big fan of the pinstripes….

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Brian Cass June 28, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Not ditching my Razr Fit for this.

(3 months later ditches his Razr Fit for this).

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Ray Richardson June 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Just another fancy stick that most of us cant afford

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Desmond June 29, 2013 at 5:14 am

Multiple Drivers per Season?

I see the divorce rate climbing even further… and psychologists helping more addicts.

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John Sabourin June 29, 2013 at 9:09 am

I’m not what you call a company man, in the sense that i do not wave my money at every product that hits the market from a company that like. Hey, just for a hoot, every once in awile i bring out the old persimmion driver, or 4 wood,(and half the reason is i know how far they go for me). Most drivers look alike these days,(and pretty much do the same things) and if it’s looks people are after, they might as well look up Jack Hamm and his line of clubs. If you can learn to use the latest from Callaway,(or any other maker) then you can learn to hit THE HAMMER

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Chuck June 29, 2013 at 12:34 pm

One person made a great point. The Xhot series will go on sale in the bargain bins. I am a fan of that series and have a few more to get.

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Bill Tetley July 1, 2013 at 9:19 am

They should change the name of the club to The Vagdriver.

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Phil July 1, 2013 at 7:35 pm

Most drivers will go far when struck out of the middle with a good swing. For those mere mortals who fail to find the centre of the clubface most of the time i’d be looking at the driver which goes the furthest on off centre hits.

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Berniez40 July 7, 2013 at 10:54 pm

They could take a lesson from the old Acushnet Company who had a ball named “The Club Special” and call this thing “The Club Ho’ Special”.

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Golf Hackz July 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I’ll have to wait for a sale :(

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