Wednesday, February 2, 2011
We Tried It: Callaway RAZR & Diablo Octane Drivers
RAZR Hawk (standard)
Shaft: Aldila RIP graphite, S-flex
RAZR Hawk Tour
Shaft: Aldila RIP graphite, S-Flex
Fast-forward two decades, and the Callaway Golf Company continues to build upon Ely’s legacy with its new grouping of big bombers. The Diablo Octane and RAZR Hawk drivers both introduce what Callaway calls “Forged Composite”—a new carbon composite material that was developed in partnership with Automobili Lamborghini. The material features a whopping 500,000 turbostatic carbon fibers per square inch, making it the lightest strongest and most precise composite the company has ever made. And that folks, is just the beginning…
RAZR Hawk Driver
Looks and Feel: First of all, the RAZR Hawk comes in two 460cc models: The RAZR Hawk (we’ll refer to it as “standard” in this review) and the RAZR Hawk Tour. The standard model has a more modern shape, with a thicker heel section of the clubhead and a triangular-ish shape. The Tour model is more traditionally shaped, with less distance from front to back and a streamlined heel region for a more pear-like shape. Both drivers are constructed of 67% Forged Composite—the Hyperbolic clubface and soleplate are high-strength titanium, and the rear weight is made of heavy nickel. Unlike the type of carbon fibers we’re used to seeing that are weaved together, the Forged Composite material is actually mechanically liquefied, pressed and bonded together for better shape manipulation and also for greater strength. As for feel, our initial reaction with the standard model was a very good one: long gone are the days of muted, soft-feeling and -sounding, carbon-crowned drivers. That driver had some real pop! The Tour model also looked and felt great, with a little firmer sound and feel and more like what we expected from a Tour driver (thanks to more neutral weighting and a traditional hosel configuration). Our only gripe is a minor one: We wish the Tour version had Callaway’s chevron logo on the crown like the standard model does. Any alignment aids on a black driver can really help.
Performance: Not only are both drivers designed with a Forged Composite crown for a greater control of weight placement (mostly lower and away from the face), but each driver has Streamlined Surface Technology that addresses aerodynamics of the clubhead as it swings, rotates and releases through the swing. The results are two drivers with no sharp edges and less drag for more clubhead speed—another trait we couldn’t help but notice in our trial. We hit the ball a long way with both clubheads, with the standard model producing the expected higher ballflight than the Tour model. Our mis-hits with the standard model benefitted from more gear effects than we’ve seen from previous carbon-composite drivers—meaning heel and toe shots didn’t produce the big hooks and slices we expected. But we will say that, for some reason, our mis-hits tended to fly more to the left than to the right. Could this be due to better aerodynamics making it easier to close the clubface through impact? Possibly. On another note, we will say it took a few swings to acclimate to the 46-inch shaft, since not only do you have to adjust your setup (especially if you normally play a 45-inch or less shaft), but you also have to flatten your swing a bit. The trade-off? For the average golfer, an extra inch on the driver can mean up to 3 mph increases—equating to a possible increase of up to approximately 8 yards in total distance. Sure, there are some detractors who prefer a shorter driver, since it’s easier to make solid contact, but with such a forgiving clubhead as the RAZR Hawk, the 46-inch shaft becomes even more compelling for those few extra yards. Finally, both drivers also are equipped with Aldila’s RIP graphite shafts—a shaft that has soared in popularity among touring professionals for its stability and consistent performance. The standard also comes in a Draw model, and both the standard and Tour model come in a variety of loft and shaft flex configurations.
Bottom Line: The RAZR Hawk and RAZR Hawk Tour will appeal generally to better players who want more clubhead speed from a driver that has clean, conservative aesthetics. The Tour version is an excellent choice for golfers who desire to shape their shots, while the standard model also has some shotmaking maneuverability, but in our opinion, represents the straightest driver Callaway has ever made to date. Faster swingers will find that the RAZR Hawk drivers produce a more penetrating ballflight than many other 460cc driver models on the market today. Put it this way: Both RAZR Hawk drivers are supremely forgiving and represent the best in Callaway driver technology—how could you go wrong with that?
Pros: Great shaping; exceptional feel and control and distance
Cons: No alignment aid on the Tour model; longer shaft is awkward
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