Wednesday, February 2, 2011
We Tried It: Callaway RAZR & Diablo Octane Drivers
Diablo Octane (standard)
Shaft: Project X graphite S-flex
Diable Octane Tour
Shaft: Project X graphite, S-flex
Looks and Feel: The Diablo also comes in two models: standard (which has a Draw option) and Diablo Octane Tour, both of which sport the same Forged Composite material in the crown as the RAZR Hawk drivers. Because of its strength and lightness, engineers could better manipulate the internal weighting for a higher MOI as well as lengthen the shaft to 46 inches—also like the RAZR Hawk drivers. But unlike the RAZR Hawk, the Diablo Octane driver has a bulkier, bigger-looking 460cc clubhead that’s strategically designed for pure distance and forgiveness. With the standard model, the Diablo Octane had a larger toe region (a common spot where amateurs mis-hit) and a large alignment aid on the crown that shows the Forged Composite material. The Diablo Octane Tour is all black, again with no alignment aid. But its shape is considerably different than the standard model, with its more rounded, stout, deep-faced configuration that’s 10cc smaller than the standard model. Regarding feel, both drivers felt light and easy to swing. Upon impact, both produced the clack, not clunk, sound we have grown to love with titanium drivers. In fact, the feel is so good that we could barely feel any difference between solid shots and the rare mis-hit shots.
Performance: Looks and feel are important, but if you’re a distance-glutton, you likely care a lot more about how it performs. Luckily, with these drivers, there’s no letdown. With the standard model, the ball launches high in a hurry to maximize carry—even if you don’t have Phil Mickelson-like swing speed. The Hyperbolic face felt hot virtually everywhere, with mis-hits losing only a small amount of distance. In fact, we found the standard model to produce more backspin on off-center hits, which helped keep the ball in the air longer and fly straighter. Again, as with the RAZR Hawk drivers, the 46 inches took some getting used to, but no doubt, once we did, the ball flew a long way, and we didn’t notice an increase in mis-hits. With the Diablo Octane Tour, however, we noticed a huge difference between it and the standard model. For starters, it shares a lot of the same technologies of the standard model, but does it in a very different set of parameters. The deep-face design and smaller overall size is more suited for the faster swinger who wants to hit bigger, more towering drives but doesn’t want the added backspin and ballooning that sometimes comes with 460cc drivers. With the Diablo Octane Tour, the ball flew in a high but much more boring trajectory than the standard model—making it ideal for big hitters with faster-than-average swing speeds. It too was uncannily forgiving for a “Tour” driver, considering we found it difficult to discern what was a solid hit vs. a mis-hit! Both drivers came equipped with Project X graphite shafts for better stability and overall distance.
Bottom Line: The Diablo Octane drivers are made for golfers who want the most distance and forgiveness they can get out of a driver. The standard model performs very well for moderate swing speeds—faster swingers may find the ball to fly too high and with too much spin—although a properly fitted shaft might mitigate that. The Diablo Octane Tour however is primed to be a real long-drive competitor with its deep-face design and penetrating trajectory. Either way, both drivers have demonstrated that carbon-crowned clubheads are bona-fide long-drive clubs that, in our opinion, are among the most forgiving we’ve ever hit.
Pros: Outstanding distance and forgiveness; the alignment aid looks cool; nice price
Cons: Again, no alignment aid on the Tour version; 46-inch shaft is a little whippy
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