About the Callaway FT-I Driver
Few clubs have created as much interest as Callaway’s FT-I on release. Pretty obvious why as it was the first real square club head and it split the golfing world in two when it was launched. Some couldn’t wait to give it a whirl while others had trouble not bringing up their breakfasts just thinking about it.
They hype and sensationalism quietened down a long time ago now but is this club worth revisiting? It can be snapped for a song these days, so is it still a good choice or was it just a gimmick that lasted a few months?
I gamed one for some time and again got hold of a 10 degree to take a trip down memory lane and see how it stacks up against newer offerings.
When I played the Callaway FT-I Driver the square head didn’t concern me at all. I soon got used to the look and just got on with trying to pulverize the ball down the fairway as best I could. Having not hit one for some time I was wondering how it would feel again.
The looks of the club aren’t bad, the red/black silver paint scheme looks quite classy and it’s not over-laden with unnecessary techno-speak. The face appears large and as forgiving as a kindly grandmother. It certainly doesn’t look out-dated, more like a quirky uncle who hasn’t been to visit for a while. This could be fun even it is a little off the beaten track.
The FT-I was released in lofts of 9,10, 11 and 13 degrees and the standard shaft offering was a made for Callaway Fuji Speeder 586. Whilst not as of high a quality as a true Fujikura it’s perfectly playable and is stable and responsive in hand.
The key feature is, of course, the square design which is supposed to minimize the amount of twisting of the club head through impact. It makes sense to the layman with it being square and counter-balanced by its rear corners and is fairly confidence boosting as you look down on it.
Basket of balls in hand, I found an empty bay and loosened up a bit to get ready to try out my old friend. The club felt nice as I made some practice swings, well balanced and light enough without feeling flimsy.
The first few shots reminded me of something that I had forgotten.. this is not the quietest driver you are ever going to hit. It’s a proper old-fashioned “clang” when you let it rip. It doesn’t quite shatter the eardrums but you really know you’ve hit it.
However, once I got used to the sound again and hit a few more drives I realized that I hadn’t had a second thought about the square head. I just lined it up and swung away. I honestly don’t think if you try one out that it would take more than a dozen or so drives to get accustomed to the shape.
Performance was just as I remembered though. Although not playing a quality ball like the Bridgestone E6, this thing is straight, super straight. Ball after ball flew down a 15 yard corridor or so and even my poorer swings did ok. This is really made for the mid-high handicap brigade. It’s really forgiving and straight but I doubt many players are going to grab it if they need to be able to hit little cuts and draws at will.
The feel off the face is very solid. It’s not a soft or cushioned effect but it does feel good. Off center strikes have the usual deadened side to them but distance wasn’t too badly compromised and my ball flight wasn’t too crazily sideways either.
After I’d emptied my basket I was left thinking that this would be a great driver for a player who struggles from the tee and wants a top quality, low cost driver that will help him or her find more and more fairways. No driver is a magic wand but this one is close in terms of accuracy.
I’d avoid getting too stiff a shaft if your swing speed is below 100mph as it’s a low launching head/shaft combo and you want to get some height with your drives.
The Callaway FT-I Diver is an unusual beast that got people talking a few years back but now that talk has died down it remains what it always was; a well made, forgiving and powerful driver. These days they can picked up for under $100 in very good condition and if you are looking for something to help your accuracy then you could do a lot worse than pop one of these in your bag.
I enjoyed hitting it again and I could even get hold of one to use on tighter courses. With practice the look becomes irrelevant and what you’ll be focusing on is another ball disappearing down the middle rather than a funny head shape.
Want to see what we have to think? Check out our Golf Club Reviews page to see if we’ve take the club you’re interested in for a test drive.