Originally Posted April 16th/2011 – http://www.flagstick.com/teeshots/?tag=driver
I’ve always been a sucker for new equipment. With all the brands and variety and technology these days, who wouldn’t be?
So when the Callaway Diablo Octane Tour driver was delivered to my house to test, my Dad commented that my new girlfriend had shown up.
Much to the chagrin of my actual girlfriend, but that’s beside the point.
The Octane Tour is the second generation of the Diablo franchise launched in 2009. The Diablo line of clubs rebranded the ‘Big Bertha’ from the sweet and innocent clubs of yore into a cutting edge, fiery line-up of drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids with the most bad-ass spokesperson Callaway could find:
Upon first look of the Octane Tour, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Callaway moved away from the previous crown design. Having worked in a golf store at the time of the launch, I heard enough people comment on the odd shape, and the Octane Tour moves back into a more classic pear.
The face and corresponding sweet spot is also larger than the previous generation. Two years ago the face and sweet spot seemed elongated, but this one has larger hitting area and it was evident after hitting just a few balls.
With snow continuing to fall through many parts of the country, I was only able to hit balls at an indoor range to give this a test. I’ll have to see how it performs outside and in course conditions. But even by comparing to the previous week when I was hitting my current driver, my drives were jumping off this face and it had a great feel at impact.
The head is a classic black, and it’s appreciative to see that this club definitely doesn’t need any gimmicks like movable weights or drastic colour contrasts. It doesn’t even have a logo or mark on the top of the crown to allow golfers to line up their ball, an indication of a true ‘tour’ club. It lets its performance and cleanliness do all the talking.
From the lack of markings, to the clean design, to the 450cc clubhead which allows for more workability off the tee, this club lives very much up to it’s ‘tour’ title.
The Octane Tour comes fully-loaded with everything the better player would be looking for in a driver.
A slightly open face angle coupled with the True Temper Project X 7.0 Graphite shaft got me a little nervous at address at first, but after hitting a few balls I felt more comfortable with this than my current driver. I’m used to seeing a stock shaft with a closed head when I look down at the ball, so this was a welcome change.
For low-handicappers who are still fighting a little slice, I’d recommend staying away from this club, but it has a classic look and feel that all better players can appreciate.
The crown is made with a Forged Composite material that Callaway, in partner with their Lamborghini engineers, claim is lighter and stronger than titanium. And the results were evident after just a couple of swings.
Callaway says that, in testing against its predecessor, the aforementioned Diablo Edge, the new Octane Tour hit eight yards further on average, a direct result of superior distribution of clubhead mass. Not only that, it continues to use the Hyperbolic Face Technology which Callaway has been using in each of its drivers since 2008.
I won’t bore you with the technical specs of it, but in the simplest terms: this driver make ball go far.
Look to the Titliest 910 D3 as its closest competitor. With nearly identical face shapes and sizes low-handicappers should have similar expectations if comparing these two clubs. But the tipping point for some may be the price point – the Callaway Diablo Octane Tour retails for less than the 910 D3 but without adjustable face technology.
The biggest problem that this club has is its grip. If it is supposed to be a ‘Tour’ club, which for the most part, it is, it needs to have a full ‘Tour’ package. Do not put the standard Callaway grip on this club.
The brand partnership with Phil Mickelson is huge for Callaway, they should look to leverage that and throw on a black and white New Decade Multicompound or something comparable as stock option.
Golfers at this level would be happy to spend the extra $20 to receive a full package ‘tour’ club, as most would be getting this re-gripped regardless.
For players who are already low-handicappers, or for players looking to move to that level, this club gives them a lightweight head and a very large sweet spot without any gimmicks. A very solid addition with a classic look to the Callaway family.
Callaway Diablo Octane Tour – 9.5o
Project X 7.0 X-Stiff Shaft