At first glance the 46-inch shaft on Callaway Golf’s new Diablo Octane might seem a bit much – particularly for golfers who are vertically challenged – but consider that it’s worked for Callaway before. The Biggest Big Bertha driver of some 15 years ago also had a 46-inch shaft. And besides, the trend today is for longer shafts – most are 45.5 inches long although some PGA Tour players, most notably , Graeme McDowell (a Callaway staffer) are said to be experimenting with shafts excess of 46 inches.
McDowell is 5-feet-11 inches tall with the ability to stare down Tiger Woods; I’m three inches shorter and not nearly as gifted, but the Diablo Octane works well for someone of my height. A few minutes on the range and you can easily get used to the half-inch increase in length. The added length, of course, is supposed to mean added club head speed for greater distance, but that’s only one part of the equation that makes the Diablo Octane (suggested retail price 299) work.
The driver is Forged Composite, a material Callaway developed in conjunction with Research and Development partner Automobili Lamborghini. Callaway says that technology has allowed it to design a club head with a greater transfer of power at impact and more accurate trajectories versus its all-titanium counterparts. In another words, Forged Composite, by taking more weight out of the crown and moving it deeper in the club head, helps a player create more swing speed and better accuracy.
“We did a lot of testing on different club configurations; we looked at different head weights and shaft weights and swing weights to try and determine how to maximize performance for a variety of golfers,’’ said Luke Williams, director of product design at Callaway Golf. “In the past, longer shafts came at the expense of other attributes of the golf club. What we wanted to do was make it lighter it lighter so we could maintain a swing weight and swing feel that people are comfortable with.’’
Because of the forged composite material in the crown, Williams said, Callaway has been able to take weight out of crown – where it’s not beneficial to performance – and redistribute it lower and deeper in the club head.
“The head is actually lighter than we were with Diablo Edge, which this driver is replacing,’’ Williams said. “That enabled us to go longer (with the shaft) without compromising swing feel and forgiveness. We’ve repositioned the weight so we’re able to maintain the comparable moment of inertia we had a slightly heavier head. We’re talking grams, but little difference can make big difference in performance.’’