Can PowerBilt’s gas-infused DFX Tour driver fly off the shelves?
When the original PowerBilt Air Force One driver came out in 2009, the anecdotal evidence from reviewers who dared to assess a club built by an industry minnow—and one promoted with cheesy infomercials—was surprisingly positive.
Shocked golfers spoke of 10-, even 20-yard gains off the tee with no loss of accuracy (those with the 20-yard gains didn’t mention what they previously had been hitting… persimmon?) But though the makers said the launch of the club had been “extremely successful,” people who removed their driver’s head cover to reveal an Air Force One were still regarded with a degree of suspicion.
The driver may have been a hit with most testers, but it certainly didn’t receive universal recognition and acceptance.
A division of the Kentucky-based Hillerich & Bradsby Co. which also makes Louisville Slugger baseball bats and Bionic golf gloves, PowerBilt has been around since 1916, and has produced clubs used to win eight major championships and more than 100 PGA and LPGA Tour events. During the 1990s, however, the brand lost its once-solid foothold, dropping out of the running in much the same way other former industry leaders—Spalding, MacGregor, Hogan, Wilson—had. (Wilson has done much to restore its reputation in recent years, and the Ben Hogan Company is enjoying a renaissance with the recent launch of the Fort Worth 15 irons and TK 15 Wedges.)
After a decade of near silence, PowerBilt returned to the fray with the discovery that pressurized nitrogen in the driver’s head (150psi) strengthened the walls with no need for internal metal support, enabling the manufacturer to reduce the thickness of the face to just 2.6mm and thus maximize the Co-efficient of Restitution (the clubface’s springiness or trampoline effect).'
Since its introduction six years ago, the Air Force One has been updated a couple of times. PowerBilt unveiled the latest version—the DFX Tour—last month.
Ross Kvinge, President of PowerBilt, says the DFX Tour is the company’s “first genuine Tour head” with the Center of Gravity moved lower and further forward thanks to the positioning of a nine-gram Nitrogen Valve sole port (the amount of nitrogen has also decreased to what Kvinge believes is the optimal 80psi). The combination of maximum COR and face-forward CG, says Kvinge, creates faster ball speed and lower spin for greater distance.
“And it has the largest sweetspot in the game,” he adds. “No zones, or hot spots. The sweetspot is truly edge-to-edge, as pressurizing the head with nitrogen creates equal pressure across the entire face.”
Whether you’re familiar with PowerBilt or not, it might be time to gas up and take Air Force One for a test flight.
Available in right-hand only – 8.5°, 9.5° and 10.5°. The standard shaft is the 45.5 inch-long Fujikura Pro 53, 63 or 73.
MSRP – $299.99