MAHOMET, Ill. - When I headed over to my local course to test out the new 17-degree Fairway Cruzer fairway wood by DeLaCruz Golf, the head pro asked me what I was hitting today.
When I told him, he just gave that knowing smile that guys in "the business" do when they recognize quality and explained to my less-knowledgeable playing partner, "That guy makes some fantastic clubs."
By "that guy" the pro was referring to Dick De La Cruz, former vice president of Callaway Golf, and designer of clubs for Callaway, Cobra, Founders Club, and others.
In 2002, De La Cruz founded DeLaCruz Golf. The company's first wave of clubs has begun racking up awards, and I was eager to see if the Fairway Cruzer lived up to the buzz. I discovered that it does.
The Cruzer fairway woods have received top billing by GolfTest USA. In independent consumer testing, in the categories of both 0-12 Handicap and 12 and Above Handicap, Cruzer fairway woods earned an overall rating of 8.4, the highest rating in both categories.
De La Cruz has achieved these impressive results by mixing classic design with top-notch materials. The 35gr. sole-plate on the Cruzer is yellow brass, the densest form of the metal, and is reminiscent of the plate found on old-time "brassies." The compact stainless steel clubhead combined with the brass plate make for a low, deep center of gravity that gets the ball into the air in a hurry.
In our informal testing on the range, everyone we asked to try it found the Cruzer extremely easy to get airborne. The small head and rather pointed sole were not terribly forgiving on off-center hits, however. One tester squirted a few off the toe before moving closer to the ball.
On the course, the 17-degree Cruzer fitted with a stock stiff shaft performed admirably. I actually replaced both my 5-wood and 3-wood with it, as its loft set it between the two.
Although this move allowed me to add a gap wedge to my bag, I was concerned that I had given up some length by removing the 3-wood. Then I jumped on the Cruzer from 235-yards out into a mid-length par-5 and ended up on the front fringe. So much for those concerns!
If you're looking to upgrade your set of fairway woods, or to replace some troublesome long-irons, the DeLaCruz Fairway Cruzer deserves a long look. The line comes in 13-degree to 23-degree lofts, and retails on the DeLaCruz website (www.delacruzgolf.com) for $180 each (graphite).
And don't worry if you've never heard of De La Cruz. Ask your local pro or club-fitter. I'm sure he's heard of him.
October 24, 2004
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
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