By Tim McDonald, National Golf Editor
Innovex Golf is a relatively young equipment company that's carved out a niche by offering products, mainly golf clubs, cheaper than some of the more ludicrously high-priced companies.
Innovex says it keeps prices down by not paying pros to use its products. Not that there aren't pros who do, the company asserts at its Web site - "We simply cannot tell you who they are or what they play."
Innovex broke onto the scene with its well-regarded RLS series of irons, later adding wedges, fairway woods and hybrids. One review site named the company its manufacturer of the year.
Last October the firm added a driver to its arsenal, the CfD. The name refers to the club's "cup-face design", which the company touts as providing a wider sweet spot, generating higher ball speed for greater distance "with the ability to get more repeatable shots from contact on different points across the face of the club."
The driver also has a rearward center of gravity, moving the weight from the face, which is supposed to result in higher launch angles and lower spin rates - thus, as we all know, making the ball go further. The 460cc club is attractive, and its thin, beta-titanium face "produces the maximum COR (coefficient of restitution) allowed by the USGA," Innovex said.
I tested the club on practice ranges and under playing conditions, and enlisted other golfers to do the same. The results were good, but not great. The CfD was difficult to get used to at first. That could be said of nearly any first time out with a new club, but this one felt a bit flimsy initially, and I had trouble making good contact. I didn't like the sound of club hitting ball as much as much as with other, higher-priced drivers in my bag. My co-testers gave similar reports.
"I find it very tinny to my ear and lacking in feedback to my hands," said TravelGolf.com equipment reviewer Kiel Christianson. "Seems pretty straight, but not noticeably longer than other drivers I'm hitting."
I found the same. After the initial feeling-out period, I began hitting this driver well. It is, indeed, straight and nearly as long as the other drivers I use regularly. But only nearly: My longest shots with the other drivers - you know, the ones that make you say, "Oh, mama" - are longer than I achieved with this club.
With its street price of $199.95, I would recommend the Innovex CfD to those who want a mid-caliber driver and don't want to spend an arm and a leg. But I wouldn't put aside my SMT and Adams Redline for it.
You can easily spend more than $300 for a driver by manufacturers such as Nike, Adams, Ping, Titleist, Cobra, Cleveland and Callaway. Taylor Made, Nicklaus, Adams, Cobra and Callaway produce good ones in the $200-$300 range.
Below that, a good driver gets harder to find, and that's Innovex's chief selling point. It's also easier to buy Innovex clubs from retailers now rather than directly from the company. Innovex has branched out, and the company promises that won't bump up its prices.
February 1, 2006
Veteran golf writer Tim McDonald keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.
The unique aspect of the SeeMore Putter is the red oval on top of the head. The idea is to hide the red dot with the black part of the shaft throughout the stroke, ensuring proper path and plane. With the line expanded to visually appealing and great feeling putters, there's no reason not to give them a try. It really does just take a few minutes to get the hang of the concept.
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