By Kiel Christianson,
Can a classic-looking driver compete in a market full of square / wedge-shaped / scoop-backed / asymmetrical clubheads? PowerBilt's Citation FZ1 driver is going to give it a try. Designed with input from Fuzzy Zoeller, this is one 460cc driver that can appeal to traditionalists.
Ted is a law student at Vanderbilt, with whom I was paired for a quick round at the University of Illinois Blue Course last week. After the first swing, I knew he'd been a player in the past. I asked him if he'd played in high school, and he said that his high school hadn't had a team, but he'd played some tournaments as an independent.
"In college I played a lot," he admitted, "and I got down to a scratch handicap."
A few holes later, I asked why he was hitting his old steel-shafted Ping 3-wood off the tee.
"I just can't get used to those big headed drivers," he said.
On the 353-yard 4th, I once again pulled out the PowerBilt Citation FZ1 driver I was testing that day (10.5 degrees, draw bias, stock Aldila VS Proto-OL 65gr. stiff shaft, MSRP $299). After drilling my tee ball just into the edge of the right rough, 15 yards short of the green, I suggested Ted give the driver a try on the next hole. Despite his aversion to big drivers, he agreed.
On the 342-yard 5th, I hit another drive as well as possible, into the breeze, to the right center of the fairway. Ted took the club, and, after I suggested he tee his ball up a little higher, he delivered another silky swing and a perfect mini-draw to the center of the fairway.
"Felt like I hit it a little on the toe," he said. "I'd have to get used to a club that big."
As it turns out, though, not too used to it. We got to our balls, and they couldn't have been closer to parallel, about 45 yards from the green. And Ted's was in the dead center of the fairway.
PowerBilt mostly faded from view after the late 1970s and early 1980s, relegated to the sporting goods aisles in box stores. These days, the historic company is working to regain some luster.
The "FZ" in this line of clubs refers to Fuzzy Zoeller, and were designed with his input. Zoeller won the 1979 Masters with PowerBilt clubs. The design is one that incorporates modern technology - 460cc head, titanium face, deep center of gravity, and high MOI (4700+) - in a package that looks about as traditional as a 460cc driver can.
For traditionalists like Ted, it is definitely worth a look. It's hard to say, though, how more classic-looking drivers such as this will fare in a market that is dominated at present by square, wedge-shaped, scoop-backed, and asymmetrical clubheads.
As for Fuzzy himself, he's already had success with his namesake sticks.
When asked to expound on the FZ1 driver, Zoeller said, "What's more fun than a long drive or a long fairway wood shot that goes right where you want it? Man! That feels good. And anyone who has ever played the game knows exactly what I'm talking about."
I'd have to agree. It does feel good.
For more information, visit www.powerbilt.com.
May 13, 2008
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.