By Kiel Christianson,
The 2008 RE/MAX World Long Drive Championships saw a number of mammoth blasts, but only one shattered a previous mark by over 20 yards.
More importantly, the result in terms of quality is usually excellent. In fact, just last year, I called the HiPPO's Hex TX, "the best driver you've never heard of."
That shot was by Phillis Meti, who bombed a 349-yard drive using a brand spanking new DB Plus driver by SMT Golf. That drive was a new women's world record, and Meti went on to take second place in the women's open division.
At the time, the DB Plus was not only new for Meti, it had, in fact, just been ruled conforming by the USGA and wouldn't yet be on the market for another month. Not a bad debut from a small Illinois company that has built a big reputation on big drives, along with high-quality, lifetime guarantees and affordable prices.
I unleashed another spanking-new DB Plus driver (10 degrees, RLM Basalt shaft) on some of the best desert golf courses in Arizona to see if I could even come close to Meti's world-class form. Despite shaking a junkyard's worth of rust off my swing, things started out looking up - or, rather, looking out over the practice range. And I mean way out.
After striping five drives in a row at the Kierland Golf Club's expansive range, all of which landed within a few yards of the 318-yard mark, I was sold on the DB Plus' advertised features.
SMT Golf is actually one of a very few equipment companies to put the actual loft on their drivers. (Yeah, you out there with that 8.5-degree, big-name driver, it's probably more like 10.5 degrees.) The result was a piercing ball flight with exceptionally low spin. The latter result derived from the club's complete lack of grooves on the face. Seriously, it's as smooth as a titanium baby's bottom.
Of course, my range form never translates to play on the course, and within a few holes, I was fighting the same old hook. However, when some random combination of myriad adjustments actually worked, the DB Plus performed admirably. I didn't scare Meti's record, but when I drove a 308-yard par 4 at the opulent Phoenician Resort, and then sank the eagle putt, I felt just as good.
SMT Golf's DB Plus driver - and really, all of SMT's quality line - is for any player who doesn't get all wrapped up in name recognition. You'll get a lot of "What's that?" and "I've never heard of SMT" comments (even from golf writers). But if you smack a few big drives down the fairway (or out into the cacti, in my case), they'll come sniffing around your bag like coyotes after a poodle in heat.
There will be some who find the rather unadorned styling of the DB Plus to be bland, but even in today's gaudy age, performance should trump looks. Best of all, like all SMT drivers, you buy the clubhead ($155) and then choose your shaft ($29-$89), and your specific club is assembled by hand in America's heartland (maybe even by SMT's founder and president, Mike Tait, himself - really).
The end result, which is guaranteed for life against any damage (even stupid stuff), will likely run you at least $100 less than big-name drivers.
For more information on the DB Plus driver, visit www.smtgolf.com.
April 13, 2009
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.