|Bang-o-matic driver (12 degrees)|
There’s no such animal as the golfer who doesn’t want to hit the ball further. We all long for that elusive extra distance and it’s hardly surprising because, it seems, every time we tune in to a tournament we hear commentators droning on about how far today’s Tour pros hit the ball.
On the PGA Tour, 15 players currently average more than 300 yards, with Bubba Watson leading the way at 319.3 yards. In Europe, South African Titch Moore leads the stats with an astonishing average of 313.1 yards.
As for the REALLY big hitters, they tend to inhabit the dark, weird and wonderful world of the ReMax Long Drivers circuit, where Scott Smith recently smashed all records with a hit of (wait for it…) 539 yards!
So what equipment do these guys use to achieve such prolific distances? It may surprise you to learn that the equipment that propels their golf balls into the next county is not supplied by the popular brands and furthermore you can put a similar weapon in your bag for less than £130.
When the likes of TaylorMade, Callaway, Titleist or Cleveland introduce a new model - research and development, advertising, marketing and endorsement contracts for the top players cost a small fortune, much of which is inevitably passed on to the customer.
The quality of their products is without question, but someone has to pay for it and if £350 is the recommended retail price (RRP) rate for the latest driver then that’s often what we hand over.
But there’s another way.
Like everyone who ever picked up a club, I get my biggest kicks from striking that perfect tee-shot — the one that makes contact with the centre of the club (you can almost NOT feel it), the ball soars through the air with a slight draw, lands in the middle of the fairway and rolls on and on. Pinch me, I’m dreaming!
So it was with no small measure of anticipation that I took delivery of the Bangomatic, the same brand of driver that Mr Smith used to set his record, though mine came with 12 degrees of loft and a regular flex shaft, compared with the extra-stiff graphite he wields, with a low single-figure loft.
Throughout my golfing career, I have consistently opted for a nine degree loft driver, (‘surely 12 degrees is for wimps?’) but the distributors at Big Hit Golf assured me that Bangomatic’s launch angle was lower than standard and that I needn’t worry about hitting high, ballooning drives.
And immediately I knew the two of us – the driver and me – were going to become friends. The gleaming black head measures 450cc but doesn’t feel or look that big. It features a flow alignment system that claims to direct more energy from clubhead to ball with less dispersion. Most modern drivers deliver 78% of the proper directional energy toward the ball with 22% dispersion of energy, while the makers of this baby claim an energy transfer of 94%!
I found the shaft a trifle too soft for my liking but a friend with whom I have played for 20 years loves it. He has always hit the ball with a pronounced slice, but quickly discovered that the Bangomatic turned this into a power fade and produced a glorious ball flight and says he’s consistently hitting his drives 15-20 yards further than he has ever done before.
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