Driving a hard bargain

We compare budget drivers - the Ram FX V-series 450 Ti against the Benross V8 440. Read our verdict...

Bob Warters's picture
Mon, 10 May 2004

Driving a hard bargain

Benross V8 hot face driver

During the last couple of weeks I’ve been comparing two of the latest budget drivers in an effort to recommend a club to those who may be a little strapped for cash. I took the opportunity of matching the fresh and meaty Ram FX V series 450 Ti composite with the flash, blue V8 430 Hot Face from Benross.

Price

The FX 450 is one of the biggest drivers on the market and is a step up from the award-winning FX440 Ti. You get a lot of club for £99, together with a sturdy zip-up headcover. The big Benross is only slightly smaller in its head (430 cc) but possesses a Graffalloy Blue graphite shaft set into it. Cost is £159 (£10 less for a basic Graffaloy shaft).

Spec and looks

At address it’s a tough call. The shiny black Benross set off dramatically by the blue shaft or the subtle carbon graphite crown on the Ram head, held firmly by the Apollo FX HT Tour shaft. Both clubs tested had non-conforming High COR faces with 10.5 degrees of loft and regular shafts.

Driving a hard bargain
Ram FX V-series driver

Performance

The Ram and Benross claimed enlarged sweet spots with their bigger heads, but neither were as forgiving as I’d hoped or expected. Any slight mishits were reflected by at least 30 yards less distance and a powder puff feel. Immediately, you knew what the result would be…disappointing. Catch either club ‘out of the meat’ and pay back was a solid, but low flight. Best I achieved was about 260 yards. I was rarely treated to any of the consistent, penetrating flight promised by the manufacturers with the loft I’d requested.

Verdict

While £100 - £160 may seem a lot to splash out on a driver for some, but peanuts for others. You do get what you pay for. They’re good-looking clubs with smart, trendy headcovers you’d be proud to have sticking out of your bag but for me neither gave me any lasting confidence. The Ram edged it by a fraction purely because I was able to hit it solidly, more often.

Golfmagic rating: Benross V8 - 7/10, Ram FX Ti – 7.5/10