Tried and tested: Callaway ERC

Want to know what the ERC performs like? Read this, save your pennies and go get one to play with!

Tue, 9 May 2000

The old saying is that money can't buy you love, maybe true, but whereas golf is concerned, money can buy you a whole lot of fun and an extra 30 yards if you want to splash out on a new ERC Driver form Callaway Golf. And the price of a bit of fun…£499, if you can get hold of one!

With an overload of rhetoric, bans and lawsuits around the world about the new ERC driver from Callaway Golf, it has certainly caused a stir among the higher echelons of world golf, prompting a ban from the USGA.

Now, with that in mind, there is only one thing to do about it, get hold of one, test it, and let YOU, the GOLFmagic members, know what it is really like to play with and if it is worth a ban, and £499.

GOLFmagic are the first Internet site to bring you a full detailed report of the test of the new ERC driver.

First impressions were that it would be hard not to hit a good drive as it is so huge with a 300cc head, finished neatly in a deep black metallic lacquer finish that it frames the ball well at address. When you do get round to hitting it, it's awesome! AND…most importantly… longer than any driver I have hit so far by about 30 yards.

And for once, Callaway have got it right with the grip. The new leather simulated "Winn" grip is soft, tacky and leaves you in no doubt about the quality of this club. And it is Quality with a capital Q!

The ultra lightweight shaft adds to the swing-weight for even more distance and with two internal weight chips precisely positioned in the clubhead, it lowers the centre of gravity to aid in a strong, powerful ball flight with less backspin for greater distance.

The first drive I hit with the ERC left me in no doubt about how much I had missed 30 yards off the tee. I played at The Berkshire Trophy and on the third hole, I hit a six iron for my second shot into a par five, not normal for me, I would usually hit a 2 or three iron into that hole. The pattern continued around the tight Heathland course and the driver proved to be accurate, forgiving and bloody long!

It continued on the range where I tested it head to head against the standard 9 degree Hawk Eye driver. The ERC won hands down for distance, workability and overall quality. And the Hawk Eye is not a bad club either, which goes to show what I think of the ERC. Awesome.

And to let other people tell you about the ERC, we gave it to a few other golfers of varying handicaps to try out too.

Ken Wesley, a Senior golfer has always had Callaway clubs and swears by them. He liked the ERC, but will stick with his Hawk Eye for the time being.

"My first impressions were that it was tempting and I must try it out. It sits well, slightly off set, which should promote a draw for me. But all I could do was fade it. Said Ken.

"I thought it was an unattractive sound, almost like ceramic, but distance wise, it is definitely longer than my Hawk Eye. It would look good in my bag, but is 20 yards worth another £200?"

Darren Hodgson is a PGA Professional and an expert club-maker, having made clubs for Retief Goosen, Ernie Els and some other European Tour players. Hodgson thinks the club is one of the best he has ever seen.

"I was very impressed with it. It added about 25 yards to my driving distance and it had a very good flight. It looks good, feels good and overall it is very impressive. It is a bit steep at £500, but I would buy one, it's totally worth it".

Simon Perks is the Assistant Professional at Wycombe Heights Golf Club and when he got his hands on the ERC, he behaved like a kid with a new toy!

"Comparing it to my normal Hawk Eye Pro Series Driver, the ERC is way longer off the tee. I would use one with the right shaft and loft options as the 10-degree model went too high for me… long… but high.

"I didn't like the headcover, but that does not hit the ball and it felt much different to the normal Titanium drivers, with a softer, more "springy" feel". So is it worth £500 sheets and a ban? I am not too sure about a ban as it brings an awful lot of fun back into the game…but for that…there is a price which I feel is a bit steep at present for the British market!

GOLFmagic rating:
Playability: 9/10
Looks: 10/10
Feel: 9/10
Value for money: 6/10…10/10 if you need more yards!
Distance: 11/10!

And now for the Science bit!

ERC stands for Ely Reeves Callaway, founder of the Company

Titanium Forging provides a high strength variable thickness face that is very thin, very durable and very HOT.

Ball velocity off the face is maximised for greater distance off the tee.

Face depth has been increased relative to its width for more efficient energy transfer to the ball. This is called optimising the aspect ratio and makes the face hotter still!

The face size has been increased 10% over the Hawk Eye drivers for more forgiveness and confidence at address.

Two weight chips inside the clubhead precisely locate the centre of gravity to generate a higher launch angle and less backspin for great potential distance.

The face, crown, sole and internal hosel components are formed seperately and welded together. This allows the most appropriate materials and processes to be used for each head component.

The forged materials are stronger than cast Titanium allowing for wall thickness reduction in key areas.

The weight removed from theses areas has been repositioned to enhance performance.

Using a separate internal hosel piece that is not attached to the face, allows more mass to be moved away from the face and creates a larger effective hitting area.

The face stays thin in the critical heel area for more forgiveness and greater initial ball velocity.

The 300cc head has a deep face and high moment of inertia for greater forgiveness.

A deep metallic black finish and polished face create a powerful look while the new scoreline pattern frames the ball for increased confidence at address.

Rich textured leather like Winn grips provide the ultimate in performance, looks and feel.

The Ultra light shafts help golfers generate more clubhead speed. With a larger tip diameter and increased torsional stiffness provide more stability through impact.