When I heard that we had a chance to review the BombTech Golf Grenade driver, I jumped after the opportunity after a bit of research. BombTech Golf is a new company, based out of Vermont, that makes clubs by hand in the United States. Their first club, the Grenade driver, was co-engineered with the University of Vermont engineering department as a part of their senior design project.
Why did I jump at the opportunity? Because I'm an engineer myself.
The BombTech Golf website reads more technically than most. It includes SolidWorks CAD models and computational fluid dynamics simulations, as well as a drag force calculation, not exactly the types of information that companies like TaylorMade or Nike would be willing to give out.
They might not market like the big boys of the golf industry, but could their drivers perform like the OEMs'? Let's find out.
Design and Technology
The design of the Grenade driver is relatively simple, and most of the engineering went into the aerodynamics. It's tough to keep up with the big boys, with their million-dollar R&D budgets, on some of the intricacies of golf club design, but innovative aerodynamics is something that anyone with engineering knowledge and a copy of SolidWorks can attain, and that's what they did.
Aerodynamics in golf club design has improved recently, thanks to companies like Adams and Nike, but it's not something that jumps off the page of a magazine ad like an additional axis of adjustment does.
The Grenade driver features two triangular channels cut into the rear part of the sole. BombTech says that they analyzed and tested dozens of designs for the cavity using SolidWorks, a CAD software, and used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to arrive at the final, optimized design. BombTech's website uses that data to calculate a value for drag force, which shows the importance of optimizing the drag coefficient as well as the club area (making the area as small as possible for aerodynamic reasons but keeping the volume at 460cc and the face large for forgiveness).
One thing that the BombTech website doesn't mention is the moment of inertia benefit that comes from those cavities. Increasing MOI to a driver can be a little counterintuitive; when you want to remove mass from an iron, you use a cavity, but a cavity actually increases the mass of a driver because the club is hollow. Think of it like this: if you were to take a BombTech Grenade and remove the cavities completely, would it weigh more or less than the driver they sell? The answer is less, of course, because they would be using less material. The slightly more mass used in the design to create the cavities increases the mass in the corners of the clubhead, which increases the MOI and moves the CoG deeper, both of which are beneficial.
They also advertise a higher center of gravity, which they say reduces spin. Each Grenade driver is made of two pieces of cast titanium, including a TI-1188 beta titanium face, which BombTech says has a superior tensile strength and reaches the USGA maximum CoR of .83.
Though flashy graphics and shiny, sharp lines do hold a certain appeal, I've always preferred a more simplistic approach to golf club design, which is what BombTech has employed.
The crown of the Grenade is a matte black, which is an interesting choice given the fact that the sole of the club is a reflective black finish. I understand and appreciate the appeal of the matte black - glare was greatly reduced versus both matte white and reflective black crowns I tested - though you do lose a certain sleekness factor that reflective crowns have. All in all, I do like the choice. Though I'm not completely averse to different colors of crowns on a driver, black still looks the best to my eyes, and I appreciate that that's what they've gone with here.
There is no alignment aid on the crown, which is just fine for me. My favorite alignment aids in the past have been small and understated (the TaylorMade "T" logo, the Nike "Covert" script), and going to a driver without the alignment aid didn't even present a learning curve. If anything, I made me focus even harder on making sure the face was squared up and in the right place. I also like the fact that they haven't gone the TaylorMade/Adams route of large writing and shapes meant to help you line up the club, which frankly I'm not sure does anything other than look gaudy.
The face is the same black color as the crown, with lime green (more on that in a second) paint in the grooves. It frames the ball nicely, which is really all you can ask for.
The sole of the club continues that understated look. The plain black color is broken up for five items: the BombTech Golf logo, the loft, the clubhead size (460cc), "Grenade," and the cavities. Lime green and white are used as accent colors.
My guess is that some people might not like the lime green - it doesn't exactly promote the fearsome and sinister look that many golf club manufacturers are looking to promote - but I love it. It just looks great, and contrasts very nicely with the jet black color of the sole. It reminded me of the view through night vision goggles, which ties in nicely with the club's name.
The shaft is a similar tint of green.
If I'm picking nits, there's really only one thing I don't love about the look of the club. At address, the toe of the club - where the face meets the crown meets the sole - is quite angular. This is a look that some of TaylorMade's recent drivers have had (dating back to the Burner SuperFast models, and including the current RocketBallz drivers), and it's one that I'm not crazy about. If you want to know what I mean, compare this picture of the Nike Covert Tour against the below picture of the Grenade. Specifically, look at the way the edge of the crown on the Covert curves out a bit more.
Again, not a big thing, and judging by the way that the RocketBallz have sold, I may be the only person in the world who cares about this.
I've reviewed enough golf clubs by now that I know not to come out and promise you 20 extra yards. By that standard, I should be well over 400 by now. Unless your last driver began its life fighting for sunlight in a persimmon forrest, no current driver on the market is going to be lightyears ahead of the rest.
But I have to say, the Grenade killed the ball. Swinging the club, it has a very light and balanced feel, as if it's all one piece. The weight feels very much evenly distributed, and I was able to take really big swings without having to exert much effort. At the same time, I was never felt like I was losing a sense for the clubhead.
Alongside the Grenade, I was able to hit current drivers from several of the bigger OEMs: Nike, Titleist, and TaylorMade. The Grenade launched the highest of all the drivers I tested, and was also pretty consistently the longest by a decent margin.
The general formula for long distance is fast swing speed + high launch + low spin, and that's an equation that the Grenade adheres to pretty strictly. With the light weight and aerodynamic design, I was never at a loss for swing speed, and the launch conditions were downright perfect for me. The ball got up quickly and stayed there. It seldom ballooned and never fell out of the air prematurely.
The feel and sound of the Grenade were both terrific. I was originally skeptical that the Grenade would sound either too tinny or feel a bit harsh, but I got none of that. Even though BombTech doesn't have the engineering resources to spend months tweaking the sound and feel, both of those variables have been mastered.
Forgiveness was great, not category-leading but certainly on par with the other drivers I tested. It also seemed to work the ball better the the other drivers. Even without some sort of hosel adjustability system, I was easily able to hit massive hooks and flaring draws, through fades seemed the easiest of all.
While we're on that topic, I do have to mention the lack of adjustability. Ultimately, that's probably the biggest sticking point with the Grenade. There are no weights to move around, not sole plate to tinker with, and most importantly, no sort of hosel adjustability. It's understandable, but disappointing given how ubiquitous adjustability has become. The Grenade is also available in only one loft, 10.5˚, and a system like Nike's Flex loft could tackle both of those problems at once.
The shafts in the BombTech Grenade drivers are a custom Matrix Grenade design. It's lime green like the accenting on the clubhead, and is available in a-flex, ladies, regular, stiff, and x-flex. The shafts can also be ordered in any length from 44.5-47 inches (in half-inch intervals). Some shafts I've tested recently have seemed oddly whippy for their flex rating, but the stiff flex Matrix felt very true.
The grips on the Grenade are Pure Pros, one of the best non-cord grips on the market. It has great tackiness, and Pure's grips are known for their longevity.
The headcover is a matter of form versus function. It's got a quick-release handle, which makes getting it off a snap, and the sock is sized perfectly. Unfortunately, it's not great to look at. The white is kind of gaudy (I wish the black was carried over from the clubhead), and the colorful accenting doesn't look great.
The Grenade is currently available only in a 10.5˚ model, though more lofts are expected in the future, and the cavities can be painted green upon request (mine came with green cavities, which I highly recommend).
All BombTech Grenade purchases have a 30-day money back guarantee, and they currently offer free shipping to the U.S. and Canada. The Grenade is listed for $299.
While I do have a few qualms with the Grenade, I can say for certain that BombTech has a winner here.
It's got just about everything you could look for: distance, great launch, and good feel and sound. It looks awesome, and you are presented with a variety of shaft stiffnesses and lengths at purchase.
But it faces stiff competition. It's priced at $299, lower than the new drivers of most OEMs, but more expensive than year-old models offering most of the newest technology. It's competing not with the R1 and Covert, but with the R11S and the original RocketBallz. Whether you consider it competitive depends on how your value name brands, hosel adjustably, U.S. design and assembly, and supporting a smaller business. No matter what though, you're not going to be disappointed with the product.