I must admit, when I was first asked to review this driver, I was very excited. I had heard about the new Callaway RAZR X Black from advertisements and in golf magazines. I am an avid Callaway driver user; I have the 2011 Callaway RAZR Hawk and the Callaway Diablo Edge Tour driver as well. The RAZR X Black is this season's new hot club following in the footsteps of this years RAZR FIT driver. At my local golf store this club is on the shelf, but there are not very many on display because it is selling quite well.
Callaway has gone through a bit of a lull but I think with the latest line of drivers they are coming on strong. Let's see how the RAZR X Black driver stacks up, shall we?
Test Model Details
The driver I tested was a 9.5° model with a Fujikura Motore F8 stiff shaft. I think this was an excellent shaft choice for this head, and it's designed to look good with this driver.
The RAZR X Black is a forged composite driver designed to be much lighter than titanium. Today, carbon fiber is the hot technology which is being used in bikes, cars, and even Boeing's newest airplanes because of how light and strong it is.
The head has also been designed with streamlined surface technology to create less drag and higher impact speeds. The carbon fiber is what attracts me to Callaway's drivers. Many of my friends are race car enthusiasts and will often rave about the importance of making the car light but still retaining durability. Carbon Fiber is the ideal material, where it is light enough to increase your swing speed, but durable enough to not be damaged while in your golf club. With the RAZR X Black, Callaway has added the feature of streamlining the head design to take even more advantage of the Carbon Fiber material.
Callaway states that the forged composite contains over 12 million turbostatic carbon fibers that reinforce the crown of the club. This also allows the Callaway engineers to precisely control thickness resulting in a lighter club head and an high MOI.
The RAZR X Black has a Speed Frame Face Technology which is designed to have a larger sweetspot and help off center drives go a long way and still be very forgiving. The driver also has Distance Trajectory Weighting which is designed to put the center of gravity lower in the clubhead to launch the ball high and help get the ball up in the air. I was worried when I read high launch. For me, having the driver balloon in the air is a big issue that I want to avoid. For this club Callaway did not go overboard with the launch conditions and it creates a nice boring trajectory which was very pleasing. I will go into the face and how forgiving it is in the Playability section.
The driver has a very shallow face which allows the club designer to put the volume of the driver between the toe and heel. This design harkens back to the days of the square driver which explains some of the performance I will talk about later. The top of the driver is mostly black but has some red lines as well as some grey sections. When the driver is flipped over the real excitement begins. The heel and the toe have a mesh look which surround the black Callaway crest which is a carry over from the original Diablo design. The bottom of the club head was designed for speed. Callaway refers to this as streamlined surface technology which reduces energy loss from drag by 17% versus the Diablo Octane driver.
The black, red, and grey make for an outstanding contrast and a very powerful look to the head. The entire driver has very clean lines as if it were inspired by race cars. The shaft colors and design make it a good fit. The finish of the club is very shiny which goes along nicely with the black design of the head. Callaway calls this a black PVD finish which they describe as head turning cool. When looking down at the ball the head gives a very confident and inspiring look which by the end of my demo period I really started to like.
The grip is a standard Callaway rubber grip. If I do have a complaint about the esthetics its that they did not go for a more player oriented grip. Many of the other club companies will put the new Golf Pride Multicompound or a Winn grip, which is a simple upgrade that really makes the driver feel good in your hands. Of course this is easy to change but this is one small area that Callaway could change and I think it would make a big difference.
The headcover is a subtle red and black color which I also really like. The designers at Callaway really did a great job with the look of this driver, the design is really second to none.
Playability and Feel
The feel of this driver is great. It does feel a bit light when you pick it up but it feels very solid when striking the ball. When I first picked up the driver I was a bit concerned it would be too light but after swinging it, I am no longer concerned with the weight of the club. I think the work that Callaway did to tune the MOI really helped give the club an extremely solid feel when being swung. Today it seems that MOI is usually not given enough attention and I cannot say that with the RAZR X Black.
The sound, which can sometimes ruin a good club is great, it is muted and not very loud. The composite heads have a very pleasing sound when struck and this driver is no different. The clubhead is built to have a very shallow face which means they can put the size of the clubhead into the width of the club, giving it a very confidence inspiring size when looking down on it.
I went on Trackman to test out the performance and I have included the numbers below. The driver compared favorably to my current driver, I did not pick up massive yardage, but I will say that the club is as forgiving as any out there. This was the big positive surprise for me when hitting the club. Mis-hits still have quite a bit of pop, and while playing toe hits and heel hits where not big differences from center hits. I believe that some of this is due to the club head having a similar design to the square club head from a few years ago. I often found the square club heads to be quite forgiving. During the Trackman session I did hit some massive left shots which I thought were due to the closed face but now finding out the face is open a bit, I guess it was just a lousy swing. I will say that I did very often find that my miss was left with this club. I did not hit massive hooks with it, but if I missed it very often the ball would be in the left rough when I missed it. I am not certain, but they may have set the internal weighting of the club for a draw bias which to the average golfer might be a big advantage.
The best of the bunch was the fourth. This is a good indicator of what this club can do. This shot was as long as any shot with my current club or any other clubs I have tested. You can also see that the landing angle of this club is not overly high so it was definitely not ballooning. Typically I like to see about 30 degrees for my landing angle and this club was right on that.
The launch angle is just about right where you want it for my clubhead speed and angle of attack and the high smash factors tell you that the club has good pop even on the couple that I missed.
The other reason to put my Trackman numbers up there is often when I read reviews I am unsure of the player who is reviewing the clubs capabilities. I think that my swing speed is fairly average for most golfers, maybe a bit low, but it can still give you a gauge of my capabilities versus yours.
On the course my results were very solid as well. I got a few comments that the sound of the clubhead was quite good and that the look was unique. With all the white headed drivers out there this is a driver that gets a decent amount of attention because of the red and grey markings on the top of the club, but it is not so loud to be standing out amongst your foursome. When I handed the club off to playing partners almost everyone hit the fairway and was surprised how forgiving the driver is. One of the guys had recently purchased a popular white driver and found he hit this one every bit as far and found the RAZR X Black to be a bit more forgiving. He had already made the investment in the white driver but he wished he had tried this one before making his purchase.
The driver I demoed was a 9.5 degree stiff driver. The length was a standard 46" and the face is 1 degree open. I must admit it does not look open when the driver sits on the ground, it looks almost closed to my eyes so that should not be something that concerns you. Actually the closed "look" of the driver would likely be my biggest complaint about this driver. When I read the specs saying that it is 1 degree open it shocked me. Both the 8.5 and 9.5 come with the face open 1 degree, the 10.5 degree is square, and any loft above 10.5 is 1 degree closed. I believe for most golfers, open, square, and closed will not be an issue.
The length of the driver is fairly standard by today's guidelines and the swingweight is D5 which is also fairly standard. As I will discuss the clubhead when holding it does feel on the light side, but when being swung it does not feel overly light compared to other drivers.
Loft Lie Length Swingweight ---- --- ------ ------------ 8.5° 57° 46" D5 9.5° 57° 46" D5 10.5° 57° 46" D5 13.5° 57° 46" D5
I think for the price that Callaway has put on the RAZR X Black this is one of the best values that has come out in the past few years. This is very solid driver which does all the little things right. Outstanding mechanical design with good color choices, designed into a very solid club that performs very well. The ball sounds good off the face, and it is one of the most forgiving on mishits. I think if you are looking to spend a bit less coin than the amount for the RAZR FIT driver this is an outstanding alternative and an excellent value.
To help with this closed look it might be a nice feature to offer some adjustability capabilities as with some of the other drivers on the market. Allowing us to adjust the face angle a bit, although I would doubt if too many people would want the face much more open than it already is. I imagine this was discussion that Callaway had and decided in order to produce the best driver they had better make it as simple as possible.
The best part of this driver in my opinion is the value for the dollar that this driver provides. The retail price is $249.00 which is $50 to $100 less than many of the other drivers that are out there today. I think for this price Callaway has created a good driver for the average golfer and even the better player who wants to save a little money. As a 6 handicap, I feel this driver is right in my wheelhouse because it is not overly expensive and Callaway took care of many of the important details. Typically when the price point is low, it means you are made to compromise one or more important feature, like it looks good but sounds awful, or is very forgiving but doesn't go all that far, but that is simply not the case with this driver.
I would highly recommend this driver for anyone from the beginner to the skilled amateur golf to give this club a try. I would be quite surprised if tour players were using this driver, but it is not because of lack of performance. I do feel the "closed" look and internal weighting may give the better player or professional some trouble, but that should not deter us weekend warriors from using this club.