Moment of inertia (MOI) represents a club's resistance to twisting on off-center hits. The higher the MOI, the more distance and accuracy you get when you miss the sweet spot. It's an attribute that has set off a marketing numbers race among club manufacturers as they begin to push towards the limits set by the USGA.
Tour Edge, based in Batavia, IL, has become something of an interesting maverick among club manufacturers. Founded in 1985 by former club pro David Glod, they have gradually built a solid reputation for delivering innovation and performance in clubs that don't come with a premium price tag.
So, while they have created a premium-priced line of clubs under the Exotics moniker like the Exotics CB2 3-wood we recently reviewed here, their core line of clubs under the Bazooka designation are solid, playable, affordable sticks. So how does their newest high-MOI driver stack up? Here's the review…
Design and Construction
As I wrote in a Bag Drop when the club was introduced, the GeoMax is another entry into the 460cc high-MOI driver category the market became awash in this year. But unlike square and scoop-crowned drivers, the GeoMax comes with a much more traditional shape.
It's an all-titanium clubhead that pushes the legal limits of the breadth-to-face ratio set by the USGA to 9.75. They did this to achieve the comparatively high MOI of 5,000 g/cm². The designers pulled the trailing edge back away from the face in a lot less radical way than Nike took with their SasQuatch, as Titleist did with the 907 D1, or even as much as TaylorMade did with the new Burner.
Further contributing to the high MOI is a 20-gram tungsten sole weight placed as far back from the clubface as possible. This helps move the center of gravity deeper and lower in the head that not only contributes to the high MOI, but it helps deliver a slightly higher launch angle.
While we're looking at a deep clubhead from front to back, the face is comparatively shallow by modern 460cc standards measures just 2" deep. As we will discuss later, this attribute, along with others, contributes to a higher launch angle.
It's somewhat curious to me that the designers chose to put scoring lines in the impact area. Painted in white while the flanking score lines are black, they help somewhat with alignment. But from what I understand, grooves on a driver don't contribute much, if anything. In fact, most players would benefit from less spin with their driver… not that these grooves will create much, if any, spin.
The shaft is a Grafalloy made to Tour Edge's specifications. In stiff, it's a 65-gram model with 3.8 degrees of torque (moderately low) and rated as a mid-launch stick. More on its performance later, but in this flex it does seem to have a slightly softer tip than some other shafts I've tried this year.
The grip is branded for Tour Edge. I can't tell if it's a Golf Pride, Lamkin, or brand X but it feels like a Tour Velvet albeit with Crossline-type scoring. But no matter, it's a very comfortable grip. There is no reminder rib.
I have to say that this is one of the better looking drivers introduced this year. In the address position it presents itself as an almost traditional driver shape, despite the fact the rear edge has been pulled back away from the face.
The crown is a deep iridescent blue. Think of a blueberry version of candy apple red (of course, to know candy apple red, you need to know the California custom car culture of the 50s). In the shade or in room light, it looks black. But get it out in the sunlight and the color comes alive. While I might favor black, this is a very attractive color choice that is subtle enough not to be distracting.
The alignment mark on the crown is the Bazooka logo: "italicized" crosshairs in a circle. It looks good and does the job for those who like an alignment mark.
On the sole are two yellow-painted scallops. I don't know what it is, but yellow sure got to be the "in" accent this year showing up as it does on Nike, Adams, and TaylorMade clubs, among others. On the GeoMax, the blue and yellow scheme continues on the shaft. While most of the shaft is painted a dark silver grey, the top five inches just under the grip is painted blue and separated from the grey by a painted yellow shaft band simulation.
It's a great looking stick. I particularly like the shape of the head, especially in this day of extreme designs.
A word on the headcover: it's the usual molded type with a knit sleeve at the bottom that takes two hands and a few curse words to put on. It carries out the black, gold, and blue color scheme of the club and doesn't look half bad.
My test club was a 9° loft with a stiff shaft. This loft, one of five different loft choices, comes with a 0°, or square/neutral, face angle. A square face generally gives the appearance of a slightly closed face and this was true here.
Most "player's" drivers are built with a slightly open face of 2° or 3° to give the appearance of square at address. But even with a square face angle the GeoMax driver sets up really well. It took maybe five seconds to adjust to it. Swinging the club, my test sample felt good. The swing weight I measured on this club was a moderate D1.
The sound at impact was especially good and somewhat lower pitched than a Callaway X460 I've played. It's very impressive for an all-titanium clubhead. While nothing will ever duplicate the sound of persimmon on balata, I've come to prefer the sound of all-titanium heads to the muted thud on some composite clubheads or the horrible clang of the Nike Sumo².
Writing club reviews is always a tough exercise in that at some point it has to become a pretty subjective process. So what follows is one player's highly personal experience.
Marrying a mid-launch shaft with less-than-minimal torque and what felt like a softer tip to a somewhat shallow-faced head is going to result in a higher launch than the loft might indicate. And that was my experience. I had trouble keeping my shots down to the launch angle I normally expect with a 9° driver. And, during my test rounds, I did manage to balloon a couple.
That said, I was able to hit controlled fades pretty much at will. Attempts at gentle draws, however, generally resulted in full-blown hooks. Part of this may be my swing quirks, but I think that this is such a high MOI driver, it's meant to hit balls straight. And that's really what it's best at.
That the shaft, while stiff, seemed a little soft at the bottom meant I wasn't seeing my normal distance. The higher launch I was getting meant I wasn't realizing optimum roll. This doesn't mean this is a bad shaft, just maybe a bad shaft for me. I want to love every new club I try. But sometimes the magic just isn't there.
Specifications and Options
One of the most impressive things about the Tour Edge and its GeoMax driver, beyond its looks and sound, is the way they've customized the specifications for each of the five different loft models they offer.
Loft Lie Length Face Angle Flex ---- --- ------ ---------- ---- 9.0° 59° 45" 0° Square L,A,R,S,X 10.5°* 59° 45" 1° Closed L,A,R,S,X 12.0° 60° 45" 1° Closed L,A,R,S,X 14.0° 60° 45" 2° Closed L,A,R,S,X 16.0° 60° 44.5" 2.5° Closed L,A,R,S,X *Left hand only available in 10.5°
As the specification chart shows, with each increase in loft across the line, the face angle closes to create a progressively greater draw bias. And that makes great sense to me because players requiring greater loft are generally helped by a club that helps them fight the rights. The 1° flatter lie angle in the 12°, 14°, and 16° versions also helps in that regard.
Flex Weight Launch Torque ---- ------ ------ ------ L 55g High 4.5 A 59g High 4.0 R 63g High 3.8 S 65g Mid 3.8 X 67g Mid 3.5
The same attention to player types by loft shows up in the shaft specifications. The more flex, the lighter weight and greater torque. To me this means Tour Edge has gone the distance in trying to produce models within the GeoMax line that are going to make the most sense for the most players.
Custom shafts and grips are offered, although I have no idea of what they might be. Best to check with your pro or golf shop.
Perhaps the most remarkable specification of all is the price. This solid, well-built, modern, high MOI driver retails for only $199.99 at retailers like Edwin Watts. Dollar for dollar, it's quite a value against the $300 and $400 drivers offered by the bigger brand names. Bravo Tour Edge.
I know it's not fashionable to choose a brand or club that doesn't have a major presence on the PGA Tour. And there's the unfortunate mindset that says the more you pay the more you get. But let's be real. You buy a driver to play the best golf you can… the greatest distance with the greatest accuracy.
Anybody in the market for a driver needs to consider as many options as possible. And, in my opinion, that should include the Tour Edge GeoMax. It's a beautifully designed, solid club delivering high MOI. If the shaft is right for you, this might be the biggest bargain you'll ever find in a driver of such excellent quality.