Golfsmith SR460 Driver

Golfsmith SR460 Driver – Almost Perfect

This driver is very similar to the Cleveland HiBore driver and is about half way between the original HiBore,325CC, and the new HiBore XL, 460CC. If you look at the new XL, you will notice that it is huge. Even with the same 460CC size, it looks huge at setup because of the inverted crown. The original HiBore had the same size foot print as most 460CC drivers, when you looked down on it at address. With the new XL, you have a much larger head and it looks quite big down there, and it would take some getting used to. If you’re one of those golfers that have a hard time liking any of the big 460CC drivers, the XL will not be for you. With the SR460, you get pretty much the same foot print size as with all of the big 460CC driver, and that’s about all most golfers can stand. The SR460 also has the same aluminum baseball bat sound to it when you hit a ball. Quite loud the first time you try it, but after a few swings I got used to it, and in fact I now miss that sound whenever I hit one of my other drivers. All my other drivers seem rather “tame” compared to this SR460. While it is louder than most drivers, it’s not anywhere near as loud as the Cobra LD or Nike Sumo2.

The head has a recessed crown, it’s not just inverted like the HiBore, but the crown is actually recessed about 3/16ths of an inch. What this does is it lowers the CG of the head about half an inch, and moves it half an inch back, away from the face. What that does is increase the launch angle and reduce the backspin at the same time. Pretty much what every golfer needs. Most all good clubfitters will tell you, with a driver you want to increase the launch angle and lower the backspin rate. This is what the SR460 was designed to do. There is also a tungsten sole weight in the heel to provide a draw-bias flight pattern. Again, something most golfers can use, as most golfers tend to fight a slice with the driver.

One of the things I learned about playing golf at high altitude, is that you need more loft and spin with the driver if you want to maximize your carry distance. This is because backspin creates LIFT, and that lift helps to keep the ball up in the air longer, which results in more carry. At high altitude, the thin air means less lift from the backspin, and the ball falls out of the air too soon for maximum carry. The way to correct this is by using a head with higher loft, which will launch the ball higher and with a little more backspin than a low loft head. This is the reason I decided to go with the 11.5* head, rather than the 10.0* head for this review.

Golfsmith sells a lot of different driver heads, so you might be wondering why I picked this one to test. Well, there are a few reasons. First you should know something about Golfsmith that sets them apart from all other companies that I know about. Golfsmith rates all their club heads for 3 thing. Trajectory, Forgiveness, and Workability. The SR460 is rated HIGH for trajectory, MID for forgiveness, and MID for workability. Going by those ratings, I knew that this would be a good driver for the way I like to play golf. I want a high launch angle for good distance, a reasonable amount of forgiveness for less than perfect swings, while maintaining a decent chance I can hit a draw or fade when I want or need to work the ball. This is not something you can find in a lot of the newer 460CC drivers on the market. Some of them may offer more forgiveness, which is nice, but not much chance to work the ball right or left. It’s kind of a trade-off with most drivers. All that forgiveness doesn’t come without a price. Also, my normal ball flight is a straight high shot. What I was looking for was a driver that would help a bit with hitting a draw, as I struggle with that, and then allow me to hit a fade when I want to. Hitting a fade I can do pretty well. I figured with the draw weighting of this head, I might be able to hit a draw without too much trouble, and still hit a fade as needed. I tried to do this with a TaylorMade R7 Draw a few months ago. While the R7 Draw allowed me to hit a slight draw, I could never hit a fade with it. I tried a dozen times and all I ever got was a low line drive. No height to the shot and no fade, so I crossed the R7 Draw off the board for my goals.

Picking a shaft was a harder challenge. I can’t stand a high torque shaft, any thing over 3.5* or so is too high. With a high loft head, I wanted a mid kick point shaft to give me a nice penetrating ball flight. I’ve read a lot of good press on the ProForce V2 65 gram shaft, and it pretty much fits that description to a tee, no pun intended. Torque is rated as 3.0, and the kick point is MID. Just about exactly what I was looking for. As a bonus, the yellow/white/black paint job would work well with the black SR460 head. For a grip, I decided to go with a Golfsmith red half cord. The top half is red cord for good purchase, the bottom half is a softer black rubber compound, which is easy on the fingers, and offers good “feel”. I’ve used this grip before and I knew it was an excellent grip and a good fit for me.

Because Golfsmith is a component company I had a choice, I could have them assemble the club or I could get the parts and assemble it myself. I decided to do the assembly myself for a few reasons. First, I like to spine align every graphite shaft I use in a driver or fairway wood. Second, I prefer a swing weight of D4, which is a little higher than normal. Assembling the club myself allowed me to build the club exactly as I wanted it to be built. As I’ve come to expect from Golfsmith, all the components arrived and every thing fit together perfectly after I did the tip prep on the shaft. After cutting the shaft to length for a 45,5 inch finished length; I dry assembled the club to check the swing weight. It was at D6, so I decided to cut an !/8 inch off the butt of the shaft. This brought the swing weight down to the desired D4 I was looking for, and I didn’t feel that going with a 45.25 inch driver would make any difference compared to 45.5, as I first wanted. At this point, I did a spine alignment on the shaft and after cleaning all surfaces to be epoxied, I assembled the club and let it sit over night. The next day I installed the grip and headed for the range to try out the new driver.

After warming up with a different driver to get a feel for my swing that day. I teed up the first ball. Upon impact, there was a loud crack, and the ball just flew off the clubface. Pretty much what I had expected. Having hit a few HiBore and XL drivers in the past, I knew this SR460 would be loud, and it was. Not enough to be annoying, but loud enough to let me know I put a good lick on the ball. One nice thing about the sound is that the closer you hit the ball to the center of the sweet spot, the louder it is. Which means I know when you hit a really good one. And that’s a great feeling, even before I look down the fairway and see how far it went. Now that I’ve had enough time to hit a few buckets of balls with it, I’m quite impressed with this SR460. The ball flight is right where I like it, around a 16* launch angle. Distance is real good. While this is not the most forgiving driver I own, I didn’t expect it to be, and that’s not what I was looking for. What I was looking for was a driver that would allow me to work the ball left and right. And after setting up to hit a fade, that’s exactly what I got. And hitting a draw wasn’t too hard either. I wish I could say every draw attempt and fade attempt worked out perfectly. I can’t. But that’s my fault, not the driver’s fault. This driver will get the job done just fine when I do my part. And the ProForce V2 shaft is just about perfect for my swing. The club feels nice and stable all during the swing. The only thing I might have done, is go with the 76-gram version of the V2. A few weeks ago, after I had ordered the components for this driver, I had a fitting on a ShaftLab for a driver. What the ShaftLab recommended for my swing was an S flex 75-gram shaft. This is based on how I load the shaft, and my tempo. As it happens, I checked to weight of the V2 I got in, and it weighed 70 grams, so as it turned out, this V2 was pretty close to being exactly what was recommended to me by the ShaftLab. Seeing as how all my other drivers have either a 55-gram or 65 gram shaft, I think this 70-gram V2 is a real nice fit for me. Now that I now I like the ProForce V2 shaft, I might have to try the 76-gram version in one of my other drivers. With a torque rating of 2.2, the accuracy should be outstanding.

While there is no such thing as the perfect driver, this SR460 comes pretty close for the better golfers out there. The ones that want to be able to work the ball right or left on command. Recently I’ve heard on TV that working the ball is a lost art for the new young pros on tour. All they want to do it seems is bomb it long and prey the ball finds the short grass. Or be close enough to the green to be able to hit a wedge out of the rough. I guess I must be old fashioned, because I like the idea of being able to hit a nice left to right fade, right around the corner on a dogleg right hole. Or hit a nice draw to the left on a dogleg left hole. If you happen to agree with this, then the SR460 is a driver you should check out. If all you want is to hit the ball straight, then there are a lot of drivers that are a little more forgiving for you to play with. If that’s more like what you want, then check out some of the other driver heads that Golfsmith sells. The one’s listed with a MAX under Forgiveness. Don’t get me wrong here, this driver isn’t hard to hit well, it’s just not the most forgiving driver out there. I’d say it’s more like 85 % of that most forgiving driver out there. What you get for that 15 % lose, is a big increase in Workability. And for me, that’s a great trade-off. While you might find a more workable driver somewhere, good luck finding one with enough forgiveness to allow you to find the fairway on a regular basis. The courses I play the most, have a lot of holes where I can run out of fairway if I hit a good drive straight down the center of the fairway. Most par 4’s have a dogleg in the fairway that forces me to either work the ball around the corner, or hit a fairway wood off the tee, and be left with a longer second shot into the green. I’d much rather hit a long drive around the corner and be 2 or 3 club lengths closer for my approach shot. With the recent work I’ve been doing to get my swing speed/carry distance up with a driver, I’m getting a few 300-yard drives every round. And the more 300 yard drives I hit, the more I’m finding a need to work the ball left or right so as not to run out of fairway. It doesn’t matter how far you or I hit a driver, there’s not too many things worse than hitting a nice long drive down the center of the fairway, only the have said fairway make a sharp turn to the left or right, and have the ball come to rest in the tall rough. Or worse, a fairway bunker. If this has every happened to you, you understand why I like this SR460. It gives me what I’m looking for in a driver. Good distance, decent forgiveness, and the ability to work the ball when I need or want to. Hard to beat a combination like this. If you want it all in one driver, then check out the SR460 at a Golfsmith store near you. The SR460 had sells for $89.99, the V2 shaft is $69.99, and the grip is $2.69. If you compare the total of $162.67 for the components to the price of a new HiBore XL at $299.99, I think you will see that this driver is worth checking out real soon.

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