~ ~ The Callaway ERC driver is the latest offering from the renowned golf club manufacturers Callaway, whose equipment is the choice of so many of today’s top professionals, and hence much sought after and purchased by the sport’s millions of amateurs. This club is, in fact, in the second stage of its development, the original ERC 1 recently being superseded by Callaway’s latest model, the ERC 2. ~ ~ Before I get into describing the golf club and why it is considered so different from many other drivers, let me tell you about some of the controversy it has caused in the golfing world. There are two “ruling bodies” in the world of golf. The oldest (and still most highly respected) is the Royal and Ancient Golf Club at Saint Andrews, the home of golf. The other is the USPGA and USGA, the professional and amateur bodies in the USA. These organisations both make and amend the rules for golfers the world over, the R & A presiding over Europe, and the USGA over the USA. ~ ~ Now it is not often that these two bodies disagree over something, golf not being a sport that either likes or condones controversy and argument, but they have had a major disagreement about this new driver from Callaway. Before a new piece of golf equipment can come into play it must first be inspected by officials from these two bodies, and pass a stringent series of tests to ensure that it doesn’t give a player an undue or unfair advantage over other golfers. In the case of the ERC driver, it has been approved for use in tournament play by the R & A, but has been rejected as illegal by the USPGA. So at present there is a somewhat crazy and confused situation, where this club is legal in Europe, and in much of the rest of the world, but is illegal in the States. ~ ~ Now this doesn’t mean that a golfer cannot buy or use it in America, but simply that they cannot use it in a competition, or they run the ris
k of being disqualified. So many of the top professionals actually own this driver, but cannot use it when they are playing in a USPGA tournament, whereas it is alright for them to do so in Britain, Europe, and most of the rest of the world. No doubt this will be resolved eventually, and some sort of compromise agreement and settlement reached, as there is simply too much money involved here for anything else to happen otherwise, but for the moment this is the way things stand. ~ ~ So what is it about this club that is causing so much fuss? Put simply, it is the fact that nearly all golfers who use it will find an immediate improvement in both the distance and accuracy of their drives. In tests, it has been shown that the average improvement in length is about the 35 yards mark, while the straightness, or accuracy, of the shot has improved by about 20%. This has been achieved by Callaway using computer-aided design, and revolutionary new methods of manufacturing the clubhead, using a very thin titanium alloy. The result of this is that the golf ball leaves the clubhead at a higher velocity than with other drivers, and a slight “positive draw” bias has been built in to ensure that the ball will also fly straighter most of the time, even with hits that are less than perfect. ~ ~ The R & A say that this is within the rules of the game, while the USPGA say it gives users an unfair advantage. So who’s right? To be honest, I wouldn’t be qualified to answer that question, and leave it to the respective governing bodies to sort out the mess between them. What I do know is that having tested out this club over a number of rounds I would agree completely with the test findings. It DOES hit the golf ball both further and straighter than any other driver I have ever used, and that includes its “legal” competitors from the likes of Taylor Made and Ping. ~ ~ But at a cost of about
£500 (Sterling, it’s nearer £650 Irish Punts!) it won’t be going into my golf bag until they come up with a definitive answer as to its legality or otherwise. I got caught out this way once before, when my “Ping Eye 2” irons were suddenly declared illegal after I had been using them for over two years, that resulted in them having to be returned to the manufacturers for over two months for modifications to be made. (It also cost over £100!!) Do try out this driver though if you get the chance. I guarantee you that you will hit the ball like you never have before.
£500,, YES £500 . Thats how much this beautiful piece of craftsmanship costs. So of course you will understand my surprise when I got my hands on it , only to realise that its not all that beautiful and its mass produced , not painstakingly chiseled by a craftsman as you would expect. Now dont get me wrong , in the right hands its a great piece of kit, but is it really worth £500. I dont think so. I was given the chance to use the ERC at a recent demo day and it is a good club , but thats all. I was expecting to whack every ball miles , but in reality I hit the HAWKEYE straighter and, even longer than the ERC. You see the way the ERC works is there's a very tiny space behind the clubface which gives a trampolene effect,,, if you hit the sweetspot. But lets face it , how often does the average club golfer do that!! So in reality the only people who will benefit from this club are the pro's. In my opinion, if you want to splash out on something special, why not buy a top class putter, after all the average golfer will use this almost three times more in an average round of golf.