Lately, when I take my Maryland Terrapins headcover off of my driver on the first tee at my golf club and start taking practice cuts, my playing partners tend to ask the same thing.
"What's that driver you're playing?"
I smile and I say, "It's a Powerbilt driver. Air Force One."
To a person, they're all stunned the name Powerbilt came out of my mouth. A lot of people think the company is out of business, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In fact, they're the makers of the driver I've been gaming all season long.
The Air Force One DFX looks and sounds like a throwback, but it performs very well. The aesthetics are a muted modern, which a simple black paint job in a machine-gun finish. There's no adjustable component to it, something a lot of amateurs don't bother to use anyhow. The look is simple, nondescript, but the performance isn't.
The DFX part of the club name stands for "Deep Face Extreme," with the club face 5 mm deeper than the previous model, the aim to keep the ball on the face for longer and transfer more energy at impact leading to more yards off the tee.
Inside the clubhead is nitrogen -- good ole element No. 7. The idea behind the company pumping in nitrogen -- charging it, in their parlance -- into the head is to beef up the face's stability at impact without adding weight to the club. Imagine when you puff out your cheeks. With the face more stable through the hitting zone, the company says there's better transfer of energy, less sidespin and more of the feel goods when your partners marvel at that last drive you bombed.
I've yet to hit the Air Force One DFX with a launch monitor to watch the action, but there are some things I really like about it that no amount of data can tell me.
First, the sound. I'm picky when it comes to the sound my driver makes. I don't like it to sound like a softball bat or that I'm swinging a sledgehammer. The Air Force One has a clean, swift sound that gives good feedback at impact.
Second, the offset is minimal. There's little to distract visually for a player who likes to work the ball both ways. There's no fighting an offset to hit the cut. It doesn't drastically impact the big, swinging draw.
In honesty, I didn't gain any yardage in playing the Air Force One, but I hit the ball a long way as it is. I'd be interested in trying the 12.5-degree model to see if I could optimize my ball flight and gain a few extra yards of carry, but the roll I get in the summertime is much more of an asset off the tee.
The Air Force One DFX is available in both the high-MOI and Tour Series models, in 8.5-, 9.5-, 10.5- and 12.5-degree clubheads. The standard club length is 45.5 inches but Powerbilt offers a variety of shafts from leading makers for a custom fit. The driver retails for $299.99, with an upcharge for premium shafts, but is on sale at their online shop for $249.99.