In the world of high end premium drivers, marketing plays a huge role. If potential
customers don't see your stick on TV (being played on tour by the best in the world)
how can it be any good? That's the perception. While we won't dispute that the clubs
we DO see on tour (like TaylorMade's SLDR, Cobra's Bio Cell and Nike's Covert 2.0 - all
drivers that we've recently tested) are all great high performance clubs, there is a niche
in the marketplace for companies like Powerbilt that have been around for decades,
and produce high quality products with innovation & high performance.
Powerbilt's latest edition of their Nitrogen charged driver is the Air Force One N7 DFX
(Deep Face Extreme).
Powerbilt looks to earn it's product credibility through performance. The AFO N7
comes in choices of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and if lofting up is your thing, a 12.5 model
is available. 8.5 & 9.5 models are available in right hand only. Choose your model
wisely, the AFO N7 is a glue in club, no adjustability available.
The feature that is unique to Powerbilt drivers is their "Nitrogen Charged" technology,
known as N7 in the 2014 AFO. 80 PSI of compressed Nitrogen is used to reinforce the
clubface, and enhance ball speeds through maximum C.O.R (AFO N7 conforms to the USGA
and R&A rules of golf).
The all black clubhead looks the part of a serious players club, matte black crown,
and bold graphics are an upgrade from anything we've seen previously from Powerbilt.
Let's face it, the first thing we all do when we're shopping for or testing out new drivers
(or any other club for that matter) is, set the club down and see if it's pleasing to the eye
. . . not only from a color scheme and paint finish perspective, but also what it looks like
at address behind a teed up golf ball. The Air Force One N7 sets up square, not shut like
so many other drivers on the market. The classic shape, with no obtrusive graphics, deep
face and long hosel neck give it a first generation Titanium look.
Our test model came in 10.5 loft
We tested the AFO with Fujikura's Motore F3. Fujikura Fuel, Aldila NVS & RIP Beta are
options available as well as the Graphite Design G-Series. Custom shafts from Oban and
Mitsubishi are optional with an upcharge.
The ball jumps off the face, launch & ball speeds were consistent with the best drivers we've
tested in '14. The faster swingers in our testing, tended to launch the ball on the high side,
the Fujikura Motore F3 is a high carry launcher. For those seeking lower spin rates, the Oban
Kyoshi or Diamana Whiteboard might be a preferred choice. Sound and feel in a Nitrogen
filled driver has to be terrible right? Not at all, in fact, it was better than most premium drivers
on the market today. Impact was a crisp solid thwack . . . not crazy loud or clunky. The
clubface definitely has a lively springy pop, which can only exude confidence.
Deep face drivers are normally quite unforgiving, the AFO is just the opposite . . . swing away -
dispersion was a narrow section with the AFO.
My only beef with the new AFO-N7 would be the glue in head - It's 2014, we need adjustability.
However, as long as you get properly fit for the right shaft and loft, there's no issue (whether
retail shops have fitting carts or demos of the different loft and shaft choices is unkown).
To be honest, I was expecting gimmicky . . . and nothing could be further from the truth.
Powerbilt really put their time in with this product.
Bottom Line: The AFO N7 Deepface Extreme is a classic looking driver that packs a ton
of technology (and value), producing distance and accuracy that compares with the best
premium drivers available.
For more info: http://powerbilt.com/