|The Yonex Cyberstar Nanospeed is big and powerful, well-suited for powerful players. (Courtesy Yonex)|
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - I lived in Japan for four years, and I can say two things unequivocally about the Japanese: One, they love their golf; and two, they are darn good at shrinking technology down to teeny-tiny and beyond.
Yonex, the Japanese mega-maker of golf, tennis and badminton equipment, has developed what it calls Dual Nanoscale Technology and put it work, most notably in the 460cc Cyberstar Nanospeed Driver (MSRP $449).
This technology employs nano-carbon to directly fuse individual graphite fibers, which reduces the amount of resin needed, producing a lighter carbon crown. Combining the light carbon with a light and springy 6-4 in the face and sole plate allowed the clever engineers to stretch the clubhead and place a tungsten weight back there to deepen the center of gravity.
Elastic titanium was fused into the crown, and into the shaft as well. This stronger shaft allows for grams to be shaved off the grip end - sort of like the way baseball players whittle down their bat handles to increase swing speed.
Of the many drivers I've reviewed over the past year, my two favorites have been the Vulcan Golf Caldera Z440 and the Nike SasQuatch. Both of these big sticks combine enormous amounts of power with better-than-average forgiveness.
So I those two champs to the range and introduced them to the Yonex Nanospeed - which wasn't intimidated at all.
In terms of raw distance, the Nanospeed surpassed both the Vulcan and the SasQuatch, though not by much. Both appeared to be less affected by mis-hits, as I'd suspected after a recent round with the Nanospeed, during which every drive faded or sliced on me as I tried to "swing easy" to keep the ball in play.
That was a mistake.
On the range, the first two swings also produced slices, until I warmed up and really fired through the ball. The overall performance was likely due to the stock Yonex stiff shaft more than the driver head. With this shaft/head combination, I discovered, I needed to swing through the ball with the conviction of a jihadist for the best results. Guiding the ball or swinging easy will simply not work.
To confirm these impressions, I consulted Dave Huber, head professional at Lake of the Woods Golf Course in Mahomet, Ill. Huber agreed that with the Nanospeed, the more aggressive the swing, the better the results.
He also noted how high the ball flew off the face, despite the 9-degree loft. In fact, the ball flight was higher than that of the 9.5-degree Caldera and equal to that of the 10.5-degree SasQuatch.
Finally, the extreme power generated by center-hits was accompanied by an almost buttery feeling at contact. You hardly even know you've hit the ball. Off-center contact, however, feels "heavy."
One irritation is the standard grip, which has a ridge down the back to promote proper grip placement. If you're trying to adjust your grip to fight or promote a draw or fade, this ridge is uncomfortable.
When equipped with a stiff shaft, though, this driver calls for an aggressive swing to take advantage of that power. Golfers who have played other stiff-shafted drivers should test-drive the Nanospeed with both stiff and regular flex shafts to see which works better for them.
And on the course, the best advice with any club is to pretend you're on the practice tee and swing freely. If you do, this Japanese engineering wonder may well convince you that big drives really do come in nano-sized packages.
For more information, visit www.yonexusa.com.
August 3, 2006
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.