CARLSBAD, Calif., April 1, 2013 — Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY) today announced the upcoming release of the new Versa Driver. Originally code-named “Oreo Smash” because of the distinctive black and white crown graphics and sledgehammer-like feel, the revolutionary Versa driver is designed for easy alignment, incredible control, and precise positioning at all points of the golf swing.

Unlike other drivers in Callaway’s already legendary 2013 lineup, the new Versa is not configured for blistering ball speeds and eye-popping distance gains. Instead, the new Versa is designed for an entirely different demographic.

“We believe there’s a large segment of the market that is currently being under-serviced by the major club manufacturers. While there is certainly a small segment of the golfing population that desires more distance off the tee, our research shows that 87% of golfers are willing to sacrifice upwards of 25 yards of distance if it means they hit a higher percentage of fairways and play more shots from the short grass.

As an industry we’ve become too distance-centric. We’ve lost touch with the majority of golfers who we know place a premium on accuracy. The Versa is the only product in the last 13 years that truly offers what the average golfer demands from his driver”.

Bolstered by the immediate success of the Odyssey Versa line of putters, it was only natural that Callaway begin rolling out Versa technology into other lines. For Callaway, the driver was the logical extension of the putter.

“The Versa putter’s success in the marketplace was instantaneous. Almost overnight the Versa line has gobbled up 83%1 of the new putter market. We saw an immediate opportunity to leverage the demand for Versa by adapting the technology to our other club lines”.

While that level of market dominance is unheard of in golf, Callaway expects the Versa driver will be even more successful.

“We don’t believe that a 96% total market share for the Versa in the driver segment is unrealistic; with RAZR Fit Extreme and XHot accounting for the other 4%. Everyone is going to play Versa. If you don’t have Versa, you don’t have Versa. And once golfers realize they don’t have Versa, they’re going to buy the Versa. And then they’ll have Versa”.

This isn’t the first time that Callaway designers have attempted to adapt Odyssey putter technology to the rest of the club line, however; earlier attempts were costly, and the end results- which included a shallow-faced, 3-ball driver that was nearly two inches longer front to back than the Diablo, and the unwieldy Sabertooth wedge, never made it past the prototype phase. Versa technology is different. From an innovation standpoint, while the impact is world-changing, the concept itself is relatively simple.

While combining two different colors on a single clubhead does indeed push the boundaries of innovation, there are elements of simplicity and common sense at play in the Versa design. As anyone who has ever spent a day breaking concrete before going to dinner at the Olive Garden understands, it’s much easier to control a sledge hammer than it is a linguine noodle. It was that simple observation that led Callaway engineers to target a higher than standard weight for the Versa Driver.

While there has been a general industry shift towards lighter and faster that model doesn’t really work when applied to what we wanted to accomplish with Versa’s revolutionary control technology. Instead engineers zeroed in on a weight specification that would lead to precise control. What we found is that the same weight used in Versa putters (343 grams), while heavy by conventional driver standards, is ideal for a design where control is emphasized over speed. Weight equals stability. Stability equals control. The Versa is most controllable driver Callaway has ever produced.

It’s the same emphasis on control that led the Callaway design team to the conclusion that all golfers would benefit from playing a stiffer shaft in their Versa driver.

“With the custom designed Versa shaft we’ve targeted a consistent bend profile that most of the industry would define as XXX-stiff (filthy stiff). When you’re trying to maintain precise control of the shaft at all points of the golf swing…the takeaway, the transition, the downswing, and ultimately impact, it’s imperative that there be almost no bending or twisting of the shaft at any point during the swing. In recent years we’ve moved away from uniflex shaft designs, however; reaching the goal of designing the world’s first truly zero flex shaft necessitated a shift back to a one size fits all approach”.

The Versa driver does more than simplify shaft fitting. By determining the optimum loft for all golfers, we’re able to totally eliminate the need for any type of fitting whatsoever.

“When distance is the primary concern, golfers are forced to try and optimize a number of different variables. When one of those variables changes, the others change with it, so trying to optimize ball speed, launch angle, and spin rates is nearly impossible, and even under the best of scenarios it’s a complete nightmare. By focusing exclusively on control we’ve eliminated all of the complexity inherent to club fitting; making the buying decision completely mindless”.

All Callaway Versa drivers are available in a single standardized loft of 9.37°. While 9.37° is unusual, the design didn’t happen by accident.

“Our intensive market research found that conventional lofts don’t work when you’re only offering a single model. Golfers expect to see 8.5°, 9.5°, etc…. We can throw them a curveball every now and again by offering 8°, 9°, and 10° heads in Pro/Tour models, but the unintended result is you’ve set expectations. A 10.5° guy wants to see a 10.5° head. If one doesn’t exist, you’ll lose him, unless he sees something that completely blows his mind.

By creating a non-standard product, we’ve completely shifted the buying paradigm. Golfers who have played 8° or 12° or anything in between; for the first time they’re seeing a 9.37° head and that makes them think – maybe I should have been playing 9.37° all along. And it turns out, they’re right. 9.37° is the ideal loft for everyone“.

When designing the Versa putters Odyssey engineers discovered that a club face that’s open by as little as 1° can cause even the shortest of putts to miss their mark. Callaway designers reached similar conclusions when designing the Versa Driver.

“Can you imagine the significance of 1° extrapolated out to 250 yards (not that we expect anyone to hit the Versa Driver 250 yards)? We didn’t do the math or anything, but we’re fairly certain it’s significant. We’re almost positive it can be the difference between hitting and missing a fairway”.

Initially Callaway engineers were skeptical that Versa design principles would translate to the driver.

“One of the things we noticed immediately is that most golfers have a tendency to swing their drivers faster than their putters. We were concerned that a driver head might be moving too fast at impact for Versa’s high contract alignment system to have any real benefit – and you know what…it is [moving too fast]”.

While it turns out the engineers were correct about the limited benefits of Versa technology applied to a driver at impact, additional internal research discovered that just as it does with the Versa putter, the high contrast design accentuates the face angle at address for proper alignment. Square at address leads to square at impact.

Callaway engineers also found that Versa’s high-contrast, high-visibility graphics offer tremendous benefit to the golfer who might be working on his swing at the driving range, or even on the tee box.

“Our studies found that many golfers, particularly those working on their swings at the driving range have a tendency to hold their position at the top of the backswing while simultaneously looking over their shoulder to check shaft position and face alignment. Versa’s high-contrast crown makes it incredibly easy for golfers to discern the relative position of the club face even on the brightest of days”.

Versa Driver on Tour

Invariably one of the first things golfers want to know is “who is playing this driver on tour”. While normally Callaway prefers that Professional Staffers adopt new technology as quickly as possible, Versa Driver is such a revolutionary product, it may take some time for the world’s elite players to become comfortable enough with the technology to put it in play.

“It’s doubtful any of our Professional Staffers will put the Versa Driver in his bag this season – and certainly not in time for the Masters. Tour Professionals tend to be extremely rigid when it comes to their equipment. They’re set in their ways, and often resistant to new technology – even technology as revolutionary as what we’ve built into the Versa Driver. It’s going to take time, but as it usually does, wide-spread adoption and validation of the technology at the amateur level will eventually trickle up to the pro game. By 2019, we believe, the majority of our Professional Staff will be using some form of Versa Technology in their drivers.”

Tech Talk

Impact 9.37

All Callaway Versa driver heads are designed to have 9.37° of loft. The ideal loft for every golfer, Impact 9.37 Technology greatly simplifies driver fitting.

SST (Short-Shaft Technology)

With a stock length of 39 5/8 inches, Versa Driver is designed for precise control (and nothing else).


Versa Driver’s 140 gram white on black (or black on white) control-enhancing shaft is so stiff it requires an adults only rating.

FFHT (Fixed-Face Hosel Technology)

Unlike Callaway’s Opti-Fit-Enabled RAZR Fit XTREME and XHot Series Drivers, the Versa is not equipped with an adjustable hosel. FFHT uses a proprietary blend of ultra high-grade epoxy to bond shaft to head ensuring that Versa driver’s head never moves.

Heavy 343

Callaway Versa Drivers weight 343 grams, 150 grams more than many other drivers on the market today. Weight equals stability. Stability equals control.

The Callaway Versa Driver is available in 9.37° and XXX-Flex only. With a street price of $649.37, the Versa driver offers Premium Control at a Premium Price.

For more information on the new Versa Driver, please don’t visit www.callawaygolf.com.²
1. We totally made that up.
2. We totally made all of this up.