Thursday, October 1, 2015

Exclusive First Look: 2016 Wilson FG Tour F5 Drivers Woods and Hybrids Hands-on Preview

I'm always reminded of poker when golf companies release new clubs. Sometimes companies make what I'd call a cool-headed raise, like a few refinements, for a little extra distance or forgiveness. 

Other times companies only make minor changes, not even improvements really, what I call a bluff, so the clubs can still be sold as new and improved. 

And sometimes, but not very often, companies go all in on their new release, confident that real technological progress has been made, and their new line-up is truly something special. 


Today, Wilson Golf announced the release of their new FG Tour F5 drivers, woods, and hybrids.  And I've seen enough of these clubs to tell you this much... Wilson just pushed their full stack forward with the release of the FG Tour F5 family.

I'll have a comprehensive, on-course review of the new clubs soon.  But in the meantime, here are some of the key details, technologies, and exclusive first look pictures of the FG Tour F5 family. 



  • Reactive Face Technology
The simplest way to describe Reactive Face Technology is to first have you imagine dividing the face of your driver into nine quadrants.  Obviously you'll get the best distance when you hit the sweet spot, and the worst distance the further away you make contact from the sweet spot. 

Well, Wilson has made the entire face of the FG Tour F5 driver more forgiving by increasing CT across the entire face, in each of the nine quadrants. 


I won't go Sir Issac Newton on you here, but CT basically means "spring-like effect," and measures how efficient the face of your driver is in transferring energy from the face to the ball.  More efficient energy transfer means faster ball speed and more distance on heel, center and toe strikes.  And who doesn't need that? 

Wilson conducted extensive robot and player testing of the FG Tour F5 driver, and not only was the F5 longer and more forgiving than the FG Tour M3 driver, it was also more than 7-yards longer on average, and in some instances over 11-yards longer than competitor drivers currently on the market. 

And if that's what I'll be getting when I put it in play?  Seriously, I might name my first son Wilson. 


  • Low and Forward CG & Higher MOI 
The FG Tour F5 driver's CG is 0.18" closer to the face, and 0.10" lower compared to the M3 driver.  That alone has reduced spin in the neighborhood of 300 RPMs on any loft setting (adjustable from 8.0* to 12.5* in half degree increments) compared to the M3. 

Interchangeable weights (3, 7, and 11-grams) are positioned lower and closer to the face as well, so you can further adjust spin up or down to your optimal launch for maximum distance. 

The FG Tour F5 driver is also more forgiving with a higher MOI than the M3, thanks in part to weight saved from a hosel that's 12% smaller and 5% lighter, a new head design that's longer and wider, and a chemically-etched crown (which also improved sound). 


Higher MOI means the F5 head won't twist as much on off-center hits, and that means you won't be severely penalized in accuracy or loss of distance when you're not swinging your best from the tee. 

The interchangeable weights also serve to change the range of MOI (and spin).  So let's say you're an accomplished player who'd like to tweak your spin rate even more, just use a heavier weight to decrease MOI.  On the other hand if you're an easy-going, weekend warrior who wants maximum forgiveness, opt for the lighter weight. 

Wilson clearly designed the FG Tour F5 with the better player in mind for Tour-level performance, but you can't deny the obvious game-improvement technologies that also make this a driver almost anyone can play


  • Other Features & Details 
The FG Tour F5 driver (like the woods and hybrids) feature a new Green Means Go! fast fit technology.  It's basically Wilson giving you an easy button so you can make adjustments without having to completely remove the shaft. 

Now granted, fast fit is a convenience more than a performance feature.  But a lot of people are going to like this a lot.  Easy is always better.  And it shows that every possible detail mattered to Wilson in designing the new F5 family of clubs.  Believe me, other companies are kicking themselves for not thinking of this first. 

The F5 will be available in 460cc 9.0* and 10.5* heads, with a real Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Z 50 stock shaft, and Lamkin Crossline Black grips priced at $379.99.  Custom shafts will also be available. 




  • Premium Carpenter Custom 455 Maraging Steel Face 
The FG Tour F5 woods and hybrids use a premium carpenter custom 455 maraging steel face to increase CT across the entire face. 

This type of steel is at least 20% thinner than any other type of steel on the market, creating the same type of spring-like effect achieved in the F5 driver. And as with the driver, you won't have to choose between distance or forgiveness, the F5 woods and hybrids excel at both. 


Wilson again conducted extensive robot and player testing of the F5 woods and hybrids against the M3 and competitor woods and hybrids, and not surprisingly, the F5 performed better than the M3 in both distance and forgiveness categories, with 30-point CT increases. 

Compared to competitor woods and hybrids currently on the market, the F5 woods were more than 4-yards longer on average, and in some instances over 6-yards longer.  While the F5 hybrids were more than 6-yards longer on average, and in some instances over 10-yards longer. 


  • Low and Forward CG & High MOI 
Like in the F5 driver, the CG in the F5 fairway woods and hybrids is closer to the face and lower to reduce spin, about 100 to 200 RPMs lower than the M3s. 

The F5 woods also feature a slightly deeper (taller) face than the M3 woods.  And with the weight saved compared to the M3s (3.5 grams in the hybrids for example), the F5 woods and hybrids have higher MOIs to improve stability on mishits as well.  Again, always a good thing. 

And like with the F5 driver, three adjustable weights let you fine tune your spin and launch conditions to maximize distance. 

  • Other Features & Details
Green Means Go! fast fit technology is present on both woods and hybrids. 

The F5 woods will be available in 13.5*, 15.0*, and 17.0* heads, with real Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Z 65 stock shafts, and Lamkin Crossline Black grips, priced at $229.99.  Custom shafts will also be available. 


The F5 hybrids will be available in 17.0*, 20.0*, and 23.0* heads, with real Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki Z 80 stock shafts, and Lamkin Crossline Black grips, priced at $209.99.  Custom shafts will also be available. 


I don't want to give any definitive opinions on the F5 driver, woods, and hybrids until I've spent a good amount of time with them on the course. 


But if you asked me what my initial impressions are, I'd have to say they seem to do everything you'd want your driver, woods, and hybrids to do.  And more forgiving distance?  Well, that's always easy to love. 

You can find out about Wilson's entire 2016 line up of clubs by checking out Wilson Staffand following them on twitter @WilsonGolf

And as always, if you have any questions, shoot me an email here, or direct message on twitter @PGAPappas.

1 comment:

  1. Great stuff, Pete!!! I especially like "Green Means Go" aspect. It sounds like the F5 is going to be a very long and forgiving line which I am really happy about. I just don't know about the color yellow though, just not my color. If it works though, I can over look the color.