Walter Hagen AWS Driver
There is an awful lot to like about the Walter Hagen AWS Titanium Driver from Dick’s Sporting Goods. It’s a well-balanced, sweet feeling club that gets good distance. And it has the added benefit of a movable weight system.
But it’s a club that I’d guess that most of the golfing world is unaware of.
When an executive from Dick’s Sporting Goods contacted me about trying out the club, I really didn’t’ know what to expect. I had not heard fo the Walter Hagen line, and actually hadn’t been in a Dick’s in years. But I was willing to give it a shot and drive to pick up a trial club at the Westland, Michigan store. I found the personnel at that store to be extremely knowledgeable about the clubs and about golf in general (in some ways more so than at one of the local golf pro shops that I visit.). The hard goods manager answered all sorts of questions and was able to discuss the features of the entire Hagen line and compare them to other, more well-known manufacturers that Dick’s carries. It turns out that “Walter Hagen” is the house golf brand for Dick’s Sporting Goods and is manufactured by Nicklaus Golf.
In addition to the driver I tested, they’ve got fairway woods, rescue clubs, irons and a couple of striking looking blue putters. There also is a line of clothing and bags. They hybrids look especially nice. The Hagen model that I’ve been taking on a test drive is a nine degree with a regular flex Aldila NV shaft. It’s a very sharp looking club, with its dark grey head and the green Aldila shaft. The head has an “ultra thin” plasma weld face, and also is available with the Graffaloy Pro Launch and UST Harmon HTD CB-65-S shafts.
After playing half a dozen rounds with the Hagen, I find that I am impressed with it. The first thing I noticed was the excellent balance / swingweight. A smooth swing with this club absolutely whips the club head through the strike zone. Ball flight off the club has been moderately high, with the soft fade that I like to hit. Of course, part of that is the fact that I have the movable weight system set to a fade. I simply can’t hit a draw, but my guess is that, in the hands of another golfer, it would produce a lower, hotter, drawing shot. The weighting system consists of three weights: one heavy and two light.
To set if for the desired ball flight, you simply put the heavier weight in the proper slot. The club includes a cute little wrench in a nice little velvet bag. On a good shot, my distance with the club compares favorably with my Snake Eyes Compressor and my TaylorMade R5 TP. It’s longer than my Adams GT and the older model Big Bertha I recently acquired. (As a side not, one of the advantages to playing at the same club several times a week is that it makes it easy to compare the landing zones on different clubs).
Accuracy with the Hagen has been pretty good for me. I hit enough fairways to keep me in the game, but I often found the fade making a big loop that rolled off the right side of the fairway. I wonder if that problem would solve itself with a different set of weights. That’s a good reason for Dick’s to offer some optional weights as a separate package.
Hand in hand with accuracy is forgiveness. The most forgiving club I’ve played recently is the TaylorMade R5. But the Hagen is not too far off. The couple of really bad shots I hit turned out pretty badly. But the rest had enough accuracy and consistent distance to make me think that the Hagen was compensating somewhat for my off center swings.
The fit and finish and workmanship on the club is top notch. The ferrule fits smoothly, the head is smooth and free from flaws. The weight ports and screws seem as though they will last a good long time. It also has a nice headcover with a magnetic closure.
If there’s a downside to the Hagen driver, it’s the price. Dick’s lists the price as $299. That’s a good price for a quality club—and I think that the Hagen is a top quality club—but it’s also about the same price as other, bigger name clubs. The R5 Dual, for example now sells for as low as $239 on some major golf websites. The new Ping G5 sells for $299 also. For Dick’s to make headway with their Hagen line, I think they’re going to have to offer more aggressive pricing. My guess is that most players will go with a bigger name if the prices are similar. And that’s too bad, for the Hagen AWS is a worthy contender and a good buy for what you are getting.
If you’re in the market for a new driver, the Walter Hagen AWS is one you should try. Head on over to your local Dick’s Sporting Goods and give it a few swings. Walter Hagen AWS Driver