CARLSBAD, CA, October 24, 2000 – Callaway Golf Company (NYSE:ELY) today introduced the new ERC™ II Forged Titanium Driver, a revolutionary breakthrough in golf club technology. The new ERC II Driver, which does not conform with USGA regulations for so-called “spring-like effect” but which otherwise conforms with all USGA and R&A equipment regulations, is packed with exciting new design innovations to help golfers of all skill levels achieve unmatched distance, forgiveness and enjoyment.
“The ERC II Driver can give any golfer an even greater chance to enjoy extra distance off the tee – even if he or she strikes the ball even just fairly well,” said Ely Callaway, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Callaway Golf. “It is a much more forgiving driver than any we have ever made, and we believe that this exceptionally thin, very hot clubface combined with the very forgiving performance that is built into each ERC II Driver will greatly benefit golfers all over the world.”
Because the new ERC II Forged Titanium Driver exceeds the USGA performance limitations for Coefficient of Restitution (COR), it can not be used in any competition that is played under USGA rules. For golfers who wish to compete in such events, Callaway Golf also introduced today the new Hawk Eye® VFT™ Titanium Driver, which conforms to USGA rules. Golf legend Arnold Palmer said today that he will use and endorse both golf clubs, playing with the Hawk Eye VFT Driver in tournament play and with the ERC II Driver in recreational rounds with family and friends.
“I think what Callaway is doing is just right,” Mr. Palmer said. “I have given a lot of thought to conforming and non-conforming clubs. If my daughter, who is a 100s shooter can shoot 90 with a non-conforming driver, I can’t imagine that there would be anything wrong with that. It is something she would enjoy and, as a matter of fact, it will keep her playing the game.
“We should focus on people having fun playing golf and using the equipment that they enjoy using,” Mr. Palmer added.
“This is the first time that we have sold to our customers in the United States a non-conforming driver,” Mr. Callaway continued. “We believe that recreational golfers should not be denied the benefits of modern technology that can bring them the added enjoyment that comes from occasionally hitting the ball a little bit further. We have long held the position that there are two games of golf – tournament golf and recreational golf, and that the two games differ in many respects. The vast majority of golfers, we believe are playing golf for fun and recreation, and we have now created a driver that will give them more of both.”
Delivery of ERC II Drivers will begin in limited quantities no later than January 2001.
“Designing the ERC II was a dream experience,” said Richard C. Helmstetter, Senior Executive Vice President of Research and Development and Chief of New Products. “We had no restrictions, so we were able to think outside the box to accomplish our goal of making the energy transfer from club to ball as efficient as possible. This allows golfers to generate more ball speed without swinging harder, which leads to greater distance. We used a combination of advanced new computer design technology and hands-on research with golfers from around the world. As a result, we created some design elements that go beyond any previous driver designs. Feedback from the players who have tested this driver indicates that our efforts dramatically improved the performance all golfers can get expect to get from these drivers.”
The breakthrough performance delivered by the ERC II Forged Titanium Drivers comes from a combination of the most extensive application yet of Callaway Golf’s patented Variable Face Thickness (VFT) Technology and an innovative new clubhead production process. This technology was first used by Callaway Golf in the tour-proven Big Bertha® Steelhead Plus™ Stainless Steel Metal Woods and the original ERC Forged Titanium Driver. With VFT Technology, the thickness of the clubface tapers from thickest in an area near the center to thinnest around the perimeter. Callaway Golf’s engineers use this technology to make the energy transfer between ball and club more efficient. The result is better launch conditions, which help golfers of all skill levels achieve more distance and greater forgiveness.
The ERC II Forged Titanium Drivers feature an innovative five-part clubhead design: A forged face, hot-formed sole, hot-formed crown, precision weight chip and an internal suspended hosel. The forging process makes the titanium used in the face area stronger, allowing for extremely thin areas around the perimeter and the most extreme application of VFT Technology. This allows golfers to generate more ball speed without swinging harder, and it also improves forgiveness on off-center hits. The unique Cup Face Design further enhances the effectiveness of VFT Technology by moving the weld areas between the face and the sole and body farther away from the face, further reducing the face thickness around the perimeter of the clubface without compromising durability. The internal hosel moves weight away from the clubface, increasing the clubhead’s effective hitting area for greater forgiveness.
The ERC II Forged Titanium Drivers are approximately 11 percent larger than the original ERC Forged Titanium Drivers. The larger size increases the sweet spot and inspires greater visual confidence. The depth of the driver head has been made greater relative to its length, which increases the aspect ratio of the clubhead. This design feature, combined with internal weight chip in the rear of the clubhead, fine-tunes the center of gravity for a higher launch angle and lower spin. This benefits all golfers by helping launch the ball on a penetrating trajectory for greater carry and roll.
The ERC II Forged Titanium Drivers also feature a new family of ultralight graphite shafts that are directly related to another design innovation. A thermoplastic shaft sleeve is bonded between the clubhead and shaft to absorb stress during impact. This technology was a key in the design of the new high-performance System 50 Ultralight graphite shafts that were designed especially for use with the ERC II Forged Titanium Drivers. These shafts provide lower torque with a lively feel, creating Tuned Performance between the shaft and clubhead. Each individual flex of the System 50 Ultralight shafts has a specific weight, length and design to match the driver head.
ERC II Forged Titanium Drivers are available in lofts from 8 to 12 degrees with System 50 ultralight graphite shafts in light, regular, firm and strong flexes in both right- and left-handed models. The suggested retail price for the ERC II Forged Titanium Driver is $625 in the U.S.
Callaway Golf Company makes and sells Big Bertha® Metal Woods and Irons, including Big Bertha ERC™ II Forged Titanium Drivers, Big Bertha Hawk Eye® VFT™ Titanium Drivers and Fairway Woods, Great Big Bertha® Hawk Eye Titanium Drivers and Fairway Woods, Big Bertha Steelhead Plus™ Stainless Steel Drivers and Fairway Woods, Hawk Eye Tungsten Injected™ Titanium Irons, Steelhead™ X-14® and Steelhead X-14 Pro Series Stainless Steel Irons, and Bobby Jones® and Carlsbad Series™ Putters. Callaway Golf Company also makes and sells Odyssey® Putters, including White Hot™, TriHot™, and TriForce® Putters. Callaway Golf Ball Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Callaway Golf Company, makes and sells the Callaway Golf® Rule 35™ Firmfeel™ and Softfeel™ golf balls. For more information about Callaway Golf Company, please visit our Web sites at www.callawaygolf.com, www.callawaygolfball.com and www.odysseygolf.com.
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The other – the ERC™ II Forged Titanium Driver – uses a four-piece construction from forged titanium components to deliver the hottest and most forgiving driver Callaway Golf has ever made. ERC II, Callaway maintains, is targeted for the vast majority of players who get out maybe once a week. 'We have never claimed that any of our clubs reduce your score,' Callaway said.