Club tested: Thomas Golf AT460 TO Driver
Club specs: Hand – Right; Loft – 10.5°; Lie – 56°; Length – 45.25”; Shaft – Graphite, “R” (regular) flex
Price as tested: $189 (regularly $378)
About Thomas Golf products: All equipment made by Thomas Golf features the company’s patented Shot Accuracy Technology, an alignment indicator on the top of the club which helps assure precise aim. The company offers free custom fitting of all clubs on its website and sells its products exclusively online.
Club notes: The AT460 TO driver is the offset version of the company’s AT460 driver series. Like any club with an offset hosel, it’s designed to help straighten the shots of golfers who slice the ball. The 460cc (cubic centimeter) titanium clubhead reaches the USGA limit for maximum volume, and it’s paired with Thomas Golf’s Ultralite – Low Torque graphite shaft (60 grams). Our tester chose standard specs for length and lie.
At address: While the AT460 TO’s offset is certainly visible, it’s not so pronounced that it becomes distracting. (It measures about 5mm.) Nor does it affect the golfer’s ability to set the clubhead squarely behind the ball using the alignment indicator. In fact, our tester was surprised to find that he’d been lining up too far left of target, which likely exacerbated his slice. It took some time to get used to aiming properly – at first, the golfer felt as though he was lined up to the right – but eventually he became accustomed to it.
The driver’s conventional, circular shape is appealing and breeds confidence.
Swinging it: Both the shaft and clubhead are extremely light, so a player with high clubhead speed (105 mph+) might overpower the AT460 TO. That wasn’t the case with our tester, who swings at around 90 mph. He reported a smooth feeling on the takeaway and a pleasing “whoosh” at the bottom.
At impact: The AT460 TO delivered a pleasing “plink” on solid strikes, and a slightly more “tinny” sound on miss-hits. In the feel department, the tester said the club compared favorably to others he’s owned and demo’d.
Ball in flight: First, a word about offset. Since a clubface that’s open at impact produces a slice, offset is designed to give the golfer an extra millisecond to square the face at impact. It’s a helpful feature, no doubt, but it can’t cure a slice that’s caused by a major swing flaw.
As noted, our tester has a habit of (inadvertently) setting up both his body and clubface left of target. With other drivers, his shots typically start where he’s aimed, then veer right as he fails to bring the clubhead to square.
Once he adjusted his aim using the AT460 TO’s alignment guide, his shots continued to start on target, but did not seem to curve quite as much as usual. In other words, his slice was transformed into a more manageable fade. The offset likely helped, as did the club’s light weight; our tester reported feeling “quicker hands” through the hitting area.
Playability & forgiveness: A golfer who doesn’t fight a slice should be able to hit a draw with the AT460 TO. Indeed, when a low-handicapper took a few rips, he had no problem hitting it right-to-left. However, some of his draws turned into hooks, which is why offset clubs aren’t suited to non-slicers. As noted, the AT460 TO straightened the slice of our main tester a good bit, though not completely. He observed a limited yardage loss on miss-hit shots, mostly toe hits in his case.
Bottom line: If you’ve resigned yourself to a life of left-to-right drives – with no plans to overhaul your swing – the AT460 TO might help tame your banana ball. If your basic is swing is sound but you have trouble closing the clubface at impact, it could make a real difference in your game.