Club Review: The PowerBilt Air Force One DFX Tour Black Driver

You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the impact technology is having on golf, but you might need to be one to understand how all the new, high-tech gadgets work.

From smart-phone GPS devices and computer swing simulators, the golf industry is overloaded with the latest technological trends to help your game, or at least to make you think they are helping. Some of the latest tools and toys may offer the placebo effect for desperate golfers looking to gain an edge anyway and anywhere they can find it.

But there are a few new advances that have helped struggling golfers make strides, and one is the Powerbilt Air Force One DFX Tour Black Driver. The “Nitrogen-Charged” clubhead is designed to give golfers with more length and accuracy off the tee thanks to the gas-filled chamber inside that creates a trampoline effect, or at least that's how the driver is billed.

Patented and designed by PowerBilt, the same folks who produce such classics as the Louisville Slugger baseball bat, the Air Force One DFX line was first introduced to wide spread skepticism in the golf community. How does a small dose of nitrogen inside the club head create a longer and straighter drive? And like all the “heavy hitter” drivers on the market, won't it simply make your bad shots go farther in the wrong direction?

Those were the obstacles PowerBilt had to overcome in convincing golfers to buy into the Air Force One DFX, and years of tweaking of the product has finally paid off to the point that many golfers swear by it. Not only does the nitrogen-infused head help increase distance and reduce spin by mimicking an optimal 110 mph swing speed, but the enlarged “sweet spot” allows golfers to prevent hooks and slices. PowerBilt compiled lots of data, both scientific and opinion, to upgrade the 2015 edition and take it to the next level.

“Through player input, along with the MyGolfSpy player testing, we were able to analyze all the data and input and develop a top performing Tour head,” PowerBilt president Ross Kvinge said. “With the CG moved forward, and the benefit of the Nitrogen Charged technology, the Air Force One Tour will deliver the most accuracy of any tour head on the market.”

The latest version of the Air Force One DFX, which stands for Deep Face Extreme, has undergone some major changes. The clubface is 5 mm deeper than the earlier version, which catches the ball at impact slightly longer. Combined with the nitrogen inside the clubhead, golfers experience reduced spin and more distance. PowerBilt's patented N7 “Nitrogen-Charged” technology reinforces the clubface without adding extra weight so golfers don't have to feel like they are swinging a tree trunk.

The Air Force One DFX features a titanium body and cup face with an aerodynamically shaped clubhead. It's available in lofts ranging from 8.5 degrees to 12.5 degrees. The standard shaft length is 45.5 inches but it is adjustable to use any shaft you prefer.

“We reduced the nitrogen pressure to 80 pounds, for better impact feel,” Kvinge said. “This new amount of nitrogen generates a tremendous trampoline effect for increased ball speed. In fact, now the trampoline effect is up to the USGA maximum limit. Shot dispersion tightest ever in our drivers. And by adding 6 grams low and forward in the clubhead, we moved the CG lower and more forward than in any other Air Force One driver. We did this to appease our clubfitters who requested a better smash factor. I can confidently say that this is the most solid driver we have ever produced.”

Some golf experts agree. According to one test review on MyGolfSpy tested it, “You won't find many companies who offer a better selection of stock shafts, and you won't find many heads that perform better either. Joke all you want about the Nitrogen, this one is legit.”