by Frank J. Peter
The Pinemeadow bloc Driver is Pinemeadow Golf's answer to the current popularity of Square Drivers. It was launched in late February 2007 and became an instant hit - in fact orders were taken as early as December 2006. In contrast to the Callaway FT-i and the Nike Sasquatch Sumo2 the BLOC has no fancy curves or bumps, it is simply - well - square. The clubhead has a volume of 455 cubic centimeters (cc), just below the legal limit of 460 cc or 28.06 cubic inches, and it weighs almost 200 grams (7 oz). The face is 6cm (2.36 inches) high and made of high-grade Titanium with a standard loft of 10 degrees. The body is also made of high-grade Titanium and sports a beautiful high gloss coating and mirror finish.
The simplicity in design and the very elegant finish make this an extremely nice-to-look at-club, but can its performance deliver what the looks promise? We took the club for a test drive to find out. But first:
All square drivers follow more or less the same design principle: to increase the Moment of Inertia or MOI when hitting the ball, and to increase the size of the sweet spot.
Let's look at the benefits of an increased MOI: if you hit the ball with the clubhead, the head will twist a bit in itself. If you hit the ball with the toe the clubhead it will twist a lot more, thus sending your ball to the right (for RH players). A small clubhead has generally a smaller MOI, while a big clubhead has a high MOI. If the clubhead has a high MOI this twisting is minimal, and the result is that your ball still goes reasonably straight even if you have an off-center hit. This is of great importance to beginner and intermediate Golfers as they may struggle more with off-center hits than advanced players and tour professionals. Having said this, there are legal limits as to how big a clubhead is allowed to be - of course the BLOC driver is within this limit.
In addition the square shape allows more weight to be transferred away from the club face towards the back 'corners' of the club. This increases the sweet spot to almost the whole club face, more than most other 'traditional' clubs. This again allows for an increase in forgiveness, good news especially for average players and beginners.
We tried the Pinemeadow Tour Series BLOC 455cc Driver with its standard low-torque Pinemeadow graphite shaft (specially designed for this driver!) and took it to both the driving range and the course. It took a couple of swings to get used to the square head, but after that it was great. I normally hit 180 - 200 yards, with a fair mix of fades and slices. With the BLOC I hit at least 20 - 30 yards more, and most of them straight down the fairway. The forgiveness this club shows when hit off-center is hard to describe, you have to try it to believe. This is clearly in a different league compared to 'traditional' drivers I played before, including top brand names. The other testers had the same comments to make, and it was quite fun to see the disbelieve in their faces when they hit the ball 250 yards, straight as an arrow.
Pinemeadow advertises this club with the words: "Expect to be surprised by this driver!", and we were indeed surprised. We had a few people in the range give it a try, most liked it. The one who didn't was a 'purist' who thought square drivers should be banned (well...).
If you're struggeling with the frequent off-center hit and would like to see your ball more often within the fairways rather than in the rough you should give this club a try. The Tour Series BLOC 455cc Driver is only $99, including the specially developed graphite shaft, and it is available for both RH and LH players.
Click this link to find out more: Pinemeadow bloc Driver