What golfer doesn't desire to hit longer and more consistent drives? In this article I will discuss four elements that are important when you are in the market for a new driver.
The first step to maximizing distance with your new driver is to get fitted rather than selecting a brand or model off the rack. This way the custom specifications of your new driver will be matched to your size, strength, athletic ability and individual swing characteristics. The tour pros spend a great deal of time with the equipment companies trying to get the right combination of launch angle, spin and ball speed to drive the ball longer. Amateurs are losing distance and consistency by not taking advantage of the same opportunity. Here are the factors to consider in finding the right driver.
Hitting the ball in the center of the clubface is crucial to increasing your distance. All drivers sold off the rack today are between 45.5 and 46 inches in length. This is too long for the average golfer preventing most from reaching their distance potential. Most any player will increase their distance and consistency using a driver no longer than 44 inches. Keep in mind the average driver length on the PGA Tour since 2005 is 44.5 inches.
The proper launch angle and spin rate is what you are striving for. The lower your clubhead speed, the higher you need to launch the ball with more spin. The higher your clubhead speed the lower you want to launch the ball with less spin. Players should be analyzed with a launch monitor to determine what loft provides their optimum launch angle and spin rate.
Weight, overall flex and bend profile are factors to be considered in finding the correct shaft for your driver. The stronger the player the firmer and heavier a shaft profile is needed with a firmer tip which helps lower the launch angle. A weaker player should look at a lighter, more flexible shaft with a softer tip. This helps kick the head upward adding loft for a higher trajectory.
Total Weight and Swing Weight
A physically stronger golfer with a more aggressive swing should be using a driver with a heavier total weight and swing weight. The opposite is true for a weaker golfer.
All four elements are important in the fitting process and can make a dramatic difference in your distance and consistency. My advice is to seek out an experienced, professional clubfitter with the right fitting equipment at their facility.
Steve Kirkpatrick is the owner of Golf Rx in Mt. Juliet, Tn. He has been a PGA Professional since 1987 and was chosen as a Certified Golf Digest Clubfitter in 2017.