If you are not straight and long when driving the initial shot off the tee, your confidence takes a big hit. It is a fact that professional Tour Players tweak their drivers more than any club in their bag until they get it right. The right driver shaft weight, length, flex, and swing weight will cut your shot dispersion by 50% or more and give you farther distance. Nothing in golf technology can improve your game more than a properly fit driver. Yet, less than a third of golfers actually get fit despite the proven benefits of game improvement.
In drivers and fairway woods, everyone should consider using graphite unless you have a fast swing speed. You will be missing out on maximum distance if you are not using a modern graphite wood shaft. Graphite shafts more than three (3) years old will also be less effective than later drivers and shaft technology changes quickly. Most golf club drivers today are the maximum allowable size (460cc). However they do come in all sorts of shapes and specifications such as loft (for trajectory), face angle (for accuracy) or special features (like offset). The face of modern drivers are made from titanium. Because it is so light, titanium has allowed the club head to grow without adding so much weight that it becomes uncontrollable. As an added benefit, the relative strength of titanium allows the face to be made thin enough that it actually deforms during ball contact and springs back during impact, acting like a spring or what is known as the “trampoline effect”.
Many golfers are afraid to swing their fairway woods, because when you mishit a wood, the bad results are always exaggerated. But getting fitted for those 3, 5, 7, or 9 woods can make a difference in the way you make contact with the ball and also boost your confidence during play.
Our fitting program custom tailors your driver to fit your physical stature, swing plane, swing speed, and strength. Driver Fitting takes 6 key points into consideration that can all be adjusted using our various equipment.
1. Club Length
To generally determine what length of irons you need, you can use a simple method called “Wrist To Floor” measurement. That is not the case with the woods. Modern standard lengths are longer than in the past, since distance is often a priority for the modern golfer. The downside to a longer driver is that it is harder to control for some golfers. You will want to play the longest driver that you can control well.
2. Shaft Flex
If you get the flex of your clubs correct, you will maximize your distance and accuracy. It’s true, you may be able to adjust when you are playing an incorrect flex – but it is best to get your flex accurate. There are no hard and fast rules as to what an incorrect flex can do to your distance and accuracy, but a common result of too flexible a shaft would be a hook, and a common result of too stiff a flex would be a slice. Too stiff of a shaft can also cause a loss of distance.
3. Loft Angle
Shot misdirection from the lie of your driver head being tilted at impact is directly proportionate to the loft. Drivers have the least amount of loft of all club heads, so that the amount of misdirection is small. More loft means numerically higher, hence, a 12-degree driver has more loft than a 9-degree. A good launch angle is what a golfer is ultimately after. Driver loft helps determine this angle, but so does the angle of attack when you swing. Slower swings require higher launch angles. The actual loft that best suits you will depend on swing speed, ball spin characteristics, and swing angle of attack. Although most players buy non-adjustable drivers with 8 to 10.5 degrees of loft, they will probably get a better launch angle with 12 to 16 degrees. Of course, with adjustable drivers, one can experiment and change lofts each round as they see fit.
4. Lie Angle
Driver lie angle is the angle in degrees between the center line of the hosel and the ground line when the ground line is in contact with the center of the sole from heel to toe. Most drivers are between 56 and 60 degrees. Lie is only important to tall or short golfers because the lies on the drivers available are really tailored to male golfers of 5’11” to 6’. A driver lie angle can be custom bent for you, or the driver can be cut down in length to achieve a more perfect contact. Lie angle on your irons may be a factor in contributing to the accuracy of your ball flight.
5. Swing Weight
As fitters, we can add small amounts of weight (lead foil tape) to the driver head to fine tune swing weight. We also have some demo clubs where we can test butt end weight. There are a number of counter-weighting systems to see if alternative weighting may stimulate a difference in the comfort level and performance at the given length and shaft weight. It only takes a few swings by the golfer to see if counter-weighting has any positive response – if not, it can be ruled out.
6. Head Style/Size
The shape of the driver head is important because the center of gravity usually follows the geometry. It means that a deeper faced club will have a higher center of gravity and launch the ball lower with all else being the same. The manufacturer may have a model, where from heel-to-toe it is a little shorter or internal weight has been added toward the hosel to help close the face at impact.