Before we start today, go measure the length of your driver. Dont worry, Ill wait. Are you playing some thing from 2011 on? Let me guess the length. I would imagine its around 46 inches. If its a superfast 2.0 its 46.5. I know you’re probably asking why that matters. Since 2005 the USGA and the R & A have limited the COR (the trampoline effect) of the driver. A driver can not exceed .830 COR. If that’s the case how do club companies create drivers every year that allow you to hit the ball farther than last year? The Anser (see what I did there) comes in the length of the driver.
Think of your favorite driver from when you were younger.One of the more popular drivers of all time is the Titleist 905r. It did what a lot of drivers now are trying to do. It was fairly low spin had an amazing stock shaft and met the COR limit. People say that they find that driver more forgiving than anything that is currently out there.That club played at 45 in.
Science tells us that the longer a club is the more clubhead speed you will gain. Clubhead speed = More Distance. Again its simple science. Another thing science tells us is that the farther away from an object you are the harder it is to hit. Think of it like a putt. A 2 footer is easier to make than a 50 footer. It is simply harder to hit the center of the club face (where COR is maxed out) with a longer driver. This is why you are more comfortable with your old driver than your new 400 dollar driver. I personally play my driver at 45 in. Shorten up that driver and gain consistency. Since I shortened my driver down to 45 in my drives havent lost any distance plus I am finding the fairway more often.
Not convinced to join the short driver revolution yet? Almost every pro uses a driver that is probably shorter than your driver is. Just a few examples Jeff Ogilvy (44.5), Andres Gonzales(44.5),Sergio Garcia (44!),and Dustin Johnson (45). This is a very short list of many that I could add.
Now that I have you convinced to join team short driver you need to know how to determine what length to go to. Here is how I figured out my length. It takes a few supplies. Dont worry you can get most of these at a golf store. You could even probably use some things around the house but I will teach you how to do it right.
Bucket of Range Balls.
Steps to shortening your driver:
1) Place impact tape on face of driver
2) Take 5 swings
3) Look at impact tape if shots are all grouped together in the center you are good to go
4) If scattered all over the face choke down a half inch and repeat until all marks are in the center of the club face.
When you finally decide on the length you hit best,take the club to a club repair shop. Tell them you want the driver cut to what ever length you decide on. This will make the club much lighter. This will need to be countered with tip weights,a heavier shaft,lead tape,or heavier weights. Make sure you keep your swingweight fairly consistent.
Do not take this post as me saying your old Big Bertha is as good as say an R15. I am not saying that at all. Technology has advanced in terms of aerodynamics and materials used for faces. Faces are thinner and creating crazy ball speeds. Clubs are lighter and overall are better. They are more forgiving for those days when the swing just isn’t there. With all things being equal (length, weight, shaft) newer clubs will go further. I am a firm believer in new technology. Take your new driver cut it to a shorter length. Enjoy the consistency of your old driver with all the benefits of the new technology.
Find the Fairway Friends