Is there anything more satisfying than hitting a nice straight drive deep down the middle of the fairway? Probably not. “Why can’t we hit that shot every hole”, we wonder. Well there is a reason for lacking distance or accuracy off the tee, you just might not have the right driver. Sure you paid 300$ or more for the top of the line club of your favorite brand, but you never checked if the driver was right for your swing, did you? Lets go over some of the things you should be looking for in a driver.
Now there isn’t going to be a ton of difference in the length of the drivers, unless you are very tall or short and need one specially ordered. Most will be between 44 to 46 inches long. Now that little bit of length can do a big difference as it may be too hard to swing a longer club around. The basic rule is, the shorter the club the more control you will have. Just take a look at your irons, which do you have more control over, your 9I or your 5I?
Shaft Stiffness and Kick
Firstly lets talk about shaft stiffness, then we’ll get into “kick”. In general your shaft’s stiffness should be based on your club-head speed. Normally if your swinging at or over 95 MPH you can start looking at stiff shaft instead of a regular, but I say “looking” loosely because again there are more factors than just swing speed. And if you are swinging the club at around 115 MPH you can start looking into x-stiff shafts. Two important factors that will come into play is your tempo and your swing type.
If your swing is smooth all the way through you may need a different shaft than a player that whips the club and has a more quick tempo swing. Finally we must look at the shaft’s characteristics as well, like the type of kick it will have. All shafts are made with different “kick” points, in other words it’s he point on the shaft where the club will effectively “flex”. If you have a low kick shaft, the flex will be more towards the bottom of the shaft, mid kick will be a little higher and high kick will be well, high. All these types of kick will affect the launch of the ball because the whip from the flex will either react quicker or slower depending or your swing. This is something of a point of attention because it will have to be combined with the loft and spin from your club-head, which happens to be next on the menu.
Club Loft and Spin
Ideally no spin is good spin, the less spin you put on a drive, the further it will go. That being said it is impossible to have no spin, and every swing you make is different so it will have to be tested with trial and error for the most part. As I mentioned before the launch angle will depend on the loft of the club and your swing correlated with the kick from your shaft. Normally this varies from 8 to 10 degrees of loft but you can find the odd driver with an exceptional loft. The intention here is to get enough launch out of the club without having it go too high or having to much spin. You want hang-time, not a balloon that looks like its coming back at you.
Everybody has a favorite brand and you should always look to choose something you feel comfortable with, even if you might not have the perfect fitted driver. If you cant find the right specifications for your club with the brand you want however, try other brands, because these days every company knows what works for clubs and they all use the same basic makes and models. In fact if you look at one of the new driver’s out there, the R9, you can configure the kick of the shaft apparently and use the weights to change the ball flight even more. That’s pretty amazing for just one club, but it isn’t for everyone, so go try it out. As they say though : 90% of golf is mental, the other 10%, is in your head. So with that in mind have fun looking for exactly what you are looking for in a driver and I hope this had some helpful hints of direction towards your next purchase.