Most people are picking drivers off what computers and launch monitors tell them. There is some merit to getting the club that gives you the best launch angle and spin rate. However, since golf is such a mental game and everyone makes different swings on the course than on the range/launch computer (including Tiger), there are other factors to consider besides just the numbers.
If a club looks good when you set it down, you are going to hit it better than the one that matches you perfectly. Don’t misunderstand this to say that if it looks pretty, you will automatically hit it well. I already said the numbers have merit, but if the “ugly” club only has slightly better numbers than the “pretty” one, buy the “pretty” one.
The rest of this is for people who don’t care about the numbers and/or don’t have a good club fitter readily available.
First off, like above, pick a club that looks good when you set it down. You will be amazed at how much better you will hit a club that looks good to you.
What ever loft you think you need, add at least one, preferably two degrees to the one you think you need. The more of the club face you can see, the less likely you are to drop your right shoulder and help it in the air. Turning your shoulders level through the ball is probably the most important thing in hitting a driver well… after setup. These big headed drivers not having enough loft will screw up your swing in about 10 balls on the range and it will eventually make you hit everything bad. I have seen this so many times, it is hard to count.
The right shaft is so important, because ego gets involved. It’s a generalization, but most people have a shaft too stiff for them. There is a big misconception. If you are hitting a hook, the shaft isn’t stiff enough. It all depends on the angle of attack and plane. If you are hitting a hook, the shaft might actually be too stiff. If you give me a shaft that is too weak, I hit big high floating blocks to the right.
There are exceptions, but generally speaking if you are square at impact and the shaft is not stiff enough, the ball will go too high. It might draw more than you want, but it won’t cause pull hooks unless the club is out of position.
All that technobabble aside, go down a flex in shaft and let the shaft do some of the work for you.
I may add some addendums to this post as the day goes on, as more factors come to me.
Add #1…If your tempo is very very fast, you might want to try a heavy graphite or even a steel shaft. Generating more speed with a lighter club makes no difference if you can’t hit it solid. A lower club head speed and a solid hit beats the clanker every time (I know clanker is more of a term for an mishit iron shot, but I like the word).
Add #2…sometimes changing the length of club can help you out. Two examples. A shorter club may cause less hand manipulation and the result is more solid and consistent hits. A longer club for a quick tempo can slow you down and improve your timing.
PS-I never condone equipment changes to solve problems. Actually I am against it most of the time. All of these ideas are for selecting the best driver for you. An example of when I suggest an equipment change…my father in law who generates about 80 mph had a 13 degree 3-wood and no other fairway metals. I threw his club in the trash and bought him a 4-wood and 7-wood.
Where do you come up with this stuff, once again your spot on! I swear you need to write for the major golf magazines, this kind of stuff would make the Top 100 Teachers crazy. Good point about finding something that “looks good”, it is one of the key factors I use when I purchase new clubs, be it a driver, fairway metal, irons or putter. I have held a club and said, “I can hit this” simply because it gave me confidence in how it looked. Granted, getting the other parts of the puzzle right are important, shaft, lie, and loft, but hitting an ugly club proves to be more difficult than hitting one that inspires confidence. I have gone into golf shops and passed clubs on the rack simply because they did not suit my eye. The simple things in golf make it more fun.
Thank you Don. I have come up with most of this stuff after about 10 years of not being very good at golf, relative to my skill level.
I have learned so much about little things and simplifying the big things…just from being terrible :-).
First of all, great blog! What are your thoughts on draw-biased drivers? Are they supposed to straighten out a fade if that is your normal ball flight or hit a draw if you normally hit it straight?
It’s Monte, not Marty, but I won’t hold that against you because you like the blog. 🙂
“Draw-biased driver” is just a fancy term for a driver with a closed face. If you take a normal grip and a normal swing, the ball will generally go more left than a square drive. It might be with a draw, it might be with less fade, it might be a pull. It all depends on your swing. On the other hand, it might slice more because visually seeing that closed face may subconsciously make you open it at impact. There is no telling until you try it.
My comment about a club like this is the same for any other. If it works for you, buy it, but don’t buy it unless you try one first, because the results will vary.