We have been led to believe that each year’s new model driver is better than that of the previous year. This is a natural inference otherwise why would the manufacturers make a new one?
Unfortunately, what we would like to believe and the facts may differ especially when it comes to distance. If, however, we can get a driver with a longer shaft length than last year’s model then we may generate more head speed – as registered on a good launch monitor – but this comes with a downside of decreased accuracy as we are inclined to miss the sweet-spot which also decreases ball velocity which means less distance.
Jack Nicklaus used a driver just under 42 ¾ inches for most of his winning career, and Tiger Woods used close to a 43 ½ inch driver when he was at his best.
Unless you can make a consistent swing and hit the sweet spot most of the time it is better to stay with what the average driver length is on the Tour which is about 44.5 inches.
Dustin is using a 45 ¾ inch driver but he is the exception as the trend is to go to shorter drivers, even down to 43 ½ for some players.
Yes, the standard retail driver length is between 45 ½ to 46 or more in some instances but this is to cater to those who enjoy bragging rights for months about that one in a hundred extraordinary drive, which may have had an assist from Mother Nature.
If you want to improve your average driving distance and your score you need to hit the sweet spot more often and this requires that you use a driver no longer than the Tour average of about 44 ½ inches.
Be smart about your selection of driver shaft length and have more fun.
Playing with a USGA competitive player in a very stiff wind he advised to grip down 1.5 to 2″ and move the ball back in my stance about 2 ball diameters, to minimize upshoot. As slightly slower swing speed reduces spin rate and thus less up shoot. And, it worked, as well as being a very solid hit.
When I have issues making solid contact I do this without the wind until my swing returns. My next driver will be shorter. I read that Ricky Foller went to a 43.5 and only lost a yard in distance, but gained significant improvement in fairways hit.
I sent this wise and informative column off to several friendly golfers. One fan is putting tape to her Taylormade and now asks me: What do I measure? The shaft from grip top to hosel? To the bottom of the club? How is it properly done?
So, what is the right way to measure shaft length for a driver?
Hi Bill, Thank you for your question. The official way to measure the length of the driver is on the USGA website: http://www.usga.org/content/usga/home-page/rules/rules-and-decisions.html#!rule-14323
Hope this is helpful!
Thanks for the link to U.S.G.A. method for measuring club, not shaft, length. the discussion is really about club length and that is a usefully defined term.
Doesn’t changing the shaft length also create weight issues? I use a shorter shaft and the manufacturer used a heavier weight and results have been amazing for me. List maybe a few yards but I am finding the short stuff probably 90% of the time.
I cut down my driver to 44.5″ with only positive results in accuracy and distance.
I agree 100 % ….. for the average golfer. I also have shortened to 44.5 “…
and this has helped me locate that “sweet spot” better. However, it is fun to watch Brooke Henderson wield that 48” monster….and see how she has honed that fabulous driver swing.
I suppose all of us could do better with the manufacturer issued longer shafts if we had as much time to practice with it as the typical “pro.”
So, if I take an inch or two off my driver, do I just ignore the significantly reduced swingweight or do I pile on the lead tape to make up for it (my driver doesn’t have the option of using heavier screw-in weights to add swingweight that way)?