How do you choose your driver?
I am sat on the train on my way back from The Scottish Golf Show. At the show there was just about every manufacturer trying to sell their latest equipment to the unsuspecting golfer. Everyone was encouraged to hit balls on the indoor driving range into a net about 40 yards away. And what did we learn from these experiences? That street shoes make rubbish golf shoes as we slid across the astroturf mat!
So if this isn’t the best way to choose a driver what is? The answer is that it is not easy without having an independent club fit. We read the claims of extra accuracy and extra yardage from the manufacturers but how do we know without the data from a club fit that one manufacturers driver is better than another for our particular swing.
For example TaylorMade launched their RocketBallz clubs this year and they have been extremely popular with the fittings I have been doing at Carus Green. There is no doubt that for some people this equipment is giving them huge amounts of length. I hit a 214 yard carry with a 5 iron, that's 25 yards further than I normally hit a 5 iron, but I can’t seem to get the driver to go anywhere!
Last weekend we saw some long driving from Tiger Woods, as he claimed his first title in style for many years. However Tiger was by no means the longest off the tee, this was reserved for Bubba Watson who managed to hit a pitching wedge into a Par 5 after a drive of over 370 yards! He also got his ball onto the fringe of a 390 yard Par 4.
Bubba clearly has a fast swing speed but to enable him to hit these outrageous drives he will have spent time with the Ping technicians to ensure that he is producing exactly the right spin rates and launch angles to maximise his distance.
I’ve just managed to increase my driver distance by switching to the latest Bridgestone driver. As my clubhead speed has increased over the winter my Miura driver began to launch the ball too high. By adjusting these launch conditions with the lower launching Bridgestone I’ve been able to add an extra 9 miles per hour to my ball speed and lowering the launch angle by just over 3 degrees without changing my swing (a 1mph increase in ball speed equates to approximately 1 yard of carry).
It is all very well talking about myself and tour pros; but what about helping you with your game. For the amateur golfer the only way to ensure that you are able to take advantage of the new technology available in the golf clubs of 2012 is to have an independent fitting and this isn’t just for your driver. Yes drivers are important so you can eek out every last yard, but you also want to ensure that you choose a set of irons that give you the most consistency.
What do I mean by independent? Someone who does not earn money from the clubs that they recommend to you. This will ensure that you get to try all of the clubs on the market and are not reliant on just one manufacturer. By trying all of the available equipment it gives you the best chance to find exactly the right ones for you.
So if you are thinking about purchasing a new driver or a set of irons, find your local independent club fitter and pay them a visit. They should be able to compare your current clubs to various ones on the market and hopefully find you some extra distance and consistency for you.
If you are in or around the Lake District area my next club fitting session is at Carus Green on the 20th April. To book your session please get in CONTACT.