Everybody likes to crush shots out of the teebox and there’s a lot of different factors that go into getting a far and straight drive.
In order to get the best drives you’ll need the right equipment and I created this guide so you know exactly how to choose a good driver for your swing and skill level.
After you’re done reading I’m confident you’ll be ready to buy a driver.
Start With The Loft
Choosing the right loft can make a big difference in the performance of whichever driver you choose. Generally, we are looking to optimize our ball flight.
Too much loft will balloon the ball up into the air and rob us of yardage from both carry and roll. On the other hand, too little loft will rob us of ideal carry and yardage through the air, especially in damp conditions where the ball tends to not roll very far.
Most professional club-fitters or large stores that sell golf merchandise will have a launch monitor of some kind on the premises. These machines and their complimentary computer programs allow the player to try a variety of lofts in order to determine which one produces the best combination of carry and roll for their game.
In general, players with slower swing speeds will benefit from additional loft on their drivers, which help them to get the ball up and take advantage of yardage gained through the air. For example, unless you tend to play in conditions where the ground is as hard as concrete and you get tons of roll on the ball, a 12 or even 13-degree driver would provide more total distance for a slower swing speed than a club in the 9 or 10-degree range.
All that being said, finding the perfect loft has become a lot less crucial when buying a driver, due the frequency of loft and lie-angle adjustment tools built into these clubs. So, now we are just generally looking to get in a range of driver loft and the adjustment tool on the hosel of the club will allow us to dial in it to just the right loft for us, even as the weather conditions and our golf swings change over time.
Here’s a video that explains more:
Pretty simple, right?
Adjustable Loft And Lie Tool
As we have already mentioned, loft and lie-angle adjustments have become a standard part of drivers on the market today, revolutionizing the way manufacturers build and distribute clubs and how the player can tweak and adjust their clubs, dialing in just the right fit for them without having to take a trip to their professional club-fitter to have the work done.
These adjustment tools can be loosened with a tool that is provided by the manufacturer and there are usually two separate pieces within the adjustment tool that can be rotated for a wide range of loft and lie combinations.
With loft, these tools have the ability to alter the loft up and down, in some models as much as two degrees. Starting from the standard loft that is printed on the head of the club, you can calculate your ideal driver loft up and down from this point.
Lie-angle has to do with what angle the shaft of the club is in when the sole of the club head is laying flat on the ground. The standard lie-angle is determined as an average angle that fits the bulk of golfers and will most likely be the neutral setting on the driver when it first arrives to you. Basically, the higher your hands are at address, the more upright of a lie-angle you will need to have the club sitting flatly on the ground and the lower your hands the flatter you will need the lie-angle to be.
Changing the lie-angle can also help you to shape the ball in a consistent pattern. For example, the lower your hands are at address, the more likely you will be to hit a low, draw-shaped shot and the higher your hands are, a high fade becomes a more likely result.
Drivers that feature loft and lie adjustments allow a player to match certain desired characteristics and test different settings with ease, making it a highly desirable feature in your next driver.
Perhaps the biggest trend in golf equipment these days is the concept of center of gravity (CG) and having the ability to adjust and move the CG around in the head of a golf club. Adjustable weights in drivers come in two forms, those that have to do with moving the weights from the toe to the heel of the club and those that move the weights from the face back to the tail end of the club head.
The weights that move from the toe to the heel of the club are there to assist the player in producing more of a closing or an opening of the face at impact. In other words, these weights produce a fade or draw bias. Moving the weight closer to the heel of the club head produces more of a draw and moving the weight out toward the toe produces a fade.
The weights that focus on moving weight from front to back in the driver have to do with the launch angle of the ball at impact. The farther back in the head of the club that the CG moves, the higher the launch angle and the easier it is to get the ball airborne.
Each manufacturer has their own unique design for moving weights around including slider bars and pads that hold a variety of different weight inserts. When choosing the right fit in this category, a player must ask themselves how much help they want from gravity to produce a certain shot shape and where they need that help the most.
Head Size And Aerodynamic Design
The USGA limited the size of driver heads at 460 cubic centimeters of volume. Generally speaking, manufacturers push this rule to its limit, with the majority of players gravitating towards the greater forgiveness and mass of the 460cc size. That being said, there are some players who prefer the slightly smaller sizes of 420 and 440cc-sized heads for their drivers. The smaller heads allow the player to shape and work the ball a little bit more while holding on to the bulk of forgiveness that is available in the larger head design.
While the USGA limits the volume of the driver head, there is ample room for manufacturers to implement their own aerodynamic designs within that parameter. Greater face height and width contribute to more forgiveness and each brand attempts to integrate aspects like thinner and stronger faces for more ball speed and spaces between the club face and the body of the driver to create a kind of trampoline effect into the golf ball.
Each company will offer their own combination of materials and aerodynamic design in an effort to optimize the speed that the club face is able to produce into the ball. It is up to the player to review all of the options available and decide whose design offers the greatest combination to benefit their game.
Choosing The Right Shaft
Determining the right shaft for your game is a topic that can be separated out from determining the best fit for the best driver brand for your game, as each brand has the ability to put a wide range of shaft flexes and weights into your driver.
That being said, getting the right fit of a shaft for your driver is just as important as all the other factors we have discussed to this point.
SHAFT MATERIALS AND WEIGHT
Shafts are constructed of two basic materials, steel and graphite. Both varieties of materials can be produced to create all the different shaft flex categories. So, in general, the main difference between these two has to do with weight, both overall weight and swing weight of the club.
The overall weight is fairly straightforward to comprehend, with a lighter weight shaft producing an overall lighter overall weight to the club. Swing weight has to do with how heavy the shaft feels when you swing the club and has to do with where the balance point falls on the shaft of the club. Basically, the closer the balance point is to the club head, the heavier the club will feel to swing.
It is almost unheard of to have a steel shaft in a driver these days, however, there are graphite shafts with a wide range of weights that you can choose on the market today. The best way to dial in this intricate balancing act is to schedule some time with a professional club-fitter who can walk you through the intricacies of finding the right shaft weight for your driver.
The more basic and important choice for you to make in finding the right shaft for you is to determine the ideal flex for your swing speed and tempo.
Shaft flexes include Extra-Stiff (X), Stiff (S), Regular (R), Senior (A) and Ladies (L). Players with high swing speeds and quicker tempos with gravitate towards the X and S end of the range, while players with slower swing speeds and more languid tempos will benefit from the extra whip that comes from shafts with more flex.
Here’s a video that explains further:
Picking A Driver Is That Simple!
Having the right driver is essential to being a good golfer. If you choose the right one you can expect to hit some nice drives – choose the wrong one and you’ll be digging through the woods to find your ball.
If you have any questions you can comment below and I’ll answer as fast as I can. You can search around the golf section up top for more tips too.
You can check out my top picks for drivers by clicking here.
Are you ready to hit farther drives this year?