Building upon our fitting theme, we have progressed to the final and one of the most important clubs to get fit for, the driver. Odds are you’ve missed the fairway from time to time and have found yourself in some trouble on the golf course. A properly fit driver can begin to help you eliminate some of the mistakes you have a tendency of making. Some…not ALL. You’ll still need to work on that golf swing! Let’s take a look at some of the components that make up a driver fitting.
The grip of the golf club has evolved dramatically over the past few years. The most popular grip companies are Golf Pride, Lamkin, and Winn, with each company producing a variety of different grips. Grips are typically made out of rubber, but many golf companies are now using new man-made materials to increase the feel and comfort of a grip. The first step in selecting a grip should be to make sure it fits your hand, as grip size is one of the most overlooked components. Choosing the proper size grip is critical because it regulates the pressure you place on the club. Minimal grip pressure is needed to properly execute a golf swing. Accomplished clubfitters can measure your hand and recommend the correct size. If a clubfitter is not available, many grip and club manufacturers have charts available that can aid in selecting the proper grip size.
In 99.9% of all cases, the driver shaft is made of graphite. There are a dozen or so companies that manufacture driver shafts. The more recognizable ones are Aldila, Fujikura, Grafalloy, Graphite Design, Matrix, Mitsubishi, and UST Mamiya. Each different company makes 4-8 different models. There are a lot of available shafts, and a lot of information regarding shaft specifications that can make this complicated. All have various specifications. Some important terms to know regarding shafts are shaft flex, kick point, and club stiffness.
- Shaft flex is the most recognized attribute. Choosing the proper flex is based on several characteristics including your clubhead speed, angle of approach into the ball, and how you load and unload the golf club from the top of the backswing to impact. There are a wide range of flexes to accommodate all swing types.
- Kick point determines how the shaft launches the golf ball. A low kick point produces a high ball flight and just the opposite occurs where a high kick point produces a low ball flight.
- Tip stiffness and butt stiffness are often ignored but are still an important shaft aspect. A shaft that is tip stiff, produces a shot with less spin. Whereas a shaft that is butt stiff feels tighter in your hands. Most shaft and club companies have charts for club fitting professionals to recommend the proper choice.
Proper shaft length is very important for the centeredness of hit that you make. Fitting a golf shaft to length directly relates to your anatomical features; height, arm length, shoulder width, etc. Golf shots should be measured using face impact tape to see and verify results. Shots struck off the toe could mean the golf club is too short. Just like a golf shot off the heel could mean the club is too long. Shots off the bottom or top of the club may also be an indicator of a length issue.
Shaft adjustability is the newest advancement in technology. A golfer can ‘dial in’ their loft requirement by unscrewing the shaft from the head. Club manufacturers have devised a way to open or close the face of the club to influence loft. Opening the face on these types of drivers de-lofts the club while closing the face actually adds loft. This is a very simple way to make an adjustment and most shaft tips are labeled for ease of use.
Driver clubhead options will out number the fingers you have to count on. The vast majority of clubheads measure 460cc in volume, with a limited number models that measure smaller than that. Drivers come in various ‘footprints,’ or shapes, all of which will make you launch the golf ball high with decreased ball spin for maximum distance. Adjustable weighting is also available in some clubheads. Moveable weight around the club’s perimeter gives the club more forgiveness and gives you the possibility of changing or shaping a shot in a desired direction. Offset is still offered in a small amount of clubheads. The offset on a driver will help you close the face of the golf club. So, if your normal shot is a fade you may want to consider using an offset driver. It will improve your scores and enjoyment.
As you can tell, there are multiple components that go into a successful driver fitting. If you know your current driver specifications we can tailor your custom options on our equipment selection. If you’d like to learn more about club fitting take a look at our previous iron, wedge, putting, and golf ball fitting articles.