Get 20 More Yards

Get a bigger head! While there are some jumbo heads out there, the golf industry seems to be settling on a driver head size between 350 and 460 cc’s. The extremely large heads have such a high failure rate (the heads actually implode) that the manufacturers do not make them anymore. The larger heads  offer a larger sweet spot and a much better head design that reduces lost distance from off-center hits. Also, the extremely hard beta titanium faces create greater ball speed with less spin. Carl Paulson was fifth in driving distance on the PGA Tour with the MacGregor V-Foil and Vince Howell used the Alpha Reaction V2 to set the world distance record in LDA competition at 462 yards! These type of heads offer the latest in construction and material technology that eliminates dead zones and provides more energy at impact. And they are legal!

Tee it high and let it fly. This is especially true with the bigger heads. You need to tee the ball so about half of the ball is above the top of your driver at address. This means you will have to use a two and three quarter inch or three inch tee. Because of the roll or curvature of the face of the club from top to sole, any ball hit at or below the center line of the driver will have a severely low ball flight.

The right shaft does the trick. All of the touring pros are playing the lightest, softest, longest shaft that they can control. If they lose control off the tee, they first try a stiffer shaft. Then they play a heavier shaft. And finally, they shorten up the club. I believe Tiger Woods went back to his trusted Titleist 975d more because he was comfortable with a shorter, steel (heavier) shaft than the actual head design. If you are losing control off the tee, the first place to look is in the shaft flex. Because all manufacturer’s have their own flex design standard, you will find that a Firm flex Callaway plays much different than a S flex Taylor Made. That is why it is so important to know your own swing profile to understand what “true” flex you need for your swing. This can only be accurately tested using the True Temper Shaft Lab. The Shaft Lab measures acceleration and loading of the shaft rather than speed. Every golfer has a maximum point of acceleration in their forward swing. Once you stop accelerating the club, the shaft takes over and delivers the clubface to the ball. If the shaft is too soft, you will get wildly inaccurate shots, but every once in a while you will “catch” one and get a huge drive. Unfortunately, it is every once in a while. If the shaft is too stiff, you will lose distance because you are not maximizing the energy of the shaft. The right shaft will feel like an extension of your arm in the swing, delivering a smooth, crisp feel at impact with awesome distance and accuracy.

Play the right ball for your swing. It’s all about ball speed off the club face. Using a launch monitor, we can determine your ball speed with any type of driver head. It is not uncommon for a golfer to pick up 4 to 10 mph in ball speed with a ball designed for their swing dynamics and a harder, beta titanium driver. This can mean up to 25 yards more distance. If your ball speed is under 140 mph, you should play a softer ball that is more ballistically designed to spin more and pick up launch angle at impact. If your ball speed is over 140 mph, you should be playing a ball that is more aerodynamically designed to reduce spin and cut through the air. Balls are designed with different cover materials that actually spin more at lower speeds and less at higher speeds.

Launch angle is critical. Over 20 percent of tour players are now using drivers over 9 degrees of loft, up from less than 5 percent two years ago. This is because fairways are softer meaning players need more carry distance. It is great to hit a low bullet in the fall and watch the ball roll forever, but not so great to see that same shot stick in the fairway on an uphill par four. Again, a launch monitor will help you determine the best launch angle and club face angle for your ball speed.

So now you know what it takes to out-drive your buddies. No more whining. Get the right equipment for your game and start taking strokes off your score