What to look for when buying a Driver

Michael Kunman Blogs, Club Fitting, Instruction Leave a Comment

I have a lot of people come into my Pro Shop asking to purchase a new driver. To be honest, most of the people I speak to don’t understand the reasons “why”’ they should be buying a new driver and also what they are looking for.

I’m here to give you a crash course on driver technology, so when you’re in the market to upgrade the longest club in your bag, you’ll be able to talk the lingo with your local PGA Pro and make an informed decision.

Loft

Most people look at guys on tour and see them hitting an 8’ or 9’ lofted driver and believe that’s what they should be trying to emulate. I’m here to tell you that you need to be open to trying out ALL different lofts when being fit into a driver. In my experience more loft is generally beneficial for the general golfer. Think of it this way… Would you hit a 7 iron or 2 iron more consistently? Now that’s a much bigger variant when it comes to loft, but it is the same principle. A higher lofted driver will help you hit more consistently than a lower lofted driver. This isn’t in every case, but just be open to trying a driver with more loft than you’d normally go for.

Shaft Flex

Shaft flex is extremely important in the fitting process of a driver. Don’t be stuck in the frame of mind that you NEED a stiff or regular flex shaft. Be open to experimentation and find out what shaft works with what head. There is a massive amount of combinations between the different brands (The TaylorMade M1 has 28 shaft options at no upcharge!), so have a PGA Golf Professional find what works for you.

Shaft Kick Points

Kick points are a subject that gets brought up a lot when people come in to buy a driver. Most people get confused about what the kick point actually does. Kick point is basically the stiffness in the lower portion of the shaft. A shaft with a low kick point will help generate a higher ball flight and a higher kick point will produce a lower ball flight. So if you’re trying to achieve a certain ball flight then this does come into play when clubfitting.

Torque

This is another interesting piece of the fitting puzzle. Torque is the amount a shaft is able to twist during the swing and is measured in degrees. A shaft with 5.0’ of torque will twist more than a shaft with 2.0’ of torque.  In general a player with a faster swing speed should have a shaft with less torque – to control the club head – and a player with a slower swing speed should have more torque to help the clubface square up at impact.

Weighting Systems

Almost every driver that’s now on the market will have the added advantage of adjustability. One example of this is adjustable weight systems. These adjustable weight systems are designed to help change your ball flight, trajectory and curvature.

Below are some of the benefits and options available –

  • Heel / Toe Weighting – Simply put, if you move more weight nearer to the toe of the club it will help to keep the face open through impact and potentially produce a fade, and if you put more weight nearer the heel then you will have more chance at closing the clubface, assisting in drawing the ball.
  • Front / Back Weighting – This is designed primarily to affect ball flight. Move the weight closer to the club face it will produce a lower more penetrating ball flight and have the weight further back, it will produce a higher ball flight. The weight further back will help the majority of golfers out there as it’s more forgiving, which is what most people want!

Adjustable Hosels

This is another excellent piece of technology that helps to change the ball flight and shot shape to suit your current needs. Adjustable hosels can change the loft and clubface position of a club within certain ranges. Some can change up to 3 degrees! In layman’s terms, your 9’ driver then can become a 12’ driver! It also allows for the clubface to be set square, open or closed. Once again this is designed to change the ball flight and curvature of the ball. For example if you wanted a draw then you would set the clubface to closed (or draw setting) with the adjustable hosel. It’s that easy!

Ball Flight Monitors

I would suggest to anyone that is getting fit into a new driver or set of irons, to have it done with a ball flight monitor. The information that these little boxes provide is invaluable. The main brands to look for are Trackman and Flightscope, but there are many other companies breaking into market. They are accurate, reliable and provide details that the naked eye finds impossible to see.

Now I will stress that you should also hit the clubs on a driving range or on course prior to purchase. Actually seeing the ball flight in real life and trusting that it’s going to do it’s job is the main reason why you’ll want to purchase the new driver.

Summary

I do hope that I haven’t overloaded you with information. I just want to make sure that you make an informed decision the next time you’re in the market to purchase your new driver. Make sure you go down to your nearest golf course and speak to your local PGA Professional. They will assist in getting you fitted into theCORRECT driver and have you hitting longer and straighter in no time!

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