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Short Drivers

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I must have made a poor estimation of the length of my SLDR vs. a friends new Epic yesterday. Granted I just lined them up as closely as possible and the Epic was roughly 1" longer than my SLDR. My Taylormade SLDR official spec says 45.5" and that's what I just measured. My SLDR has been a great driver for me for both distance, control, and accuracy. I basically grip down about 1/2" on all my clubs anyway. Next time I purchase a driver I'm going to test it out and seriously consider either 44.5" or 45". 

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... Plaid, I hit a 330 yd drive last time out. I do not drive the ball 300 yds. In fact I may only have a couple 300 yards in a season. Plenty of 290ish that sure look like 300+ before measuring but often a number like 287 appears in my rangefinder. However, we had a good 20 mph wind at our backs and I hit it perfectly with my best swing. It is a short hole so I was not trying to hit it far per se, just put a good swing on it.

... My point being at 64 yrs old and only a 100mph smooth swinger, hitting the ball dead center (with some wind aid) I got it out there 330 with a 44.25" driver. Shorter is still capable of hitting it crazy far and for me at least, I will hit the center much more often with a shorter driver. I experimented quite a bit and found 44.5" to be my max consistent length. Going that extra .25" to 4.75" made a noticeable difference when charting my drives and going to 45" made quite a big difference in center strikes. Ymmv of course but I strongly advise everyone to try a shorter driver head to head with the length they are playing now and I imagine most will be surprised at how much farther they consistently hit the shorter driver. 

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... Plaid, I hit a 330 yd drive last time out. I do not drive the ball 300 yds on any kind of consistent basis. In fact I may only have a couple 300 yards in a season. Plenty of 290ish that sure look like 300+ before measuring but often a number like 287 appears in my rangefinder. However, we had a good 20 mph wind at our backs and I hit it perfectly with my best swing. It is a short hole so I was not trying to hit it far per se, just put a good swing on it.

 

... My point being at 64 yrs old and only a 100mph smooth swinger, hitting the ball dead center (with some wind aid) I got it out there 330 with a 44.25" driver. Shorter is still capable of hitting it crazy far and for me at least, I will hit the center much more often with a shorter driver. I experimented quite a bit and found 44.5" to be my max consistent length. Going that extra .25" made a noticeable difference when charting my drives and going to 45" made quite a big difference in center strikes. Ymmv of course but I strongly advise everyone to try a shorter driver head to head with the length they are playing now and I imagine most will be surprised at how much farther they consistently hit the shorter driver.

You'll hit it farther consistently because you'll find the sweet spot more consistently

 

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While I agree in principal I remain convinced that the better move is to get fit- what's the big deal about just finding a fitter and seeing what length he would recommend for your swing - more than likely it will be shorter than stock but what if it's not? I believe it's about 20 percent of players that should be in a longer driver - what if you are a part of that 20 percent? Is going for a fitting for a guy like asking for directions used to be pre gps days?

 

 

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While I agree in principal I remain convinced that the better move is to get fit- what's the big deal about just finding a fitter and seeing what length he would recommend for your swing - more than likely it will be shorter than stock but what if it's not? I believe it's about 20 percent of players that should be in a longer driver - what if you are a part of that 20 percent? Is going for a fitting for a guy like asking for directions used to be pre gps days?

 

 

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I think it comes down to a financial decision rev.... does for me anyway.

 

Fitting session: 150.00

"New" Driver: 300.00

"New" shaft: 100.00 ??

 

vs...

 

hacksaw - 5.00

new grip - 8.00

grip tape/solvent  - 10.00

current shaft - free

current driver - free

measuring tape - free

 

If the choice is to pay a guy 150 bucks and he's going to tell me:

- I have the completely wrong driver and need a new one (more money)

- I have the right driver head but need a totally different shaft (more money)

- I have the right driver/shaft combo and taking an inch off the end will help (might have just wasted 150)

- I have the right driver/shaft combo in the right length and should go take a lesson (completely wasted 150)

 

or

 

DIY

 

I'll DIY all day long.... at the end of the day I still need some money to pay for my rounds.  I don't want to spend my budget on a "perfect" driver, let it sit in the bag and have no $$$ left to pay for playing golf.

 

BUT... you have a point; those that can afford it should do it; I'm just not in that category.

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That's funny

 

Just one thing - if you cut down the shaft and don't like it you've lost the driver. Try playing a few rounds griping down - it's not exactly the same but close enough. Be sure to put a piece of tape on an inch down the grip so that you're consistent.

 

 

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While I agree in principal I remain convinced that the better move is to get fit- what's the big deal about just finding a fitter and seeing what length he would recommend for your swing - more than likely it will be shorter than stock but what if it's not? I believe it's about 20 percent of players that should be in a longer driver - what if you are a part of that 20 percent? Is going for a fitting for a guy like asking for directions used to be pre gps days?

 

... Unless the guy wants to do a fitting on the course ;) I just don't see it as anything that would be helpful for length. Now if you are already getting fit, it wouldn't hurt to see if length plays a factor. But standing in one place and grooving a swing is far different than hitting a fairway during a round when it counts and there is trouble to avoid. I always recommend actually playing a club you are interested in on the course, and that certainly applies to playing a shorter length diver. 

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@chisag - Beyond a doubt there is no substitute for being able to take equipment on the course and test it. Most of us don't have that opportunity. Either we don't have access to equipment or we can't find a course that's empty enough to do it.

 

I have little doubt that 80 percent of the guys here would benefit from a shorter shaft in their driver than what they would purchase off the rack.

 

Doesn't it make sense to ask a professional - either your teaching pro or a fitter if you are a part of that 80 percent before you cut down a shaft on your driver?

 

 

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The only way guys like us can hit it longer is with longer shafts, cut your shaft down to 43.5 and see how far you hit it...

 

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@chisag - Beyond a doubt there is no substitute for being able to take equipment on the course and test it. Most of us don't have that opportunity. Either we don't have access to equipment or we can't find a course that's empty enough to do it.

 

I have little doubt that 80 percent of the guys here would benefit from a shorter shaft in their driver than what they would purchase off the rack.

 

Doesn't it make sense to ask a professional - either your teaching pro or a fitter if you are a part of that 80 percent before you cut down a shaft on your driver?

 

 

... As someone that put my students thru a fitting, I would say no. It is just an entirely different endeavor to hit balls at the range that don't count than it is to hit shots on the course that do count. Drivers were standard 43.5" for a reason and the OEM's began making longer shafts to increase the distance for sales purposes using an iron byron. If Rickie Fowler/Sergio Garcia are using a 43.5" driver because he is more accurate and just as long and Tom Wishon recommends a 43.5" driver after testing and fitting hundreds if not thousands of players, I just don't see how it can be beneficial to all but a few. Now I agree, before cutting down your driver it is easy enough to get some lead tape and choke down on your driver to see how much more accurate you really are. If someone is hitting their 45" (or longer) driver well and have confidence in it, I would never recommend just lopping an inch off without experimenting. And even then, golf is as much mental as it is physical and I have seen more than a few players hit clubs better that are ill suited to their swing because they truly believe they can. Quite simply if it works, it works. 

 

... That said, if you have a swing flaw or low clubbed speed and have a smooth transition and you can hit the center of the face as often with a 45.5" driver as you ca with a 43.5" driver of course it is an option. But I think that is far less than 20% of those playing the game and many playing a longer driver have hit some long drives but fooled themselves into thinking they are just as consistent. Very, very few are. Just take a look at the contact using a wedge compared to contact using a 3 iron. Not quality of shot, just contact.  

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The only way guys like us can hit it longer is with longer shafts, cut your shaft down to 43.5 and see how far you hit it...

Are you familiar with the phrase "A long way the wrong way", i.e crooked? I think the point chisag is trying to make centers on smash factor, namely that consistently delivering a 46" driver to the ball is incredibly difficult for players making path/plane corrections in their downswing. Shorter shaft + improved contact = increased average distance
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Watching coverage and commentary, I've picked up on little mentions of players opting for shorter drivers to gain accuracy. I'm not entirely sure what yardage is sacrificed upon shortening the driver but specifically pertaining to the course, it can make a world of difference. Especially at the Memorial we saw players like DJ really struggle out of the rough even though he bombed them about 20 yards further he was having to hit 6/7/8 iron approach shots out of the thick rough which can kill a round. 

 

I do think the average golfer should opt for shorter drivers too. I switched to a shorter driver and lost about 10-15 yards on average but I was also approaching from a clean lie on the fairway. Its much easier to sustain a good round hitting longer irons from the fairway than it is navigating your way through the rough more often than not. Good topic!!

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Watching coverage and commentary, I've picked up on little mentions of players opting for shorter drivers to gain accuracy. I'm not entirely sure what yardage is sacrificed upon shortening the driver but specifically pertaining to the course, it can make a world of difference. Especially at the Memorial we saw players like DJ really struggle out of the rough even though he bombed them about 20 yards further he was having to hit 6/7/8 iron approach shots out of the thick rough which can kill a round.

 

I do think the average golfer should opt for shorter drivers too. I switched to a shorter driver and lost about 10-15 yards on average but I was also approaching from a clean lie on the fairway. Its much easier to sustain a good round hitting longer irons from the fairway than it is navigating your way through the rough more often than not. Good topic!!

Dude! Sweet name! That was my nickname from my old Chief.

 

 

- Alan

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Because the pros can hit it 100 yards longer than your average golfer already. The pros can afford to give up distance off the tee. I myself as a fairly average hitter cannot. I need all the distance I can get to ensure that I'm hitting an iron opposed to a long iron or wood into the longer par 4s

 

 

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I've played my last 3 drivers at 44.5" and not only am I more accurate but I'm slightly longer because I have the confidence to swing freely

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I've played my last 3 drivers at 44.5" and not only am I more accurate but I'm slightly longer because I have the confidence to swing freely

And confidence is everything

 

 

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Here's my thought on the length of my driver. I keep my driver just under or at 45 inches but choke down on most of my drives unless I have a wide fairway, where a little extra distance will pay off. That way I don't have to worry about changing the swingweight and I can still get a little extra out of my driver when I need to. 

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To cut or not to cut!!!

 

 

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Don't. Does your 3 wood shaft fit in your driver?

 

 

- Alan

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I have my driver cut down to 44 and my 3 wood to 42. (I'm 5'9"). I hit the center of the club more often so haven't lost any noticeable distance but have hit more fairways. Not sure how much shorter I could go and say the same though.

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