Originally Posted by DocParty
Brandt Snedeker (spelling) played a round with old school clubs like these for a test. He shot in the 80's and said he would never do it again. He could not understand how the pros of the past ever scored in the 60's with them as often as they did. And remember today's pros averages are just about what the old pros averages were 40-50 and 60 years ago.
I think such assessments more reflect what today's players are accustomed to. They have grown up with composite shafts and oversized heads. Yes, there are physical distinctions between clubs of yesteryear and today, but if you were to do this experiment in reverse, take a good player accustomed to playing persimmon and stick a modern driver in his or her hands, not only wouldn't they have some immediate improvement, but they likely would drive the ball worse given their unfamiliarity with the new clubs.
Originally Posted by dennbb
If you can hit the sweetspot it will go straighter, but not as far is what they say.
Perhaps this is a typo (or I am misreading) but the "sweetspot," aka center of percussion, is by definition the point where there is maximum transfer of energy from club to the ball (anything else off center results in energy being wasted in twisting and turning). The farthest shot will always be on the sweetspot. If you meant a persimmon on the sweetspot vs a new driver on the sweetspot, all things being equal, the smaller clubhead (i.e. the persimmon) typically delivers a more efficient (and longer hit). However, the key is "all things being equal." The real advantage in modern clubheads is the ability to make them larger and lighter. This allows for overall club length to be longer, increasing the opportunity for swing speed. The larger heads, reduce the impact of off-center hits. You sacrifice a tiny bit on the energy transfer for an absolutely perfectly hit shot but you gain on average for all those near perfect hits. You also shift the center of gravity which helps with launch angle (see next comment).
Originally Posted by dennbb
I also seem to hit my persommon 3 wood as far as my persimmon driver off the tee, so I use it more often than the driver.
This happens more than you might think. While the ball has an impact on this, typically the optimum launch angle (distance wise) is somewhere between 15 and 20 degrees (the ball's spin rate and dimple design will impact its lift and thus its carry). Lots of folks step onto the tee with a low lofted driver (say 8 degrees) and a shaft that is too stiff (very little forward flex at impact) and then play the ball too far back in their stance. They never get that optimum launch angle. However, step in there with a three-wood, which starts out with a loft close to their optimum launch angle, and the ball goes farther than their driver. All this factors into the oversize heads - the shifted center of gravity (back in the club) tends to have the ball come off the clubface higher. The consequence is a large 8 degree driver vs a smaller 12 degree driver might result in same launch angle but the 8 degree has less spin, which results in more run, more distance. Again, I think the issue is that the new materials allow for clubhead shapes and sizes that weren't possible with solid wood. The consequence is modern woods, especially drivers, perform quite differently from those of yesteryear. I find trying to explain why I play persimmon is often like trying to explain manual shift to some kid who has driven an automatic all his life. Like a manual, persimmon requires more work, more thinking, and that's not a bad thing.