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Sparky

Re-Shafting Your Driver

3 posts in this topic

I love the game, but don't get to play as often as I'd like (as is likely the case with many of you), so my index is not where I think it could be if given the time.  I've shot 83 twice, but in all honesty, I play in the mid/low 90's most of the time (and blow up to the high 90's and low 100's from time to time if I'm having a bad day). A couple of years ago I went in to the local golf store (national retailer) and, despite my wanting to be "fitted,"  they basically said that my index indicated that I shouldn't be fitted as it wouldn't benefit me, and I should just buy off the shelf.  They did put me on a launch monitor to determine my club head speed (at the time avg. 101 MPH), so they suggested a stiff shaft.  I ended up getting a TaylorMade Burner 09' 10.5.

They said that the long and light, 46.5" shaft would aid in my club head speed and increase my distance.  No one here knows me, so I can be honest.  If I got a hold of it, I have hit it 280+, but would average around 240.  The problem was the accuracy.  I'd spray it all over the place and basically never felt overly comfortable with it.  I often just didn't pull the driver out of the bag except on par 5's.

I went to a local golf range a few weeks ago and there was an independent golf repair shop in the lobby.  A single guy worked and owned it.  He probably did more re-gripping than anything else, and I did get my irons re-gripped.  I started complaining about my driver and said,  "I think I just need to get a new driver (and lessons :))."  He took a look at it and had my jump on his launch monitor.  I was again swinging it at about 100-102 MPH, but my backspin was through the roof.  He said I didn't need a new driver, just a new shaft.

He said first of all, the 46.5" shaft was WAY too long for almost anyone and the kick point was too low as the off the rack stock shafts usually are.  For under $100 he re-shafted my driver (and re-gripped it).  It's now 45" long and heavier than the stock TaylorMade shaft.  I used it for a couple of weeks and WHAT A DIFFERENCE!  My spread was narrowed significantly!  I was sticking it down the center much more than not.  He asked that I come back after a while of getting used to it and we'd get back on the launch monitor to check things out.  I did.  With the shorter shaft, my club head speed jumped up to an average of 108 MPH!  I got as high as 111 MPH.  I was not over swinging.  My backspin also went down a lot, but admittedly was still higher than he'd/i'd like (due to a steeper attack)  Lessons!  But, I couldn't be happier.

Ok, I realize you just read a lot....So what's the question?  Why is the trend in drivers right now is the longer/lighter shafts when, according to this club maker and my personal experience the shorter slightly heavier shaft produced a much faster club head speed and greater accuracy and distance?  AND, why won't the retailers want to fit the average Joe player into clubs that work for US?  All the stuff I read says that WE are the ones that could most benefit.

Sorry for the dissertation...

Steve

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Short answer to the Q? Golfers ego and the all powerful lure of DISTANCE! Stands to reason doesn't it (even if your experience contradicts it) that a longer, lighter shaft will hit it further???!!! They never tell you it'll be harder to control for both those same reasons do they? I wonder why not?!

The pros don't use 46.5" shafts coming in at ~50g and you have to ask yourself why not if it would (allegedly) give them even more distance...

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My longest, straightest drives happen with my short (43.5"), heavy (322g) driver.

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    • There are several statements that I disagree with which I feel are important to discuss: All golf balls do not go about the same distance.  A low compression, 2-piece Surlyn covered model will launch higher and with less spin than a 5-piece, high compression urethane covered model which will result in a noticeable difference in distance off the tee.  Dean even stated in another answer "The soft golf ball market has taken off due to the lower spinning balls means players can be longer in distance." Regarding balls for different swing speeds and compression:  3) Bridgestone (and I think Callaway) has come out with tour caliber balls for players who swing under 105mph. Is it possible to design a tour caliber ball for a specific segment of swing speed or is this just mostly a marketing thing?  DEAN: The whole swing speed story to me is one of the most over-rated stories in golf. Companies force or teach golfers to play low compression balls so their low swing speed can compress the ball. The problem with this is that low compression balls have the lowest spin in all shots, so they are pushing players to play a ball with no performance at all… and when you need that spin around the green, it's not there…            I almost don't know where to start on this one.  The concept of designing golf balls based on swing speeds doesn't teach or force players to use a low compression ball...it's about using a ball that has the appropriate compression for your swing speed.  Some players will have better results with a higher compression ball, others will have better results with a lower compression.  Keep in mind, there is a difference between "lower compression" and "low compression".  Most of the urethane tour balls have a compression rating somewhere between the mid 70s to mid 90s.  Tour models like the Chrome Soft, B330-RX and B330-RXS are in the mid 60s, which is lower.  Balls like the Supersoft and e6 are in the upper 30s and 40s, which is considered low.  Dean's statement that "low compression balls have the lowest spin on all shots" is somewhere between a little misleading and flat-out wrong.  It's true that a lower compression ball will spin less (and launch higher) than a firmer ball on full shots.  But on short game shots around the green, the ball is not compressed.  On pitch shots, chip shots, and greenside bunker shots for example,    the only part of the ball that is being activated is the cover. Notice on this chart that the lowest compression ball is very close to the highest spinning, and the lowest spinning ball has almost the same compression rating!  The point is, compression has little to no affect on short game shots...the cover is the main factor.  All 4 of these models have a urethane cover, but the two that provide the most spin have softer covers.  To put this in context, the chart below was a test Golf Digest did in 2015 which shows the performance on a partial wedge shot (I think it was 40 yds) with most of the balls on the market at the time The different colors represented the price point.  These results don't match the first chart I posted exactly which can happen when player testing (this one shows the B330 has higher spin than the RXS). 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So again, higher compression doesn't mean higher spin around the green and lower compression doesn't necessarily mean low spin.  About the only thing that I could agree with Dean's comment on would be that all the ultra-low compression balls are Surlyn covered models designed for distance, so it's true that these balls have low spin on all shots and will not offer the same level of performance around the greens, but again, that has more to do with the cover than the compression.  The fact is, there are lower compression balls that perform at the highest level. The B330-RXS is the same type of ball as the Pro V1 in many respects, and performs just as well as, or even better for many players, so I'm surprised by his comments that fitting for swing speed is over-rated and lower compression balls have no performance.  That's like saying getting fit for the correct shaft flex is over-rated, and softer flex shafts don't perform as well as stiffer shafts!  Does anyone consider the Dynamic Gold S-300 to be a lower performing shaft than the Dynamic Gold X-100?  No, of course not. They are designed to do the same thing, but because some players don't swing as fast as others the softer flex will give them better results, just like the B330-RXS is the equal to the B330-S, but will fit players who don't swing as hard better. I'm also not on-board with the opinion that fitting with a driver is a "mistake" and when testing to choose a ball based on 100 yds and in.  I'm not saying that short game performance isn't important, but wow...to claim that testing with a driver is a mistake is ridiculous.  I'll make a simple point on this...anyone can hit good wedge shots with a Pro V1 or B330 or Z-Star.  Fast swingers, slower swingers, high handicappers, low handicappers...it doesn't matter, they can all get good results on wedge shots.  Does that mean that's the ball they should play, and it will work equally as well for the other aspects too?  No.  A wedge can mask any issues in performance because of the loft and backspin, but the driver exaggerates issues.  The same players who hit respectable wedge shots with various tour balls might struggle to keep shots in play or lose potential distance. And before anyone tries to use the old "the driver is used 14 times a round, but half of the shots are inside of 100 yds" argument...save it.  If you play a high spin ball and you're struggling to hit the fairway with your tee shots, that ball will not help you save shots around the green.  Too much spin for players who can't control it is worse than a lower spinning model. Sorry Dean...not trying to blast you or anything, just putting in my two cents.  Ok, maybe more like four cents!
    • So......Is this your point @Jack Watson?
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    • Thanks for all the comments. I realize change is always hard but single length, lie and weight make so much sense to me. I am going to build a set of Value Golf clubs and see what happens. As improve I may go back to normal but who knows.  I think it will be better for learning the overall game. Which in my opinion and observance needs a lot of help. In my other hobbies that required learned skills it was easy to find groups to help you with the skills and drills to improve them. Businesses that the hobby supported held seminars and workshops covering all aspects. Trying to find help, other than paid lessons, is impossible, at least in my area. 
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