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Nutsmacker

New driver

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Hi All,

I was curious what you guys think about the latest driver technology.  In a previous post I was asking about new irons to replace my ping eye 2s.  I ended up with the Ping G irons and they have been pretty good so far.  

Now, I have been using the same driver for almost as long as my old eye2s.  I use a Taylormade 510 driver with a 8.5 degree loft and a fujikura stiff flex shaft from roughly the same time period.  I average about 270 yards off the tee...on good days I hit closer to 280-300...but the average is around 270.  I am fairly good with it, but I am just wondering if the latest technology would provide more distance, etc.  

The reason I ask is because I own a Ping G 3 wood stretch club that has a 13 degree loft.  I hit that off the deck about 260 yards.  I also have a 3 wood g10 15.5 degree that I hit beautifully about 245-250ish off the deck.  I also hit the same model 5 wood about 230ish.  I hit the fairway woods really well and with the distances I am getting off those clubs makes me think that I am not hitting the driver as long as I should.   

My swing speed averages between 105-110 with the driver...topping out at 112mph when I go after it.  

What do you guys think?  A higher loft?  I have never had trouble getting the 8.5 up in the air...I am also fairly consistently straight with the driver as well.  

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6 minutes ago, Nutsmacker said:

Hi All,

I was curious what you guys think about the latest driver technology.  In a previous post I was asking about new irons to replace my ping eye 2s.  I ended up with the Ping G irons and they have been pretty good so far.  

Now, I have been using the same driver for almost as long as my old eye2s.  I use a Taylormade 510 driver with a 8.5 degree loft and a fujikura stiff flex shaft from roughly the same time period.  I average about 270 yards off the tee...on good days I hit closer to 280-300...but the average is around 270.  I am fairly good with it, but I am just wondering if the latest technology would provide more distance, etc.  

The reason I ask is because I own a Ping G 3 wood stretch club that has a 13 degree loft.  I hit that off the deck about 260 yards.  I also have a 3 wood g10 15.5 degree that I hit beautifully about 245-250ish off the deck.  I also hit the same model 5 wood about 230ish.  I hit the fairway woods really well and with the distances I am getting off those clubs makes me think that I am not hitting the driver as long as I should.   

My swing speed averages between 105-110 with the driver...topping out at 112mph when I go after it.  

What do you guys think?  A higher loft?  I have never had trouble getting the 8.5 up in the air...I am also fairly consistently straight with the driver as well.  

If your distances and swing speed are real, then I think you should invest in better wedges and a much much better putter. . . :-)

 

Edited by Lihu
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Just now, Lihu said:

I think you should invest in better wedges and a much much better putter. . . :-)

 

Haha.  Actually I have a nice scotty cameron putter that was given to me as a gift about 15 years ago...I don't putt that well with it, but its not the equipment's fault.  I still use my ping eye2 Lob wedge and Sand wedge...both of which I like a lot.  I use the U and P wedges that came with my g irons.  I have my handicap down to 7.8 this year and I am finally investing in new gear and its definitely helping me shave a couple of strokes off.  Those new irons are great sticks...I thought the eye2's were irreplaceable, but these G's are definitely more forgiving and I had forgotten what it was like to play with clubs that actually have grooves..  Just thinking that my driver is ancient as so were my irons and that I have gotten my money's worth out of it.  Might be worth it now to help my game.  I know that equipment is marginal in improving performance...but when you upgrade from 30 year old irons...there is some improvement.  I have to think that upgrading a 14 year old driver would have a similar impact.  I could be wrong, but I am trying to get my handicap down as low as I can get it.  

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19 minutes ago, Lihu said:

If your distances and swing speed are real, then I think you should invest in better wedges and a much much better putter. . . :-)

 

Yes, the distances and swing speeds are real.  My real challenge is the putting; some days are OK, others not so much...my chipping is not so much a problem.  My short game faults are at the distance that is in between my lob and sand wedge....at around 75-95 yards.  However, I don't have any room left in my bag for an extra wedge...already at 14 clubs.  I have problems swinging full with the lob wedge with fluffier lies and hitting it fat from the fairway and I have trouble controlling the distance with the sand wedge....I am usually long with the sand wedge when trying to hit it 80 yards or so...could purely be mental as usually when I try to control the distance with the sand wedge I ended up hitting it flush and long.  

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I suppose it matters how much some extra distance matters to you.  You have real good swing speed.  With a new Driver you could probably get that average up around 285.   and who knows where you would top out.  But, hitting 112 clubhead speed would suggest that it you find the right ball flight, you might be able to bomb it out there about 300-310.   

For a point of reference.  I have a Big Bertha Alpha 815, that is about 2 years old.  I was recently looking at new drivers, but decided against making the move.   my swing speed is 107, and my good swings roll up to about 280 on the dot.  consistently.   I was just in the launch monitor the other day and I was hitting the Great Big Berta Epic and The Taylor Made M1.   When I would crush them, I would see drives in the 290-295 zone.  

But, here's the problem I ran into, and I think you will as well.   The Alpha 815 has a very small and compact head (which is also pretty light) for a new driver.  Swinging the other two (especially the M1) felt like I was swinging a watermelon at the end of a stick.  I was all over the place with both of those clubs.   left, right, slice, hook.  All over the place.  It literally took about 6 or 7 swings with each club just to stripe one so I could get an accurate reading.   Then I would go back to mine and hit 4 or 5 right down the middle.   
 

They take some getting used to, and 280 is far enough for me.  I've got way to many other things to work on in my game.  I didn't want to add -learn new Driver swing- to the list.  not worth the 10-15 yds for me.  wouldn't make that switch for free at the moment, not to mention the $500+ it would cost to make that switch.   

But, if you are really looking, or you just wanna know.  I'd say take a look at some used Drivers.  Looks like you can pick up an Alpha, like mine, at 2nd Swing for 169 bucks right now.   Titleist 915s are 199.   I like those quite a bit as well.   you'll see a pretty big difference from yours without going all the way to the newest tech.  

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1 minute ago, Nutsmacker said:

Yes, the distances and swing speeds are real.  My real challenge is the putting; some days are OK, others not so much...my chipping is not so much a problem.  My short game faults are at the distance that is in between my lob and sand wedge....at around 75-95 yards.  However, I don't have any room left in my bag for an extra wedge...already at 14 clubs.  I have problems swinging full with the lob wedge with fluffier lies and hitting it fat from the fairway and I have trouble controlling the distance with the sand wedge....I am usually long with the sand wedge when trying to hit it 80 yards or so...could purely be mental as usually when I try to control the distance with the sand wedge I ended up hitting it flush and long.  

Those Ping eye2 wedges are nice, however your 75-95 issue does seem to be mental, (I can't hit a 57.5° or 61° to save my life, with a full swing anyway). Have you tried the "clock method"? If you are trying to hit your sand wedge 80 yards and you hit it full 95 yards, it sounds like you are somewhere between a 9:00 and 10:30 swing. 9 to 3 is shaft perpendicular to the ground, 10:30 is shaft 45° from your parallel. I'd fiddle around with some where between a 1/2 and 3/4, you'll find that spot, don't change your swing though.

As for your original question, the more recent offerings may help you. The Ping G, last year's M series from Taylormade, the previous Callaway XRs are a good place to start. As per loft, it doesn't matter so much, if you have the proper shaft... I would go a little higher than 8.5°, but with the proper shaft fit... You may only have to go up to 9 or 9.5. Most drivers are hard to get with there designed loft less than 9°?

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4 minutes ago, lastings said:

I suppose it matters how much some extra distance matters to you.  You have real good swing speed.  With a new Driver you could probably get that average up around 285.   and who knows where you would top out.  But, hitting 112 clubhead speed would suggest that it you find the right ball flight, you might be able to bomb it out there about 300-310.   

For a point of reference.  I have a Big Bertha Alpha 815, that is about 2 years old.  I was recently looking at new drivers, but decided against making the move.   my swing speed is 107, and my good swings roll up to about 280 on the dot.  consistently.   I was just in the launch monitor the other day and I was hitting the Great Big Berta Epic and The Taylor Made M1.   When I would crush them, I would see drives in the 290-295 zone.  

But, here's the problem I ran into, and I think you will as well.   The Alpha 815 has a very small and compact head (which is also pretty light) for a new driver.  Swinging the other two (especially the M1) felt like I was swinging a watermelon at the end of a stick.  I was all over the place with both of those clubs.   left, right, slice, hook.  All over the place.  It literally took about 6 or 7 swings with each club just to stripe one so I could get an accurate reading.   Then I would go back to mine and hit 4 or 5 right down the middle.   
 

They take some getting used to, and 280 is far enough for me.  I've got way to many other things to work on in my game.  I didn't want to add -learn new Driver swing- to the list.  not worth the 10-15 yds for me.  wouldn't make that switch for free at the moment, not to mention the $500+ it would cost to make that switch.   

But, if you are really looking, or you just wanna know.  I'd say take a look at some used Drivers.  Looks like you can pick up an Alpha, like mine, at 2nd Swing for 169 bucks right now.   Titleist 915s are 199.   I like those quite a bit as well.   you'll see a pretty big difference from yours without going all the way to the newest tech.  

Yes, I agree...which is why I have been using the same driver for a very long time.  It is pretty beaten up at this point and I was actually just looking on ebay at an exact replacement of it and I saw the same club for like 15 dollars.  The main reason I liked the club in the first place was the fairly small head on the driver.  The couple of times I have tried a friend's driver or whatever over the last few years it did feel like hitting with a football on a stick and I didn't like it at all.  I can see that it potentially might be more forgiving; but it also seems to lose all of the feedback that I get from various mishits, etc.  Plus I did not feel as in control of the swing.  So maybe the Alpha you speak of might be a good one to try because I am certainly not looking to hit a watermelon off the tee.  I would certainly like to have the extra yardage..but only if it doesn't take me two steps back in re-learning the driver.  

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16 minutes ago, onthehunt526 said:

Those Ping eye2 wedges are nice, however your 75-95 issue does seem to be mental, (I can't hit a 57.5° or 61° to save my life, with a full swing anyway). Have you tried the "clock method"? If you are trying to hit your sand wedge 80 yards and you hit it full 95 yards, it sounds like you are somewhere between a 9:00 and 10:30 swing. 9 to 3 is shaft perpendicular to the ground, 10:30 is shaft 45° from your parallel. I'd fiddle around with some where between a 1/2 and 3/4, you'll find that spot, don't change your swing though.

As for your original question, the more recent offerings may help you. The Ping G, last year's M series from Taylormade, the previous Callaway XRs are a good place to start. As per loft, it doesn't matter so much, if you have the proper shaft... I would go a little higher than 8.5°, but with the proper shaft fit... You may only have to go up to 9 or 9.5. Most drivers are hard to get with there designed loft less than 9°?

Re: wedges

The problem I have is that the sand wedge is a 53 degree I think, and at full swing its more like 110-115.  The Lob wedge is actually the remake "gorge" style ping eye 2...that bad boy is a 60 degree.  When I hit that thing full from a fairway, I hit it probably 75-80 yards.  However, trying to use that club as an approach shot is just too risky.  I absolutely love it around the greens, out of sand traps, and for flops around the green...but whenever I try to take a full wack at it, its a 50/50 that I am actually going to hit it correctly.  So, there is definitely a large difference between the lob wedge and the sand wedge.  The Ping G wedges...the U and PW are much hotter off the face.  I hit the U wedge about 125-130 and the PW about 140-145.  I feel OK from 100+ yardage with the clubs and I am good from about 40 and in...its when I creep into that grey area where I am just not confident in the L wedge for a fuller swing and that is where my scores suffer.  In fact, I have been playing in a way to try and avoid that distance at all costs...which is not the way it should be.  

On the driver, I just keep hearing all these great things about the new callaway driver...and I am just wondering if it is worth the price tag.  I seriously doubt that I am willing to shell out $400+ for a golf club; but all I am hearing is how wonderful that thing is and it makes me feel like I am missing out.  I have been strident for a long time resisting the marketing from manufacturer's, but as I am starting to get older and want to utilize my abilities while I still have them...I don't want to miss out on some game improvements as in the last year I am finally now in my golfing hobby getting into competitive events.  On the flip side, I actually do not like going to the golf store and hitting balls while a salesman tries to tweak the numbers.  I am very old school in the idea of just getting a good club and getting used to hitting it well.  I know I should go do it the right way, but I would rather spend that time on the golf course playing instead of hitting into a mat at dick's.  Which is why I appreciate the suggestions as I will probably just roll the dice on a driver from ebay...

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21 minutes ago, Nutsmacker said:

The main reason I liked the club in the first place was the fairly small head on the driver

Todays drivers are mostly 450cc heads and more difficult to hit off the deck, but they are easier to launch a high trajectory.
Other consideration / criteria is shaft design for a high mph which you can control and achieve desired ball flight.

Take a look at the M1 and try it. Other drivers - Ping, etc may feel too light or whippy without a shaft upgrade.
Other drivers which might suite you could be: Cobra, Nicklaus, or the new Cleveland

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49 minutes ago, Nutsmacker said:

Yes, the distances and swing speeds are real.  My real challenge is the putting; some days are OK, others not so much...my chipping is not so much a problem.  My short game faults are at the distance that is in between my lob and sand wedge....at around 75-95 yards.  However, I don't have any room left in my bag for an extra wedge...already at 14 clubs.  I have problems swinging full with the lob wedge with fluffier lies and hitting it fat from the fairway and I have trouble controlling the distance with the sand wedge....I am usually long with the sand wedge when trying to hit it 80 yards or so...could purely be mental as usually when I try to control the distance with the sand wedge I ended up hitting it flush and long.  

Sure, that's a really tough distance for most people. It's not mental because you're using partial swings. If you could bring your hands back to the same spot every single time on a shot like that you'd probably be close to scratch or better.

Agreed that if your long game is more solid, then it makes the short game a little less stressful.

It's definitely not mental. I'm still figuring out how to get comfortable with those distances myself. Anyway, who says golf is easy? :-D

42 minutes ago, Nutsmacker said:

Yes, I agree...which is why I have been using the same driver for a very long time.  It is pretty beaten up at this point and I was actually just looking on ebay at an exact replacement of it and I saw the same club for like 15 dollars.  The main reason I liked the club in the first place was the fairly small head on the driver.  The couple of times I have tried a friend's driver or whatever over the last few years it did feel like hitting with a football on a stick and I didn't like it at all.  I can see that it potentially might be more forgiving; but it also seems to lose all of the feedback that I get from various mishits, etc.  Plus I did not feel as in control of the swing.  So maybe the Alpha you speak of might be a good one to try because I am certainly not looking to hit a watermelon off the tee.  I would certainly like to have the extra yardage..but only if it doesn't take me two steps back in re-learning the driver.  

The 430CC "pro" style heads feel much smaller even though their volume is only fractionally smaller. My son's team mate uses one and it looks a lot smaller. I'm probably going to get some flack for this, but Titleist D3 versions are really good and look pretty compact. Titleist in general look smaller anyway.

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13 minutes ago, Lihu said:

Sure, that's a really tough distance for most people. It's not mental because you're using partial swings. If you could bring your hands back to the same spot every single time on a shot like that you'd probably be close to scratch or better.

Agreed that if your long game is more solid, then it makes the short game a little less stressful.

It's definitely not mental. I'm still figuring out how to get comfortable with those distances myself. Anyway, who says golf is easy? :-D

Read more  

I know right.  That distance messes with my head so much.  At the courses I play, most of the par 4's are between 360-420.  Occasionally there is a longer one in there and a short couple with varying slopes, etc.  So I find myself hitting irons off the tee, 3 woods, 5 woods, etc just to ensure that I stay to around 150-160 yards to the green as I don't want to get too close.  How stupid is that?  haha.  I want to stay farther away from the hole on purpose.  I should be able to utilize my length off the tee on more than a couple of holes.  I basically only pull my driver on long par 4's and par 5's where I can reach in two.  

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1 minute ago, Nutsmacker said:

I know right.  That distance messes with my head so much.  At the courses I play, most of the par 4's are between 360-420.  Occasionally there is a longer one in there and a short couple with varying slopes, etc.  So I find myself hitting irons off the tee, 3 woods, 5 woods, etc just to ensure that I stay to around 150-160 yards to the green as I don't want to get too close.  How stupid is that?  haha.  I want to stay farther away from the hole on purpose.  I should be able to utilize my length off the tee on more than a couple of holes.  I basically only pull my driver on long par 4's and par 5's where I can reach in two.  

It's not as dumb as it sounds. While it's generally better to be closer to score lower, there's something to be said about having to add variables like partial swings into the mix.

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Here's an interesting read - http://www.golfproductnews.com/using-heavy-golf-clubs/

Quote

Golfers vary. If you give Davis Love III or Brad Faxon a club which is slightly heavier than what they are used to it will noticeably throw them off.
How do we determine the optimum weight of a golf club?
The optimum weight/speed combination rests somewhere in between. Anyone who has hit range balls with a weighted training club has experienced the same results: that ball just does not go very far regardless of how hard the golfer tries.

Golf clubs can easily be made very light. That enables them to be swung at great speed, but to little avail, if the weight falls below a certain amount. A lightweight, plastic, juvenile club does even more poorly than does the weighted, training club. Finding the optimum weight combination would be simple if all humans were the same size and weight and possessed the same strength and suppleness. An Iron Byron test machine or a physics professor could decide the issue in an hour or two. Unfortunately, we all vary a great deal and manufacturers are forced to go with a general average weighting pattern. There is no one precise formula. Don’t ever let anyone tell you differently.

Many, many women and seniors labor under the misassumption that ultra-light clubs will enable them to hit the ball farther. Generally, the opposite is true. They can get the club up more easily, but when it comes down to the ball it does not have enough oomph to send the ball flying. Some companies construct their ladies’ club heads so that they are actually heavier than the male counterparts.

It is the golfer who can generate high club head speeds who generally benefits most from lower head weights. Golfers with slow swing speeds are the ones who benefit most from the added authority given by extra weight both overall weight and swing-weight. Unfortunately, weak and elderly golfers often do not have the strength endurance to use the heavier clubs for a complete round.

Strong muscular golfers do have ample strength endurance, however. They are the ones who should experiment with added weight. They are the ones who should try heavier shafts, heavier heads and heavier grips. There are an infinite number of combinations. Adding a few extra grams to both head and grip might be the answer.

Read more  

 

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1 hour ago, Nutsmacker said:

 Occasionally there is a longer one in there and a short couple with varying slopes, etc.  So I find myself hitting irons off the tee, 3 woods, 5 woods, etc just to ensure that I stay to around 150-160 yards to the green as I don't want to get too close.  How stupid is that?  haha.  I want to stay farther away from the hole on purpose. 

So, this phenomenon affects good golfers too, interesting. I dread the short wedge shots into the green, if I could get an 8 or 9-iron for my second shot every time that would be ideal.   

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1 minute ago, Kalnoky said:

So, this phenomenon affects good golfers too, interesting. I dread the short wedge shots into the green, if I could get an 8 or 9-iron for my second shot every time that would be ideal.   

I am not sure how it effects other golfers, but for me it does.  I don't consider myself a good golfer...the difference between a 20 handicap and a 10 is essentially no longer duffing shots in a round...at least it was for me.  Once I was able to consistently get the ball in the air and eliminate duffs, chunks, etc. my handicap dropped quickly.  But, yea, I would prefer 150 yards in instead of 85 all day long.  

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Pretty recently I replaced my old Taylormade R7 – with a custom shaft, but don't remember what it was – for a 2016 Nike Vapor Pro with a stock XS shaft.  I bought it at the employee we're quitting golf equipment sale for super cheap, so I didn't even get it fit or anything.  But still I've easily gained 10-15 yards.  First round out with it I put a bunch of drives significantly past where I'd reached before with the R7 at a course I'd played maybe 10-12 times.  So, single data point, but from that and other stories I've heard you could definitely add significant yardage by updating a super old driver.

On the mid range short game issues, you should work on that!  It'll save you a ton of shots.  You should be WAY more accurate from 60-80 yards than 150.  I used to have this problem too, though not as bad because I've always loved my 60˚ full swing as well.  That usually goes 90+ with a smooth swing, and I also love my 60˚ around the green, but I used to struggle a ton in something like the 50-80 yard range.  Gotta practice!  I don't quite use the clock method, but I think it's worth going through that on the range one day at least.  It doesn't quite work exactly for me, but going through that a few times helped me dial in my feel for those shots, and now I'm quite comfortable in that range.

If you read LSW, or look at pro stats, you'll see that your expected shots to hole out from 60 yards are, unless you've got major short game issues like you say you do, significantly lower than from 150.  Even with your discomfort, I wouldn't be surprised if you also actually take fewer shots on average from 60 vs 150 yards.  Regardless, with your length you should be hitting lots of 60-80 yard approaches to par 4s and be getting a huge advantage.

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4 hours ago, mdl said:

 Even with your discomfort, I wouldn't be surprised if you also actually take fewer shots on average from 60 vs 150 yards.  

This. I would bet that your proximity to the hole would be closer from the partial wedge shot than from a full 8. Try it. Record some stats. They don't lie.

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