What golfer doesn’t dream of owning that “magic driver” which enables them to hit the ball consistently solid and in play? Tip number one; the very best driver for every golfer is never selected by its brand or model name or model number. It is chosen by its custom club fitting specifications and how those individual factors are matched to the golfer’s size, strength, athletic ability and most of all, to their swing characteristics. Below, are 3 key specifications for proper Driver fitting, and a couple more for good measure.
It’s time to be blunt. The standard driver length of 45.5 to 46.5 inches offered by the majority of golf club companies is too long for the majority of golfers and will prevent at least 75% of all golfers from achieving their maximum potential for distance and accuracy. For men with an average to fast tempo with an outside/in swing path, 44” should be the maximum length; women, 42.5” to 43” should be the limit. There’s a very good reason the average driver length on the US PGA Tour since 2005 has been 44.5” and not 45.5” to 46.5”.
Driver loft must be matched in combination to the golfer’s swing speed and their angle of attack into the ball. The slower the swing speed and the more downward the angle of attack, the higher the loft of the driver has to be for maximum distance – and vice versa. While each golfer has to be individually analyzed to know which loft brings the most distance, here is a basic chart to use as a guideline.
Driver Swing Speed
Best Loft for Carry (wet conditions)
Best Loft for Roll Out (dry conditions)
Based on Level Angle of Attack and Average Wrist-Cock Release Position
Driver Face Angle
Almost all current Drivers offer options in the face angle to reduce the golfer’s tendency to slice or hook the ball. There is no better way to reduce a slice than to fit the golfer with a more closed face angle in the driver/fairway woods. For more severe slices, the golfer can be fit with a driver head with both a closed face and an offset hosel design.
The rule of thumb for face angle change? At a carry distance of 200 yards, each one degree more closed the face angle is than the golfer’s current face angle represents a reduction in the slice of about 4 to 5 yards.
Total Weight and Swingweight
The stronger the golfer physically and the more aggressively they swing, the heavier the total weight and swingweight will need to be. The opposite is true for the weaker and much less aggressive swinging player. Matching the “weights” of the driver to the golfer’s swing strength and aggressiveness is critical for swing tempo consistency and the highest incidence of on-center impacts.
Here’s the facts about the shaft. While the weight, the overall flex and the stiffness bend profile of the shaft has to be fit properly to all golfers, the shaft flex and bend profile are more important for golfers with a late release of the wrist-cock angle in the downswing than for golfers with an earlier release.
Addressing these three very important elements of driver fitting through proper custom club fitting can only be done by an experienced custom club-maker.