Amen Corner: Today’s Drivers Can Compensate for Almost Any Swing Problem
Today's crop of drivers have been designed to help correct all manner of tee box misadventures. Courtesy photograph
Driver technology keeps getting better and better. It’s amazing to me. How do they keep reinventing these things?
Persimmon wood to metal to titanium is obvious when looking at the evolution of drivers, materials and construction. In today’s world, we now have more adjustability, shaft options and club-fitting technology than ever before. I’ve never had a tailored suit, but a custom-fit driver is pretty darn close.
If you hit it high, we can help you hit it low. If you hit the ball to the right, we can make you hit it left. Don’t like hitting it low and left? Well, an adjustable driver can help you hit it high right if you want. There should be no more excuses!
So what are clubmakers doing to drivers these days, and how can they help you?
First, driver faces are larger and thinner than ever. This recipe makes the club more forgiving and increases ball speeds over a larger area of the face. Think oversized tennis racket with a slingshot face: More speed means more distance no matter where you hit it on the face. Sign me up!
Second, the ability to adjust loft on drivers is fantastic for you and me. Loft impacts launch angle and spin rate.
Launch angle is the angle the golf ball leaves the face in relation to the ground. Spin rate is the amount of backspin on the ball necessary to keep the ball moving efficiently through the air.
The optimal driver ball flight launches high and with a spin rate that immediately flattens the ball’s flight and penetrates downrange.
If your ball launches high and continues to fly higher, we take a little loft off to reduce the spin rate and then watch the ball penetrate for more carry distance and roll.
For slower-speed players, the low bullet can sometimes produce good overall distance and roll. If we increase the loft, the ball will carry a bit farther and still get that roll you like to see.
Finally, the ability to adjust the face open or closed and move weight toward the heel or toe solves the mystery for players tired of fighting a hook or a slice.
Close the face and reduce a slice. In addition, the more weight adjusted toward the heel also eliminates a slice and helps create a draw.
This is because the more weight in the heel allows the face to close faster, which is similar to a figure skater in the middle of a spin. Skaters who put their arms against their bodies as they spin rotate faster. A closed golf club face works the same way.
Pull the arms away from the body and the skater’s spin stops. For golfers, moving weight toward the toe of the club or away from the shaft axis prevents the face from closing too fast.
Now is not the time of year to get a tailored suit, but finding the right adjusted driver can make your game look sharp.
Peter Harris is director of golf at the Fore-U Golf Center in West Lebanon.