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 In Search Of The Perfect Driver

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DGman
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PostSubject: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:43 pm

Is there such a thing as the perfect driver?

Let me break this down into parts and when you assemble all the parts, you will probably have to agree with me, I hope.


Your Technique

While most very competent golfer, pros included, develop a swing that works for them, they always feel that there is always room for improvement. Hence they make changes all the time. Sometimes it work, sometimes it takes a longer time to make it work. So its always work in progress and there is always deviation.

Even if a golfer decides to stick with the same swing, it’s just not humanly possible to repeat the same swing for all 14 fairways. Fred Funk, for the longest time, used to be the closest to perfection but even Mr Funk himself will toy with the idea of getting more length like his younger colleague on tour. So even for him, its tough to guarantee 100% fairway hits. The current player credited with leading the driving accuracy on the PGA Tour in 2009 is probably Tim Clark with 74.06 percent fairway hits in 81 games.

For the less competent golfer, this problem is magnified. If we find 3 golfers of different levels (handicap 20, 12 and 6) and stick an impact tape on their driver, chances are the guy with the lowest handicap will score the most consistent impact on sweet spot.

So what happens to off center hits, well they go sideways and they often go shorter than they intended. But what cause off-center hits – pressure, practice, proper warm-up, weather condition, technique, physical condition and of course the equipment.

So what causes the bad drives in your game – well you decide because what is seemingly a perfect driving technique at the driving range is usually more difficult to replicate on the course.

What will help golfer find the perfect driver – The answer is search in the right place. But this varies from golfers to golfers and different level of skills set require different solution.

One thing for sure, don’t start with the club fitter or the friendly salesman at your favourite golf shop.

Your Equipment

The Driver Head

I have often say this to my customers who asked me what is the best driver head. Find a head that you can stare down for 10 to 14 holes (that’s shape) It must give you the confidence with the ball setup, hands position at address and loft (that’s setup). Make sure you don’t feel like you have a frying pan attached to your shaft (that’s size). And finally you must be comfortable with how your driver sound on impact.

So its simply Shape, Setup, Size and Sound. Once you have all 4 criterias fulfilled; you pretty much have found the perfect driver head.

Note – drivers loft is an important consideration. As a guide, if your swing speed is below 90 mph, its easier to find a shaft to match a loft of above 10 degrees than a 9 degrees.


The Shaft

Lets say we go out and find 6 pros and break them into pairs with the following criteria:

1. Same height
2. Same weight
3. Same height and weight

Now we take their swing stats:

1. Club head speed
2. Ball speed
3. Launch angle
4. Effective loft
5. Ball spin rate
6. Angle of attack
7. Maximum height
8. Carry and total distance
9. Hang time
10. Ball land angle

I can bet my last dollar that we will not have the same results even with pros who are trained under the same coach. How then would a club fitter use all this information to find a shaft that will optimize the players’ swing and club head of choice.

The answer is to start from the desired result. What is the player seeking in his drive – how much carry, how much roll. Lack of height or too much height is the reason for not optimizing distance. Effective loft, launch angle and spin rate are the major influence of carry and total distance.

Finding the right shaft that suits the players physique and training regiment is also key to finding the right combination.

Simply put, make sure you have the try enough drivers to see and feel what you like before you make the journey to reshaft your driver. Find out a little more about yourself and your limitations before you take the plunge. If you swing 110 mph it doesn’t necessary mean you need an XX stiff shaft. A heavier stiff shaft may give you better accuracy and distance. So approach club fitting with an open mind. you are are dead set on the Rombax 75 X flex, then live with your decision, it yours not mine.


So what is the Perfect Driver?

I think perfection is in understanding and accepting that we all have our limitations. If you swing at 85 mph and you want to find a driver that will give you 230 meters carry in normal sea level condition, the answer is impossible.

So how do you get 230 meters carry distance, you need to have about 100 mph swing speed. How you progress from 85 to 100 mph is a function of technique, physique and training.

I say this over and over again – for the more competent players, equipment choice contributes to 70% success and for the less competent, finding the right swing and not equipment is the key to success. But remember if you don’t have the perfect swing, you will never find the perfect driver.

Stop going out to buy every driver that’s on sale out there. Find a driver that fulfill the 4 S (shape, size, setup and sound) and find the shaft that will give you your most wonderful and consistent driving experience and results.

Personally, I hope to see teaching pros and golfers extending their experience here and hopefully it will help those in search of the perfect drive.

I know I have found the perfect driver and whether I can carry 190 or 210 meters is a function of my technique, physical condition, the quality of players I fit for the week and finally the size of the wager.

Have a great week ahead.

DGman

The Perfect Swing - a swing thats repeatable and the results predictable.
The Perfect Driver - one that gets you over the bunker on the 5th hole and sets you up for the 2 shot approach on the Par 5 12th hole.

All rights reserved. BFG 2010.
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ChrisD
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:50 pm

DGman,

Totally agree with your view here.
Been using the first driver since I bought it. It suits me and I like the head and impact when I hit the ball. I didnt give it up when it failed me for the last couples of time bcos I know it is mainly due to my swing problem.
However, every golfer may tend to be grow stronger or vice versa and that is a time when there is a need to change equipment.

Cheers
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DGman
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:01 pm

thank you for your views and input ChrisD...i am sure others will benefit from your experience.

yes thats why deviation is mentioned very early.

Cheers.

DGman
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ChrisD
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:16 pm

Disclaimer: Only started golf not too long ago. Just expressing my thoughts.
Sure others will benefit from your many years experience.

Cheers
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mUAr_cHEe
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:39 pm

want to hear my views??

heehee...
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:10 pm

MC,

Of course from someone who played 78 recently....
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Titleist
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:44 pm

Great thread, I am going to give my thoughts here from a manufacturer's perspective but without being self serving to our brands as it relates to clubhead technology.

Specific clubhead model performance can not be overlooked in the endeavor to find/select a driver. All consumers have to look closely at who the driver is designed for and what the features and benefits are. There is a lot of technology in driver heads these days, much of it internal so some good research is a must first off.

Now while all the factors mentioned in the original post are important for sure there is not much point in a 20+ handicap player with a slow ball speed picking up say a Titleist D3 Driver solely because he likes the Shape, Setup, Size and Sound. Why? Well because the D3 has a smaller deeper head for more workability and low spin. Its designed for a better player with high ball speed and spin. The 20+ handicap player with low ball speed might best consider a shallower, lower and back C.G. product that launches high and has a high MOI for forgiveness on off-centre hits.

Keep this in mind along with the points mentioned in the original post and you'll be on track to getting the right product.

Rick
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mizzy
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:45 pm

Nice article DGman. Thanks.
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golf_nut
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 4:58 pm

Fantastic threa and views expressed.

Maybe the follow-on thread would be titled

"The Perfect Swing".. or has it been discussed already?

Beer
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mUAr_cHEe
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 7:39 pm

For one.. i did not shoot 78 lah. Rumours getting from bad to worse. But i did get my personal best recently and it is not with my driving accuracy that I got my lowest gross score. My best rounds for driving accuracy is 8/14 FWs with my Cobra S9 Pro S with Graman '5' Series. But I had most confidence in my driver set up of TM R7 Limited TP with Kajiki.

Anyway for those who followed my journey thread, you will know that there is no end to my quest of the One Club. For those who are able to read deeper, you can see that I like to play around with my driver more than anything else. The problem is that I am never satisfied with my driver. Somehow when I managed to work on my dispersion, I will be curious and go on to try to increase my distance which again naturally lead to dispersion problems. When I go back to settling for a stable driver with lesser distance, I will again yearn for longer distances which just starts the cycle all over again. I think I am very fortunate recently to be able to have the fate to come across the Diamana Ilima. The Ilima has been 'perfect' for me. It gave me the tight dispersion i was looking for plus that extra distance in terms of roll. My ball still rolls after the power fade that I pulled off.

This is still not stopping me from my pursuit in my shaft search. I still have a few ideas in the back of my head and I am continuing to work towards this. This is a secret project that I have been working on for months and the completion of the project is nowhere near yet.

I have actually taken this break right now to continue to work on my swing. I have always had an outside-in swing and this is not doing good to my game. I have gone for countless lessons but it is always the same. I have decided to bite the bullet, stop playing and work out the kinks in my swing before jumping into the game again. I hope this will at least provide a more permanent solution to my game.

Stay Tuned~
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golfcoma
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 8:13 pm

Excellent post, Eric. I guess a lot of it applies to irons as well, and I feel as if I'm in search of the perfect irons Smile
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:35 pm

DGman, that is excellent!

Erh...how come you never tell me this:
Find a driver that fulfill the 4 S (shape, size, setup and sound) and find the shaft that will give you your most wonderful and consistent driving experience and results.
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:56 pm

My personal opinion...

I started golf just like everyone else... and I have always believe that the swing and technique is more important than anything else (including equipment). The technique is especially important with Drivers & woods as they have the longest shafts, which is supposingly the hardest to hit with.

I did not have the luxury of changing a new driver every month (despite all the sales going on) and it did not bother me one bit if my current driver is good enough... because I keep telling myself that I am not good enough to 'complain' about the driver yet. Thus I have learned to 'accept' the equipment I had and concentrate my efforts in working on my swing instead.

Our body has the ability to 'get use' to the equipments we have. The reason I say this is because once I was using a driver with its stock shaft, 60g R-Flex; I got used to it and started hitting decent 200-220m drives. My coach then happens to have a spare 75g S-Flex shaft and I decide to change it just because it looks matching with my Driver Head! (without knowing if it suits me). What a Face I began to hit horrendous drives for the next couple of months... but as I practice more, I was beginning to catch the momentum required to effectively harness the strength of the new shaft and I was soon hitting good 240-250m drives.

Having said that, I am not saying fitting with the right equipment is not necessary. It is just more important to have your fundamentals sorted out first, so when you move on to get fitted with better equipments, only then the tweaks made in your equipments can allow you to better see the effects.

Back to the question on what makes the perfect driver. EVERY driver out there is the market has the potential of becoming your perfect driver. A successful golf swing apart from good technique, largely depends on your confidence to 'engage' the ball. And this confidence derives from how comfortable you feel with the driver in your hand. Saving the technical specifications of a driver... I believe the following helps:
- Feel of the grip
- Length of the Driver
- Weight distribution of the Driver
- Outlook of the Driver Head

Feel of the Grip helps me determine if I am holding on to the Driver comfortably and steadily even when swinging at full speed. If I find that the grip is too small/ skinny for my palms and feels like flying off my hands, it is more likely that I do not feel comfortable squaring the clubhead in time amist the acceleration on the downswing.

Length of the Driver helps in dictating my setup position. The distance of the ball to feet must allow me to effectively deliver a swing path that is consistant with my height, only then acceleration of the club during the downswing will be smooth.

Weight distribution of the Driver in my context means when I swing the club, I do not want to feel that the Driver Head is a dead weight at the end of the shaft. The weight of the shaft and clubhead must feel like a single piece, so that I can better anticipate the feel the extension of the whole club during a swing.

Outlook of the Driver is purely subjective to each player. When I say outlook, I was refering to what DGman was mentioning... Shape, Size & Sound. It all boils down to how confident you feel with how your club looks, so picking one that suits your eye is important.

Having said the above... nothing beats loads and loads of practicing in the range to understand both your swing and equipments. Just my comments... may be just a load of crap... lol!
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Sun Jan 31, 2010 11:52 pm

No, you're absolutely right. A sound swing is critical to be able to get good yardages and accuracy off the tee. That said, how can one tell if it is time to 'upgrade'? What if you didn't switch to the S flex shaft? Would you still be driving 220m? How much more mileage would you be able to get out of the R-flex shaft, even with a consistent swing?
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 10:34 am

ghoonk wrote:
how can one tell if it is time to 'upgrade'? What if you didn't switch to the S flex shaft? Would you still be driving 220m? How much more mileage would you be able to get out of the R-flex shaft, even with a consistent swing?

Hi Bro ghook,

Thank you for agreeing with my thoughts Smile

With regards to your question about the right time to 'upgrade'. I feel that there is no right or wrong time when a person decides to upgrade his equipment. The question is... when he does decide to change or alter his gears... does the person knows what does he want.

We can all be perfecting our golf swing with our existing gears (which is not possible by the way... heh) and stay happy with it. As the saying goes... if it ain't broken, don't fix it; or we can be always asking ourselves... is there something better? Good news for many golf shops is... most golfers support the latter.

There is ALWAYS something better... but do not expect a simple change in equipment will do wonders. Changing equipment just means more time is required to be invested in practicing and understand the optimum performance of the new equipment. A person can decide to change his clubs anytime... but is he ready to put in the extra hours to make sure he can work with the clubs? or is he just expecting the 'new' club to do the extra work for him?

If I had kept with my R-Flex shaft on my driver... I would probably outdrive 220m by now. But in order to hit drives further... I find myself swinging harder to gain the necessary clubhead speed... and when I swing harder... I feel the whip of the shaft and the lagging clubhead which I need to compensate with something else to ensure squaring of the clubface during impact. Which in a way is making my regular swing feeling not so regular. Changing the shaft to match my swing speed will seems a better option in improving the distance for this case. And without understanding what I want... I would probably not know what to change (which is where club fitter comes in to assist) Smile
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 4:48 pm

Wah...this is heavy stuff man....need to digest. No wonder you're one of the best golf fitter around..Smile Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:37 pm

my 2 cent worth

To me personally there is no perfect driver.
Some days i want a driver I can hit as far as possible even if it means I super short in 3 drives only.
Some days I prefer short and more constant distance.

Some days I like loud ones but some days I want to sound pro and like muted and solid ones.

Even when I am playing my best driving days, there is always "wat if" in my mind and the grass is always greener on the other side...

In summary, changing driver is part of joy of golf for me Smile

Hopefully this dun confuse anyone
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:53 pm

It's like looking for the perfect swing... Smile
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 6:57 pm

ghoonk wrote:
It's like looking for the perfect swing... Smile

Or woman!!! Rolling Eyes
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:15 pm

shorthitter wrote:
ghoonk wrote:
It's like looking for the perfect swing... Smile

Or woman!!! Rolling Eyes

Or mother-in-law silent
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:18 pm

Or beer.......... lol!
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:28 pm

shorthitter wrote:
Or beer.......... lol!

Found it....CASCADE Beer.......
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:28 pm

Sorry...double post.....


Last edited by Winston on Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:45 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:30 pm

MMMMMMMMMMMM Tassie beer, yes very nice..... Topic OFF Sorry........ but we are talking beer here..... lol!
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PostSubject: Re: In Search Of The Perfect Driver   Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:46 pm

No, we're talking about the FG59s, that I have my eyes on Razz
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