How a novice golfer gained 40 yards off the tee just by switching to the right driver
By Brad Skupaka
Every golfer wants to hit the ball farther. I’ve never had a student come to me saying they would like to dial it back, especially with their driver. While the golfer’s swing plays a huge role in how far they will ultimately be able to hit the ball, it is also important to make sure they use the correct equipment.
When getting fit for a new driver, your clubhead and ball speed help to determine an optimum launch window. Generally, the higher your ball speed, the lower your launch angle and your spin rate need to be, and the lower your ball speed, the higher your launch angle and spin rate need to be to maximize total distance.
A Successful Launch
Karen came to GolfTEC as a novice golfer who struggled with her driver distance. She was able to get her irons easily into the air, but her driver always launched very low. Because of this, she didn’t hit the driver very far compared to her irons. So, we determined a driver fitting would be a good place to start to help her hit the ball farther and enjoy playing golf more.
Karen had a clubhead speed of about 75 mph; however she was using an old driver that had been given to her, and it wasn’t even close to what she ideally needed. It was too long, too heavy, and didn’t have enough loft to help her launch the ball high into the air.
Based on her ball speed, we determined Karen’s optimal launch angle to be around 17 degrees, with about 3000 rpm of spin. When compared to her current launch angle of 9 degrees and 1250 rpm of spin, Karen had the potential to gain over 40 yards of total distance!
To help Karen launch the ball higher, we fit her into an ultralight shaft with a low bend point. This shaft would not only help her to swing faster, but the low bend point would help to launch the ball higher into the air. We then began to test several different heads with between 12 and 16 degrees of loft. By giving Karen a head with more loft compared to her current 9-degree driver, she would be able to launch the ball higher and reach her optimum launch window.
After testing a variety of driver models with different shaft combinations, we found the setup best for Karen. She walked away with a new custom-fit driver that did her gain over 40 additional yards off the tee, launching it high and straight, and significantly changed her outlook and enjoyment of the game forever.
The moral of the story is that some of those distance frustrations may not be operator error after all; properly fit golf clubs can make all the difference in the world. So talk to your local Certified Personal Coach today to make sure you’re on the right track with your swing and your clubs.