Analyzing multiple swing factors will reveal the perfect driver-shaft combination for you.
Our world would be a pretty dull place if everyone you met looked, behaved and thought the exact same. Thank goodness, it is not so! ere are no two completely identical people in the world and if you don’t believe me, just go hang out at a golf course for the day. With such diversity, it never ceases to amaze me that we are constantly trying to find the “one size fits all solution” that simply does not exist.
One of the primary responsibilities of any expert club fitter is to help golfers identify what equipment is right for their uniquely individual game and to help them understand the “feel” that creates the best results. Many times, when conducting the fitting process, we find solutions that defy conventional thinking and produce real results.
During the fitting process, we help the player to understand the difference between “feel and real”. A golfer’s sense of feel is a dynamic process that changes as we become accustomed to what we work with. We frequently see players who have made swing adjustments to be able to hit equipment they purchased off the rack, eBay or even directly from the manufacturer. Thus, that player has become accustomed to the feel of their equipment even though it is not correct for his or her game.
For example, this past weekend I was fitting a client, let’s call him Mike, who came to me with an 8-year-old driver head and a 4-year-old driver shaft. The shaft was 69 grams with a stiff-flex label. He said he’d been fighting a big miss left and was rarely positioned to hit a GIR. In Mike’s mind, the current driver shaft was too stiff for his game. After a few drives on Trackman with his driver we quickly learned why he couldn’t find the fairway. He was consistently swinging inside out at 4-5°, a closed club face of 2-3° with a positive Attack Angle of plus 6 degrees.
Although his shaft label stated a stiff shaft, his driver shaft was playing at a firm regular flex per a frequency check. Mike is in his mid-50s and had a driver swing speed of 94-96 MPH. Per Trackman’s study of the amateur male golfer, Mike’s swing speed is almost exactly average. Based on swing speed alone, a firm regular or stiff shaft would be the correct shaft , however, it didn’t take long to find him a driver head and shaft that really made a huge difference in his drives.
I gave him a 93-gram, Double X- ex driver shaft with the Taylormade M1 driver head. The head weights were adjusted to a full fade bias and the center of gravity weight was adjusted to promote the lowest spin. I told Mike to hit a few shots before asking any questions about the shaft and driver specs of this specific driver and shaft combination.
Mike needed something heavier and more stiff to help him hit a straighter, more controlled shot. Mike’s first five out of six shots with this new driver combination resulted in drives that were between 1 and 7 yards right of the middle of the fairway, with the sixth drive 1 yard left of the fairway center. Mike was astonished and excited and exclaimed, “I have to know what this is!”
Mike was shocked to find out he was hitting a 93-gram Double X- flex shaft with adjustable head weights pushed to the toe of the driver head to keep the face open a little longer. He said “I can’t hit a 93-gram driver shaft that is Double-X!” Obviously, he just did and not only hit the club straighter, he was 11 yards longer and didn’t lose any swing speed. Mike went from missing 20-25 yards left of the fairway with his current driver to hitting the new driver in the short grass. Every shot with the new driver was in the fairway and numbers don’t lie, but feel ain’t real. Although Mike wasn’t initially after more distance and was singularly focused on accuracy, the byproduct of his fitting was both greater control and extra distance.
So what does this have to do with feel? Well, Mike never noticed the extra 24 grams of weight in the driver shaft or the extra three exes stiffer in the driver shaft during the fitting. Most of us have been conditioned by the “manufacturer experts” that swing speed should tell us what flex shaft we should play. While swing speed does have a role to play in selecting the correct setup, there are other factors equally important, and, if not accounted for, will certainly leave a player with a substandard club. If you want to know if your “feel” is real, visit e Club Fix or another custom company with access to a large variety of shafts, heads, true professional fitters and Trackman, and you’ll be much more likely to end up playing the best set of clubs for your game.