How to select a driver

driverWith today’s technology, selecting the proper driver for your game has become extremely complex.  There are so many different choices already and the industry leaders are always looking for new ways to improve and market new products. These new products come out once (even twice a year) and of course add to the confusion.

To help make the search for a new driver easier, here are some helpful tips:

1) see a custom club-fitter

A real savvy and educated golfer might be ale to make sense of the choices on his/her own but it is becoming more and more difficult.  I’ve been playing this game for 30 years and I still like some help when I go looking for a new driver. Custom club-fitters are aware of the latest trends and of the new advances in technology. Your time and money spent with a qualified club-fitter will pay for itself in your choice of club and in your game.

2) understand the different components of the club and how each affects the performance of the club.

You are looking for a driver that optimizes the flight of your ball. The flight of your ball can be analyzed according to the following characteristics: initial launch angle, spin rate (which influences ball while in flight) and angle of descent. Of course, we are assuming a straight hit here.

- CLUBHEAD: the clubhead is what hits the ball. It is going to influence the initial launch of the ball through its loft and the spin of the ball by its composition and design. First determine what your general tendencies are in terms of launch angle and spin. If you have a hard time gettng the ball to launch, look to a higher lofted driver (10.5 degrees or even more). Look for a clubhead that will help you get optimal launch angle and spin rate.

- SHAFT: shaft technology has evolved tremendously over the past 10-15 years and there are up to 100 different shafts from which to choose. The advances in technology have helped make golf easier to play but it has made the process of choosing the best shaft rather complex. This makes the role of the club-fitter even more important.

To understand shaft technology we must understand the bending of the shaft during a swing. The way a shaft bends ultimately determines if it is suitable for you.

Shaft Flex – the flex of a shaft is considered to be its overall resistance to a weight at the end of the shaft. The traditional way of determing flex results in categorizing shafts into regular, stiff and extra stiff. The extra stiff shaft bends less than the regular. Other “degrees of flex” like “ladies” and “senior” have been introduced. Unfortunately, there is no universal standard to calibrate the stiffness of shafts. The regular flex of one manufacturer will not be the same as that of another manufacturer.

Kick point – the kick point of a shaft indicates where in a shaft the majority of the bend occurs during a swing. Shafts are designed to “kick” at three main parts of the shaft: low, mid or high. A “low kick point” shaft will bend near the head of a club and will have a tendency to hit the ball higher with more spin. A “high kick point” shaft will kick near the grip and will tend to lower ball flight and produce less spin.

-GRIP: the most important thing to know about the grip is that the size of the grip will influence how you hold it (how you grip it) and the way your hands will act during the swing. A thick grip, for example, will slow down the rotation of the hands and could prevent you from releasing the club completely. Bsically make sure that the grip is the right size.

Another element ot grip is the feel of the club in your hands. There are many different kinds of grips and they all have a slightly different feel to them. Find one that you like.

3) Looks matter

One of the final criteria for choosing a driver is how the club looks to you. This is particularly important for people that have played for some time. Over time our eyes become used to seeing a certain shape while looking down at a club. Having a club that is appealing to your eyes helps make you comfortable and can even help your confidence with it.