Sure-fire Way to Longer Drives
The driver industry does not want me to write this. They’ve rammed this power story down our throats for years and how many of you are really hitting it that much further than you used to? Be honest, have the last 2-3 drivers you’ve purchased really added the 10-15 extra yards they promised? If so, then you should be hitting it 30-50 yards further than you did in the 90s? Is that happening?

I did an interesting little experiment the other day. I pulled an old Reid Lockhart persimmon driver out of the closet. This was not some “grandpa” club, but one we made in the 1995-97 era. It had the most sophisticated filament-wound graphite shaft available at the time, and a really cool insert of woven graphite – light but extremely hard. A guy who makes motorcycle fairings made them for us. All in all, these were hot weapons in their day.

So, the question was – how much longer are the modern drivers?

With my custom Alpha driver (I’ve tested it against all the new stuff for several years and have found nothing longer), I hit a half dozen drives down our Number 1 fairway until I had just pounded, as solid as I can. Then I pulled out the old RL persimmon . . . darn it looked small. The first one was a little thin and I didn’t get much out of it, but then I got in a groove and hit a couple of really solid ones. So then I drove down to see what I got.

What I found was that the two best drives with my Alpha were about 10-12 yards longer than my two best with the RL persimmon. That’s all. Hmmmm. And back at the shop I discovered that the old RL persimmon was almost two full ounces heavier than the newer Alpha. Hmmmm, again. That alone was probably the difference.

Granted, the persimmon is not near as forgiving, but what the test showed is that if you want to be longer, you have to hit the ball solid. And if you do, it doesn’t make a lot of difference what driver you are hitting, in my humble opinion.

So, how are today’s tour professionals hitting it so dang long? Because they are finely tuned athletes, that’s how. They work out like demons, they hit balls til their hands bleed, and they have all the tools of modern science to help them make solid contact. Especially great instruction. These guys are all completely, fundamentally sound.

And that’s why you are not hitting it longer . . . you are not completely, fundamentally sound. So, if you really want longer drives this year, engage your golf professional. Invest that $3-400 that you would have spent on a driver into a series of lessons to learn how to put the club into a more efficient power position at the top, engage your body core and make a more correct release through impact. That’s the way to a more powerful swing that will produce more distance.

I am going to be 60 on Sunday. I’m 5’7, weigh 165 lbs, and have not worked out like I should lately, but I can still get it out there pretty good, because I learned sound fundamentals as a kid, and have worked on them my whole life. It’s not about how hard you swing, but how you swing hard. (I just made that up, actually, but I like it.) The only thing that matters is how fast the clubhead is moving at the moment of impact. And that comes from a fundamentally sound swing.

Want more on this subject, or are you all mad at me now?
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.

[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
To answer your questions - yes i AM hitting it 30 yards longer now than in the 90s. However in that time space, i've only done 2 driver changes (3 if you count the one i got as a gift and HATED). I'm with Terry on this article - i can't stand the longer clubs. I went to try out a RBZ 5 wood a couple weekends ago. I swung it on the simulator vs my current 3 wood and i was bombing it. for the life of me though, i was hitting it all over creation. I put it next to my 3 WOOD and it was a full inch and a half longer. 1.5 inches LONGER than a club that's supposed to be longer than it!!!! that would put it like 2 inches or so longer than a normal 5 wood. Unreal. I put it back at that point. When the guy asked me why i asked him if he had one with changeable shafts for fitting and if he could take 2 inches off the one that was in it. He said no and i said "that's why". It was the same with the hybrids. 1.5 inches longer than the one i have already. sickening.
mjaber says:
I don't buy new clubs anymore. I've bought 2 drivers since I started. The first was an R5-Dual/D that I got from a 2nd hand sporting goods store for about $60. The one I just bought, an R5-Dual/TP (do you see a pattern?), I got off Ebay for $60 (including the wrench and weight kit- needed the wrench for my wedge anyway).
mjaber says:
Would I like to be able to drop a few hundered dollars on the latest/greatest? Sure. Would I like to be able to drop that same money on some lessons... again, Sure. In all honesty, I'm content with my scores, and I am able to enjoy a round of golf, and get around the course without looking like I did when I started and was shooting par*2. I'd rather take that few hundred and play a few rounds, or put it toward building a swingset for my daughter.
Kurt the Knife says:
I am flopping my v-sole 60^ wedge around the backyard.
Getting to the point I can tell my wife, "this one is going under the branches, over the arbor and dropping between the fountain and the first rosebush." and making it happen.
Drivers? pssh. Never could use one worth a darn.
mjaber says:
@KTK... sounds like the old McDonald's commercial with Larry Bird...
DaRupp13 says:
Your learning is not surprising at all...I think the larger faced drivers are more forgiving so the chances of decent contact on a miss hit is much higher than on an old driver. But solid contact is solid contact - problem is us amateurs don't make solid contact all the time. Same thing with blades and game improvement irons - if you hit it solid with a blade or GI irons, it will probably go the same distance (assuming equal specs). The difference is a slight miss hit a GI irons goes a lot farther and straighter than with a blade.
Dusty23 says:
I would say that for the most part, no I haven't gotten alot more distance out of the newer clubs. To be honest, my driver changes recently have been more of an effort to gain more control, which I would have to say I have seen some positive results. Though I could use the lessons too.
snuffyword says:
Last year, I cut my driver down 1/2" in order to make a more consistent solid contact. I incorporated that into improving hip turn, engaging the core more, and working on lag. Recently, I tested a new driver with a lighter shaft at the range. When I hit the ball solid, it definitely was longer than my driver by 10-15 yards. Other than that, it seemed about the same, distance-wise. Then, I tested that driver, along with a couple of others, on a launch monitor. The overall average numbers of the drivers were very similar to mine. I guess I'll just have to stick with my 8 year-old driver until I see significant change in numbers, good or bad. Until then, I'll just keep stretching and build on the fundamentals and more of a short game.
joe jones says:
When I was in my 30s and 40s I played with a McGregor Tourney Jack Nicklaus persimmon. I didn,t realize that the face was 2 degrees open. Thats why jack hit that great high power fade. My ball flight was a big banana ball. I would aim it over the trees on the left. When it got to the 250 mark it would make almost a right hand turn and run out to the 275-280 yard marker in the middle of the fairway. .I couldn't care less about the ridicule because I could repeat that swing every time.
Now that I am 78 I use a Taylor Made Burner with a senior shaft and have a hard time hitting my drives more than 200 yards. Who cares what the new equipment promises you. If you can bomb your tee shots, Enjoy! Eventually you will be in my boat. Begging for 10 more yards.
legitimatebeef says:
Most people need to work on hitting it straighter.
QuickBrownFox says:
Happy birthday Terry!
Unless you have near tour swing-speed, more loft on your driver and a softer ball helps too. I changed to 12*, grip down 1.5", and hit more consistently and further (230-250).
dooboo says:
Only driver purchase I ever made was back in late 08 buying TM Burner driver with 10.5*. Before that, I was using one of those "all in one" golf pack drivers where shaft was like a noodle for my swing.

Recently, I've cut down on my shaft from 46" to 44.5" to improve my accuracy. My buddy who owns a golf store looked at my club said, "man, this club is old. You sure you don't want a new driver?" "why do you want to cut your shaft? You will hit shorter.". Well, I guess he is a owner after all.

When I got my driver back with shorter shaft, it took me little practice to get the new swing tempo down. The driver feels like a brand new driver now. It feels great, less mis hit.

I started to tinker with my golf clubs...and this was my first tinkering and I like it very much.

Also, since I loved my new SCOR 47* club with KBS Tour Stiff shaft so much, I am going to change out my current iron's shaft with KBS Tour Stiff to see if that will help with lowering my scores.
Looking forward to '12 season.
mariogolf says:
Thank you all for your input, advice, and suggestions. I have been on OOBGOLF for a few years and did not realize this site was available. DUH! I enjoy reading other golfers opinions on their equipment, and how they feel our overall (score) can improve. Thanks everyone!!! I call this my (Facebook)... Not hearing who went ot the store, what they ate for supper, etc etc, OOBGOLF IS JUST THAT/ GOLF...
daytripper says:
A golf buddy let me hit his 2011 TM Burner 2.0 Superfast 3 metal today and I hit it 15-20 yds farther than my Titleist 909D Comp 9.5* driver off the tee. If you told me that before I did so ,I wouldn't have believed it. Now I may be considering the new 2012 RBZ 3 wood, even perhaps the driver later. Those TM go farther...
onedollarwed says:
I written this before but always love bringing it up. I did teach golf at one point, but am more used to friends wanting advice on hitting driver more than anything else. I'm 5'6", not as athletic as I once was, and sporting a gourmet's middle. It never fails that when I play with strangers they gasp at my long straight drives. Not only that, I hit a very low, piercing trajectory. So everyone wants to know how I do it, right? I don't keep track of how far I hit the ball, though typically, with roll, contours, wind, max drives are between 285 and 300. I can tell you this: Since I got my Big Bertha back in the 90's, I haven't played a round with anyone who outdrove me. Believe me, even though they don't admit it, they all try. I'm not even trying to hit it far, except when going for high risk/reward shots, or for fun. So I'll take my friends to the driving range with a collection of every driver I ever owned - about 10 or more from uncles, thrift shops, and off the rack.
onedollarwed says:
I even have some cracked and unraveling woodies. I can hit them all well, and like Terry said, enviably to the average golfer. So most guys just give up right there and never play golf again (slight joke). But they ALL stop thinking about buying a new driver to fix their problem. I'll say, "take any of these if you want, they all work perfectly fine!" End of conversation. I have a number of unconventional quirks: My left arm can't straighten (surgery plates screws), I have a true baseball grip(no overlapped fingers or tucked thumbs), I tee the ball quite low, I have a quick backswing, pick up the left heel. When I come through, the motion is efficient, effortless, no blisters/ callouses/ aches or pains. everything unfolds and extends in perfect timing and is unleashed right on the sweet spot. I can play a draw, fade, or straight using ball positioning only. It's such a joy to crush it with the driver!
[ post comment ]
Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

Click here to learn more about Terry.
Click here to for Terry's blogroll.
    Golf Talk
Most Popular: