Is Your Driver Shaft Your Best Friend?
When I find a product that I just love, it seems that it is only fair for me to share that discovery with all TheWedgeGuy.com readers. And I’ve got a great one for you this morning, but let me back up a bit.

As I’ve talked about here often, the shaft is said to be “the engine of the golf club”, and in no club is that more important than the driver. Think about it. You have the lightest head in the set, attached to the longest shaft, so by nature, this is a pretty critical match-up. You also are swinging it faster than any other club, so timing and performance characteristics are more critical. If the driver shaft has the least bit of wobble or oscillation in it, getting the clubhead back to the ball consistently is rather difficult.

The reality is that most driver heads on the market today are very darn good. All the major brands have awesome R&D departments, so there is very little chance that one of them can break away from the pack with measurably better technology in the head. But what makes any single driver great is the combination of that head and a shaft that fit YOU !!!!

Mass production is just not the way to get to that point . . . trust me. So, if you have a driver head you like, don’t think a whole new driver is the secret. It most likely is just finding the right shaft that optimizes that head for your swing.

So, that brings me to my recent find. I wrote recently about putting the UST Pro Force V2 Constant Weight shafts in my blades, with extraordinary results. I’m very happy. We’ve been working with UST for months now on some very exciting wedge shaft engineering, and I’ve known most of these guys for years – dating back to my days at Hogan. I have the highest respect for this company.

Anyway, they sent me their V2 ProForce 65 and 75 for my driver and 4-wood respectively – WOW ! I had an extra driver head to the one I play – Alpha RX400 (I just don’t like the big 460cc heads!), so I built a duplicate of my current driver, but with the 65-gram V2, tweaked to my exact frequency preference. The oscillation qualities were wonderful – it’s so stable it’s scary. I built it to 44-5/8” inches, as I know I can’t handle a 45” driver that well.

From the first test swing, I realized I had something special here. This shaft is awesome. It’s stable in the swing, is easy to control and has a feel that I can only define as “crisp” – not mushy like so much graphite.  (I found that quality in the iron shafts as well.)  Once I learned that my ideal hand position was about ½” down the grip, I began to rip this thing – extremely straight and measurably longer than my older shaft. In my rounds Friday and Sunday, my golf buddy’s only comment was “is that thing legal?”  I hit a half dozen drives that were 15-20 yards longer than my best average on those holes – and dead straight !!!

When this 5’6” 56-year old hits it 275-295 (with roll of course), something is very darn right !

Needless to say, after Friday’s round, I took the plunge and re-shafted my Sonartec 4-wood with the 75 g V2 and had exactly the same results. I gained about 7-12 yards, and lost that hook tendency.

So there you have my product review on the Pro Force V2. I’m totally not surprised that Davis Love, Jim Furyk and so many others on tour are playing this shaft. If you are looking for a shot of juice to your driver, I strongly suggest that you visit a clubfitter/clubmaker and try this in a driver head you like. It’s a helluva lot less expensive than a whole new driver and you're sure to be pleased.
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[ comments ]
Mike says:
Hey Terry,

I notice you said you grip down a 1/2" on a 44 5/8" shaft. Does that mean your optimal length might have been 44 1/8" for this particular head and shaft combo ? Or is that not an exact science thing ?
6/14/08
 
wedgeguy says:
Mike, I've found that for me, I'm "optimum" with a driver at about 44", sometimes even shorter. Golfsmith did some extensive live golfer testing some time back and found that almost all golfers, regardless of talent level, were longer and more accurate with drivers in the 43-1/2" range! I can tell you that, even with the big drivers, hitting it in the exact center will deliver more distance than an extra few miles per hour of clubhead speed. In my case, that extra 1/2" of control is priceless to me. Each golfer has to find his own preference, but I GUARANTEE you it will be an eye-opening experience if you will go out and hit your driver gripped down at least an inch, if not more. Experiment with it and see what happens -- you'll find YOUR OWN best length and begin hitting more fairways and longer drives.
6/16/08
 
duffy says:
I have the Pro Force shafts on my Driver and 3 Wood and agree 100%, the shafts are fantastic.

I'd love to try a set of irons with Pro Force shafts. How do they compare to the True Temper shafts in your opinion?
6/17/08
 
wedgeguy says:
You asked for it, Duffy. I cannot in good conscience recommend to any golfer to play shafts in their irons that were engineered over 25 years ago! I will never go back to steel in anything I play. How's that?
6/17/08
 
duffy says:
Well, hopefully I'll get a chance to try them out on irons. However, I don't think being "engineered 25 years ago" is a good reason to think something is good or bad. I can think of plenty of things that were engineered long ago that are far, far better than modern substitutes.
6/18/08
 
wedgeguy says:
Duffy, on many subjects I would agree, but others, I can't. There's nothing wrong with WD-40, for example, and it's been around for 50 years or more, and does its task well. Same could be said for many products and innovations. But you sure wouldn't want to try to get your work done on a 25-year old computer, would you? In golf, we've advanced technology so far in just the past 10 years or so, I can't see any "relic" of the past being able to optimize our performance (other than a favorite old putter!). That was my point.
6/19/08
 
Mike says:
Hey Terry,

I played 18 last night and I remembered to grip down, so I could try it and offer some feedback.

Swing #1 - gripped down 1" - didn't hit the center of the clubface, but drive was servicable.

Swing #2 - gripped down 1/2" - didn't hit center again, but was in play.

Swing #3 - gripped down 3/4" - nutted it 305, uphill on a 551 yard par 5. Hit a 245 yard 3 wood, uphill, to the front fringe, two putted for birdie and won $3 !

Okay, so I'm a believer. What else you got ?

;-)
6/20/08
 
Tim Horan says:
Terry,

I have been experimenting with shafts recently and have discovered what I believe to be a great shaft. Kane Golf Products of Scotland in association with Harrison Shafts developed the Awesome Light 50g shaft.

Using their 9.5 degree Missile Launcher II head playing 46" stiff I was getting great distance but not a great deal of control. Gripping down brought back the control and the light shaft kept the club head speed up.

I have since had the same shaft put in my previous favourite driver a 9 degree Titleist 983 (at 45") with some great results.

My wife has these shafts throughout... driver, rescue and irons with a lady flex and has developed great distance since switching.

Awesome is right! Kanegolf.com I have not seen anything like it even on the Harrison website. Maybe it is available in the States.
7/30/08
 
PilotGolfer says:
Playing the new r7 Limited Edition (9.5 degree with a 45.5 inch Matrix Ozik Stiff shaft)....What a beast!! I carry a 5 handi and am a shaft junkie ever since I re-shafted my original r7 Quad TP with a Graphite Design YS-7+ 2 years ago. The shaft truly is the engine. Although the LE comes with the Ozik at 45.5 as standard equipment my hands feel more natural about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch lower on the grip. I feel very confident in my ability to load the shaft up and just kill it without overswinging. My trajectory is more consistent and shot dispersement is minimal. I routinely hit the ball around 280 with my older r7 but have easily picked up 12-18 yards with this new stick.
11/5/08
 
dkminton says:
Terry,
I agree, 100% great shafts. I bought a Hi Bore 3w with a 65 gram shaft and could hit it farther than my driver. I switched drivers to a 9.5 Hi Bore with a 66 gram
V2, I hit this thing great more distance but a little high. So I switched again to a Hi Bore XL 8.5 and I reshafted with the 78 gram V2. I don't think I will need to switch drivers again. I am going to buy a 75 gram fairway shaft for my Nike T-40 4W. These shafts are fantastic. Speaking of old tech the Nike 4W I just picked up last week at Golfsmith in Texas was shafted with the old green EL-70 true temper shaft. I hit a 2nd shot from the fairway 275 yards with the old tech I was't sure I wanted to change it but I will save it and try the new V2 shaft first I really beleive in these shafts. DK Minton from Illinois
11/5/08
 
blue_crush says:
want to try something really fun...
grip down on your driver at least 2"... now use a 1/2 backswing to about 9 oclock and swing right to the ball with no follow through. this little swing is what I call the BUNT DRIVE, you only take a 1/2 backswing and go hard to the ball and thats it. this shot will go low, straight, and 200+ yds. I use it into a big wind to stay low, or on a narrow fairway to keep it down the center. I also use it to show that you don't always have to have make a big turn to get it out there. most people I show the shot to can hit it further than they think and its always right down the center... try it next time your at the range. BUNT DRIVE
11/5/08
 
blue_crush says:
also it is said that a person should use the softest shaft possible without going right. the stiffest shaft out there isn't always the best for sure. you must defintetly try different ones and see your ball flight as well as your distance. and I use computers to see speeds and spins, but as for launch angle and distance I want to go to the range and see that. computers don't always have the same results as the range. but shafts are everything, heads now days are like you said very comparable, but shafts make all the difference.
11/5/08
 
wedgeguy says:
Great tip from blue_crush. I often grip down on my driver 2 inches or more to hit controlled "bunts", but don't subscribe to the no follow through concept. I do hit it more like a mid iron though, with great results. The new issue of GOLF Magazine features Anthony Kim and he grips down his driver like this all the time and is very L O N G ! I think almost all golfers could benefit from gripping their driver to an effective length of 43" or so. You should all try it and let us know your results.
11/18/08
 
Dougie8 says:
In my old driver (Ben Hogan Big Ben) it had the green aldila shaft in it which was the best shaft I have hit to this day. I had a great ball flight and consistant. But the clubface as died, so I purchased a Cleveland Hibore Tour XL which I have been able to hit alright, but not a very good ball flight and very inconsistant. The head feels great, just the shaft doesnt feel right to me. Would it be fine to put my Aldila shaft from my Ben Hogan driver into the Hibore XL? Or would this throw the club off?
6/21/09
 
wedgeguy says:
If you have a club repair/maker that can take that shaft out without damaging the tip integrity, why not try it? I think today's shafts offer you anything you are looking for, but why not start with that old "favorite"?

Let us know how it works out. BTW, when I was at Hogan, I had the tour department make me a Big Ben with about twice the density of foam inside and it was the most awesome wind club I ever had.
6/21/09
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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