Clubfitting: Path Plus Face Equals Distance and Accuracy

Today I saw an ad for the next new latest and greatest driver that will produce more yards. Supposedly a lighter shaft and lighter overall club weight will result in more distance.  Perhaps, for someone.

In contrast, this past week I worked with a player who wanted an initial evaluation of his golf clubs.  He hit his 45-1/2 inch OEM (an acronym that stands for “original equipment manufacturer”) driver – D4 swingweight, most likely too heavy and too long for him.  He has a 95 mph swing speed, but the S flex shaft in the club is designed to be good for someone who has a 130 mph swing speed.  And his driver has an open face angle of about 1.5 degrees, promoting shots that start to the right.

So the majority of the shots that he hit on the launch monitor had an an outside-to-inside path of about 12 plus degrees, and a face that was about a degree or so open at impact.  Shots start right, and continue to go right.  An occasional pull to the left, a result of an infrequent time when he was able to close the clubface at impact.

We talked about options to reshaft his club and help him improve his driving.  Now, would he benefit from this new latest and greatest driver?  Most likely not because:

– The light shaft would promote a more outside-to-inside swing path, and

– The long length would be most likely more difficult to consistently hit on the center of the face than his present driver.

We talked about him taking some lessons in the future to improve his path and face at impact – to get the path and face closer to each other.  And lessons would definitely help him swing better and improve his driving.

But what else could be done – if we were to modify his present driver – to get him longer distance and less dispersion in his shots?  We did not do a driver fitting, but most likely the following would greatly improve his driving results:

– A shaft that has a flex and flex profile that fits his swing speed, tempo, and wrist-cock release (he released his wrist cock early in his swing, so most likely would benefit from a shaft that is tip soft);

 – A shorter driver length – two benefits – promotes more solid center contact, and would be made to a lighter swingweight/MOI to make it easier for him to close the clubface at impact; MOI is an acronym for “moment of intertia.” MOI is the term applied to any object’s resistance to twisting around an axis. In golf, the term is usually applied to clubheads, but can also be applied to golf balls and even shafts.

 – A heavier shaft – in the range of 80 to 90 grams most likely – to promote a less outside-to-inside swing path, and get his path closer to his face at impact.

If he can get his swing path and face at impact close to each other – even if they point a little to the left or a little to the right of the “target” – he has the potential to hit shots with good distance and less dispersion.  

Which do you think this player would enjoy more – a few shots that go a little further with the “latest and greatest,” or shots that are consistently in play with good distance?  Which would YOU choose?