With dozens of different models on offer, the choice of
drivers can be a bit overwhelming.
To help narrow down the options, we’ve put together a quick 6 Step Guide.
1: Which Material?
2: Which Model?
3: Which Shape?
4: Which Loft?
5: Which Shaft?
6: Next Generation?
A driver is the big fella
you used off the tee on long holes. The size of the head is measured by volume
in cubic centimetres – 460cc being the biggest allowable. As a rule, the aim
with the driver is to hit the
ball as far as you can – and preferably down the fairway (hitting it miles into
the trees is not going to impress your buddies or help your score).
Virtually all drivers manufactured
today have heads made of titanium (e.g.
Callaway Diablo driver
below - right) and/or carbon composite (e.g.
Callaway FT-9 driver
below - left) – materials which are much lighter than steel and allow manufacturers
to make a great big head which has a great big sweet spot.
Drivers have very thin faces
which, on contact with the ball, produce a 'trampoline effect' whereby the face
'gives' slightly on impact and, in a fraction of a second, restores itself,
catapulting the ball off and increasing distance.
As an aside, you may have heard of some
drivers being deemed Non-conforming
– or illegal - in club competitions – after January 2008. The technical term
for the trampoline effect mentioned above is the Coefficient of Restitution
– and the legal maximum is 0.83. In simple terms, this means that if you fired
a golf ball at a clubface at 100 mph – it would rebound at 83 mph. If it rebounds
at a higher speed, the club would be illegal. No such are clubs are made any
more – and no such clubs are on golfbidder.
All Golfbidder's drivers
are legal and conform to the rules.
Unsurprisingly, all the manufacturers claim that their
drivers are the longest/most
forgiving etc etc. The reality is that modern
drivers from the top manufacturers
such as Callaway,
Mizuno are all superb
pieces of equipment. And which one you opt for will come down to a combination
of the look and feel, budget, brand
loyalty (if you have one – don’t worry if you haven’t!). Aside from the
standard models, some manufacturers now offer a choice of ‘Offset’, ‘Draw’ or
‘Neutral’ options. Let’s look at why...
The vast majority of golfers slice/fade the ball (for right-handed golfers
that means the ball veers to the right when you don’t want it to). This occurs
because the clubface is more ‘open’ (pointing to the right in simple terms)
than it should be when the ball is struck – often because the player’s hands
are ‘behind the ball’ at impact – instead of ‘ahead’ which with a good swing
they would be.
The manufacturers attempt to compensate for this in one of two ways – by
placing weight inside the clubhead (something heavy – normally tungsten) in
such a position that it helps you keep the clubhead more ‘closed’ at impact.
A draw is a slight right-left (for right-handed golfers) swing on the ball –
the opposite of a slice and much more desirable – hence ‘draw’ enhanced woods.
Courtesy of Callaway
golf, the graphic belwo shows the draw, neutral and fade options on their
award-winning FT-5 driver.
Some manufacturers – notably
latterly, Mizuno with
the new MP-600 driver,
allow you to actually change the weighting yourself. This option allows the
user to customise the weighting of the club to their own specific needs - taking
adjustability one step further than the factory weighted clubs outlined above.
Of course you cannot change the setup of your driver during your round - but
if you find youself playing a course that suits a fade one week then a draw
the next you’ll have a driver that will suit both - without any changes to your
swing, grip etc. Your essentially getting 3 drivers in one - a draw, fade and
A more extreme solution for inveterate slicers is to make the club so that
the head is a little ‘offset’ behind the shaft – which has the similar effect
of keeping the clubhead less open at impact. Such ‘Offset’ drivers are good
for those with slower swing speeds such as seniors.
It was Nike who were
first to move away from the traditional shape driver with their Sumo Squared
driver. I understand that it was
K.J. Choi who was the first
of their Touring Professionals who first took it out on the PGA Tour - causing
quite a strip and quite a racket!) when he first hit it on the practice range.
Callaway soon followed
suit with the FT-i
and more recently the
FT-iQ (pictured below).
with the idea of a triangle shaped driver but this soon fell away with them
reverting back to their traditional par shaped head on the new 909 range.
The idea of the square-headed driver is really rather simple. By moving weight
to the perimeters the Moment of Inertia (MOI) can be increased. Another feature
of the square driver is that it aids in the alignment of tee shots. The square
club helps the player visualise the line of the shot much more easily than traditional
Driver loft refers to the angle of the face in relation to the vertical -
and on drivers, each model will
typically be available in a range from 8 degree to 13 degrees.
In very simple terms, lower loft clubs have a slightly lower trajectory –
but go a little further in the hands of very powerful golfers (they go less
distance in the hands of normal players who can’t generate the clubhead speed
required to get the most from the club). Higher loft clubs (eg 12/13 degree)
are best for those with slower swing speeds who need the clubface to help get
the ball airborne more easily – typically seniors, juniors, or lady golfers).
Lofts in the range 9-11 degrees (like the
pictured above, are for the vast majority of us (90% or more) who have neither
a particularly fast or slow swing. Almost all drivers sold nowadays are in the
9-11 degree and you won’t go far wrong with one of these regardless of your
All drivers manufactured today have shafts that are made of graphite (rather
than steel). Stiff flex shafts offer a little more accuracy for those with fast
swing speeds (but less distance for those with slow speeds). A light flex shaft
(that is, they are ‘whippier’ than normal) are good for those with slower swings
speeds (again, seniors being an obvious example). Regular flex shafts are for
the vast majority of us.
What sets the R9 driver apart from all other
drivers is that it incorporates
TaylorMade’s new Flight Control Technology, or FCT for short, with their original
level of adjustment - Moveable Weight Technology. With a simple twist of a wrench,
FCT allows you to change the
R9's face angle,
loft and lie angle.
It was a similar case with the Nike STR8-FIT. In 2008 the USGA and R&A announced
that other forms of adjustability (other than weight adjustment) may also be
permitted upon evaluation by the USGA and R&A. After this announcement Nike
took this incredible opportunity to bring adjustability and customisation to
all players with the introduction of the
STR8-FIT driver. It differs
from the R9 in
that there are no weights to move. The STR8-FIT adapter built into the hosel
gives the user 8 flight options with the simple twist of a wrench.
At Golfbidder we’re sure that this is not the end. Manufacturers spend millions
of pounds each and every season so if you and we’re patient then I’m sure there’ll
be another ‘revolutionary’ product on the horizon very soon.
It follows from all of the above that the most golfers will be best off with
regular flex drivers with a loft in the range 10-11 degrees. Fast-swinging,
low-handicappers may opt for 9 or maybe 10 degrees with stiffer flex, while
an offset driver with 11 or 12 degree and a light flex would be an ideal choice
for a golfer who doesn’t swing the clubs as fast as he used to.
There’s no substitute for trying a few out and seeing what suits you best.
All Golfbidder’s clubs comes with a
No Risk Trial Period.
Try one that seems to fit the bill, if it’s not an improvement on your current
driver, simply send it back for a full refund – or try something else.
If you need any further help or advice, feel free to
contact our PGA-qualified Customer
Telephone: 020 8401 6918
They are here Monday-Friday 9-6 and will be more than happy to answer any