Shortened Driver?

I read somewhere on here the other day that one of you guys had taken 1" off their driver. I cant seem to find the topic right now, so if someone could let me know how they got on it would be much appreciated. I ahve been thinking about this for a while since I am only 5'6" tall and I am using a 45" driver. James

James, I believe the person you want to hear from (Alan Taylor) may be on holiday at the moment.I'm sure he will reply when he gets back.

James,Are you planning on trimming down the length yourself? Be careful. You will alter the flex/swingweight/kick point of your driver, and may end up with something you hate. The shaft is probably has the most influence on the performance of your driver. There are some club makers web sites out there that discuss what happens when trimming butts and tips of shafts. Never tried it on my own clubs. I would be interested to hear the results you get?Ian

James,Rather counter intuitively shortening shaft length will generally make the shaft play more flexible as opposed to stiffer. There will be some loss in weight but it should not really be noticeable if you are going to trim the butt by 1 inch. There is no reason why you could not Butt trim yourself and re-grip (preferably with a heavier grip to compensate), if you are comfortable with a ‘slightly’ more flexible shaft. If you are looking to re-shaft, you may want to consider a good steel shaft, where the ‘normal’ playing length will be shorter anyway. Additionally steel is generally easier to control and you should end up more consistent off the tee.

I believe 1" from the butt will have no real effect except that it might lighten the swing weight a notch or two as I understand the differences in swing weight are quite small.I cut 1" of the butt end of my Callaway C4 and feel much more in control of the club than before; it also appears to be more accurate, although that may not be solely due to reduction in shaft length. I did try to hold down the shaft but this did not feel right.Don't forget that some manufacturers (notably Ping) custom fit and shorter shafts are one of the options - and they do this simply by cutting off from the butt end - there are no special lengths, most come in at 46" and are then trimmed to length.

Thanks guys, I will wait for Alan to return from his hols for more advice. It just seems to me that while most of us will have our irons custom fitted, nearly all of us will buy a driver "off the shelf".James

Just found this on the Golfsmith.com clubmaker forum; a reply from the techies to a user wanting to shorten his Graphite Design YS6:"Shortening the club by trimming from the butt won

Must admit that I am tempted to trim down the shaft of my TM300 to get a bit more accuracy. And if adds a little to the stiffness of then so much the better. You know this link could be full of innuendo if we aren't carefulOoh Matron!

Took 2" off an xro3 and both accuracy and length are better.had it done by clubmaker who adjusted the swingweight as he said without it club might still be wayward.

With out doubt, the majority of golfers with play better golf with a shorter driver. Most golfers should not have a driver longer than 44

Well, I took the plunge and took just over 1" off my Deep Red II driver. It should have been exactly 1" but my measuring wasnt quite as accurate as it should have been!The Results......At first I absolutely HATED it, I was spraying shots everywhere! But after a few sessions down the range I have got used to having the head at the angle it was designed for and all seems to be well. I feel that my accuracy has improved and I have lost little if any distance. My inital problems were probably caused by me trying to hit the ball as hard as I could to make up for any percieved loss of distance.I am playing tomorrow so I will let you know how it performs on the course.James

I've reported this before but I made two steps when altering my driver; 1. reduced the length from 45 to 44inches and 2. replaced the Prolite graphite shaft for a Rifle steel lite shaft.On my first outing with Keith in the North hit about 7 out of every 10 fairways, now though as I've got used to it 7 out of 10 is a bad day. All this with absolutely no loss of distance.The work was carried out by Graham Tonge in Frodsham who is currently installing shafts in my new clubs from SMT.My suggestion, forget trying to crush a ball down the fairway only to find it leaks too far left or right, get it on the short stuff a reasonable distance toward the green. For this have a driver shafted with a shaft matched to your tempo and fitted by a pro, forget the swing flex rating. If a lady rated shaft suits you then go with it, swing within yourself and consider shortening the overall length of the club.

Played my first round as a mamber at Trent lock in Nottingham today, also first round with "new" shortened driver. In total I missed 2 fairways all afternoon and those I hit were with much straighter shots, even in a 20mph wind!James

James, sorry for the delay in replying but Keith was right - I've been away.I trimmed 1" of my Mizuno Blue Fire, Exsar Platinum shafted driver having read a number of items on whether stock driver shafts were too long for a lot of players.David Doyle's input to another thread convinced me that it might be worth trying in an attempt to get more control.I have now been using the shortened driver for about three or four months and can reiterate, that for me, the transformation was spot on. The driver is now extremely reliable mainly because I seem to have more control over the head. Whereas before I could lose the ball left or right without knowing why, now if I hit a crap drive (much less frequently) I can adjust accordingly.Partly I think this is down to a reduced swingweight and maybe the change in lie has also helped but whatever, a good decision for me.

I am happier with my new "short" driver, and seem to be more consistent. The only drawback is that I sometimes try and hit the cover off the ball to make up for any percieved lack of distance. This usually ends up as a slice and as soon as I have hit it I know what has caused it. It seems that there are a lot of us out there with clubs that are just not suited to our physical builds.James

James,The occasional lack of control may not be your fault entirely. As I said earlier, it is my opinion that a shortened driver will play 'slightly' more flexible. This is because you will tend to swing a lighter club faster, causing the shaft to flex more. The answer to this is to add weight (lead tape/plug)or to reshaft with a heavier shaft that compensates for the reduced swingweight. From your previous posts, you appear to have a rather aggresive downswing - a heavier shaft will probably suit your swing better if this is the case. Steel shafts are highly under rated and you may want to consider a reshaft. A good steel shaft will cost 10-15 pounds to buy + fitting charges.

Darth,After a couple of sessions at the range I am getting more used to the weight and length of the club and feel more confident after each session. As a comparison I tried a friends R580 and found it very long and heavy to swing. I think as long as I don't get too agressive with it I will continue to improve. I also found that weakening my grip a touch allowed me to swing through the ball more as oppoesed to hitting at it. I appreciate what you are saying about reshafting with steel, but I have a Deep Red fatshaft driver, surely this would complicate the problem?I will report back again after my round on sunday.James

Ok, Next update.......Missed 2 fairways again (different 2 this time). On the range before my round I couldnt hit a decent drive if my life depended on it! But after a cup of tea and a quick bacon buttie all seemed to be fine and I had a good round.James

How do you measure the length of the driver?Do you just put the toe of the head on the floor, make the shaft perpendicular to the floor and measure the distance from end of grip to the floor?If so then mine is 46" and that can't be right as I'm only 5'10" tall.Patrick

46" isn't unheard of. The only reason I know that mine started life as 45" is that I looked on wilsons website. As far as I know the shaft length is measured along the length with the club at the correct lie angle.James

Hold the club in normal address position and measure from the floor straight up the shaft. I then mark and cut allowing 1/8" for the grip cap.Hope this helps.

Thanks.Don't want to hijack this thread, but if I reduce the length of my driver by say 1 1/2" then would I need to reduce the legth of my 3/5 woods which are exactly the same models as the driver?T

Depends how you're hitting your 3/5 woods I'd have thought. If it ain't broke don't fix it!

My Driver is still about 1" longer than my 3 wood, despite having been cut down by 1". I seem to hit my fairway woods ok. I have deep red II 3,5 and 7 woods that match m,y driver.James.P.S. I think that one of the most important things to take from all of this is not to try and hit your shots too hard if you decide to shorten your driver. This can easily reverse any of the benefits that the reduction in club length brings.

I've always hit all of my woods better gripping further down the grip, it just never occured to me that the shaft may be too long.I shall have a serious test this weekend before I commit. I'm 90% sure the driver needs to be shortened, but the others may be okay.ThanksT

Whoops.Changed my nickname in my profile but my old posts remain as Patrick Curry.Never mind.

Let us now how you get on, It will be nice to find out that I am not the only person on here that the mass manufacturers do not automatically cater to.James(Not that I am bitter or twisted or anything, being left handed and all that!)

Lopping an inch off the driver ain't a cure - all for a dodgy swing. It might benefit the guys who can hit the driver well but occasionally and inexplicably lose a ball left or right. Even if this gives some sort of additional control it is not a good idea to go chopping up the rest of your bag of sticks. There is a significant difference in length between the driver and a three wood and as has been already stated average driver length has increased (by about 2") over the past few of years - this may or may not be the reason for increased distances being achieved.

As a side issue to this I am presently considering a new Mizuno MP001 driver. I will start with this at standard length but the standard size shaft will allow me to get it reshafted should I feel the need to. As Lionel quite logically said, trimming the butt end of the shaft must have some bearing on flex point etc. At least using a driver of standard shaft diameter (not a fatshaft like present) will give me the option to do the job properly.James

As I understand it James, trimming the butt end of a driver does little or nothing to the flex of a shaft.A longer shaft can potentially generate a higher clubhead speed, due to a greater swing arc but that depends on the ability of an individual to swing it fast, as a longer shaft increases the swingweight.A club might feel more wieldy if it is shorter, because of a reduction in swingweight. This can lead to a greater feeling of control and potentially a higher clubhead speed as the individual feels able to swing faster.Whatever suits I suppose.

At my last lesson I spoke to the pro about this debate and he said it doesn't matter how long you shaft is if you don't have the right shape swing it'll still end up in the trees. I guess he has a point.

More people are able to use a modern driver successfully due to the forgiving nature of a head the size of a small caravan. The manufacturers, however, then increase the difficulty by using a longer shaft - this will give the big boys a chance to hurl the ball 300 metres.The rest of us can benefit by returning the shaft to a manageable length and hitting more fairways.

"The rest of us can benefit by returning the shaft to a manageable length and hitting more fairways"True...........James

HiI spent my morning round gripping well down the grip with all my tee shots.I have to say it felt dreadful, and the results were shocking. i know it's not a true representation of reducing the shaft length but it is as good as I can do without actual cutting.So for the time being, I will stick with what I've got and try and swing more consitently with it.I'm not trying to put anyone off of doing it, just airing my personal experience. Good luck to those who go the way of the hacksaw.T

I tried gripping down the grip and found it to be very off putting. It was only once I had "taken the plunge" so to speak and had the hacksaw out that I experienced the benefits.James

Hi JamesI suspect that you are correct. Ideally, when you buy a new driver it would be nice to try different lengths as well as flex's. But in my experience this has never been the case.I'm really glad it's worked for you. I just need to hide the hacksaw in case I rashly wield it at my driver after another OOB episode.T

Tricky,I suspect that if you take the hacksaw to your driver in that frame of mid it may well be to the middle of the shaft on its way swiftly to the bin!Just remember what my wife says......"I play army golf - left right left right!"James

Tricky,I suspect that if you take the hacksaw to your driver in that frame of mind it may well be to the middle of the shaft on its way swiftly to the bin!Just remember what my wife says......"I play army golf - left right left right!"James

Golf is mainly about ego, and the greatest thrill in golf can be hitting the ball a long way. The manufacturers have made use of this human frailty by producing lighter shafts / clubheads, which can therefore be assembled at longer lengths (for the same Swing Weight), thus allowing for greater clubhead speed / distance. Another instance of this phenomenon is the lofting on irons. Why do you think the gap wedge is suddenly in vogue ? 20 years ago, the average loft of a PW was 52*, but gradually all the lofts have been jacked stronger so that we all feel like we are hitting it further than days of old. Nowadays, a more typical PW loft might be 48/49* - hence the need for an extra club. How many of you now have troubles deciding which 14 clubs to play ?As far as I am aware, over the same period, the only players to benefit from this new technology, are the pros. While their average scores have kept tumbling, the average handicap of the playing public has not reduced 0.1 shots. One of the main differences is accuracy, and the emphasis placed on it. To this end, most tour pros will not have a driver longer than 44" (I think Tiger is 42.75" for example). At the shorter length, they feel more comfortable, and can therefore be more aggressive, often resulting in increased distance.However, just cutting 1" off your shaft length may have some other effects. How extreme these are depends on the way you swing the golf club. It basically boils down to Swing Weight (SW). All "Swingers" are completely tolerant to SW, thus all things being equal, they will marginally benefit from a lighter SW by view of increased clubhead speed. However, the same cannot be said of a "Hitter". They are very intolerant of changes in SW. Most will usually benefit from somewhere in the D2-D4 range, where they can feel the clubhead in their hands (better tempo too). Most OEM drivers will be around D0-D1 I think (Pings may be lower at C8-C9).So lets suppose you have an average SW @ D1 say. If you cut 1" from the butt, the flex will not change, but you will have reduced the SW by 6 points (now C5). The "Hitters" will lose all feel for the head. The simplest way to increase SW is lead tape. It will require about 2g of weight for every SW point, thus 12g to get back to where we were. But now we find a different problem. The extra weight will soften the flex of the shaft (1 flex for every 10g head weight, I think). Thus a stiff shaft will now react like a regular flex. You get my point. (N.B. Any proper clubmakers please chime in if you think my figures are incorrect.)I learnt this first hand, when trying it for myself. I had a KZG PFT300 with stiff Innovative Graphite UFO 2.2 shaft @ 45". I cut 1.25" off and found some improvement in accuracy. However, my misses were all over the place. Being a hitter, all feel for the clubhead had gone. So I added the lead tape to bring up the SW. Fantastic! Accurate and long too. The more flexible shaft was enough to turn my misses into hooks, where before they were fades. Eventually I would make other drivers from scratch that would take account of this also.Some people don't like the look of lead tape. There are ways around this. Heavier shafts like tour spec graphite or steel (7g approx equals 1 SW point), tip pins, weight ports (some component heads), rat glue & tungsten powder in the head, to name but a few. But tape is the easiest to fiddle with at first - you'll still see it plastered over some tour players clubs. Personally, I prefer the tape. For larger amounts, you can alter (fractionally) the COG of the head. Placement near the heel aids a draw, on the toe promotes fade. The extra weight leads to less clubhead twist at impact (great in the wind), and I feel that for the same clubhead speed, more momentum is transferred to the ball, giving greater ball speed.

I've been using modern titanium driver with 44" shaft for last 5 years and love it. Firstly I had my pro cut an inch of the grip and add lead tape to bring the sw back to normal. Shortening the shaft stiffens it a fraction, but I did not notice it. This club got stolen and I replaced it with a Ping driver which you can order 1" sorter and to a specific sw, so you don't even have to add tape. They just put a heavier elliptical back weight in.I found that because my confidence was up, I swung better and my distance actually increased as well as my accuracy. It is a no brainer for me!

Weakest,Thanks for the in depth reply. I had to read it a couple of times to take it all in. You say that most OEM drivers have swingwieghts of D0-D1, however upon looking at a few manufacturers websites it seems to me that most are D2-D3. Putting all this aside, I feel that a shorter shaft benefits me because I am not the tallest person in the world and the reduction in length just makes the club more "manageable" all round. I have just managed to get my hnds on a new Mizuno MP001, which I promptly took 3/4 of an inch off (aren't i brave!). At present i am still getting used to the club and its playing characteristics, all i can say so far is that on its first outing on the course in the rain on saturday I hit an 84 when I normally hit around 90.I will report back more after this weekends outing.James

I cut down a Taylor Made 580 driver with a stiff Graffaloy Blue shaft down 1.5 inches. From what I've read here, I've lost 9 swingweight points. Is that correct? To bring the swingweight back to D3, do I need to add 18g of weight to the clubhead? If I do that, won't the clubhead feel like a boulder?

Spot on 'Weakest'The only thing I would add is that to compensate for the loss of swingweight a lighter grip could be fitted. Some grip weights vary from model to model by up to 20g.

In my opinion, swingweight is not nearly as important as feel. I cut down a TM 580 / Graffaloy Blue to 43.5" (dropped swingweight from D3 to C2). I had no control of the club resulting in numerous pulls and pushes. I then added 2 swingweights with lead tape (now C4). I can feel the clubhead again and am finding more fairways with excellent distance. Use the lowest swingweight you can accurately hit the club. I'm interested in hearing other peoples opinions on a driver with C4 swingweight. Is this rare? I'm 5'9" with average build.

Bit of a contradiction going on there, swingweight is part of the feel as you have gone on to say. You have increased the headweight, thereby incresing the swingweight and altering the feel. Swingweight is not the be all and end all in one club alone but I consider it an important factor in helping to build a fully matched set of clubs. If all the clubs in a set are the same swingweight then this is a big step in helping to achieve a consistant set. What that actual swingweight is, is another matter. If C4 works for you that is fine. There are many Drivers out there with swingweights in the 'C' range and nothing wrong with that.Swingweight can also be associated with frequency matching. One swingweight point will equal 1cpm, so you can see by this the need to have matching swingweights in a set.

Hmm, now I'm sure that this is a stupid question but where do I find the swingweight of a club. The reason I'm asking is that I have some Wilson fairway woods imported from the USA and a Calloway BB Warbird Ti Driver. The Wilsons feel nice but are much heavier to swing than the Warbird which feels as light as a feather in comparison.I can swing the Warbird fine except if I am down the range I normally work through my clubs. After I have gone through shots with my Wilsons I can't swing properly with the Warbird for about 4 or 5 shots. I'm guessing that this is to do with the swingweight.As I'm about to change some of my clubs I would like to check swingweight prior to purchase.

Al,Thanks for your response. Sorry about the contradiction. What I really meant to say is feel is more important than restoring the shortened club back to the original D3 swingweight. I see matching all clubs swingweights is a goal of clubmaking, but is it highly recommended to have the driver swingweight match the rest of your clubs? My irons and fairway woods are all D3.

Netpus, in an ideal world it is recommended that the Drvier is the same swingweight as the rest of the clubs but in reality this very rarely happens. It used to happen before we had graphite shafts, I have made many a set from Driver through to PW that have all been the same swingweight when is all we had was steel shafts and the same shafts were used in both the woods and irons. The sand wedge is always a couple of swingweights heavier because of the job it is designed to do.Gabriel, swingweight is the relation between how weight is distributed toward the head of the club as compared to the grip end of the club. It has to be measured on a special weighing machine with the club balancing on a 14" fulcrum point measured from the butt of the club. Any part of the club that is forward of the fulcrum point toward the head is considered to be head weight, the more weight there is in the head end compared to the butt end, the heavier the swingweight will be. 2g of weight in the head end of the club equals 1 swingweight point. Because of the Fulcrum point, if you wanted to reduce the swingweight of the club you would need to add 5g of weight to the butt end of the club. Hope this helps.