Driver fit: What you need to know

It's time to make your move for a new weapon of choice

Bob Warters
Mon, 14 Jan 2008
0


Considering a new driver to suit you?

It's that time of year most of us start thinking - and perhaps dreaming - about golf, even if the weather suggests it might not be worth venturing out on to the course just yet.

About 75 per-cent of 'golfers' (those who claim to play at least once a month in the summer) prefer to keep their powder as well as our clubs dry between November and March, perhaps making the occasional visit to the range 'just to keep their hand in'.

But we can still dream of the clubs - particularly the driver - we aspire to use when the weather brightens up.

It has been made a little more complicated this year by new Rules that the game's governing bodies have introduced to outlaw those drivers which have a barely detectable 'trampoline effect' in the clubface but which purports to deliver extra distance.

A list of these non-conforming drivers can be found on the R&A website.

But before we select the driver of choice that we feel might transform our game from a score in the low 100s to one that edges into the 80s and 90s, there's a few things we need to know about ourselves to help the golf pro or store expert fit us for a weapon that truly 'Suits you Sir!'

Estimates of how many golfers are using the wrong equipment range from 90 to 99.9 per-cent - despite the fact that it's your golf swing that defines you as a golfer not the golf club you use or course you play.

As if doing the weekly shop at the supermarket, golfers tend to naively purchase stock equipment that suits their eye without considering the information they need to know if whether or not a certain club matches the idiosyncrasies their golf swing.


Testing, testing in front of a Trackman ball flight and ball speed detector

It might have been the model used by the latest tournament winner, but unless your golf swing perfectly matches the speed or consistency of his or hers (if so why aren't you on Tour?), it's probably not the golf club for you.

So, how do you get fixed up with the right driver, for example?

The simplest way to match up your statistics is fill in a form online with one of the major brands or recognised retailers. It will need to know:

* Your gender (male or female)

* Your height in your socks or bare feet

* Distance from wrist to the floor (without shoes)

* Your age

* Current skill level (handicap)

* How fast you swing a golf club in mph or kph (some shops will measure this for you)

* What golf club you would normally use to hit the green from the 150-yard marker (e.g. 6-iron)

The following chart may also be of help:

Women's flex

Driver Swing Speed less than 60 mph (100 kph), carry distance less than 180 yds. Club used from 150 yds - a 3 iron or wood.

Senior (A) flex

Driver swing speed 60-75 mph (100-120), Driver carry 180-210 yards. Club from 150 yards - 4 iron.

Regular flex

Driver swing speed 75-84 mph (120-135) Driver carry 210-240 yards, club from 150 yards - 5- or 6-iron.

Stiff flex

Driver swing speed 84-93 mph (130-150). Driver carry 240-260 yards, Club from 150 yards 6- or 7- iron.

Extra (X) stiff flex

Driver speed swing over 93 mph (150). Driver carry 260+ yards, club from 150 yards 8- or 9-iron.


Experts can detect your swing finger print on a computer

A golfer's swing is like a fingerprint - though it can change slightly with expert coaching. But overall each one is different in style, speed and consistency and ideally should be matched to the clubs you play.

If you're planning to make 2008 the big improvement year and looking to make an instant impact with a driver, start checking the major brand pages and custom-fitters to find out when and where you can get fitted.

There are also some useful articles and forum threads which may help, not least one by Nick Davis on his visit to Chris Crissel in Essex, currently a leading fitter with the Orka brand.

Tell us on the forum your experiences with club-fitting and fitters. How successful were they? What advice would you give to fellow Golfmagic visitors about having your clubs made-to-measure?

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