Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby Knightwriter » Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:14 pm

I'm curious to know if using a 44" or even 43" driver eats into driver distance?

Some people say you lose 5 yards for each 0.5 inches cut off, some say it is more, some say it makes no difference. However, I suspect 90% of the people talking about it have zero testing and experience done on the topic.

So I'd like to canvas feedback from people who really have tested it and do know. Thanks.
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Re: Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby k2baloo » Wed Jan 27, 2016 5:40 pm

Tom Wishon has done a lot of research on this very subject. You should go read his work on it if you want well thought out answers. But it basically comes down to the golfer and their release point (maybe other factors as well, I can't remember).
Depending on how you swing the club, shortening the driver length can increase, decrease, or have have no effect on swing speed. So there is no one correct answer; it depends on the golfer and their swing characteristics. He also found that most golfers hit the sweet spot more often with a shorter shaft, which of course helps in the distance category.
In my personal experience, I have found that I can hit a shorter driver just about as far as a longer one. But I don't have any serious testing to back it up, this is just from on the course observations.
BTW, Bubba uses a driver that is 44.5. Many modern players even have drivers a little shorter than what they are selling retail to consumers.
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Re: Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby Knightwriter » Thu Jan 28, 2016 3:59 am

Thanks, I'll look that up.

Long drive fitters basically tell fellas they need to use a driver that is as long as they can 'handle' with as much headweight as they can handle.

I know its a different set of criteria with long driver, but this may useful to this discussion none the less.

But my goal is basically to have it as short as possible without sacrificing any distance. I think length is important in the modern game and I don't want to leave some on the table, especially since my game is pretty much built long and straight driving.

I'm also starting to alter my swing with ABS so that will change what I need to be fitted with as well.
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Re: Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby norcalvol » Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:22 pm

I am 5'9" tall and in the past 12 months have moved to my optimal comfort zone: a 42.5" persimmon and 43.5" metal (260cc and 312cc heads) driver after much experimentation (which has included from 42" to 46").
For me, it is about control... and these lengths seem perfect for whatever reason. I also don't sense a loss in distance of any significance, if any at all.
But most important, at these lengths, I don't get the sense of fighting with the club that I feel at longer lengths.
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Re: Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby jfischer13 » Wed Feb 03, 2016 8:06 am

I think its a really a balance......Long drive is great and maybe 4 or 5 times out of 10 you hit it an extra 10-15 yds. But there is also an increased air in hitting the sweet spot and your misses are bigger. Ask yourself. 10 yds further and in the right rough or 10 yds shorter in the proper position.

Ill take the proper spot every time.
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Re: Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby Ded2Journey » Sun Feb 07, 2016 9:16 am

jfischer13 wrote:I think its a really a balance......Long drive is great and maybe 4 or 5 times out of 10 you hit it an extra 10-15 yds. But there is also an increased air in hitting the sweet spot and your misses are bigger. Ask yourself. 10 yds further and in the right rough or 10 yds shorter in the proper position.

Ill take the proper spot every time.


Mark Broadie (Every shot counts) would argue this point...and so would I in todays game. However, if you're playing classic tracks with classic gear I would agree. As with all golf courses, there is strategy.

Modern track, modern gear--grip it, rip it, find it, wedge it, roll it. BORING... I think that is why I love Rickie Fowlers game. He works it both ways and hits a lot of quality 3/4, placement, and special trajectory shots.

Short, tight, curvy, treelined, and heavy rough track, strategy, strategy, strategy with very precise ball striking requirements.

Thus, I recommend you build a few drivers (long light, heavy short, etc.) and grab the one most appropriate for the course you're playing.

My $.02 anyway...
"People have always been telling me what I can't do. I guess I have wanted to show them. That's been one of my driving forces all my life." -Ben Hogan
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Re: Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby Knightwriter » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:12 pm

Yea, could be a good idea.

I've ordered some woods from Tom Wishon. I was very impressed with how he helped me out personally. His gear looks top notch as well and he will bend woods 4 degrees flat, five at a push.

He also has this new fairway driver, as he calls it. It's basically a fairway head with the COR of a driver. He says there's no distance difference to the big head for on centre hits.

Very interesting club. I'd love to have one at some stage, maybe even as my main driver. I like the idea of a smaller more workable head and you could nail a bullet off the fairway if you were playing a par 5 into the teeth of the wind.
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Re: Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby 1badbadger » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:15 am

I have quite a bit of first-hand experience with this subject, so I'd be happy to share what I've learned. I was a full time professional club builder for 8 years and am going on 9 years as an equipment tech for a major OEM, so I have had the opportunity to work with players of all levels, as well as many different drivers and shafts.

I can say with a high level of confidence that not only do I feel you wouldn't give up any distance by shortening the length of your driver, most players would actually hit the ball longer if they went with a shorter shaft! A lot of people find this hard to believe, but it's true. Many are convinced that a longer shaft will result in more clubhead speed, and it can. But there is another important part to that...ideally the clubhead should reach it's maximum speed right at impact. Players who have a late release can accomplish this, but the majority of players release the club early or somewhere between the two. When the club is released early or a mid release, the maximum speed of the clubhead happens too soon. By the time the club gets to impact, it has actually started to slow down!

So most players aren't increasing their clubhead speed with a longer shaft like they thought. They might actually lose speed. A shorter driver doesn't give up as much swing speed as people think, but even if it's a few MPH, it's negligible. What is gained though is the ability to hit the ball on the screws a higher percentage of the time, and the more often you can do that, the better you will drive the ball. When the ball is hit on the sweet spot, everything gets better...the trajectory is better, accuracy is better and distance is better. Even if a player increased his clubhead speed with a longer driver, the percentage of mishits would increase.

I play my personal drivers between 44-44 1/4" and have for 15 years, and I am much more consistent AND longer than with a driver that is 45"+.
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Re: Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby Mashie72 » Tue Feb 16, 2016 10:58 am

1badbadger wrote:I have quite a bit of first-hand experience with this subject, so I'd be happy to share what I've learned. I was a full time professional club builder for 8 years and am going on 9 years as an equipment tech for a major OEM, so I have had the opportunity to work with players of all levels, as well as many different drivers and shafts.



Thanks for chiming in!. Great to hear from someone with 1st hand knowledge..I'm sure we're all ears if you have any other fitting/tech insights.
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Re: Shorter driver shaft length and distance

Postby Ded2Journey » Tue Feb 16, 2016 6:05 pm

1badbadger wrote:
I play my personal drivers between 44-44 1/4" and have for 15 years, and I am much more consistent AND longer than with a driver that is 45"+.


Very cool...thanks for sharing! How do you feel about 43"?
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