Driver Fitting

By Bruce MartinJanuary 3, 2008, 5:00 pm

Editor's Note: Bruce Martin is a PGA Master Professional with the San Diego Golf Academy. SDGAs program offers a curriculum of golf instruction and golf business management at all four golf schools, and provides graduates with the education required to get the golf job they desire. You'll soon be teaching others how to improve their game! Click here to learn more about SDGA
Certainly the thrill of launching a 300 yard drive that splits the heart of the fairway is one of the most thrilling shots in the game. The tee shot can equal success or failure on any given hole. If there has been one club in the bag that has changed the most in recent years, it has been driver technology. Investing in a properly fit driver with the advances in modern technology will give any golfer an opportunity to maximize his/her true potentials. This article will help the golf channel viewers decide on what route to take in choosing their next driver investment or alter their current driver to a best fit solution.

Launch monitor data combined with studying the golfers ball flight is the best case scenario for driver fitting. Older launch monitors were laser based and difficult to calibrate and maintain, the data often conflicted with the laws of ball flight. Photography based launch monitors emerged ' A line was drawn on the ball and two pictures were taken within the first two feet of ball flight to determine the amount of' revolution, side spin, and launch angle. Ill never forget being blinded at impact by two of these devices with these flash photography systems. Modern launch monitor technology has incorporated the use of Doppler radar. A similar type of Doppler radar is found on our military missile tracking systems. Golf simulators have also incorporated this Doppler radar technology for club fitting.
The golfers club head speed, ball speed, angle of approach, path, face angle, and side spin are measured. This launch monitor data will reveal the proper launch angle, angle of decent, spin rate, carry distance, and amount of roll to maximize your overall distance and consistency.
Example: A player with 100 mph club head speed (driver) will have an optimal launch angle of 12-13.5 degrees with an angle of decent goal of 14 degrees to maximize his/her roll. The optimal spin rate will be around 3000 rpm. Having the proper ball and driver will both produce optimal numbers.

CLUBHEAD DESIGN ' Face Angle and M.W.T.
460 cc size heads have dominated the market ' and yes bigger is better with drivers. Manufacturer trends for these driver club heads is to design the clubfaces closed and offer the consumer a multitude of weighting configurations to optimize ball flight.
Example of driver face angle:
460 cc driver with 10.5 degrees loft and a 3 degree closed clubface = a squared or effective loft of 13.5 degrees. In other words, the consumer just purchased an oversized 3 wood and may be confused why he is hitting high hooks all the time. For the slicer, this is certainly a very helpful design, but for the golfer who naturally draws the ball, this may turn into a nasty hook. Several of the leading manufacturers still produce square clubfaces on there 460 cc driver models. Always ask what the face angle is and have it measured to determine the effective loft.
Moveable weight technology:
MWT has been around for well over 50 years, but has seen a recent return to the market with the Taylor Made R series drivers. Many other manufacturers have followed this trend adding a variety of weighting systems for the consumers to purchase or configure themselves.
MWT can be easily understood with the following fundamentals of club head weighting and center of gravity:
Increasing launch angle '
Heavier weighting lower and towards the rear of the club head.
Lowering launch angle '
Heavier wts. towards the club face and lighter wts. rearward.
Changing direction '
Remember the heaviest weight on either the heal or toe will rotate/ release the slowest through impact. Example: The heaviest weight towards the heal will promote the toe to close faster (lighter) producing draws/hooked shots.
Hopefully understanding the factors of launch monitor fitting, driver face angle design, and weighting technology will help you make an informed decision for your next driver investment.


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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.