Our thoughts after testing better-player driversMay, 2013
Our conclusions from a day hitting drivers aimed at better players
Distance comes from fitting primarily
I heard a great story recently about a leading tour pro. He was concerned that the driver he was contracted to play wasn’t performing as well as others.
So he went to see an independent club fitter and tested all the top brands on TrackMan. It turned out that he couldn’t find one that went more than three yards past his current gamer and he went away happy.
The moral of the story is this: You are unlikely to find that one brand’s driver goes past everyone else’s. What you will find is that you can improve and fine-tune the performance of each and every top brand through a blend of good fitting and the use of adjustability.
Adjustability is great for better players
The ability to tweak a driver really did make the difference for the players in this test when we were trying to finesse performance.
By taking the loft up or down or switching a shaft, the results would change markedly.
Obviously, we had the benefit of James Whitaker’s expertise, and he was able to work his magic with the wrench and instantly improve the performance with just about any driver in the test.
The problem is that you need to know what you are doing when adjusting your driver and if you experiment unsupervised then you run the risk of making things worse not better.
Our experience in this test was that we preferred shafts that were a little bit heavier and a little more stable. You might be the same or you might like a bit of extra speed…
Consistency is the key
When buying a new driver, you think about raw distance but in this test what really impressed our panel were consistency and control. It’s all very well having a hot driver but only if it repeats.
The best drivers – the ones we recommended – were those where we felt we could hit consistently good shots with rather than drivers where every so often one would jump off the face. For low handicappers, good driving is at least as much about being able to find a fairway when it counts as it is smashing an extra-long one.
Experiment on weight
Any decent player is going to feel the difference between a 60 and 70g shaft. You’d be surprised how much difference it makes to the feel and your timing.
Our experience in this test was that we preferred shafts that were a little bit heavier and a little more stable. You might be the same or you might like a bit of extra speed – but you won’t know unless you try.
Better players more resistant to colour…
Or at least our testers were! The comments we kept hearing were “the crown was too busy” and “I like clean looks”. So, on first impression, the looks are really important and heads that are unfamiliar colours, or with patterns on, do stand out – as they are meant to.
It should be said that after just a few shots you can get used to them. But it’s very much a personal thing.