Golfers are obsessed with distance, especially off the tee. Manufacturers feed off that obsession by producing drivers that go farther, including many with stock shafts at 45.5 inches or even longer in some cases.
However, as we saw last year from two notable US PGA Tour players, longer driver shafts aren’t always the answer. Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler turned to shorter shafts in their Titleist and Cobra drivers, respectively, and the results paid off.
Walker (above), who cut two inches off his Titleist 917D2 driver, increased his fairways hit by more than 17 percent. Fowler, meanwhile, shaved an inch off his Cobra F7+ driver at the Honda Classic and improved his accuracy by nearly 9 percent year over year.
“I’ll tell you what, it feels pretty good to step up there with 43.5 inches,” said Fowler at the Honda, which he won. “[It] doesn’t start offline very much and doesn’t move much from there … I may be giving up a little bit of distance, but still, I was able to get it plenty far out there.” Indeed, Fowler’s driving distance was only a yard shorter than the year before.
For everyday golfers the benefit could possibly be increased accuracy and distance. Since everyday players are not as skilled as tour pros, a shorter driver shaft could lead to more confidence and finding the centre of the face more often.
And since everyday players tend to hit the ball lower than tour pros, finding the fairway instead of the rough could yield additional yards of roll. More fairways and more yards? Might just be worth a try.
– E. Michael Johnson