How Heavy for a Modern Driver?

As this season has wound down for me, I’m actually thinking of changing my driver/shaft set up for next season.

Last year when I hooked up with Lag I had a 1* closed driver, and it featured ‘draw weighting’. Within months I had to get rid of it… I hooked the bejesus out of everything… I went against the grain and got a moderately heavy, 70 gram shafted driver, but the shaft was longer.

What weight should I look for in a modern driver? A friend who plays on the Canadian tour lent me his ‘tour’ driver with an X-stiff shaft and it wasn’t that heavy, but it felt very … ‘hard’ to make it… snap at impact. If that makes sense. Now as a hitter type, I’m wondering what I should look for.

I’ve decided on no more than a 45" shaft, so that eliminates a lot of companies right off the bat since everyone is doing the 45-47" range now.

What about flex and weight? How far is too far? I really can’t afford to lose any yardage. Any advice?

I have an 83g extra stiff fujikura shaft in a R9 as my modern driver 45 length- the extra weight certainly feels better to me as I can feel the head a little more on the way down and not be as frightened to rip at the ball because at least I have an idea where the club is.
Instead of it being too light and it then feels like swinging a matchstick at a fly and you become frightened to swing hard at all OR you swing hard and over accelerate far too early and the ball responds in weird and wonderful ways and you reload from the tee

Thanks for responding.

Is this an actual retail R9? Or is it tour issue?

I am pretty sure in retail the R9 (420cc) is 45.25 inches, and the R9 (460cc) is actually 45.75 inches.

Also is it an adjustable or fixed shaft? Is it open?

I appreciate getting the feedback of someone going through Lag’s program… because our needs are a little different than say… someone ‘swinging’. :wink: Thanks again.

I may try the 83 gram shaft. I couldn’t find it on the shelf.

I was asking myself the same question recently and I ended up with a Matrix Ozik Code 8 shaft (S flex)at about 83 grams with a head that I already had, a Nakashima HTEC 440cc (takes any shaft fitted with their proprietary hosel adapter) . Caution, they are crazy expensive unless you get lucky (that’s how I ended up with it in the first place). I added some weight at the back of the head with some lead tape and it seems to be serving me well so far. The feel is way better than the 55g shaft I had in there before. I was hooking the hell out of that shaft. I am right down the pike now. I also have a Titleist 975d with a TT DG shaft for when I feel inclined to try the smaller head size. I can’t do anything but hit that one straight either. As for anything in the TM brand, I seem to draw, hook, or pull all of them that I have tried using the same swing (at least I think it is) that I hit others with.

Hi Two,

I don’t know much about dead weight / swing weight but if you have a heavier shaft presumably whilst it increases the dead weight would it not decrease the swingweight? Do you slap some lead on the head as well at the same time?

Cheers, Arnie

I weighed 2 different TM Burner drivers I have… I have a R9 with the same Fuji 83g shaft also but didn’t have another one to compare the weights against

  1. Pro Force V2 graphite shaft- dead weight 310g (approx 10.9 oz) swingweight D4
  2. Fujikura 83g graphite shaft- dead weight 330 (approx 11.6 oz) swingweight D4

So even though the shaft in the 2nd one is heavier the swingweight came out the same. So I am guessing like I said that the extra overall weight helps me feel the entire club better whilst swinging and it didn’t seem to affect overall swingweight as the light and heavy shaft both came out swingweighting the same D4 amount, even though one weighs 20 grams more.
The 20 grams extra weight (0.7 oz) doesn’t sound a lot but it certainly noticeable and for my benefit as far as I can tell so far when I swing it and feel the difference.

I didn’t put lead tape on either of the clubs

Hope that answers your question. In theory I think what you said should be correct- however it didn’t turn out that way!!

Very interesting, thanks Two!

heavier shaft = an increase in swingweight … clubmaking

"For each 9 grams difference there is between shafts, there will be an approximate 1-swingweight change in the club, provided no change in its length is made. For example if the shaft in a driver is changed from a True Temper Dynamic steel shaft weighing 125 grams (raw weight) with a Grafalloy Blue graphite weighing 62 grams, a weight decrease of 63 grams will occur. This will yield a swingweight reduction of approximately 7 points. "

So I am still considering a heavier modern driver for the 2010 season…

Then I read this article from The “Walrus” on the Champions tour… his driver was so old they were trying to get him to change it, and he took out a pile of the -exact same driver- and got 20 yards more with one driver. He sighted inconsistency in shaft manufacturing… ugh.

So then I find this article… it’s from some other company that just rates gear. I wish I could remember the name (something like ‘Fuzion Golf’)… anyway they took something like 20 of the same driver from a retail outlet and tested the frequency of the shaft, weight, etc. They were all almost different. In some cases they said some shafts marked as “Stiff” were coming out to kick and torque levels of ‘Mature Flex’!

They went on to test other drivers off the shelf and basically said this result is because when company “X” decides they want shaft “Y” then the shaft company reproduces a truck load of them, and they have extremely high tolerances on attribute defects, and just paint them up with the Taylormade logo, or Titleist, or whatever, and glue them together for mass market consumption.

Very disappointing. I hope this isn’t true with steel shafts (I’m thinking of my new Mizuno irons). I still have a set of Mizuno tour MP-62’s owned by Luke Donald but they are… super heavy (thinking of my wrist issues… heck, maybe that’s why Luke needed wrist surgery now that I think of it!).

But back to the driver, that’s pretty crappy news, and it makes sense. How many times I would hop on a launch monitor (I"m talking a Vector) and results would be so different sometimes… They’re selling us crap. So my plans are up in the air, but I will at least try some of the 80+gram shafts out there and see if I swing with less head speed or not.


Unfortunately I think these observations related to graphite shaft consistencies are correct.

I’ve often heard that if you are demo’ing drivers and you hit on one that really gives you good numbers then you need to buy THAT DEMO CLUB ITSELF, not order one to the “same specs”.

I would guess that you would have less of a tolerance issue with steel, but I can’t say that for sure. I’m curious if you know what the swingweight and overall weight is on those Mizunos?

Is D4 pretty close to what you’re playing in your irons Two?

I’ve never been able to feel my driver, just measured it today at D0-D1, whereas my irons are D5-D6. Just wondering if I should whack some tape on.

yep my irons that I am hitting now are D4- some sets are heavier but they all match up pretty well weight wise with no huge differences between wood swing weight and iron swing weight

So here’s something really weird.

I went up to a 69 gram shaft on my driver this year, and really enjoyed it. But I got one of those adustable drivers. Someone I know with the same model weighed it in at a D8… because of the hosel adapter. This surprised me because I actually gained club head speed.

Today I went to hit some new driver models and I couldn’t hit them… at all. Really bad fades, slower contact speed… they all felt too whippy, like I was spending the shaft way too soon. With my driver it feels like you really have to put a move on it through impact. With these drivers I just didn’t feel that. I had trouble breaking 102 MPH where I was just clocked with my own drive at 109. That’s a big difference to me. What the heck ? I don’t know if the difference is in my head, but wow… what a difference.

It could have been the devices measuring me though. I don’t know what to think, but I do know with my heavier driver, I have it set 2* open, and the ball flight is dead straight, measuring at 109MPH. The lighter new drivers were all done indoors, so I can’t see ball flight. (none of them had adjustable hosels either)

I could believe that prot. Although physics might say we’re going to swing a heavier object slower than a lighter object, it’s a little more complex in a golf swing.

For example a heavier driver is going to have more resistance to get moving (ie inertia) on the downswing. Built in lag, resists throwaway, keeps club in tight making it swing effectively lighter and hence faster.

That said, I have a pretty accurate swing radar at home and when I went to a Bridgestone ballfitting day, their launch monitor was reading me an extra 10-15mph and a speed I simply didn’t believe.

As Maxwell Smart would say: “The old adjustable launch monitor to trick me into thinking I am swinging faster than i really am- that’s the 3rd time I’ve fallen for that this week”

Gotta love the companies trying to make a sale by trickery

I had a go with a Titleist 975D (about 10 years old I think) with a 43 inch steel S300 shaft today - certainly I could feel it a lot better than todays modern 460 cc graphite shafted monsters. Still felt too light though! For me it was about 20 yards longer than the persimmon I was alternating it with for a bit of fun. I wasn’t as accurate with it and wouldn’t change back to titanium but at least I feel like I have an option on the odd ocassion I either wanted or needed to.

:smiley: And we all know what Max said as he air-swung on the 1st tee.

Maxwell smart never air swung on a ball… ever. :wink:

I still walked away from that situation scratching my head. The Bridgestone thing is weird though, because typically they have you check your ball vs. the ball they recommend.

Swing Speed Radar is good. I never bought one, but sometimes I get some access to some pretty high end devices for measuring this stuff (My friend is a Nike rep for Canada). His stuff I trust. It takes something like 4 pics of the ball at impact, which beats the heck out of the ‘trusted’ Vector monitors.

The store I was at gave me the slow, crappy swing speed, but it was all over the place. So I’m just thinking that either 1) I really was swinging these super light clubs that poorly, or 2) that gear is that terrible.

I will say this much is for certain, for some reason when you start getting used to even mildly heavy gear, it almost makes going back to super light impossible. I’m sure it’s not ‘impossible’ but I get it would take a good month to really get the timing back for a super light driver again. After this, I may seek out an 80 gram shaft for the heck of it.

Fair warning to those of you who are ‘anti’ modern-gear, you probably want to stop reading … right about… now. :wink:

Okay, so here’s what I did for gear. We’ll how long it lasts, and if I can actually get any distance out of it…

I literally got this new product for half of retail cost, or else I wouldn’t have/couldn’t have bought it.

Titleist D2 909 driver:
I settled on this because the Titleist is one of the very few that still make 45" shafts (most are now 46-47"). Also the head is full titanium, I did not want a composite crown (like 90% of modern drivers) further lightening the head.

The shaft is a Voodoo ‘made for Titleist’ so there I guess you could say I spun the wheel on that, but what I liked about it is it was a good weight coming in at 72 grams which was one of the heaviest choices at the ‘stiff’ flex level. So many modern driver shafts are coming in at 55ish grams… I got off that train a long time ago, went with a slightly heavier shaft (67? grams) and now this a little heavier even.

Before I started Lag’s program over a year ago, I was extremely steep… and this caused me to have very high ball flight. Within months I became a very low ball hitter, and therefore I put my ego aside and got an 11.5* driver. Believe it or not it works for me, I probably hit it an 11* at close to optimal launch.

Titleist 909 Fairway Woods:
Again, I got these at such a good price that I didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity to match shafts, so I got the stiff Voodoo (Aldila) shafts again for weight, and torque matching with the driver.

I went with a 3 and 5 wood, at 15* and 18* respectively. Again, one thing that changed with me is before Lag, I used a hybrid, within months I stopped hitting it well… and then found that most of the hybrids I tried were hook machines for me with closed faces. SO I found to hit them half correctly I had to open the face so much for that one club… I stopped using it. For 2010 I’m going to try a 5 wood, rather than a strong hybrid.

So after a fair amount of testing, that’s what I ended up with. I know the mass produced shafts are a total shot in the dark, but what can you do? The good news I went to heavier clubs in my woods/driver, and I hopefully will not sacrifice distance.