Modern Drivers and Tournament Golf

For those that still play tournament golf (or just others as well) and have to play the wide open 7,400 yard courses what do you do with your driver? Play a modern drive with a slightly smaller head (400 or so) with a heavier shaft? Also, by doing that without a really flat lie angle what does that do to your shot shape? Do you tend to hit the ball much more left? A big hook or just a big/small draw? Just curious the impact of the upright lie and light club on your shot shape with the driver. Thanks.


I find that with the new drivers and the new ball it’s really hard to curve it even if you want to, so it’s not that much of a worry. I have a TM R7 that is set to the standard frying pan lie. I like to tee it up normal height, not too high, and then just go at it hard aiming down the right half of the fairway, with a straight shot in mind. With lower hands, the toe in the air, or with a slightly upright lie angle, which ever one it is, the ball tends to draw just a little bit for me. I get a lot of confidence with my driver if I know I can go at it hard and it wont go right. Therefore a slightly upright driver suits me because it gives me that sense at set up, and also in the results. It gives me the feeling that I can approach the ball from pretty deep and go hard with my body, and there will still be something to ‘wrap around the outside of the ball’ so to speak… that’s a nice feeling for me with a driver…
I hope that helps in some way…

Here’s Alex Noren with the latest Callaway Frying Pan :slight_smile:

I play an Adams Speedline, 9.5* loft with the Grafalloy Pro Axis Red (low launch, low spin) shaft.

I was never fitted for it or anything like that, but I liked the idea of a lower launching shaft that spun less because that would force me to swing a little more precisely to get the ball adequately up in the air and when I did, I could gain more distance. And because the ball flights lower, I could hit it with accuracy.

But again, I just bought it off the rack because I needed a driver and this one was still in the wrapper for $70.

I’m personally not too worried about the lie angle because we tee it up, the sweetspot is so large and the hot spot of the modern drivers is up towards the toe anyway. To me, you probably shouldn’t practice too much with the modern driver anyway and as long as you understand the dangers of having a ‘titanium swing’, you can work around playing the majority of the time with titanium.

I would like to get my swing where I want by the end of the year and get fitted for a driver. I’m actually interested in some smaller heads. Awhile ago I read somewhere that scientists have found that the 460 cc head is not optimal mass and optimal is more like 390cc. I know Miura makes a 390cc driver and usually Mr. Miura is onto something with equipment.

As far as shafts go, at the Demo Day for the 2011 PGA Merchandise Show I tried Graphite Design’s Tour AD shafts (which I liked). They have a bunch of them in different weights and we found that I performed best with a weight heavier than average and heavier than what the average scratch golfer uses (I play to a +2.4 currently). But, it wasn’t the heaviest. Maybe that’s changed as I’ve made some changes to my swing.


But you’ve still got that clubface pointing left if the toe is up–doesn’t that bother you?

With a driver…face pointing left because the lie angle is too upright is miniscule at best. Army snipers can’t aim straight at a target from 300 yards out unless they have scopes and high end fiber optic equipment. So expecting a golfer to aim the clubface dead at the target at address is more or less potluck. So chances are if the face points left, it’s probably no more than 1 degree and if the golfer has it aimed right of the target by 4*…it really doesn’t make a difference.

With irons it’s different because centeredness of the strike is so important. Miss a shot 170 yard shot by 1 dimple off the sweetspot…you won’t feel that miss. But, your ball will travel about 3 yards off line. Miss by a 1/2 inch and you’ll feel it. And you’ll miss the green quite a bit.

The problem with upright lie angles with irons is that if they are too upright for you, the heel will catch the turf and that will really cause the clubface to turn over. Then, you’re very likely to hit a hook. That’s unless you figure out how to swing more upright which is really playing with fire. And even if you do that, the handle comes in high at impact…which usually causes the rate of closure of the clubface to increase. With the modern driver, we can swing flat and hit it quite well. The issue with the modern driver is that it’s so long and light along with the ease of hitting up on the driver and the advantages it can bring. And even that can be done correctly without hurting a golfer’s swing, but they had better be aware of what they are doing.


This is really at the heart of why I prefer a hitting method using heavier gear, stiffer shafts, hard grips and a very firm grip pressure during the strike… and not dead relaxed hands… because we can do a lot here to resist torquing of the clubface from the forces of impact. In fact I might just use my new camera and shoot a close up impact sequence… intentionally hitting a ball off the toe of the club and show the difference at 1000 fps. I make plenty of poor swings where I still find the ball on the green where it would not be had I missed center by the same amount had I been swinging.

I realized a long time ago I am not good enough to swing. You have to dead flush it every time, and unless you have all day to grind balls which I don’t… I think hitting offers a much better protection against off centered strikes.

I see it differently.

My analogy is our GPS system in Australia. It isn’t as refined as yours in the States and on overcast days, a +/- 5 yard inaccuracy with golf GPSs isn’t uncommon. Stout defendants of such devices, typically higher markers, dismiss this saying they can’t hit within 5 yards anyway so it doesn’t matter.

But errors like this add in physics. The high marker’s normal +/- 10 yard inaccuracy in distance has now become +/- 15 yards.

And it’s the same here. A 10 degree driver which is 5 degrees too upright will point left about 0.9 degrees. With a 270 yard drive with a straight swing path, 0 deg attack, this equates to about a 5 yard pull, 10 yard hook making a 15 yard pull-hook–half a fairway width. Even if you can’t aim perfectly straight, you’ve additionally got something else working against you. That would be like the gun salesman saying it doesn’t matter that the barrel is slightly warped because you can’t aim perfectly straight anyway.

Now at the other end of the set, a 5 deg toe-up 56 wedge will be aiming 7.5 degrees left, and when teed-up where catching the heel isn’t a problem, it will also pull-hook about 15 yards–most of it pull. Missed green. So if we’ve got our overacceleration problems worked out and come into impact with low hands, yet haven’t flattened any club, my belief is that we simply learn to aim 15 yards right through out the set and just hope we don’t hit a bit fat and catch the heel first.

I could actually feel myself doing this before I flattened and still feel it now with my unflattened competition driver. But aiming right edge of fairway, just caters for the pull, the hook component is still there. It drives me crazy visualizing the shot to start towards the right edge of the fairway and draw back to the centre only to see it start pretty much straight and end in the left rough so often. I hate that shot! And I’m sure you can imagine how I try to cater for it and just make it worse.

So I feel it’s critically important that if we flatten our irons, we have to do the driver as well as the irons are training us out of this 15 yard across-the-board compensation.

I presume this is about a pure CF motion, and if so, is this taking into account any toe flattening that may occur wherin the club actually becomes shorter @ impact? :slight_smile:

The only problem with that is that the sweetspot is in a different location with modern titanium drivers than it is with persimmon or even the old metal drivers. And with the titanium driver’s sweetspot up towards the toe, flattening the lie angle gets too flat. And personally, I’d rather have a centerness of the strike than the aim being absolutely perfect when it comes to the driver.


So are you suggestion Richie that modern drivers have the sweetspot towards the toe where the horizontal bulge is opening the face back up? It makes sense, but sounds like a lot of compensations going on. My ‘modern’ driver is still 10 years old and has the sweetspot at marked in the centre of the face. I’m still searching for where it really is though.

(Ok Captain, stop thinking about the bulge.)

No, this is just talking about pure physics independent of any action. I agree a CF motion will compensate for the upright lies, but I don’t care about that mob. :smiley:

The sweetspot on titanium drivers is up towards the crown of the head, off towards the toe a bit. I’d have to see what the driver is, but I think it’s been that way with titanium almost since the beginning.

I agree, lots of compensations going on…but I think most of us agree here that titanium isn’t the best if you want to improve the precision of your golf swing and it’s mostly used because of the distance advantage it has.


For sure…and if you ever do run into extra time on your hands and don’t know how to fill it wisely, we have a spot for you at the range. Although you do understand that you’ll have to climb the corporate range ladder and pay your dues like the rest of us. :wink: :laughing: