Shaft length and average distance off the tee

Hi guys,

Tom Wishon may miss the point for a good portion of the golfing population when it comes to fitting clubs to perpetuate faulty impact alignments but he still has some interesting things to say from time to time. Here is a chart I was sent in an email today that looks at the relative difference in driver distance between 43 and 45 inch shafts. Personally I find manufacturers responsible for creeping up driver shaft length, falling club weights and reducing lofts more insidious than what Tom does which I believe is done with genuine motivation even if it is not for us.

Anyone have experience or stories to share about shortening or lengthening their clubs!


shaft length.JPG

Interesting data… I sure would like to know how he gathered it and what the parameters were. Were the 43 and 45 inch drivers “fitted” to each golfer or did they just hand them 2 drivers and have them swing away? My guess it that a longer driver equals less consistent sweetspot contact, therefore the difference in average distances were not significant. I’m somewhat surprised that the group that I would expect to be able to hit the sweetspot more consistently actually saw shorter distances! That’s why I wonder what the “fit” of the longer driver might have been for the low hdcp players (who probably creates more clubhead speed and better sweetspot contact). The Iron Byron isn’t the be-all-end-all, but it would be nice to see what “he” does with 2 different length drivers.

I also wonder what the “high and low” distances were? Were some shots significantly longer but cancelled out due to some misses with the longer driver? Let’s face it… many golfers will remember those longer shots and not the bad ones when it comes to deciding which driver to use.

It’s a nice summary chart, but to me it leads to more questions and no real conclusions.


Interesting points Robbo - thanks. I’m afraid I can’t supply any further info on the methodology. I assume if you gave a machine like Iron Byron a 43 and 45 inch driver the shots with the longer club would go further as there is an inherent advantage upto a certain point. But I think the analysis is suggesting that as we are not machines that gap is minimised/cancelled out by the fact that at 43 inches we are more likely to hit the ball near the sweetspot. I wonder what a modern 460 degree driver plays like with a 43 inch steel shaft!

I made a few up when I was trying to get the swingweights up- the modern driver is particularly nasty with a steel shaft. The heads are hollow and weightless and it just didn’t seem to work.
I think steel is still great because it can be shorter and give more control, but the head needs to be of the smaller variety to make it work- not these T-Rex size heads that everyone makes today

I consider myself a bit of a gear head and I have been harping on this for a while.

I have some friends that wanted to know why I didn’t like so many of the new drivers and I simply said 1- most are too light, and trade the illusion of lightweight=distance. And 2. shaft length is now over 46.5 inches on some of these drivers! The new TM Burner (09) is probably one of the longest mass produced.

This one guy in particular who argues the point with me… I always say to him, ‘What’s the point of a longer shaft if you can’t hit from the inside with it?’ That’s what I think is the number 1 problem.

Thanks for showing us that data. It’s very interesting. I know Tom Wishon is very much against longer shafts, and de-lofting irons.