Posts Tagged ‘Titleist’
When I tested my old college driver a few weeks ago my interest was piqued by how close my swing speed with the 43.5 inch club was to my current 45 inch driver. I have heard that altering the shaft length of your driver by an inch can/should alter the club speed by up to 4 mph. This called for a test…..
Using TrackMan my idea was to test the same golfer, clubhead and golf ball, but change the shaft length. I took my current driver, which is the Titleist D3 8.5 degree (B1) with a 45″ Motore F3 70 gram stiff shaft and tested it alongside the same head (B1) with a 43″ Project X 82 gram stiff shaft. Essentially a driver shaft versus a 3 wood shaft. I had recently came across a 42.5″ well kept old Wilson Staff JP persimmon driver with a steel shaft and decided to include that in the testing.
I hit 11 shots with each club and eliminated the data for the poorest shot with each club. I was using fresh Titleist NXT Tour golf balls and it was a perfect 80 degree day with little wind. The results were astounding!
With all three clubs my tendency was to hit up on the ball with a slight in to out club path. My swing plane was very consistent from shot to shot (which surprised me a little actually) and the clubface was almost always slightly open at impact. This path and face relationship led to an average shot shape of a slight draw. Here are the numbers:
45″ Driver Shaft
- Club Speed 101.3 mph
- Ball Speed 151.6 mph
- Spin Rate 2697 rpm
- Launch Angle 11.3 degrees
- Carry 245 yards
- Total 272.2 yards
- Height 76 feet
43″ Three Wood Shaft
- Club Speed 101.1 mph
- Ball Speed 150.0 mph
- Spin Rate 2100 rpm
- Launch Angle 14.0 degrees
- Carry 249 yards
- Total 278.7 yards
- Height 84.3 feet
42.5″ Persimmon Driver with Steel Shaft
- Club Speed 93.4 mph
- Ball Speed 141.2 mph
- Spin Rate 2115 rpm
- Launch Angle 10.3 degrees
- Carry 206.4 yards
- Total 246.4 yards
- Height 48 feet
I couldn’t believe it! I hit my driver with a 3 wood shaft further, higher, with less spin and above all else – straighter. Take a look at how much straighter: (yellow – driver shaft/purple – 3 wood shaft/ white – persimmon)
I also totaled the distance (after roll) the ten shots with each club finished from the center line:
- Persimmon – 182 feet (average 18″ off line)
- Three wood shaft – 234 feet (average 23″ feet off line)
- Driver shaft – 315 feet (average 31″ off line)
On my Andrew Rice Golf Facebook page I asked readers if they had any experience with shortening the shaft of their driver and here are a few of their responses:
“I just went to a 44″ and am loving it! Longer then my 45.5″ and straighter too!” GT
“Went to 44″ and more consistent with no loss in distance” AvS
“44″ Callaway…more fairways AND more distance!!!” CL
“Went to 44″ and I hit it more solid further and straighter” PW
“44″ this year. I agree it is far better. Middle of the face more often.” SF
“I found it made me less steep through attack so I have lowered my spin rate and launched it about a degree higher” AB
By the way – most of the above quotes are from full-time professional golf instructors. So what can we learn from this research?
Having tested a few golfers with shorter shafts it seems to me that each golfer has a ‘threshold’ length – an ideal length that gives them the optimal combination of speed and accuracy. For some that threshold could be 46″ while for others they perform best with a 42″ driver. The only way to find out is to get yourself with a teacher or fitter that has access to Trackman and various shafts.
Another point to note is that while the 3 wood shaft had a slightly slower club and ball speed the shots were longer…why? Notice how the launch angle was higher while the spin rate was lower. A perfect illustration of the term ‘high launch low spin‘. Launch the ball higher to get more out of your tee shots.
What can we learn from the ‘persimmon‘ data? While that shaft was even shorter than the 3 wood shaft it was substantially heavier. I believe the 3 wood graphite shaft was almost 50 grams lighter than it’s steel counterpart which would explain the almost 7 mph difference in club speed. The size, or lack there of, of the head was intimidating in the beginning, but as I went through the shots I became more comfortable. I believe that practicing with a smaller clubhead like this can only be beneficial in the long term for any serious golfer.
My feeling standing over the shorter club was better and almost every golfer I tested reported the same sense. The club feels easier to control and many golfers have reported a feel that they can ‘get through‘ the shot better. I really felt like I could smash it without it going off line – a nice feeling!
Physics says that longer shaft + lighter shaft = faster club speed = more distance. On paper that might be true, but when the human element is involved everything changes. The next time I tee it up it will be with a substantially shorter shaft in my driver…but that’s just me!
In the last decade all club manufacturers have invested heavily in club fitting and customization. Each company offers a fitting cart where golfers can decide on the clubhead, shaft and specifications that work best for them – in a very short amount of time. They have stressed the importance of having equipment that fits along with building fitting carts that make it easy to find the right match. The real question is - “How serious are the club companies about getting you into equipment, and more specifically a shaft, that fits your game?”
At Atlantic Golf Club we do a tremendous amount of club fitting. So much so, that we have our own DigiFlex machine, which allows us to test each shaft to find it’s frequency. For years we have known that you simply cannot trust what the shaft label indicates - if it says its an S (stiff) flex, it could be anything other than an X (extra stiff) flex. In fact in all our testing over the years we have only found one shaft that was actually stronger than it showed – a TaylorMade fairway wood. All the other non-matches have been weaker. Each year we test the new demo clubs and shafts and label them accordingly. This year I have decided to share our findings with you.
It is important to keep in mind that each company has their ‘stock’ shaft offerings and various ‘upgraded’ or non-stock options – our results include both. Our results also include tests done on ‘whole’ clubs and the individual shafts that can be interchanged with certain heads.
The Club Manufacturers we tested:
- 34 Titleist golf clubs and shafts: 10 (29.4%) matched the stated flex and 5 out of the 10 matches were non-Titleist shafts
- 6 Cleveland golf clubs: 0 (0%) matched the stated flex
- 7 Ping golf clubs: 1 (14.3%) matched the stated flex
- 6 Cobra golf clubs: 2 (33.3%) matched the stated flex
- 56 TaylorMade golf clubs and shafts: 10 (17.9%) matched the stated flex and 5 out of the 10 matches were non-TaylorMade shafts
- 32 Callaway golf clubs and shafts: 11 (34.4%) matched the stated flex and 5 out of the 10 matches were non-Callaway shafts
- 5 Adams golf clubs: 0 (0%) matched the stated flex
Steel vs Graphite:
- Steel shafts won this showdown easily, albeit only with a 40% match rate, while graphite shafts only matched a woeful 20% of the time. It seemed that when a steel shaft did not match it was off by only a few cycles per minute (CPM), whereas the graphite shafts seemed to range from a stiff flex that was truly a regular, all the way to a stiff flex that matched a ladies flex. A shaft that performed remarkably well was the Memphis 10 steel shaft from Callaway and made by True Temper – it had 6 out of 7 matches. If you want to be certain of what you’re getting (or at least in the ball park) go with steel.
Stock vs. Upgraded
- In both the steel and graphite categories the overwhelming winner here was the “upgraded” category. An upgraded shaft almost always costs more and their match rate was above 50% – in fact most often when they did not match they were almost always a few CPM’s from being where they had indicated on the shaft label. When it comes to graphite try to stay away from shafts that include both the club manufacturer and shaft maker’s company name – this is invariably a lower quality shaft and is thus substantially cheaper for the manufacturer to install. Get the real deal and always upgrade.
The overall findings showed that only around 25% of the time are you actually getting what you think you’re getting when it comes to the flex of your shaft. Chances are that if you’re looking for a regular flex, then you are more than likely going to receive a senior flex and so on. So what can you do? The first option is to visit a world-class fitting operation like Hot Stix or Cool Clubs and have them fit and build you a set – not necessarily
the easiest or most cost effective way to get the job done. The second option involves talking to the better golfers in your area and asking who they would go and see locally regarding club-fitting. They will most often send you to a trustworthy fitter in your area. The third option (and while I’m not a fan of this you’ll certainly improve your odds) involves purchasing clubs that indicate they are stiffer than what you really need – hey, they have a decent chance of matching your required flex.
So, while the club companies appear to be concerned with ensuring a proper fit, the results of our little study indicates they might not be as concerned as we would like them to be. My advice is that when you are ready to purchase new clubs, find the best fitter you can, go with steel shafts for your irons (and they do make viable lighter weight options these days) and always upgrade on the graphite options for the bigger clubs. This way you can be fairly comfortable that you are getting what you paid for.
I would like to thank Patrick Bindel, Joe Downey, Matt Foster, Patrick Carter and Robby Fenton for their help with this article. Great stuff guys!
I was recently interviewed by social media guru, Ricky Lee Potts. Ricky really did his research and asked some interesting and different questions. I thought you may want to give it a read:
He lives down in South Carolina, and teaches at the Berkeley Hall Golf Club. Oh, and he went to Harvard. (He didn’t go to Harvard… but we will get to that later.) Did I mention he drinks wine? Anyway, I met this guy on Twitter and we have stayed in touch ever since. I love working with the PGA teaching professionals because they all teach folks how to play golf… but they all have their own approach. Did I forget to mention he is from South Africa? There are some pretty big PGA TOUR players from South Africa including Ernie Els. He has actually played with Ernie… but we will get to that later. I am pretty excited to be sitting with Andrew Rice. He is all about impact… and in the game of golf, impact is pretty important!
Here is an excerpt….
A lot of guys are getting away from teaching, and bridging the gap to coaching. Is there a difference to you personally? If so, what do you think the difference is?
I too am trying to become more of a coach and less of a teacher/instructor. In my opinion, a coach is there for the long haul – they cover all the bases from swing to fitness to nutrition to equipment, the mental side and even scheduling. Coaching is so much more than golf instruction.
I’m a Titleist guy and use all Titleist clubs except my 10 year old 36” Odyssey 2-ball putter. I love the Titleist D3 driver…
Do you ever do playing lessons with your students?
All the time! There is so much that golfers can learn in a playing lesson that saves strokes automatically. Course management (or lack of) is a big reason why many golfers have the handicap they do.
You went to Harvard. Tell me about that experience… that’s not an easy school.
(Laughs) You must have been on my personal Facebook page. I went to Central Florida, but with Facebook I can be a graduate of any school in the world in less than a minute! I have had some fun with my friends with that one…
What’s the best round you have ever shot?
I have shot 63 on numerous occasions, but the problem was that it was always in the pro-am before the real event!
Who is in your dream foursome?
I’ve thought about this many times – Seve Ballesteros (my favorite player), Bobby Jones (IMO the best of all time) and Arnold Palmer. I think my Dad would understand…
I am Tiger’s biggest fan. Honestly, do you think he will break Jack’s record?
I like to say this concerning Tiger, “The genie has left the lamp!” I think Tiger will win another major or two, but will ultimately fall short of Jack’s record. His greatest challenge is that he, and all the other players, realize he is fallible. When he dominated in the past, both parties thought he was indestructible.
There are a lot of young guys out there giving Tiger a run for his money. Who are some of your favorite players to watch?
You’ve got to love Rory and his wholesome vibe – just a good, talented, hardworking kid whose making the most of his opportunity. I also like Charl Schwartzel. He performed the best in the majors last year and I look forward to seeing how he handles things at Augusta in a couple of weeks.
I read Golf Digest, Global Golf Post, Golf Magazine… they all promise to help “fix my slice” in 5 minutes or less! Do tips like that help or hurt an average player? Do you read any of those golf publications?
I do and I believe the quality of information they provide to their readers has improved dramatically in the past few years. The world has changed and many people no longer have the time to spend 15 minutes reading an in depth article to help them improve. Quick tips like that, while not optimal, work for more people than not. We’re all looking for something to give us a little hope for this weekend’s upcoming round…
You use TrackMan?
Yes, and it is worth every penny!
When I play, I play by “winter rules”. If we played 18 together, would you let me roll the ball or would we stick to the USGA rules of golf?
We’re out there having fun, Ricky – whatever your pleasure! My father emigrated to the U.S. a few years ago and was taken back with the way many Americans played the game – they didn’t know the rules and seemed to not even try to follow them. It took him a while, but now he loves it. People are out there just having fun. That’s the way it should be, shouldn’t it?
Speaking of the rules, there have been some changes to the rules of golf lately. What are your thoughts with all the recent changes?
The powers that be are doing all they (legally) can to protect the game. I would like for the powers that be to consider changing the rule that eliminated Brian Davis from the playoff at HarbourTown in 2010.
What are you doing when you are not playing or teaching?
I have two fantastic young sons (11 and 13) who play baseball. I coach a team and most of my evenings are spent at a ball field somewhere in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
On Wednesday February 29th I will be hosting a TrackMan Driver Fitting Day at Berkeley Hall. Each fitting will last fifteen minutes and the cost is only $20 for members and $25 for non-members. You will learn what your current club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are and most importantly – what you can gain from a driver that fits! I have a few remaining slots open in the morning.
Titleist has agreed to offer a 10% discount on all Titleist drivers purchased at Berkeley Hall.
Please call Andrew Rice at (843)247-4688 to schedule your appointment.
Kyle Stanley did something very few golfers ever get to do – he turned the tables. And the amazing thing is he did it all in the span of eight days. After losing at Torrey Pines after having a seven shot lead, he righted all his wrongs on Sunday, by negating Spencer Levin’s eight shot lead to win his first PGA Tour event.
Kyle is the touring professional for my home course, Berkeley Hall, where he is also a resident. He takes full advantage of our amazing practice facility and plays with the members whenever he is in town. We are all so proud of “our man”!
This is what was in the bag for the victory week:
- Driver: Titleist 910D3 8.5 degree with Mitsubishi Diamana Kai’li 70X
- 3-wood: Titleist 910Fd 13.5 degree with Mitsubishi Fubuki 83X
- Irons: Titleist 503i 2-iron; MB712 4-P with Project X 6.5
- Wedges: Vokey Design 52.08, 56.14, SM4 60.10 with TT Dynamic Gold S-400
- Putter: Scotty Cameron Timeless (GSS)
- Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
An interesting note is that during the off-season Kyle switched from a 9.5 degree D3 to a 7.5 degree model. He could not get comfortable with the 7.5 and after testing on our TrackMan we found that he was a lot more consistent, and felt better, with an 8.5 degree model. Good to see he stuck with the 8.5.
Another interesting note – and this will tell you a little about his work ethic – his three wedges are each stamped with a word – DO WORK SON. One word for each wedge. He really does do work….
Kyle tweeted this after his victory yesterday:
“To do list on my week off: 1. Relax. 2. Work on my lag putting from 15 feet!!”
And a very classy tweet from playing partner and runner-up Ben Crane:
“As a fan of sports you have to love what @kylestanleygolf did this week. CONGRATS, Kyle. You earned this. The whole golf world is proud of u”
My sentiments exactly!