Why has the word “Standard Length” lost all of its meaning in golf? What happened to “Standard” meaning that all things being the same you would get what you expected? In years past this definition has lost its true meaning, and in no more apparent place then in driver lengths.
Twenty years ago the standard length of a driver was 43 inches. Drivers have now stretched to as much as 46 inches! So what does this mean? Think about it drivers are getting longer and people are not getting taller. Twenty years is not enough time for us humans to genetically evolve, even though we would like to think so sometimes. Secondly, it means that for the majority of golfers hitting fairways is becoming increasingly more difficult.
So what is driving the golf industry to change the length of drivers you might ask? Well it began with technology. Titanium and ultra-light graphite shafts were two materials that made this possible. These two lighter materials allowed companies to lengthen drivers and keep swingweights the same. But companies like Callaway and Taylormade have taken it to another level. Every year golfers are bombarded by commercials claiming that their company's new driver can give them an added 15 yards off the tee. Every year these commercials make the same claim, but by my math we should be hitting 500-yard drives by now. Yes, these longer drivers might give you a few extra yards off the tee but the majority of the time accuracy is what is given up in return.
For many years almost every golfer would call us and say that they wanted a 46-inch driver. We would ask them some questions about their game including their height. The guy would come back and say he was 5'9” but still wanted that 46-inch driver no matter what our recommendation was. What can you do, we want to fit the customer properly but if we can't persuade him to be fit for a shorter driver then we have to put him in the 300 yard bomber he wanted. Although, now golfers like Tiger Woods are beginning to change many of the opinions about longer being better. When Tiger was amazing the golfing world with his distance off the tee, many people were not aware that he was doing it with only a 43-inch stick.
So now I am sure you are asking how could this be possible? I see all the long drive guys with these elongated spaghetti noodles driving the ball 400 yards, so how could shorter be longer. Well it is a two-part answer, and it has to do with swing plane and confidence. Swing plane is the angle created in your swing by the relation between your hands and the club. The longer the club generally the flatter the swing plane and the shorter the club the more upright the swing plane. A quick illustration below will demonstrate:
PART ONE (ANSWER):
By being in the correct swing plane you allow all the correct muscles to take part in your swing. For example, you will now be using your shoulders, triceps, forearms, hips and legs for that extra drive. If you are in the wrong swing plane you are relying mostly on wrists for your back swing and downswing. This allows your wrists to oscillate during your swing, which will also make it more difficult for you to return the club to the position you started in. And for the average golfer this results in playing out of the tall grass for your second shot more often then not.
PART TWO (ANSWER):
Confidence is one the most important components of a golfers swing. Think about it, if you think about having the shanks what happens?? You got it, you get the shanks. But if you step up to the tee box with confidence in your abilities it will allow your body to relax and swing more fluidly, resulting in higher swing speeds. Also by being in the correct swing plane you will begin to hit the sweet spot more often, this will build your confidence with your driver. And without you even realizing it your body will begin to swing harder, but still remain in the correct plane. Before you know it you are swinging 5 to sometimes 10 mph harder then you did with a 46-inch driver. No we are not saying swinging harder is better but we are saying that swinging harder and remaining in the correct plane is what you are trying to achieve. By finding this happy medium you will begin to see the results we are talking about. A shorter driver will result in more fairways hit, which results in more confidence. And confidence = results.
“Clone Or No Clone The Ball Doesn't Care!!"