Equipment tip: Do 50 percent of golfers need a draw-biased driver?
Paul Wood, Ping’s vice president of engineering and a Ph.D in applied mathematics, says something about draw-biased drivers that is at once obvious and sort of shocking: He estimates that 50 percent of players who go through a fitting end up with a draw-biased version of Ping’s drivers.
In other words, a lot of golfers fight the slice. Perhaps even most. Still, explicitly draw-biased drivers do not sell anywhere near 50 percent of the marketplace. If golfers put their ego aside, Wood says, they might change their minds.
“It really has to be the best kept secret in golf,” he said. “It’s the simplest fix for so many people. It’s the joy of fitting when someone walks in the door and you put a draw-biased driver in someone’s hands and the ball is going 20 yards farther and down the middle every time. It’s one of the most satisfying things for fitters every time.”
It’s why the Ping G400 and every Ping G driver since the G30 has included a draw-biased version, including the G400’s SFT. The G400 SFT features extra tungsten weighting in the heel and a slightly lighter swingweight (D1 vs. D3 on the standard G400). Other companies are offering draw-biased drivers, including the new lighter, heel-biased Cobra F-Max and the draw-weighted TaylorMade M2 D-Type.
Moving weight toward the heel, which makes the club’s center of gravity more draw-biased, helps on two fronts, Wood said. “If you bring the CG a little heelside, it requires less force to close the clubface. So you end up delivering it slightly more closed, but you also get some benefit of gearing during impact.”
In this instance, gearing refers to the effect of the ball tending to curve back to the left (for a right-handed golfer) when the impact location on the club face is toward the toe-side in relation to the center of gravity.
Switching golfers who want less slice or fade to a draw-biased driver means more distance and improved accuracy because it fundamentally changes launch conditions.
“They usually go hand in hand,” Wood said. “If someone is delivering the face open then they’re also adding a bunch of loft. Generally, slices start high, spin and go higher. If you can get the face to close, you bring the ball flight down to a better window.”
Offset drivers (the Cobra F-Max offers offset as an option) have been effective at helping slicers return the face to square at impact and providing a higher and better launch. "If you're a slicer and want the most draw, an offset driver is going to win every time," says Cobra's vice president of research and development. "When you offset the head, your CG is moving farther back and that's going to help launch. It might produce more spin, and while less spin can get you more distance, a lot of these players need more spin to keep the ball in the air."
It’s not that a somewhat draw-biased driver is the perfect solution for every golfer, but don’t let your ego prevent you from at least exploring what might be the simplest and quickest fix toward a more playable round of golf.