With all the great new drivers hitting the market this year, average golfers have plenty in the marketplace to get excited about. However, the sheer volume of good choices just means its more important now than ever to understand that the new technology is only going to work for you if it’s the right fitting technology. We asked three of Golf Digest’s 100 Best Clubfitters to weigh in on what you should be thinking about as you head in for your next driver fitting:
One of the first keys is to remember that one long drive in and of itself does not mean you’ve found the perfect driver. Distance is a starting point, said Jim McCleery of McGolf Custom Clubs in Waverly, Ohio.
“Where did it land?” he said, noting that average golfers should pay attention to driver shaft length, too. Rickie Fowler just won a tour event using a 43 1/2-inch shaft and averaging 300-plus yards off the tee. That’s two inches shorter that most standard shafts in today’s latest drivers. “The woods are full of long drives. How about choosing the driver that made the longest drives you can use?”
The launch monitor certainly is an important part of any club fitting today, and there are lots of numbers today’s top machines can spit out. Trusting the fitter is paramount, but every golfer should educate himself about what certain numbers mean and which are most important.
“We call the most important launch monitor numbers ‘vitals,’” said Nick Sherburne, co-founder at Club Champion. “They are clubhead speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch, and spin rate. There are more numbers, but those are the ones that always come first. I don’t think ignoring any number is right. I would say ignore the idea that ‘what’s right for somebody is right for me.’ That almost never works out. So, work with a fitter that educates you on what optimal looks like for your game and focus on those numbers.”
Finally, with nearly every driver on the market today offering some level of adjustability, what sorts of adjustments should golfers make and what should they leave to their fitter. Dan Sueltz of D’Lance Golf said the fitter should always be your first resource and your last confirmation that the change is right for you. That means considering new shafts, as much as shifting the movable weights in your new driver’s sole.
“The proper shaft will give you the best shot dispersion both left and right and long and short,” Sueltz said. “You’ll also see proper spin, and proper ball flight. In some cases, the proper shaft can actually increase club speed and smash factor, too. It is pretty easy during a fitting to see the differences a shaft can make in these parameters.
“But I wouldn’t change anything on a driver you’ve been fit for unless your fitter has told you that you could use a little more or a little less loft. In a proper fitting you should have all the proper settings when you are done.”