Speed is king and distance is the great equalizer in golf. The always analytical Bryson DeChambeau thought he needed to get longer off the tee to better compete on tour. Even though he was already in the top-20 in driving distance and has 5 wins on the PGA Tour. So in the offseason he gained 30 lbs of mass, mostly muscle, and has added 10 mph of swing speed. The results speak for themselves as he has 3 top-10’s in 3 starts since the season restarted from the quarantine.
But if you are older and have lost some strength over the years, or damnit just aren’t as flexible as you used to be, the above transformation may not be possible. So look to a new driver for the answer. A lot of players have the misconception that they will hit a lower lofted club further. That couldn’t be further from the truth. If you lack speed then you lack the power to properly launch the ball at an ideal angle. You actually won’t find a loft lower than 9° from any of the top manufacturers these days. That’s because most models are designed and weighted to launch the ball higher with less spin, i.e. the recipe for more carry distance. However, each brand will offer a lower spinning model for the better, high speed player. Yes I know, with Bryson’s new body and search for more distance he is now playing a 5° driver. But this is because he has a negative attack angle at impact and he is now swinging it around 130 mph.
The ideal numbers we look for when fitting a player for a new driver with at least 90 mph of swing speed is a launch angle between 10-13° and a spin rate of under 2,700 rpms. But for players such as seniors and ladies, with speeds under 85 mph, we are looking for a launch angle around 14° – 16°, and a spin rate closer to 3,000 rpms. Just like too much spin can be detrimental to distance, too little spin can be as well. And it’s just science that a slow speed player needs some help in the launch and spin dept. Think of you outside watering your plants with a garden hose. What do you do if you want to water the plants further away from you without walking closer? You angle the water “up”. You aim the hose higher, not lower, to spray the water farther. Same principle with loft.
Here are the 4 best drivers on golfhq.com for slow swing speed players. The shaft, design, and shape all equate to giving the player that lacks speed the proper launch, spin, and forgiveness to add more yards to their tee ball. And they also won’t be a chore to swing the last couple holes of your round when you’re just a tad wore out.
Wilson Launch Pad
Available lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 13°
Total weight: 272 grams
Shaft: UST Mamiya Helium 40 gram
Not only do you lack speed, but you also have a slice. The Wilson Launch Pad is the driver for you. Featuring a slightly offset look at address, the head contains 13 grams of weight in the heel to help square that toe at impact. Variable Face Thickness (VFT) promotes high ball speeds across the entire hitting area.
Available lofts: 9.5°, 10.5°, 12.5°
Total weight: 275 grams
Shafts: Fujikura Air Speeder 40 gram, Mitsubishi Fubuki MV 45 gram
The TS1 is the lightest model in Titleist’s TS family, and this was accomplished by pairing a light shaft with a re-shaped and trimmed head design. The ultra thin crown allows weight to be redistributed deep and away from the face for the ultimate MOI and forgiveness. The SureFit hosel allows the player to adjust the loft and ball flight direction.
Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
Available lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 10.5°-Draw, 12°
Total weight: n/a
Shaft: Miyazaki C. Kua 50 gram
Even the hosel is lighter in the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo. The Hi-Bore crown lowers the center of gravity by 2.2 mm compared to the previous model, and the Cup Face promotes high ball speeds, even on off-center strikes. The Miyazaki shaft is counter-balanced, which places the center of gravity more towards the grip. This further enhances the MOI for more forgiveness.
Callaway MAVRIK MAX
Available lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12°
Total weight: n/a
Shafts: UST Helium Black 40 gram, Project X EV Green 45 gram, Project X EV Riptide 50 gram
Will all 3 MAVRIK models being redesigned with the new shallow Cyclone Aero head shape to reduce drag, the MAX will be the easiest to launch. The T2C carbon crown weighs 6 grams less than a traditional titanium head, and the 14 gram weight in the heel creates a draw-bias face without sitting closed at address. The Artificial Intelligence created Flash Face creates industry-leading ball speeds for ultimate distance no matter where on the face you strike the ball.
Fantasy Picks: Rocket Mortgage Classic My picks for last week’s Travelers Championship were so bad one of them WD’d due to their caddie testing positive for Covid-19. Brooks Koepka and brother Chase, who Monday qualified, both bowed out after Brooks’ caddie tested positive, as well did Webb Simpson after they hung out together earlier in the week. Max Homa and Bubba Watson missed the cut. Here are my picks for the Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club. Winner Bryson DeChambeau Gotta go with the hot hand as he has 3 top-10 finishes in 3 events since the tour has resumed play. Will contend Viktor Hovland Tied for 11th last week and finished T-13 here last year. Sleeper Rory Sabbatini Two top-25’s since play resumed and he finished 3rd here last year while leading the field in fairways hit. Sometimes a course just suits your eye off the tee.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Written by Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional
Design and Published by Craig Walton