The Sweet Spot - Golf Podcast

The Longer Driver Shaft Experiment - Understanding driver efficiency, clubhead speed, and clubfitting

March 9, 2021

This episode is an exploration of how to add distance with your driver. Understanding how driver efficiency, clubhead speed, and clubfitting all play a role. Jon discusses his longer driver shaft experiment and what he learned.

Link to the full article about the longer driver shaft experiment

When looking to gain driver distance, there are two separate routes a golfer can take - becoming more efficient with driver and adding swing speed (maximum results by pursuing both).

Driver Efficiency

  • Driver efficiency is getting the right mix of ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, and spin rate. This chart from Ping can help give guidance on the right mix.
  • Generally, most golfers need less spin, higher launch, and better strike location on their drivers to add distance. You can add plenty of distance through this method without adding swing speed. But when you reach your highest level of efficiency, you do need to add swing speed to gain more distance.
  • Getting the right equipment can play a huge role in driver efficiency.

Jon was maxed out (mostly) on driver efficiency, so he's been trying to add swing speed through SuperSpeed Golf workouts, and experimenting with a 47" driver shaft.

Here are bigger concepts golfers should know about when pursuing a longer driver shaft:

  • Weight is the biggest issue. This pertains to both the driver’s head and the shaft. Adding shaft length adds more overall weight. To counteract that, weight needs to be removed in the shaft, and possibly the driver head too. If you don’t get this right, you might not gain any clubhead speed or possibly lose speed because the club is too heavy to swing.
  • You will need to adjust the loft of the driver properly. Most golfers need to reduce loft with a longer shaft.
  • A longer shaft can help certain golfers deliver the clubhead more efficiently, and for others, it could make their current problems worse. No rule of thumb fits all!
  • In aggregate, most players see about a 10-15 yard gain in distance. This could vary greatly based on the golfer, though.
  • According to some mathematical modeling, a player could gain as much at 2 mph in swing speed per added inch of shaft length. However, it is less in real-world testing: usually in the range of .8 mph – 1.6 mph per inch.
  • In my testing, I gained about 3 – 5 mph in clubhead speed, added 10-15 yards of distance with 3″ of added shaft length. And my accuracy did not suffer as much as I thought it would. 

Sasho MacKenzie video on physics behind added shaft length and clubhead speed

Products discussed in the episode:

PRGR Review

SkyTrak Review

SuperSpeed Golf Review

Visit Adam's site here

Vist Jon's site here

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