If I haven’t said so before, I really don’t give two shits what clubhead you use. I don’t bother fitting for it, to be perfectly honest. Driver distance is more about YOU than it is anything else.
Well, a properly-fitted driver is also important. The longest length you can control, a loft that matches your swing speed and angle of attack, a grip size that fits your hands, a shaft weight that works for your “golf strength”… that sort of thing.
As far as clubhead model, that’s entirely up to you.
Back yet? Good. What did you notice?
First, MGS does a good job testing these things. I thought they started off shaky when they first started, only using 6 testers. They got a LOT of feedback from industry insiders, realized some of their parameters could be improved, and did exactly that.
The answer to my question is: there’s very little difference in driver distance between all models at all three swing speed levels tested:
- In the “Less Than 100mph” group, there’s 10.5 yards difference between the longest and the shortest.
- In the “Greater Than 100mph” group, the difference is 16 yards.
- In the “Overall” group, with a 12.1 yard differential between first and last.
So we’re talking about a club to club-and-a-half difference for all three groups, if we use the most in-depth list (the second link). Remember, this is a sampling of 20 golfers, with what would be considered one of those “off the rack” fittings. They even offer suggestions as to why a certain model is longer than the other, like one model coming standard with a 46″ playing length, for example.
My take on this driver distance list is that if you want the most distance you can physically achieve, get fitted for clubs.
Ten or so yards may seem like a lot, and if we really look at it it may be… but the differences, as well as the reasons for the differences, shouldn’t turn you off from one company or the other.
It may give you warm and fuzzies knowing that you bought the driver that was in the Top Five of a list, but you should still get it fitted to maximize your potential output.
Pretty simple, really.
One Last Note
I’m not a huge fan of these lists, because there’s more than one way to interpret them. Some people get their undies in a bunch if their favorite driver doesn’t perform in the test, even though it work phenomenally for them. Such is life, really…
Many people, me included, would love to see a test done strictly with one shaft/grip and a robot. They’re a logistical PITA, from what I’ve been able to gather, so I understand why not many people would do it.
That means I can live with this Test. MGS says they take ZERO advertising dollars, and I’ve had enough back-and-forths (while being able to see the passion they have) to believe them. That can’t be said for the “big dogs” that have their own magazines… yes, you know who I’m talking about.
Money is a funny thing. It can buy votes. It can buy prestige. It can buy positive (or at least, not negative) reviews. If you see an ad spread in a magazine, there’s a damn good chance you’ll see a positive review for that companies clubs. Take this excerpt from Tom Wishon:
The guy who was the head of the Golf Digest website at the time, this was back in 2006. He was a guy I had known, he had been a journeyman writer for them. I gave him a copy of “12 Myths” and he got back to me and said this is great stuff, can you put this on audio, read these, and we’ll put them on our website. I said sure thing and did. I sent them our files, and kept looking on their website and didn’t see it. Then sent him an e-mail and never heard back. Many weeks later I got an e-mail from the guy form his home e-mail address not his Golf Digest e-mail address. Long story short, the audio files had gone up on their website for part of one day. Two phone calls came in from two of the very large companies which said if you keep these up you won’t see any more advertising money form us. This guy got reprimanded big time for putting the “12 Myths” up on the website by the high-ups of the magazine. Long story short, it caused him to get really frustrated and seven or eight months later he quit after 15 years with the magazine because he was so disappointed that good information like this got shut down from going to the golfers simply because two companies who buy millions and millions of dollars of ads from GolfDigest and GolfWorld said get rid of this or you can kiss our ad dollars goodbye. So, it told me that some people out in the industry don’t want this information to be known.
They don’t want you to know real information, like what MGS offers in their tests. Regardless if the difference in driver distance is 100 yards or 0.1 yards… they don’t want you to know.