Have you ever heard the phrase “driver optimization”?
I’m sure you have… but have you heard how it relates to golf, specifically the big dog? Is it really that important to get your driver “optimized”?
The point of golf driver optimization is to get your big stick’s launch parameters.
Namely, launch angle and backspin rate- correct for what’s considered “ideal” for your particular swing/ball speed.
So… what’s the “correct” parameters?
Here’s a typical LA/BS chart:
The thing you should ask is, does finding these numbers matter?
What’s the point of having your driver “optimized” when we are human beings and far from perfect? Notice that this chart doesn’t take into account things like being fitted indoors, or what sea level you play at, or if you can make solid contact (if you get fitted, that shouldn’t be as much of an issue!). There are so many variables that can come into play from one tee box to the next.
This also doesn’t include the changes YOU make from swing to swing. No one, not even Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, swings the exact same way every single time. Iron Byron, the robot ball-hitting machine, can. ol’ Iron Byron’s no
but he’s not too far off. OK, maybe he is… the little guy can walk and talk, which Iron Byron can’t do. But I did hit a milestone: I worked in a Buck Rogers reference!
The point is, you ain’t Twiki or Iron Byron. You have human limitations. Things like:
- You don’t turn back as far each time,
- Or you turn too much (overswinging),
- You don’t play the ball from exactly the same spot every single time,
and many other… differences.
There’s no real reason to be “optimized” in the strictest sense of the word.
Especially not when there are so many factors working against you to prevent “ideal” situations from occurring time after time after time:
- Weather conditions
- How you feel (moods, flexibility… it changes daily, whether we like it or not)
- Even what you ate that day can affect how you play
Ben Hogan, in his 5 Lessons book, remarks that he was cautious of what he ate because he didn’t want his hands swelling. Eff’d up, isn’t it? Not really, if you think about it. If you want to get as close as you can to consistency, you gotta have a routine on Game Day.
That’s not to say that we shouldn’t strive to get close to optimizing your fitting.
Notice in the chart that there’s a range of numbers. If you’re somewhere within those parameters you’ll be OK. Hell, even if you’re only within one parameter and outside the other, but you’re satisfied with the distance and direction the ball’s going, that’s fine, too.
Which brings me to my final point:
Don’t become obsessed with chasing numbers.
Former USGA Technical Director Frank Thomas calls launch monitors “Launch Monsters” for a reason… People can become so obsessed with wanting to hit what the “experts” say are the “ideal” launch and spin numbers, they lose sight of the big picture. Golf is supposed to be fun!
Now, I wanna ask you: have you been fitted? How’d it go? If not… why?