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Is it time to limit the length of drivers in the equipment rules?


2bGood
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Basically no one uses a 48" driver outside of long drive. But the length of drivers is creeping up each year, so I am sure at some point the technology will allow us to reliably hit longer drivers. Given the ruling bodies interest in protecting golf courses from length, is now a good time to limit club length to 46" as a preemptive move?

 

The RB's always seem to be one step behind changes in equipment and then find themselves trying to 'fix' things rather than prevent them. 

 

EDIT: One year later the RB's are proposing this - Proposal to limit drivers to 46"

Edited by 2bGood
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My understanding is that driver shaft length is not a significant impact on distance - I recall seeing Iron Byron data that Wishon published that said an extra inch of length only made 1 yard difference, other things unchanged. This is why almost no-one other than those just trying to belt one ball from four or five as far as possible go for the currently longest legal shaft now.  Virtually all key features of the club are now fixed (not that the equipment makers want to remind you of that).

 

If you want to regulate distance now, it's all about the ball.

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1 hour ago, antip said:

My understanding is that driver shaft length is not a significant impact on distance - I recall seeing Iron Byron data that Wishon published that said an extra inch of length only made 1 yard difference, other things unchanged. This is why almost no-one other than those just trying to belt one ball from four or five as far as possible go for the currently longest legal shaft now.  Virtually all key features of the club are now fixed (not that the equipment makers want to remind you of that).

 

If you want to regulate distance now, it's all about the ball.

 I think the stat you are are referring to said it is 1+mph for an extra inch or about 2+ yards and a  couple inches longer results in about 6 yards of carry (all things be equal). Of course most data say the longer shaft results in more mishits. Still it seems the technology and training is eliminating the mishits and at the pro level the gain per inch are higher. 

 

At any rate it seem like an easy rule change that 99% of golfers would support. 

 

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According to the received wisdom on this forum, if those doofuses on the PGA Tour would just cut all their drivers off to 43" they'd never miss a fairway and they'd hit it longer, to boot. Can't believe the best players in the world haven't discovered the incredible power of hacking 3" off their driver shafts. 

 

After all, even 45" drivers are just a scam perpetrated by the evil OEM's. 

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The USGA rule on club length is that no club can exceed 48". I also remember reading in an article that distance is 90% loft/cg and 10% club length (I have no idea how those numbers were determined), so if that theory were to be true (or something similar) obviously club length would impact distance but not nearly as much as loft/cg. 

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COR has to be in that formula somewhere? 

 

9 hours ago, Mr. Bean said:

 

I wonder if that is true, after all the long drive competitors have up to 50" shafts and apparently for the purpose of getting the ball fly farther.

  It is true that a longer shaft gives the POTENTIAL to hit the ball further. Right now very few golfers are unable to unlock that potential. But that will change....

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21 hours ago, Mr. Bean said:

 

I wonder if that is true, after all the long drive competitors have up to 50" shafts and apparently for the purpose of getting the ball fly farther.

 "

In November 2016, to align them with the standard rules of golf, the World Long Drive Association further-reduced the length limitation to 48 in (120 cm)—the maximum length allowed by the USGA.[7][8]"

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On 9/26/2020 at 1:56 AM, North Butte said:

According to the received wisdom on this forum, if those doofuses on the PGA Tour would just cut all their drivers off to 43" they'd never miss a fairway and they'd hit it longer, to boot. Can't believe the best players in the world haven't discovered the incredible power of hacking 3" off their driver shafts. 

 

After all, even 45" drivers are just a scam perpetrated by the evil OEM's. 

 

I thought the tour average was 44"?

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1 hour ago, bclizzle said:

not yet. lets not reinvent the wheel because a couple guys are booming it. the overall majority of players fit the courses they play

 

Seems you're piling on just to get qualified for BST.

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On 9/27/2020 at 3:10 PM, Mudguard said:

 

I thought the tour average was 44"?

That is my point RIGHT NOW shifting the length down would not be a big issue. RB's seem to not anticipate where technology is going and restrict after gains are made.

 

We know that longer clubs have the potential to increase distance, so before that potential gets unlocked shut it down now when it effects next to no one. 

 

It seem like a no-brainer to do this, what would be the downside? 

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I doubt they need to. Even with Bryson putting a 48" driver in play, there is so much control that needs to happen to harness it. You can see the Long Drive contest and how many of those golf balls hit the grid. A lot can be said about that talent crossing over into a Pga career. I think that players are actually hitting just as far if not far enough with shorter drivers 44" that they would take the controllability aspect of it versus playing a 48" driver and needing to time it perfectly. Just too much of a gap for the RB to worry about it. 

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On 9/30/2020 at 3:10 AM, llewol007 said:

I doubt they need to. Even with Bryson putting a 48" driver in play, there is so much control that needs to happen to harness it. You can see the Long Drive contest and how many of those golf balls hit the grid. A lot can be said about that talent crossing over into a Pga career. I think that players are actually hitting just as far if not far enough with shorter drivers 44" that they would take the controllability aspect of it versus playing a 48" driver and needing to time it perfectly. Just too much of a gap for the RB to worry about it. 

Tech company and golfers will eventually figure how to make the most of 48" so this would be a preemptive move.

 

Keep in mind there was a time a when people said there was no need to limit the size of driver heads as the larger head did not help....

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9 hours ago, rexroh said:

I know this is about drivers but I use a 48 inch putter. So do a few others. Are proposing length for all clubs or just drivers or are otters exempted. 

 Putter have lots of special rules already, no reason why this could not be one of them.

 

I do think they blew the entire anchoring thing. They either should have limited the length of the putter or left it alone. This of course is another example of the RB's not being proactive with the rules and having to change things later.

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Comparing contact of long drivers vs. PGA pros is folly. The PGA guys hit the ball on the face right where they want to about 99% of the time. They are always 1.5 smash which means they are centering it/maxing out the trampoline. 
 

If the pros practice with a 48” driver, they will see a significant distance gain. The 1.5 smash is a given because they are so good. They are also the best in the world at squaring it up and zeroing out the path. They wouldn’t be on tour if they weren’t. 
 

Going from 45” to 48” for a pro? If I had to guess, contact staying the same and maxing out the launch numbers, I’d bet they could gain at least 10mph ball speed. Not an insignificant gain. And to the point of the OP, they should limit it if they would like to be proactive on distance control for the first time ever. 
 

 

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Since most don't use anything approaching 48 inches I guess I don't see the issue, but I'm assuming without knowing anything about engineering that other limitations on certain aspects of driver heads/faces/composition may not allow configuration of something that allows using a 48 inch driver with the consistency of something shorter?  Didn't stay in a Holiday Express, but have had 2 cups of coffee, and if I'm not making sense someone who knows real stuff about club design is welcome to set me right!

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