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Cutting down driver vs. choking up


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I bet this has been covered a few times, but a few recent conversations have been about shortening driver shafts - and one out of twenty-five comments will say something about just choking up on the grip.

 

What's the difference between just placing your hands an inch lower on the grip vs. getting an inch cut off the butt of the shaft?

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On most grips the diameter changes as you move further down the grip. Having tried both I would say it feels different, somehow, but I have for the most part started by gripping down a ways before cut

Tour Velvet Plus 4's. No taper easy to choke down. 

no cost, if you're experimenting easy to go back to the original, don't have to mess with headweights, etc.  

Even when you get to your playing length, there are times when you may want to grip down for even more control. If you grip down every time just to get to your playing length, you lose that option. 

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I have not been successful choking down for some reason. In addition to swinging like an amateur and not having as much time to practice as a pro does I think the problem may be that my grips taper too much so the club doesn't feel secure if I grip down more than 1/2".

 

Also, at 1/2" the swingweight changes 3 points, which apparently causes me to change my release as I have found I am more consistent with heavier swing weights.

 

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I think most amateurs are not nearly as sensitive to swingweight change as much better players are.

 

People around here who are very knowledgeable suggest that choking down on the club makes NO difference to cutting it down.

 

While they're probably right there IS a difference, to me anyway, in the way the club "feels". And with a little butt end above the hands it is now "counterweighted" (another facet that I, and I'm guessing many if not most ams, don't quite understand).

 

There also is the (slight ?) factor of being more consistent when gripping the shaft at the butt. That may vary slightly when one chokes down on the grip a bit,,,,,, where one won't always have the "exact" same position from hands to club head's sweet spot.

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42 minutes ago, jplroper said:

On most grips the diameter changes as you move further down the grip. Having tried both I would say it feels different, somehow, but I have for the most part started by gripping down a ways before cutting the shaft.

 

I came here to post this...

 

That's the main difference i notice. I rarely choke down on driver shaft just because i'm normally trying to hit that club the same way.

 

But with irons, not a big fan of choking down. The top of my grip is just over 3cm wide, the bottom is a little under 2cm. That's a pretty big percentage change in terms of what you are gripping and can affect your feel

 

 

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I used to cut my driver down 1"....then a few years ago saw that Tommy Fleetwood chokes down 1" on his driver.  My grips are midsize and 3 extra wraps under bottom hand, so it is comfortable without the taper.  This year I decided just to choke down 1" most of the time (sometimes more, sometimes less, depending what I'm trying to do) 

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1 hour ago, nsxguy said:

I think most amateurs are not nearly as sensitive to swingweight change as much better players are.

 

People around here who are very knowledgeable suggest that choking down on the club makes NO difference to cutting it down.

 

While they're probably right there IS a difference, to me anyway, in the way the club "feels". And with a little butt end above the hands it is now "counterweighted" (another facet that I, and I'm guessing many if not most ams, don't quite understand).

 

There also is the (slight ?) factor of being more consistent when gripping the shaft at the butt. That may vary slightly when one chokes down on the grip a bit,,,,,, where one won't always have the "exact" same position from hands to club head's sweet spot.

 

It's very unlikely the counterweight that's causing the difference.  It's really negligable in terms of the effects on the dynamics of the club.  It's much more likely that the change in grip size is  effect the grip pressure and that can easily cause the club to feel different even if the grip pressure seems to feel the same.

 

I do agree that choking up can potentially effect the consistency of how the club is gripped.  But a wrap of tape can help with that to give a new reference point to use.

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6 minutes ago, jomatty said:

Why do you say this?  I’ve never noticed a distance difference between choking up 1/2” and cutting shaft 1/2”.  Curious your reasoning...

I'll link this to baseball as I was told this LONG ago, right around the time I picked up golf..... HOF player told me if he wanted a HR, he'd leave his bottom pinky off end of bat 

 

He said if a base hit was needed.....he'd choke up 

 

It works....tried & true for over 40yrs now

 

If want to to hit it long- grip at very end of club

 

If I want accuracy- I choke down

 

 

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3 minutes ago, animalgolfs said:

I'll link this to baseball as I was told this LONG ago, right around the time I picked up golf..... HOF player told me if he wanted a HR, he'd leave his bottom pinky off end of bat 

 

He said if a base hit was needed.....he'd choke up 

 

It works....tried & true for over 40yrs now

 

If want to to hit it long- grip at very end of club

 

If I want accuracy- I choke down

 

 

Standard softball technique to drop a pinky as well.  Never heard of it for golf before.  Interesting.

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13 minutes ago, jomatty said:

Standard softball technique to drop a pinky as well.  Never heard of it for golf before.  Interesting.

 

I did that for years, myself.

 

Being topical....  I always cut it down, have never liked the feel of choking down the grip of driver.  If it's just an experiment, I'll use a different shaft plugged into that club.  

 

It's fair to say I'm past experiment stage by now, LOL.  I've proven to myself the value of the shorter driver.

 

Somewhat amusingly,  I tend to look at it as merely returning to the morally correct driver length (LOL).  I view anything over 44" as a standard driver length as "distance marketing."  😉

 

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23 minutes ago, jomatty said:

Standard softball technique to drop a pinky as well.  Never heard of it for golf before.  Interesting.

 

I don't believe he meant it literally, but rather that choking down on a bat/shaft may provide accuracy and control while gripping at the butt end might provide additional distance.

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I've been playing 44.5" drivers for a few years now and anything longer feels totally foreign to me. I started by just choking down on my regular 45.5" or 46" driver and it was fine, but I definitely prefer it cut down. There's something about having a bunch of club sticking out that doesn't feel right to me.

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2 hours ago, MaineMariner said:

I've been playing 44.5" drivers for a few years now and anything longer feels totally foreign to me. I started by just choking down on my regular 45.5" or 46" driver and it was fine, but I definitely prefer it cut down. There's something about having a bunch of club sticking out that doesn't feel right to me.

 

One has to remember that an inch here or there won't make a whole lot of difference in distance. Playing a shorter driver is mostly about finding the sweet spot more often. More solid hits equals more consistency and more consistent distance, even if the flush hits are a yard or 3 shorter.

 

All this stuff is incremental in nature and very difficult to really quantify. 

 

Right now I'm carrying 2 drivers in my bag and alternating them. 2 different shafts in 2 (slightly) different heads. I have to choke down on both shafts. Am I choking down "exactly" right on both of them ? Doubtful. And even a fraction of an inch in strike point of the head can make all the difference.

 

So net-net, at some point I'll choose which combo gives me the best results, cut it to length and use a single shaft/head combo.

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19 minutes ago, nsxguy said:

 

One has to remember that an inch here or there won't make a whole lot of difference in distance. Playing a shorter driver is mostly about finding the sweet spot more often. More solid hits equals more consistency and more consistent distance, even if the flush hits are a yard or 3 shorter.

 

All this stuff is incremental in nature and very difficult to really quantify. 

 

Right now I'm carrying 2 drivers in my bag and alternating them. 2 different shafts in 2 (slightly) different heads. I have to choke down on both shafts. Am I choking down "exactly" right on both of them ? Doubtful. And even a fraction of an inch in strike point of the head can make all the difference.

 

So net-net, at some point I'll choose which combo gives me the best results, cut it to length and use a single shaft/head combo.

 

Consistently hitting the center of the clubface is very underrated when achieving max distance.  To that end, logic would seem to suggest that swinging a shorter club OR choking down results in greater consistency.

 

It comes down to personal preference and/or feel.  It's nice having the option to choke down for feel or to grip the club at the very end to "let out the shaft."

 

Ken Venturi recommended gripping at the very end of the club with the pinky of the top hand off of the club in order to reduce tension in the grip & the swing.

 

 

 

 

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I choke down halfway on my grip for my standard shot and further down the grip on tight fairways.  I have considered chopping it shorter but read an article that Brooke Henderson does the same as she grew up using her fathers longer clubs.  My prior driver, I cut a little shorter and did not like it, but that could have also been the shaft at play that I didnt prefer.  I have taken maybe an inch off my standard length shaft and can probably cut some more but I'd rather choke down.  At the end of the day, use whatever is comfortable, consistent and gets you out there.  

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For me also choking down feels a bit off.  I can do it on flighted/partial iron shots, but on full shots (especially with Driver) choking down feels off.  I'm sure it's all in my head....but isn't that where golf is played anyways?

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I'm 5'11 and i play my driver 1/2" shorter. It allows me to make better strikes consistently which in turn gives me more average distance.

I tried choking down when i was initially contemplating a driver length change, however I was never able to get a feel on the club while choking down on the driver shaft. The added shaft that stuck out behind my hands felt weird. It slowed my hands and swing down considerably resulting in poor strikes.

As others have said, it seems more like a personal preference to me rather than whats technically correct. Go get a cheap driver shaft and cut it down. Then compare to your driver shaft when choking down. You'll know right away when comparing the two.

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I choke down on my driver any time I need to make sure it goes a little shorter (avoid through the fairway or bunker, etc.). I do this instead of trying to hit a big 3 wood or a make a "fairway finder" swing.  I can take my normal driver swing and not have to think about it.  But I'm talking at least 2 -3 inches of choking down - enough to make the distance different.  If i go 1-2 inches I seem to hit it as far if not longer than normal because of the increased possibility of hitting the sweetspot - which is the whole point of cutting down a driver, right? 

 

I have friends who ask me about it and they just can't do it.  I think the biggest reason it doesn't work for them is they don't make their normal/stock swing.  They feel like they have to manipulate the shot somehow.  The whole point of choking down is to allow you to hit WITHOUT changing your swing.

 

I never think about how the about grip size feels or anything like that. Maybe I've just been doing it long enough where it's comfortable enough and not a factor.  If you want to make choking down a regular thing, instead of cutting down the shaft and all that involves, I say build up the right hand under the grip and bit and let 'er rip and see what that does for you.

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I think most people’s drivers are to long. If you look it up the average driver length on tour is 44.75 (I just googled it).  Also I think this is an even better reason to get fitted which I know is expensive but if you get fitted you can play those clubs for a long time instead of changing all the time trying to figure out what works the best for you. Which I used to do when I started golfing but after I was fitted I played the same clubs for the past 8 years. Also I’m 6’ 2” and play my irons +.5 inch and play my driver at 44.5 and do not have to worry about choking down or anything like that because it’s fitted to be my ideal set up just my 2 cents after spending a lot of money on clubs that were not correct for me

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