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Why are drivers so hard to hit? Why do so many people have issues with them (vs other clubs) with today's modern technology?


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Don't know about "everyone" but I hit my driver straighter and more consistently than any other club longer than a PW or maybe 9-iron. And certainly more consistently than any small-headed fairway woo

My driver is one, if not the, easiest clubs in my bag to hit. I struggle much more with my 3 wood. It's to the point where I tee it low, and hit stingers with my driver rather than hit the 3 on tight

Visually, they big headed drivers create early right tilt and poor pressure shifts.   Many of the people on my lesson tee that hit other clubs decent and struggle with driver, exhibit this.

Lots of reasons (beyond people just swinging harder):

  1. Hits the ball the farthest so greater dispersion (distance wise) from target line due to trigonometry
  2. Lowest lofted club means more side spin is created at impact
  3. Club length is significantly longer than other clubs, so nonstandard swing plane is needed.
  4. Ball position, height, and the intention to make an ascending blow on the ball (opposed to descending blow) is different from other clubs.
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I would hazard a guess that it's because the driver is the only club in the bag that "every player" wants to hit at long and as hard as they can. That objective causes them to overswing and all sorts of problems emerge. 

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I wouldn't say the driver is hard to hit as much as I would say that its less tolerant and less forgiving of poor mechanics and poor fitting.  

 

Driver shafts are longer today than they were years ago which are supposed to help with distance but there is a point of diminishing returns.  If you can't hit the middle of the face with a longer shafted driver you are going to lose more yards than hitting a shorter shafted driver out of the sweet spot.  Longer shafts means you are further away from the ball which make it more difficult to hit the ball with control.  Loft is also a big factor.  A lot of people that hit weak, high banana balls think they need to lower their loft which is exactly the opposite of what they need.  Lower loft means more side spin and less tolerance for faulty delivery/impact.  That is why it's easier to control higher lofted clubs like 8i - wedges.  The loft of these clubs is designed to get the ball up in the air rather than imparting side spin so there is more tolerance for poor path/face than lower lofted clubs like Driver-long irons.

 

 

Edited by PhilsFanDrew
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From what I have read most amateurs and pros hit their their 3 wood straighter thant their driver, and the shaft is only an inch or so shorter. Based on this info I bought a 98 Big Berth 2 wood and put a 3 wood shaft in it and it is working better than I could have ever hoped. Driving has now become enjoyable. I have sold my driver and am sticking with the 2 wood.

 

Also, my 2 wood head appears to be 150 cc from above, it is very small but even the mishits so far that twist the club in my hand are only about 20 yards shorter at most.

 

I've come to the conclusion that the large headed drivers aren't advantageous for many golfers, and in fact are a distraction. I believe most pros play them because of contractual obligations.

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2 hours ago, lafcol said:

It just seems like everyone struggles with the driver.  Is it because of the club or because people just swing harder creating more errors?

Don't know about "everyone" but I hit my driver straighter and more consistently than any other club longer than a PW or maybe 9-iron. And certainly more consistently than any small-headed fairway wood or hybrid.

 

Lots of the older guys I play with hit fairway after fairway with their drivers and don't consider it a problem club. I think anyone who uses more or less their normal swing with the ball teed up somewhere inside their front foot and only a couple inches off the ground will find a 460cc driver quite easy to get in the air and keep between the tree lines. Even moreso if they're using one with plenty of loft 10.5 to 12 degrees and of the "max forgiveness" rather than "low spin" model. 

 

The people I've played with who struggle with their driver have often used 9 degree low spin models and they tee the ball 2-1/2" to 3" (occasionally more) off the ground way out ahead of their front foot. And they make an extreme effort to uppercut the ball, nothing like their swing with any other club. 

Edited by North Butte
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Low loft.  Increases the chances of more side spin.  Swing for the fences mentality which leads to open, shut face, low, high face miss, toe or heel miss.  Also, it's the longest club in the bag so it's more difficult to find the sweet spot. 

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4 hours ago, North Butte said:

Don't know about "everyone" but I hit my driver straighter and more consistently than any other club longer than a PW or maybe 9-iron. And certainly more consistently than any small-headed fairway wood or hybrid.

 

Lots of the older guys I play with hit fairway after fairway with their drivers and don't consider it a problem club. I think anyone who uses more or less their normal swing with the ball teed up somewhere inside their front foot and only a couple inches off the ground will find a 460cc driver quite easy to get in the air and keep between the tree lines. Even moreso if they're using one with plenty of loft 10.5 to 12 degrees and of the "max forgiveness" rather than "low spin" model. 

 

The people I've played with who struggle with their driver have often used 9 degree low spin models and they tee the ball 2-1/2" to 3" (occasionally more) off the ground way out ahead of their front foot. And they make an extreme effort to uppercut the ball, nothing like their swing with any other club. 

I'm one of those people you're talking about.  My driver is 8* and I tee the ball up pretty high.  I play low loft heads because I like a lower ball flight and I want to keep my spin down.  Ball position is pretty standard.  As for trying to hit up it, yes I tend to do that with driver.  0 to +3 for AoA.  Some days, I'm just awful.  Like, I can't find the fairway or if I do it's on the the other fairway or hitting out of the woods all day.  Then I have days where I smash it either in the fairway or just in the rough and have wedges in.  My favorite club but also a b**** at times. 

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15 hours ago, Krt22 said:

Because people try too hard to hit a hit up on it and/or try to hard to draw it, combine those two and reliable face control is very difficult

The comment about a draw is valid, I think. When I'm swinging really well (with all my clubs) often I'll get a shot that turns over a little with the driver. And those are great shots. Every one of the very longest tee shots in my life have been draws or even borderline hooks. 

 

But it took me years to realize trying to make the ball draw with the driver just discombobulates my swing entirely. So I'm happy to hit it mostly straightish with the mishits tending to cut or fade a little. If I hit an occasional five-yard draw, that's cool too.

 

Fortunately the fairways of my home course are wide enough I can play for the straight tee shot and wont' be punished too bad for a 5-10 yard draw or a 10-15 yard fade. 

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I keep saying this in every thread where the "why do people use mini drivers?" question comes up: it's the TEE HEIGHT that makes hitting modern drivers so difficult.

 

Well, not the tee height itself. We all played tee ball (probably), we can hit a floating ball. But it's the effect that the teed up ball has on our brain that causes all kinds of weird things to happen in the swing. You want to hang back, or try to hit up on the ball, and your swing gets all funky and way different from a long iron swing. And I think this is a problem that plagues lots of amateurs, myself included: with the ball teed way up, an overly downward angle of attack goes from being a problem with other clubs to an utter catastrophe with a driver (and a nice idiot mark on your driver's crown).

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17 hours ago, tthomasgolfer605 said:

The standard driver specs today pretty much won't fit anyone. Way too long and upright. 

 

You got me thinking about watching many pros tee off with the toe of the driver up in the air, the face doesn't appear to be parallel to the ground, I wonder why they are set up like this.

 

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23 hours ago, chipa said:

From what I have read most amateurs and pros hit their their 3 wood straighter thant their driver, and the shaft is only an inch or so shorter. Based on this info I bought a 98 Big Berth 2 wood and put a 3 wood shaft in it and it is working better than I could have ever hoped. Driving has now become enjoyable. I have sold my driver and am sticking with the 2 wood.

 

Also, my 2 wood head appears to be 150 cc from above, it is very small but even the mishits so far that twist the club in my hand are only about 20 yards shorter at most.

 

I've come to the conclusion that the large headed drivers aren't advantageous for many golfers, and in fact are a distraction. I believe most pros play them because of contractual obligations.

 

Definitely not the case as far as why they play them, and there is no real data to back up being straighter with the 3 wood. DECADE tosses that theory out the window and says hit driver whenever possible.  

 

26 minutes ago, chipa said:

 

You got me thinking about watching many pros tee off with the toe of the driver up in the air, the face doesn't appear to be parallel to the ground, I wonder why they are set up like this.

 

For one with the lofts of drivers the lie doesn't matter nearly as much, also the shaft will bow more with a driver causing more toe droop. 

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24 minutes ago, TLUBulldogGolf said:

 

Definitely not the case as far as why they play them, and there is no real data to back up being straighter with the 3 wood. DECADE tosses that theory out the window and says hit driver whenever possible.  

 

 

 

There was a study someone posted on the forum a while back that showed that most amateurs would be better off hiting their 3 wood off the tee because the accuracy is much better and the ave distance not far from their driver.

 

Also, many pros throughout the decades tee'd off with their 3 wood when they need to hit the fairway.

 

In my own case I was skeptical but tried it and now I won't play a driver, at least not for the next few years, I have never hit it so straight in my life.

 

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The driver is so hard to hit because I swing out of my shoes while trying to hit up and draw the ball.  But man can I groove it on the range...  Actually the driver is pretty easy to hit, it has a huge face on it and produces the most ball speed of any club in the bag.  It is really just user error trying to hit bombs while also trying to land it at just the right spot.  Honestly we get in our own way.  

 

As to driver vs 3w, or 4w in my case, it really comes down to how you swing with the fairway metal.  If you have a more down to earth swing with the fairway, chances are you will be better off with it.  If your fairway metal swing is just as aggressive as your driver, you are probably spraying it all over the place too.  

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36 minutes ago, chipa said:

 

There was a study someone posted on the forum a while back that showed that most amateurs would be better off hiting their 3 wood off the tee because the accuracy is much better and the ave distance not far from their driver.

 

Also, many pros throughout the decades tee'd off with their 3 wood when they need to hit the fairway.

 

In my own case I was skeptical but tried it and now I won't play a driver, at least not for the next few years, I have never hit it so straight in my life.

 

If we evaluate for amateurs it's probably correct, but it's old thinking at the high level am and pro game. My driver is my greatest weapon. 

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4 minutes ago, MonteScheinblum said:

Visually, they big headed drivers create early right tilt and poor pressure shifts.

 

Many of the people on my lesson tee that hit other clubs decent and struggle with driver, exhibit this.

 

Do you see people lose their balance a lot while swinging driver? Maybe they end up too much on their toes or heels or have to step through it to keep from falling over? 

 

I know I tend to make a more balanced, athletic swing with a fairway wood because I accept that the design of the club it will only allow the ball to go so far. I try to put the same sort of motion on it that I would with a scoring iron or any other club and I get a predictable result just like with any other club.

 

I don't know why it's hard to have that sort of discipline with a driver. The same limitations apply, more or less. It's not like I'm suddenly going to hit it 290 with a 95mph swing speed!

 

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3 minutes ago, TLUBulldogGolf said:

 

If we evaluate for amateurs it's probably correct, but it's old thinking at the high level am and pro game. My driver is my greatest weapon. 

 

Can you think back to a time when that wasn't the case? Is there anything specific that changed your approach and your confidence in the driver? 

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15 minutes ago, TLUBulldogGolf said:

 

If we evaluate for amateurs it's probably correct, but it's old thinking at the high level am and pro game. My driver is my greatest weapon. 

 

If you hit your driver well then their is no reason to change of course but I was referring to whats best for most amateurs and also point out a lot of pros have taken this position when they need to be in the fairway.

 

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2 hours ago, MaineMariner said:

I keep saying this in every thread where the "why do people use mini drivers?" question comes up: it's the TEE HEIGHT that makes hitting modern drivers so difficult.

 

When I started teeing the ball up about 1" off the ground instead of 2-3" I started hitting better drives.  Sure, you lose a little distance and your numbers aren't ideal, but I'd rather be in the general vicinity of the fairway instead of some of the curves that are possible when trying for that high launch low spin bomb.

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22 minutes ago, me05501 said:

 

Can you think back to a time when that wasn't the case? Is there anything specific that changed your approach and your confidence in the driver? 

 

Mainly I just got better, I have more awareness and control of the club through impact, but getting a driver that really fits me well made a big difference. 

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46 minutes ago, MonteScheinblum said:

Visually, they big headed drivers create early right tilt and poor pressure shifts.

 

Many of the people on my lesson tee that hit other clubs decent and struggle with driver, exhibit this.

I was playing a solo round the other day behind a foursome and was watching one guy in particular. I don't think I've ever seen a golfer with a more different setup and swing between his driver versus every other club in his bag. 

 

He'd massively exaggerate his shoulder tilt at address and then (impossible as it looked to me) somehow get that right shoulder even lower on his downswing. He somehow seemed to keep the ball  in play but it was painful just watching it. 

 

With his irons he had a bog-standard setup and what looked like a really good, aggressive swing while staying completely in balance. I wondered if he was unaware of how freakish a pass he was trying to make at the ball with driver in his hand or maybe it was on purpose. 

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