Understanding Golf Drivers

By Bill Herrfeldt
The size, material and loft of a driver head is important in allowing you to hit your best shots off the tee, but so is the flex and length of the driver shaft.
The size, material and loft of a driver head is important in allowing you to hit your best shots off the tee, but so is the flex and length of the driver shaft.

In the past, drivers were made of wood and they all looked pretty much the same. But today, they are made of various materials, and come in many sizes and shapes. Many golfers gravitate to the latest one they've seen advertised instead of one that will improve their games.

Know The Various Materials

A driver's head and shaft can be made from various materials, and that will affect the cost. Most drivers are made of steel and cost the least. On the opposite end of the scale, you can buy drivers with titanium heads and graphite shafts that are much lighter but cost a lot more money. Then there's a third group of drivers that have heads made of a composite of steel and titanium that cost somewhere between them. But you should not consider the price if the driver you choose will make a big difference in your game.

Bigger Is Usually Better

Drivers' heads are somewhat larger than those in the past so they have an expanded so-called “sweet spot” that allows the golfer greater latitude in making good contact with the ball. Steel heads are larger than wooden ones, but because titanium weighs less than steel, the heads of titanium drivers are even larger, providing a larger sweet spot. Your selection based on the size of the head should be based on your abilities. Generally, a high handicapper will use the expanded sweet spot of a titanium driver, while someone with greater skill should choose one with a smaller hitting area for control.

Loft

Loft is the angle of the hitting area of the club, and it will affect how high you hit the ball. Tests indicate the higher the loft, the farther the ball will travel. But if you continually slice the ball, you can reduce the tendency with a driver having less loft, although you will sacrifice some distance. Conversely, if you tend to hook the ball, you should choose a driver with an increased loft.

Shaft

When a golfer buys a driver, he should be aware of the flex and length of its shaft. Generally, if you are a beginner or if you have issues of strength and speed of your swing, you should choose a driver that has a lot of flex in the shaft. And most drivers have a 44-inch shaft, but some are longer. Longer shaft length usually leads to greater distance, but you probably will give up some accuracy in the process.

About the Author

Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.

Photo Credits

  • Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
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