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Driver vs. 3-wood

November 24, 2008 - Steve Anderson
Many times when I'm working with a student on the range they bring up the point that they just can't hit their driver very well and often seem to actually get more distance from their 3 wood. While this may seem confusing the data shows that in most amateurs players this is correct. The explanation is as follows.

It has to do with the spin of the golf ball. The more a ball spins the more it will rise up and stay in the air longer. A 3-wood with about 15 degrees of loft will put more spin on the ball than a driver with only 9-10 degrees of loft. Now, research shows that the average amateur golfer only has a clubhead speed of 75 mph. Tiger's is about 125 mph or 50% more. Whatever club he hits he'll put 50% more spin on the ball than the slower swinger will. Still with me? A driver with very little loft will not get much spin when hit only 75 mph. If your clubhead speed is 50% slower than Tiger then it would make sense to use a club with 50% more loft to get the same spin rate. Your 3-wood will do just that and your ball will stay airborne longer getting your more distance. A low lofted driver will fall out of the air too quickly when it's hit with the slower speed of most amateurs. Many seniors, juniors and ladies may even want to tee off with a 5-wood since their swing is even slower and requires greater loft. Now of course you may think then that a 9-iron with a lot of loft will do an even better job but with your irons being so much shorter this theory doesn't apply. The research comes up with a nice number that's easy to remember. If you don't have a 100 mph swing then you shouldn't even own a driver. Simple as that.

More next week.

Steve

 
 

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