What is My Ideal Driver Shaft Length?
Bigger is better, right? Well maybe not. In this article, we'll help you determine what factors to look for when choosing the best possible length of driver to suit your needs.
Simple logic will tell you: a longer shaft means you can drive the ball farther. In theory, it may be the case that you are indeed short-shafting yourself with a smaller driver, in which case a longer shaft will definitely help. However, even if we overlook the impact that consistent technique has on your ability to drive the ball, the reality is that longer shafts are also much, much harder to control and more often than not result in poor accuracy. For this reason, it's important to consider several different factors when choosing a driver that's right for you.
Distance vs. Accuracy #
When looking for a new driver, the first question to ask yourself is whether you need to improve your drive distance, or your drive accuracy. You may feel that your drive is falling short of where it should be, but keep in mind that many players tend to drastically overestimate what the average drive length should be. You might not be hitting the big 300 yard PGA Tour drives, but are you avoiding hazards? Are you able to avoid overshooting into the rough when you need to? Consistency is king, and you'll want that level of control before you consider moving up to a longer shaft.
Height & Average Driver Length
Maybe you're at the point where you've got that control down and you still feel like your drive isn't quite outputting the distance you need. At that point moving up in size is a good move, but don't immediately spring for that 48" monster in the display case. While it's true that the standard for driver length has gotten longer over time - from 42" to 45" since the 80s - but this doesn't account for the huge variance between individual players. In general, a good starting place is to go off of individual height: taller players should start with slightly higher clubs and vice versa for players on the shorter side, but even here, the answer is not so clear cut.
What Do the Pros Use? #
As you might imagine, there is quite a bit of variance among golf pros - but one thing that makes the pros professionals is that they know what works for them and they choose accordingly. For example, Tiger Woods measures above average at 6'1", but places a lot of value on accuracy and thus opts for a slightly shorter big stick at 44" according to golf.com. On the other hand, Rory Mcllroy - who is a mere 2 inches shorter than Tiger - uses a 45.5" club, exactly the size of an average driver fresh off the rack with no modifications.
Check out this visual perspective on ideal club length:
The reality is that just having a longer club is not a substitute for skill and technique. You don't have to have a long club to hit longer drives, but a longer shaft could be costing you valuable accuracy and control. Either way, it's important to test things out, find what works for you, and stick with it.