Even if you’re name isn’t Bryson DeChambeau, you’re probably looking to gain at least a few yards off the tee with your driver. This is especially true for the group of – for lack of a better term – “slower speed” golfers (those who swing their driver about 80mph or less). Typically, these golfers need help creating the height and the distance necessary to optimize performance.
That’s why longer and lighter-weight driver builds are the saving grace for golfers in this group.
Thanks to Issac Newton, we know that “force” equals “acceleration” multiplied by “mass,” or F=ma. Since PGA Tour players already create a tremendous amount of acceleration, they don’t need to lighten up mass to create more force. Slower speed players, however, do need the extra assistance in order to optimize force between the clubhead and the golf ball.
This group of golfers can benefit greatly from long driver lengths (around 46 inches) and lighter overall weights (about 30-50 grams lighter than average on the market). Not only can launch and distance increase with these setups, but the rate of closure can also increase, thus making it easier to close the face and hit a draw (or at least reduce a slice!).
XXIO Eleven drivers
The major concern for most with buying a driver that’s longer than standard is that strikes off-center may become more frequent. The argument to this case, though, is that at slower speeds, mis-strikes are less penal than they are at faster speeds. Also, the increase in launch and speed with a longer and lighter driver may make up for any setbacks in dispersion.
The best way to truly determine if you’re the right fit for a lightweight driver is to go through a full club fitting with a professional fitter. A proper fitting can also do wonders to improve concerns over strike location by matching the shaft and driver head to your swing. Realistically, however, we know that not every golfer will get properly fit, for whatever reason.
Luckily, Tim Briand, a professional fitter and Senior Vice President of GOLF.com’s sister company True Spec Golf, has plenty of experience helping golfers in the slow swing speed group find more distance with the driver. While many brands make drivers especially for the slower speed player, there’s one company that shines, according to Briand.
“In the lightweight category, XXIO has been one of the industry leaders for a while,” Briand says. “They specialize in the player category where folks are trying to hit the ball higher in the air and get more carry distance…when a golfer with a well-fit XXIO driver walks through the front door, the fitter knows he’s going to have a hard time beating it, for a player under 80 mph.”
If you’re struggling with speed and launch off the tee, and your swing speed is around 80mph or lower, it may be time to look for your new driver in the lightweight category.
Hopefully this helps pump some more speed into your game!