Paul Casey’s numbers with a persimmon driver are mind-blowingly good

The USGA and R&A’s latest Distance Insights Report has led many to wonder what an equipment rollback would look like in the professional ranks.

Do you reduce the spring-like effect of the face to curb distance? Decrease the overall size of the head? Cap shaft length? Make adjustments to the composition of the modern-day golf ball?

All of the above have been bandied about in the last month. For the moment, technology (and shaft length) isn’t changing — but that doesn’t mean we can’t ponder a Tour-level gear rollback.

One idea that was proposed by Senior Equipment Editor Andrew Tursky is a yearly tournament where players are required to play with persimmon woods.

At roughly 190cc, a persimmon driver is 270cc’s smaller than a modern-day driver. Reducing the size of the head should place a premium on accuracy and reduce distance numbers across the board. It would no doubt make for an interesting tournament.

Would the premium on accuracy also come with reduced distance numbers? One would think so, but after watching Paul Casey pummel a modern golf ball with a custom persimmon driver made by former Tour pro Todd Demsey, the numbers wouldn’t look all that different on shots hit out the middle. Seriously.

Working with the driver on the TPC Sawgrass range ahead of the Players Championship, Casey managed to carry all three shots over 293 yards, with the last ball crossing the 300-yard carry threshold.

To put those numbers into perspective, Casey is averaging 303.4 yards this season — and that number includes rollout. The roughly 2000 RPMs of spin (while on the low side) and 12.9-degree launch would also work for most tour players.

In other words, there’s not much Casey would need to do to throw this club in the bag right now. There’s a zero percent chance it makes the cut this week, but it’s still fun to see Casey take the old-school driver for a spin.

Want to overhaul your own bag for 2021? Visit the expert fitters at our sister company, True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.

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Jonathan Wall

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour.