Phil Mickelson can’t use a 48-inch driver for long, but you can. Here’s what you should know

Phil Mickelson hits driver during 2021 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines

Phil Mickelson was one of the few pros to use a driver longer than 46 inches before the rule change.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Lost in the shuffle of Phil Mickelson’s historic win at the PGA Championship was an interesting gear nugget: Lefty used a 47.9-inch Callaway Epic Speed driver to become the oldest player ever to win a major.

To put that number into perspective, most drivers found on Tour are around 44.5 to 45.5 inches. The USGA legal limit is 48 inches, although it recently released a new local rule that, when enacted on Jan. 1, will limit the maximum length of a golf club to 46 inches. The official maximum is still 48 inches, but soon tournaments and clubs will be able to choose to institute the stricter limit.

The pros on the PGA and LPGA tours, like Mickelson, are out of luck thanks to the new rule, but regular golfers like you can still take advantage of a couple extra inches on your driver.

brooke henderson tees off with a 48-inch Ping driver at the Founders Cup
1 potential headache that could come from the 46-inch driver rule
By: Jonathan Wall

Callaway’s director of fitting and player performance, Michael Vrska, offers some things to consider if, like Mickelson, you want to try something longer.

Go strong: “We find most amateurs need to go down in loft. Phil is playing at 5 degrees. You probably don’t need to go to that extreme, but if you’re in a 10-degree head, you need to be at 8 or 9 degrees to help with angle of attack.”

Be shallow: “Because you’re standing farther away from the ball, golfers who tend to shallow the club and not be as steep tend to have more success.”

Float like a feather: “If you use an adjustable-weight head, swap those weights out for something lighter to keep the swing weight somewhat similar.”

Callaway Epic Speed Driver

OUR TAKE: It’s good to have options. With Callaway’s new-look Epic Max and Epic Speed, testers found two equally appealing packages: One geared for those who need a bit more forgiveness and another for the better player craving a penetrating launch. “I could put both in the bag,” said a tester. “Both were fantastic on misses, and the flatter flight of the Speed was very consistent. I could totally see myself throwing in a strong-lofted Speed and Max 5-wood to launch it high. That sounds really appealing.” Don’t be surprised if other golfers follow suit. THE DETAILS: While the new Jailbreak system in the driver is sure to garner the most interest, it’s actually not the only club receiving a complete makeover. The Epic fairway woods feature Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades that are spread wider apart to stiffen the structure, allowing the C300 maraging steel face cup to flex at impact. The forward CG location on Epic Speed, combined with a new leading-edge design, promotes a strong ball flight with less spin. An oversized head and shallow face make Epic Max an ideal option for a wider handicap range. Launch and spin can be altered depending on where the two sole weights (2 and 14 grams) are positioned. Check out 150+ reviews from our gear experts in the ClubTest 2021 collection
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Jonathan Wall Editor

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. He can be reached at