Should you switch to a game-improvement driver like Nelly Korda?
It’s tempting to want to buy the same equipment setups that PGA Tour players use. If it works them, it should work for you, right? The problem with that logic is that PGA Tour players get their equipment custom fit to their particular swings and needs.
For all golfers, open-mindedness and self-awareness are extremely important tools when it comes to purchasing golf clubs or shafts. Pride and ego can often get in the way of buying, or even testing, the gear that actually fits best. If you fly the ball 240 yards off the tee, then copying the driver-shaft setups of the bombers on the PGA Tour probably won’t go well.
The ideal solution is to get a proper fitting, but if you’re an average golfer looking to pro golfers for guidance, I often encourage looking deeper into the gear that LPGA Tour players use. While those ladies are more consistent ball strikers than most amateurs could dream of, the average LPGA Tour driver speed, compared to PGA Tour speed, is much more similar to that of average golfers.
No.4-ranked LPGA golfer Nelly Korda, for example, has 150 mph of ball speed with her driver, according to Titleist fitter J.J. Van Wezenbeeck. For reference, Titleist staffer Webb Simpson is ranked 179th in driver ball speed on the PGA Tour at 165.58 mph.
Common sense says that if your ball speed matches more closely with Korda, then it would be smart to see what equipment she uses and why.
Before winning the recent 2021 Gainbridge LPGA, Korda switched into Titleist’s new TSi1 driver, as discussed on our recent Fully Equipped podcast. That’s an especially notable change because the TSi1 driver is a game-improvement model that weighs 40 grams less than standard and has a draw bias. Titleist says the driver is designed for golfers who swing it less than 90 mph and need more forgiveness.
“Psh, I swing it faster than that,” you may be thinking. Korda swings it more than 100 mph herself, but as Titleist reports, approximately 30 percent of all golfers swing their drivers less than 90mph. On that note, I encourage all golfers to get with their local professional or trusted fitted to get real data feedback. Remember, self awareness is key, so knowing the truth will absolutely be helpful. You may need a tour-inspired head, or you may need something more forgiving; everyone is different.
Also, speed isn’t everything when it comes to finding your perfect driver. Even if you do swing it faster than 90mph, there are a slew of other factors involved. For example, here’s why the TSi1 ended up in Korda’s bag, according to Van Weezenbeeck in a press release:
“She loved the shape of the TSi1 and was swinging it with a lot confidence. Initially, we were very close with TSi2, and she was gaining up to 5mph additional ball speed. But she has a slight tendency to miss on the heel, and Stephanie Luttrell (Titleist’s Director of Metalwood Product Development) suggested the TSi1 head – with its CG properties being closer to face center – could help improve strike location and provide the extra forgiveness she needed on those swings. TSi1 was never going to be the obvious choice with her 150mph ball speed, but in going through the fitting process we were able test all of the options and determine the optimal setup that is getting her 10-15 additional yards with better accuracy.”
If you know your actual speed and typical misses, and you’re willing to try any club or shaft no matter the model, then you can better equip yourself with clubs and shafts that are designed to help. Your ideal driver may be the one you least expect. Look no further than Korda for the perfect example.
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 and information, make sure to check out our recent Fully Equipped podcast in the Spotify link below.