How Rory McIlroy maintained distance with shorter driver | Fully Equipped

After some struggles to start the West Coast swing, and later at the Players Championship, Rory McIlroy admitted he had an issue with his driver, and leading up to the Masters he was determined to get it sorted.

Last week at the Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas, McIlroy looked to have it figured out and was showing off his form with booming drives all over the course, including the one he uncorked on the 18th hole to close out his second match in the round-robin format.

The attention on McIlroy’s driving led to discussions around the science behind how he had picked up distance with a new driver that was actually shorter than the previous model, and it also gave GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast crew the chance to get into the finer details of creating driver efficiency.

“A longer golf shaft creates more deflection at impact which can lead to slightly more loft and a lower efficiency,” said Fully Equipped co-host Ryan Barath. “A shorter shaft, on the other hand, will naturally deflect less than the longer one, and lead to a lower delivered loft at impact. Less loft equals higher efficiency and more ball speed.”

Want to overhaul your bag for 2023? Find a fitting location near you at GOLF’s affiliate company True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out our latest Fully Equipped podcast below.

Ryan Barath Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.