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Jimmy Walker on using a 42-inch Titleist driver at the SBS Tournament of Champions

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Update: Jimmy Walker’s driver and 3-wood specs added.

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver Limited Edition 80X (42 inches, tipped 1.5 inches), D1 
Swing Weight

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver Limited Edition 80X (41.5 inches)

Jimmy Walker had Titleist make him the 42-inch driver that’s in his bag this week at the SBS Tournament of Champions. But before there was that one, there was, well, the “fun” one, as Walker explained at his post-round press conference on Thursday.

“I took it over to my buddy’s house and he wrapped duct tape around it and he hand-sawed it off with a hacksaw,” Walker told the press. “And then we stripped all the tape off it. We didn’t have a shaft cutter. So you’ve got to — with the grip still on — we did it with the grip on, so it doesn’t splinter the shaft. I mean, it was a process. It was actually pretty fun, we just started sawing away on it.

“He goes, ‘How long do you want it?’”

“I said, ‘I want you to cut right here.’ I didn’t know how long it was. I just said, ‘Let’s try this,’ and we went from there. And it was hard to get the weight up. I had to put a lot of lead tape on it to get the weight back up.

“And I built up the grip just a little bit, because you’re a little further down on the shaft. And I have a swing weight machine at home. I lead taped it up and went out and started hitting it.”

Crunching Numbers and Feeling “On”

Walker — who’s leading the tournament after a first-round, bogey-free 65 — shed some interesting light on the way good old-fashioned “feel” and new-fangled number-crunching can shape a pro golfer’s performance these days.

Walker began by talking about his switch to a cut-down, 42-inch driver.

“More fairways is what I’m looking for,” he explained. “And I just feel like I’ve got more control. I feel like the golf swing is better at that length for me, and that’s where I’ve always struggled, the longer the club got.”

Walker’s quest for “more fairways” grew out of a productive consultation he had with Tour stats-guru Mark Broadie.

“You don’t know anything is happening until you get a set of data to look at,” Walker said. “Broadie broke down the year and what he thought, where the anomalies were in the year compared to the first two, three years.”

Walker hadn’t previously worked with Broadie, and his takeway from the “good hour talk” was two-fold: be more aggressive with the flat stick, and get it in the fairway just a little more often.

“If you can hit one more fairway every other round, it’s going to help you out immensely through the course of the year on the strokes gained deal.”

Then Walker turned from hard-headed stat analysis to the crucial intangible of “being on.”

“When you play good, golf feels real easy. I mean, it just does. ‘God, why can’t I do that all the time?’ But you don’t and you can’t. It’s hard.

“But when you’re on and you’re playing well, and your body feels good, you’re in a good frame of mind; you’re there for a reason. It’s because you’re on, and I think you really need to relish that when you’re in that situation and enjoy it. It doesn’t happen a whole lot. I’ve always tried to embrace that and enjoy it. That’s what you’re out here trying to do, is have those chances, and you’ve really got to enjoy it.

“It’s rare you go out and hack it and win a golf tournament. Everybody is too good. You have to be on. I don’t care what anybody says. When you win out here, you’re on.”

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Thomas Meagher is a Pushcart Prize-winning writer who learned the game on the East Coast and now plays the desert courses of the West. He writes on golf and books and whatever else at MeglerOnTee.com.

35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Jonah Mytro

    Jan 30, 2017 at 9:21 am

    I used to his my 3-wood/Mini Driver off the tee for years, never felt 100% confident with the driver..2-years ago, i had a shop cut 2 inches off my driver shaft (JETSPEED) from 44.5 to 42.50″…completely changed my control with no distance loss at all. feel 100% confident with driver at 42.50 length. Told a few of my buddies about it and they did it as well and had the same positive results..I would recommend this to anyone who has issues controlling their driver off the tee…

  2. Luke

    Jan 10, 2017 at 12:58 am

    I play my driver at 43″ d7. there is no distance loss for me a 8 capper. I can still get it past 260 no worries and my miss hits are defiantly closer to the fairway. I don’t notice the lighter weight after a round or two either

  3. Iambac

    Jan 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    I played a cobra bio cell at 43.5 with a diamana white 70+ gram, I wish I still had it. I’m 6’1″ so it looked goofy as hell, but I was much more accurate, 260-270 yds, which was longer. Contact improved dramatically. I just order a Cobra King f6 with a additional weight, going to play weights in both ports and cut it down to 43″.

  4. Fyearoldgolfer

    Jan 9, 2017 at 4:37 pm

    Also, if you keep your 44.5 or 45 inch shaft, build up the lower part of your grip to reduce the taper, then grip down for 1/2 of your drives, (7) grip all the way down for maximum control (41 inches) and if you want to let the shaft out, you have 2+ inches to grip up with, (4 par 5’s).

  5. Fyearoldgolfer

    Jan 9, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    3 inches is about 5 swing weight points, add counter weight for 4 layers of buildup tape, now the club swing weights 9 points light. Keep in mind the head weight is the same to flex the shaft, it will react as a stiffer flex. Most Tour Pro drivers are D3 – D4, he reweighed the head to D1 with lead tape, about 5 swing weights at 42 inches, about 4 – 2 inch lengths of lead tape, unless he used ‘high density’ lead tape, then 3 lengths. More control, higher launch, spin depends on where the weight was added. My self, I prefer to place it on the top of the head, as close to the face as possible, to reduce spin with a higher, more forward CG.

  6. Aaron Wettstein

    Jan 9, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    good info here, however, one fact to be discussed, most golfers, non-professionals are playing white and blue tees. 250-260 drive in the fairway is all you need to score, really well. Trust me, i use my 3 wood more than my driver. I have cut my driver down to 43 inches added a bunch of lead tape and hit it well maybe 280. but lead tape falls off all the time. thoughts?

    • Yep

      Jan 9, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Lead tape then duct tape. Jimmys one of the smartest guys out there, I’m sure he’s capable of understanding the physics and science of it. So if he’s doing it, it must be beneficial. I cut two inches off a driver once, just needs a real stiff shaft not to be whippy as all heck, but it’s nice to hit it straight.

      • Joey5Picks

        Jan 17, 2017 at 3:53 pm

        Cutting 2″ off makes the shaft play stiffer, not “whippier”.

        • SoCalSlicer

          May 12, 2018 at 6:23 pm

          No, you’re cutting 2″ off the butt, which is the strong part of the shaft. You’re losing stiffness.

  7. Steve S

    Jan 9, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    I’ve tried different lengths..44, 45, 46 and 48. Found that there is no appreciable accuracy difference between 44-46, so I use the 46 since it seems to get me about 5-7 more yards than the 44. The 48 did not help in distance or accuracy. I actually found myself slowing down to make sure I hit the ball. May also be because the head was so light that I lost some “feel” for it during the swing.

  8. Mr. Wedge

    Jan 9, 2017 at 11:46 am

    Unless you are hitting 8/10 fairways consistently, no amateur should be playing anything longer than 43.5″, period.

  9. Progolfer

    Jan 8, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    I think having a shorter driver is a great idea, but it should only be in play at events where accuracy is a premium. Kapalua is a course where accuracy off the tee isn’t as important, and right now he’s actually losing strokes in the “Strokes Gained: Off The Tee” category.

  10. Matt

    Jan 8, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Great article. This bogey golfer is happy with a 910 d2 at 43″ & 13 deg. Drive for show putt for dough.

  11. Emb

    Jan 7, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    Walker averaging a little over 10
    Yards shorter off the tee this week at 290 compared to his average of 301 off the tee last year, and that’s at kapalua where the fairways are wide and ball goes miles. Think he will find the 10 yard loss off the tee will negate any accuracy advantage re: strokes gained driving and we’ll see him back to a 44-45″ driver shortly. Good event to experiment though.

  12. Scott

    Jan 7, 2017 at 7:36 pm

    This is a really great read. Great posts

  13. Golfbuddy

    Jan 7, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    Now that’s the kind of innovation that can make a substantial difference. Manufacturers please take note.

  14. NHR

    Jan 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I have tried this several times. I’m a 53 year old 3 hdcp, and love shorter drivers….until I see how much distance I lose. At 45″ compared to 46 I lose 3-4 mph swing speed, at least 10 yards, and I may hit one more solidly with the shorter driver. Off center hits go farther with the 46″, and accuracy is about the same. It is not the typical response, and it is true only with my driver, an Adams F11 that has a lighter head – 196gm. With an M2 46″ for example I hit it all over the map and shorter than I do with an M1 at 45.5″

  15. Chuck

    Jan 7, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    GolfWRX readers have been hearing the same thing — a moderated version — from Tom Wishon for years. People who want to hit fairways should be playing 43.5 inch drivers. At least recreational players should be. On Tom’s suggestion, I did just that; built a 43.5 inch TM Jetspeed with a DGLite X100. In fact, for the last ten years, my 3-wood has been a TM 200 Tour “Smoothie” with a DGLite X100. I adore the 3 wood. The driver is a work in progress. Thanks to interchangeable hosel sleeves and lead tape, nothing needs to be permanent. (And there are a lot of quality older-model heads for $25-50.)
    If you told me that this year, I would not hit a drive more than 245 yards, but I would hit 90% of fairways, I’d accept it, just to see what my handicap was after a season.

  16. Pingback: 1st-round leader Jimmy Walker finds less is more off the tee | #1 News Source For Teens

  17. mhendon

    Jan 7, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    When I started playing golf all the way back in 1993 the standard length graphite shaft driver was 44 inches. I’ve experimented with 45″ a few times but keep going back to 44″. I feel like I’m not only more accurate but even a little longer at 44.

  18. JR

    Jan 7, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Have always contended that drivers were too long and thus hard to control. Yes there was added distance with the length but at what cost to the avg. golfer–the pro’s not so much as they can usually gouge it out and come out ok, the avg. golfer on the other hand is hurt bigtime when in a rough(a real rough, not some of this 1/4″ longer stuff a lot of courses call rough) and has to get out—try some 3″ Bermuda for rough. Anyway, I think around 44 or 43 1/2 is a good length for the avg. player and will continue to build all sets at this length.

  19. MB

    Jan 6, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    I was on my way to work listing to sirius & Hank Haney today. He went off on JW. saying was a huge mistake on JW cutting shaft length to 42″ he said JW was 26th in field with this setup Hawaii had a lot of wind on 1/5/16.I think Hank was drunk he would not let it go on why thought this was a mistake. Hank is obsessed with length comparing him to Jason day & Dustin Johnson. Jimmy is not short but JD & DJ are different animals Hank is loosing it. He said Short hitter can’t win majors or win on tour? well Jason Duffer is T4th & Fabian Gomez or Jim Herman are not winning long drive competitions.

  20. MB

    Jan 6, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    I was on my way to work listing to sirius & Hank Haney today. He went off on JW. saying was a huge mistake on JW cutting shaft length to 42″ he said JW was 26th in field with this setup Hawaii had a lot of wind on 1/5/16.I think Hank was drunk he would not let it go on why thought this was a mistake. Hank is obsessed with length comparing him to Jason day & Dustin Johnson. Jimmy is not short but JD & DJ are different animals Hank is loosing it.

  21. Bert

    Jan 6, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    I liked the read but wanted more information. Cut 4″ off and you lose 24 swing weights (I may be wrong but it’s allot). Now if Titleist made his new driver at 42″ with a standard head, how did they get the weight back. Rat glue, tip weights, or a heavier head; it would be interesting to know. Part of enjoying the game is enjoying tinkering with the tools!

    • OL

      Jan 7, 2017 at 3:26 am

      May be he should talk to Dechambeau, this driver must be close to what his 3 iron is lol

      • Hack

        Jan 8, 2017 at 5:39 pm

        OL, BBC’s 3 Iron would be 7 iron length so not even close.

  22. Hans

    Jan 6, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    Not sure what’s the narrative here.

    Could be guy goes w very short driver to gain consistency after reviewing stats. Interesting and potentially good.

    Could also be guy wins his first major and makes a big equipment change. How many major winners have fallen down that rabbit hole?

  23. mikee

    Jan 6, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Last time I checked the game was all about fairways and greens. Zak….why don’t you do a comparison with yourself, and a 5 and 10H player using progressively shorter drivers….start at 46 then down by 1″ to 43″….. the data would be interesting…….just like a short hockey stick (for those of you who play or have played hockey) ….lots more control with the shorter stick.

    • Uhit

      Jan 6, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      That is a great idea!

      I found, that I gain no additional distance beyond 45″ lenght.
      The first time I experienced how important the suited shaft is,
      was when I putted a 3 wood shaft (out of curiosity) into my driver, and
      made my longest drive (at that time)…

      …however, meanwhile I found, that it is very much depending on your swing and technique, what type and lenght of shaft is optimal.

      Thus, a comparison would mainly help to get aware of the issue, but (as always) would not replace a individual fitting.

  24. Bishop

    Jan 6, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    I wonder whether or not this “Experiment” was originally alcohol-induced… Jimmy Walker having a bit too much Johnny Walker..?

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Equipment

Titleist releases new Vokey WedgeWorks Limited 60-degree T Grind

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The Vokey SM7 L Grind proved to be a welcome addition for those golfers who were looking to excel around the greens on firm conditions. The enhanced heel, toe and trailing edge grind provided the lowest bounce option available from Titleist upon its release.

Now, Titleist has announced the release of their new Vokey WedgeWorks Limited 60-degree T Grind. Just like the L Grind, the latest release from Titleist is a low-bounce option designed for players with a shallow attack angle playing in firm conditions, however, the new T Grind’s dual-bounce sole allows the wedge to sit closer to the ground, making it easier to get the leading edge under the ball and promoting lift. According to Titleist, the dual bounce sole creates a narrow, forward bounce which helps to provide a gliding sensation.

The new Vokey T Grind proved a popular choice at the Open Championship earlier this year, where the conditions were firm and fast. Charley Hoffman and Cameron Smith were just two of the PGA Tour professionals who decided to put the T Grind into their bag for the test at Carnoustie, and Vokey Tour Rep Aaron Dill explained just why it is such a great option to have on firm golf courses:

“When we arrived at Carnoustie and saw how firm and fast the course was playing, it was clear that the T Grind was going to be a great option. Bob crafted the T Grind to have low bounce that can be easily manipulated while keeping the leading edge close to the turf. It really excels when faced with those hard, unforgiving lies.”

The limited edition 60-degree T Grind features a brand new, ultra-premium Slate Blue finish, and those who desire can even get their T Grind customized. Customers will have the option to avail of Titleist’s personalized stamping of up to 10 characters and in one of 12 paintfill colors.

The Vokey WedgeWorks Limited 60-degree T Grind is available now through Wedgeworks at Vokey.com or by custom order, starting at $250.

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10 of the best historical Ryder Cup-themed apparel and memorabilia finds

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Ryder Cup pandemonium is about to kick in, and there’s plenty of fun souvenirs that golf fans can get their hands on before it all begins.

With just over a week to go until the main event gets underway, we thought we’d take a look at some of the coolest, and rarest, Ryder Cup-themed memorabilia out there.

2018 Ryder Cup 16oz. Pint Glass

Why not start with a product from the 2018 Ryder Cup collection? Featuring the official Ryder Cup logo and the name of the host course, this pint glass is perfect for sipping on a few cold ones while enjoying the three days of action. You can pick one up here.

2014 USA Ryder Cup Team Sweaters

Well, the 2014 Ryder Cup was a bit of a disaster for Team U.S.A, but these Ralph Lauren sweaters featuring the flag of the United States were a success. Even as a European I wanted one. I think I still want one.

1997 Ryder Cup ball markers, pitch repairer, golf tees from Valderrama 

The 1997 Ryder Cup was yet another classic, and this little golf set which is available for under $25, is a nice souvenir for both fans of the Ryder Cup and the great Seve Ballesteros, who captained Team Europe to a memorable victory that year. Check it out here.

1987 Ryder Cup Money Clip

Stepping back in time, this gold money clip featuring details from the 1987 Ryder Cup is an eye catcher, and it’s available here on eBay (Although it’s not exactly cheap!).

2016 Ryder Cup Hazeltine Collector Edition Knit Golf Covers

The 2016 Ryder Cup was a blowout win for the U.S. team, and although most die-hard U.S. fans won’t exactly be rushing to buy Ryder Cup memorabilia from the 21st century, these driver and hybrid headcovers are a definite winner. Check them out here.

2010 Scotty Cameron Ryder Cup Team Europe Blade Putter Headcover

The detail of this headcover is a piece of art. Featuring the European flag and the Welsh dragon, this putter headcover from Titleist is a must for any European fan feeling nostalgic over that victory at Celtic Manor. Available on eBay here.

1995 Ryder Cup Oak Hill Golf Visor Hat

Heres’ another item for the Europeans. Golf visors are quite retro on their own these days, and this visor comes from the 1995 Ryder Cup, which was the first time Europe recovered from a deficit heading into the singles action to win the cup. One of the cheaper selections on this list, you can find it here.

1991 Ryder Cup Programme

The 1991 Ryder Cup, nicknamed ‘The War On The Shore’, was one of the most intense Ryder Cups of all time. This mint condition programme would fit nicely into anyone’s Ryder Cup collection, but especially those from the U.S., whose side triumphed that year. Available here.

2012 Ryder Cup DVD: The Miracle At Medinah

Not exactly rare, but all Team Europe supporters will likely want to re-watch this classic contest at some point in the future. Easy to find and under $10 too.

1999 U.S. Ryder Cup Shirt

I’ve saved the best for last. This shirt will forever be remembered for what is arguably the most well known Ryder Cup moment, Justin Leonard draining a monster putt to set off wild celebrations from Team U.S.A. The shirt, although hideous, is a collectors dream with only 99 in existence. If you manage to stumble upon one, then thank your lucky stars, as earlier this year someone paid almost $4,000 for one. Just let that sink in.

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Apparel Reviews

Adidas introduces new Go-To Adapt Jacket

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“Fall temps could be all over the place.” –Weather Channel

Adidas’ new Go-To Adapt Jacket is designed to be worn when the weather can not make up its mind. The Go-To Adapt Jacket has a polyester top portion of the chest, shoulders and back which allows for better range of motion and body heat release. The bottom portion is made of fleece to help keep your core warm during the cooler morning tee times. Available for both men and women, this jacket has telescoping sleeves, allowing for the sleeves to be rolled up without stretching them out. The sleeves also feature an articulated elbow region, allowing for full range of motion.

Christine Cowan, global director of apparel, Adidas Golf says, “Golfers are used to having apparel that works for the two temperature extremes. But there are days when you need to be able to transition, for example, from a cooler morning to a warmer afternoon. That’s why we created the Go-To Adapt Jacket, to be the ideal mid-weight option that provides optimal stretch where you need it as well as enhanced breathability. It’s that reliable and perfect piece that can take you through your day, on course and off.”

Designed with the golf swing in mind, some of the key features include

  • Quarter Zip (men’s)
  • Full Zip (women’s)
  • Internal headphone pockets
  • Front-zip pockets
  • Telescope cuff (women’s features thumbholes)
  • Articulated elbows for freedom of movement
  • Water-resistant fabric combined with fleece-lined shell for all weather protection
  • Droptail hem for extra coverage
  • Women’s jacket features a more feminine cut and design
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