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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.

34 Comments

34 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”.

  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

Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron Concept 2 NB

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Scotty Cameron T5W

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

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Kevin Chappell WITB 2017

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Equipment is accurate as of the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open (10/30/17).

Driver: Taylormade M1 2017 (9.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Aldila X-Torsion Copper 70TX

3 Wood: Taylormade M1 2017 (15 Degrees)
Shaft: Aldila X-Torsion Green 80TX

5 Wood: Taylormade M1 2017 (19 Degrees)
Shaft: Aldila X-Torsion Green 80TX

Driving Iron: Miura MG ICL-601 (20 Degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Irons: Miura MG CB-1008 (4, 5) Miura MB-5003 (6-PW)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Wedges: Titleist Vokey (48-06), King Cobra (52, 56), Callaway MD3 Milled (60-08 C Grind)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T TM5
Grip: Golf Pride Tour SNSR

Related:

1e7148270d0d4644c9f3c030780dd111 5b9a3767d82d58ee0c6c972013181515 9ab1d291ae2a301fd0bd5ce9f9d4bcca 555096c46cba0bdcba530633617bf8d0 163644fe042ce83ec9ff313a0ca501e6 de384e80debd12f44165e53eeea873ec e54795118bc29475a8f69a856d4fa344 bea22f2547cba66c0c56d201ec7ff9d6 103e96a780ff16a480181fa2814943a8 435f1996f390435cff8e38d63659a887 9543f1ea922775616a7c4990919ddf79

Discussion:  See what GolfWRX members are saying about Chappell’s clubs.

 

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Chris Kirk WITB 2017

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2017 RSM Classic (11/13/17).

Driver: Taylormade M1 2017 (9.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 60TX

3 Wood: Taylormade M2 2016 (13 Degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana Blue 80TX

Hybrid: Taylormade M2 2017 (19 Degrees)
Shaft: KBS Tour Hybrid Prototype 95X

Driving Iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC FLI-HI 3 Iron
Shaft: Project X LZ 6.5 125

Irons: Mizuno MP-18 (4-9)
Shaft: Project X LZ 6.5 125

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (48-10F, 54-10S, 60-04L)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T Newport Mid-Slant
Grip: Scotty Cameron Standard Pistol

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T Laguna One Six
Grip: Scotty Cameron Custom Shop Pistol

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

WITB Notes: Kirk has been spotted testing two different putters. We’ll update this post when he’s made a decision. 

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Kirk’s clubs.

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