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It might be a good idea to cut down your driver

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There are a lot of ways to adjust your clubs at home with some simple tools, and one of the easiest jobs for the DIY golfer is cutting down clubs, especially cutting down a driver, and installing a new grip.

Cutting down a driver will have a number of impacts including making the driver more accurate because at a shorter length it is easier to control and make contact in the middle of the face.

PGA Tour driver length

Bryson DeChambeau testing a longer driver

On the PGA Tour, the average driver length is 45″, even though some golfers like Bryson DeChambeau with a Cobra SpeedZone and Adam Scott with a Titleist TSi4 *Prototype, have recently experimented with drivers close to the 48″ USGA limit to help pick up extra speed. Even Phil Mickelson has transitioned to a 47.5″ driver for extra speed, and has been using it on the Champions Tour and recently at The Match 3.

The longer driver theory works well for stronger and highly skilled players because of their ability to control a longer and heavier club at higher speeds, but for average golfers and most recreational players, this extra length means bigger misses and doesn’t always lead to extra speed—this is why playing a shorter length can help most golfers.

More on PGA Tour driver length: PGATour.com – Are long drivers here to stay?

Buying a new Driver

If you are buying a new driver, you can custom order any length you want through your retailer and the driver will be adjusted before final assembly. If you are buying a “stock” driver, most in the marketplace are now between 45.5″ and 46″ and many golfers struggle to control the club at those lengths. This is why many golfers choose to cut down their stock driver after purchase between 1″ and 1.5″.

What happens when you cut down a driver

When you cut down any club, especially a driver, it will feel lighter without any adjustment because you have moved the mass of the club closer to your hands. Just like a fulcrum scale used to measure mass, the closer the mass—in this case, the driver’s head gets to the fulcrum of the scale, the lighter it will “feel” to the golfer—this is called swing weight.

Thanks to adjustable drivers, it is easy to get extra weights from a manufacturer to help the driver feel the same before it was cut down, and as a general rule, for every 1″ you cut, you have to replace 12g back into the head,

To get an idea of what swing weight is, check out the video below that covers the subject.

TXG Driver length test

To see a shorter driver put to the test, check out the video by the team at TXG, where they compare a standard length 45″ driver to a 43″ driver and how they compare for distance and accuracy.

 

 

 

 

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Rick James

    Dec 20, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Having spent time w/ Launch Monitor outputs I realized neutral face to path w/ driver is where its all at and I could do that w/ shorter lengths. I found better zones of contact on the face too w/ shorter lengths too that helped reduce spin. I tried to use 2.51 yds per MPH of clubhead speed to gauge if the length was giving me efficient results. I found shorter length was consistent.

  2. PSG

    Dec 10, 2020 at 9:41 am

    This article is fine, except for the part where you say a player might not pick up extra speed.

    Every half-inch is worth around 1.5 mph, for everyone. They might not pick up distance (because they don’t hit the middle) but every single human on earth swings a 48″ lever faster than a 45″ lever. That part is a little misleading.

  3. Ryan Hurley

    Dec 9, 2020 at 2:37 pm

    I work as a club fitter and see so many people come in with the notion they need longer drivers to match their longer irons

  4. Griff

    Dec 8, 2020 at 10:52 am

    I went from a M3 at 45.75 to an Epic sub zero cut -1 inch to 44.5 and I hit it better than any driver I’ve ever had. Hitting it in the sweet spot more often…I’m longer and more accurate. Gone from a 8 to a 5 handicap. Distance is not the issue for me…squeezing another 10 yards out of a driver is irrelevant b/c most of the time I’m hitting some type of wedge into the green. If I’m in play I’m going to score well. I’ve always struggled with driver consistency and cutting it shorter has really changed things without any performance drop off.

  5. JK

    Dec 7, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    Yup – cut down my Cobra F9 driver to play 44 5/8. added some swing weight to get it to D1 & drove the ball better this year than last 5 years.

  6. Imafitter

    Dec 7, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    LOL! I’ve been advocating this for years, and before I just retired from fitting, I had every customer, especially seniors, try shorter shafts. My Ping G400MAX comes standard with a 45.75″ shaft & D3, and when I was fitted by Ping at the PGA Show, they recommended 45″, which I ordered. This summer for fun I replaced the shaft with a Mits Diamana at 44″ and experimented with the weight which is now D0. Not only am I hitting it straighter, but longer than most of my senior league (and the 45″ shaft)! Others have hit my driver and done the same or similar adjustments. Amateurs need to get fit, quit buying off the rack, and experiment with different lengths.

  7. Martin

    Dec 7, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    Its wrong. Its not 12 grams per inch. Its actually 1.6 gram per swing weight. Does it matter? Yes, to some it does, cause we are all different and some of us are extremely sensitive to even the slightest weight difference. So if you cut down a driver 1 inch you the swing weight becomes 6 weights lighter, so to figure out how many grams you need to add you need 6×1.6 grams added to the head of the driver.

    • Ted Noel

      Jan 11, 2021 at 9:49 am

      Actually, we aren’t sensitive to “swing weight.” We are sensitive to “Dynamic Moment of Inertia.” SW is only the functional equivalent of DMOI at identical club lengths. That means if you test 6-irons and find the one you like, your progressive length set will feel best at the 6-iron, and all the rest will feel less good. That’s because to keep DMOI the same through the irons, you need to change head weight by about 9 grams per 1/2 inch change in length. To keep SW the same, the change is about 7 grams per 1/2 inch. This is another reason single length irons work so well. They all feel the same, just like Bobby Jones’ clubs.

      Ultimately, the best measurement point for DMOI is from about 4″ from the butt end, which puts it between your hands, which is the physical hinge point. Using that point, I can match your entire set so that you won’t be able to tell which club you are swinging blindfolded.

      Issues of flex and torque are separate concerns from DMOI and SW.

  8. Mike C

    Dec 6, 2020 at 6:02 am

    By 2022 half the players on the PGA tour will be using a driver between 47”-48” long. Eventually 47 1/2 inches will be the standard on tour and for off the rack purchases. I’m currently experimenting with a 48 inch Krank driver. So far so good.

    • phizzy

      Jan 5, 2021 at 5:50 pm

      I’d like to see how straight you hit that driver, lol

  9. Charles Mclaughlin

    Dec 6, 2020 at 1:34 am

    You can also grip your club an inch or two lower.

    • Jay

      Dec 10, 2020 at 11:37 pm

      The problem with gripping down is you change the swing weight dramatically. When cutting down a driver, you want to restore the SW to your optimal.

  10. Tyler Durden

    Dec 5, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Just cutting off some length off the butt of your driver is a good way to ruin a club

    • Alan Garner

      Dec 7, 2020 at 3:57 pm

      Agreed, gripping down is a far safer and prsctical way. I do this on tight fairways and when hitting into the wind. Then you have the option to grip back up when the fairway is wide open and there is little trouble to give the ball maximum pencil! #bombs

      • Tyler Durden

        Dec 8, 2020 at 4:22 pm

        Exactly. I once had a GBB 8 degree driver with a aldila Longwood shaft at 47.5”. I could crank drives out at the full length, and found that I could grip down to the grip end and be more consistent than with my 3 wood. In my infinite wisdom, I was choking down pretty much every tee shot, so I decided to just cut off an inch. Long story short, totally ruined the feel of the driver, and two more purchases of the longwood shaft didn’t recreate the original feel.

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Equipment

You can (finally!) buy Rickie Fowler’s Rev33 irons: Cobra releasing limited RF Proto irons

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After much anticipation, Cobra Golf is set to release the limited edition RF Proto irons—an exact replica of the Rev33 irons developed and used by Rickie Fowler on the PGA Tour.

Rickie worked closely with long-time Director of Tour Operations, Ben Schomin from start to finish to create an iron that offered him everything he ever wanted from looks, to feel, and, ultimately, performance.

The Rev33 stamp is a nod to 33 iterations the iron went through before the final design was selected.

 “We worked closely with Rickie to determine his favorite features of several of his previous sets that we were able to combine into one very sleek package. These are a must-own for better players who appreciate the finest of iron craftmanship or Rickie fans who would jump at the opportunity to own the same sticks their favourite player uses.”
– Ben Schomin

If you are looking for a full in-depth discussion with Ben on the irons be sure to check out our piece from when Rickie originally put them into play: GolfWRX Insider: Inside the development of Rickie Fowler’s Cobra irons

RF Proto technology and design

The set was designed around Rickie’s preferred 7-iron look with a square/straight topline from the longest iron to the pitching wedge, which is unique since most irons progress to a more rounded shape in the shorter irons.

The RF Protos feature a distinct sharp toe profile reminiscent of many classic blades and a zero offset look thanks to a “no-taper” hosel design.

The irons are produced through a two-stage forging process and then 100 percent CNC milled to the final shaping. The milling process alone takes over two and a half hours per iron head to produce the most precise geometry possible.

The final piece of the design is the tungsten weight positioned on the toe of the iron—just like Rickie’s gamers—to locate the center of gravity and deliver a superior feel.

Price, specs, and availability

The RF Proto irons are available in right hand only 4-pitching wedge and will retail for $2,499.

Sets can be pre-0rdered starting today January 25th, at Cobragolf.com with sets shipping out starting January 29th.

The limited-edition irons are shipped in a custom box, which celebrates the partnership between Fowler and Cobra, complete with a card of authenticity autographed by Rickie Fowler.

The standard set components are KBS C-Taper shafts with Golf Pride Align grips fitted with Cobra Connect powered by Arccos, but a full selection of custom shafts and grips and also available.

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New Bridgestone E12 Contact golf ball features tire technology, major performance gains

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It’s not very often that a golf company touts huge technology gains with its mid-level priced products. Large scale changes are generally reserved for the premium price point and performance category, and then those technologies funnel down to the mid-price point in the next generation.

Bridgestone is flipping that model on its head, however, with the release of the all-new e12 Contact, which looks to offer one of the biggest performance jumps in the mid-price golf ball category ever developed.

Bridgestone e12: The science

The focus for Bridgestone with the e12, just like it was for the re-engineered Tour B series and its ReActive cover in 2020, is contact science—it’s where the e12 Contact derived its name from.

“Bridgestone has long been a pioneer in bringing to market unique dimple shapes, sizes and constructions in the golf industry, but up until this point that has primarily been a means of achieving optimal aerodynamic performance,”
-Elliot Mellow, Golf Ball Marketing Manager for Bridgestone Golf.
“In the new e12 CONTACT, dimples actually serve as a source of increased power and distance as well. They also contribute to minimizing hooks and slices, making the newest e12 a golf ball that provides performance you can actually see in terms of straight distance.”

The breakthrough comes in the form of a new dimple design to increase the ball contacting the face for both soft feel and additional distance. The new dimple design places a raised area in the middle of the traditional dimple, which when hit with a direct force, creates a whopping 38 percent for more face contact at impact.

  • This face contact and compression promotes a longer amount of time for the ball to stay on the face resulting in more efficient energy transfer to engage the core layer of the ball which from Bridgestone’s testing has resulted in a gain of over 1.5 mph ball speed.
  •  On the other end of the spectrum, in the short game, the additional contact helps increase spin in the scoring clubs and compared to the previous generation results in over 600 rpm more spin.
  • Although less scientific, Bridgestone also says that many players will experience a benefit when putting thanks to improved putter face contact.

Why not put this into a premium ball?

This is the million-dollar (or millions and millions of dollars) question, and it actually has a fairly simple answer—the new dimple design increases the peak trajectory of the e12 Contact and also makes it fly straighter. This makes it the perfect fit for a golf ball designed to enhance distance and reduce total golf ball curvature but less ideal for a tour-level ball designed for maximum trajectory control.

I realize that makes it sound like a negative, but in reality, it’s the exact opposite—the engineers at Bridgestone have closely analyzed the target golfers and designed a ball to fit their needs. The new e12 Contact is so efficient at creating the desired results from both distance and scoring clubs, they have eliminated the previous “Speed” and “Soft” balls and made one better with the e12 Contact.

Price and availability

The new Bridgestone e12 Contact will be available at retail and online starting February 26 at the price of $29.99 a dozen.

Beyond the traditional white version, the e12 Contact will also be available in Matte Green, Matte Red and Matte Yellow color options.

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2021 Mizuno ST-X and ST-Z drivers, fairway woods: Moving Mizuno woods forward

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Since 2019 and the launch of the ST190 series, Mizuno has quickly changed the perception around its metal woods. With the new ST-X and ST-Z drivers, along with the new ST-Z fairway woods for 2021, it is once again proving Mizuno isn’t just an iron company anymore.

The ST-X and ST-Z drivers represent the next evolution for Mizuno and are a culmination of a focused team effort to prove that, when side by side with the industry leaders, Mizuno drivers can both compete and win the battle of ball speed, spin, and dispersion.

A global effort to produce better (The “how’d we get here?”)

As a global brand, Mizuno used to have a small issue with market segmentation when it came to its club releases, meaning that depending on where you were in the world, there were different metal wood sub-brands to cater to various consumers.

This worked OK for the individual markets, but overall, it wasn’t working worldwide for one simple reason—more designs meant Mizuno engineers had to stretch their biggest resource, time, thinner. It also didn’t create a lot of continuity in the products, which from a consumer-level, always made it feel like Mizuno’s approach was just “let’s give this a try!”and it really wasn’t working.

This brings us to the “New Mizuno.” Since the original ST190 series was released in 2019 (don’t forget development started long before the release date), Mizuno has had a fully dedicated team in place working on metal wood development and technology. This has allowed engineers to work tirelessly on creating drivers that win on both a technology front as well and where it matters most: in fittings and on the course where golfers care about performance.

The technology inside the 2021 Mizuno ST-Z and ST-X drivers

  • SAT2041 beta-titanium faces: This titanium material is not new to the world of aerospace engineering, but as golf clubs are concerned, it had mostly been found previously in high-end JDM (Japanese domestic Market) drivers because of cost but was first used last year in the ST200 series drivers. SAT2041 has higher strength and rebound properties allowing Mizuno engineers to improve the multi-thickness areas behind the face for higher ball speed, and save mass to reposition around the head.

  • New CorTech face design: Now, speaking to the faces, thanks in part to the material and Mizuno engineers’ ability to tweak and adjust based on continuous R&D, the faces of the ST-Z and ST-X drivers have been made thinner in certain areas to further optimize CT and COR, which contributes to more consistent ball speeds and additional discretionary mass.

  • Using discretionary mass differently: A few grams here or there mean a lot in the golf club design world, especially when it comes to drivers. Mizuno shaved mass around the head to boost MOI in both of the new drivers and create performance separation in how they will work best for the intended players. Both of the new drivers have a carbon crown and also feature carbon panels around the sole skirt to help precisely locate the center of gravity.

Meet the 2021 Mizuno drivers

Mizuno ST-Z driver

The ST-Z replaces the ST200 and has been designed to offer the highest MOI possible without sacrificing lower spin—this driver is all about stability. Mass saved around the head, thanks to the carbon panels, along with the better-optimized face has allowed the designers to position the CG as close as possible to the neutral axis, to raise MOI, and create a neutrally biased driver. 

Compared to the ST-X, the Z is longer heel to toe and slightly shallower to once again use any and all available options to maximize performance and playability.

Mizuno ST-X driver

Although the new STX driver shares a similar name to the previous ST200X designed to be an exclusively lighter weight draw-biased driver, the new STx is for any golfer seeking slightly more spin compared to the STz and also greater workability, thanks to a center of gravity positioned slightly more forward and closer to the shaft.

From the bottom, the easy way to separate the ST-X from the Z is the reduced amount of carbon on the sole and slightly more heel-biased back weight to aid the engineers in repositioning the CG.

The ST-X’s slightly deeper face and shorter heel-to-toe length help to make the driver ever so slightly more draw-biased than the ST-Z but also happens to make the driver more workable.

For those still in need of a premium lightweight option, the new ST-X has the ability to be built to a lighter and longer spec similar to the ST200X thanks to the adjustable weight in the sole, which goes from a stock 11-gram weight to just four grams when built to J-Spec. This brings the head weight to 194 grams vs. 201 grams in the standard ST-X configuration and 204 in the ST-Z. When matched with the M-Fusion shaft, you get a driver that competes against any other in the ultra-lightweight category.

2021 Mizuno STX and STZ drivers prices, specs, and availability

The ST-X and ST-Z stock shaft options are directly driven from popular profiles on tour and feature a familiar story of high, mid, and low launch. The drivers will also carry a fourth shaft option, which is a carryover from the previous ST200X.

High Launch – Project X Riptide CB 50g and 60g

Mid Launch – Fujikura MotoreX F3 60g

Low Launch – ProjectX HZRDUS RDX Smoke Black 60g

High Launch and ultra-lightweight – M-Fusion

Mizuno will also continue to offer upcharge shafts options including:

  • Tensei CK Pro Orange and White 60 and 70g
  • Fujikura Ventus Blue and Black 60 and 70g
  • Graphite Design Tour AD Di6 & 7 along with XC6 & 7

STX and STZ drivers will be priced at – $399.99

The Mizuno STX and Z driver’s pre-sale starts today January 25th, with products on retail shelves starting February 18.

Mizuno ST-Z fairway woods

Technology and design

  • 3rd gen MAS1C high strength steel face: Last year, with the ST200, Mizuno completely overhauled the internal structure of its fairway woods, and the ST-Z is the next evolution. Similar to the driver, engineers have improved the CorTech multi-thickness pads behind the hitting area to raise ball speeds while also improving sound and feel

  • Carbon crown: When it works, it works, and the carbon steel crown of the ST-Z fairway woods reduces mass from higher in the head and gives the engineers the ability to better position it to deliver the performance variables they are searching for.

  • New shaping: After all the material and sciencey stuff were figured out, the last part of the new fairway woods to consider was the shape. It seems simple, but the shape not only has a huge impact on the club’s physical performance, but it plays a major factor in how golfers perceive it in the address position. The leading edge and the hosel transition have been adjusted to appeal to the target players and make it more efficient from the turf, which is where most players will use their fairway woods the most.

Specs, prices, and availability

The ST-Z fairway woods will be available in the lofts of 15 and 18 degrees, and with Mizuno’s Quick Switch adjustability, the fairway woods can go up and down two additional degrees.

The stock shaft configurations for the ST-Z will be the Fujikura MotoreX 7 in stiff flex and the ProjectX RipTide CB in regular.

The ST-Z fairway woods are priced at $299.99 with pre-sale and fitting tools available starting today January 25th with the product on retail shelves on February 18.

 

 

 

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