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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 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.

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Colin

    Feb 19, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    I’m still working on what suits me best but, a purple ice shaft 65gms stiff works better than regular. I like to feel the head so changed from weight from 2 to 8gms, but still a work in progress lol

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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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Whats in the Bag

Jon Rahm’s winning WITB: 2021 U.S. Open

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Driver: Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS (10.5 degrees @10.2) (Std. CG, 7 GF, 7 GB)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX (45.25 inches, tipped 1 inch, D4)

3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Sub Zero Triple Diamond T (@14.2 degrees) (14 GF, 10 GB)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green 75 TX (43.25 inches, tipped 1.5 inches, D3.25)

5-wood: Callaway Epic Speed Sub Zero Triple Diamond T (@18.1 degrees) (14 GF, 12 GB)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI (Black) 8 X (42 inches, tipped 2 inches, D4)

Irons: Callaway Apex TCB (4-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: Callaway Jaws Forged “Rahmbo” (52-10, 56-12, 60-10)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG Rossie S (Micro Hinge Star insert, steel stepped shaft, 37 inches, 2.5-degrees loft, 68-degree lie, 544 grams overall weight)
Grip: Odyssey 56 pistol

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X (2020) #10

Grips: Golf Pride MCC (red/black)

(Photo via Callaway’s Johnny Wunder)

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Driver: Ping G400 (9 degrees @8.75) (D4)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 S (45 inches, tipped 1.5 inch)

3-wood:  TaylorMade SIM2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 7.2 X

7-wood: Ping G425 Max (20.5 degrees @19.25)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Red 9 X

Irons: Ping Blueprint (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (4-PW)

Wedges:  Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth Wedges (50-SS, 54-SS), Ping Prototype Glide Forged Pro (60-TS)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Ping PLD Voss Prototype
Shaft: Stability Shaft Tour
Grip: Ping PP58 midsize full cord

Grips: SwitchGrips ER

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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Mackenzie Hughes WITB 2021 (June)

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Driver: Ping G425 LST (10.5 degrees @10, CG shifter neutral, D4+)
Shaft: UST Mamiya LIN-Q Blue 7F5 (44.75 inches, tipped 1 inch)

3-wood: Ping G425 MAX (14.5 degrees @14, small -, D2+)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 70 6.5 TX (tipped 1.5 inch)

5-wood: Ping G425 MAX (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Green 80 6.5 TX (tipped 2 inches)

Irons: Ping i500 (3), Ping i210 (4-6), S55 (7-PW)
Shaft: Aldila Tour Green Hybrid (3), Project X 6.5, D2, +.25″,

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth (52-SS, 56-WS, 60-SS)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Ping Scottsdale TR Piper C

Grips: Golf Pride Multi Compound Black/Blue 60R (+3RH, +2LH)

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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