The short answer is yes but not in the way you might think. Today I watched a video with Luke Williams from Callaway introducing the new RAZR X driver for 2012 and in the video Luke talks about the 46 inch shaft, (yep 46 inches) installed there to get you increased clubhead speed and thus more distance.
Granted that caveman mentally of “Me hit you hard Unga Bunga” is inside all of us. But it’s not all about raw distance. Look at the caveman’s club for instance, shorter for power plus accuracy. Even they had their physics correct.
Most of the top name drivers in the shops this year have shafts measuring between 45 and 46 inches and there are even a few longer than that. However the average shaft length on the European and PGA Tours is 44 inches with some of the very best players having even shorter shafts. The question is which driver of these two do you want?
Pic: Bubba long. 143 rd in driving accuracy. Of 14 drives, 7 will finish in rough
A: With this 46 inch driver you will splay the ball left and right but 1 in 5 you will catch sweet and it will go 2 yards further.*
B: With this 44 inch driver you are 28% more likely to hit the fairway and 4 out of 5 times you will hit it further than your bomber mate who will be stuck in the rough.*
If you’re answer is A, thanks for your time. If your answer is B you’re with the pro’s who use drivers 1.5 inches shorter than shop models. Are all the pros dummies? Surely there losing 10 yards?
Sorry to argue with the big companies on this one but I do loads of Tour player what’s in the bags and the scientist in me has to tell you that the formula
longer shaft = faster swing = longer distance = fairway is INCORRECT
longer shaft = faster swing = longer distance = some fairway + a lot of rough is CORRECT
shorter shaft = fast accurate swing = more sweet spot = long distance = fairway is CORRECT!
And what’s more I will make a prediction now. “Driver shaft length will be reduced by the Biggest Golf Companies in the near future and they will market heavily “The far increased accuracy” of the shorter shaft!
*Read the excellent article on testing long and short shafts carried out by mygolfspy here.
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