Selecting the Right Driver Head
Finding the best driver for your game can be a tough decision but here are some helpful tips to get you headed in the right direction.
Selecting the Right Loft
Selecting the right loft for your swing may be the most critical decision in driver selection. The common misconception is that lower loft equals more distance. The truth is actually the opposite for most golfers. Remember this simple statement, "Loft is your friend." We've tested hundreds of golfers with a launch monitor and found that most are playing a driver that has a loft too low to get their greatest potential distance. Below is a simple chart that may help you select the right loft for a driver.
The average male golfer swings his driver at 84mph and hits a 6-iron approximately 145-150 yards. If you don't hit your 6-iron over 150 yards, you are likely to get more distance with more loft on your driver by selecting one that has 10.5° or higher. For this reason, we have expanded our assortment of driver heads in popular Snake Eyes series like the Viper XT, Python XL and Indigo, all of which offer higher loft options.
Today's larger drivers have deeper face heights than drivers from just a few years ago, allowing more impact area above the center of gravity (CG) of the head. This is one of the main reasons PGA Tour players have been able to gain distance off the tee. When the ball is contacted above the CG, there is a gear effect that reduces backspin. For tour players that are swinging over 100mph, that's a good thing. They're getting the magic formula of high launch and high ball velocity with low backspin. What the average 80-90mph male golfer needs to keep in mind is the reduced backspin off the larger driver may lead to shorter drives if the launch angle is not high enough to keep the ball in the air.
In general, keeping the ball in the air longer pays off in more distance than a lower ball that depends on roll. Remember this as you make your loft selection. Even many of the tour players who were playing 8° to 9 ° drivers a couple of years ago are switching to driver lofts of 9.5° to 10.5°. You may benefit from one or two degrees higher loft on your driver, too.
Selecting the Right Design
The first thing you need to know when selecting a driver design is what you want to improve. The easiest way to find models that fit your needs is to use our Component Performance Matching (CPM) ratings to help with your selection. Each of our head models has a rating for trajectory, forgiveness and workability noted by color-coded ratings at the bottom of each head's web page.
The two most important performance factors that help most golfers are trajectory and forgiveness. If your natural ball flight is low, look for a driver with a high (HI) trajectory rating. If you tend to hit the ball off-center more often than not, look for a driver head that has a maximum (MAX) forgiveness rating as well. The general rule is to play the largest driver head you can control.
Next, find a model that fits your directional needs. Don't forget about offset as an option in your driver. If you tend to slice or fade the ball, you may benefit from driver heads that feature an offset hosel design and a closed face. Offset is a bigger influencer of ball flight on a wood than it is on an iron due to the significant change in rearward CG location. This is one improvement that you will notice immediately upon making a change.
Hopefully these pointers will help you choose the right driver head, whether you're looking to improve your game or just get the ultimate satisfaction of helping others.