Drive Golf Performance Blog

Drive Golf Performance Blog

Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012 in Pictures

Here are some of the photographic highlights of 2012. 12 Photos, one for each month.

 January at TPI, Chris Tidland, Dr. Greg Rose, Keith Coveney

 Early Spring sunrise on the 3rd hole at Cork GC

Spring Rainbows over the 1st and 16th at Cork GC

Shinnecock Hills 18th hole with 9th green and clubhouse to the right

 Indicative of this year's Irish Summer, golfers braving the elements at the 1st at Cork GC

Seve Inspired Victory at the Ryder Cup in September

Advice from Michael Hebron at the World Golf Fitness Summit

Summer's evening golf 5th tee, Cork GC

 12th Tee Old Head Golf Links in October

 Night Golf in Abu Dhabi at Yas Links in November

 5th hole at Saadiyat Beach GC with multiple shades of blue

Finishing off with inspiration from Pooh and Piglet!!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Titanium versus Persimmon

Modern driver technology has moved along substantially in the last 30 years. Lee Trevino was the first major winner with a metal driver when he won the 1984 PGA Championship with a Taylor Made Driver. The last major won with a persimmon driver was Bernhard Langer’s win at the 1993 Masters.

A question that arises is what is the difference between today’s drivers and drivers of 25 years ago? How differently do they perform? How much better are today’s drivers and why are they better?

A few days ago I took out my Tony Penna persimmon driver and my current Titleist 913D3 driver. I recorded the shots on the TrackMan 111 launch monitor and in this blog post will look at and interpret the results.

The Tony Penna driver has 10.5 degrees of loft and is 43.5 inches in length. It has an Aildila low torque graphite shaft with a frequency of 274cpm making it relatively stiff. The grip is a leather grip. The club weighs 346 grams and has a D2 swingweight.

The Titleist 913D3 driver has 9.5 degrees of loft and is 45 inches, has a Matrix F7M2 ltd graphite shaft with a frequency of 255cpm, making it slightly softer than the persimmon’s shaft. The grip is a Golf Pride. The club weighs 330 grams and also has a D2 swingweight.

Here’s a nice side by side comparison of the two illustrating the difference in size of the two heads, the persimmon is around 250cc whereas the 913 is 445cc around 80% bigger!!!
I hit 10 balls with each driver using the Titleist ProV1 ball and another 10 with each driver using the Titleist ProV1x ball.

I also hit some Titleist Tour Balata balls with each driver but did get enough data to make comparisons. Shortly I will do some comparisons between the older and newer balls.

Here are the results;
Club Speed (mph)
Ball Speed (mph)
Launch Angle
Spin Rate
Total Distance(y)
Pro V1
37 right
Pro V1
25.9 right
Pro V1x
28.4 right
Pro V1x
12.8 left

Clubhead speed is higher with the 913 probably due to the lighter weight 330 grams compared to 346 grams, 4.8% lighter. A reduction in weight can make it easier to swing a club faster. The speed is approximately 7% faster (7.2% with pro v1 and 6.7% with pro v1x). The other slight gain in speed would come from the slightly longer shaft 45 inches as opposed to 43.5 inches. The higher ball speed comes from the higher swing speed. 

Launch angles in both clubs are similar. Spin rates are better with the Tony Penna, 9.6% lower with the Pro V1 and 11.4% lower with the Pro V1x and are closer to optimal than the rates from the 913.
Carry distance is 22.7 yards (9.95%) further with the 913 and Pro V1 and 17.1 yards (7.3%) with the 913 and Pro V1x. Total distance is 16.1 yards (6.3%) with the 913/Pro V1 and 9.9 yards (3.8%) with the 913/Pro V1x. The Tony Penna carries less but runs further due to lower spin rates and lower trajectory height.

The Titleist 913 performs much better on carry distance and overall distance. The Tony Penna performs very well on a number of fronts, spin rates are better, dispersion and conversion from club speed to ball speed to also better than expected. This is notable because due to the higher COR (coefficient of restitution) in titanium heads compared to persimmon we would expect to see a better conversion in the Titleist. Surmising I would say that the shorter shaft made it easier to hit a centred strike with the Tony Penna. Potentially the smaller head could also have focused the swing into striking the centre more often. The dispersion data also backs up this theory as the Tony Penna is without doubt less forgiving and off centre hits result in much worse results but the dispersion shows the Tony Penna results closer to the target line.

In conclusion, newer drivers are easier to hit, i.e. give much better results on mishits, carry the ball further and give more overall distance. They are the second biggest factor in the big jump in distance golfers are hitting it. The biggest factor is the ball (this will be explored in an upcoming blog post). However persimmon drivers have some very good uses. Spin rates are lower with them and the less forgiving club forces a player to learn how to strike it better. A good idea would be to practice occasionally with a persimmon club. As soon as you return to your modern driver it will feel like it’s impossible to miss with it!!    

Sunday, 23 December 2012

A Note on Driver Length

One of the interesting equipment stories of the year was that Luke Donald started using a driver that was 43.5 inches in length. What is interesting about this is most of the rack drivers are 45-46 inches in length and some are even 47 inches. The average shaft length of a driver on the PGA Tour is 44.5 inches. 

Why are standard drivers longer than the average used on the PGA Tour? Its simple longer drivers will hit the ball longer given a centred strike. Distance is what sells. Here’s the issue, longer drivers are more difficult to hit out of the centre than shorter drivers. Centred hits go further and straighter. So will longer drivers actually hit the ball further?

On TrackMan earlier today I hit 10 drives with my normal 45 inch Titleist 913D3 driver and 10 drives with a 43.5 inch shaft. 43.5 inches is the normal 3 wood length. I used the same ball, Titleist Pro V1x. The head, 913D3 9.5 degrees, stayed the same. I just interchanged the shafts from my normal 45 inch Graphite Design Tour AD Di7 S-flex to a 43.5 inch Project X 8C4 6.0 (S) Flex. The Tour AD is 75 grams and the 8C4 is 80 grams.

For the Tour AD the results were as follows

Attack Angle: ‐0.7 Club Path: ‐1.6 Face to Path: ‐1.2 Club Head Speed: 102.7mph Ball Speed: 149.8mph Launch Angle: 12.4 Spin Rate: 2604 Carry: 243.9y Total: 261.1y
Dispersion was from 7 yards left to 12 yards right, taking out the two worst (27 yards left and 17 yards right)

For the Project X the results were as follows

Attack Angle: ‐1.1 Club Path: ‐1.1 Face to Path: ‐1.2 Club Head Speed: 102.3mph Ball Speed: 149.2mph Launch Angle: 11.2 Spin Rate: 2494 Carry: 244.0y Total: 261.5y
Dispersion was from 8 yards left to 14 yards right, taking out the two worst (15 yards left and 19 yards right)

The results are interesting. The shorter shaft hit the ball slightly longer, a matter of inches (244 to 243.9 carry and 261.5 to 261.1 total), but still longer. In essence there was no loss of distance using a shorter shaft. There was a slight loss of club head speed (0.4 mph less) and ball speed (0.6 mph less); the extra distance came from a slightly lower spin rate (2494 to 2604) probably due to the slightly heavier shaft.

Dispersion was better with the longer shaft 19 yards from left to right as opposed to 22 yards from left to right. Again not a massive difference between the two.

In conclusion going shorter for me won’t lead to a noticeable difference in length or accuracy. My consistency of strike doesn’t vary that much. For others whose strike does vary a little more I would highly recommend going shorter with the driver this will lead to a more consistent strike, meaning more distance and accuracy. 43.5 And 44 inches will work a lot better than 46 and 47 inches. Who wouldn’t want more distance with a club that’s easier to hit?

Welcome to the 0to300 Golf Blog

Welcome to Drive Golf Performance's, 0to300 Golf, blog. Here I will share some thoughts on all aspects of golf. Topics covered will range from instruction to fitness to equipment to junior golf to architecture and beyond. If you have any topic that you would like covered just drop me a line and I'll share my insights on it.