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Is Your Driver Shaft Too Long? (Hint: It Probably Is)

Do you struggle for consistency off the tee? Then shortening your driver shaft could be the answer. Here’s why.

Do you struggle for consistency off the tee?

Fed up having to take a provisional because yet another ball has sliced its way into the woods?

You’re not alone.

In fact, keeping the driver in play is probably the #1 problem for mid to high handicappers.

There’s a common saying in golf that the game is played from 150 yards and in. Which sounds good, but if you’re always hitting your third shot from 150 on a par 4, then you’re fighting a losing battle right?

So what’s the answer?

Well, they say a good tradesman never blames his tools. But the truth is, if you bought your driver in the past 5 years or so, then your club might well be the problem.

Why?

Because it’s probably too long.

Let me explain.

The Quest For ‘Distance’

Driver shafts are getting longer.

And that’s because, at least in theory, a longer shaft will produce more clubhead speed, and a longer drive.

So putting a longer shaft in their brand new driver, allows manufacturers to claim that it’s their longest driver yet.

For every extra mile of clubhead speed, you’ll get about 3.16 extra yards. And who doesn’t want extra yards right?

Well, there’s a problem:

That extra distance assumes that you’ll be hitting the ball in the center of the face (or actually just above it) every time. And actually, a slower swing hit on the sweet spot can fly further than a faster swing hit off center.

So the question is do you hit the ball on the sweetspot every time?

Me neither.

How Long Are Stock Driver Shafts?

Most stock driver shafts these days are between 45″ and 46″.

I currently play the new Ping G400, which is 45.75″ off the rack.

What Length Of Driver Shaft Do The Pros Use?

There’s a bit of a debate about this.

But most pros play a driver with a shaft length between 43.5″ and 45″.

Here are a few we have stats for:

  • Bubba Watson’s driver is 44.5
  • Rickie Fowler’s driver is 43.5
  • Jordan Spieth’s driver is 45

Now one thing is for sure: pros want more distance.

Bashing the ball out an extra 10-20 yards can give you a serious advantage on the tour.

So why are they using shorter driver shafts than us mere mortals?

Because every time you make the driver shaft longer you give up control. You make it harder to hit, and your misses are ampified.

And while the pros are happy to hit out of the rough, even one ball lost OB can be a card killer.

So, Should You Shorten Your Driver Shaft?

In a word, yes. Or at least probably.

As I’ve already stated, a shorter driver shaft will give you more control. The longer your driver shaft, the more your swing faults will be exaggerated.

Assuming you don’t make any other adjustments, your driver shaft will also be stiffer, which will impart less spin on the ball. The result: less curving right and left.

And potentially…

More distance.

How To Shorten Your Driver Shaft

Can you shorten your driver yourself?

Well, yes. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

Most pro shops will shorten your driver and put a new grip on for around $15. Which is money well spent.

And for a few extra bucks they can also adjust the swing weight back to what it was before the shortening (cutting down your driver will lighten the swing weight).

What Happened When I Shortened My Driver Shaft

As I mentioned above, I currently play a Ping G400. A couple of weeks back, after a round of wild tee shot after wild tee shot, I decided to bite the bullet and get it shortened.

I asked them to take 1.5″ off, which took it down to 44.25″.

The result?

Well, it took me a round to get used to…

But in my second round (9 holes) I shot my best score to date. A 1 over, 35 for 9 holes. And that’s with a 3 putt on the 9th!

Did I lose distance?

No. In fact, if anything I gained distance from hitting the sweetspot more regularly. I’m not a huge hitter, but was consistently getting 240-250 measured with my golf GPS.

How about accuracy?

I hit 6/7 fairways with the driver. And the one I missed was still playable in the left rough. It was a bit of an overdraw (started center and tailed off left), and I know for a fact that with the longer shaft my ball would have been a goner.

Overall my swing felt more compact and comfortable.

And for the first time in months, I had confidence on the tee.

Do Other Golfers Agree?

I asked for feedback from r/golf (Reddit’s golf sub) about whether they agreed that cutting down the driver was a good idea.

Overall, the answer was yes, but there were a few who disagreed. You can read the thread here.

Over To You!

If you’re fed up losing balls off the tee, then shortening your driver shaft might be a good call.

I tried it, and it worked for me.

But if you’re not sure, then ask your local pro for his or her advice.

Any questions? Leave a comment below, then head over to our golf section for more golf tips, tutorials, and advice.

Written by
David McSweeney

NoobNorm co-founder David writes about golf, fitness, and photography. He regularly tests new golf training aids, swing theories, and the latest DSLR and action cameras.

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Written by David McSweeney