3 Key Specifications of Driver Fitting

Posted by on Jan 27, 2012 in Driver Fitting, Tips | 17 comments

What golfer doesn’t dream of owning that “magic driver” which enables them to hit the ball consistently solid and in play?  Tip number one; the very best driver for every golfer is never selected by its brand or model name or model number.  It is chosen by its custom clubfitting specifications and how those individual factors are matched to the golfer’s size, strength, athletic ability and most of all, to their swing characteristics.  Below, are 3 key specifications for proper Driver fitting, and a couple more for good measure.

Driver Length

It’s time to be blunt.  The standard driver length of 45.5 to 46.5 inches offered by the majority of golf club companies is too long for the majority of golfers and will prevent at least 75% of all golfers from achieving their maximum potential for distance and accuracy.  For men with an average to fast tempo with an outside/in swing path, 44” should be the maximum length; women, 42.5” to 43” should be the limit.  There’s a very good reason the average driver length on the US PGA Tour since 2005 has been 44.5” and not 45.5” to 46.5”.

Driver Loft

Driver loft must be matched in combination to the golfer’s swing speed and their angle of attack into the ball.  The slower the swing speed and the more downward the angle of attack, the higher the loft of the driver has to be for maximum distance – and vice versa.  While each golfer has to be individually analyzed to know which loft brings the most distance, here is a basic chart to use as a guideline.


Driver Swing Speed

  Best Loft for Carry (web  conditions)

Best Loft for Roll Out (dry conditions)






















Based on Level Angle of Attack and Average Wrist-Cock Release Position


Driver Face Angle

Few drivers sold off the shelf offer options in the face angle to reduce the golfer’s tendency to slice or hook the ball.  There is no better way to reduce a slice than to fit the golfer with a more closed face angle in the driver/fairway woods.  For more severe slices, the golfer can be fit with a driver head with both a closed face and an offset hosel design.

The rule of thumb for face angle change?   At a carry distance of 200 yards, each one degree more closed the face angle is than the golfer’s current face angle represents a reduction in the slice of about 4 to 5 yards.

And a Couple More for Covering Your Golfers’ DriverFitting Needs . . .

Total Weight and Swingweight

The stronger the golfer physically and the more aggressively they swing, the heavier the total weight and swingweight will need to be.  The opposite is true for the weaker and much less aggressive swinging player.  Matching the “weights” of the driver to the golfer’s swing strength and aggressiveness is critical for swing tempo consistency and the highest incidence of on-center impacts.


Here’s the facts about the shaft.  While the weight, the overall flex and the stiffness bend profile of the shaft has to be fit properly to all golfers, the shaft flex and bend profile are more important for golfers with a late release of the wrist-cock angle in the downswing than for golfers with an earlier release.

Addressing these three very important elements of driver fitting through proper custom clubfitting can only be done by an experienced custom clubmaker, so FIND A CLUBFITTER near you and you will see dramatic improvements in your driver this year!


  1. I must be the exception to the rule. I am 77 years old, still on single figures. I have an old R7 driver which I have an UST MP5 stiff flex shaft fitted. I have the length of 46.5 fitted. I build my own clubs and have done so for years. I have tried all types of shaft length and flex combinations but this suits me best. I have always hit the ball straight and the local professional told me that the stiff flex shaft suits me because I have a smooth swing. All my playing partners comment about how straight I hit the ball, I usually only miss one fairway a round, so I guess I am lucky. I think the old saying, different strokes for different folks applies.

    • Alan

      At 77 and a single digit player, you ARE most certainly the exception to the rule of golfers ! Good for you and congratulations for that because I am sure you amaze everyone you play with ! As a single digit player who also can build clubs, there is no question this has given you the opportunity to really find out what works best for you and your swing. That’s the great thing about learning to build clubs for your own enjoyment. You really can learn a ton to help you in the game that way. For every golfer there is a distinct combination of club FEEL that best matches with their learned tempo and sense of timing and rhythm in the swing. We can define this feel empirically using several different parameters and length is one of them along with total weight, headweight, balance point, and the moment of inertia of the club too. But you are rare in terms of being able to find that 46.5″ is your best driver length. From my 30+ yrs in fitting research I would say that puts you in a small group that might be 1% of all male golfers at the very most. So, like your single digit handicap at the age of 77, you have one other thing in the game that makes you quite unique !!!

      Best to you in this great game and thanks very much for your interest in the technical side of equipment !

  2. I have five of your drivers (two 959 10/2 degree) (1 919 10 1/2)

    two 11 degree. after reading your article on shafts length .I will have mine cut two 43 1/2 THANK YOU DON

  3. Tom,

    I am currently in Asia and very far away from my fitter in Hawaii, Gary Asano. 2 yrs ago, he put me into the following (high-launch) Blue wood shafts, which has since cracked:

    sw spd: 90-100
    wgt: 56g
    trn: 1-2
    tem: 1-2
    rls: 2-3
    strgth: 1-2

    I think I’ve outgrown this shaft due to factors incl technique and fitness; would like a little more piercing, mid-high trajectory.

    Can you speculate performance of Claymore MX 48 F4
    as possible replacement? Suggestions?

    Thank you,

  4. i’m 5’10” and bought the SLDR driver last year from Taylor Made. i left everything stock. my wrist to floor length is around 36. i have always hit a low draw, almost hook. my swing speed stays around 90. i think my draw comes from years of baseball, which has influenced my swing. with my new driver (not exactly sure of shaft length, but it hasn’t been touched), i have found myself hitting the ground behind the ball on most of my swings. with the specs i have given, what would be your recommendation on shaft length. i actually have a tournament in a few days (a scramble, so not too big of an issue), and i just want to take it to my local pro and say, “i want this X length, with X flex, X kickpoint (for height purposes)”. take an educated guess if you would…it really can’t get any worse. if your recommendation isn’t ideal, i don’t mind to start over with a true fitting based on my swing. thanks in advance!

    • TONY
      You can be very sure that the driver needs to be substantially shorter in length for you to gain control with the club and be able to play with it more successfully than you do now. You have a decision to make – whether to sell this driver as it is to get the most you can for it and then go get properly fit from scratch for a true custom fit/custom built driver or to cut this driver down shorter, have it re weighted for the shorter length, and go on using it. Your choice. If you have this SLDR cut shorter, cut it to a playing length of 44″ to start with by trimming to that length off the grip end of the shaft. Of course you have to have the grip removed to do this. but a very key part of this will be to add weight back to the head to restore the head weight feel that otherwise is hugely reduced when the length is cut shorter. About the only easy way to do that is with lead tape put on the outside of the head. How much? To at least re weight the club to a swingweight of C9 and then hit some shots to see if you feel the head weight enough during the swing, or not at which time more weight would be added back to the head.

      In the end, if you really want the best driver for your game and your swing, sell this SLDR, go to our FIND A CLUBFITTER locator search tool on our home page, type in your town/city and see if there is a good clubmaker with whom you could work to be fit for a driver with ALL OF THE KEY FITTING SPECS fit to YOU and your swing.


  5. Im a beginner to intermediate player been playing for 1 year. My height is 5’6. Im pretty athletic and my swing speed with my driver is around 100 mph. I have a significant sliced and I know why. My swingpath is outside to in. I have been working on that. I bought the xhot driver with a regular flex and a 9.5 loft. The 10.5 loft driver seemed to baloon it a little much. I have a full size shaft. I feel its a little long. The pro shop guy says I will get use to it. Please help me

    • Kelly
      I am very sorry to be so blunt, but when you said the “pro shop guy said you would get used to the length”, that really makes me mad. From this statement, it is evident that this pro shop guy is a complete idiot who knows nothing about proper clubfitting and how it can help golfers like yourself. There is NO POSSIBLE WAY that you should be playing with that 45″+ length of this XHot because for one, you are 5″6″ and for the other which is more important, you are a beginner to intermediate player with an outside in path. Your driver length should not be longer than 43 1/2″ and in addition, you will need a FLATTER LIE ANGLE to go with that because of your height. With a 43 1/2″ length you will have a little easier time trying to get that outside in path to be less outside in or to hopefully be more square. With a 45″+ length you would be fighting the outside in path for a very long time.

      My best advice would be to sell this driver on Ebay for as much as you can because it is not going to be able to be retro fit to fit you. Take the money and use it to get properly custom fit with clubs that can be specifically built to your needs. Take a look on the home page of our web site under the FIND A CLUBFITTER locator to see if there is a certified fitter near you with whom you could work to get clubs to fit you properly.

      Thanks for coming to us for help, and the next time you see this “pro shop guy” tell him to email me at contact@wishongolf.com and I will be happy to send him a FREE copy of one of my books so he can start learning what he needs to learn about club performance for golfers and then he can actually help the golfers he sees instead of giving them such bad advice as he has with you. Sorry for the anger here, but dammit, I really get sick of people who work in this game and don’t know squat about golf club performance for real golfers’ needs.

  6. i am 6’5 about 290 (down from 310). my driver is 45.5 in long. my average drive is right about 245. i have hit 285 yd shots a handful of times but im more consistently around the 245-250 range.

    Lot’s of my questions were answered here. im probably going to head to the the tee to green fitters in gulfport, ms this weekend for a fitting. i bought a set of ping g20 irons (3&4H) with project x rifle shafts on the irons and regular projectx shafts on the hybrids, my current driver is a 9.5 stiff flex taylormade rocketballz (green and black) and i swear i hit the ball straighter off the tee with either of my hybrids or a beginners 3 wood. my driver flight path look like if you drew the letter “C” from the bottom up while the Hybrids and 3 wood are like a lower case “r”. my questions are this:

    1)i read that a 10.5 driver with a regular flex would straighten me out but i would lose 20 yards. is this true or false? i would like to be straighter but i want to stay around the 240+ mark cause my hybrids can go 205 and straight. if i lose 20 yards off my drives why buy a driver.

    2) i also read were ping and taylormade add 3* more loft than stamped?

    any suggestions on if i should focus more on a driver or a 3 wood for my tee shots?


    • DANNY

      When you say you are going to work with Tee to Green fitters in Gulfport, I assume you will be working with Steve Scharnhorst there on your fitting requirements. If so, TRUST HIM COMPLETELY to do the analysis of your swing and to use his depth of experience to guide you in terms of precisely what you need in your fitting requirements for your equipment. Steve is good, he is very experienced and if you work with him you will be in very good hands.

      Proper fitting is best done face to face, one on one, so that the clubfitter can SEE everything about how you swing. Fitting is completely about matching the specifications of the golf clubs to the specific swing characteristics of the golfer. As such, we certainly can offer guidelines and information from afar, but in no way can we be as accurate in offering you specifics on fitting advise as can a good clubfitter like Steve who has the advantage of working face to face with you. So trust him to tell you what you need to know to get into the best fit possible for your size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics.

      Whether you focus more on a driver or 3w for tee shots depends entirely on your tendencies to hit the driver more off line or more straight. most of us will hit a 3w more accurately more of the time than a driver because 3 woods are usually 2″ or more shorter in length than most drivers. This is true even when a golfer has been accurately custom fit because longer length like that ALMOST ALWAYS means less consistency for accuracy and quality of impact.

      As to which golf companies make their driver heads with more loft than is engraved or put on the head, yes, there are some who do this. WE’ve been told this by a number of very reputable custom clubmakers who do measure and analyze other companies’ clubs over the daily course of their work. Here at Wishon Golf, we do not pay any attention to what the other companies do in their club development work because we simply are involved in our own design, development and research work. So I can tell you that yes, some companies do this on some of their driver models, but I can’t tell you who does and does not.

      Here again, if you work with Steve, I can testify that he is VERY, VERY particular about making sure all the specs of the clubs, including loft, are exactly what he wants them to be for each golfer. So again, trust him to do a very good job for you in all your fitting requirements.

      Thanks so much for your interest, and best wishes in this great game,

  7. Hi Tom,
    I’ve had your fitting and bought your irons and wedges but held off the driver, being nervous about your suggested loft and shaft length. So, for the last 6 mths I’ve left the driver in the garage and teed off with with a No3 fairway wood. Ok, I’ve lost 20yds in driving distance but I’ve spent less time in the rough, my fairway wood play has got better and overall I’d guess my tee to green scores have come down. I’ve had to work harder to lower the flight in high winds but overall the experiment has shown a net gain.

    But I think there is a another factor in play here. It seems to me that when you are making a full swing the shaft length has an effect on the swing tempo; a long shaft forces a slower tempo and a short shaft gives you the option for a faster, crisper tempo.

    So Tom, since we each have a natural tempo to our swing, shouldn’t you be fitting the shaft length to our natural tempo rather than our swing speed?

    • Bill:

      Without question, when we write about length fitting WE DO VERY MUCH STRESS THE IMPORTANCE OF SWING TEMPO AND THE TRANSITION FORCE TO START THE DOWNSWING as important elements in determining the golfer’s best final length. We’ve taught for years that golfers who are much more aggressive, more forceful and faster overall in general tempo never do well with longer driver lengths and seriously need to go shorter, much shorter than what the big golf companies ordain as the std length for their drivers.

      Other factors we also teach as length considerations are the swing path AND the point of wrist cock release on the downswing. More outside in the path as well as early to midway release means you cannot go longer.


  8. Hi Tom,
    Thanks so much for your site. I’ve learned a lot from reading your comments. You seem to really know what you are talking about. I’d be grateful if you could help me with a driver fitting.
    Last year I bought the titleist D3 with the stock diamana ‘ahina 72 low-mid stiff shaft. I’m a tech geek and measure my stats often and so can be accurate in saying average ball speed off the driver runs from 162 to 167 mph. I notice on video that in the middle of the downswing when the club is parallel to the ground the shaft is bending significantly FORWARD, TOWARD the ball. I’ve never seen anyone address this. Do I need a new driver, new shaft, new swing, or all of the above. I hit the ball about 280 but would be happy with more distance if possible.
    Would a custom fit club help?
    Thank you,

    • Hi Seth-

      Tom gave me a heads up about your question as he’s off the grid for a week and we wanted to get to you in a timely manner.

      It’s hard for me to say if this driver fits you or not, because there just isn’t much data for me to analyze and there are a lot of variables that contribute to performance. Could you get more distance? Possibly. It really depends how efficiently your head speed is being converted to ball speed and what you are producing for launch angle and spin rate and how those affect what is happening down range and when the ball lands. If you are maxed out for distance then a good fitting would be able to tighten up your dispersion so that you have more on course consistency.

      In terms of the video of your swing, you have to be really careful here because it isn’t always what is happening in real life. Many cameras use a progressive scan so by the time the lower part of the image is captured, the shaft has already moved. This creates “artifacts” which are remnant images that then show up as odd things like the shaft bending more than it actually is. My guess is that this is what is happening, because to get a shaft to bend as much as it looks to you would mean that it is so soft, it’s something you would never play.

      I hope this helps.

      matt mohi

    • I know this comment 2 year old, but thought I would add in case someone else is reading this. Most likely what you’re seeing is an effect of the camera called a “rolling shutter”. It has to do with the fact that the horizontal lines at the bottom of the image are rendered later in the image than the lines above it. This is especially true if video is taken with a smartphone (esp 2 years ago). Just google “rolling shutter effect” and you’ll see examples.

  9. Hi Tom, All very good information there, what are your plans for a more closed driver in the future?
    Can you also give us a guide to the directional differences in you current drivers and fairway woods?
    Keep up the good work

    • RICHARD:
      Our model 919THI Draw Bias Plus driver head is produced with standard specs of 10.5 loft with 3 hook face angle. So it is the most closed of all our driver models. Through our Hand Select program, we can sort and measure heads to find one as closed as 4 hook when desired for a golfer. So that is more closed than what you can find with most other companies out there.

      In terms of “directional differences” in any driver head design, that is really a product of chiefly the face angle designed into the head and secondarily the offset – not anything like center of gravity or MOI differences in the head. Outside of that, directional differences come from how you assemble the club – its length, total weight, swingweight being the main elements of directional control. But speaking only of the driver head design, face angle is the main thing you design into a driver HEAD that has to do with directional control with offset being a distant second.

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