I’m well aware there are a number of golfers who can’t stand looking down at drivers which to them, look so large in size they seem like a “grapefruit on the end of a stick.” Golf equipment information forums will occasionally have threads in which golfer’s plea for the companies to develop and introduce sub 400cc drivers. Within such comments invariably is the question, “can a smaller size driver perform as well as a larger one, and if so, why haven’t the golf companies offered at least an alternative smaller size driver?”
In a nutshell, if they can be sure it will sell enough to far exceed the cost of development and marketing, you can be absolutely sure the golf companies will make it. They’re all in the business of making money. That’s why if you don’t see any smaller size drivers being offered, the companies are sure the demand is just not going to be significant enough to merit the introduction of a smaller size driver. Period.
Way too many golfers still believe that “bigger is better” when it comes to driver head performance to allow companies to spend the money to develop a smaller size model.
From a pure performance standpoint, the larger the size of a clubhead, the higher its Moment of Inertia could be. In turn that means the larger the head, the better it’s off center hit performance could be. Likewise, the larger the size of the head, the larger the face area could be. Larger size face does not mean a higher COR for more distance because we all know it is eminently possible to reach the USGA’s limit on spring face capability on a face that would be commensurate with a sub 400cc size driver head. But a larger size face can make it easier to design a variable thickness face that could offer a very high level of off center hit performance.
Bottom line though is that it very definitely is possible to make a driver head with a volume of 380cc to 400cc that would perform every bit as well for distance and off center hit performance as any of the 460cc heads currently on the market. Yes, the 460cc head’s MOI would likely be higher, but not by so much that it could bring about a noticeable improvement in off center hit performance. MOI modeling studies for TWGT have shown that a difference of 1400 g/cm2 in the MOI of a driver head, basically the difference between a 360cc and 460cc volume head, offers only a difference of ¼ of 1 degree in resistance to off center hit head twisting. And that’s for a golfer with a 109mph clubhead speed. For golfers with a 100mph and lower swing, the additional off center hit improvement from a 1400 g/cm2 difference in MOI is even less.
Hence if all the golf companies could be convinced enough golfers would buy the smaller size driver to make it worth the expense to develop and introduce it, golfers would not skip a beat in terms of the performance they could achieve with a smaller size head. It’s all a matter of supply and demand – and right now there is just not enough demand to generate a supply.