Doc Griffin Makes The Case For Shorter Drivers | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Doc Griffin Makes The Case For Shorter Drivers

Mon, 02/18/2013 - 10:00 -- Don Trahan

I'm in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina today attending a PGA of America-Carolinas section business meeting so I thought we would let Doc Griffin have another go at today's daily since he did such a great job on the last blog posting.

I asked Doc to do this segment because Roy Jenkins' question has to do with how to properly determine the correct length of a driver (or any other club for that matter) and then what to do if you fnd that it is too long for you. 

As you've heard me say many times before over the last few years the retail golf equipment makers have engaged in a marketing battle of who can make the biggest heads and longest shafts with the clear implication that bigger and longer is the best combination of driver head and shaft to give their customers more distance. As you'll learn in today's tip from Doc, nothing could be further from the truth!

I also want to say that Doc is getting geared up to take his show on the road again this year to places where we currently don't have a PPGS Certified instructor in the area. The first stop in 2013 will be to Toronto, Canada March 15, 16 and 17. Doc will only have 15 appointments in total so if you want to spend some time with a Top 100 International Master Club Fitter to get your clubs checked out then don't hesitate because his appointments always sell out within days of their announcement. If you want to know more CLICK HERE to go to Doc's information pages on this event. 

In April, he'll be travelling with me to Allen, Texas where he will set up shop on the range while Dave Seeman and I hold a series of one-day long game schools. So, if any of you have signed up for one of these Performance Schools you may want to come in early or stay over a day to meet with Doc. Details on Doc's Texas trip will be forthcoming next week.

In May, Doc plans to travel to the United Kingdom for our first-ever trip there by a PPGS Certified Fitter. We're still looking for a place for him to set up shop, but it is likely to be near Northampton as that is the geographic center of the Surge Nation in the UK.

If you want information where our staff of teachers is going to be over the next few months, go to www.dontrahanacademyofgolf.com and click on School Schedule. We already have dozens of schools on the book with dozens more in the planning stages.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

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Comments

sheldonhy@gmail.com's picture

Submitted by sheldonhy@gmail.com on

I enjoy your videos,
If I choke down on my club, aren't I essentialy making the grip smaller? Should I consider a larger grip so that the spot I grip the club is right for my size hand?

steve33418@yahoo.com's picture

Submitted by steve33418@yahoo.com on

Hi Sheldon,
I'll let Doc answer your question directly but I wanted to relate my experience with the shorter club. Last spring Doc spent an hour with me for a club fitting. I had been experimenting with gripping my driver at different lenghts. I had the most success when my hands were all the way down on the grip, just above the bare shaft. Turns out, Doc shortened my Taylor Made driver down to about that same length. He then had me try differet grip styles and sizes based on my hand size. I ended up with mid-sized grips which are one size larger than the OEMs. I also had Doc make me up a 5 wood to fit the gap between my 3 hybrid and 3 wood. The 5 wood shaft length is about the same as the Taylor Made 3 wood and now close to my driver too. I liked the grips so much, I had the rest of my set re-gripped to match so now I don't even have to use a glove, and that's saying something in the Sourth Florida heat.

So I think you'll find that you won't stay too long gripping down on the grip, because you're right, it's narrower down there. But getting a thicker grip and keeping your driver at its original length isn't the best long-term solution.

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

i guess you could but it will also change the sw and moi of the club it's personal preference if the grip just feels to small

larogs's picture

Submitted by larogs on

DOC, THANKS FOR AN INTERESTING PRESENTATION ON THE LENGHT OF CLUBS. I HAVE A DIFFERENT QUESTION ON LENGTH AND WEIGHT.
I AM IN THE PROCESS OF PURCHASING A NEW SET OF IRONS. I FIND THAT MOST GRAPHITE SHAFTED CLUBS ARE LONGER AND LIGHTER THAN STEEL CLUBS. CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME INFO AS TO WHY THIS IS AND FURTHER, DO SHORTER STEEL SHAFT CLUBS PLAY THE SAME AS GRAPHITES? I AM WORRIED THAT I WILL HIT THE HEAVER STEEL MUCH SHORTER. AS I GET OLDER ( 71), I DON'T NEED TO LOSE ANYMORE DISTANCE. THANKS . LAROGS

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

i have a video addressing this coming soon. stay tuned.

rcote01's picture

Submitted by rcote01 on

Doc, great presentation, I've advocated this for a long time BUT can't seem to find fitters who agree OR maybe afraid to admit it!!!, because it will contradict their marketing!!!! Question, why can't anyone be fitted into say a 43.5" driver if that is what feels/performs best for them. The big OEM's don't seem to want to hear about such requests. Could this be, as I suspect, they don't know beans about fitting?????Hopefully will be meeting you in Toronto Rob USGTF

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

I think part of the problem, Rob, is that most of the big golf stores that provide "fitting" services use technicians, guys who have been given a few hours of training in the techniques of swapping heads, shafts, and grips. Think of it like the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist. The first knows how to play with the little dials and doohickeys on the machine and reads off the information that the machine's manufacturer provided, the latter actually understands the way eyes work.

SimplyGolf's picture

Submitted by SimplyGolf on

I luv life on this site. To both Bobs...thanks for just keeping it real.

I concur: good illustration, Robert Fleck. To confirm your observation, some nice people at Golf Galaxy did a pretty good job of tweaking the doohickeys on my Taylormade R9 driver. That was about all they could offer. The slice issue was mitigated a bit. (Although what I really had was a swing issue.) Choking down a bit, and being aware of the SBG, those helped too. I am glad to be hitting it pretty straight, most of the time.

"But...and this is your big but"....(as Carol Burnett would say) I still do not hit the driver very long. I often will play my Cobra Fairway 3 with equal or better results. That club and shaft just seem to be more of a match for me. I offer no technical data. I offer results. Oh yeah, this Cobra does NOT have any doohickeys on their Fairway woods. Less seems to be more.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Seems like the only tweaking I do with my R9 that does much good is rotating the shaft (and not for the advertised reason). I need the club face set on "right" but that (by coincidence) seems to the the worst possible position for the shaft performance.

The shaft performs better on "neutral" setting, independent of what the club face angle needs to be.

My theory (that may or may not hold water) is that the spine is aligned better on that setting even though the club face might do better on a different setting.

That seems to be the biggest drawback to the adjustable driver. An adjustment to the head also rotates the shaft (and the spine of the shaft). It also rotates the grip and it's alignment markings and the rib if the grip has a rib (which mine do).

The only real fix for those problems would be to find the correct face angle setting, which might be a problem since we are changing the spine with every adjustment. Then remove the shaft and replace it with the spine in a new and optimum position. Then replace the grip in a new position.
And never change the face angle settings again.
Not so adjustable after all!!!

Pretty funny that some people pay money to get the shaft spined and then rotate the "adjustable" shaft, which changes the spine.

P.S. The weights are a more legitimate adjustment (for swing weight) if you buy some extra 14 to 16 gram weights (and at least they don't change the shaft position).

SimplyGolf's picture

Submitted by SimplyGolf on

I never considered how the shaft performance might change with each doohickey tweaking.

There may be something to your thots, Steve. Even when I hit this R9 on the nut, it just does not get out there like I think it should. This might help explain, in part, why the untweaked Cobra has more pop. The shorter shaft and club head technology also help out. Some of Cobra's products seem to work well for me.

boogmc's picture

Submitted by boogmc on

Another great video,Doc, I don't think Professor P. Caspar Biddle could've explained it any better!
Safe travels & happy fittings in your upcoming road shows!

braveheart0417@gmail.com's picture

Submitted by braveheart0417@... on

My wrist-floor length is 32.25 inches. What length of driver and other clubs
is appropriate for me?

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

can' t really say for sure without fitting you i'd start with a driver at 44" and work from there. As for irons, it would really depend on where the irons start. justntoo many variables to give this kind of info on a blog

Phil048's picture

Submitted by Phil048 on

Doc, the swing weight discussion baffles me.

Here is what I ran across on a Golfsmith website on the subject of swing weight:

"Swingweight measures the distribution of a golf club’s weight, rather than a club’s actual weight. Clubs with more weight than usual in the clubhead relative to the grip have higher swingweights, and those with higher-than-normal weight in the grip area have lower swingweights. So if you add weight to a golf club’s grip, the club’s actual weight increases, but its swingweight decreases."

So, if I understand this quote correctly, cutting one inch off the butt end of my driver shaft would reduce the weight of the shaft and thereby increase the swingweight of my club by 12 grams. To offset that increase, I would then have to add 12 grams to my shaft in some fashion - perhaps with a heavier grip, lead tape or some other approach.

In your video I thought I heard you say that golfers would have to add 12 grams of tape to the head of their driver to compensate for cutting one inch off the shaft. But according to the Golfsmith article, that would double the swingweight increase, from 12 grams to 24 grams as the shaft got lighter and the head got heavier.

Did I misunderstand you? Is the Golfsmith article wrong? Could you help sort out this apparent contradiction? Thanks!

Phil

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

Well, you have to understand that cutting a shaft is different that adding weight or taking away weight. You are changing the point of the weight concentration. The shorter you make the shaft, the more the weight of the head is moving towards the grip end which lowers swing weight. What if you cut the shaft all the say down to say 1 foot. The swing weight surely didn't go up. It way down. Think of it like putting a 5 lb bag of sugar on a two by four 10 feet long and then on one 5 feet long. You certainly feel more of the weight on the longer board.

stevebrown1943@yahoo.co.uk's picture

Submitted by stevebrown1943@... on

Very interesting presentation Doc. Do you measure driver shafts in the same way ie take the ruler all the way down to the ground?

Steve

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Yes. You measure a driver the same way.

Robert Fleck's picture

Submitted by Robert Fleck on

You measure all clubs the same way Doc demonstrated. I'm thinking he just used a short iron to keep it nicely in frame. A driver would have been a bit awkward to demonstrate with where he was set up.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Like Doc said, the best thing to do is get fitted by somebody that knows what they are doing.

I never have and can testify that the odds of getting it exactly right messing around with the length and adding or taking away head weight with an existing driver, that may or may not have even been close to what was needed from the start, is like playing the lottery...Good luck!
(Especially if you have a fast club head speed).

P.S. I hit my driver the farthest and most accurrate when it is at 43 inches (and my wrist to floor is 36 1/2 inches). It has to be that short for me to be able to swing as fast as I can comfortably swing and still make fairly consistent impact. Chances are that if the shaft dynamics and weight were exactly what I needed I would be able to use a slightly longer driver (maybe 44 inches). Normally I would think that I am not consistent with a driver simply because I'm not very good (which would be true) but I hit my 3 wood so well (and so easily) that the club itself has to be a factor since the clubs are the same length.

MikefromKy's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy on

Steve

You sell your self short shooting in the low 70's or upper 60,s is pretty good if you ask me.

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

Technically I am a terrible golfer. Ha ha!!

Like they said about Walter Hagen I "can hit more bad shots in a single round than most people do in a season".

I am only good at two things:
1. Getting out of trouble (Thank goodness).
2. Getting the ball in the hole in par or better.

That's it!!! LOL
Edit: Hmmm. First of all I haven't shot under par since last summer and that was on an easy course. On tough courses mid to high 70s is good for me (and I am fully capable of shooting a lot higher score than that on any given day).

MikefromKy's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy on

Getting the ball in the hole in par or better.+

This is all it is about getting it in the hole in the least amount of strokes possible. It does not have to be pretty.

Ed from Madison's picture

Submitted by Ed from Madison on

Off topic, but I just saw Hank Haney's PlaneFinder for a good price. It looks to be adjustable to various swing planes, maybe even Surge's 3/4 vertical PPGS, but I'd like some opinions. I was wondering if Doc or Surge or anyone else here thinks it is a useful practice tool that can work with the PPGS?
Thanks, Ed

Steve Smith's picture

Submitted by Steve Smith on

I would like to swing through it a few times to see what happens, but I wouldn't expect good results, and I certainly wouldn't pay for one to find out.

The problem I would have is that my club shaft returns to the ball at impact with the butt end 6* to 8* higher than it was at address with a driver (on my best shots).

The conundrum is that Surge also returns the butt end 6* to 8* higher than at address...But DJ does not. His shaft returns only from 0* to 2* higher than it was at address.

So the question is if it's a worthy goal to return the shaft to close the same angle as it was at address. If the answer is yes that would probably be a decent tool to practice with. If the answer is no it might be practicing something that may be irrelevant or unattainable.
(I don't know the answer to that question).

charles.lerche@gmail.com's picture

Submitted by charles.lerche@... on

OK...I have been reading watching the Surge and the Doc for a few years, and hearing about shorter drivers, etc.. However, I am 6'2" and so I thought that a somewhat longer OEM driver wasn't necessarily a problem. And, I would often hit them just fine...but not always. However...I just got a new OEM driver (a Tour Edge CB3 for those interested) that is 45" standard length (rather than 46 for the other two)...and (another Doc Griffin point) the head is actually a bit smaller than what you usually get these days (ie 420 instead of 460). I am hitting this better than my others (which I would hit well much of the time). Much more often near the middle of the face...and BLAM...This driver has some nifty technology ( would recommend it--they are cheap now that the CB4 is out), but the somewhat shorter shaft and somewhat smaller head also just plain flat out work.

If you had any doubts (which I suspect you don't) I am definitely confirming that Doc and Surge know what they're talking about...beyond a doubt.