Driver Head Size: What Size is the Best? | Swing Surgeon - Don Trahan Peak Performance Golf Swing

Driver Head Size: What Size is the Best?

Sat, 01/04/2014 - 11:00 -- Don Trahan

If you want to become a better driver of the golf ball, you need to have the right tool for the job. Most of the time, golfers have drivers that feature clubheads that are way too big. Club manufacturers will claim that there's a bigger sweet spot the bigger you go. I'm here to tell you that's just not true.

Bruce Lyford wrote in to ask where he can get a driver with a smaller head. He lives in New Zealand and says that he can't find one anywhere. I'm glad he's made the choice to go to a smaller head, so today I'll provide everyone with the reasons why smaller is better and where you can go to get one of your own.

Hi Don and Doc,
I enjoyed your recent broadcast from Australia. I live in New Zealand and have found it impossible to find a Driver head that is less than 440cc in size. My Titleist 910 D which has been fitted professionally for me is the only club I cannot get consistent results from, which leads me to believe that moving to a smaller head may be the answer. I wonder if you may be able to point me in the right direction.
Best regards,
Bruce Lyford

Our club fitters are the best in the business! They can build you any type of driver you want, as long as it fits your game the way in which will allow for you to be the best golfer you can be. I understand that not all Surgites around the world live near a PPGS certified fitter. But, that's why Doc Griffin created his long distance club fitting program. It's perfect for anyone who can't make the trip to see a fitter in person.

To contact Doc Griffin about his long distance club fitting program, click here.

To see a full list of all PPGS certified club fitters, click here.

Keep it vertical!

The Surge

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MikefromKy's picture

Submitted by MikefromKy on

I do not see an advantage using a 460cc driver over a smaller head driver. I have an old Calloway Steelhead driver that I picked up years ago for 10 bucks at a second hand sports shop. I have played it a couple of times and hit as far as my 460cc. I am going to breakdown and put a new grip on it and play it this year for awhile and see how it does.
Bigger is not always better its about how you use your instrument and with the smaller heads it is easier to hit the sweet spot.'s picture

Submitted by garystevensen@c... on

Seems to me that if you're looking to try a smaller headed driver, the way to go is to find some used ones. They are predictably much less expensive, and if you find yourself really drawn to the idea, it can't hurt the pocketbook anywhere near as much as a new driver to put a more modern shaft in an older, smaller head and give it a good workout.

Same with irons, too. I have an old set of MacGregor JNPs, which were some of the first forged cavity backs. They still feel great, when I hit 'em right.'s picture

Submitted by brucebubello@ya... on

Another option is to try out using a 3 wood off the tee. The head is smaller and the loft is higher, so with a slower swing speed, you should do better. And if you want you can always change the shaft length and flex. Much cheaper than buying a new club, unless you and the fitter are certain the new club will do the job as expected.

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Surge mentioned the Alpha and "another one" that 'they' (code for Doc Griffin) no longer builds. That one is the KZG 700 sp 355cc driver. Through a Surgite I was lucky enough to get one to try out. It was actually a Doc built driver. I still have it and actually really like it. the only reason I am not currently using it is because it is 14 degrees and not ideal for my swing speed and angle of attack. I hit it too high. However I it does have a sweet feel and I was stripping it down the middle. I may consider getting another one like this one that is 10.5 degrees.

This Alpha looks like it may be exactly the same one Doc builds

$11.99 and free shipping???? Are you kidding? No really.
That one is by Tour Element
You guys have one day left to buy this one. Heck, I may get it if you don't as I could add a shaft myself.

Having a 360cc driver custom fit by Doc would of course be ideal.

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

The biggest difference in the "older" drivers versus the newer drivers would be the COR or CT. Depending just how old you go, the ball speed may be less on the older driver due to the fact that technology had not advanced to the point that the driver had maximum COR or what is now measured, CT. Using a 3 wood would be a great idea for a lot of "older" golfers whose club head speed has diminished significantly and would fair better with more loft and shorter shaft.

The biggest advantage of the smaller club head is the ability to get the toe back to square with less effort. If you think about it in a purely physical way, the further the center of gravity is from the axis of rotation (the hosel), the faster the furthermost point (the toe) has to be moving to cover the same amount of space (for arguments say, let's say 180* ) The same principal that we talk about when using the rock and the string. Take a rock put it on a 6" piece of string and take the same rock and put it on a 3' piece of swing and twirl them. It takes much more effort to keep the rock moving with the 3' string and it has to be moving much faster to complete the 360* circle in the same time frame as the 6" string (if it's even humanly possible)

So, the bigger the head, the faster the toe has to be moving to come back to square and the more effort it takes to accomplish this. Bottom line? It's just plain easier to play a smaller headed club.

The benefit of the larger headed clubs was that they were able to thin the face and increase the ball speed. We are able to use that same technology now with the smaller headed drivers. That is why we build our own now.

DJ has even tested out my driver head this winter and I'm hoping that he may put it into play if he starts the year without an equipment deal. Time will tell.

Happy New Year to all the Surge Nation! We start back on the road in February with stops in Palm Springs, CA Feb. 19 - 21 and Phoenix, AZ Feb. 23-25. Keep your eyes open for email blasts with more information. Surge and Dave will be doing one day schools and I will be there doing fittings. Hope to see a good number of you there!

wkelley11's picture

Submitted by wkelley11 on

I did not try to play golf until I retired and almost stopped several times due to pain. Then I found you shortly prior to your surgery. Then I lost you for a while. Glad I received an email announcing your return.

I have been through several iterations of my swing for the past 4 years. The past year I needed to load onto my leading leg to relieve a hip and foot problem. My irons were good, but I completely lost my driver, woods and hybrid. Have almost given up thought at 72, I started trying this too late.

I rejoined you late 2013, actually after leaves were falling. I reviewed, purchased and studied some of your videos. I have reverted to the swing that I remembered and am doing better. After your recent driver daily tip to Bruce, I plan to try my old Taylormade 320ti, 9-degree.

I hope the results continue through the winter. Looking forward to spring.

Thanks again,
Bill Kelley

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

Don't be surprised if you don't have enough club head speed to properly launch the 9* on the proper launch angle. I would think that at age 72 your club head has diminished to the point that more loft would suit you better.'s picture

Submitted by dlieberman@ozem... on

I am approaching 79 and had major back surgery 3yrs ago for ruptured discs . Golf was put on the back burner for a year , then I heard the call of the wild to go back to golf and all I knew was the rotational swing , which , of course , was not sustainable and the handicap blew from 22 to 35 .
After much research I delved into your system and found hitting the ball was much easier . Although the back gives me he'll at times , I persist . I get into the top ten at timed and have had two holes in one on a 100 metre par 3 in the last 12 months . The main thing is that I keep coming back . Thank you for your system because it is anatomically sound . Have a good 2014

Robert Meade's picture

Submitted by Robert Meade on

Thanks for sharing your life experience. I am only 56 but am currently working my way through a Sciatica bout. Going to find out over the next couple of weeks if it is piriformis syndrome, discs misbehaving or something else. I am following all the best advise for specific stretches and exercises to correct any imbalances and so far am already seeing some pain dissipate. To hear your story and what you went through is motivating. now you are not only enjoying golf again but have had two holes in one since finding Don Trahan. Awesome stuff and very inspirational.
Wishing you fairways and greens along with more aces!'s picture

Submitted by charles.lerche@... on

I think some of the "tour" or "pro" drivers have smaller heads, right? I have a Tour Edge Exotics CB3 which is 420 cc (still a long way from 360), and I can certainly tell the difference when compared to to my 460 cc heads. It is certainly easier to square with a more vertical swing.

BTW, the TEE is also 45" standard, rather than 45 1/2 or 46 we see often today.

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

Some of the tour players have smaller driver heads but they are not made for the retail market. Players such as Tiger Woods, David Duval (previously), and Paul Casey each played a 380cc driver head made for them by Nike.

I have a question as to what the TEE is that measures 45". That is one tall tee! :)
I'm assuming you mean SHAFT. I see that you call 45" standard. The average driver length for a tour player is 44" to 44.5". I believe Tiger played 43.5" and Nicklaus played a 42.5" driver when "standard" was 43.5". UMMMMMMMMM, wonder why that was?

Kevin McGarrahan's picture

Submitted by Kevin McGarrahan on


I have a Wilson Ultra TG 1 10.5* Driver from many years ago; I think I got it from a friend in the '90s. It is a bit bigger than my 2-wood and significantly smaller than my 460cc Cobra driver. I can't find any specs for it. Do you have any idea what size it might be?

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

I do not have any specifics but I think it was out about the same time as the Titleist 975D and that would be in the 275cc neighborhood.

Doc Griffin's picture

Submitted by Doc Griffin on

Tour Edge makes a really good driver.

correct length of the driver though has to do more with your wrist to floor than it does with height. If you are 36 inches or more you can probably handle 44 and a half to 45 with little difficulty

thanks for taking the time to clear up my confusion my best to you