The Longer Driver Shaft Experiment: Is Longer Better?

Anyone who pays attention to professional golf is aware of the explosion in distance. With modern analytics, we know more than ever that increasing interval off the tee devotes golfers a better possibility at lowering their ratings. Deterring your credit card on the PGA Tour often comes down to a razor-thin margin. Players adding 10 -2 0 yards with their drivers could intend significant differences of inducing it or not.

But this website is not about professional golf. Practical Golf is entirely be concentrated on helping everyday golfers like yourself find real ways to lower their scores.

At the recreational level, there has been no interval explosion. Most golfers still average 220 -2 30 gardens with their drivers. As such, adding distance is all the more important for “normal” golfers. If you pass an additional 10 or 20 gardens to a 15 impairment, it would have more influence on their scores than a professional golfer. We need all the help we can get!

To that point, I started on an experiment of my own.

In the past, I have valued the precision of using a shorter driver shaft. But I keep track of trends in equipment, and I was enticed by the prospect of trying a longer than normal driver rod- which would be 47 ” or 48.” My goal was to see if I could add enough distance without sacrificing too much accuracy. Additionally, I wanted to educate myself on the topic enough to see if it was an equipment change that other golfers should pursue.

This is perhaps one of the most ambitious jobs I’ve taken on since I started the website. I expended a lot of time testing and speaking to various experts. There’s a ton of information to sort through( even Physics, yikes ).

As always, I’ll try my best to give you a well-rounded explanation that doesn’t disorient you too much.

I likewise want to give a quick thanks to all the people who took their time to share their expertise and get the right products into my hands- my dear friend Woody Lashen from Pete’s Golf, Dave Neville and Gerrit Pon from Callaway Golf, and Gawain Robertson from ACCRA Shafts.

The Long and Short of It

From all of the conversations with experts and my own testing, I’ve learned that going with a longer driver shaft has many variables involved. If you want to pursue this, it is not as simple as to purchase a 47 ” or 48 ” shaft and slapping it on your driver’s head.

This is more complicated than most equipment decisions, and as such, you should work with a clubfitter who knows what they are doing.

Because there is so much information in this article, here is a quick summary of my findings 😛 TAGEND

Weight is the biggest issue. This pertains to both the driver’s head and the shaft. Adding shaft length adds more overall weight. To antagonize that, weight needs to be removed in the shaft, and maybe the motorist brain too. If you don’t get this right, you are able to not gain any clubhead speed or possibly lose speed because the club is too heavy to shaking. You will need to adjust the loft of the motorist properly. Most golfers need to reduce loft with a longer shaft. A longer shaft can help certain golfers deliver the clubhead more efficiently, and for others, it could make their current problems worse. No rule of thumb fits all! In aggregate, most musicians got to see a 10 -1 5 yard gain in distance. This could differ greatly based on the golfer, though. Accordance to some mathematical modeling, a musician could gain so much better at 2 mph in swinging velocity per added inch of rod length. Nonetheless, it is less in real-world testing: typically within the limits of. 8 mph- 1.6 mph per inch. In my testing, I gained about 3- 5 mph in clubhead velocity, added 10 -1 5 yards of interval with 3 ” of added rod length. And my accuracy did not suffer as much as I thought it would. I am thinking about applying a 44 ” and 47 ” driver on such courses and dropping my 3-wood. Yes, that sounds crazy. But I’ll explain why later on.

The Overall Goal of a Longer Shaft

All things is the equivalent, a longer driver shaft should make more clubhead accelerate and offering more interval off the tee. As I’ve discussed before, adding interval is an important part of increasing your odds of the reduction of your rating. That is the main cause any golfer would pursue a longer shaft.

But it’s not that simple.

As you’ll ensure, some variables need to be controlled in the shaft and driver head.

Also, I’ve found that the longer shaft’s theoretical gains often don’t match up with the real world. That’s not to say it’s a conception that golfers shouldn’t prosecute, but you do have to test properly and weigh your gains in interval versus any potential loss in accuracy and how you deliver the golf club at impact.

I Am Aware of What the USGA Said

After most of my testing was done and all of my notes from dialogues gleaned, I woke up one morning to the USGA’s announcement that they are strongly considering restrain motorist shafts to 46 ”. Bummer!

Many believe this is in response to Bryson DeChambeau indicating that he would put a 48 ” motorist into play in the 2021 season. Other pros have been testing longer rods as well.

So my experiment might be a entirely moot point. But we still don’t know exactly when the ban will take place. It could be this year or further down the line. Likewise, it might be in the form of a Modified Local Rule, which would only apply to elite amateurs and professionals 😛 TAGEND

It is currently being contemplated that this Modified Local Rule, like other equipment associated neighbourhood governs would be recommended for use merely in competitions limited to highly skilled musicians( that is, professional and upper-class amateur competitors ).

Either way, you can take some of this information with a grain of salt. For the most part, I think it’s an interesting exercising to establish civilized decisions with your equipment. I always want golfers to know that it’s not as simple as listening to a company’s marketing claims and merely acquiring a golf-club off the rack.

Load Is Crucial

In my initial the talks with Woody Lashen, co-owner of Pete’s Golf( my own personal fitter and go-to for all equipment knowledge ), the biggest problem he was trying to solve was getting the overall load of the club set up properly for my testing.

We wanted to use the same driver head and rod model, so it was as close to an” apple to apples” test as we could get. But the main challenge was stimulating sure we are also able add or remove weight when necessary as I went back and forth between the two shaft lengths.

longer driver shaft accraWe applied the same shaft from ACCRA- one cut down to 44 ” and the other at 47 ”

ACCRA sent me two of their latest prototype driver shafts in both 44 ” and 47 ”. Additionally, we utilized Callaway’s newest manager, the Epic Max. I’ve been playing the Epic Flash the past few seasons, and this particular model clothings my sway and has the ability for us to add and remove weight with its sliding track.

longer driver shaft

My normal driver rod section is 44 ”, which is shorter than standard( usually around 45.5 ”). When you go with a shorter driver shaft, you typically have to add weight to the head so the club’s overall weight isn’t too light. So we added two weights on the tracks of the Epic MAX when I use the shorter shaft. This was more straightforward since we knew this setup has been working well for me for years.

longer driver shaft distanceA view of the two loads that were added where there is the 44 ” shaft

The issue arose with how much load to remove when I tested the 47 ” shaft. If the head were too heavy, it would feel like I was trying to swaying a sledgehammer!

Initially, Woody thought it best to remove only one of the loads and slip it towards the head’s center. Nonetheless, after testing quite a bit, I found that the fraternity still felt too heavy. I achieved my very best makes when removing both weights.

long driver shaft 47I found that removing both weights at 47 ” gave me the best answers

Going through this process myself, and were talking to various experts, been demonstrated by that get the load correct for a longer driver shaft is the most important element.

Shaft Considerations

To learn more about longer driver rods, I had a long conversation with Gawain Robertson from ACCRA. They are a Canadian manufacturer of premium rods, and I’ve been using their products for nearly six years now. My goal was to understand the variables involved and interpret longer shafts fitting in amongst recreational golfers.

Gawain’s main concern was about weight. If a golfer employed a longer shaft and did nothing to remove load, all potential benefits would disappear. He told me that most rods weigh around 65 grams at 46 inches. But with a 47 ” or 48 ” rod, he believed that going down to 50 -5 5 grams was necessary.

Additionally, Gawain felt that counterbalancing the shaft would give fitters more options.

If you were to balance a standard 46 ” rod on your finger, it would be about 24 inches from the tip. Nonetheless, by adding more weight to the ” butt” of the shaft, you are eligible to further shift the balance in that direction. In his opinion, counterbalancing longer rods furnishes two main benefits 😛 TAGEND

It will allow the clubfitter to achieve a more playable, finished driver. The golfer will generate more speed without the golf-club feeling too heavy, which is the entire goal in the first place.

ACCRA is in the process( at the time of our conversation) of manufacturing a lower-cost, compensated shaft for golfers who want to experiment moving longer. He still felt longer driver shafts, in general, will be a niche product in the industry. He likened it to a concept of single-length irons.

I told him about my hypothesi of having two drivers in my luggage, and even he was considering a similar move. I view this as the likely scenario( though rare overall) for those who try adding section to their motorist shaft.

Fitting Deliberations

Anyone who understands golf equipment and clubfitting knows that the shaft is just one part of the equation. Everything has to work together to have a playable golf-club on the course.

To that goal, I spoke with Gerrit Pon from Callaway Golf. Gerrit works at Callaway’s Performance Center in Carlsbad and is responsible for testing and building clubs for their all professionals. Players like Phil Mickelson, Xander Schauffele, and John Rahm rely on him to get their clubs dialed in. Additionally, plenty of regular golfers make their way through the facility, and they are always testing brand-new equipment theories to see how we mortals react.

Gerrit told me that Callaway has been testing longer shafts for about five years now, and their results have challenged some of the conventional wisdom. But of course, he noted that it’s tough to create a rule of thumb because each player can react quite differently.

Here are some of the major trends he has noticed with longer motorist rods 😛 TAGEND

Many golfers( specially the pros) end up being more accurate than they first presupposed. Most would think that a longer shaft would induce you wild off the tee, but they haven’t found that to be the case across the board. Most musicians add about 10 -1 5 yards of interval. Golfers who fight with a slice often realise upgrading of their association route, and the longer shaft can help reduce excess projectile curvature. However, the opposite can be true for players who depict the projectile. He’s seen golfers with in-to-out swing tracks really struggle. Typically “theyre using” a lighter rod and remove about 5-8 grams from the weight of the chief. Likewise, most musicians need to reduce the loft on the driver’s head for the best outcomes. Each player reachings a point of diminishing returns. Some golfers can’t generate more clubhead acceleration at 47 ” and beyond.

Further Caveats

If I haven’t you with sufficient information to construct your head rotate, there’s even more.

Dr. Sasho Mackenzie, a producing asset on clubhead accelerate in the golf industry, posted this great video which dedicates a very “laymen” the purpose of explaining the physics behind longer driver rods. If you crave extra credit, I hint you watch it. I promise there won’t be a test following the adjournment of the article, though!

In theory, adding 1 ” of rod segment should add upwards of 2 mph of shake speed. But in reality, most musicians will see about a. 8 to 1.6 mph increase for each inch. This will vary by the golfer.

For example, in my testing, when I went from a 44 ” rod to a 47 ” shaft, I noticed about a 3- 5 mph jump in clubhead speed in almost every of my conferences, which is consistent with that range.

However, there is even more to consider…

When you remove weight from the motorist chief, which is almost always necessary with a longer driver shaft, a few things happen 😛 TAGEND

The driver will transmit less vigor. In other terms, the amount of ball speed you produce from your swing quicken will decline a little. Think of this as a loss of efficiency, and your smash factor will suffer a bit. So while you are swinging faster, the drop in driver head weight will reduce some of your potential distance gains( golf ball acceleration plays the most important in driver distance ). The Moment of Inertia( MOI) will fell. MOI is a measure of forgiveness, or how much the clubhead refuses twisting on off-center strikes. Put simply, your mishits will be more offline with the lighter driver’s head, and accuracy will suffer. Striking the center of the face becomes more important.

I’m going to show you some of my” home run shakes” from the longer motorist rod. To be honest, they were intoxicating. But the tradeoffs that Sasho MacKenzie mentions are very real. With the longer shaft, you will sacrifice a few things, which will diminish the potential gains in distance, and maybe construct your errant shots a bit more penal.

My Testing

Whenever I consider an equipment alter, I try to do my due diligence. I’ve learned a lot about clubfitting over the years from Woody Lashen, so I can conceptually understand how making a change may or may not benefit me on the course. But most importantly, I want to test things thoroughly before I threw something new into play.

For the past few seasons, I have used my fairway lumber sparingly. I rarely hit it off the tee anymore when I proved that it wasn’t any more accurate than my driver. Additionally, due to my tendencies, I sometimes struggle to get the ball high enough in the air to use it enough on longer approach shots( typically a par 5 ). So, for the most part, I have an open smudge in my bag.

I don’t want to ditch my 44 ” driver because it is so valuable to me. But what if I could use a longer driver on loopholes that were more wide open off the tee? If I could prove that it added distance without being too inaccurate, it would surely stack the scoring odds in my favor a little bit more. Golf is a game of proximity, so if I can have a shorter fraternity on approach shots, it will give me a better opportunity to score.

So while I first envisioned Phil Mickelson was a lunatic for putting two drivers in his pouch a number of years ago, the idea was growing on me since I technically have nothing to lose in my bag.

I Still Had My Doubts

I had biases about the longer driver rod coming into this experiment, to be completely honest with you. I played a shorter driver shaft for almost five years and felt it was one of the best equipment alters I’ve ever stimulated. I’ve been able to tighten my dispersion, which was a real problem for me in the past off the tee. I believe it’s one of the main reasons I’ve been able to become a scratch golfer.

I have some older motorists that I have hung on to from about 10 -1 5 years ago with 46 ” shafts. When I have applied them sparingly, they felt odd to me since I was so used to a shorter shaft.

But at the same time, I feel I’ve improved my technique, specially how I control my clubface at wallop. So if there was ever a time to try something like this, it’s now.

After coordinating with Woody Lashen, ACCRA, and Callaway, I had two rods to try out and a brand-new motorist head. As I has already mentioned, where there is the 44 ” shaft, I added weight back into the Callaway Epic MAX. When utilizing the 47 ”, I removed it.

For the past six weeks, I’ve probably made more than a thousand drives with both shafts. I used my SkyTrak launch monitor to evaluate my ball flight( especially spin rates, launch angle, interval, and dispersion ).

skytrak launch monitor

Additionally, I employed the PRGR launch monitor to better spoke my swing accelerates( SkyTrak does not measure shake quickened immediately ).

longer driver shaft

On the whole, I was surprised, even from the first few shots with the 47 -inch shaft. The added interval was significant on my best shakes, but more astonishingly, I did not struggle as much as I guessed I would, striking the center of the clubface and controlling where the clubface was pointed at impact. I believe a lot of that had to do with get everything dialed in properly.

After my initial testing, I found that determining the Epic MAX manager to 10. 5 degrees with the 47 ” rod and 12.5 degrees with the 44 ” shaft “ve been given” the optimal launching conditions I was looking for. The remaining ingredients I wanted to figure out were the following 😛 TAGEND

How much extra clubhead accelerate did the 47 -inch shaft produce? If there was more clubhead accelerate, was it translating to a significant increase in ball acceleration( the most important measurement) and total distance? Was my dispersion even wider with the longer rod? Does it cost me substantial accuracy?

What I am Seeming For

OK, you’re probably at the” show me the damn ensues already” stage of this article. But delight keep in mind that my data is only for anecdotal purposes. Your results will likely be different than mine, as is true with any experimentation I do on Practical Golf. I’m simply trying to provide you with some context to educate you more on the topic.

I am not built for accelerate and interval. I’m 5′ 8 ”, 153 lbs, and have short limbs and legs. However, I do get it out there farther than most people would assume. I’ve been working on clubhead acceleration more and more lately with SuperSpeed Golf. A good drive for me is usually in the neighborhood of 275 -2 80 gardens. I’ve been able to get my accelerate back up around 105 mph or so with the shorter rod and plan to keep working on it.

But I’ve mainly maxed out my driving efficiency. So the only direction I’m adding more distance at this point is with more clubhead speed.

Let me start with the shot that I was texting all of your best friend and posting on Twitter immediately.

longer driver shaft

This was a” holy crap” time for me. Moving from flying the ball from about 255 -2 60 yards all the way to 290 yards was more distance than I ever expected. And to be fair, this is the absolute best I can do , not a normal swing.

When I first got the 47 ” shaft, I immediately hit shots farther than I ever lived on my SkyTrak and produced more clubhead hasten. But as I worked with the longer rod more and more, I continued to see more gains. There was a period of adjustment where I had to get my “feels.”

I had plenty of discussions where I went back and forth between the shafts. I was keeping track of all of the parameters so I could ascertain what the gains were. I feel as though I have a good baseline.


Here are some aggregate data from two sessions with each rod that I belief represents my overall results fairly well.

Shaft LengthSwing SpeedBall SpeedCarry DistanceTotal DistanceLaunch AngleSpin RateDispersion

44 Inches1 05 mph1 55 mph2 58 yards2 83 yards1 3.4 degrees2 580 rpm5 4 yards

47 Inches1 09 mph1 60 mph2 68 yards2 94 yards1 3.6 degrees2 192 rpm6 9 gardens

In some conferences, the interval disparity between the two was bigger, sometimes as much as 20 -3 0 gardens. But I guess on the whole, when I factor in my mishits, I’m comfy saying that the longer rod is adding 10 -1 5 yards to my drives on average. I believe I can widen that assortment over period, though.

Occasionally, I’ll made some massive drives where my swing speeding can top 112 -1 14 mph and drive it well over 300 gardens. As I work towards increasing my shake hasten, I suppose those are attainable speedings and distances I can reach more often.

The Dispersion Surprised Me

The increase in distance was the least surprising place. I knew I would hit the 47 -inch driver farther. What was interesting was that I was more accurate with the longer shaft than I initially had assumed.

I set up a relatively forgiving fairway( 35 yards wide) in two tests and made 25 shots each with each motorist. With the shorter shaft, I could certainly hit 76% of the fairways.

longer driver shaft experimentHere’s a vistum of shots with the 44 ” driver

Surprisingly, I was still able to made 64% of the fairways with the 47 ” rod. But as I’ve said before, fairways hit is not the best measuring stick for success. You also have to take into account your total distance and dispersion. If you are adding distance, is it getting you into trouble? Or are you giving yourself a playable approach shot the majority of cases?

longer driver shaft testingA view of shots with the 47 ” shaft

That’s not to say I didn’t have some large-scale misses with the 47 ” shaft. Those occurred when I missed the center of the face and/ or couldn’t restraint where the clubface was pointing at impact.

But on the whole, looking at my dispersion structures, they weren’t all that different than what I’m be applicable to. Whenever I do longer sessions on my SkyTrak with my 44 ” driver, they are typically 60 -7 0 yards.

Outside of a few outliers, which is typical for my driver, the bulk of the shots with the 47 ” rod were in a very playable smudge. I read only under a 70 -yard wide total dispersion window, which is definitely playable on the course.

longer driver shaft experimentA comparison of my dispersion motifs from one session

I will note that the dispersion with my 44 ” driver was tighter than it’s ever been. I don’t think I’ve ever registered a conference at under 60 gardens wide, and in this one, I was at 54 yards. I don’t know for sure why this is, but I have two hypothesis 😛 TAGEND

The equipment upgrade: The combination of the newer rod from ACCRA and Callaway’s head gives me more restraint over the fraternity. After going back and forth between both rod sections, the 44 ” shaft feels even shorter. Working with the longer driver virtually felt like a teach aid. It required even more skill to control strike location and face angle, and I believe that is helping me have more confidence with the shorter driver rod.

The Big Takeaways

I am encouraged by the results of the testing I’ve done over the past 6 weeks. Granted, this was done in a consequence-free environment, but that’s where all equipment decisions should start. I’ve proven to myself that I can hit the 47 ” motorist farther and with enough power where it should not cost me more apoplexies than it’s gaining me.

So I will start the season seeking the two-driver experiment. Using my home course as an example, I believe there are eight flaws where I would use the longer motorist and give me an advantage. But our track is more forgiving than most off the tee. So there are other layouts where I would use it much less( if at all ). You can learn more about how I design my tee shots from such articles.

I’m also excited to try them out in tournaments. I play anywhere from 8-10 occurrences a year, and hopefully, a small advantage like this can get me into the U.S. Mid-Amateur that I’ve missed out on by a small-ish margin before.

As I said earlier, this decision is easier for me because I don’t use my fairway lumber often.

However, if for some reason I ensure ensues on the course over the long run that are too costly, then I am reserved to going back strictly to the 44 ” driver only.

My Recommendation For Other Golfers

Based on all my testing and my conversations with experts, I believe this is a niche equipment change.

Purchasing a 47 ” or 48 ” motorist shaft is not necessarily going to be an off-the-shelf solution. Many golfers are knowledgeable enough about golf-club fitting to tinker and experimentation with the weighting and asses on launch monitors. But on the whole, I’d say anyone who wants to pursue this will have to work with a clubfitter. Because if you get it wrong, you likely will not see any gains.

There’s no chance I could have done this experiment without the help I received.

In the near term, you might visualize the equipment industry espouse these principles. As I mentioned, ACCRA was currently developing longer rods that were compensated. Additionally, Callaway just announced longer driver fitting battalions. Here’s an example of one for the Epic MAX that I used for my testing. The kit will allow golfers to lighten the weight of the head, reduce loft, and acquire a lighter shaft.

The other trouble is that the USGA could censor motorists that are longer than 46 ”. I don’t know when it’s coming; it might not be until 2022 or even beyond. Also, they may allow golfers not vying in elite tournament events to use them.

But I’ll admit, it was really fun to try this out. Like many of you, I love considering how far I can make a golf projectile. And I can’t wait to see some of the bombs on the golf course!

The post The Longer Driver Shaft Experiment: Is Longer Better ? showed first on Practical Golf.

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