In a study of 1,500 amateur golfers, not one with a handicap of 14.0 or higher could hit the fairway 50 percent of the time with a driver. Chances are if you miss the fairway, you’re losing a stroke to par on the hole. So why bother using your driver all day for that one great shot? The way I see it, if the club can’t help your game, get it out of your bag. Seriously, play a round with only your three wood, not only will you get a chance to play different clubs, I’ll bet you’ll keep the ball in play more effectively.
The driver is by far one of the most difficult clubs to hit (next to a 1-iron) and here’s why:
• It’s the lightest club in your bag, and it’s swung at the fastest speed.
• It’s the club with the least loft.
• The lack of loft and swing speed increases the effect of off-center hits.
• It’s the club with the longest and most flexible shaft.
All of these characteristics are potential causes for missed shots and opportunities. The truth is, with a handicap of 14.0 or higher, the driver will hurt your score more often than it will help it.
COR and 3-Woods
COR means co-efficient of restitution; it is basically a ratio to how much energy is transferred between the golf club and ball at impact. For example, if I dropped a golf ball from ten feet high onto concrete, and it bounces back seven feet, the COR of the concrete would be 0.7. The legal limit for drivers as set by the USGA is 0.83. Interestingly though ,this limit does not apply to 3-woods. Manufacturers know this, and make their fairway woods ‘hot’. The term ‘hot’ is used to describe a club that has a COR higher than the legal limit. This means that you can use less energy to make the ball travel further. If your having trouble hitting your driver, or your handicap is above 14, consider switching to a 3-wood.
The 3-Wood Alternative
The 3-wood can be a great alternative to a driver… especially for amateur players, as it makes the game easier. A 3-wood is easier to get airborne and has more backspin than a driver. It also has a lot less sidespin, so miss-hits slice or hook less, leaving you with a playable second shot. It has a shorter shaft, and is typically a heavier club. This leads to more power without a need for additional clubhead speed. It is naturally a more reliable choice for your inconsistent golfer.
More Swing Speed = More Distance ??
Not exactly true; ball trajectory flight plays a big part in the how far the ball will travel and roll. If your swing is not above 90 mph, and you’re using a 9° driver, you’re not maxmizing the distance you could be achieving. Increase the loft of your driver to say, 10.5-14°, and watch your consistency and distance increase. There is a lot less friction in the air than there is rolling on the ground. Try to maximize the time the ball stays airborne; you will see a dramatic difference in your distance.
Once again, another reason to dump your driver for a 3-wood that will actually help your game. Unless of course you don’t want to lower your scores…