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Many armature golfers are fixated on distance off the tee. Watching skinny little bitches like Rory McIlroy or Justin Thomas get their plyo-metric groove on with their drivers makes people believe that, they too can crank one out 350 yards from the tee box. Hint: even if they are playing Bryson DeChambeau or Dustin Johnson for Halloween – they can’t.

The sales numbers back up the trend too in that people will make an early season pilgrimage to the golf shop or their country club’s pro shop to pick up some new long ball technology far more often than they upgrade their putter, wedges and certainly their irons. The reality is that one’s wedges wear faster than drivers. The reality is that your putter effects your score far more than your driver but people still vote with their economic ballot.

Hot SticksOne of the best ways for you to get the most performance from your big stick is to get a professional fitting at a shop that has no bias. Personally, I work with Hot Sticks in Scottsdale, Arizona and will fly out just to schedule time to get a driver that goes boom for my bag. In my case, I create a lot of backspin with my driver which isn’t good unless you like a crooked and short result. Bolts get tweaked and weights get changed to make my driver lower my driver’s spin from 4,200 RPM to closer to the target of 2,000 (or lower) RPM.

The next level of excellence when fitting a modern driver is changing the shaft. This can be opening Pandora’s box in that there are seemingly an unrelenting volume of driver shafts with a mind-numbing volume of statistics. This is where your fitting expert can “hot swap” your driver shaft to measure better results off the tee. In years gone by, changing a driver shaft in say an original Callaway Great Big Bertha or in a laminated Ping wooden driver was much harder (close to impossible) as compared to today where one twist of a wrench can get lock in a new shaft in a matter of seconds. In my case, a “mid kick point” shaft helps me get less spin on my golf ball with the driver.

TrackmanThe next come-to-Jesus moment comes from picking the weight and more importantly stiffness of your driver shaft. This is where you need to check your ego at the door and pick the right shaft for you NOW – not you from 15 years (and four injuries ago). Realistically, I swing at about 100 to 103 MPH. The guys on Tour are 30 percent higher than that thus can expect very different results from their driver than a barely-single-digit handicap like me. I don’t need or want a telephone poll for a driver shaft as that will only lead to more injuries to my right elbow which is where my distance from my youth went in the first place.

One trick that people don’t pay attention to is the importance of the golf ball being played. Most good players tend to follow the pros with what ball that they play and there is an argument for that. At the same time, today’s golf balls are increasingly better with low spin off the tee yet high spin and a soft feel around the green. Some of these new balls are even less expensive than the market leader which is a nice perk. I know people that buy $20 a dozen golf balls at Costco which is a bold move but if you play every day – it could save you some bucks and that Kirkland branded golf ball isn’t as bad as you might think.

Being able to measure your driver in an outdoor setting might be a high barrier for some but MAN does it make a difference. I am looking for items like a Track Man measurement system so that we can look at the real time metrics of my potential driver. Then, when we’ve narrowed down the options – I will dig into a bag of shag balls from my stash that are the variety that I play. With the measurement system on – I give the driver a few more swipes to see how to get the most from my increasingly expensive boom stick.

Some of the best high MOV drivers with maxed out volumes (in CCs) include the Titleist TSi3, TaylorMade SIM2, Callaway Epic Speed, Cobra Radspeed, Callaway Epic Max LS, Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo, Srixon ZX7 and the Callaway Big Bertha B21. These modern drivers start at around $500 each but after the time for a custom fitting, an after-market shaft and other goodies – expect a new golf ball launcher to cost closer to $1,000.