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How to Build a Driver for a Long Drive Champion

In addition to making quality shafts, Harrison has made itself the premier shaft maker for the long-drive champions. Therefore, we were frequently asked by pro shop owners on the subject of building clubs for long-drive contestants. People competing in the long-drive competitions are a very strange breed. Generally speaking, they are taller than 6'2" , between the ages of 25 and 35, strong but not overly muscular, and most of all, they have a way of swinging the driver that generates a club head speed of more than 135 mph.

The Science Behind The Golf Swing

Catering to the particular needs of long-drive contestants, first of all we have to analyze the physics behind a golf swing and determine the optimal way of generating maximum FORCE upon impact with the golf ball. (Force is a scientific term used in physics.) Force is a function of VELOCITY and MASS, which means we need to maximize Velocity and Mass of the club head upon impact.

Simplistically speaking, Mass means the weight of the clubhead, and Velocity equals the club head speed. The weight of the club head may be easy to manipulate. However, the Velocity of the club head is a little bit more complicated to handle.

To understand the in's and out's of club head speed, we are basically analyzing the ACCELERATION of a driver head circling the golfer. Assuming the golfer applies a constant force on the driver, the club head speed will be the function of the total weight of the club and also the length of the shaft. The Heavier the Club and the Longer the Shaft, the Slower the Club Head Speed, therefore, to maximize club head speed we want to minimize the weight of the shaft with a length that is not too long as to slow down the swing.

The Human Side of the Golf Swing

Based on the above analysis and our past experience in custom-fitting long-drive contestants, we can simplify the science of custom fitting long-drive contestants as Minimizing the Weight of the Shaft to Achieve a Faster Club Head Speed and Using the Weight Saved Over the Shaft on the Club Head to Achieve Maximum Mass Upon Impact. How about shaft length? The longer the shaft, the slower the club head speed, and therefore it will take more Mass on the club head to achieve the same level of force upon impact. Theoretically, we could generate the same level of force with different shaft length by varying the head weight. But do keep in mind that the heavier the head, the slower the club head speed.

By unnecessarily lengthening the shaft or increasing the head weight, it is quite possible that the result will be counter-productive. Based on our past experience, the shaft length used by long-drive contestants varies from 45" to as long as 50". That said,  they usually carry more than one driver for different wind or muscle conditions.