Your Golf Equipment Buying Guide, Part II: The Driver (cont)

How to Fit Yourself for the Right Driver
Okay, so now that you have the basic factors down, let’s talk about how to find the right club. Remember, you can do this on your own without paying anyone to fit you. Here’s how.

1. Get to a demo event.
Golf courses and driving ranges all around the country host demo events. These events give club manufacturers the opportunity to get their clubs in your hands, and they give you the opportunity to hit balls off of real grass, out in the open air, with clubs that you might be interested in buying. This is the only way to truly test a club. Walking into Golf Galaxy and hitting balls into a net off of a rubber tee just won’t cut it. You need to hit off of grass, and you need to see the way the ball reacts.

To find a demo event, you’ll want to search listings on the websites of club manufacturers who will be attending these events. Here are the links you’ll need. (Note that many of these manufacturers will present at any given event, but you can search multiple sites to see exactly who will be where and when. This is not an exhaustive list.)


Enter in your zip code and search for a demo event in your region. If none are listed, try a different manufacturer, or check with you local golf courses and driving ranges to see if they might be hosting a demo day in the near future. The best part about hitting balls at a demo event – it costs you nothing.

2. Get your specs: loft, shaft flex, length. (Why does this matter?)
When you arrive at the demo event, make your way to the TaylorMade tent first, and ask to be fitted for a driver using their doppler technology (again, this will cost you nothing). You may have to wait in line, but it’s worth the wait. The object is to use their fitting equipment to get the right combination of loft, shaft flex, and driver length for your swing. They’ll do it by monitoring your launch conditions (ball speed, launch angle, and spin rate of the ball off the tee). They’ll put different clubs in your hands until your launch conditions are ideal. Mine, for example, were 10.5 degrees of loft, stiff flex, 44.5 inches long. This is crucial information. Don’t leave that tent without it!

3. Try different clubheads.
Remember, once you have the correct loft, shaft flex, and length, choosing the right clubhead is all a matter of preference. Try every driver you possibly can from all the different manufacturers present. Request that they hand you a driver with the specs that you got in step 2. Evaluate each driver based on look, feel, and sound, and of course notice the ball flight and distance that you’re hitting it. Narrow your search down to two drivers, and go back and hit them again — hit 50 balls each if you need to. If you haven’t fallen in love with a particular club, don’t buy it. This is an important point. It’s easy to succumb to the temptation of owning a new driver now, but patience is key. You need to love your driver. Make sure it’s right before making your final decision.

4. Make your pick and place your order.
When it comes time to order your club, be sure to special order it with the specs that you know are right for you. If a store has your exact specs in stock, great. But don’t let the golf shop alter a driver they have in stock, even if it’s just cutting a half inch off the end (changing the length requires an adjustment to the swingweight). It’s best to let the manufacturer make the adjustments themselves.

Okay, go to it! We’d love to hear how it goes, so please post your comments below. Your fellow golfers will benefit from your driver-buying experiences as well. Good luck.

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