Golf is a fickle game. There are so many different variables that go into it that it can be hard to just focus on one area without worrying about another. There’s one aspect of the game that many players, amateurs and professionals alike are constantly tinkering with: equipment. Whether it is the clubs, balls or shoes, golfers are always trying out new products, going back to tried and tested clubs or researching the latest releases in the market.
Like most industries, there are many different claims that club manufacturers make when it comes to the performance of their products. It could be that you’ll hit the ball further, easier or more accurately with their clubs.
The area in which most players want to improve in is being able to hit the ball a further distance. There is something primal about being able to hit the ball far off the tee and fairway. It also gives you a shorter second shot, which means you have a greater chance of getting near the hole with your following stroke.
Can these claims be backed up scientifically?
When club manufacturers promote their new set of irons, hybrids, woods or drivers, they will often make claims about giving you an extra 20 yards off the tee. But can these claims be backed up?
While technically these drivers may have been proven to extend some players distance off the tee, these claims usually originate from the testing they do with robots. When a club manufacturer is building a new type of club, they will have a mechanized machine that can hit a golf ball. It gives you all sorts of data, such as the distance. This allows them to compare different models of the same club with one another in a consistent pattern.
While this is all well and good on a theoretical level, the reality is that a normal golfer is not going to be able to strike the ball the exact same way each time they swing the club. The only way to truly gain distance off the tee when you are using a decent driver and ball is to gain extra club head speed and improve your contact with the ball.
Having said this, if you are using a driver that is five or more years old, and it has seen a lot of wear and tear, upgrading your clubs could add significant distance onto your drives. Here are some of the leading clubs that claim to give you additional distance off the tee:
1. Callaway Great Big Bertha
The Big Bertha series from Callaway has long been a favorite of players looking to boom the ball off the tee. The first model revolutionized the world of drivers, as previously drivers only had small heads. The latest iteration in this line of clubs is the Great Big Bertha. It continues on with the tradition of maximizing distance off the tee. It is also very forgiving and you have different options to adjust the club loft and shot shape when using it.
A lot of players will benefit from a great loft on their drivers and they can iron out some of the inconsistencies in their swing by toying with the weights in the head. Since the Great Big Bertha can improve contact when striking the driver, it can certainly add distance to the game.
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2. Nike Vapor Fly
While Nike is going to slowly exit the world of club manufacturing, the company’s premier driver is designed to maximize distance off the tee. It was designed to reduce spin and to give a high, arcing ball flight. The changeable sole weight shows the intent to reduce any wasted motion and focus completely on impact and length.
The weight has been reduced by 30 percent, which lowers the center of gravity. This allows you to get a better impact and generate less spin. The hyper light face also helps to reduce errant shots when the club is hit off center. Overall, this is a good option for players looking to generate extra distance off the tee.
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3. Callaway XR16
While it might not reach quite the same distance levels of the Great Big Bertha, the XR16 from Callaway is one of the most advanced drivers ever seen. The team from Boeing helped in the design process and it is extremely aerodynamic, meaning that it will help to increase your club speed. The clubface has a deep and low center of gravity, which allows it to be lighter and very forgiving. The harder face always increases speed, so you will most definitely see some form of distance increase when using this club.
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Are you using any of these clubs personally? Do you have another driver that’s giving you extra yards? Let us know down in the comments below. Play well!
— Andrew O’Malley