I typically hit my driver 250-270 yards, depending on the quality of the hit, the wind, the slope of the course, etc.
Sounds Great, Right?
Well, if you consider that I was only hitting 30% of the fairways, those long drives weren’t really helping my score at all. In fact, when I took my driver out of my bag (insert link), fairways hit percentage instantly jumped up to around 66% while my scores improved by 5-7 strokes.
The trade-off is that I’m giving up 25 to 45 yards on those rare occasions when I would hit my driver in the fairway, so I decided to find a driver replacement that could get back some of those yards in a 3-wood length 150cc form factor.
Loft is the Key
If you hold the club length, stiffness, and head size constant, what is the only factor left to tweak? Loft.
A few years ago, a couple golf club manufacturers released a new class of drivers called “mini drivers.” While the head sizes were not as small as a 150cc 3-wood, they were substantially smaller than traditional 430cc/460cc drivers, coming in at 250 to 300cc.
These mini drivers didn’t fly off the shelves, so the manufacturers neglected to continue development of the concept. Why? Because going halfway from driver size to 3-wood size simply cost distance without giving enough accuracy due to the driver length shafts on these clubs.
A Unicorn in the Wild
When discussing the search for a driver replacement with my coach, he told me that I was searching for a unicorn — a golf club that is hard to find, but valuable if you do.
A few google searches later, I found a no longer manufactured Tour Exotics 3-wood with an adjustable hosel that ranges from 12 degrees to 15 degrees of loft. Luckily I was able to purchase one for less than $125 so that I could put my theory to the test.
A Shaft is a Shaft of Course of Course
Since I was 100% focused on the club head, I really didn’t care what shaft came with the new club. It came with a 60 gram regular flex shaft, which is what most older golfers would choose. Personally, I use a pro-stiff 75 gram shaft on my Callaway 3-wood.
Of course I couldn’t wait to hit the new Tour Exotics 3-wood at the 12 degree setting before I even tried to re-shaft it.
Different Shafts Really do Make a Difference
So how does my shot shape change when going from a pro-stiff shaft to a regular flex shaft? Foooore right!
I don’t hit a baby draw every time with my 3-wood, but I’m consistent enough to hit that or straight or a baby fade about 75% of the time. With the regular flex shaft, my shots were starting right and going further right because my swing speed was too fast to allow the club head to close before reaching the ball
One Swing for “Driver” and 3-Wood
Once I re-shafted the new “driver” to match the stiffness, weight, and length of my 3-wood, I had effectively eliminated another swing plane from my bag, getting the grand total down to 2 — one for my “woods” and one for my “irons”.