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Take a Deep Dive Into the World of Drivers

Fewer clubs represent the giant leaps in club technology evolution better than the golf driver. In a short period in the history of golf, we have gone from hand-crafted persimmon...

Fewer clubs represent the giant leaps in club technology evolution better than the golf driver. In a short period in the history of golf, we have gone from hand-crafted persimmon to computer-designed carbon and titanium masterpieces.

With custom-fitting options for any driver in the market, there has never been a better opportunity in the game to hit longer and straighter drives. With so many choices available, understanding more about the driver will help us make the right decisions when it comes time to commit to an upgrade.

To help you along the way, we'll walk you through the following key driver points:

  • Driver Fundamentals
  • The Science Behind Golf Drivers
  • Marrying The Correct Shaft To The Driver
  • Choosing The Right Golf Driver

Callaway Paradym Golf Driver

Driver Fundamentals

There are few better feelings in the game than hitting a great drive and seeing the ball land a long way down the fairway. All manufacturers will attempt to convince you that their latest driver release will deliver those great drives, and the way to achieve this is through advanced design.

Modern drivers are designed to be aerodynamic and employ cutting-edge materials in the club's face, crown or sole. We can alter the centre of gravity or the loft on a driver to optimise launch and spin conditions, giving us more distance or increasing our accuracy.

Technology promises us much, but our decisions on what we buy are still influenced by human instincts - do we like how a driver looks and what sort of noise it makes at impact. So, behind the marketing hype accompanying the launch of any new driver, what is the process that makes these clubs the technical wonders they are?

Titleist Golf Driver

The Science Behind Golf Drivers

Modern drivers are conceived through computer-aided designs and extensive wind tunnel testing. To help golfers achieve longer and straighter drives, the focus of the design concentrates on four critical areas:

  • Head Material
  • Aerodynamics
  • Strategic Weighting
  • Adjustability

Head Material

Titanium has been used in the construction of driver heads since the mid-1990s. Titanium was a step forward from steel as it was lighter and stronger, which meant that manufacturers could rapidly increase the size of the driver head without making it any heavier.

Increased size had the added attraction of making the driver more forgiving on off-centre hits due to more strategic internal weighting, making it easier to hit. In the intervening years, golfers of all capabilities have enjoyed the benefits offered by titanium drivers, but in recent years, we have seen the introduction of new materials such as carbon into driver design.

Carbon started to feature on the crown area of some drivers, which reduced the overall weight and lowered the centre of gravity. Carbon is also appearing in the sole of drivers, typified by the striking carbon designs on the Callaway Paradym or Cobra Aerojet drivers.

TaylorMade took things to a new level in 2022 with the launch of its Stealth range of drivers. After 20 years of research and development, the Stealth featured an all-carbon face.

The distinctive red face comprises 60 layers of carbon that is 44% lighter than the equivalent titanium, enhancing the trampoline effect from contact and giving more ball speed and distance.

2023 saw the launch of Stealth 2, still featuring the distinctive red face, with TaylorMade improving the weight distribution with more carbon to increase forgiveness.

Cobra AeroJet Golf Driver


The modern driver can partly attribute the way it looks to the time it spends in the wind tunnel during development. In a process that has been the backbone of aircraft and car design for decades, designers are looking for ways to make the air pass over the driver's head most efficiently.

Manufacturers will highlight the aero efficiency of their clubs through the design language at the rear of the driver or by adding aero devices to the crown or sole of the driver to aid the flow of air across the head. Improving the driver's aerodynamics helps to deliver more club head speed and helps generate longer drives.

Strategic Weighting

We can see three distinctive ways moving mass can create different ball flights and shapes. These can be categorised as:

  • Maximum Stability
  • Low Spin Bomber
  • Draw Biased
Maximum Stability

The maximum stability variant will see weight mass pulled as far back from the face as possible. This can be achieved internally or with external weight ports.

The mass being focused where it is can help generate more consistent levels of spin, offering a more predictable ball flight.

This type of driver will suit a wide variety of golfers looking for a combination of great distance with forgiveness on off-centre hits, helping to keep the ball in play more regularly.

Low Spin Bomber

Low-spin drivers will see the mass centred close to the face. Moving the mass forward in this fashion reduces spin, which can suit players with higher club head speeds where the danger is creating too much spin off the driver, potentially robbing them of distance.

Draw Biased

Over 60% of amateurs still fight a slice shot off the tee. One solution to this is the draw-focused driver. Here, mass tends to sit more in the heel of the club, allowing the toe to close a little quicker at impact and squaring up the club face. Manufacturers create draw-biased drivers with a marginally closed club face at address to also encourage a straighter ball flight.


Drivers also feature adjustability devices to help further customise the club to the player's requirements. These tend to be one or a combination of the following:

  • Adjustable Hosel
  • Weight Tracks
  • Adjustable Weights
Adjustable Hosel

The first manufacturer to introduce an adjustable hosel was Titleist with their SureFit system. Other manufacturers like TaylorMade, Callaway, and Cobra have all followed suit, but the basic principles remain the same. Adjustable hosels can alter the driver's:

  • Loft - usually by two degrees up or down
  • Lie Angle - allows for the driver to play upright or flat
  • Face Angle - connected with altering the loft, the face can have an address profile of being open or closed
Weight Tracks

Weight tracks can run around the back of the sole, through the middle or at the front of the sole just behind the face.

A moveable weight sits in the track and can be moved to favour draw or fade bias, move the mass towards the face to lower spin, or move to the back of the sole to make the driver as forgiving as possible.

Adjustable Weights

An alternative to weight tracks, weight ports can be placed at strategic points around the sole of the club. Interchangeable weights can be positioned to aid stability, reduce spin or create fade or draw bias.

PXG Golf Driver

Marrying The Correct Shaft To The Driver

Maximising driver performance isn't solely about building the correct head configuration for the golfer. The shaft has a vital role in gaining those precious extra yards or adding more accuracy off the tee.

Driver shafts are made from carbon composite materials, constructed with carbon fibre and resin layers. A shaft's stability, weight and balance can be manipulated in the construction process by adding more layers at strategic points along the shaft.

Carbon composite shafts come in various weights, generally ranging from 45 to 85 grams. The stiffness of the shaft is linked to the club head speed generated by the golfer. The bigger the swing speed, the stiffer the shaft is likely to be.

Shafts will also be tailored to promote specific launch angles and spin profiles based on the golfer's club head speed and spin numbers.

Up until recently, most drivers measured between 45 and 46 inches. However, there has been a trend for trying drivers with longer shafts up to the maximum legal limit of 48 inches in recent years.

A longer driver shaft can help to add more club head speed, but control can be sacrificed as golfers struggle to square the club face at impact and consistently hit the sweet spot.

Shorter driver shafts don't mean the golfer will give up any distance. In fact, they can still gain yards because the shorter shaft lends itself to more consistent ball striking.

The shorter shaft can also add accuracy, which can help add more confidence to a golfer's game. Let's take an example of two golfers with differing club head speeds to see what we could be looking at fitting for each of them.

Let's initially look at a golfer who has 110mph club head speed with their driver. This golfer will likely be best served with a shaft that offers medium-low launch and erring on low spin.

This golfer can also use a shaft that is slightly heavier and stiffer because of the high club head speeds they generate, but they can also benefit from a shaft with a more rigid tip section to help create more club head stability through impact.

Let's look at a golfer who generates 85 mph club head speed and see what they need. The lower club head speed might lead to insufficient spin being generated to maximise carry distance; therefore, a shaft that offers medium to higher launch and promotes higher spin would be a significant benefit for this golfer. This golfer is also likely to gain an advantage from using a lighter shaft with a softer flex, which can help generate more club head speed.

Choosing the Right Golf Driver

Being custom-fitted goes a long to ensure that the driver you end up with will deliver on the promise of more distance with greater accuracy. The custom-fitting process considers how you deliver the club face at impact, recording club head speed, Angle of attack, launch angle and spin rates.

How accurate you are with your existing driver is also recorded, as well as front-to-back dispersion, which is a good indicator of the difference in distance from a well-struck shot to a poor one.

Knowing this information forms the backbone of building a driver to enhance performance. Dialling in correct launch and spin rates can start to maximise carry distances via loft and centre of gravity settings in the driver head. Marrying up the correct shaft can tighten shot dispersion and help deliver extra club head speed.

Going to a good fitter removes the guesswork of whether a new driver will help your game. A clear winner will emerge at the end of the fitting process, giving you the confidence that the recommended driver specifications will deliver the improvements you have been seeking.

Srixon ZX Golf Drivers

Final Thoughts

The choice of drivers available for golfers has never been better. Manufacturers are investing vast sums of money into design, followed by rigorous testing in wind tunnels measuring aerodynamic efficiency to help propel the golf ball further.

Getting the correct head is only part of the equation. The right shaft can also help add distance, aid stability and improve shot dispersion. There is no better feeling than standing on the tee and having the confidence and knowledge that you will hit a long, accurate drive.

But to get to that stage, being custom-fitted for your driver can be essential, and that's where Nine by Nine Golf plays a key role. We have helped golfers of all abilities get fitted into the correct driver for them by coming into our studios for a fitting session.

If you are in the market for a new driver, make sure to check out availability for a fitting session with one of our expert fitters. If you already know precisely what you are looking for, our website carries different custom options you can select to make up your perfect driver.

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