This Lesson Tee...

 The Lesson Tee at Berkeley Hall

The Lesson Tee at Berkeley Hall

I have worked on this tee for 15 years. Almost one third of my life! This tee didn't exist when I was first approached about being the Director of Instruction at Berkeley Hall in 2000. Little did I know that at the time I was about to embark on the most important and fulfilling professional journey of my life. I arrived as a young and excited teacher who thought he knew all there was to know about teaching and in a few weeks I will leave as an older, wiser and equally as passionate teacher who knows significantly more, yet wouldn't for one second think I know even close to enough.

When you stand outdoors in one place as much as I have you get to see quirky and interesting things that those who work indoors simply never get the opportunity to experience. I have seen deer, rabbits, bald eagles, armadillos and fish. Yes, an osprey once dropped a live fish on the tee! I've even had a lesson interrupted by a long black snake that casually slithered through an ever widening gap between my student and I. There have been birds catching other birds and snakes catching frogs, but my favorite memories are the people. 

I've had the privilege to teach some amazing people on this tee - from youngsters just starting the game, to global business leaders and world-class athletes. I'll never forget the boy who showed up to camp with his golf bag, but he had no clubs. Or how many students tried to help me with my five year battle to get rid of a pesky mirror-tapping cardinal. I'll always remember the wife who cried every lesson because she was trying to learn golf to win her husband back. And the young lady who I happened to record hitting a golf ball backwards - every time her family was in town they would stop by the Learning Center and ask to see the video so they could have a laugh. Those memories stand out, but it's the friendships that were forged on this turf that will stay with me forever. People that have taught me so much more than I could ever teach them. 

This lesson tee and my experiences here have enriched my life immeasurably. I can only hope that the next person who gets to ply their trade here will make as many lifelong friends, learn as much and be as blessed as I was to work here. I will always fondly remember this tee. Thanks for the lifelong memories and friendships Berkeley Hall.

24 Hours to Better Golf this Winter

I am very excited to share the Off-Season Project with you! With the help of my good friend and golf fitness expert Derek Lemire we have created a fantastic challenge for you this off-season. Are you prepared to dedicate 24 hours over the next twelve weeks to better golf? Derek and I have built a program for you that will improve your technique, increase your club speed and better your body and all we ask for 2 hours per week. Take a look...

We are challenging you to invest 24 hours towards better golf this winter. I can assure you this video will change the way you view the off-season. Do you accept the challenge?

Check it out HERE


Developing an Athlete Golfer

This video contrasts Michelle Wie and Lexi Thompson in 2015 on the LPGA Tour. Both played 23 events and one of them earned $1.7 million while the other earned $340,000 (prior to the final event). Michelle grew up playing and practicing "inside the lines" and under the watchful eye of expert coaches and her parents continually striving for perfection while Lexi grew up playing golf and other sports. She mostly tried to keep up with her 2 older brothers.

These two golfers have both been phenoms from a very early age, however the manner in which they were exposed to the game was completely different. Michelle was always trained to be a golfer, while Lexi, with the help of her brothers, ended up becoming an athlete first and a golfer second.

Here is some great stuff from Dr. Martin Toms at www.winningyouthcoaching.com

  • Kids who specialize early are 70-90% more likely to get hurt, are more likely to burn out, are more likely to develop psychological issues and don’t develop all-around sports athleticism
  • There is a huge difference between specialization and early-engagers: Specialization is adult-driven, organized environment, focused on long-term goals, while engagement is child-driven, play-centered, focused on enjoyment of the game. They have the space to fail, the freedom to be creative without an adult looking over their shoulder telling them what they are doing wrong. They will fall in love with the game and there will be tons of free-play
  • What if your 7-year-old says he only wants to play 1 sport? – You are the adult and you need to guide them to branch out and try different things.

So what is the right way to develop an athlete golfer? Start with a "diverse portfolio!" Have the young athlete participate in multiple team and individual sports. Keep them active and develop their skills in a broad variety of fields. Do all you can to avoid early specialization for as long as is feasible. Do all this in an open, play-centered environment that is predominantly child driven. Encourage as much "outside the lines," abnormal (fun) practice as possible.

Just my 2 cents!

A Sample Golf Lesson

I wanted to share a recent lesson I did. Keep in mind that that this lesson went completely as intended - it doesn't always work that way. My objective for Halle, who is a promising young high school golfer, is to improve the quality of her ball striking. Watch...

She improved her posture by not extending her lower back as much and her swing notes were:

  • Feel the hips working more up and down vs level - Sam Snead image. This would serve to improve body motion and discourage the arms from working behind her too much.
  • Consciously keep her arms more in front of her. A drill was to make back swings while backed up against a wall. This would keep her arms from getting deep and allow them to work in front of her on the way down.
  • Sense the hands tracking left of the target through impact. She has worked on the dispersion drill in the past and has had good success with it.

Hand path is often over looked and is an important part of what I teach on a daily basis. Thanks for watching!

This free website's biggest source of support is when you decide to book a lesson or golf school. You can contact me HERE. If you live in another state or country please consider making a purchase HERE or  HERE. It will help your game in addition to helping me to keep adding to this free website. Thanks again for your support! Andrew.

How to Shallow the Shaft

For most golfers this is a biggie! If they can manage to get the shaft to shallow or flatten in the early stages of the downswing their chances of drawing the ball, along with a consistently crisp strike are greatly improved.

There are a few key factors to implement that will firm up your ability to shallow the shaft in transition. Watch...

My three important keys are:

  1. A flat lead wrist at the top of the backswing. If you can shoot in the 60's this is not imperative, but it will make the job of flattening the lead wrist in transition and the downswing that much easier.
  2. Get the shaft either straight or laid-off at the top of the backswing. Where you point the handle ultimately determines where the shaft is angled and it's much easier to manage it this way.
  3. Allow the hands to travel out or in front of you slightly as you start down. Be careful you don't over do this, but there are few things worse than getting the hands tucked in behind you in the downswing.
 Woods, Trevino, Pettersson and Snead

Woods, Trevino, Pettersson and Snead

In the above image Tiger displays a flat left wrist and a slightly laid-off shaft, Trevino has shallowed the shaft and has a flat lead wrist, Carl Pettersson really gets his hands to travel out at the start of the downswing and Snead follows suit. All positive swing elements to emulate.

I would recommend you start your quest to improve this important swing factor in front of a mirror. Get a feel for each of the three keys by watching them and "seeing" what they need to feel like and then you'll be free to head out to the practice ground.

This free website's biggest source of support is when you decide to book a lesson or golf school. You can contact me HERE. If you live in another state or country please consider making a purchase HERE or HERE. It will help your game in addition to helping me to keep adding to this free website. Thanks again for your support! Andrew.

Spinning the Wedges - Smash Factor

Smash factor is a measurement of the ball speed relative to the club speed. I have learned that with wedges, when smash factor is 1.0 spin rates have the potential to be maximized. This video discusses the value in having the ball and the clubhead travel at the same speed and gives you a few ideas on how to make that happen...

Things to remember:

  • Avoid too much shaft lean and feel the hands and the shaft lining up at impact
  • This should give you a sense of using the bounce or sole of the club more through impact
  • Don't be afraid to allow the lead wrist to unhinge/extend as soon as possible through impact

Keep in mind that while very high spin rates are sexy, your final objective should be control. Better control and predictability means better results. Don't allow a quest for more spin erode your ability to get the ball close to the hole!

Thanks for watching and check in soon for my next in the Spinning the Wedges series on Spin Loft.

Wedge Project Color.jpg

Join My Team...

It's FREE! This is something I'm very excited to share with you as I know it's going to upgrade our ability to interact and connect. I have partnered with an amazing technology company called Edufii. Edufii is the social network for skills development. It is going to enable us to connect and collaborate more efficiently and effectively to improve your golf and for 90 days my Andrew Rice All Access Preview Team is completely FREE of charge. No more links or long videos, just 'bite sized' nuggets of information to help us connect and learn in a distraction free mobile environment. I’ll be sharing drills, practice info, updates, challenges and much, much more all directly to your mobile device instead of using email, Facebook etc. To join the Andrew Rice All Access Preview Team click the link below and create your account, then be sure to download the app too. Signing up should take you about 60 seconds! 

Edufii is currently only offering this opportunity to a limited number of coaches so I’m thrilled to be on the forefront of this cutting­-edge mobile technology while bringing you a whole new level of interactive coaching.

This promises to be an absolute game changer for all involved plus a whole lot of fun! Since we’re just getting started, this program is FREE for the next 90 days.  Join today and experience this revolutionary way to stay connected.

Coach Camp 2016

I am so excited to get the word out about this coaching event! For professional coaches and teachers only, Coach Camp 2016 will take place at Berkeley Hall in Bluffton, South Carolina on February 22 and 23, 2016. This will be two days of industry leading coaching information designed to positively enhance the course of your career.

The event is being sponsored by True Spec Golf, an innovative custom club-fitting operation that all golf coaches should know about and SwingCatalyst, the premier balance plate and 3D motion plate company in the game today.

Each presenter will be given an opportunity to discuss a topic of their choosing and there will be "panel" style discussions on wedges, driving, how to grow your business and even a lesson where each featured coach will share their thoughts on improving the same golfer. Something different and interesting!

Dinner on the 22nd is going to be special as Dr. Morris Pickens will share a few of his experiences being with Zach Johnson at the Open Championship at St. Andrews earlier this year.

Please be aware that this event is only open to 55 participants. For full details or if you'd like to register go to www.CoachCamp2016.com.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss sponsorship details please contact us HERE

I'm so looking forward to it and I sincerely hope you can attend!

Spinning the Wedges - Friction

The kingpin when it comes to generating spin is friction. You can have everything set up perfectly to create huge backspin, but if you don't have friction it's not going to happen. Now keep in mind friction is a big piece of the puzzle, but it's still only a piece of the puzzle.

Simply put, you can elevate friction between the clubface and the cover of the ball by eliminating any matter that could possibly get trapped between the two. The questions are how do we do this and what do we have control over?

Friction is primarily influenced by two factors - equipment and matter. Matter is anything that might get caught between the face and the ball. Let's have a look at what we can do...

Items we can control:

  • The quality of the wedges we use. If you're looking to generate more spin you simply must use what I refer to as 'professional grade' wedges that are NOT an extension of your set.
  • Play with a premium ball as it will make a tangible difference in the amount of spin you can generate. And premium is code for EXPENSIVE. Spend the money and you'll be rewarded.
  • Replace worn out wedges and please stop using your great-grandfathers Spalding wedge - there is not a hint of a groove left. Grooves don't make as much difference as you might think (off the fairway) but remember that we're looking to increase spin here.
  • When practicing, and especially when playing, make sure your equipment is clean and the face is dry. Moisture or what I call 'green slime' built up on the face will make it almost impossible to hit a high spin pitch.
  • Left over sand from an earlier bunker shot has been known to increase the friction between the face and the ball. As a result I never clean my club after playing a sand shot - the next time I use that club I might need a low spinner.

Items we cannot control:

  • Don't tell anybody, but sometimes from a perfect lie in the fairway matter (moisture, grass or dirt) will still get trapped between the face and the ball. That's due to the fact that the sole of the club will almost always contact the ground before the ball (shhh!). Yes, even on those perfectly nipped ones! When the club contacts the grass it can sometimes kick up blades and that will interrupt grip between the face and the ball.
  • Dewy mornings. If you're playing early in the AM the grass is often wet and there's nothing you can do about it. Your pitches and chips will always launch higher and spin less when water is reducing grip.
  • Lies in the rough. Keep the ball in the fairway and you'll be able to spin it more. That's an easy one.

Thanks for checking in and keep an eye out for my next episode in this series on Spinning the Wedges when I talk about Spin Loft.

Catch up on my introduction to Spinning the Wedges HERE

This free website's biggest source of support is when you decide to call to book a lesson or golf school. You can contact me HERE. If you live in another state or country please consider making a purchase HERE or HERE. It will help your game and it will help me to keep adding to this free website. Thanks again for your support! Andrew.

How to Get Better

Here are my forthcoming clinics that might be of interest to you. All clinics take place at Berkeley Hall in Bluffton, South Carolina. I will have discounted copies of the Impact Collection DVD Set available for all participants  at each session.

Please be aware that each of these clinics will sell out. Please contact terri@andrewricegolf.com to book your reservation today. I hope to see you there!


Spinning the Wedges - A Series

Barely a day goes by where a golfer doesn't ask me about how they can generate more spin around the greens. How they can hit that cool, one hop and stop pitch shot. If you're looking for answers, you've come to the right place. Through the testing that I've conducted over the past six years I have attempted to understand almost every element that could possibly play a role in generating spin. In this multi-part series I will discuss all the elements I have found to be integral in generating bite with wedges.

My findings point to five predominant factors in the generation of spin:

  • First and foremost is the kingpin of spin - friction. Here there are certain factors we have control over and a good number we do not .
  • The second element I'll look at is spin loft. What role does compression play in spinning the ball and how can we control it better.
  • Smash factor is a term coined by TrackMan that compares ball speed relative to club speed.  When playing wedge shots we'd like to have ball speed match club speed - a smash factor of 1.
  • Impact location, much like with the driver, will play a less significant role in increasing or decreasing spin off the face of the wedge, but a role nonetheless.
  • As with any shot, the slower the club speed, the lower the spin will tend to be.
 Spin Factors with wedges

Spin Factors with wedges

This is a great infographic that my friend and fellow teacher Oliver Morton and I created a few years back to illustrate the important spin elements. I really like the way in which he illustrated how friction is central to all the others, because without it, max spin simply is not happening.

There are so many talented golf instructors out there who are looking into various elements of wedge play. From spin, to equipment, to practice - if you'd like to find out more look up these guys for excellent wedge-centric data: Chris Como, James Ridyard, James Sieckmann, Kirk Oguri and Jon Sinclair. As you might imagine all of these coaches know their stuff.

This will be a series that will open your eyes to what you need to do to start generating, and controlling, spin around the greens. Check back in a few days to better understand what friction can do to lower your scores.

This free website's biggest source of support is when you decide to call to book a lesson or golf school. You can contact me HERE. If you live in another state or country please consider making a purchase HERE or HERE. It will help your game and it will help me to keep adding to this free website. Thanks again for your support! Andrew.

Surviving the Shanks

This malady has the ability to ruin the game for any golfer. I have seen golfers spend thousands of dollars, seek counseling, sell their clubs and quit playing the game because they could not overcome the dreaded shanks.

Shanks most often occur when the club approaches the ball too far from the outside, but every now and then, particularly with better players, shanks can be due to the club approaching too far from the inside.

This video will help all hosel rocketeers, but mostly those whose club is approaching too far from the outside. Watch...

When you start to hit shanks try to keep your heart/emotions out of the equation and use your head/intellect.

Notes when practicing:

  • DO NOT move further away from the ball as this will often exacerbate the problem
  • Count out 10 balls to do the drill
  • Set up as you normally would with the clubhead centered behind the ball
  • Scrunch your toes towards your heels to keep you from toppling toward the ball
  • Make two practice swings from this start position but swing inside the ball
  • Hit the shot making a strong effort to hit the ball well off the toe of the club
  • Repeat this 10 times without emotion

Notes when playing:

  • After you've hit one shank on the course find an old divot and set up to as you normally would 
  • Scrunch your toes back towards your heels
  • Make four practice swings where the club passes inside the divot
  • The next shot you play do the same thing making sure you emphasize a toe-sided strike

You can do this, but the big challenge is keeping emotion at bay. Keep your head in the equation, use your understanding and you've got a chance.

And while we're on the topic. How about a little shank trivia? Did you know that a shank will often strike the face twice and sometimes even three times, as evidenced here...

 The World-Class Triple Hit Shank

The World-Class Triple Hit Shank

NO PENALTY THOUGH! As if hitting that shot was not penalty enough....

This free website's biggest source of support is when you have simply seen enough and decide to call to book a lesson or golf school. You can contact me HERE. If you live in another state or country please consider making a purchase HERE or HERE. It will help your game and it will help me to keep adding to this free website. Thanks again for your support! Andrew.



Divot Patterns

It has often amazed me how a golfer's personality tends to shine through in the manner in which they practice. Some are neat and tidy while others seem to be all over the map! Good golfers however, always seem to manage their practice sessions and the turf they have at their disposal. Creating good divot patterns when you practice might not be the key to you shooting under par, but you'll look good and might even make a few friends while you're at it...

 The Excavator

The Excavator

The excavator tends to:

  • be a more experienced and often, better player
  • clear cut any and all life forms from the rectangle where they've been hitting irons
  • make it very difficult for the turf they use to grow back in a timely fashion
  • cause the practice tee to be uneven and wavy
 The Roamer

The Roamer

The roamer tends to:

  • use up as much space on the practice tee as is humanly possible
  • be a type AA personality
  • not be too bad for turf growth and management
  • makes it very difficult for the golfer using the space behind them
 The Striper

The Striper

The striper tends to:

  • be an experienced, better golfer
  • is efficient with turf usage - they get the most out of the space they use
  • make it easy for the turf to recover and fill in
  • use an alignment aid to help both their golf and divot patterns
  • is a friend to superintendents everywhere

This video with Chris Young, head superintendent at Berkeley Hall, will help you get the picture...

If you feel this article and video could be a help to golfers and superintendents where you play and practice please share it with them. This is a must share for all excavators and roamers you know.

Thanks for tuning in.

Weight Shift vs Pressure Shift in the Golf Swing

The SwingCatalyst Pressure Plate and 3D Force Plate has been invaluable tool, not only to my students, but also to my understanding of how the golf swing works. Here's a video explaining something that took me quite a while to comprehend. There can be a significant difference between where a golfer's weight is at a point in the swing and where they are exerting pressure on the ground. This should clarify....

Of course it's also important to keep in mind that how a golfer pressures the ground will ultimately determine how they eventually shift their weight. 

Thanks for checking in and I hope this stuff helps your game!

The Complete Impact Collection - 4 DVD Box Set

Click HERE to purchase

I am so excited to share this collection with you. Filmed in conjunction with Revolution Golf this set will share most of what I believe to be important in playing great golf. The collection includes some of the finest slo-mo Phantom camera footage you will see. It's amazing how the "lights come on" for so many golfers when they see what happens in slow motion.

The set includes a new and upgraded version of the Wedge Project, the all new Driver Project, the Impact Project which is a take on my book from 2009 "It's All About Impact" and the Practice Project. Almost three hours of drills, simple explanation, brilliant slo-mo shots and crystal clear HD footage.

The Complete Impact Collection will help you become a better ball-striker, hit longer tee shots, be more efficient when you practice and gain a deeper understanding of your game. Isn't that what you've been searching for?

This offer is for DVD sales only and is only valid in the continental United States.

A Drill for Skill

As anyone who follows me here or on social media is aware I am a huge fan of skill development for my students. I believe the ability to precisely control the clubhead, clubface and strike point though impact is what makes the difference between a great golfer and someone who is merely, a golfer.

I recorded the following TrackMan screencast following a lesson I recently did with a strong collegiate golfer named Seth Gandy. My objective was to not only give Seth the feel necessary to be able to hit draws, but also to improve his ability at controlling the amount of draw. Watch...

I created what I called the Clubpath Ladder Drill for any golfer to become skillful at controlling the shape of their golf shots. I am a big proponent of what I call practicing "outside the lines" and this drill forces the golfer to hit a sequence of shots where not two are alike. Keep in mind I wanted Seth to be able to hit his go to baby fade, but by making him practice shots that are outside his comfort zone he is improving his skill at making the club communicate his intent to the ball - a necessity for great golf.

If you are a coach who uses radar technology or even a golfer looking to improve your skills I would encourage to add this type of practice into your improvement plan. You can apply this ladder type drill to a variety of elements including club speed, dynamic loft and even face angle.

Have some fun with this and if you can fit more than ten shots into the clubpath ladder drill please let me know. That's very good!

Remember this - technique will get you into the arena, but it's skill that gets you onto the podium!.

Three Day Golf Schools for 2016

I have had numerous people contacting me about plans for my schools in 2016 and I thought I had better get cracking and get the word out. Here you go!

DATES for 2016 GOLF SCHOOLS

  • March 3-5
  • March 10-12
  • March 17-19
  • March 31 - April 2
  • April 7-9
  • April 21-23
  • April 28 - 30
  • May 5-7
  • May 19 - 21
  • June 2-4
  • June 23-25
  • July 21-23
  • August 18-20
  • September 29 - October 1
  • October 20-22
  • November 3-5
  • November 10-12
  • December 1-3

All Golf Schools maintain a 4:1 student to instructor ratio. Contact our reservations director at terri@andrewricegolf.com for availability and further information. Please specify school dates that you're interested in.

For the full Three Day School itinerary and additional details please click HERE

This is the year! You've promised yourself you're going to do something about your golf game and you know that in order to upgrade the outcome you must upgrade the input. I invite you to come and spend three days with me at Berkeley Hall and let me help you understand exactly what your game needs in order to better enjoy your time out on the golf course. 

Optimal Driver Numbers

kyle stanley
kyle stanley

We would all like to drive the ball longer off the tee, yet far too often golfers search in all the wrong places to find more distance. There are three primary factors that will help you hit the ball further: a well fitted golf club; a stronger, more flexible and ultimately faster you; and a swing that delivers the clubhead to the ball in a manner that maximizes the force you are putting into the swing -  what I like to call efficiency. Where you get out what you put in. Here's a great example - on the PGATour David Toms swings at 104 mph and Stephen Gangluff swings at 120 mph, yet they average the exact same distance off the tee....hmmm?

Efficiency is the big fish and the area where most golfers can make the greatest gains. With this in mind I created (with the help of TrackMan) a chart that I like to use to show golfers how far they are capable of hitting the golf ball with their current club speed. The chart ranges from swing speeds of 65 mph to 105 mph and assumes no wind, flat terrain, normal ground conditions, sea level and  premium type golf balls. These distances can only be attained with an upward attack angle (+5 degrees) and fairly low spin rates - somewhere between 1900 - 2200 rpm.

Club Speed     Ball Speed     Launch Angle     Carry (yds)     Total (yds)

65 mph             96 mph            16.5                     136                    182

75 mph             111 mph           15.6                     157                    208

85 mph             126 mph           14.6                      193                   242

90 mph             133 mph           14.2                      209                   256

95 mph              140 mph           13.7                      225                   271

100 mph            148 mph            13.2                     242                   286

105 mph             156 mph           12.6                      259                   303

Keep in mind that the above numbers are achievable, but only in a 'best shot' type scenario. David Toms was the most efficient driver on the PGATour in 2012  and at 100 mph he would have averaged 278 yards per drive - very good for an average. Regardless of what our swing speed is we are all capable of this highly efficient delivery of energy from club to ball.

How helpful can this chart be to you? If you're a golf coach with TrackMan technology you can benefit from it immediately. As a golfer you would need to have a rough idea of what your club speed is followed by an honest assessment of how far your ball is travelling in neutral conditions. If you're noticeably shorter than you should be, seek out the nearest golf coach with a TrackMan and get to work.

You may have heard the term high launch, low spin....well, it really is what you should be after off the tee box.

Additional Resources:

Getting More Out of Your DriverAndrew Rice Golf

Hitting Up or Down? Here's How to Set UpAndrew Rice Golf

Which Driver Shaft Length?

testshaft
testshaft

When I tested my old college driver a few weeks ago my interest was piqued by how close my swing speed with the 43.5 inch club was to my current 45 inch driver. I have heard that altering the shaft length of your driver by an inch can/should alter the club speed by up to 4 mph. This called for a test.....

Using TrackMan my idea was to test the same golfer, clubhead and golf ball, but change the shaft length. I took my current driver, which is the Titleist D3 8.5 degree (B1) with a 45" Motore F3 70 gram stiff shaft and tested it alongside the same head (B1) with a 43" Project X 82 gram stiff shaft. Essentially a driver shaft versus a 3 wood shaft. I had recently came across a 42.5" well kept old Wilson Staff JP persimmon driver with a steel shaft and decided to include that in the testing.

persimmon
persimmon

I hit 11 shots with each club and eliminated the data for the poorest shot with each club. I was using fresh Titleist NXT Tour golf balls and it was a perfect 80 degree day with little wind. The results were astounding!

With all three clubs my tendency was to hit up on the ball with a slight in to out club path. My swing plane was very consistent from shot to shot (which surprised me a little actually) and the clubface was almost always slightly open at impact. This path and face relationship led to an average shot shape of a slight draw. Here are the numbers:

45" Driver Shaft

  • Club Speed 101.3 mph
  • Ball Speed 151.6 mph
  • Spin Rate 2697 rpm
  • Launch Angle 11.3 degrees
  • Carry 245 yards
  • Total 272.2 yards
  • Height 76 feet

43" Three Wood Shaft

  • Club Speed 101.1 mph
  • Ball Speed 150.0 mph
  • Spin Rate 2100 rpm
  • Launch Angle 14.0 degrees
  • Carry 249 yards
  • Total 278.7 yards
  • Height 84.3 feet

42.5" Persimmon Driver with Steel Shaft

  • Club Speed 93.4 mph
  • Ball Speed 141.2 mph
  • Spin Rate 2115 rpm
  • Launch Angle 10.3 degrees
  • Carry 206.4 yards
  • Total 246.4 yards
  • Height 48 feet
shafttestavg
shafttestavg

I couldn't believe it! I hit my driver with a 3 wood shaft further, higher, with less spin and above all else - straighter. Take a look at how much straighter: (yellow - driver shaft/purple - 3 wood shaft/ white - persimmon)

dispersion
dispersion

I also totaled the distance (after roll) the ten shots with each club finished from the center line:

  • Persimmon - 182 feet (average 18" off line)
  • Three wood shaft - 234 feet (average 23" feet off line)
  • Driver shaft - 315 feet (average 31" off line)

On my Andrew Rice Golf Facebook page I asked readers if they had any experience with shortening the shaft of their driver and here are a few of their responses:

"I just went to a 44" and am loving it! Longer then my 45.5" and straighter too!" GT

"Went to 44" and more consistent with no loss in distance" AvS

"44" Callaway...more fairways AND more distance!!!" CL

"Went to 44" and I hit it more solid further and straighter" PW

"44" this year. I agree it is far better. Middle of the face more often." SF

"I found it made me less steep through attack so I have lowered my spin rate and launched it about a degree higher" AB

By the way - most of the above quotes are from full-time professional golf instructors. So what can we learn from this research?

Having tested a few golfers with shorter shafts it seems to me that each golfer has a 'threshold' length - an ideal length that gives them the optimal combination of speed and accuracy. For some that threshold could be 46"  while for others they perform best with a 42" driver. The only way to find out is to get yourself with a teacher or fitter that has access to Trackman and various shafts.

Another point to note is that while the 3 wood shaft had a slightly slower club and ball speed the shots were longer...why? Notice how the launch angle was higher while the spin rate was lower. A perfect illustration of the term 'high launch low spin'. Launch the ball higher to get more out of your tee shots.

persimmon1
persimmon1

What can we learn from the 'persimmon' data? While that shaft was even shorter than the 3 wood shaft it was substantially heavier. I believe the 3 wood graphite shaft was almost 50 grams lighter than it's steel counterpart which would explain the almost 7 mph difference in club speed. The size, or lack there of, of the head was intimidating in the beginning, but as I went through the shots I became more comfortable. I believe that practicing with a smaller clubhead like this can only be beneficial in the long term for any serious golfer.

My feeling standing over the shorter club was better and almost every golfer I tested reported the same sense. The club feels easier to control and many golfers have reported a feel that they can 'get through' the shot better. I really felt like I could smash it without it going off line - a nice feeling!

Physics says that longer shaft + lighter shaft = faster club speed = more distance. On paper that might be true, but when the human element is involved everything changes. The next time I tee it up it will be with a substantially shorter shaft in my driver...but that's just me!

The Truth about Divots

 Demonstrating the Impact Drag Drill

Demonstrating the Impact Drag Drill

I think divots are over-rated. They are not integral to great ball striking and they certainly don't give us as much information pertaining to the swing that led to the divot as we have been led to think. And to think that I used to love them, I used to encourage all my students, even ladies, to hit down and take divots...

Times have changed! TrackMan has shown me that far more golfers hit down too much than those who don't hit down enough. The "hit down" mantra has been flogged to death.

This video I filmed in conjunction with Revolution Golf will give you some idea as to what to look for as you work towards an improved and shallower strike on the ball.

As Martin Chuck so aptly said in this very good follow up video, "We're looking for bacon strips, not pork chops!" A shallow strike will improve the crispness of your strike - give it a try.

Thanks for reading along.