Do Golf Drivers Lose Their Pop & How Often You Should Replace Them
A golf club company will never make more noise than when they release a new driver. Modern manufacturers spend so much money developing driver technology and the marketing campaigns that go behind them, you better notice! These are their headliners and they keep coming up with innovative new ways to make they go further and more straight.
How long do drivers last in the hands of the average golfer? What kind of things should you be looking out for to know when a new driver is needed? These are some of the things we’ll address in this article.
Getting Ahead Of Myself
I remember, as a young golfer, being told that drivers could “die” and lose their pop. We’ll go into how this happens in a bit, but as a teenager, this became something I was aware of. One summer, I had lost a little bit of yardage and my poor young ego was bruised.
Really, my club mates had just started hitting it further than me but I couldn’t accept this and started telling people my driver had lost its pop. I spoke to my coach about it, he belly-laughed at my naivety. He assured me that this wasn’t the case and helped me with a lesson to get my edge back.
So, Do Drivers Wear Out Over Time?
The fact of the matter is that, even though I may have been getting ahead of myself in the anecdote above, drivers can lose their pop over time. They can wear out and they start to lose efficiency in the face. This means that they transfer far less energy to the ball at impact.
The face of modern drivers is incredibly thin and they are designed to act as trampolines and throw the ball toward the fairway, or trees. Over time, the face becomes less active and they end up significantly losing performance.
What is the CoR effect?
This is the scientific or Bryson DeChambeau-esque way of saying “trampoline” effect that driver faces have. Let’s get science…CoR stands for Coefficient of Restitution. This is a measurement of the velocity retained or lost by an object after being hit by another. It is measured as a ratio, final velocity over initial velocity.
The “hotter” the face of a driver, the higher this ratio will be. Of course, this means that the higher the ratio, the further the ball will go when you bring out the barking dog. This is why this is an attribute of the driver that is limited by the rules of the game, 0.83 is the limit which equates to 83% energy velocity transfer.
How Much Of Losing This Effect Is Real And How Much Is Placebo?
“Placebo?” I hear you shout as you read this? It’s not just in medication that you can fall for the incredibly powerful placebo effect. As you can read from the start of this article, I certainly fell for it as a young golfer, it is legit.
If you are used to being the biggest hitter in a group and all of a sudden you lose that, you start to question what is going on. It is reasonable to question your equipment, I mean there’s no way it can be your fault! Get a pro to check your equipment, then book a lesson, that will sort it out.
How Long Should A Driver Last? How Many Rounds?
If you play thirty to forty rounds per year, a reasonable number for an average golfer, your driver should easily last five years. This includes range time and any mulligans/provisional balls you may need. This five year period is also a good amount of time to let the technology advance so you can really see the benefit when you buy a new model.
Modern manufacturers will make you think that you need anew driver every year. The truth is, technology is really at the limit and year-on-year improvements are marginal at best. Waiting a while means that you can really benefit from the accumulation of these marginal gains.
Signs Your Driver Is Worn Out/Has Lost It’s Pop
If you notice a sudden and significant drop in distance paired with an inconsistent ball flight, you may be starting to see a struggling driver. This is when you have to be honest with yourself and make sure that this isn’t pilot error, is your swing still good? If you are striking the ball well and every other club in your bag is performing, your driver could be dying.
Modern drivers are designed to launch the ball high with minimal spin. A struggling driver will give poor launch conditions and you may start to struggle to get the ball in the air too. If you feel that your swing is unchanged and you are really struggling from the tee, get your driver health-checked.
How Much Distance Will I Lose With A Worn-Out Driver?
You will probably lose enough distance to start thinking that there could be a problem, it’s very difficult to put an actual number on it. However, distance is really the least of your concerns here, the real issue is the inconsistency of the ball flight you will face. Worn-out drivers will cause erratic ball flights that can cause you real trouble from the tee.
Whilst you may lose up to 10% distance, you will notice the missed fairways more. You will start to hit second shots from places on the course that you rarely find yourself in, this is more serious. Check the club for damage and speak to your club pro.
Can I Refurbish My Driver To Bring It Back From The Dead?
Yes and no, it really depends on what part of the club is causing you the reduced performance that you are seeing. If the face or head of the club has become worn, it will be impossible to refurbish the club and give it a new lease of life. However, shafts can also start to wear out and this can be fixed.
Modern drivers are adjustable and one of the main benefits of this is that you can easily make changes to the shaft you play. If your shaft has become a bit tired, you will know this due to a real lack of control from the tee, you can just get a new one and all will be well in the world again.
Why Else Would I Be Losing Distance With My Driver?
The list of causes here could be long, many things can have a negative impact on your driving distance. This is why speaking to a coach can really help. It may not be the face of your driver that is causing the issue, we’ve already spoken about the shaft and it could even be because you need a new grip.
Other than flaws on the club, you could be losing distance because the ball you are playing is spinning too much. You may just have simply lost some power due to physical limitations or age. Have a think about what has changed since you noticed you were hitting it shorter.
There’s A Dent In My Driver, Will That Cause Distance-Loss?
It really depends where the dent is but it probably won’t cause any significant loss in distance. Modern drivers have a huge amount of aerodynamic optimisation built into their design and, whilst this may be affected by a dent, it’s not that big a deal. Dents can lead to physical weakness though and this is very much something to keep an eye on.
A dent is clearly a stress on the metal of your golf club. Overtime, this could reduce the tolerance of the material and lead to faster fatigue. Just pay attention to it and check it every so often to make sure all is well.
How Often Do Tour Pros Change Driver?
We all dream of the tour truck experience, standing on the range with technicians watching us and offering us the latest and greatest technology for free. If that were you, would you change driver often? Many would, they would be trying every new thing that came out and adding it to the bag.
However, if you watch tour players, and their bags, carefully, you will see they don’t change too often. They might put the new driver from their sponsor in the bag every year but even then they don’t always do that. This is such an important club that it is only changed when something clearly better comes on offer.
What To Look For In A New Driver
I’m sorry to be boring, but the simple answer is something that feels good to you and hits fairways consistently. You may love the look of one brand but you struggle to hit it consistently well. If one in five shots are incredible but the rest are a little dodgy, this is not the driver for you.
Pick a few drivers you like and get on a launch monitor with an expert. This is your own version of that tour experience I was speaking about above, except you have to pay. Listen to the data, it knows best.
How Can I Hit My Driver Further?
For a quick fix, teeing it up and hitting up on the ball at impact will make a difference. However, for a longer-term and more consistent fix, the gym will become your friend. By developing your flexibility and power, you will start seeing extra yardage from the big stick.
Seeing a coach will help as well. He or she can help you with any technique issues that may be holding you back from the tee.
Will Adding Weight To My Driver Add Distance?
Maybe, you absolutely have to do this with care and with the help of someone who knows what they’re doing. Lead tape is a great way of adding weight but modern driver come with optional and changeable weights so this is another option. If you have this latter option, take it, lead tape can be a dark art not to be messed with by the naïve.
By changing the weight configuration on your driver you can move the centre of gravity, this will help you with consistency of strike, if you get it right. Better strikes mean more distance.
What Drivers Would We Recommend?
There are plenty of great drivers out there to suit every bodies individual tastes and budgets and depending on what you are in the market for, here are some of the best!
The Titleist TS2 Driver – Best Overall Choice
In my opinion, there are no better drivers in golf than Titleist drivers, they have a softness that make them feel like irons which is rare. The TS Series has been yet another hit from Titleist and the four drivers that make up the line-up TS1, TS2, TS3 and TS4, mean there’s something for everyone.
It’s a bit of a cop-out to put a series in as the ‘best overall’ but you will find a great club here. They have a classic look and a distinct lack of gimmicks. Nothing feels like a Titleist driver.
Check Out More Reviews Here:
Taylormade M6 Driver – Best Premium Choice
Drivers can be very expensive these days, with certain shaft options, you can easily spend nearly £1000! When you put the words golf and premium together, you think of one brand, Taylormade and Their M6 Drivers are incredible. Whilst they are very expensive, you get premium shafts as standard and actually they are great value if your budget allows it.
Taylormade’s reign as a top quality brand has been steady for a long time, this is because they sell fantastic golf clubs. Try the M6 Driver and you will be amazed!
Check Out More Reviews Here:
The Callaway XR Speed – Best Budget Choice
If you want value, your best bet is to go for something that is no longer the latest model. In doing this you will save a fortune and get a club that is, to all intents and purposes, a paint job away from the current model. The Callaway XR Speed driver is an incredibly good buy and a throwback to one of the best drivers the company has ever produced.
This is non-adjustable, which many will love, and looks fantastic. This really is a steal and easily the best value on the market right now.
Check Out More Reviews Here:
Drivers are hit harder than any other club in the bag, they’re also the club you’re most likely to want to show off to your friends. The choice of clubs on the market is astounding and the custom choices within each brand makes your choice almost infinite. When your driver eventually gives up, or when you just decide it’s time for a new one, you need help choosing.
Take care of your clubs and they will take care of you. When you are cleaning your set, which should be at least every couple of weeks, check them for wear and damage. We golfers are artists, our clubs are our paintbrushes, we need to take care of them so they don’t let us down.
Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!