Will a Shorter Driver Give You More Distance ?

Wed Jan 15, 2014 by Dave Phillips

Drivers generally come standard at 45-46 inches in length, the longer the driver shaft the potential exists for more distance, theoretically your swing arc would be wider and therefore you could create more speed.  However with the use of technology like trackman, we know that it is far more important to hit the center of the clubface than increase your swing speed by a few miles an hour.  It is easier to hit the center of the clubface with a shorter club than a longer club, therefore if you feel like you are struggling with your current driver here's a few things you can try before you cut that driver down or order a new one. 

1. Choke down an inch when you grip the club and cover the face of your driver with a dry erase marker.  Hit a few shots with your normal grip and a few choking down an inch, note where on the face you are hitting the ball and see if you are more consistent at finding the center of the clubface with the shorter length. 

2. Most three wood shafts are the old driver standard 43.5, if you have an adjustable driver and three wood, put the three wood shaft in you driver and hit a few shots and see if you find any difference.

3. Schedule an appointment with a clubfitting expert for a driver fitting and have them check driver length for you. The correct length can make it easier to maintain your body angles throughout the swing and as a result you may pick up distance as a result of better swing mechanics. 

If you have a young junior golfer make sure the driver length is correct for them, if you don't and give them a standard length driver it can actually cause swing problems and long term it may actually cause them to swing slower in order to try and control the longer club.  When they are young we want them to hit the ball as hard as they can so they learn to develop speed, make sure the driver fits them and is light enough that they can swing as fast as they can and hold their finish. 


  • Deacon Bob

    I've been making clubs for years and decided to test the theory that longer shafts produce more distance. I made four drivers with identical shafts. I made four lengths: 42" , 43" , 44" and 4 5" . The heads had weight ports so I swing weighted each at D 1 which meant the shorter drivers were a little heavier. Using a swing speed meter I hit several balls with each club and average out the swing speed. I repeated that exercise so I would have more data. My fastest swing speed was with the 43" driver! The slowest was the 45" driver. There wasn't a lot of difference, about 3.5 mph between the worst and best but still a shorter driver is easier to hit plus it was also the heaviest. When I made the head weights equal there was barely any difference between the heavier drivers and the lighter ones. I now hit a 43.5" driver as long or longer than when it was 45" and I am almost always in or very near the fairway. Our is so much easier to hit it straight!

  • Dave Weir

    i have been using shorter drivers for about four years now. i have multiple leanth shafts for my driver from 39 to 43 inches. i use the 39 on narrow courses to help keep it play. My 4 hybrid was my goto club when i started spraying my driver so i thought what would happen if i made my driver that short, my avg drive went from 260 to 240 yds and most always in the short grass. i'll never go back to anything longer than 43."

  • Andrea Zanardelli

    Thank you Dave. Great article. Before coaching any students with a driver I cut it to 45" standard lenght. Then make some tests and technical changes. Longer shafts is the result of marketing strategy of the big companies. They ask a robot to test their drivers, not humans!

  • jason spencer

    Wouldn't a shorter shaft also produce less spin, which would equal more distance

  • Anonymous User

    I've always hit my PW better than my 1 iron...It's shorter...

  • Anonymous User

    "if you have an adjustable driver and three wood, put the three wood shaft in you driver and hit a few shots" - I'd like to but I have a Titleist 913 Driver and Fairway wood!

  • Anonymous User

    I want to thank Dave for giving this tip to my junior golfer a few months ago. Because of his advice, I cut down his driver 2 more inches. It took some time, but he's now hitting further, with more confidence and Much more accuracy. In the past two weeks, he hit Every Fairway in 3 out of his last 4 rounds, and also had the two longest drives of his young life. Very fun, very encouraging!!!!

  • Anonymous User

    Remember when you shorten the shaft, you have changed the swing weight. Get the lead tape out.

  • Anonymous User

    I doubt many pros if any are playing" the #1 driver on tour" at 46" I am happy with my 45" 910D2 Every time I hit a 46" as a demo it is epic fail!

  • Anonymous User

    If you do go shorter with the driver, should I also subsequently go shorter on the 3wood/hybrid?

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