Carrying two drivers allows more options
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
James Achenbach on how Matt Kuchar won the Turning Stone Resort Championship using graphite shafts in his irons.
I’m certainly not twice as talented as Tom Pernice Jr. – I’m not even half as talented – but there is one area in which I’m twice as productive as Pernice.
In his first appearance on the Champions Tour, in the SAS Championship, Pernice won by a shot over Nick Price and David Price. He was victorious with a Titleist 909D3 driver in his bag.
“I love this driver,” he said.
Me, too. Here’s my story: I am Pernice times two. I carry two Titleist 909D3 drivers in my bag.
When I play in a tournament, it is a common occurrence for someone on the first tee to assume I have more than 14 clubs. “You forgot to take out one of your drivers,” is a comment I hear frequently.
No, there are two drivers in there, and I feel more golfers should follow the same strategy.
Why two drivers? In simplistic terms, I have a draw driver and a fade driver. If there is trouble on the right, I want to aim directly at it. Then I attempt to draw my tee shot away from it. The same goes for fading a driver away from trouble on the left.
It goes deeper than this. I have always believed that golfers get a feeling or perception or mental image when they stand on the tee. Some holes just feel like or look like draw holes, while others scream out, “Hit a fade off the tee, dummy.”
I desperately want to move the ball both ways, and I am not skilled enough to do it with one driver. I need two.
All drivers have tendencies. The torque and flex characteristics of the shaft have a lot to do with this. Every golfer has had the experience of hitting a particular driver that goes left every time, or goes right every time, or goes high or low with regularity. This simply reflects the personality of the driver and the shaft.
This explains how I was able to take two 10.5-degree 909D3 heads and make one of them go left and the other go right. My draw driver has=2 0one shaft, my fade driver has a very different shaft.
I created a draw driver by using a Mitsubishi Rayon Bassara 43-gram shaft. In my fade driver, I used a 56-gram A.J. Tech 4470 shaft. Both shafts say they are stiff flex, but the A.J. Tech shaft is much stiffer – more than any fitter would prescribe for a golfer with a 95 MPH driver swing speed. This is one factor that allows me to hit a fade.
The Bassara shaft was tipped half an inch. It still feels slightly whippy, and it definitely promotes a draw.
In my 15-degree 3-wood, I tried the same Bassara shaft but quickly switched to a stronger 73-gram Diamana Red Board. This scheme fits me, and I am not necessarily recommending it to anyone else.
My two-driver scheme was severely tested when I decided to create an East Coast set of clubs and a West Coast set, so I=2 0wouldn’t have to haul them across the country. Was I going to own four 909D3 drivers?
No, I decided to assemble two 10.5-degree Ping Rapture V2 drivers, choosing a Bassara 43-gram S for one (tipped one-half inch) and an Aldila NVS 65 S (tipped one inch) in the other.
With all my drivers – draw or fade – I try to make the same swing. The characteristics of the shaft, or perhaps the orientation of the shaft in the driver head, have a strong influence on whether the ball goes left or right.
With two drivers and a 3-wood, what clubs fill the other 11 slots in the bag?
Here goes: 5-wood (18 degrees), 20-degree hybrid, 24-degree hybrid, 28-degree 6-iron, 32-degree 7-iron, 36-degree 8-iron, 40-degree 9-iron, 45-degree pitching wedge, 50-degree gap wedge, 55-degree sand wedge, 60-degree lob wedge, putter.
That’s a total of 15 clubs. OK, I have to remove one club. Depending on the golf course, it can be the 3-wood, or the 5-wood, or occasionally the 6-iron or 9-iron. On a course with very large greens, I have taken out the 60-degree wedge.
Two drivers, though, are part of my game plan no matter where I play.
Now you know how weird I can be.