Snedeker goes light on driver shaft

Brandt Snedeker hits a tee shot during the first round of the BMW Championship, the third event in the PGA Tour's 2013 FedEx Cup playoffs.

It had to happen soon.

As the weight of graphite driver shafts continues to go down, the quality and durability of these lightweight shafts continues to go up. Which takes us to Brandt Snedeker, who seized the first-round lead in the BMW Championship with a TaylorMade SLDR driver equipped with a 45-gram UST Mamiya Proforce VTS 4 X shaft.

Snedeker is believed to be the first player to lead a PGA Tour event with a driver shaft weighing less than 50 grams. Most PGA Tour players use driver shafts in the 60- and 70-gram range.

The VTS 4 is a high-launching, high-torque shaft that is developing a reputation for tight dispersion. How can a shaft with 5.9 degrees of torque deliver straighter drives? The answer: A high-tech combination of modern materials, construction techniques and quality control.

The landscape of driver shafts is changing rapidly. Another example of a prominent high-torque shaft is provided by Graham DeLaet, who is leading the PGA Tour in total driving with a UST Mamiya VTS Red X shaft that has 5 degrees of torque.

Snedeker has shown no reluctance to experiment with different shafts. His Bridgestone irons are outfitted with Aerotech SteelFiber shafts (a combination of graphite and metal fiber).

He is making news with his driver head as well as his driver shaft. At July’s RBC Canadian Open, which he won, Snedeker switched between two different TaylorMade drivers – an SLDR and a Burner Superfast.

Now he is using the SLDR exclusively. The sliding weight on the sole of his 10.5-degree driver is pushed almost all the way to the heel (draw) setting. So much for the notion that all Tour players want open-faced drivers with a fade bias.

• • •

Brandt Snedeker’s bag during the 2013 BMW Championship:

  • Driver: TaylorMade SLDR (10.5)
  • 3-wood: Callaway X Hot (15)
  • Hybrid: Ping Anser (17)
  • Irons: Bridgestone J40 Cavity Back (4-9)
  • Wedges: Bridgestone J40 (52, 56), Titleist Vokey (60)
  • Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG Rossie
  • Ball: Bridgestone Tour B330
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