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The Longest Driver

Hi Frank,
Which Driver is the longest?

With All things being equal  - say using an Iron Byron Machine for testing.
Say a swing speed of 105 mph (any speed as long as it is equal) and using the same ball (whatever ball somebody picks to use) which driver is the longest?

That never comes out in any of the testing.

Can you help me out?

Thank You and God Bless
--Mel

Mel,
Your question-- “Which Driver is the longest? – is one I think I have been asked more often than any other except maybe for “What is the longest ball?”
Your premise that ‘All things’ must be equal has a significant effect on the answer. Let me explain. That ‘All things’ are never equal

If I tested – using a mechanical golfer with the same settings -- two different clubs with the same shaft, same loft and the same head speed in both cases, it would be very surprising if I would get the same launch conditions. The launch conditions will be different because the club head presents itself to the ball differently, dictated by the center of gravity (c.g.) location, dynamic loft and the impact point on the face. For these and many other reasons “All things” are not equal.

Having said this, let me tell you that it is possible -- assuming that both club heads have the maximum COR, which is the case with most drivers today -- to change the settings on the mechanical golfer, the shafts, and the lofts of club heads to produce the same launch conditions. Thus, make both clubs hit the ball the same distance. The launch conditions dictate the distance the ball will travel.

The COR (Coefficient of Restitution) will dictate the ball velocity given a particular head speed and head weight.  The loft and point of impact on the face relative to c.g. will dictate the launch angle and spin rate.

Bottom line; given a specific head speed using the same ball it is possible to achieve the same launch conditions using two different clubs, which means that both clubs will hit the ball exactly the same distance, with the same trajectory. If these launch conditions are close to optimum for that ball speed then one has achieved the maximum distance.

Mel, what you need to do is look for a club head you like the look of, and find the shaft flex and loft angle which will best produce the optimum launch conditions for your swing type and ball speed. You may want to change balls to help in this optimization process.

The slight differences in drivers today are MOI (Moment of Inertia or forgiveness factor) the degree of COR fall-off as the impact point moves away from the sweet spot and c.g. location. These differences will dictate how far the ball will travel when and if you miss the sweet spot. So it's up to you to select those properties which best suit you.

I would suggest that neither you nor I are good enough to hit the ball as consistently as the mechanical golfer. So, select a standard club with the shaft flex you feel comfortable using and  the loft which will launch the ball close to the optimum launch conditions (see http://www.franklygolf.com/tgc/launch.asp  for details), then get a lesson, and try the BOB system (Buckets Of Balls).

Unfortunately, when we realize, that today’s quality of drivers is so good and the technology is so similar, there is not a single driver that is the longest.

By the way low scores are more important than driving distance, and these are not necessarily correlated.
  
Frank