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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Johnny Miller, Peter Kostis and Dave Phillips... Together!

Golf Magazine just posted an interview with Johnny Miller, Peter Kostis and Dave Phillips. All three of them, together, talking about the same topics. WOW! It's a killer interview and you definitely want to read it.

Kostis, Miller, Phillips

While I love to hear what Kostis and Miller say, I'm always interested to hear what Phillips thinks. He's not only a Golf Magazine Top100 Teacher, he's also part of the Titleist Performance Institute... which means he's absolutely drowning in biomechanics data! And you probably aren't surprised to learn that Miller often disagrees with Kostis and Phillips simply because he came from the persimmon generation.

However, since they're talking about different swing mechanics, that doesn't mean Miller is wrong. It just means that you should try all their ideas and see which ones work best for your swing.

They talk about a lot in this interview -- it's a long one, folks -- but I wanted to focus on their thoughts concerning drivers since we're all interested in getting max distance and accuracy with the big stick. And here's what they said (the first two are direct quotes):
Phillips: "For the average player, consistent contact is the biggest factor. To play better, get a shorter, more-lofted driver and hit it in the middle of the face... Moving the center of gravity forward is a bigger distance boost than the trampoline effect. That really helps the power hitter get distance. But the average guy, who doesn't hit it on the face, needs the center of gravity back to minimize his dispersion on mis-hits."

Kostis: "What's happened on the road to the 460cc metal wood is that Tour pros feel so confident that they swing harder and harder. So their ball speed has increased a lot. But that hasn't happened for the average player, who hits it off the toe and the heel. So I agree with Dave that shorter clubs and softer shafts would help the average golfer hit it farther. Even Tiger could try it. When he was with Butch, he was using a 43-inch, steel-shafted driver. His driving problems began when he went to a 45-inch shaft."
Phillips adds that shorter drivers have become a trend and that Sergio is now using a 43-incher. (With a fairly stiff shaft, I'm sure.)

Miller disagrees and says that unless you've got that down move that Sergio has, you can use a 47-incher if you want and still get control. He also likes more spin off the driver for better accuracy. He seems to be increasing shaft length to make up for slower swing speeds.

Apparently everyone's agreed that the biggest need for average golfers is to hit it in the center of the club face. But the best equipment setup to help you do that seems to be a matter of opinion.

So if you're an average guy or gal, you've got two possible driver setups to try here:
  1. Try a shorter driver with a softer shaft and more loft. This setup also favors having the weight farther back from the club face, giving you a higher launch and a bit less spin. This is the setup favored by Phillips and Kostis, and so I would think this has the weight of biomechanical evidence behind it. (Power hitters will likely need stiffer shafts.)
  2. Or you can try a longer driver, presumably with a bit less loft and more spin. Miller doesn't say so, but it sounds like he wants the weight closer behind the club face to give you more distance with this setup. I'm guessing this is based on his experience since he used to hit that "line drive" he talks about in the article. And I suspect this driver will need a stiffer shaft just because it's longer... but figuring that out is a clubfitter's job!
If you're searching for a new driver, it might be worth trying both setups before you buy.

And by all means, stop by golf.com and read the entire interview. It's an incredible meeting of the minds.

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