Fit your equipment to your swing, not your swing to your equipment.
The golf swing is extremely complex and hard enough as it is. On top of everything going on during the swing, why should anyone add manipulating their swing to fit a "cookie cutter" driver set up to the mix? There is absolutely no reason for any golfer to do so. Yet, this is the number one swing flaw I have seen... Time, after time, after time!
Sure, I realize optimizing your equipment to fit your swing conditions sounds simple, but it isn't. In fact, to the majority of golfers this sounds almost so simple that it need not be addressed! The fact of the matter still remains that a golfer, especially a serious golfer can neither start seeing the swing improvements they desire nor at the rate they desire until they optimize their equipment. Coincidentally, this is absolutely the quickest and easiest "swing change" a golfer can possibly make... Provided he or she has the right help.
Over the years I have had the opportunity to analyze countless golfer's swings. Trust me, I have seen it all... young, old, male, female, athletically gifted and not so athletically gifted. Every golfer is very unique, especially when such major factors as the aforementioned are considered. However, amazingly nearly every one of these golfers have had one key element in common. That is, every single one of them was trying to alter their swing... To fit their driver... To ultimately create the most advantageous and desirable shot shape.
Before we go any further, it is important for the golfer to understand that by no means am I suggesting that a driver, or any club for that matter be "tweaked" to cure one's nasty slice or alleviate the dreaded snap hook. Instead, I am purely speaking of matching the golfer's unique swing conditions to the optimal launch conditions. That is, trajectory itself, and not shot shape or manipulation. It is both unique and exciting to analyze how different swing "paths" can be taken to accomplish the same result... The ideal launch conditions.
In order to fit a golfer's equipment to their unique swing conditions, many factors have to be taken into account. Their equipment must be fine tuned to optimize launch angle, launch spin rate, decent spin rate, decent angle, ball speed, and so on and so forth. I have even seen an increase in a golfers clubhead speed solely through adjusting their equipment. Please take note that this was not necessarily accomplished through simply handing the golfer a lighter club to swing. Often times a heavier club or swing weight improved their timing and accomplished the goal nicely.
Now, the fun part. In order to begin our journey to Longer Drives, USA, we must first under stand that their are two types of unwanted launch conditions that may be produced. From these two, all of the further possibilities of the spectrum are derived.
It may be advantageous to first address these conditions visually by means of an Optimal Launch Flow Chart I have created. Please see Chart 1. (Click Image to Enlarge)
There are several key points that we should take away from this flow chart. The first being that despite all of the different paths taken, the end result is the same regardless of the swing condition. That is, the optimal launch angle is created out of each and every variation.
The second key point is that there are obviously numerous combinations of loft angle, head center of gravity and shaft kick points that produce a similar, if not equal outcome. For example, given the condition of low launch/high spin a combination of a somewhat higher loft AND slightly lower kick point can yield the same result as either utilized exclusively.
Notice that the shaft flex itself is fairly irrelevant when it come to launch angle and spin. Shaft flex, as it turns out has more to do with swing tempo.
Two Basic Types of Launch Conditions
Trajectory Too High:
The first unwanted launch condition is a trajectory that is too high. Keep in mind that approximately half of the golfers out there, especially beginners tend to hit the ball on too low of a trajectory. Consequently, they are probably wondering to themselves how it would be possible to actually hit a ball too high. The other half know exactly what I am talking about, and all too well! If your trajectory is on the low side, you may want to jump ahead to the next section. However, I believe it is still beneficial to read both sections to gain a firm and complete understanding of how equipment impacts trajectory.
There are two sub-types of a trajectory that is too high. The first type is high launch with high spin. This is the drive that starts high and balloons ever higher from there, and is especially detrimental into the wind. Players with higher than average clubhead speeds tend to run into this problem the most frequently. See image: