Ask the Gear Doc

Ask the Gear Doc

Choking down on a fairway wood can help you produce a unique blend of shots.
Chris Condon/WireImage

Each week in this feature, we’ll tap into the expertise of our exclusive research partner, Hot Stix Golf, to answer reader questions. If you have a question for the Gear Doc, e-mail it to [email protected]. He’ll answer a few lucky readers’ questions every Wednesday on

In the May 28 article, Tim Clemons Sr., had a question about his 540 cc driver. It might be that a typo occurred, and he really has a 450 cc head on that club. If not, then that club is illegal under the current Rules of Golf since drivers are limited to 460 cc.
— Bob Locke, Greeley, Colo.

Dear Bob,
You are right, the size limit on drivers is set at 460cc. However, there are several equipment manufacturers that offer nonconforming drivers. I believe the driver in question was the John Daly Lion 540cc. While it is nonconforming, there is nothing wrong with playing it if you are just beginning or if you are not playing in events or games that are governed by the USGA.

Dear Doc:
Is the new Callaway Hyper X Driver going to live up to its hype? Is it going to be better than their FT-5 Driver?
— Mark Janicek

Dear Mark,
Based on Hot Stix testing, the Hyper X seems like a very good driver for players who need to reduce spin but maintain a high-launch angle. If you are a person who does not create a lot of spin off the tee with a driver, this club might not be the best fit for you unless you intend to go up in loft.

Dear Doc:
I would like to add a 64° wedge to my bag and eliminate a longer club (e.g. 3-hybrid). Of course, to add the wedge, I will have to cover the 2-, 3- and 4-hybrid distances with only two clubs instead of three. How much can I choke down on a club like a 7-wood without changing the characteristics of the club dramatically? That is, can I use a 7-wood as a 7-wood (full length) and a 9-wood (choked down)?
— Chris Timp

Dear Chris,
You can absolutely use your 7-wood (or any other club for that matter) for multiple distances and shots. The only characteristic of the club that will change is the swing weight. The bigger adjustment will be hitting the shot itself.

Try choking down on your 7-wood on the range and track the distances when you choke-down half an inch or a full inch. I think you will find that many of the clubs in your bag can be used for several different shots and distances that will make you a better player.

Hi Golf Doc,
I have a 10.5° driver (TaylorMade R510 TP) with a stiff shaft (TP Fujikura Speeder) and hit the ball about 250 yards off the tee. As a 48-year-old, I am fairly happy with that. However, of the 250 yards only about three yards is roll.

Would going to a lower-lofted head create more roll? It is a little frustrating to see the ball climb out there then drop out of the sky.
— Brian, Coffs Harbour, Australia

Dear Brian,
I have been asked this question hundreds of times, so I’m glad you gave me the opportunity to answer it here. There are two reasons why you wouldn’t see any roll after your drives land.

1) You are hitting it too high, and therefore the angle of descent is so steep the ball does not roll out after it lands.

2) The ball is spinning too much, and therefore the ball does not hit and bounce forward after landing.

Because you didn’t say anything about hitting it too high, I’m going to go with situation No. 2.

There are two ways to fix your problem. First, experiment with the ball you play. There is a tremendous variance in spin between balls off the face of a driver. You might find one that allows you to reduce spin and get the roll you want. Second, get custom fitted for your driver. If you are going to invest in a new driver you want to make sure it helps you achieve optimal launch and spin conditions.

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