Ask the Gear Doctor

June 26, 2008

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

Hey Gear Doc,
I have two questions. First, I currently use a TaylorMade Burner TP driver (9.5°) with a pro launch red 65 gram shaft. I hit it pretty good but seem to have a bit too much backspin, so as a result shots often go too high and I don’t get a lot of roll. Would you recommend the new Tour Burner TP — like a 9.0° with the Mitsubishi Diamana 65 gram stock shaft?

Second, I currently use TaylorMade rac MB TP irons (3-PW). I hit them fairly well when struck well, but find my misses to be a bit off. What do you think of the idea of me going with TaylorMade r7 TP or Burner irons for my 3-6 and sticking with the MB 7-PW? Should I even consider switching to complete sets of those irons?


Dear Eddie,
Your first question is fairly difficult for me to answer with the information you given me, but let me see if I can clear a few things up for you.

If spin really is the issue, there are several ways that you can go about trying to fix your problem. One would be to trying a new driver, like the new Tour Burner, with less loft. But the shaft in your current driver could also be causing an increase in spin. If the shaft is too soft, or has too much torque for the way you load it, it can be a contributing factor to high spin.

One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to modify spin is the golf ball. I would suggest trying some different lower-spinning balls and see if you can get the reduced spin you are looking for while maintaining the feel and performance you desire for your short game.

As for you second question, I think if you are struggling with your longer irons, or even just looking to make that part of the game easier, I strongly recommend incorporating some hybrids, or more forgiving long irons. You will find that they make the game much more enjoyable.

Dear Gear Doc,
I have an terrible a fade when I use my driver. My ball flight starts straight but then at about 80 yards or so the ball begins to trail of right considerably, 40 yards or so. I’ve been thinking that switching to a draw club might do the trick. Would this solve the problem?


Dear Jesse,
If you are fighting a slice, a draw-biased or offset driver will help straighten your ball flight. But this is not a cure — it will only improve your ball flight. If you struggling with a 40 yard slice, you will need to work on improving your swing path in order to cure the problem.

Dear Gear Doc,
I know the pros have switched to graphite shafts in their drivers, but what about their fairway woods and irons? What type of shafts would you recommend for us mere mortals?


Dear Duane,
Almost all the professional golfers have switched to graphite not only in their drivers, but in their fairway woods and hybrids too.

For your personal use it is important that you get a shaft that fits your swing.

• If you have a faster tempo, you should consider a little heavier shaft.

• If you fade or slice the ball, you need a shaft with more torque to help square up the face.

• If you hit it very high you should be looking for a shaft that is designed to bring ball flight down.

And you want to make sure that the shaft is the appropriate flex for your swing speed. Playing a shaft that is too stiff will cause you to loose distance, and playing one that is too soft will create greater dispersion.