Welcome to another edition of Yo, Gear Guy!, an interactive GOLF.com series in which our resident dimplehead (a.k.a., GOLF’s deputy editor of equipment, Mike Chwasky) fields your hard-hitting questions about clubs, fittings, gadgets, bounce, lofts, CG, MOI, and a bunch of other scary acronyms. This week he’s covering when to upgrade your driver and the most important club to get custom fit. Got a question for Gear Guy? Hit us up on Twitter, Facebook or email.
Nikolaki16: How often should I be upgrading my driver?
While all our advertisers in the equipment world would probably suggest getting a new driver every time a replacement cycle occurs (every year or two depending on the brand and model), I can’t totally agree. Unless you have exceptionally high clubhead speed (like Bubba Watson fast), the COR and ball speed of a modern titanium driver won’t slow down due to normal practice and play for a very, very long time. So provided you take reasonably decent care of your club (the trunk of your car is not a good place for regular storage), the only reason to replace it is when new models offer better performance.
These days the R&D departments at major gear manufacturers are doing some amazing things with materials and designs, and it’s sort of a golden age of driver technology, so if you have a five-year-old driver it’s probably time to take a look at some new big sticks. Believe it or not, some of the top companies are still able to significantly increase ball speeds (within USGA rules) and the level of customizability has risen to incredible levels.
Moving forward I would keep an eye out for replacement cycles and take a good look at the various new technologies that are coming down the pike. I guarantee I will replace my current driver with a 2019 model because of technological advances and you might want to do the same.
Donbooze: I’m not looking to dish out the money for a full bag fitting but could swing a portion of. What clubs would you say are the most important to get fit: Driver, irons, wedges or putter?
I appreciate that custom fitted clubs can be pricey and might not fit into everyone’s budget, but I definitely fully encourage a partial fitting if it works for you.
To begin you’ll want to get your putter fit for sure, as it will be used to hit at least 40% of your total shots in most rounds. Getting the right weighting scheme and overall design for your stroke type, physical build, feel preference, and a number of other factors can have quick and dramatic effects on your putting game.
Some might say irons or wedges should be next since they’re scoring clubs, but I would strongly suggest a driver fitting instead. I’m assuming you’re a recreational golfer, meaning you play mostly for fun, and few things in golf are as enjoyable as driving the ball well. Also, a poorly fitted driver that has too little loft or a shaft that’s too long, heavy, or stiff, will not only negatively affect your swing and produce poor shots but can also cause injuries by forcing you to over-swing.
Justinsellsvegas: What’s the benefit of using the MCC Plus4 grip?
I’m familiar with Golf Pride’s MCC Plus4 model, and although addressing specific items isn’t what we normally do here, I’ll make an exception in this case.
For those who don’t know, the MCC Plus4 is a newer version of the MCC (multi-compound) grip that’s very popular, particularly on Tour. Like the standard MCC, the Plus4 features a hybrid design with a buffed rubber and cord section in the end of the grip for control and a softer, non-cord section in the bottom hand area for improved feel. However, the Plus4 also features a significantly thicker lower section that simulates placing four extra wraps under that area of the grip (hence the name). A fair number of Tour pros do this with their standard grips as they feel it increases swing speed by allowing them to loosen their hold a bit.
For amateurs I actually think this type of setup can be equally helpful and believe it or not for some midsized or even oversized grips can help even more. Thin grips are sort of an old-fashioned tradition for better players, just like wound balls and tiny forged dead-faced blades, and they’re kind of out of date. Modern clubs are made to swing aggressively and thicker grips often make it a lot easier to maintain contact with the club throughout your motion, which is a problem for a lot of folks.
So while the MCC Plus4 is undeniably a great grip, the benefits of any slightly larger grip make one worth a try.