Optimal Driver Swing Weight
Driver swing weight is always an interesting topic and is underestimated by many. In their opinion, a driver has a certain weight and there is nothing to optimise. Unfortunately, this is really wrong and in fittings we see again and again how important swing weight is.
Swing weight can be thrown off track very quickly, for example by changing the shaft length or the grip. A heavy midsize grip, for example, often results in the swing weight becoming "too light". A longer shaft makes it "too heavy". But what exactly is too light and too heavy? And where do we set the limit?
Our Test Setup
First of all, we start with a light swing weight of C8. We would put this in the "senior" category and definitely "too light" for a player with over 100mph club head speed. We achieve this with a 45" shaft and a very light Max head - the lightest in our fitting matrix. This driver has 10.5° loft and generates too much spin - which is absolutely not relevant for this test but should be mentioned briefly.
We then increase the head weight to D2 and D4.5 - the latter is also the current driver swing weight of our test player.
To increase swing weight even more, we take a heavier club head and add lead to it to get a swing weight of D8. As you can see, the spin is correspondingly lower and the distance correspondingly longer - but as I said, that is not important for this test.
Because we want to know:
What is the optimal swing weight for our player?
And here we come to a pretty clear conclusion: D 4.5.
From C8, through D2 to D4.5 we see the following:
The club head speed increases and the player finds it easier to accelerate the club. After all, we gain 1mph without any further changes. At least as important, however, is the strike pattern, because the player has much more control over the clubface with the D 4.5 driver. He hits the balls more cleanly and the efficiency increases accordingly. The result is 4mph more ball speed and 11m to 12m more distance. And all this with just a little lead tape...
But when it gets to a D8 driver, we notice one thing above all: the club head speed decreases again, the club is too heavy to be accelerated well. The ball speed is also lower than with D2 and D4.5 despite the higher efficiency. In short: D8 is clearly too heavy for this player. This is not very surprising, because hardly anyone plays such a heavy swing weight in the driver.
Apart from these static results, the test also shows one thing quite clearly: the accuracy increases with the swing weight - at least up to a point where the optimum was exceeded. The control over the clubface was no longer given with the D8 driver, but was optimal with the D4.5 driver. Now you would have to do some fine tuning and, for example, also test D4 or D5 as swing weights - and of course optimise the club head in terms of launch and spin conditions.
But in short: swing weight should never be underestimated. Not only because of control, but also because of possible ball speeds and distance. Changing the swing weight on a small scale is relatively uncomplicated with lead tape and can also be easily reversed. Unfortunately, a driver head cannot be made lighter and without a professional clubmaker with a swing weight scale, no one will be able to tell you the actual swing weight. Swing weight is very individual and should be a topic in every fitting.