May 13, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Bubba Watson uses an older Bimatrix shaft in his driver. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)
Each week, PGATOUR.COM's Equipment Report highlights the top five players in a statistical category, and the club they used to get to the top. We continue with the top five (as of May 11, 2014) in club head speed.
Swinging the club at a high rate of speed tends to lead to longer drives -- that's assuming you flush the ball -- but is it a key indicator of success on the PGA TOUR?
Taking a look at the top five players in the category, which is a fairly small sample size, the result are fairly mixed.
All five players are currently ranked inside the top 20 in driving distance on the PGA TOUR, but only Bubba Watson, the leader in driving distance and club head speed, has produced a win this season.
The World Number 4 won the Masters earlier this year and is currently No. 2 on the FedExCup points list -- so the stat is somewhat important.
But take a look at the results of two of the names on the list -- Andrew Loupe and Charlie Beljan. Both have struggled to find consistency at times and are currently ranked 130th (Loupe) and 135th (Beljan) in the FedExCup standings.
Koepka, ranked 84th in the Official World Golf Ranking, locked up special temporary status on the PGA TOUR with a T-21 finish at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, allowing him unlimited sponsor exemptions for the remainder of the season. The only other player currently inside the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking is Gary Woodland (45th), who's also 22nd in the FedExCup standings.
While the driver brands vary, all five use models that have a center of gravity that's low and back in the head, allowing them to take advantage of the club's "dynamic loft."
For those unfamiliar with the term "dynamic loft," it's the amount of loft that's on the club face at impact. Angle of attack, how the shaft bends and the club head is released all play a part in dynamic loft.
By increasing the dynamic loft on the head, golfers are able to optimize their trajectory and carry without having to go up in loft. It's likely part of the reason why the head lofts for the top five range from 7.5 to 8.5 degrees.
(Note: Clubhead speed is computed by averaging the speed at which the club impacts the ball (mph) on par 4 and par 5 tee shots where a radar measurement was taken.)
1. Bubba Watson/123.89 mph/PING G25 (Grafalloy Bimatrix Rocket Pink X shaft), 8.5 degrees
2. Charlie Beljan/123.12 mph/Cleveland Classic 290 (Miyazaki B.Asha 5X shaft), 9 degrees
3. Brooks Koepka/122.69 mph/Titleist 913 D2 (Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana White Board 72X shaft), 8.5 degrees
4. Gary Woodland/122.47 mph/Callaway Big Bertha (Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ 102X shaft), 7.5 degrees
5. Andrew Loupe/ 121.95 mph/Titleist 909 D2 (Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Blue Board 72X shaft), 7.5 degrees
For a full list of club head speed leaders, click here.