Picking the right driver can be an overwhelming experience. Whether it’s a Callaway fitting or brand agnostic with a local fitter, the options are endless, all of its good in their own way, and the equipment rabbit hole is always a possibility.
Over my two years with Callaway, I have had some awesome big sticks. My Epic Speed 8.5 TD in 2021 was probably the best driver I have had in the past ten years. It was so good; in fact, I went back to it late last year because it always seemed to fly out of the middle of the face, and I had a true stock shot with it which was a tight little draw. Now, keep in mind Rogue ST was a gem as well, the ball speeds went up, and my misses were phenomenal. However, I never really had a stock shot with Rogue ST beyond the draws on command that I had with Max D, but that was limiting; I had no other shots with that club. I did have a fun 60 days with that one, though. It’s still the longest driver I have had in my time with Callaway. I hit 168 MPH with that hammer.
So as you can see, there has been a weird game of whack-a-mole going on. This year I told myself I was going to build one driver, and it was going to be based on three non-negotiables…
- It has to fly out of the middle: Center-face contact is the pathway to great driving, and with modern fitting getting better and better, finding a driver you hit out of the center is actually pretty easy.
- Misses have to be REALLY good: I lost my big miss last year with the Rogue ST, but with Paradym and the 360 Carbon Chassis, I’m confident that not only will my big miss still be pretty damn good, but my dispersion across the face will be just a tick shy of life-changing.
- I have to have a GO-TO SHOT: This is paramount. I’ll be honest, I hit the center of the face quite a bit, but the great driver of my career always had a great start line, a great shape, and flew out of the perfect window. Spin, ball speed, etc. can all be dialed, but the start line and ball flight come down to the right combo of loft, CG, and lie angle.
The point is I won’t settle on one until it checks off those boxes. Keep in mind that nowhere in that list is there maxed-out ball speed, super low spin, etc. I just want to hit quality shots that keep the ball in my hand, and I’m willing to leave distance on the table to get it. If I do get a bit faster, great, but I can do that by simply getting stronger and tweaking my technique. My goal is to cruise at 165-170 this year, and ill get there through sequence and strength, not my driver. Or at least I wont demand that of my driver to make it in the bag. I tried that, but it didn’t work. Paradym is the first head I have found that I potentially won’t have to choose, but time will tell.
These are things you can all consider in your next fitting, it’s ok to set goals or demands when picking a driver. My advice is to look at things from a scoring perspective rather than all-out distance. Chances are, if you optimize the list above, the distance will just be there, but on a priority list, I challenge you to move “hitting bombs” into the “bonus” section. Let’s be clear, we have the hottest heads in golf, so I’m confident the bombs will be there, but wouldn’t it be nice to hit a bunch of fairways and shoot some low scores first?
That’s what I’m doing.
My WITB for 2023 is coming very soon…ut in the meantime, here are the specs and launch data from my new Paradym TD
Driver: Paradym TD email@example.com (195G, 57 lie, 14GB, 7GF)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Red TR 6X (Tipped .5, 45′ EOG, D3.5)
Overall Numbers using Foresight GC Quad taken during fitting over 24 shots (not all shots made the video)
Ball Speed: 162.8