How valuable is a driver fitting and will it deliver the same results on the course? I am here to talk you through my year with a new driver, from the fitting to on course performance. Previously I had a driver that was a couple of generations old and whilst it was performing well, I thought that with all the advances that are going on in the world of golf equipment these days I could be doing a little bit better.
Using an independent custom fitter - Scott Gourlay Golf Technology - I went for a driver fitting at the beginning of 2022. They have a wide choice of heads and shafts from all the major brands, so the new driver almost chose me rather than the other way around. In the video and article below, I'll show you the data - not only from the fitting but from using Arccos Caddie to track my performance on the course.
I was fitted into one of the best golf drivers of 2022, the Callaway Rogue ST Max driver because this was deemed to be the most forgiving head for me. Initially, we started with a 10.5° head, but as we went through the fitting, we adjusted down the loft to 9.5° which slightly opens the face.
In order to return the face to where it was originally, the fitter also used the D draw setting. That worked really well as I like seeing the face a little bit straighter and hopefully this combined with a new shaft would give me a little bit more speed and distance.
For a full club review read our Callaway Rogue ST Max Driver review.
As you can see from the table below, the data from the fitting promised me another 11 yards carry and 20% more accuracy. Using Arccos to track the distance and accuracy of both drivers, how did my new driver perform in reality over the course of a whole season?
In terms of accuracy, both drivers were broadly the same as I was hitting about 40% of fairways from the tee. With the new driver I was missing slightly less fairways to the right and a few more to the left, which probably is due to the semi-draw bias that Callaway says is built into the Rogue ST Max head. Also, anecdotally I did feel that the big right miss was reduced to a small miss right, or even a hit fairway, thanks to this extra forgiveness.
However, the really big gain for me was extra distance. My fitting predicted I would gain about 11 yards carry and according to Arccos, the previous model went 256 yards on the course. In reality, Arccos tracked it at 269 yards, a gain of 13 yards. That is measuring total distance, so that's why it's couple of yards more the fitting, but it was really pleasing to see that what I had experienced in the fitting bay matched what I saw on the course.
What Arccos can also do is take stats to the next level and show you how much difference that actually means to your scores. They use the Strokes Gained calculation to allow you to benchmark your performance against other players of a similar handicap. I am currently a 3 handicap and over the course of the season I hit over 100 shots with both clubs. With my previous driver, it was costing me -0.14 shots each time I hit the club, whereas with the Callaway it was gaining me +0.07 shots.
These don't sound like very big numbers, but from Arccos I was also able to work out how many times I hit the drivers per round too. With the previous model I was hitting about 8 times a round, but with the Callaway I was hitting it 10 times and I think that was because I had more confidence in the club to use it more frequently.
Putting those two numbers together means that if I am using the Callaway I am gaining +0.7 shots per round with the Callaway, whereas with the previous driver I was losing -1.12 shots. Taking the difference between those two and you can see I gain +1.8 shots per round by being fitted for a new driver that suits my game a little bit better.
Now that is quite a significant amount and I think this comes from the right miss not being quite as big as it was before and because I was actually a club or two further down the fairway so I could hit a shorter second shot into the green.
I have enjoyed using the Callaway driver throughout the season and it has been great to track my progress from the fitting and then to the course throughout the whole year to see the predicated gains come to fruition.
In terms of the club, I think the Callaway Rogue ST Max has certainly worked for me as it combines forgiveness with performance. If you have a driver that is a couple of generations old then I would recommend going for a fitting and seeing if one of the newer models might suit your swing better and hopefully gain you some strokes too.
Martin Hopley is one of the foremost UK equipment reviewers with over 20 years' experience. As the former founder of Golfalot.com he was an early pioneer of online reviews and has also been a regular contributor to other titles. He is renowned for his technical knowledge and in-depth analysis, which he now brings to Golf Monthly.
Pebble Beach Pro-Am DFS Picks and Targets
Matt MacKay provides the best DFS picks for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at both FanDuel and DraftKings for this week's stop on the PGA Tour.
By Matt MacKay • Published
Best Drivers For Slicers 2023
We take a look at the best drivers that will stop you slicing tee shots
By Neil Tappin • Published