Golf clubs have had an interesting history -at one point or another, they’ve been made from pretty much everything: wood, steel, graphite, aluminium, titanium and ceramics. Until the 1980’s most woods were actually made of wood (“wooden woods”), but around that time manufacturers began to introduce steel woods into the market. Because of this shift, looking back we can see the surge of new “super hard and super strong” brand-new clubs designed to help golfers hit the ball farther.
Unfortunately, what your club is made of doesn’t really matter.
As I stated in an earlier post, the science behind your swing -the loft on the clubhead, the speed with which it impacts the ball, and the angle of your swing- are what really matter. The only other factors are the strength and elasticity of the face material, and how the face flexes on contact.
This is why most drivers today are made of titanium, because it has the right balance of lightness, strength and elasticity so that even though the driver head might be the size of a grapefruit, it will still weigh the same amount and won’t fall apart on contact with the ball. This allows the club head to come as close as possible to the United States Golf Association’s limit for spring face capability, known as the COR (coefficient of restitution) rule.
Before titanium came on the market, it didn’t matter what your club head was made of because the energy transfer from the club to the ball was essentially the same. This changed when titanium came on the market because it possesses greater elasticity, which allowed manufacturers to start making all kinds of claims about hardness of the club head, and how these improvements will help improve your swing.
While the hardness of your club head might affect how easily your club gets banged up, it has nothing to do with the distance your ball will travel.
Because no clubface can exceed the USGA’s COR rule, every club produced is limited by the same set of standards. This means that as long as club companies are following this rule, the only things affecting your shot distance will be how well you and your swing characteristics are custom fitted for length, loft, shaft weight, shaft flex, and swingweight.
What it all boils down to is this: while titanium is a better option not because it is “harder”, but because it offers a better combination of face elasticity and overall strength.
The only thing that will truly make you hit the ball farther is ensuring that your clubs are fitted with the right length, loft, face angle, shaft, swingweight and grip size to match your unique swing.
Have you ever had someone tell you that a harder club will improve your distance? Leave me a comment and let me know!