Titanium Drivers Turn Average Joes Into John Dalys

To some titanium drivers are simply the product of better technology, enabling the average golfer to smack a golf ball as far as touring pros.

To old school golfers, technological advances, especially titanium drivers, are beneficial – to a point. They complain it’s led to fundamentally unsound golf, with average players getting an unfair advantage.

Either way, titanium drivers are not going away anytime soon, with computers and engineers working on getting every possible yard out of a drive.

Callaway big bertha The technological revolution started in the 1990s with Callaway’s Big Bertha, which featured an oversized head which made it easier for the average golfer to launch a big drive. But a bigger head meant a heavier club, which made it difficult to swing the club correctly. Enter titanium. Replacing steel-headed clubs, titanium reduced thickness to 0.048 inches. Driver heads of 330 to 340cc began being manufactured.

In 2000, new technology provided a titanium wall thickness of .028 inches. Drivers grew into the 400cc size. More powerful and lighter drivers were now available for everyone.

Along with less mass, titanium produces a “trampoline effect.” The club faces actually indents on impact, with the rebound giving the ball an extra push. In essence, the club face acts like strings on a tennis racquet.

The United States Golf Association (USGA) reacted to the technology. They put a limit on ball rebound velocity, limiting players to their club selection. Many of the top pros applauded the move.

In an article for CIO magazine, Ben Crenshaw notes that the average drive on tour is around 300 yards off the tee. Just eight years ago, he writes, the average drive was about 265 yards. He notes that Augusta National, the home of the Masters, had to undergo major renovations in 2000 because of the longer drives. The course had to move, length holes and add to stay ahead of the technology.

Of course, the average, recreational golfer probably doesn’t mind whatever adjustments the pro game has to make to titanium. The argument for titanium drivers maintains that longer drives leads to better scores, which leads to more enjoyable golf, and, consequentially, the increase in the sports popularity.

One thing, golfers are finding, however, is that if they want longer drives, they’re going to have to pay for it. Titanium drivers aren’t cheap. At the high end, drivers can cost up $500.

Want the kind of titanium driver Tiger Woods uses? The Titleist 975 D retails for around $300.

That hasn’t stopped the driver’s popularity. In fact, it’s hard to find a serious golfer who doesn’t use titanium – and golf companies are almost exclusively selling titanium.

A quick look at Edwin Watts online store, and of the 29 companies listed that sell drivers on its site, all of them sell titanium drivers.

So, whatever the arguments are against titanium, it looks they’re here to stay, with golf balls leaving for longer and longer rides.

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