PGA Tour Player Pilot Study

A pilot study was performed on PGA tour players in attempt to establish a proof of principle.

The hypothesis was that a consistent center hit on a driver would result in a longer and straighter drive and more consistently.

PGA tour players were solicited to be involved in the test on the driving range on the days prior to their respective tournament. After they had hit though all their clubs and had finished with their driver, they were asked if they would participate in a test by hitting first their driver 5 times and then the test driver 5 times. An impact paper with adhesive backing was placed the face of each driver. The player was to hit successive shots, but not to look at the impact spots until the test was concluded. The player then did the same with the test driver; a 15 year old Bridgestone 9.5 degree J33R head with a Graphite design PM 702s prototype stiff graphite composite shaft with the Grooved Golf Grip.

Only one PGA regular tour player tested consistently hit his driver in the center of the face. The following illustration shows the impact spots on his driver on the left and the trial driver on the right.

His Driver (L) vs Test Driver (R)

Testing of players immediately prior to a tournament provided information to compare where the player made impact and their driving statistics in the following days in the tournament. It was then of interest to see how well he did in the tournament. This player shot 5 under and finished 12th place at Riviera in 2011. His statistics showed he was tied for 5th in driving accuracy and 4th in driving distance. (See below copied from public domain of PGA Tour Internet page).

STATS Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4 TOT RANK*
BIRDIES 2 7 2 4 15 T18
PARS 14 8 14 13 49 T12
BOGEYS 2 3 1 1 7 T71
OTHER 1 1 T1
DRIVING ACCURACY 64 79 57 86 71.4 T5
DRIVING DISTANCE 295.0 278.5 307.5 302.5 295.9 4
PUTTS PER ROUND 28 24 32 28 28.0 T17
PUTTS PER GIR 1.800 1.364 2.000 1.833 1.766 22
GREENS IN REG 56 61 78 67 65.3 T16
SAND SAVES 60 0 100 57.1 T31
* Ranks are computed at the end of each round.

This International player’s testing results are one of many examples supporting our hypothesis that hitting consistently in the middle of the driver face results in longer more accurate drives.

Many other players were tested in a similar manner. The example below is from a Champion Tour player.

The test was performed with paper impact tape on the driver face. The pattern on the left was that five hits with the driver previously perfectly fit to him by his sponsoring manufacturer. The impact spots on the right were collected with 5 hits with a test driver with the Grooved Golf Grip which was never in the player’s hands prior to this test. This player had 2 PGA regular tour wins. He was presently 61st in total driving on the Champion’s Tour. With the pattern on the left above he was T73 in accuracy and 17th in driving distance. He obviously has a fast club head speed for distance, but hitting impacts all over the driver’s face results in poor accuracy.
DRIVING ACCURACY 43 50 64 52.4 T73
DRIVING DISTANCE 274.0 285.5 292.5 284.0 17

Other studies: We have examined how the grooved grip influences the impact site on the driver in a couple ways. One way was to have the same head and identical shafts; one with and one without the grooved grip. The improvement was seen with the grooved grip.

Another method was to have the player hit first with their driver, then the test driver, followed by applying the grooved grip to their driver. The following is one example of amateur golfers.

17 year old high school golfer, just fitted with a driver: 6.2, extra stiff shaft and 9.5 loft Taylor Made driver. He drives over 300 yards. He hit his driver. Then without practice swing he hit the test driver 5 times. He then had the 4 grooved grip placed on his driver. After waiting for 40 minutes until the grip was secure he hit his driver 5 times.
His Driver Round Grip (Top Left), Test Driver (Top Right), His Driver 4 Grooved Grip (Bottom)

The results show he had scattered impact spots on driver face with his driver. He improved in location and compaction of the impact spots with Test driver. However, just 40 minutes later or within one hour time without any practice the impacts spots on his driver with the four grooved grips showed marked improvement in location and consistency.

Tour Player Testing: The following examples show many convincing proofs from PGA Tour players.