So the question here is whether or not your driver is ever going to wear out. This may be surprising to some as there’s this belief that a driver is so well made, and that you hardly use it, so why would it wear out?
Well, here’s the thing.
Your driver gets old. Your driver loses its pop. Your game suffers as a consequence.
So yes, your driver does wear out, but how do you know this is happening? What are the key signs you should be looking out for with your driving game that indicates that your driver is just not quite what it used to be?
As time passes, the face of your driver is not going to be as efficient as it once was, and that’s where the concept of your driver losing its pop comes in. What this means is that there’s less energy being transferred between driver and ball, so that’s going to have a major impact on your game.
How Does it Happen?
This concept of your driver being worn out is more common in modern drivers than those from decades ago, and it happens because of their design.
Brands have sought to reduce the weight of a driver, and this has partly been the reason why the face of a driver has become so thin.
The idea behind the face is that it acts more like a springboard for the ball to fly off while keeping as much energy being transferred between club and ball as is possible.
But the thin face is going to ultimately lead to some problems for your driver over time.
As the face becomes more worn, it also becomes less reactive. It just doesn’t have the same springboard effect as it did when you first added it to your bag.
But to get a better understanding as to why this all happens, we need to get a bit scientific, and for that we need to discuss something called CoR.
CoR - Coefficient of Restitution
Remember when we just spoke about the springboard effect between the face of the driver and the ball? Well, that’s the CoR factor.
With CoR, you can measure the actual speed of an object that is either kept or lost after it has been hit by another object. Basically, you can measure the amount of speed lost as the driver makes contact with the ball.
In an ideal world, the higher the ratio, the better it is as that means you have a hot driver. However, there are legal limits, and it’s set at 83% transfer of energy, so you cannot go the whole 100%.
But what happens with your driver is that this figure drops as it loses its efficiency. A driver may start off at around 75%, but over time it may drop to 70%, or less.
That is not good. In fact, it’s a terrible thing for your drive.
The Impact in a Drop of the CoR
If that CoR number drops, then so will the distances you can achieve off the tee. The more it drops, then the less speed that is being carried, so that leads to less energy for the ball, and ultimately it means shorter drive distances.
Also, you may see a drop in your trajectory as well since the face of the driver is just not as reactive as it once was.
So you can see that this is a bad thing, but let’s look at the signs that all is not well with your driver, and which point you then need to begin to think about replacing it with a new model.
The Key Signs Your Driver Has Lost its Pop
There are actually several signs that all is not well with your driver, so paying attention for any of these signs is a good idea in order to save your game.
A Drop in Distance
One of the most obvious signs is a drop in distance off the tee. Say you are used to hitting a consistent drive of 280 yards, and are the longest driver in your group, but then you can’t seem to get past 250 yards. That’s a sign that something is wrong.
Now, it doesn’t have to mean that it’s your driver. You could have changed something in your swing that’s not working for you, so getting your driver checked out is a good starting point.
However, if it’s not you, then chances are it’s your equipment off the tee, and a driver losing its pop will certainly make you lose a significant number of yards. If you are already struggling with this, then anything that cuts off more distance needs to be avoided.
A pro is going to help you make that call. They can examine your driver and also assess your swing to see if that is causing the problem. By the end, there’s a good chance that you will realize your equipment is the cause, but we cannot rule out you at the start.
You Struggle to Get Some Air
A driver is designed to get the ball up into the air, and do so with really minimal spin. That will mean the ball has the perfect trajectory, and that then leads to you achieving better distances.
If your driver has lost its pop, then that flight angle will also change. You will notice you are unable to get the same height or angle on your drive compared to the past.
However, as with the distance issue, you need to check it’s not your swing that’s doing it. We can be a bit too quick to lay blame at the feet of equipment when it’s actually us that has created the problem.
If the face is not making the same type of connection with the ball off the tee, then it will change how the ball reacts to being struck. The angle will be different thanks to the wear, and then when you factor in losing distance, then your drive is going to look completely different.
Your Drives Become More Erratic
If you have been pretty consistent off the tee and find that this is no longer the case, then that could be another sign of a worn out driver.
Most players get to the point where they really know what’s going on with their driving game, and they can spot when some changes occur. If your accuracy drops, or your drives move all over with an increase in missing the fairway, then it could indicate an issue with your driver.
Of course, you could see all of the signs above happening at different times, and that’s when you may initially start to understand that you have a problem. It’s not uncommon for someone with a popped driver to lose control off the tee, and it’s all thanks to the wearing down process.
How Long Should a Driver Last?
How long a driver lasts does vary from brand to brand, as well as models within that brand, so it’s not an exact science. Also, it does vary depending on how many rounds you play in a year, and also how often you take the driver from your bag.
But here’s a rough estimate.
If you play 30 to 40 rounds per year, then the average driver should last in the region of 5 years before you start to think about replacing it.
That is just an estimate. Some people are rougher with their driver than others, and that’s going to make a slight difference in how long it will last.
It can also wear down according to the way in which you strike the ball. Actually, if you check the wear on the face of your driver, then it may act as an indicator as to how you are hitting off the tee.
This is all due to the way in which wear pattern will be different if you naturally slice the ball as compared to how it will look when you naturally hook the ball. Ideally, you want an even wear across the face to show you have real consistency with your striking.
What to Do
If you feel that your driver has lost some of its pop, then you need to think about at least getting it checked over by your local club pro to see if it really is the driver that is now past its best.
However, if this is the case, then the only option is replace your driver with a new one. You cannot repair this sort of thing, and with so many drivers on the market, getting a new one shouldn’t pose a problem.
So there’s no doubt that your driver will wear out and lose some of its pop, and it’s just a matter of time before it does. This can spell disaster for your game, so best get things checked out and replaced before you lose all confidence in your driving ability.