How to Hit a 48-Inch Golf Driver

by M.L. Rose

    The advantage of pounding a long drive on a par-4 or par-5 hole is obvious: The farther you hit your tee shot, the shorter your next shot will be, giving you the opportunity to use a more-lofted club. That’s the idea behind the 48-inch driver, which is the longest club permitted under the Rules of Golf. An average off-the-rack driver is 45½ inches long. As "USA Today" explains, a 48-inch driver must be swung with a wider arc, which generates more club head speed and produces a longer drive -- assuming you hit the ball squarely. Achieving solid contact, however, can be a challenge.

    Step 1

    Execute basically the same swing you would use with a shorter driver, making a few tweaks due to the longer shaft. Golf writer Steve Newell recommends the following tee shot fundamentals: Tee the ball up opposite your front heel, with about half the ball visible above the driver’s head at address. Make sure your head and torso are aligned behind the ball as you set up. Execute a complete shoulder turn, then briefly pause at the top of your backswing, with your back to the target. Transition smoothly into your downswing, using about a 70 percent or 80 percent effort.

    Step 2

    Take your 48-inch driver to a driving range for a test drive first, recommends golf writer James Achenbach. He recommends concentrating on “stability, rhythm and timing.”

    Step 3

    Set up farther from the ball and stand more upright than usual to account for the longer shaft.

    Step 4

    Focus on making a “smooth takeaway and a controlled swing,” advises "USA Today" writer Steve DiMeglio. He warns that a golfer who’s used to swinging a 45-inch driver may find the extra 3 inches “too awkward to get used to.”

    Step 5

    Swing a 48-inch driver slower through the hitting zone than you would a shorter driver, “Golf" magazine editor Rob Sauerhaft recommends.

    Tips

    • Achenbach recommends using the most flexible shaft you can handle in a 48-inch driver. If in doubt whether to use a regular or stiff-flex shaft, for example, go with the regular flex.
    • 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson, a long hitter even by PGA Tour standards, tried a 48-inch driver but says it threw his timing off and “didn’t work at all” for him. He stuck with his 44 1/2 inch driver.

    About the Author

    M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.