Do I need a driver? The pain of a long hitting high handicapper

I started this year without a driver and was happy with my 3W distance when I hit it well, 240-250. After comments from friends I decided to buy a driver, used SLDR from the Silk Road. Well it has been a rocky summer for me and the driver. I have absolutely crushed some drives, verging on 300, but also lost so many balls with high “fades” and duck hooks that I don’t hit it unless both sides of the hole are playable, ie parkland courses.

My go to is my 4h and 3W which both can find the fairway 50% of the time, per Grint.

So, to the more educated here is it worth putting in the effort to get the extra 40 yards with a Driver or spend that time working on other parts of my game?

I am a 19 and struggle with iron control and I think that just hitting the 3W from now on and concentrating on 150 yard shots would be a bigger benefit to my game.

Why not only hit your driver 20 yds further than your 3 wood?

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I don’t know how to do that. I am a swing hard kind of guy.

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Yea, not many 19’s have mastered the 270 yd straight driver. You may try the teeing it slightly lower bunt fade. Tough to do.

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You might want to try another driver, the SLDR is one of the least forgiving drivers put out in the last 10 years.


Generally the data guys say until about handicap 15, learning to hit driver is low hanging fruit.


I used to be in the exact same boat. My rule was only hit driver if it would save me a stroke. As in be able to reach a par 5 in two or need it to have 160 or less into a par 4. Sometimes I would just lay back anyway if there was a hazard in my usual driver miss area. Although this laying up strategy is definitely not the TC way.

If you can reach the 150 stake on certain holes with a 5 iron why hit driver?

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Sldr is one of those weird experiments where some love it but most do better with traditional tech. I would say find a ping g400 or 410 with. They should be relatively affordable and offer max forgiveness.
If you can cut your penalty shots even by 1/2 you are already at 15. Sldr requires different launch and spin numbers for optimization and you want club to fit your swing not change swing to fit club.


Find someone you don’t like and sell the SLDR to him, then use the proceeds to buy something from the Ping G family.


First of all I didn’t know the SLDR was a notoriously difficult club to hit. Thanks for then insight.

Are Ping drivers the easiest to hit? I will try and find on on eBay and see if it improves my game.


Mostly because the math says more distance is always better.


Why wouldn’t a 19 want to change his swing?

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Man, I feel this topic.

I probably hit a driver 20 times last year in 65 rounds. Just an absolute lack of confidence. My duck hooks were HARD hooks. I mean like 90 yards, then torpedoed into the ground, roll out to 160 unless they went OB.

So I put mine away for the year. Caught a lot of guff, but I can hit my 4 iron about 250ish off the tee, so I got away with it.

This year, I bought a driver off the Silk Road and committed to it. To solve my snapper, I adapted to the weakest grip you’ve ever seen in your life. It works, but brings a SUPER high slice into the picture. For the first part of the year, I played a fade / slice and I was in heaven.

But then I started to noticed I couldn’t stop it from going right. So now I’m back on my bullshit. I borrowed a 2 hybrid from a friend that I can reliably hit about 280 off a tee. (ROLL OUT, shout out @nandersen).

The quest for the fairway continues though. I’ve started push slicing that fucker, too.

Essentially, what I am trying to say, is fuck golf. It’s too hard. But we’re in this together, my friend.


What in the absolute hell is a fairway?


Worried about driver, but gaming an SLDR…

Sincerely, team Ping G410+ (properly fitted).


Our stories are two sides of the same coin, maybe we should stop being cheap bastards and get fitted for a driver.

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Yeah, pretty much. My swing is just so shit that I need to figure that out first. But definitely need to go through the process. I did do a shaft fitting and that helped a bit, but someday I gotta bite the bullet and get the whole bag going.


I’m in the same boat, so I set myself some rules.

I only hit my driver on 400+ holes, or if it is “reachable” and not a ton of danger on the sides.
3W (MiniDriver) 350-400
3 Hybrid up to 350 (except for the driveable holes mentioned above).

Since I play the whites, I don’t hit the driver too many times per round.

I’m usually an “archer not the arrow” guy but would agree with a few others in this thread that an SLDR is not setting you up for success, wildly notorious for forgiveness. Weight is set up way forward


I am a fan of getting a lesson before a new driver. $50-$80 for a lesson vs $250 for a used driver that may still not fit you.

Best of luck.

P.S. - I believe ultra-forgiving clubs are a crutch that keep you from learning precise contact. Fight me.