Golf Digest Videos

The Evolution of the Driver

From persimmons to metalwood to adjustable ones, the driver has come a long way since its inception. Find out how the current driver came to be as we look back at the club’s evolution over the years.

Released on 7/30/2015

Transcript

00:00
[Narrator] There have been many changes
00:01
throughout the history of the driver
00:03
but five milestones stand out
00:05
that had changed golf forever.
00:07
Long noses were usually made of beechwood,
00:10
and with the go-to club for kings and the aristocracy,
00:14
they were long and oddly shaped like a hockey stick
00:17
making golfers look like Happy Gilmore.
00:21
Just as the industrial age spawned change,
00:23
golf embraced improvement.
00:25
In the last 1800s,
00:26
golfers predominantly switched to persimmon.
00:29
Persimmon was so successful, it became the standard wood
00:32
for almost a century because of its durability
00:34
and great bounce for better distance.
00:36
[Narrator] See, fellows, the scientific principle
00:39
of a spring is to absorb energy and then to release it.
00:42
That's all there is to it.
00:43
[Narrator] Over a century passed
00:44
before we saw the metalwood driver
00:46
make its way into competitive golf in the form
00:49
of the TaylorMade's original cast stainless steel driver
00:54
but it wasn't until Lee Trevino's victory
00:56
at the 1984 PGA Championship
00:59
that a metalwood was used to win
01:01
one of golf's major championships.
01:04
Everything in American culture was getting bigger
01:06
in the early '90s, and that includes Callaway's Big Bertha.
01:10
Named after a World War I howitzer,
01:13
the Big Bertha launched the popularity
01:15
with its giant stainless steel head,
01:17
which was 25% bigger than the current drivers at the time.
01:21
The new millennium came,
01:23
and it was all about personalization and technology
01:26
that would change our world.
01:27
The DVR, the iPod, and the adjustable driver.
01:30
Led by TaylorMade's r7 quad,
01:33
adjustable drivers have improved over the years
01:36
maturing from 10s to hundreds
01:38
to thousands of combinations in one head.
01:41
Throughout the history of the driver,
01:43
we have seen innovation that is a reflection of fine culture
01:46
always making life and hopefully golf a little easier.
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