The driver is almost always the most talked about golf club in everyone’s bag.
And a good part of the reason for that is the average golfer often watches with wonder as the best players on the PGA Tour smash the ball seemingly endless distances down the middle of the fairway.
It seemed not that long ago that the 300 yard mark was the benchmark for the very long drivers on tour but now it appears you need to be hitting the ball 400 yards every now and then to be truly considered one of the game’s ‘big hitters’ these days.
So what drivers are the pros using to achieve these seemingly once unimaginable distances?
We took a look at the top 100 players on the PGA Tour and analysed in detail the driver each of them carries to try and find what driver set up is most common amongst the top pros.
Titleist’s TSi3 is the most used driver among the top 100 PGA Tour players with 13% choosing it. PING’s G425 LST is the next most used model while TaylorMade’s SIM driver ranks 3rd. Titleist, PING, TaylorMade and Callaway dominate the top 100 with 90% of players using one of their driver models.
The make and model of any driver only tells us so much though and when we looked at the drivers being used by the best 100 PGA Tour players it was fascinating to see the variance in lofts and also the multitude of different shafts being used.
Breakdown of Drivers Used by Top 100 PGA Tour Players
The amount of equipment available to PGA tour players is clearly on a different scale to anything that mere mortal amateurs can aspire to.
If a PGA Tour pro wants to test out a new driver, shaft or set up it’s immediately made available to them and they are able to swap out drivers as often as they want from tournament to tournament or even practice session to practice session.
It’s no surprise therefore that we discovered 37 different models of driver being used by the top 100 players on the PGA Tour with the Titleist TSi3 being the most popular with 13% choosing it. Indeed drivers made by Titleist proved to be the most used brand with 27 players out of the top 100 picking a Titleist driver.
The big brands of Titleist, PING, TaylorMade and Callaway dominate the drivers used by the best golfers on the PGA Tour and account for 90 out of the 100 drivers in play.
What becomes very apparent when you look in detail at the drivers used by the pros on the PGA Tour however is there is a huge multitude of setups and each driver is clearly custom fitted to an unbelievably exact extent for each player.
For example even though 10 out of the top 100 use PING’s G425 LST you can bet your last dollar when you look closely that there will a unique set up for each player whether that be achieved through an adjustment to the loft, set up or shaft.
It is noticeable also that not all the players are in a rush to move immediately to the latest model of their preferred brand of driver and do continue to play with older drivers.
Here is a complete breakdown of the the drivers used currently by the top 100 players on the PGA Tour.
|BRAND||DRIVER||NO. OF TOP 100 PGA PLAYERS||SELECTED GOLFERS|
|Titleist||TSi3||13||Justin Thomas, Jordan Speith, Billy Horschel, Cameron Smith, Max Homa|
|TS3||6||Patrick Cantlay, Sungjae Im, Webb Simpson|
|TSi2||5||Matt Jones, Robert Streb, Lanto Griffin|
|TSi4||2||Russell Henley, Richie Werenski|
|PING||G425 LST||10||Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau, Lee Westwood, Stewart Cink, Tyrell Hatton, Bubba Watson|
|G410 LST||7||Joaquin Niemann, Martin Laird, Sebastián Muñoz|
|G400 LST||3||Corey Connors, Scottie Scheffler|
|G400||2||Harris English, Louis Oosthuizen|
|G410 PLUS||1||Austin Cook|
|G400 Max||1||Carlos Ortiz|
|TaylorMade||SIM||8||Collin Morikawa, Daniel Berger, Sergio Garcia|
|SIM2||5||Jason Kokrak, Brooks Koepka, Rory McIroy|
|SIM2 Max||3||Dustin Johnson, Matthew Wolff, Tommy Fleetwood|
|SIM Max||2||Adam Long, Rory Sabbatini|
|Callaway||Epic Speed||3||Matt Wallace, Maverick McNealy, Talor Gooch|
|Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS||3||Abraham Ancer, Jon Rahm, Si Woo Kim|
|Epic Speed Triple Diamond||2||Branden Grace, Xander Schauffele|
|Mavrik Sub Zero Triple Diamond||2||Dylan Frittelli, Emiliano Grillo|
|GBB||2||Chris Kirk, Kevin Kisner|
|Mavrik Sub Zero||1||Francesco Molinari|
|Epic Speed Triple Diamond DS||1||Marc Leishman|
|Epic Flash Sub Zero||1||Russell Knox|
|GBB Epic||1||Kevin Na|
|Srixon||ZX5||2||Hideki Matsuyama, Shane Lowry|
|Z 785||1||Lucas Glover|
|PXG||0811 X Prototype||1||Wyndham Clark|
|0811 Prototype||1||Zach Johnson|
|0811 X||1||James Hahn|
|Bridgestone||Tour J815||1||Matt Kuchar|
|Cobra||RadSpeed Prototype||1||Bryson DeChambeau|
What Degree of Driver do the Pros Use?
Once upon a time a driver used to come with one loft option and players were stuck with it.
Modern golf technology has obviously moved on hugely since then and the loft options available to golfers now, and especially at the elite PGA Tour level, are now incredible.
The Titleist SureFit Hosel system for example features a sleeve and ring set up each with 4 settings and thereby enables 16 unique loft and lie angle combinations with a precision of only 0.75 degrees between different options.
The players on the PGA Tour are the best in the business and it seems clear that the exactness with which they approach their driver set up and the loft is part of the reason they are so successful.
Driver lofts used by the top 100 PGA Tour golfers range from 4.2° all the way up to 12.4°. The most common degree of driver is 9° with 36 players choosing that loft. 10.5° and 9.5° are the next most used lofts making these 3 loft choices the preference of over 60% of the best 100 players on Tour.
It is common also for the top pros to change the loft of their driver occasionally depending on what the latest course they are playing on demands but below is the current breakdown of driver lofts among the top 100 PGA Tour players.
|DRIVER LOFT||NO. OF TOP 100 PGA PLAYERS||SELECTED GOLFERS|
|9 degrees||36||Xander Schauffele, Billy Horschel, Jason Kokrak, Rory McIlroy|
|10.5 degrees||16||Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Webb Simpson|
|9.5 degrees||10||Justin Thomas, Tony Finau, Matt Kuchar|
|8.5 degrees||9||Collin Morikawa, Tyrell Hatton, Jason Day|
|10 degrees||8||Hideki Matsuyama, Jordan Speith, Cameron Smith|
|8.75 degrees||4||Patrick Cantlay, Lee Westwood, Charley Hoffman|
|7.5 degrees||3||Abraham Ancer, Brandon Hagy, Dylan Frittelli|
|7.75 degrees||2||Scottie Scheffler, Viktor Hovland|
|8 degrees||2||Corrie Connors, Talor Gooch|
|4.2 degrees||1||Bryson DeChambeau|
|6.8 degrees||1||Bubba Watson|
|9.2 degrees||1||Harris English|
|9.25 degrees||1||Brian Harman|
|10.2 degrees||1||Jon Rahm|
|11 degrees||1||Michael Thompson|
|11.5 degrees||1||Stewart Cink|
|12.4 degrees||1||Maverick McNealy|
What Driver Shaft is Most Used on the PGA Tour?
PGA Tour players are incredibly precise when it comes to the set up of their drivers and nowhere is that most evident than when it comes to the shafts that they choose to use with the biggest club in their bag.
Among the top 100 PGA Tour players over 70 different driver shaft models are used with the Fujikura Ventus Blue 6X and Ventus Black 6X driver shafts being the most popular. Only 6 players use each of those shafts apiece with the next most used shaft – the Ventus Red 6X – being used by 3 golfers.
Driver shaft weights vary also hugely among the top pros with the lightest driver shaft of 62g comparing to the heaviest at 90g, close to 30 grams heavier. 65g was the most common weight of driver shaft amongst the top 100 PGA players with 20% of them choosing driver shafts of that weight.
Interestingly also while True Temper dominate the shafts of choice amongst the irons used by the pros it is Fujikura shafts that are the most popular driver shafts with 28 of the top 100 using them.
Mitsubishi driver shafts, such as the Tensei AV Raw and Diamana series shafts, come a close second with 27% of the best players on Tour using them.
True Temper shafts are only the 3rd most popular in the drivers of the top 100 PGA Tour players with 12 choosing them and mainly opting for shafts within the Project X HZRDUS range.
One thing is clear when looking in detail at the drivers chosen by the very best players on the PGA Tour.
They are looking at every aspect of the biggest club in their bag in great depth and constantly trying new models, lofts, lie angles, shafts and set ups in order to try and gain whatever advantage they can to help them improve their driving game.
The issue for the amateur golfer is that it is almost impossible to keep up with the best driver shafts, never mind the drivers themselves, costing many hundreds of dollars.
Unlike the top pros the average amateur player typically can not afford to buy the latest driving models and shafts year after year in the pursuit of only marginal gains.
So it is even more critical that amateurs get their driver decision right and therefore average golfers probably have most to learn from the extent to which the top pros get custom fitted across all aspects of their driver rather than from the specific models of driver and shafts the pros are using.
Following the same custom fitting approach as the pros do can definitely help ensure amateurs choose a driver that they can get as much use out of as possible for as long as possible.