We have looked in the past at the clubs and drivers the top PGA Tour players use but given the distances they hit the ball are on a different planet to regular amateurs we wanted to see whether more can be learned from the most popular drivers used by Champions Tour pros.
Although the average driver swing speeds on the senior tour are still over 106mph – and therefore well above the average male amateur’s at 93.4mph – it is still closer than the 115mph average on the main PGA Tour.
So taking a in-depth look at the details of the drivers used by the best Champions Tour pros this is what we found.
PING’s G430 LST and TaylorMade’s Stealth Plus are the most popular drivers on the Champions Tour according to data available. Miguel Angel Jiménez and John Daly are G430 LST users while Fred Couples chooses the Stealth Plus. Titliest’s TSR3 and Callaway’s Rogue ST and Paradym Triple Diamond are the next most used models.
Basic makes and models of driver only tell us so much however so we didn’t just stop there and did a detailed analysis of the lofts the best pros on the senior tour are playing together with the specs of the driver shafts they use.
And finally we took a look at who was sponsored by which manufacturer to get an idea of how that factor potentially influences the driver choices among the top Champions Tour pros.
Most Used Drivers On the Senior Tour? Callaway Lead the Way
Driver data for the PGA Champions Tour is not as readily available as on the main PGA Tour.
So when we looked at the details of the drivers being used by the top 100 pros on the senior Tour to find which were the most used we were only able to find complete driver data for just over half – 51 to be exact – of this elite group.
In total we found 30 different driver models of driver being used among the 51 Champions Tour pros we found driver information for among the top 100 and when it came to the different brands being chosen this is what our detailed analysis found.
Callaway drivers are the most used on the Champions Tour with 33% of the senior pros analysed using them, including Steve Stricker. PING models are the next most popular picked by 27%. TaylorMade and Titleist drivers are each chosen by 13% with Tour Edge used by close to 10%. Japanese brand XXiO is used only by Ernie Els.
Callaway and PING therefore clearly dominate this group accounting for 31 of the 51 drivers we found in play with TaylorMade, Titleist and Tour Edge models making up the vast majority of the rest.
What was interesting to note though was that while Titleist are the dominant force among the drivers used on the PGA Tour their models are a much less popular choice among the top pros on the Champions Tour.
A key question of course when it comes to driver choices by all the pros however is of course how much it is influenced by sponsorship deals.
Once again the data available on Champions Tour pros is not nearly as abundant as on the PGA Tour but our analysis found 45% of the 51 senior pros we researched playing the same driver model as one of their sponsors.
In all likelihood this number is potentially higher however there were clear examples, including the great Bernhard Langer – who carries six different brands of club in his bag – that sponsorship is not always the overriding factor when it comes to the driver choices the senior pros make.
Further while the dominant driver makes and models among the best senior pros may be a bit different to those found on the main Tour what is clear though, when you look in detail at the drivers the Champions Tour pros use, is that they go into just as much detail when it comes to the exactness of their driver set up.
Just as on the PGA Tour each driver is clearly custom-fitted to a precise extent for each player and even though we found 5 PING G430 LST drivers being used you can be sure there will be a unique set-up for each pro.
Not only that certain players carry more than one driver around the Champions Tour with them switching between the two, or even three, depending on the conditions of the course they are playing that week or simply due to them having more confidence in one than the other at a particular time.
Dickie Pride for example carries a PING G410 Plus around with him in addition to the Callaway Rogue ST he typically puts in play while Brian Gay also has a Cobra LRDx LS in his bag together with a TaylorMade Stealth Plus.
Steve Flesch by comparison carries not two but 3 different models of the Callaway Rogue ST driver family allowing him to alternate between the standard Rogue ST Max and the draw-biased Max D and LS (‘low spin’) options.
It is also noticeable that not all the Champions Tour pros we found data for are immediately moving to the latest model of their preferred brand of driver and continue to play with older driver models.
Doug Barron continues for example to use his old trusty TaylorMade Stealth driver because he says he “hits it 15 yards longer than anything else I tried.”
And that search for distance also caused us to notice another couple of quirks among the top senior pros.
Padraig Harrington topped the driving distance charts on the Champions Tour in 2023 with an average total distance of 302.4mph.
Incredibly to do this Harrington has increased his driver swing speed to measurements of 120mph and above on the Champions Tour up from the 116 mph speeds he was recording when he was winning both the 2008 British Open and USPGA at the peak of his golfer powers.
But not only that he also employs a ‘baseball’ style grip only when using his driver – he uses a standard overlap grip for all his other clubs – in an effort to release a little extra energy into the driver clubhead for more overall power.
You can see him doing this in the video below and given his driving distance numbers as he enters his 50s it is clearly working!
What Driver Loft Do Senior Pros Use? It Typically Starts with 9 or 10.
When we looked at the degree of driver the top pros on the PGA Tour use we were immediately struck by the variance and precision in driver lofts they chose to put in play.
And when it comes to the best pros on the PGA Champions Tour it appears they are equally as exacting in their approach.
9 degrees is the most used driver loft among the Champions Tour pros for which data is available with 24% setting up with it, including Padraig Harrington. 10.5º is the next most popular loft with 1/5 choosing it. 2023 Tour winner Steve Stricker chooses an 8º driver while 6º is the lowest driver loft used by Brian Gay.
It is common of course for top pros on all the major tours to change the loft of their driver on occasion depending on the course set-up they are playing on any particular week and this is again noticeable on the Champions Tour.
Kirk Triplett, for example, has a 9º and 10.5º PING G425 Max driver in his golf bag but for other senior pros, changes extend to carrying more than one driver of both different lofts and models.
For Dicky Pride this means taking an 8º PING G410 Plus driver around on the Champions Tour with him alongside his more regularly used 9º Callaway Rogue ST driver.
Brian Gay meanwhile, while typically putting the lowest lofted driver on the tour in play with his 6º TaylorMade Stealth Plus also carries a 7.5º Cobra LTDx model in his bag to use on different occasions.
Interestingly however we found no difference in the variance in driver lofts used by different age groups of the top 100 on the Champions Tour and as such their loft choices did not appear to be affected by this factor.
|NO. OF PGA CHAMPIONS TOUR PROS
|Steven Alker, Bernhard Langer, Padraig Harrington, Brett Quigley, Y.E.Yang, K.J.Choi
|David Toms, Justin Leonard, Steve Flesch, Lee Janzen, Mike Weir, Chris DiMarco, Jim Furyk
|Rob Labritz, Doug Barron, David Duval, Davis Love III
|Alex Cejka, Ken Duke, Stewart Cink, Fred Couples
|Jerry Kelly, Miguel Angel Jiménez, Retief Goosen, John Daly
|Steve Stricker, Rod Pampling, Darren Clarke
|Brian Gay (6º)
What Driver Shaft is Most Used on the Champions Tour?
When it comes to driver shafts pro golfers are very exacting and our analysis of the shafts the top senior pros put into the biggest club in their bag again found this in evidence.
Among the 51 of the top 100 Champions Tour pros for which we found driver data we discovered 29 different models of driver shaft being used.
Fujikura’s Ventus Red 6X and Black 6X driver shafts are the most popular on the Champions Tour with nearly 1/4 of senior pros using one. The Ventus Blue 6X is the next most popular alongside PING’s Tour 65 S shaft chosen by 7%. Graphite Design’s Tour AD DI and IZ 6X shafts are the third most common with close to 5% picking them.
According to our analysis the driver shaft choices of the top Champions Tour pros map almost identically to those on the main tour with the Fujikura Ventus Black 6X topping the charts among the top 100 on both these tours.
We did find more variety of driver shafts on the PGA Tour compared to the Champions Tour however given the variety of shaft choices we found in this research the senior pros are clearly just as exacting when it comes to making their driver shaft choice.
Kevin Sutherland interestingly for example carries two models of his 10.5º PING G425 LST with two different shafts in them.
One is fitted with an extra stiff flex Ventus Red 6X while the other has a stronger True Temper’s Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 60 TX flex shaft in it.
And the two versions of the same driver we noted above that Kirk Triplett is using don’t just have different lofts but also slightly different shafts in them.
While his 10.5º PING G425 Max has an Aldila Tour Blue 60 TX shaft the 9º model of the same driver he has in his bag has a slightly heavier Tour Blue 70 TX shaft in it.
Steve Flesch meanwhile takes things even further choosing 3 different shafts from 3 different manufacturers – True Temper, Graphite Design and Fujikura – in the three different models of the Callaway Rogue ST driver family he alternates between.
So just like their colleagues on the main tour the senior pros are tinkering just as much when it comes to driver shafts although it is interesting that although like on the PGA Tour Fujikura was the top driver shaft brand Mitsubishi shafts were fifth most used on the Champions Tour drivers we found data for.
This compares to its position as the second most popular choice of driver shaft brand on the main tour.
On the Champions Tour by comparison behind Fujikura’s position as the dominant driver shaft brand Graphite Design shafts are the second most popular with 18% using them.
True Temper shafts are the 3rd most common with just under 12% choosing them with PING in 4th place with 7% picking their Tour 65 S shaft.
Mitsubishi driver shafts by comparison are the choice of only 2% of this Champions Tour group we analysed compared to their use by 1/4 of the top 100 pros on the PGA Tour..
|BRAND OF DRIVER SHAFT
|NO. OF PGA CHAMPIONS TOUR PROS USING BRAND
|BRAND’S MOST USED SHAFT
(inc. Steve Stricker, Steven Alker, Padraig Harrington, David Toms, Vijay Singh, Rod Pampling, Darren Clarke, Ken Duke, Ken Tanigawa, Billy Andrade, David Duval, Jim Furyk, David Love III)
|Ventus Black 6X / Ventus Red 6X
(inc. Bernhard Langer, Y.E.Yang, Steve Flesch, Lee Janzen, Stewart Cink, John Daly)
|Tour AD IZ 6 X
Tour AD DI 6 X
(inc. Ernie Els, Dicky Pride, Retief Goosen, Justin Leonard)
|Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black RDX 60
(inc. Miguel Angel Jiménez, Jeff Maggert, Chris DiMarco)
|Tour 65 S
|1 (Fred Couples)
|Tensei AV Blue 75X
|Tank Technology 6 X
|1 ( Kirk Triplett)
|Tour Blue 60 TX
|House of Forged
|1 (Alex Cejka)
|1 (Tim Petrovic)
|Tour TD 60 TX
Breakdown of Drivers Used by PGA Champions Tour Players
And finally just to give the full picture of how many and which pros are using which brand and model of driver here is the complete breakdown of the 51 drivers used by the top 100 Champions Tour pros we found data on in order of popularity.
|NO. OF PGA CHAMPIONS TOUR PROS
|PING G430 LST
(Chris DiMarco Jeff Maggert John Daly, Ken Tanigawa, Miguel Angel Jiménez)
View at PGA Tour Superstore
|TaylorMade Stealth Plus
(Brian Gay, Darren Clarke, Fred Couples, Jim FurykTim Petrovic)
View at PGA Tour Superstore
|Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond
(David Duval, David Toms, Joe Durant, K.J. Choi)
View at PGA Superstore
|Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond
(Brett Quigley Justin Leonard Stuart Appleby Vijay Singh)
(Padraig Harrington, Cameron Beckman, Davis Love III , Rob Labritz)
View at PGA Tour Superstore
|PING G425 LST
(Arjun Atwal, Jerry Kelly, Kevin Sutherland)
View at PGA Tour Superstore
|Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond
(Steve Stricker, Lee Janzen)
|Callaway Rogue ST Max LS
(Rod Pampling, Steve Flesch)
(Bernhard Langer, Rocco Mediate)
|Tour Edge Exotics C722
(Scott McCarron Tom Lehman)
|Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS
Callaway Epic Speed G400 LST
Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero
Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS
Tour Edge Exotics Pro 721
Tour Edge Exotics E722
Tour Edge Exotics C723
PING G425 Max
PING G430 Max
Before you go …
Knowing what drivers the top Champions Tour players are using is interesting but with the driver swingspeeds of the average senior pro being well over 10mph faster than the average male amateur (106.6mph vs. 93.4mph) there is likely more to learn from the drivers being played by the best female pros.
So have a read of our next article to find out what drivers the best LPGA pros are choosing with their 94mph average driver swing speeds…
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