Why the numbers written on Will Zalatoris’ driver are so important

Why the numbers written on Will Zalatoris’ driver are so important

By: Jonathan Wall January 19, 2023

Zalatoris modified his Titleist TSR3 driver after returning to competition this month.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Will Zalatoris made his long-awaited return to the course two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions after a five-month layoff due to two herniated discs in his lower back. Much of the downtime was spent on back rehabilitation – and marriage – apart from the trip to the Titleist Performance Institute in December to work with Dr. Greg Rose on possible ways to prevent future injury.

Conversations with Dr. Rose eventually led to off-season swing changes that he implemented for the first time competing in Hawaii.

“[T]The great thing for me is that we spent a lot of time understanding the pressures of my golf swing and understanding how I push my right side,” Zalatoris said. “And I do it later than a lot of guys, so what it does for someone with a lot of sideways curvature is that my right hip is high and my spine is tilted back, and so like Dr. Rose said, duh, no wonder I had a back problem.”

Coinciding with the swing changes, Zalatoris has also made a minor tweak to their Titleist TSR3 driver which is hidden in plain sight – apart from a number written in black permanent marker on the headstock: 44.75.

The number is the Zalatoris player’s current length, which happens to be an inch and a quarter shorter than his previous one at 46 inches. During an interview on the latest edition of GOLF’s Fully Loaded Podcast, Zalatoris revealed that the shorter length sapped some of his distance, but not to the point where he was ready to go back to the previous 46-inch version.

Returning From Injury, Will Zalatoris Reveals A Swing Solution That Has Relieved His Back By: Jack Hirsh

In fact, he improved a valuable area of ​​his driving game.

“The beauty is that I’m actually only a mile per hour slower because I’m more efficient,” Zalatoris said. “It comes down to working with [Dr. Greg Rose] above all.”

At 46 inches, Zalatoris boasted one of the longest riders on the Tour last season. At its current length, it’s exactly the average rider length on the PGA Tour, a number that may seem short compared to the current retail average of 45.5 inches.

There are obviously pros and cons to shortening, and much of it depends on whether the driver is a weapon or one of the weaker clubs in the bag. If a slice is the most common failure, shortening can help align the head at impact, improving your chances of making contact with the center of the face.

In most cases, shortening to gain accuracy is the way to go, even if it means sacrificing carry distance.

For Zalatoris, who was 11th last season in SG: Off-the-tee, he was able to give up the extra length and not skip a beat. (In the Tournament of Champions, he placed 5th in driving distance.)

While the rider’s shorter length seems fine with Zalatoris at the moment, he’s not convinced he’ll stick with the long-term build.

“I would like [go back to 46 inches]especially after going around [PGA West]“said Zalatoris. “I look at some of the bunkers where it’s a 325-yard carry and I say ‘damn’. I’ll probably [go back] at some point, but I still have wet feet coming back. I just want to see how my body reacts.

Want to redo your bag for 2023? Find a suitable location near you at GOLF affiliate True Spec Golf. For more on the latest gear news and information, check out the fully geared podcast below.

Jonathan Wall Golf.com Editor-in-Chief

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com Editor for Equipment. Before joining the team in late 2018, he spent 6 years covering PGA Tour gear.

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